Take That film Greatest Days shines spotlight on fans.

Pro Dance News 20th June 2023

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Take That film Greatest Days shines spotlight on fans.

Take That film Greatest Days shines spotlight on fans.

While Gary Barlow has joked it was a “blunder” by producers not to test out his acting chops in Take That’s new film, in all seriousness the singer hopes Greatest Days’ cinematic success will be in “turning a mirror” on their fans.

Speaking to Media News, with faux upset, he joked that not casting himself as a leading man was “a huge blunder, in my opinion, but there you go – we go on, we go on!”

“We’ve got this brilliant audience and, you know, the one thing for us that was so important with [first] the musical, and the movie, was to turn a mirror on the audience and make it about them and how important they are within what we do.”


Directed by Coky Giedroyc with Tim Firth adapting his own stage show, comedian Aisling Bea leads the cast with the story focusing on a die-hard Take That fan who – 25 years on from her teenage crush – has to round up her old school friends after winning the chance to see the band in concert in Athens.

While the cast clearly had a blast breaking into song, Bea maintains it was a gruelling shoot.

“On Never Forget we did the conga 30 times down the road,” she explains. “That scene took two or three days of rehearsals… We hope it looks easy, but it never actually is behind the scenes.


Tina – The Tina Turner Musical announces new West End cast.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical announces new West End cast.

(photo Karis Anderson (centre) and Okezie Morro in rehearsals)

New casting has been announced for Tina – The Tina Turner Musical as it continues its West End run in the wake of the death of Tina Turner.

From 8 June, Karis Anderson, currently in the ensemble, will share the role of Tina with Elesha Paul Moses who continues in the role. Okezie Morro (Moon on a Rainbow Shawl) will join the show to play Ike Turner.

Mark Anderson joins to play record producer Phil Spector and lyricist Terry Britten, Jonathan Carlton will play record company marketing manager Erwin Bach, current ensemble member Vanessa Dumatey will play Tina’s sister Alline Bullock, Irene Myrtle Forrester continues as Tina’s Grandmother, Earl Gregory joins to play Tina’s father Richard Bullock, Harry Harrington joins as Tina’s manager Roger Davies, Emma Hatton joins to play Ike and Tina’s manager Rhonda Graam, Jarius McClanahan joins as Tina’s first love Raymond Hill and Carole Stennett joins to play Tina’s mother Zelma.

Ensemble members are Lauren Allan as Toni, Turrell Barrett-Wallace who continues to play Tina’s son Ronnie, Joey James who continues to play Tina’s son Craig and Thomas Sutcliffe who continues to play Carpenter.

The Ikettes are played by new cast members Morgan Broome, Amara Campbell and Abiola Efunshile, while the swings are Richard Appiah-Sarpong, Jenna Bonner, Ana Cardoso, Junior Delius, Livvy Evans, Ewan Grant, Imogen Rose Hart, Llewellyn Jamal, Amy Punter, Ellie Seaton and Samuel J Weir.

The children’s casting includes Shaniyah Abrahams, Seikemi Okotore and Shyanne Ononiwu as Young Anna Mae Bullock, Eden Butcher, Adisa Richards and Ezmai Robinson as Young Alline Bullock and AJ Aboiralor, Ayden Beale and Philip Kamau as Young Craig.

Phyllida Lloyd’s production of Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins’ play is choreographed by Anthony van Laast, with set and costume designs by Mark Thompson, musical supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Bruno Poet, sound by Nevin Steinberg, projection design by Jeff Sugg, orchestrations by Ethan Popp, wigs, hair and makeup design by Campbell Young Associates, casting by Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher CDG and fight direction by Kate Waters.


The Mackintosh Foundation announces Regional Theatre Technical Apprenticeship Programme.

The Mackintosh Foundation announces Regional Theatre Technical Apprenticeship Programme.

Details have been revealed for the Mackintosh Foundation’s inaugural Regional Theatre Technical Apprenticeship Programme.

The new scheme, launched in association with 13 venues across the United Kingdom, aims to offer young people a stepping-stone into a career as a technical theatre professional and minimise the current industry-wide shortage of practitioners.

Cameron Mackintosh commented: “I started my career sweeping the stage of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and have worked in nearly every department in the Theatre from backstage to marketing – except the wardrobe, as my sewing wasn’t good enough! Learning how all the elements of a show are put together has been key to my long career as a producer.”

Applicants wishing to apply for an apprenticeship can do so via their relevant venue’s website. They must be over the age of 18 and ideally possess some basic theatrical awareness and computer skills. Those from marginalised groups and those with protected characteristics are also encouraged to apply.

The full-time placements will commence in autumn of this year and will range from 18 to 24 months, depending on the discipline.

13 venues across the UK are participating in the new scheme.

The theatrical institutions taking part and the respective roles on offer include Birmingham Hippodrome (creative venue apprentice), Bristol Old Vic Theatre (workshop theatre trainee), Chichester Festival Theatre (production management apprentice), Curve Leicester (creative venue apprentice), Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre (creative venue apprentice – lighting), Leeds Playhouse (costume making trainee), Lyric Theatre Belfast (production management apprentice), Northern Stage (creative venue apprentice – video and sound), Nottingham Playhouse (creative venue apprentice), Royal Shakespeare Company (wigs, hair and makeup trainee), Sheffield Theatres (creative venue apprentice), Theatr Clwyd (costume making trainee) and Theatre Royal Plymouth (production management apprentice).


Major new musical development scheme launched.

Major new musical development scheme launched..

Burnt Lemon Theatre and The REcreate Agency have announced the launch of a brand-new musical theatre development scheme called Overture.

Presented in partnership with The Other Palace, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sheffield Theatres, MAST Mayflower Southampton, The Hope Mill, Warwick Arts Centre and China Plate, the scheme’s mission is to develop the skills of underrepresented musical theatre writing teams and nurture their relationships with both theatrical venues and talent.

Hannah Benson, artistic director at Burnt Lemon Theatre, commented: “As a company developing musicals, it can feel like an uphill battle figuring out what you need at every stage of a musical’s development to take the production from page to stage. So often we feel like we’re running without support, so I’m thrilled that we can attempt to mitigate this and provide an opportunity for artists to learn the foundations of making a musical, removing some of the hurdles that Burnt Lemon and many of our peers have faced along the way.”

Emily Beecher, co-creative director and producer at The REcreate Agency, added: “Developing a musical is a huge undertaking from start to finish, and it’s even harder for underrepresented creatives. Creating The Good Enough Mum’s Club with an all-female team has been a decade-long project for me, and so I’m delighted to help launch Overture – a new programme that will support musical theatre teams to better understand the intricacies of navigating musical theatre creation, whilst also allowing them to develop their unique voices, something that’s cutting missing from the UK musical scene.”

Applications for the scheme are now open, with a deadline of Sunday 18 June 2023, and teams from underrepresented backgrounds in the UK are encouraged to apply; including those from the Global Majority, working-class backgrounds, neurodiverse and disabled teams, trans and gender non-conforming and female-led teams. At least 50% of the places will be set aside for female and non-binary-led groups and an additional travel bursary is also available to ensure accessibility for those from all across the UK.

In total, six teams will be selected for the pilot programme, each receiving £1000 in seed funding, ten skill development workshops led by top practitioners (from September to November 2023), mentorship, peer-to-peer learning, and an industry showcase at The Other Palace. They will also be guided through next-step opportunities with the scheme’s partner venues.

The successful applicants will be announced at the end of July. For more information, visit www.overturemusicals.co.uk


Andrew Lloyd Webber: ‘The lifeblood of musical theatre is getting rather squeezed out’

Andrew Lloyd Webber: ‘The lifeblood of musical theatre is getting rather squeezed out’

In a 40-minute podcast, Andrew Lloyd Webber reflected on the current state of the musical theatre world.

Lloyd Webber, who recently ended a mammoth 44-year unbroken spell on Broadway with the closure of new musical Bad Cinderella, offered thoughts on a changing landscape in a chat for a new podcast from charity Help Musicians.

Lloyd Webber also recollected the initial album success of Jesus Christ Superstar, which was famously a vinyl smash before it even made its way to the stage. With the advent of streaming, the composer suggests “I’m not sure people listen to music in the same way that people did then.” This, he says, makes it harder for talent to emerge: “It makes it very difficult for young independent songwriters to get off the ground with a fair crack at the whip.” He also agreed with podcast host Chris Difford’s suggestion that attention spans have been shortened over the last few decades.

He also commented on the financial aspects of theatre, saying “It’s getting very difficult now to make production ends meet unless you’re a huge, huge hit. The lifeblood of musical theatre is getting rather squeezed out”.

The thoughts echoed those of Sonia Friedman, who warned at the Tony Awards on Sunday that plays like Leopoldstadt, which she produced, were being created in precarious circumstances: “The model needs a bit of fixing. I don’t know when there’ll be a play like [Leopoldstadt] again. It’s very high risk – however brilliant it is, however great the reviews are, however many people come. It’s a tough landscape for most shows, even those without 38 cast members.”

The Evita composer offered some thoughts on possible solutions: “The best way to get one’s work out now is to do it through one of the regional theatres. Sometimes they’ve got subsidies and can afford to do things that commercial producers probably can’t now.”

Evita, as it happens, is set to be staged by Curve Leicester, a subsidised venue that previously presented Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard and The Wizard of Oz.

As for his next project, audiences might expect a departure from Lloyd Webber: “I’m beginning to think the next thing I do may go a different way. I think there is a huge future in immersive theatre… there’s going to be a time when it’s not done in all the conventional spaces in the same way”.

These spaces offer something new for producers, Lloyd Webber said those spaces don’t have the “old union restrictions, huge costs that the theatre owners take”.

Lloyd Webber has also previously called out the lack of funding in music education, particularly in schools.


West End Star Lee Mead Announces October UK Concert Tour.

West End Star Lee Mead Announces October UK Concert Tour. 

Award-winning stage and screen actor, singer and West End leading man, Lee Mead has announced an all-new October concert tour. The tour will see Mead, known for his powerful voice and magnetic stage presence, embark on a series of unforgettable performances, showcasing some of his favourite songs.

The show sees Mead taking centre stage alongside his live band to perform a repertoire that spans various genres from his musical influences, including musical theatre classics, contemporary hits, soulful ballads and a sneak peek at his brand-new EP.

Currently in rehearsals for the West End’s summer revival of We Will Rock You, his career started with a breakthrough win on the BBC talent show Any Dream Will Do, to his subsequent career in the West End, including Wicked, Legally Blonde, Chicago, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, along with regular TV roles.

“I am absolutely thrilled to announce my October concert tour,” said Mead. “I’m excited to journey back through some of my musical influences and it’s a chance for me to connect and share with my fans my passion for music and live entertainment. We have put together an exciting setlist that I hope will resonate with audiences and be a fun night out for all.”

Tour Dates:

10/17 – Bury St.Edmunds, The Apex
10/18 – Redhill, The Harlequin Theatre
10/19 – Watford, Palace Theatre
10/20 – Clacton, West Cliff Theatre
10/24 – Portsmouth, New Theatre Royal
10/25 – Newbury, Corn Exchange
10/26 – Taunton, Brewhouse Theatre
10/28 – Worcester, Swan Theatre

To purchase tickets and for more information about the tour dates and venues, please visit Lee Mead’s Official Website


General News & Sighting

  • The following people from the dance world were awarded honours in the King’s Birthday list:

        CBE – Richard Hampson of the Scottish Ballet.
        OBE – Richard Cooper of the Rambert and Janet Lewis of the English Youth Ballet.
        Russell Maliphant
        MBE – Nadine Judge and Tess Chaytor
        BEM – Jennifer Blackwell and Hilary Weedon

  • Fleur East will join Janette Manrara as the new co-host of BBC’s Strictly “It Takes Two”.
  • Bethany Kingsley-Garner is a new ambassador for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
  • Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre unveiled the complete cast of “La Cage aux Folles” to run from the 29th of July until the 16th of September. Lewis Easter is the dance captain. The choreography is by Stephen Mear and Ebony Molina.
  • New casting has been announced for “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical”. Karis Anderson will share the role of Tina with Elesha Paul Moses from the 8th of June. The choreography is by Anthony van Laast.
  • Complete casting has been revealed for the new production of “The Book Thief”. It will open at the Belgrade theatre in Coventry on the 11th of September. The choreography is by Tom Jackson Greaves.
  • Casting has been announced for the UK premiere of “Next to Normal”. It will star Caissie Levy and Trevor Dion Nicholas with movement and choreography by Ann Yee.
  • “Blood Brothers” has confirmed the cast for its summer tour.

      Future Dance Events News

      • “Diana the Musical” will open at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, on the 4th of December. It will star Kerry Ellis and Maiya Quansah-Breed.
      • “Standing at the Sky’s Edge” will run at the Gillian Lynne theatre from the 8th of February 2024. The choreography is by Lynne Page.
      • New musical “Lizzie” has confirmed its tour dates plus a London run. It will open at the Hope Mill theatre in Manchester on the 30th of September with Lauren Drewvill playing Lizzie Borden. The associate choreographer is Yandass Ndlovu.
      • “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” will embark on a UK tour from April 2024, opening in Southampton on the 30th of April 2024. The choreography is by Karen Bruce.
      • “Shucked” will open in the West End in 2024. The choreographer is Sarah O’Gleby.
      • The musical “Bonnie & Clyde” will be heading off on a tour of UK and Ireland in 2024, opening in Manchester on the 19th of March. It is directed and choreographed by Nick Winston.
      • “Come From Away” announced a UK and Ireland tour beginning in Leicester on the 1st of March 2024. The production is being cast by Pippa Ailion and Natalie Gallacher. The choreography is by Tara Wilkinson and Kirsty Malpas with Richard Hinds.
      • Manchester’s Hope Mill theatre will stage the world premiere of “To Wong Foo – The Musical”, based on the 1995 film, on the 21st of October. The cast and creative team is to be announced. The casting is by Sarah Leung.
      • “Hadestown” will open at the Lyric Theatre in the West End on the 10th of February 2024. The choreographer is David Neumann.
      • The Chaka Khan musical “I’m Every Woman” announced plans to open in London. It will workshop in the West End in November. The director will be Racky Plews.
      • The new musical “Starter for Ten” will premiere in Bristol next year at the Old Vic theatre from the 29th of February until the 30th of March 2024.
      • “The King And I” will return to the West End in early 2024 starring Helen George and Darren Lee.
      • “Sister Act – The Musical” will return to the Dominion theatre in the West End on the 15th of March 2024. It will star Beverley Knight and Alexandra Burke. The choreography is by Alistair David.
      • A musical based on the songs produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman called “I Should Be So Lucky” will open in Manchester on the 1st of November.
      • A new musical based on the life and work of Frank Sinatra will open at the Birmingham Rep on the 23rd of September. The director and choreographer is Kathleen Marshall.
      • The lead cast has been unveiled for “We Will Rock You” opening in the West End. It will star Lee Mead and Brenda Edwards.
      • The upcoming “Wicked” tour has announced its lead casting. Laura Pick will play Elphaba. The show will open in Edinburgh on the 7th of December. The choreography is by Wayne Cilento.
      • “Jesus Christ Superstar” will tour the UK in 2023/4 opening in Manchester this September. The choreography is by Drew McOnie.
      • “The Wizard of Oz” will embark on a UK tour at Liverpool Empire on the 13th of December. The choreography is by Shay Barclay.
      • The musical version of “Rebecca” will play at the Charing Cross theatre in London on the 4th of September.

        Auditions & Vacancies

        • Universal Studios is looking for dancers for Japan and Beijing. Applications close on the 8th of July. For more information, contact: www.universalstudiosauditions.com
        • Park Chinois has an audition for dancers in London on the 29th of June. Contact: auditions@parkchinois.com
        • The Crystal Girls, cheerleaders of Crystal Palace, have an audition on the 19th of July. For more information, contact: sgreenh1@hotmail.co.uk
        • Birmingham Royal Ballet is looking for a repetiteur. Have a look at the company website for details.
        • Ballet Black is auditioning in America for new dancers for the 2023/4 season. For more information, contact: admin@balletblack.co.uk with “US Audition” in the heading.
        • Bird College is looking for a Tap tutor, with a focus on Musical Theatre, to begin in September. Have a look at the website for more details.
        • Emil Dale Academy is looking for freelance Ballet teachers. There is more information at: info@emildale.co.uk
        • Sonia Sabri is looking for Indian dancers for a touring production. For more information, contact: info@ssco.org.uk
        • Bird College is looking for a Musical Theatre tutor to work 3 days a week in September. Contact the College for further details.

        Dance Classes

        • Olivia Rose Shouler is doing a beginners choreography class on Wednesday from 7.00 – 8.25pm at the Base Studios in London.
        • Dane William Bates is doing a Summer Intensive on the 27th & 28th of July at Liverpool Central Studios from 9.00am – 3.00pm each day.
        • Daniela Fabbricatore is teaching at the CYD Super Convention on the Sunday: 9.00am Jazz Fusion Advanced, 11.00am Tap Intermediate & 2.00pm Jazz.
        • Lowri Amelia Jackson has a Commercial workshop on the 13th of August at Pas De Deux Studios. Contact Freedom Dance to book.
        • Paige Golding & Tink McClay have a dance class at the Husky Dance Studios on the 30th of June from 8.00 – 10.00pm. You can book on Eventbrite.
        • Anna Maria Barber is doing a Choreography class at Flow Dance in Oval every Tuesday from 7.00 – 8.30pm.
        • Nicolette Whitley has an adult contemporary class for beginners and improvers on Mondays (from the 5th – 26th of June) at 11.30am – 12.30pm at Inner Space in Nelwyn. Contact Nicolette on: nicolettewhitley@outlook.com
        • Hannah O’Brian is giving a Heels class on Wednesdays from 7.00 – 8.00pm in Chelmsford. DM Hannah on her Instagram for details.
        • Gemma Hoddy is giving a class at Base Studios on Thursdays from 5.30 – 6.55pm.
        • The TGS Summer Intensive 2023 will take place from the 24th until the 28th of July at Hemingford Pavilion. Guest teachers include: Ebony Clarke, Michael Naylor, Isaac Edwards, Travis Kerry & Jordi Guitart. You can book on: jordiguitart1962@gmail.com
        • Leonie Sian is offering a Contemporary class on the 2nd of July from 1.00 – 2.30pm at the Base Dance Studios in London.
        • Nicolette Whitley is offering a dance class on Thursdays from 6.15 – 7.15pm at the Inner Space in Nelwyn for £7. Reserve your space on: nicolettewhitley@outlook.com
        • Anita Mannings has a Contemporary Jazz Class (Int) on Wednesdays from 8.30 – 9.55pm at the Flow Dance Studios in Oval.
        • Emma Levene is offering a General Ballet Core and Stretch Contemporary class at Forest Gate Community School on Thursdays from 7.00 – 8.00pm. Email to book: doubletwistdance@gmail.com
        • Michael Naylor is teaching a class on Thursdays at the Base Dance Studios from 2.30 – 4.00pm. Book via the Base app.
        • Alexandre Novelli is offering a Beginners Commercial for Adults class every Tuesday at her Novelli Studios from 6.00 – 7.00pm.
        • Amy Ireland has a Commercial Tap class at Pineapple Dance Studios in London on Thursdays at 12.15pm and a Contemporary Jazz class at 1.15pm. On Fridays Amy teaches Beginners Tap at 10.15am.
        • Nafisah Baba is teaching a weekly Lyrical Contemporary Intermediate / Advanced class at Danceworks in London every Tuesday from 8.00 – 9.30pm.
        • Lucy Jane Adcock is teaching a Show Tap class at Base Dance Studios on Wednesdays at 11.30am.
        • Poppy Tremlett is offering an Improvers Choreography class at Base Dance Studios on Tuesdays from 8.30 – 10.00pm.
        • Rachel Bolsworth is teaching an Absolute Beginners Heels class from 7.00 – 8.00pm on Tuesdays and an Improvers Beginners Heels class on Monday from 8.30 – 9.30pm at Pineapple Dance Studios.
        • Hannah Cleeve is giving a Heels Technique class on Wednesdays from 1.00 – 2.30pm each week at the Base Dance Studios.
        • Kamila Zalewska is teaching at the Base Studios in London on Mondays from 4.00 – 5.25pm for intermediate/advanced level. Book on the Base app.

         Film & TV

        • You can watch Sir Matt Bourne’s “Sleeping Beauty”, starring Ashley Shaw, at cinemas on the 28th of June.
        • The second “Wicked” movie will be released on the 26th of November 2025. The first movie is due out on the 27th of November 2024.
        • The trailer of the film “Waitress Musical”, starring Sara Bareilles, was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival.
        • We spotted Lizzie Gough and Patt Bauristhene working on the new BBC “Gladiators” TV show.
        • We spotted Sophia Turner, Lashay Harvey & Kane Horn in the latest TV advert for Schuh. The contract was with AMCK.
        • We spotted Katie Webb, Carrie Willis & Lindsay McAllister in the new Take That movie “Greatest Days” on Amazon Prime.
        • We spotted Jenny Griffin & Lianne Lee May performing with Robbie Williams in Spain.
        • We spotted James Mulford & Renee Hughes dancing with Kylie Minogue at the Summertime Ball. The contract was with Kutes.
        • We spotted the following dancers performing with Zara Larson at the Summertime Ball: Alexandre Novelli, Cece Nama, Zhane Samuels & Lois Roberts. The contract was with AMCK.
        • We spotted the following dancers performing with Flo at the Summertime Ball: Shawarah Battles, Amira, Pearl, Lilly Lumn, Cece Nama, Nicole Hastings & Amber Rae. The choreography was by Kash Powell.
        • We spotted the following dancers performing at the Heavy Music Awards at Wembley: Mollie Stebbing, Freya Simpson, Kirsty Emslie, Georgina Hunt, Annie Winstanley & Holly Stubbings.

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