It’s showtime

WITH music, comedy, theatre and dance there is a wealth of events on offer in the Alnwick Playhouse spring programme, writes Helen Millichamp.

In a new booklet format, the publication is the first under new theatre manager Jo Potts and it follows the same design as the theatre’s new website.

Running until May it kicks off with Tenors Unlimited, known as the Rat Pack of Opera, on Saturday, February 25, who have been seen on Sky, ITV and the BBC and recently released their latest album.

Showbiz legend and raconteur, Count Arthur Strong will be taking to the stage on Sunday, April 22, with his Command Performance, and is sure to entertain crowds of all ages.

Seventies rock and roll band Showaddywaddy will be back to perform on the Playhouse stage for the third time on Friday, April 6, and Saturday, April 7, while Jive Talkin’ will perform the Bee Gees classics on Saturday, March 10.

T*Rextasy will also be back, after a cancelled gig last year, on Friday, April 20.

Sports fans will be in for an interesting night when Henry Blofeld discusses his life as a sports journalist and more on Monday, April 9.

And for folk music fans The Unthanks, nominated for a Mercury Prize, will present an ‘intimate evening’ accompanied by Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell, on Friday, April 13.

Theatre Hullabaloo will perform a story of unexpected friendship in Angel on Wednesday, March 7, and London Classic Theatre’s Equus, inspired by a true story, will take to the stage on Thursday, April 12.

The programme also includes a joint project with the Queen’s Hall at Hexham and The Maltings at Berwick, called Northern Bites. It will see Carina Rodney’s new comedy, Hide, performed on Wednesday, March 21, as well as Lewis Schaffer, the outrageous and controversial New York comedian, on Saturday, March 24. Both will be in the NTC Studio.

An extravaganza of wartime entertainment will take place on Monday, April 2, in We’ll Meet Again, marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Playhouse has also teamed up with the Sage Gateshead to screen the Aurora Orchestra, which was filmed and recorded at the Camden Roundhouse in London, on Friday, April 21.

And for youngsters, Hairy Maclary and Friends, based on the best-selling books by Lynley Dodd will entertain on Thursday, April 5, with a workshop to add to the fun.

Northumberland Theatre Company is also in the line-up as well as performances from the Playhouse’s own youth theatre groups and the Alnwick Music Society.

Looking ahead to the summer programme, Olivier-award-nominated actress Miriam Margolyes will portray 23 of Dickens’ best-loved characters in Dickens’ Women on Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2.

Theatre manager Jo Potts said: “This is my first programme at the Playhouse and I am delighted by the response it has had so far.

“We have given it a new look for 2012 with some fabulous new comedy acts and new writings.

“Sales have been very busy since the launch of this season and long may it continue.

“We would encourage people to sign up to the new website as it will be the easiest way to find out what’s coming up.

“Tickets will also be on sale before the next programme is out.”

l You could be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to a show of your choice from the spring programme. To enter, answer the question below, fill in the form on the left and send it to Playhouse Competition, Northumberland Gazette, 32 Bondgate Without, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1PN, before the closing date of Friday, February 24.

Question: Which group appearing at the Playhouse this spring was nominated for a Mercury Prize?