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Chelmsford City Theatres has just announced the new Autumn season and it contains a sensational selection of drama, music, comedy, films and more at the Civic Theatre and Cramphorn Studio.
Dramatic productions hitting the stage this autumn include the explosive one-woman show ‘Woman on Fire‘ (7 & 8 September), which is the story of the British Suffrage movement. The humorous and moving ‘Bismillah‘ (3 October) is set in Northern Iraq and concerns the relationship between a captive soldier and his guard. The most performed play by a female playwright, ‘My Mother Said I Never Should‘ comes to the Civic Theatre on Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 October. Written by Charlotte Keatley in 1985, the play explores love, jealousy and the price of freedom that four women go through in the twentieth century, told through four generations of women in one family. ‘Finding Joy‘ (6 November) is the latest production from the full-face mask company Vamos, and explores the subject of dementia with humour and humanity. Star of Hi-De-Hi, Jeffrey Holland, will bring his touching tribute to Laurel and Hardy, ‘… And This Is My Friend Mr Laurel‘ on 6 December. The spooky ‘Christmas Gothic‘ is Dyad Production’s haunting tale for the Christmas season and is a must see.
Cutting edge theatre comes in the shape of ‘UnCivic Arts’, which will showcase the very best in new productions from the best of The Fringe circuit and includes Chris Dobrowolski ‘s homage to communism, consumerism and classic cars, ‘All Roads Led to Rome‘ (20 September) and Sh!t Theatre’s ‘Dollywould‘ (10 October) among others.
There are some great music acts appearing during the new season. ‘The Johnny Cash Roadshow‘ (15 September) is the Cash family endorsed tribute show to the Man in Black. ‘King for a Day‘ (19 September) is the Nat King Cole story from the acclaimed jazz singer Atila. The fabulous ‘Fastlove‘ returns to the Civic Theatre on 22 September for a spellbinding tribute to George Michael. ‘Purple Zeppelin‘ lands on the Cramphorn’s stage on 6 October for a riff heavy tribute to Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. British Folk-Rock legends Steeleye Span celebrate their 50th anniversary at The Civic Theatre on 7 October. Hand picked by Adele herself, ‘Someone Like You, The Adele Songbook‘ faithfully recreates the Adele back catalogue on 11 October. The ‘Sensational 60s‘ (25 October) brings members of Herman’s Hermits, The Searches, The Swinging Blue Jeans and Chris Farlowe together for a fantastic trip through the music of the 1960s. ‘Beyond the Barricade‘ (28 October) is a showstopping journey through musical theatre performed by some of the stars of those productions. The ‘New Grass Cutters‘ (10 November) play ‘New Grass’ arrangements of classic songs, and the members all form Joe Brown’s backing band. ‘Bye Bye Baby‘ (15 November) is a stunning tribute to Frankie Vali and the Four Seasons. The grandson of Bing Crosby, Phil Crosby Jnr stops off at Chelmsford on 16 November for a tribute to the great crooners.
The theatre has some big names lined up for a special series of talks. Historian Lucy Worsley rewrites the popular perception of Queen Victoria as a little old lady dressed in black on 14 September. A must for boxing fans is former boxer Frank Bruno in conversation about his life on 10 October. Another sports star, mountain biker Steve Peat, will take the audience through his journey to becoming a legendary mountain biker on 29 October. Britain’s best-known mountaineer, Sir Chris Bonnington, reflects on his 60 years of climbing with a talk which utilises images and film from throughout his climbing career, on 4 December.
Comedy is supplied by the musical duo of Flo and Joan (5 October), who archived fame by providing the witty and well-observed musical adverts for Nationwide. The cutting edge of Frank Sanazi, the dark prince of comedy, will be exposed when he brings his comedy war machine ‘The Iraq Pack’ to the Cramphorn Studio on 12 October. Charles Ross performs ‘One Man Stranger Things, A Parody‘ on 19 October, and is a one man recreation of season one of the Netflix hit. Stand-up comedian and voice of Love Island, Ian Stirling, has extended his sold-out tour to include a night at the Civic Theatre on 24 October. The classic BBC comedy Dad’s Army is celebrated in ‘Dad’s Army Radio Hour‘ on 28 November, when two actors recreate 25 characters from the scripts of the original series.
Families are well provided for with several family favourite shows being staged. ‘There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly‘ (12 – 14 October) celebrates the 45th anniversary of Pam Adam’s best-selling children’s book. The magical show is a treat for grown-ups as well! The on-line and digital TV favourite ‘Little Baby Bum‘ (21 – 22 October), premiers a brand-new stage show which will delight children. How many children’s favourites can you put in one show? ‘Milkshake Live‘ has them all; Bob the Builder, Noddy, Little Princess and many more, on 23 October. ‘Santa In Love‘ (13 – 15 December) is a special festive treat for little ones as they learnt a secret – what Santa loves more than anything!
Tickets for this year’s panto are selling very fast, so if you want to see ‘Cinderella‘ (30 November to 6 January) you had better be faster than Cinderella’s carriage! There will be a special relaxed performance of Cinderella on 2 January, when the production will be suited to the needs of those who suffer from anxiety or stress.
The Chelmsford Picture House at the Cramphorn has several special themes this season. There will be a short series of classic silent films including ‘Battleship Potemkin‘ (21 November), 100 years of Women’s suffrage is celebrated in several films including ‘Born in Flames‘ (5 November). There will be a special Pacino evening with a screening of ‘Serpico‘ (11 October), which will e followed by a Q&A with Al Pacino expert Mark Searsby. A series of scary movies will celebrate Halloween, and will include ‘Carry on Screaming‘ (30 October) on the big screen, as well as a season of films commemorating the WW1 Armistice turning 100.