War Horse gallops into Festival Theatre

Jul 13 2012 | By More

New boss wants more quality work at King’s

By Thom Dibdin

the National Theatre's War Horse, coming to the Festival Theatre for a four week run in 2014

War Horse, coming to the Festival Theatre for a four week run in 2014

War Horse, the National Theatre’s smash hit currently in the West End, is to tour to Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre in 2014 for an exclusive four week Scottish run.

The news comes as the Autumn programmes for the Festival and King’s theatres are confirmed and Duncan Hendry, the new boss of the Festival City Theatres Trust which runs both theatres, announces his plans for their future programming.

War Horse is part of Hendry’s plan to bring big “event” theatre to the Festival. Also coming to the theatre are cult drag ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in February 2013, Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta with the only Scottish dates of his On Before, in April 2013, and Elvis Costello in June.

Speaking to the Annals in his office at the Festival Theatre, Hendry said: “This theatre is basically a festival theatre over the summer months.  The main thrust of our programme here is going to be opera, ballet, contemporary dance, big event type theatre things like War House, which we are doing for four weeks in 2014, and some quality musical theatre that may not be quite what would go to the Playhouse.”

He emphasised that he wants to build on the theatre’s reputation and turn it into a “centre of excellence” for contemporary dance in Scotland. Contemporary music will also feature strongly, with the likes of Elvis Costello booked to appear in his UK tour with the Imposters in June 2013.

The big hitters of the Festival Theatre’s Autumn season include: the Susan Boyle musical I Dreamed a Dream, a sizzling triple-bill from Scottish Ballet which includes their Olympics-inspired Run For It, Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, new musical Soul Sister inspired by the music, life and times of Ike and Tina Turner, and a return of Snowman for Christmas.

“I would like to see the Kings open more often”

Over at the King’s, the theatre is almost ready to open for the EIF with new seats, new air-cooling, clean and safe external stonework, a new box office and improved access.

Hendry is clear about his desire for the theatre: “I would like to see the Kings open more often. I think that there is an opportunity to put more shows on there. That would be my plan, to have more shows – whilst making sure that the quality levels remain high, working with partners like the Scottish Theatres Consortium to get more good quality product in there.

“I  have nothing against the work coming from England but I think there is an opportunity here in Scotland to produce more work and retain more of that box office income for the benefit of the theatres but also to employ Scottish actors and stage crew.”

If the possibility of working with consortia  is still very strong – and the Trust is a member of several – Hendry ruled out any plans to produce work in-house in the immediate future. The financial situation at the Trust has improved enough for it to make an operating surplus of £250,000 in the 2011/12 financial year, but he said: “the financial situation is still such that we won’t be going down that road at the moment”.

Hendry is also keen to build on the Trust’s existing relationships with Edinburgh’s amateur companies. Besides deciding to freeze hire rates for the next few years, he is setting up meetings with all the companies which regularly work in the Festival and King’s theatres to talk about what can be done to make their use of the theatres better.

At the King’s Penelope Keith stars in Keith Waterhouse’s adaptation of his own Good Grief, there is a first chance to see Ayckbourn’s study of grief, obsession and the supernatural in Haunting Julia, a new production of  The Rise and Fall of Little Voice with  Jess Robinson in the title role,  the HMT adaptation of Robin Jenkins’ The Cone Gatherers and the first tour of the record-breaking The Mousetrap.

The Autumn / Winter 2012 Seasons in full

Festival Theatre:

Scottish Police Choirs and InChorus
Saturday 15 September, 7.30pm

Two of the most exciting choirs in the UK present an extravagant show of modern popular songs. Hits from Queen, Jessie J, Bon Jovi, and The Black Eyed Peas are mixed with their own special mash-ups and a medley of TV Themes that will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

I Dreamed a Dream
Friday 21 to Saturday 29 September

The extraordinary story of Susan Boyle is brought to life in this thrilling new musical which boasts Susan’s unique endorsement. Charting her climb from humble beginnings in the small Scottish town of Blackburn, West Lothian to a standing ovation at her audition for Britain’s Got Talent, through to her global superstardom, I Dreamed A Dream features many of the hit songs from Susan’s multi-platinum selling albums.

Leading an outstanding cast and orchestra and taking on the lead role of Susan Boyle is Elaine C Smith, and playing several roles alongside Elaine is Edinburgh pantomime favourite Andy Gray.

Scottish Ballet Autumn Season 2012
Thursday 11 to Saturday 13 October, 7.30pm

Scottish Ballet presents an extraordinary triple bill tracing a line through dance from the highly physical to the seductively graceful.
This exciting new programme features Martin Lawrance’s Run For It, a high energy work inspired by the power of Olympic athletes and featuring set designs by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Boyce, William Forsythe’s breathtaking Workwithinwork in which the dancers create a display of fascinating angles and lines, and Hans van Manen’s fiery Five Tangos, a sizzling work combining classical ballet with the passion of the tango.

Friday 19 October, 7.30pm

Not only were 10cc makers of some of the greatest hits of the 70s, they are currently one of the most exciting live bands in the country. Celebrating 40 years in the business, 10cc are Graham Gouldman, Rick Fenn, Paul Burgess, Mick Wilson and Mike Stevens.

Tuesday 23 October, 7.30pm

Richard Alston Dance Company present both classic and new work in a diverse and entertaining programme which includes Martin Lawrance’s Madcap, a startlingly original new choreography with music from New York band, Bang on a Can All-Stars.

In Shimmer, designer Julien Macdonald’s jewel-encrusted cobweb costumes illuminate dazzling streaks of choreography in a ravishingly beautiful piece of theatre, and Richard Alston has also revived his effervescent The Devil in the Detail, inspired by ‘King of Ragtime’ Scott Joplin, whose music is blended with the lightness and finesse of Alston’s choreography.

Edinburgh’s Got Talent
Friday 26 October, 7.30pm

Now in its fourth year, Edinburgh’s Got Talent is one of the Capital’s most popular shows. The Edinburgh Evening News’ annual search for a star has uncovered some amazing talent across Edinburgh and the Lothians. Come along and see who will win this year’s £1000 cash prize and perform at The Radio Forth Awards. A great night out for all the family.

Batsheva Ensemble
Tuesday 30 & Wednesday 31 October, 7.30pm

Batsheva Dance Company, makes its first visit to the UK performing Deca Dance, a ‘greatest hits’ piece by artistic director Ohad Naharin. Deca Dance is regularly updated and so offers a fresh look at the work created by Batsheva every time it’s performed. Set to sensational music ranging from Goldfrapp to The Beach Boys and Vivaldi to Dean Martin! For British audiences, a major attraction is that it includes extracts from the widely popular Minus 16.

Stewart Francis: Outstanding In His Field
Saturday 3 November , 7.30pm

The star of Mock The Week, Michael McIntyre’s Roadshow and Live At The Apollo embarks on a brand new tour with a fantastic and hilarious new show. “A brilliant comic brain… this stand-up cracks some of the best one liners I’ve ever heard” The Guardian.

Some Like It Hip Hop
Tuesday 6 & Wednesday 7 November, Tuesday 7:30pm, Wednesday 5pm & 8:45pm

Some Like it Hip Hop made its world premiere in 2011, ZooNation’s first new production since the phenomenal ‘Into The Hoods’ became the longest running dance show ever seen in the West End. Emulating its success, Some Like it Hip Hop was an instant smash-hit, winning over audiences and critics alike with its infectious ‘wit, heart and magnificent energy’ (The Independent).

Embarking on its first UK tour, the show has already been nominated for multiple awards and is fast becoming a modern classic. With a nod to Billy Wilder’s film and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, it tells a comical tale of love, mistaken identity, cross-dressing and revolution; all played out in ZooNation’s trademark style of hip hop dance, comedy and physical theatre.

Christy Moore & Declan Sinnott
Thursday 8 November , 8pm

Irish singer-songwriter Christy Moore & Irish musician producer Declan Sinnott play Edinburgh for one night only, celebrating the release of Christy’s new album Folk Tale.

Eddi Reader
Saturday 10 November , 7.30pm

Constant touring with her band has created a magical organic chemistry between Eddi Reader and her players. Whilst renowned for her technical vocal ability, it is Eddi’s passion and instinct that ensure she connects emotionally with her audience.

Scottish Opera: Magic Flute
Friday 16, Tuesday 20, Thursday 22, Saturday 24 November, 7.30pm
New production. Sung in English with English supertitles.
Director Sir Thomas Allen takes on the fantastical charms of Mozart’s most inventive opera. Set in a spectacular visual world inspired by ‘steam punk’ Victoriana, this promises to be a stylish and imaginative telling of this much-loved piece.

A beguiling mix of comedy and fantasy, The Magic Flute is also a profound story of the search for love, wisdom and truth. Mozart’s music effortlessly evokes the full gamut of emotions on stage – from heartfelt love songs and comic exchanges to explosive coloratura in the infamous Queen of the Night arias. Scottish tenor Nicky Spence (Intermezzo 2011) sings Tamino, and internationally acclaimed soprano Mari Moriya is the Queen of the Night. Mozart and Magic Flute expert Ekhart Wycik conducts.

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty
Tuesday 27 November to Saturday 1 December, 7.30pm

New Adventures’ 25th Birthday culminates with the world premiere of Matthew Bourne’s latest re-imagining of a ballet classic. Sleeping Beauty sees Bourne return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of ballet masterworks that started with Nutcracker! and the international smash hit, Swan Lake.

Soul Sister
Monday 3 to Saturday 8 December, 7.30pm

A brand new musical, inspired by the music, life and times of Ike and Tina Turner and featuring all the classic hits, including: ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’, ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Private Dancer’, ‘River Deep Mountain High’ and of course ‘Simply the Best’. Starring Featuring Emi Wokoma as Tina Turner, the story follows the highs and lows, passions and heartbreak of Ike and Tina as their careers soared and their marriage crumbled.

Thursday 13 to Sunday 30 December 2012

When a young boy’s snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve, the two set off on a night-time quest for adventure. On their travels they meet dancing penguins, reindeer and naturally, Father Christmas. Watch spellbound as the Snowman flies through the night sky above you, before escaping the clutches of the evil Jack Frost to return home for Christmas morning.
Featuring Howard Blake’s beautiful Walking In the Air, performed by a live orchestra, choreographed by Robert North and directed by Bill Alexander, this is the perfect Christmas treat for all the family.

Scottish Ballet: The Nutcracker
Tuesday 8 to Saturday 12 January 2013, 7.30pm

An enchanted dolls’ house, an evil governess, and a nutcracker who may just be a handsome prince in disguise – this winter, prepare to enter a magical new world. Following on from Scottish Ballet’s hugely successful productions Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty comes a revival of The Nutcracker, a sweet yet deliciously sharp take on ETA Hoffman’s original story Nutcracker and The King of Mice.
This fresh and vivid retelling of the famous Christmas story features Antony McDonald’s stunning sets and costumes, Ashley Page’s breathtaking choreography and Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous score performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.

Ceilidh Trail
Friday 25 January 2013

The largest stage in Scotland will come alive on Burns Night with the traditional sounds of Scots music performed by Ceilidh Trail -talented young Scottish musicians from Fèis Rois. Together with Corrina Hewat, Karine Polwart & others, the evening will include beautifully crafted songs and driving tunes featuring both traditional and contemporary folk music.

King’s Shows

The Good Old Days
Thursday 6 September, 2pm
From the Producers of We’ll Meet Again we bring you the best of British “Music Hall and Variety” at the King’s Theatre for a very special performance. For all lovers of good old fashioned fun this is the ideal day out to see great Variety acts including comedy star Stu “Crush a Grape” Francis.

Good Grief
Monday 1 to Saturday 6 October
Adapted by Keith Waterhouse from his own best-selling comic novel, Good Grief stars Penelope Keith as June Pepper, a recently bereaved widow of the editor of a tabloid newspaper who discovers there is far more to life than death.

Haunting Julia
Tuesday 9 to Saturday 13 October
Duncan Preston, Richard O’Callaghan and Joe McFadden star in the first ever UK tour of the critically acclaimed London production of Alan Ayckbourn’s haunting study of grief, obsession and the supernatural.

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice
Monday 15 to Saturday 20 October
The Olivier Award-winning comedy, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, is a sparkling story of music, divas and romance written and directed by Jim Cartwright. Starring Beverley Callard (Coronation Street), Ray Quinn (Dirty Dancing, X Factor, Dancing On Ice winner), Joe McGann (Calendar Girls, The Upper Hand, The Hanging Gale), Duggie Brown (The Comedians) and introducing the sensational Jess Robinson as Little Voice.

The Cone Gatherers
By Robin Jenkins. Adapted by Peter Arnott
Tue 23 to Sat 27 October
The Cone Gatherers is a haunting tale of good versus evil, demonstrating the destructive power of envy and prejudice.
Based on Robin Jenkins’ classic Scottish novel, the story centres around two brothers gathering cones in a forest on a Scottish estate in order to replenish the trees felled for the war effort. Neil and his hunchbacked brother Calum lead happy and contented lives in these beautiful surroundings, completely detached from the destruction of the Second World War. However, their innocence and happiness is threatened by the dark, obsessive hatred of Duror the gamekeeper and the deep prejudices of the class system of the time.
Robin Jenkins’ greatest novel is brought to life by the creative team behind HMT’s two critically acclaimed productions, Sunset Song and The Silver Darlings, in a brand new adaptation by Scottish dramatist Peter Arnott.

The Mousetrap
Mon 29 October to Saturday 3 November, 7.30pm
A classic. A landmark. A legend. The Mousetrap is famous around the world as being the longest-running show of any kind in the history of British theatre – with almost 25,000 performances, it’s a play to be proud of. And to celebrate sixty incredible years on stage, it’s going on tour for the first time, with a star cast.

The Ladykillers
Monday 5 to Saturday 10 November
From the writer of Father Ted, Graham Linehan, comes a hilarious and thrilling new adaptation directed by Sean Foley (The Play What I Wrote). Starring Michele Dotrice (Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em), Shaun Williamson (Extras, EastEnders)and Clive Mantle (Casualty, The Vicar of Dibley). The Ladykillers is a classic black comedy; a sweet little old lady, alone in her house, is pitted against a gang of criminal misfits who will stop at nothing…

The Vagina Monologues
Saturday 17 November
Eve Ensler’s hilarious Broadway and West End smash hit is back with an all-new cast, including Clare Buckfield (Dancing on Ice, 2 Point 4 Children), Vicky Entwistle (Janice Battersby in Coronation Street) and Hayley Tamaddon (Emmerdale, Dancing on Ice). The ultimate girls’ night out!

Edinburgh Gang Show 2012
Tuesday 20 to Saturday 24 November, 7pm
The Gang Show is an Edinburgh institution. Starring over 250 young people from Scouting and Girlguiding, this highly entertaining annual event gets bigger and better every year. Featuring topical comedy, dance routines and songs that are sung with such passion they’ll make you proud to support this talented gang of young people.

King’s Panto: Mother Goose
Sat 1 December 2012 to Sun 20 January 2013, 7pm
Scotland’s favourite pantomime team, Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott, are back with another action-packed, must-see panto that promises to be one golden egg of a show!
Join Mother Goose and Priscilla, the goose that lays the golden eggs, on a flight of fantasy in an unmissable festive adventure that’s well worth a gander. Featuring an abundance of comedy, fabulous sets and outrageous costumes…together with a few surprises!




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