As we say goodbye to 2018, this year has certainly been a great one for theatre. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to the theatre more times than I should probably admit (I’ve been to over 30 shows and that excludes revisits!) – across Broadway, the West End, regional shows and UK tours. I feel very lucky to be in a position where I am able to see so much wonderful theatre and I’m determined to continue seeing even more new and diverse shows in 2019. While it can be an expensive hobby, it doesn’t have to be. Seize opportunities – enter competitions, seek out deals and discounts – there are many ways theatre can be made accessible. I know there’s work to be done, but with a little research, you might be surprised.
Let’s talk about some of the theatre we can sink our teeth into in 2019. Kicking off proceedings, the New Wolsey have just revealed their spring season. Following the success of last year’s local-based story, Our Blue Heaven, Peter Rowe has once again penned another unique tale with Grandma Saves the Day! A Musical About the Giles Family. If you live in or around Ipswich, you are bound to know of the Giles statue and this story takes us back to Ipswich in the late 1980’s. The famous cartoon character comes to life with a backdrop of 80’s hits such as Our House, The Best and Wake Me Up Before You Go- Go, performed in true New Wolsey style with a company of actor-musicians, it’s bound to be a great family evening out. Other highlights in the season include dance-based bittersweet comedy Kiss Me Quickstep (13-23 March), a new revival and fast-paced farcical of the whodunit, The 39 Steps (23 Apr-4 May) and an exciting European premiere of the new musical comedy Little Miss Sunshine based on the award-winning film of the same name (20-25 May).
The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds also has a richly diverse spring season. John Godber returns with a new production of Bouncers, and following last year’s highly enjoyable production of The Scary Bikers, I’m certain it’s going to be an amusing night out. Miles Jupp stars in The Life I Lead which gives an insight into actor David Tomlinson who might be better known as Mr Banks in Mary Poppins. There are also productions of Chess The Musical, Much Ado About Nothing, The Sound of Music and The Importance of Being Earnest to name but a few. They certainly have an impressive line-up of events.
As for the Southend Cliffs Pavilion, they too have a range of shows including a number of big ones; many of which have come from screen to stage, with star-studded casts to match. First up is the dramatic love story The Bodyguard (22 Jan-2 Feb) starring Alexandra Burke who returns to the lead role. Next up, Samantha Womack takes the lead in the new play adaptation of the dark thriller The Girl on the Train (18-23 Feb). Calendar Girls: The Musical (23-27 April) features the likes of Fern Britton, Denise Welch and Anna Jane Casey and has been a heart-warming hit. Finally, Craig Revel Horwood turns even nastier as Miss Hannigan in Annie (27 May-1 June).
Until then, enjoy the festive jollity and be Panto ready with those oohs and boos. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2019 for more stagey goodness!