2019 is all set to be a dramatic year for Norwich Theatre Royal with some top quality plays on the menu, plus cutting-edge dance and family entertainment, all announced for the first half of next year.
The new season’s announcements include superb drama in the form of a stage adaptation of an international best-selling book and a box office movie hit; a critically-acclaimed returning production of one of the greatest novels of of the 20th century; a timeless classic which after 66 years still has audiences on the edge of their seats; and a bittersweet comedy from one of the greatest English playwrights of the last century.
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins sold 20 million copies worldwide and became a smash-hit movie starring Emily Blunt. The story about a train traveller who thinks she has witnessed a crime but whose memory is confused by alcohol has now been adapted for the stage and arrives at Norwich Theatre Royal from July 1-6. Starring Samantha Womack (EastEnders ‘ Ronnie Mitchell) and Oliver Farnworth (Andy Carver in Coronation Street), expect a gripping psychological thriller which has you guessing to the final moment.
The stage version of another highly-regarded novel To Kill A Mockingbird makes a return visit to Norwich from March 4-9. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s critically-acclaimed production, which graced the Theatre Royal stage in September 2014, tells the story of lawyer Atticus Finch and his courageous daughter, Scout, who bring hope to a divided small town community in America’s Deep South. Harper Lee’s 1960 novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and was followed by a film in 1962 which won three Oscars. It is directed by Olivier Award-winning director Timothy Sheader.
A huge favourite with theatre audiences whose enthusiasm has kept it on the stage continuously since 1952, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap also makes a return to Norwich from July 8-13. Last on the Theatre Royal stage in 2013, this spine-tingling murder mystery is set in a country house where a group of people have been cut off by the snow only to discover there is a murderer in their midst. The Mousetrap first entered the record books on April 12, 1958, when it became the longest running show of any kind in the history of British Theatre. It went on to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee on November 25, 2012.
Two of the UK’s most accomplished actors come together in Noel Coward’s A Song at Twilight from April 8-13, a tale about a renowned author who is growing old, rude and haughty, and who meets up again with an old flame after more than 40 years. Entertaining and full of sharp and witty repartee, it stars acclaimed actor, writer and director, Simon Callow who is best-known for films such as Amadeus, Four Weddings and a Funeral, A Room With A View and Shakespeare in Love. His stage work includes previous visits to the Theatre Royal in Waiting for Godot and to Norwich Playhouse in a number of one-man plays. He is joined in this new production by stage and screen actor Jane Asher, whose film and television work includes Alfie, The Mistress and Dancing on the Edge, while on stage she has appeared in Great Expectations, An American in Paris, Pride and Prejudice and Charley’s Aunt.
Magical family drama is also on the menu with The Worst Witch who arrives on her broomstick from April 16-20. Mildred Hubble is an ordinary girl who finds herself in a school for witches. The Worst Witch stories have sold more than five million copies worldwide and been made into numerous films and TV series and is sure to delight. Two other family shows are also guaranteed to please. Horrible Histories returns with two shows from May 23-25 – the Terrible Tudors and the Awful Egyptians. Using actors and ground-breaking 3D special effects, it’s an engaging and accessible way for all ages to improve their history knowledge. And Ben & Holly are back and live on stage on June 7 & 8. From the makers of Peppa Pig, which recently delighted audiences in the city, this production brings the BAFTA award-winning television series to life.
From drama to dance and music and 10 SOLDIERS, a brand new work from the Rosie Kay Dance Company, provides a thrilling and humane portrait of army life by telling the stories of men and women serving on the front line, on stage on June 4. Following her previous critically-acclaimed piece 5 SOLDIERS, which was inspired by the time she spent with the 4th Battalion The Rifles, choreographer Rosie Kay’s new work explores how the human body with both fragility and incredible inner strength remains on the frontline of war.
English Touring Opera is all set to entertain royally with stunning music and voices with its season of Kings and Queens in a battle for love, loyalty and power, when it returns to Norwich from April 25-27. It will present Rossini’s Elizabeth 1 on April 25, Verdi’s Macbeth on April 26, and Mozart’s Idomeneo on April 27. The company will also present two children’s operas in the theatre’s Stage Two – Paradise Planet on April 26, a collection of ocean stories for children aged seven and upwards, and Waxwings on April 27, about a boy called Olly who is obsessed with birds, which is suitable for children aged 3-5.
And a change of tempo will see Thriller Live, last here in February 2017, make a return visit from May 27 to June 1. Featuring the songs of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, and direct from the West End where it’s in its record-breaking 10th year, this thrilling musical will have you tapping your feet in a breath-taking celebration of the music of a legend.
The music continues with the legendary 10CC who will be back by popular demand on March 3 with a string of hits such as Rubber Bullets and Dreadlock Holiday which made them one of the most innovative bands of their generation.
There will also be a chance to get immersed in the music of one of the biggest movie hits of 2017 with Sing-A-Long-A The Greatest Showman on March 19; and That’ll Be The Day, a popular favourite with Norwich audiences, returns on February 24 with music from the 50s through to the 70s.
Also already announced and bringing laughs-a-plenty to Norwich will be comedians Nish Kumar on March 21, Russell Kane on May 26 and Al Murray on June 16, while distinguished explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be talking about a life spent Living Dangerously on February 19 as he regales audiences with tales of explorations to the far flung corners of the globe.
Newly lined-up is another adventurer with a big character and a huge sense of humour. An Evening with Brian Blessed on March 18 will see the actor of screen and stage regaling everyone with entertaining tales of his life, which include scaling Everest and Kilimanjaro.
And comedy of a stranger kind comes from No Such Thing As A Fish on March 22 – a show which has developed from a podcast created by the researchers behind the long-running BBC comedy quiz QI, so prepare to learn some of the most bizarre, extraordinary, and hilarious facts known to man.
Although the forthcoming festive season is not yet on us, the theatre is looking ahead with the announcement that Cinderella will be its panto in 2019/2020, running from December 17, 2019, to January 19, 2020. For those who like to plan ahead, tickets will be on sale shortly with a special Early Bird reduction if purchased before midnight on January 31, 2019.