EMIL!A availability extended worldwide online until December 2nd – for a donation of your choice.

West End sensation (originally from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre) EMIL!A is now available online until 2 December.

1609. I AM EMILIA.

400 years ago Emilia Bassano wanted her voice to be heard. It wasn’t. Could she have been the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets? What of her own poems? Why was her story erased from history?
Emilia and her sisters reach out to us across the centuries with passion, fury, laughter and song. Listen to them. Let them inspire and unite us.
Celebrate women’s voices through the story of this trailblazing, forgotten woman.
Stand up and be counted.

You can now watch online the archive recording of the ground-breaking, Olivier Award nominated, West End transfer of EMILIA.

Tickets are available on a Pay What You Can basis, starting at just £1.

Captioned and Audio Described recordings are available.

The Emilia company says “We want you to be able to enjoy this recording of EMILIA, regardless of your financial circumstances. So we are inviting you to pay what you can, from as little as £1.

If you can pay more, please do.

Proceeds will be shared by the brilliant, hard-working team of people who made this show, including actors, designers, backstage crew and a brilliant, all-female creative team whose jobs have disappeared with theatres across the country closed indefinitely.

So please, pay what you can.

Thank you.”

Please note: This is an archive recording using a two-camera setup which was not specifically designed for public broadcast, so please be understanding if any technical limitations become apparent.

Guidance: Please note that the production contains strong language and covers the subject of infant mortality.


Women and musicals triumph at 2020 Olivier Awards

The awards ceremony staged at the London Palladium on Sunday October 25th was a very different affair to its predecessors. Stripped of an audience, the interplay reminded us of what we – and every theatre up and down the country – were missing; the excitement of being there in the room, together.

Awards-wise musicals DEAR EVAN HANSEN and & JULIET scored three awards each, with HANSEN picking up Best Actor for Sam Tutty, Best Musical and Best Original Score, while & JULIET scooped for Miriam Teak-Lee as Best Actress, Cassidy Janson as Best Supporting Actress and David Bedella as Best Supporting Actor. MARY POPPINS took two awards (for Stephen Mear and Sir Matthew Bourne as Best Choreographers, and for Bob Crowley winning Best Set Design).

PRESENT LAUGHTER won Best Actor for Andrew Scott and Best Supporting Actress for Indira Varma, and DEATH OF A SALESMAN interestingly won Best Actress for Sharon D Clarke (who is the first person to be nominated in all four performing categories and won in three of them) and Best Director for Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell.

In a further significant tribute to female creative talent, EMILIA’s all female team scored three wins Best Entertainment for writer Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, with Joanna Scotcher winning Best Costume Design and Emma Laxton winning for Best Sound Design. Paule Constable won her fifth Olivier for the lighting design for National Theatre’s production of THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, and Emma Reeves and Theresa Heskins collected the new award for Best Family Show for The Worst Witch. Outstanding Achievement in Dance was won (from an all-female shortlist) by Sara Baras for her choreography and performance in BALLET FLAMENCO – SOMBRAS at Sadlers Wells.

Personally I was disappointed to see that the wonderful AMELIE did not win any of its three nominated categories (Best Actress for Audrey Brisson, Best Original Score and Best Musical).

It was heartwarming, though, to see Sir Ian McKellen receive his seventh Olivier Award, this time for his 80th birthday tour of UK theatres which also raised substantial funds for the theatres themselves. Can you imagine how much MORE desperate theatres’ plights would have been without this cash injection just before the pandemic!!! We all have a lot for which to be grateful to Sir Ian. From him came the most memorable line of the evening, “A country which cares about its live theatre is a healthy country”.

Yet again the IN MEMORIAM section was badly flawed, notable omissions from this most important roll call (four seconds each on screen, not much for a complete life, eh? Reduced from six seconds a couple of years ago. (In another decade they’ll just send out an email…..)) this year are Bob West and David Grant, two of this country’s most successful and important Company Managers who have kept many a show sailing smoothly over the decades, and allowed producers to sleep easily in their beds at night.

Anyone with insomnia wishing to see the ceremony can do so when it is (seemingly grudgingly) broadcast on ITV on Tuesday 27th October at 11.15pm. Alternatively, you can watch the programme (according to availability in countries outside the UK) on ITVHub on the link below.

So, another awards ceremony over. It seems unlikely we shall see the Olivier Awards again until 2022, which may mean that the competition is even fiercer than usual. Only time will tell. For now, let’s send our congratulations to the winners and all the nominees!




2020 Olivier award winners announced on October 25th

The winners of this year’s Olivier Awards 2020 with Mastercard will be announced on Sunday 25 October in a special programme hosted by Jason Manford and broadcast on ITV and Magic Radio.

Following the cancellation, due to the pandemic, of the original ceremony in April, this year’s winners will be revealed in an innovative format to celebrate the UK’s globally renowned artists, both on stage and behind the scenes.

The awards show will be broadcast from different areas within the London Palladium and contain a mixture of the awards themselves, unique performances, interviews and some very special moments. Due to the ongoing situation, the majority of the show will be pre-filmed in the days leading up to the broadcasts. The main show will be broadcast on ITV, with additional awards being shown in a pre-show broadcast the same evening on Official London Theatre’s YouTube channel.

Listeners will be able to tune in to a show highlighting the winners and key moments on Magic Radio from 8pm until 10pm on Monday 26 October, with extended coverage across the week on digital radio station Magic at the Musicals. More details of performances and guests will be announced nearer the date.

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and Executive Producer of the Olivier Awards, said:

“We are excited to be able to honour this year’s nominees and winners during a very difficult time for our industry, and demonstrate the outstanding talent we have in our theatre sector in the UK. Coming together to celebrate their achievements feels more poignant now than ever before as we all fight collectively to save our theatre industry. I hope that everyone working in, or simply missing the theatre, will join us on the 25 October to celebrate last year’s achievements and remain hopeful for our future”.

Due to the limited number of new productions that will be able to open this year, it is currently anticipated that the next Olivier Awards ceremony will take place in April 2022. SOLT will be announcing plans to celebrate the theatre industry in 2021 at a later date.

SOLT is establishing a group to carefully review criteria for the awards in future years to ensure all aspects of diversity and inclusion are considered. They envisage announcing conclusions in Spring 2021.

Nominations for the Olivier Awards 2020 with Mastercard were announced on 3 March. You can see the full list here

Finborough Theatre’s IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD

Award-winning playwright Neil McPherson’s IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD was produced during the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, and went on to gain multiple-award nominations, including for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. This is the first play to be made available online from the tiny but important Finborough Theatre (of which McPherson is Artistic Director).

Born in Aberdeen, Charles Sorley was one of the first to join the army in 1914. Killed in action a year later at the age of 20, his poems are among the most ambivalent , profound and moving war poetry ever written.

IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD tells the story of Sorley’s brief life through his work, blended with music and songs from some of the greatest composers of the period including George Butterworth, Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, Ivor Gurney, John Ireland, Rudi Stephan and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Unique among the poets of the First World War, Sorley’s life and work fits chronologically into the patriotic idealism of such writers as Julian Grenfell and Rupert Brooke (whom Sorley criticised for his “sentimental attitude”). Perhaps because of his time in Germany before the war, Sorley perceived the truth of the war long before his fellow writers, and anticipated the grim disillusionment of later poets such as Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon.

The show runs 1 hour and 35 minutes and is available until July 7th.

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to Finborough Theatre to enable it to reopen after this crisis has passed.


Missed Olivier-nominated THE PHLEBOTOMIST? Now you can listen to it!

Ella Road’s brilliant future-looking play THE PHLEBOTOMIST was a big hit this year at Hampstead after a sell-out season last year.

If you weren’t able to get along to this four-star Olivier-nominated play, then all is not lost! BBC Radio3 have recorded (and broadcast) a sound adaptation of the play with this year’s main stage cast headed by the brilliant Jade Anouka, and directed by its stage director Sam Yates. There is a link to the radio version below, which runs 90 minutes. (*Please note that access to this broadcast recording may not be available outside the UK – but give it a try anyway!)


Read my four-star review of the stage version of THE PHLEBOTOMIST here

Read my interview with writer Ella Road here

Listen to the radio adaptation of Ella Road’s brilliant play here