Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Gatehouse announces cast of forthcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto!

Following the box office smash hit that was Aladdin, the production team at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre have recently announced the casts list for this season’s show, Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood – the rock ‘n’ roll panto!

The show will be the sixth consecutive rock ‘n’ roll panto at the Gatehouse Theatre since its return in 2012. This hilarious version of the traditional tale provides a rock ‘n’ rolling rollercoaster of an adventure story, as Robin Hood attempts to outwit the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, free the unfortunate Babes and their outrageous, oversized Nanny, Nellie Nightnurse, and marry the beautiful Maid Marion.

The result is a fast, furious and funny feast of festive entertainment, designed to delight all the family, with a talented cast of actor/musicians serving up over twenty rock and soul classic songs, including The Hippy Hippy Shake; I Shot the Sheriff; Girls Just Want To Have Fun; Kiss; Born to Run; Signed, Sealed, Delivered and many, many more.

This year Stafford Gatehouse Theatre welcomes back the critically-acclaimed Creative Team behind last season’s show: Director Rob Salmon, Musical Director Craig Adams and Choreographer Verity Bray. Joining them will be a host of new (and one or two old) faces, comprising the cast of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood…

Sandy Grigelis – Robin Hood

Sandy trained at the London School of Musical Theatre.

His theatre credits include: ‘Chris’ / ‘Band’ in Carnaby Street The Musical (UK Tour); ‘Lead Vocalist’ / ‘Lead Guitarist’ in Carnaby Street The Concert (UK Tour); LOVE IS ETERNAL (UK Premiere); ‘Dan’ in Van Winkle (St James' Theatre); ‘Marvin Camden’ in Loserville (Union Theatre); ‘Lead Vocalist’ on The Britannia (P&O), ‘Arthur’ in The Sword And The Stone (New Wolsey Theatre) and most recently TJ in Sister Act (UK Tour).

Sandy is currently in the process of recording his debut album of all original material.

Anthony Hunt – Sheriff of Nottingham 

Anthony’s musical talent is extensive and impressive. He can play the cornet, digeridoo, drums, harmonica and the trumpet. As a result he is in high demand for theatrical roles.

His credits include The Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Oh What A Lovely War;  The Northern Broadside’s production of Cryano De Bergerac, A Government Inspector, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Stafford Festival Shakespeare’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Romeo and Juliet; Mother Courage at The Lowry; The Salisbury Playhouses’ Anne and Zef; The U.K National Tour of Guys and Dolls; The Library Theatre’s production of Brecht’s The Good Soul of Szechuan; The Bolton Octagon’s James and the Giant Peach; Macbeth in the title role at The Hornchurch Theatre.

Anthony appeared in the legendary Sam Mendes’s production of Cabaret at The Donmar Warehouse and Ferrucio in The Almedia’s The Snowman. Anthony has also played the lead role of ‘Joey’ in the West End production The Commitments.

Christmas shows have been part of Anthony’s End of Year fun and recent productions include Christmas Carol; 101 Dalmatians; Dick Whittington; Robin Hood; Jack and The Beanstalk as well as James & the Giant Peach
His TV work includes Coronation Street; Great Train Robbery; Doctors and Holby City for the BBC; The Suspicions of Mr Whicher; Dalziel & Pascoe as well as The Bill playing a particularly nasty and memorable villain.

Samuel Townsend – Numbskull / Friar Tuck

Samuel trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating with the IanFleming Award for Musical Theatre.

He is no stranger to the Gatehouse Theatre, having played ‘Wishee Washee’ in last year's “Wok 'n' Roll” panto, Aladdin.

Theatre credits include: ‘Gwendolen Fairfax’ in The Importance Of Being Earnest (MAC,
Belfast), ‘Bill Humphries’ in 84 Charing Cross Road (Cambridge Arts Theatre/ Salisbury
Playhouse), ‘Flute’ in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Temple Music Hall), ‘Silvius’ / ‘Le Beau’ in As You Like It (Southwark Playhouse).

Television credits include: ‘Steve Manton’ in Doctors (BBC1), ‘George’ in The Royals
(Lionsgate Television).

Workshop includes: ‘Ensemble’ in Pink Floyd: The Wall (Complicité).

Steve Simmonds – Nanny Nelly Nightnurse

Steve Simmonds trained at the Rose Bruford College.

His extensive Theatre credits include; The Threepenny Opera (Bolton Octagon), The Lady In The Van (Theatre Royal Bath), Tommy (New Wolsey Ipswich/Ramps on the Moon), ‘Cortina Man’ in Made In Dagenham (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch/New Wolsey Ipswich), ‘Bosun’ in Return To The Forbidden Planet – 25th Anniversary Tour (Forbidden Planet Musicals, directed by Bob Carlton), ‘Steve Currie’ / ‘Captain Sensible’ in 20th CENTURY BOY (UK No. 1 Tour), The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui (West End/Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Jonathan Church), From A Jack To A King (Far East Tour for British Theatre Playhouse), ‘Norman Petty’ in The Buddy Holly Story (Buddy Musical Productions/No. 1 Tour), ), ‘Widow Twankey’ in Aladdin and ‘Baron Hardup’ in Cinderella (both for Stafford Gatehouse Theatre), Lend Me A Tenor, Gun Metal Blues, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Aladdin, Can’t Pay, Won’ Pay, Twelfth Night, The Servant Of Two Masters, A Slice Of Saturday Night, Jack And The Beanstalk, Gaslight, Bouncers and It’s a Fine Life (all for Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch), The Comedy Of Babi Babbett, GENTLE Harry’s Farm, Ikarus Inc and Noah Babel’s Ark (Rude Mechanicals Theatre), Mack and Mable (Criterion Theatre, West End – Adam Kenwright/Watermill Theatre), PINAFORE SWING (Watermill Theatre/National Tour), The Sword In The Stone, Sleeping Beauty, ‘Angie the Ox’ in Guys And Dolls, Aladdin, Sugar and Robin Hood And The Babes In The Wood (all for the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich).

Steve’s TV credits include Love Soup for the BBC and prior to training, he played Stitch in Oliver! directed by Sam Mendes at the London Palladium.

Dominic Gee-Burch – Portcullis / Little John / Cecil

Theatre credits include: 'Jeter/1st Cover Willard' in Footloose The Musical (UK & International Tour), ‘Elliot/Lead Guitarist’ in Girl From Nowhere (St. James Studio), 'Adam' in Departures A Song Cycle (Pleasance Theatre), 'Joe' in Madeline and Joe (Sue Townsend Theatre, Leicester), 'Lord Farquaad' in Shrek The Musical (Gaiety Theatre, Isle of Man), 'Lysander' in A Midsummer Night's Dream (UK Tour, Oddsocks Productions) and 'Badger' in The Wind In The Willows (UK Tour, Oddsocks Productions).

Dominic is delighted to be joining the cast of Robin Hood as 'Portcullis' and would like to thank his family & friends for all of their love and support.

Mike Slader – Much the Miller's Son / Monsieur Le Coq

Since graduating Rose Bruford in 2009 Mike has toured round the UK with shows, jukebox musicals, and gigging with various bands.

Theatre credits include: Dreamboats & Petticoats (UK Tour), Romeo & Juliet & Twelfth Night (The Watermill Theatre), Frankenstein (Salisbury Playhouse), Romeo and Juliet (The Watermill Theatre), Dreamboats & Miniskirts (UK Tour), Delirium Show 6 (Workshop, St James Theatre), Carnaby Street in Concert (UK Tour), Tiny Tempest (Brighton Dome) Carnaby Street (UK Tour), Dreamboats & Petticoats (UK Tour), Ovid's Metamorphoses (Pleasance Dome), On the Third Day (The Mill Studios), Close (The Cockpit Theatre), Grimethorpe Race (The Arcola Theatre), Twelfth Night (UK Tour), The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (Chichester Festival Theatre), Dr Faustus (Chichester Festival Theatre).

Pantomime credits include: Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantos - Aladdin (Stafford Gatehouse), Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood (City Varieties Music Hall), Dick Whittington (City Varieties, Leeds).
Other work includes: Cruzier (Short Film), HTC Online Phone (Commercial) and Who Is In Control (Photography Stills)

Robert Wade – Will Scarlett / Blondel

Robert is originally from Hull, East Yorkshire.  He trained at Rose Bruford College, graduating with a BA (Hons.) in Actor Musicianship.  He is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist. 

Whilst at Rose Bruford, Robert’s roles included ‘Jack’ in Into The Woods, ‘Robbie Ross’ in Our Country’s Good and ‘Dumaine’ in Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Robert’s Theatre credits include: ‘Musketeer’ and ‘Cadet’ in Cyrano (Northern Broadsides), ‘Richie Rix’ in The Last Station Keeper and ‘Jemmy’ in The Carlton Colliers (both for Badapple Theatre Company), ‘Ray’ in Square Patties And Other Scraps (Broccolily Theatre and Assemble Fest), ‘Billy’ in Jack And The Beanstalk (Stafford Gatehouse Theatre), and ‘Little John’ in Robin Hood (Cambridge Touring Theatre). He has also recently worked at Hull Truck Theatre with the Hull Young Playwrights.

Robert is delighted to be returning to Stafford Gatehouse for Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood this Christmas.

Rachel Nottingham – Britney

Rachel was born in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire and trained at Drama Studio London.

During training she played ‘Catherine Hilton’ in Call It A Day (Grove Court Theatre), ‘Claire Clairmont’ in Bloody Poetry (Criterion Theatre), ‘Rosalind’ in As You Like It, ‘Queen Elizabeth’ in Richard III, ‘Millamant’ in The Way Of The World and ‘Andromache’ in The Trojan Women.
Rachel’s theatre credits include; ‘Elizabeth’ in Between Us (The Mermaid), ‘The
Storyteller’ and ‘Cuddles the Monkey’ in Aladdin – The Wok ‘n’ Roll Panto (Theatr Clwyd), ‘Mildred’ in Save The Last Dance For Me and ‘Daisy’ in Dreamboats And Petticoats (both No.1 UK Tours/Bill Kenwright Ltd.), ‘Princess Jasmine’ and ‘Slave of the Ring’ in Aladdin (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch), ‘Rosie’ in Sweet Charity (New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich), ‘Debs’ in Carnaby Street (No. 1 UK Tour/Squareleg Entertainment), ‘Lydia Bennet’ & ‘Caroline Bingley’ in Pride And Prejudice (Italian Tour/European Arts Company) and ‘Alice Fitzwarren’ / ‘Fairy Bow Bells’ in Dick Whittington (Bigfoot Arts Entertainment). 

On screen, she has appeared in a number of feature and short films including; Zombie Resurrection (Charmed Apocalypse Pictures), Duet (Stage Factory, Seoul) and Dead Beautiful (d-d films).
Rachel is an accomplished singer and musician, playing saxophone (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone) and flute.

Celia Cruwys-Finnigan – Whitney

Training: Rose Bruford College

Theatre credits include: ‘Vi Petty’ in Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story (UK Tour); ‘Daisy’ in The Great Gatsby (UK Tour); ‘Gretchen’ in The Bureau Of Lost Things (Theatre 503)
Television includes: ‘Mo’ in The Walkers (SKY 1)

Theatre whilst training includes: ‘Lily’ in Punk Rock, ‘Annie’ in All My Sons, ‘Maggie’ in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, ‘Lady Anne’ in Richard III, ‘Elizabeth Bradley’ in Today, ‘Woman 1’ in Songs For A New World.

Laura Sillet – Maid Marrion 

Laura trained at The Guildford School of Acting.

Laura's theatre credits include: Rusty & 1st U/S Ariel in Footloose (UK/International Tour), Donna in Dreamboats & Petticoats (Cardiff), Sandy Dumbrowski in Grease (Royal Caribbean Cruise Line), Jill in Jack And The Beanstalk (Stafford Gatehouse), Blue Fairy in Pinocchio (UAE), Muriel u/s Sue & Donna in Dreamboats & Miniskirts (UK tour), Snow Queen in The Snow Queen (UAE tour), Donna in Dreamboats & Petticoats (UK tour), Briar Rose in Sleeping Beauty (Emporium Theatre, Brighton), Soloist/Ensemble in Marvin Hamlisch Concert (St James Theatre) and Ensemble in There'll Always Be An England (Brick Lane Music Hall).

TV & Film credits include: Main Girl in The Beach – Thieves (Music Video, Sony).
Commercial credits: Daughter in Tchibo 'Flügge' (Frankfurt, Germany) and Featured Girl in Barclays (Viral).

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood - the rock ‘n’ roll panto will open on Thursday 7th December 2017 and run until Sunday 7th January 2018. Tickets are priced at £20 adult / £15.50 concessions / £66 family, with school and group discounts available via the box office only.

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood will also see the return of the ever popular late night adult only performances. Due to increased demand for these shows, an extra date has been added to the performance schedule for 2017/18, meaning for the first time there will be three adult only performances on Wednesday 3rd, Thursday 4th and Friday 5th January 2018.

Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

MET Comedy double bill this October

Fans of stand-up will be delighted to hear that MET Comedy returns this month with not one but two – yes two – hilarious shows! The hilarity begins this Saturday in the MET Studio at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.

The first act on the bill this weekend is none other than Andrew Bird!

Andrew hails from Northamptonshire and moved to London to pursue a career in stand-up. He worked in a bar where he practised making the regulars laugh before his career in live comedy took off.

Since then, Andrew has become a top headline act up and down the UK as well as performing around the world from Dublin to Doha. He has also supported Rhod Gilbert and Lee Hurst on tour, and been the warm-up artist for TV shows including Nevermind The Buzzcocks, Room 101 and Pointless. Andrew is also a writer in demand having written for series such as 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Mock The Week.

Andrew’s 2011 and 2012 Edinburgh were sold out and received glowing reviews across the board.

Next up is renowned comedian, Rob Rouse!

As seen on Ben Elton’s hit BBC2 Shakespeare sitcom ‘Upstart Crow’, standup Rob Rouse is one of comedy’s most lively, loveable and dynamic performers.

Rob Rouse’s ‘Bottom’ received a warm welcome with viewers and critics alike on Elton’s keenly anticipated ‘Upstart Crow’ which first aired in the spring of 2016 and was recently voted ‘Best new sitcom’ on the British Comedy Guide. Rob is currently recording series two, playing William Shakespeare’s manservant, alongside David Mitchell, Harry Enfield, Mark Heap, Paula Wilcox, Gemma Whelan, Liza Tarbuck and Spencer Jones.

Rob won Channel 4’s Prestigious So You Think You’re Funny competition at the Edinburgh Festival in way back in 1998. He’s one of our best comic storytellers, has performed all over the world and works long form narratives into hard-hitting, uncompromising hilarious tales filled with warmth and a sense of compassion for our collective human frailties.

The Ex-Geography teacher has been described critically as “A born clown”, those who really know him may lovingly use the word ‘idiot’. Either way, Rob takes this trademark comedic storytelling to a career high in this show, as he leads us on an irresistibly hilarious journey of enforced introspection and inspired rantings, it’s a real roller-coaster of a show in which he is forced to relinquish any attempts to control his life and to face down literally one of the most awkward situations you’re ever likely to hear about.

You may also recognise him from 8 out of 10 cats, Spoons, The Friday Night Project, Celebrity Juice, Dave’s One night stand, John Bishop’s Only Joking, Live at the Comedy store, maybe collecting one of his wife’s eBay purchases from your garage or perhaps seen him at one of his 8 Edinburgh fringe shows or 3 UK tours. So, come and see him do what he does best; honest, frank, seriously funny stand-up.

Rob also does a weekly podcast with his wife Helen. ‘Rob and Helen’s Datenight Podcast’ is free each week on iTunes and Podbean. As far as they’re aware, it’s the only comedy podcast made by a married couple. With both kids now at school and a little more time on their hands, it’s often a time that a couple can grow apart, so each week Rob and Helen go on dates ranging from the bizarre to the frankly mundane and make a delightfully daft podcast about it. So far, they’ve been dancing, horse riding, dove wrangling, recorded an incendiary version of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing in The Name’ and stripped butt raw in front of the fire for an impromtu Life-drawing session, to name but a few. You can subscribe to the podcast here.

The final act appearing on the bill this Saturday will be Ivan Brackenbury!

Inept hospital radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury is the creation of Tom Binns, a former breakfast radio host on London's XFM as well as a comedian in his own right.

As himself, Binns won the Jongleurs new act of the year, piloted his own chat show on Five called Tom Binns Munchies, and was one of the presenters on Channel 4 breakfast show RI:SE. He’s also appeared on Knowing Me Knowing Yule With Alan Partridge, Friday Night Armistice and Fist Of Fun as a comic actor.

He created Brakenbury relatively early in his career, and the character appeared on Radio 1, Virgin and GLR, before being rested as Binns developed his own radio career, which included landing XFM with a then-record £50,000 fine for talking about bestiality on air.

However, Brakenbury was resurrected for the Edinburgh Fringe 2007, where he was nominated for the if.comedy prize for the best show, and his roadshow, complete with inappropriate records and bungled cues, is now a regular fixture on the live circuit.

Please note age guidance 18 years+

MET Comedy will take place on Saturday 7th October in the MET Studio at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre at 8pm. Tickets are priced at £12.50 and available from the box office on 01785 619080 or via 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Blow away those Autumn blues with Cabaret and Burlesque in the MET

An evening of cheeky decadence brought to you by Stafford's first and only burlesque and variety show: Très Très Cabaret!

Take your seat in the secluded intimacy of the MET Studio, before sampling the saucy delights that Très Très has to offer. And what a selection we have in store for you:

Making her Très Très debut this October is none other than the incredible LADY WILDFLOWER!

Voted as one of the top 20 performers in the UK for three years running, Lady Wildflower is hugely in demand on stages around the globe. In fact, she’s coming to Très Très fresh from her appearances at this year’s New York Burlesque Festival!

Oozing sex appeal and charisma, her show-stopping acts will dazzle and delight you!


Next up and returning to Très Très for the first time in over a year is the incomparable ABI COLLINS

Abi is a comedic phenomenon that has to be seen to be believed. Quick-witted, sharp as a whip and flexible beyond belief, you'll soon see why she is a favourite with audiences and why we had to get her back for the good people of Stafford!

ROD LAVER is also renowned for making audiences gawp in disbelief - what this man can’t do with his mouth isn’t worth knowing!

As a gentleman juggler Rod has built a reputation for being one of Europe’s most entertaining and innovative performers. He has graced the cabaret stages of Paris, Holland and America, and we’re thrilled to have managed to secure his appearance at our show in Stafford!

Completing this stellar line-up is award-winning ELIZA DELITE!

An enthusiast for all things golden era Hollywood,
Eliza delights in creating acts which embody varying time periods and styles – from 1920s Art Deco glam through to the vibrancy of the late 1950s / early 1960s. With a dedicated fascination for art, old vaudeville and MGM musicals, she meticulously constructs her acts with a view to transporting her audiences to a place of visual beauty and wonderment.

No stranger to travel, she has been performing regularly on the international circuit since early 2013 at respected events such as Voodoo Deluxe (Milan), Oh! La La! Cherie! (Zurich), Boheme Savage (Hamburg/Cologne), and the Burlesque Hall of Fame (Las Vegas) where she competed in the ‘56th Annual Tournament of Tease’ in 2013.

All of this personally selected for your entertainment by our resident producer, promoter and performer: STAGE DOOR JOHNNY!

A flirtatious, lyrical lothario and seasoned comic raconteur with razor-sharp wit, he'll have you grinning, giggling and eating from the palm of his hand - sometimes literally.

He can be heard singing everything from Shirley Bassey to Guns ‘n’ Roses, as well as ridiculous self-penned medleys to surprise and delight! For the October show he’ll be showcasing a brand new song and a new act for your delectation!

Do. Not. Miss. It. Book while you still can!

Très Très Cabaret will be performed in The MET Studio at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre on Friday 13th October at 8pm. Tickets are £15.50 and can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting
Early booking is advised as a sell-out is expected again.

The show is strictly for over 18s only.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Two big hitters lined up for next MET Comedy

MET Comedy returns this weekend with another incredible line-up of stand-up aficionados!

First up it's the brilliant, Paul Tonkinson!

A sensational live performer, Yorkshire man, marathon runner and former (double award-winning)
Time Out Comedian of the Year, Paul Tonkinson has long upheld his esteemed reputation as one of the finest stand-ups the UK has to offer. With a unique and distinctive style, Tonkinson is noted for his effervescent physicality and skilful impressions, which bring alive exuberant, tender comic reflections on love, family and the day-to-day idiosyncrasies of 21st century living. A plethora of first class material, combined with tremendous charm and irrepressible, infectious energy make for quite a formidable talent.

On TV, he’s most recently performed on BBC One’s Michael Mcintyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Comedy Central’s The Comedy Store and The World Stands-up. He was recently a contestant on Ch. 4`s hit show Celebrity Come Dine With Me, proving he’s not just a dazzling stand-up talent, but a whizz in the kitchen, scooping first place to win the cash prize for charity. Back in the day, when he was a mere whippersnapper he had a stint presenting Ch. 4’s The Big Breakfast and he has also presented radio shows on XFM in London and Manchester. He has just completed a stint as a Programme Associate on BBC One’s Michael Mcintyre Chat Show.

Also on the bill we have Michael Fabbri!

Michael has been a stand up since 2003 and regularly performs at major comedy clubs throughout the UK and all over the world. He has worked as a writer for Radio and TV and recently had his own stand up series: 'Dyslexicon' on BBC radio 4. He has done several solo shows at the Edinburgh fringe festival and worked as a support act for Micky Flanagan, Lucy Porter, and Stephen K Amos.
He has an affable and electric style of comedy, with material that ranges from the cerebral to the smutty.

Michael regularly performs for all of the major clubs and promoters on the UK circuit, including: The Comedy Store, Jongleurs, Komedia, Glee Clubs, The Stand, Up The Creek, 99 Club, Funny Side of Covent Garden, Off The Kerb, CKP, Just The Tonic, GSOH and Mirth Control.  He also performs at many universities across the UK.

Michael supported Lucy Porter on her national Love In tour in 2008 and supported Micky Flanagan in 2011 at a selection of dates on The Out Out Tour. He also travelled to Amsterdam to take part in the Toomler Festival with Keith Farnan. Not only popular in the UK, Michael has also performed in Singapore, Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi.

The final act will be announced later this week via the MET Studio Facebook page

MET Comedy will take place on Saturday 19th August in the MET Studio at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre at 8pm. Tickets are priced at £12.50 and available from the box office on 01785 619080 or via 

Please note age guidance 18 years+

Friday, 4 August 2017

Gatehouse pays tribute to late Festival star Robert Hardy

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre Management is extremely saddened to hear of the death of celebrated actor Robert Hardy on Thursday 3rd August. The actor had a special connection with the theatre having performed in the first ever Stafford Festival Shakespeare production of Henry V at Stafford Castle in 1991.

Born in 1925, Robert Hardy’s acting career spanned an astonishing 59 years. After starting out treading the boards alongside the likes of Laurence Olivier in notable productions with – amongst others – the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hardy became a household name thanks to his performance as Siegfried Farnon in the 1970s TV drama, All Creatures Great and Small.

He went on to star in numerous other TV and film roles, including the lead in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years – for which he was nominated for a BAFTA – Professor Krempe in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein alongside Kenneth Branagh and Robert De Niro, and Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter films.

However, it was his turn as Chorus in the very first Stafford Festival Shakespeare production, Henry
V, that Robert Hardy cemented his place in the hearts of locals. In terms of his presence on stage and off, Hardy was a true professional, as actor and local journalist Rick Lane acknowledges: 

I was really saddened to hear of Robert Hardy’s death. I had the great pleasure of first meeting him during the Stafford Festival Shakespeare production of Henry V in1991. He was playing Chorus and I was playing Nym, as one of the amateurs from Gnosall Players who were involved in the show. He seemed to appreciate my performance and having worked with him again in Macbeth at the Gatehouse, he went on to ask me to appear in Henry V once more, at Barnwell Castle in Northamptonshire, this time as Bardolph where I had my had shaved and was hung on stage ! This was my first professional acting job. I worked again with him in Henry VIII the following year, at Barnwell Castle, this time with the great man as director

He was one of the last of the old school gentleman actors and I owe him a great deal. He will be sadly missed” concluded Lane.

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre Artistic Programme Manager and Stafford Festival Shakespeare Producer, Derrick Gask, says:

Of the many, many great actors to have graced the Stafford Festival Shakespeare stage, I can think of very few who are remembered as fondly as Robert Hardy. His performance as Chorus in our very first production of Henry V helped to raise the festival’s profile enormously and set it on the road to becoming one of the premier outdoor Shakespeare festivals in Europe.

On behalf of everyone at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre and Stafford Festival Shakespeare, I would like to pay tribute to a fine actor and a wonderful man. We owe Robert a huge debt of gratitude and he will be sorely missed.”

For more information about Stafford Festival Shakespeare visit

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Line-up Announced for Très Très Cabaret this month at the MET

Stafford's first, and only burlesque and variety show is back next week with another evening of saucy decadence!

Since its launch in 2013, Très Très Cabaret has gone from strength to strength – performing numerous sell-out shows in the MET Studio at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.

The first billing announcement for the July show is the brilliant, MISS BETTY BLUE EYES!

Winner of the British Crown at the World Burlesque Games 2016, Miss Betty Blue Eyes is a burlesque performer who has been creating tales of the unexpected for audiences since 2009. She is a veritable cabaret chameleon with unique acts filled with curious characters, quirky storytelling and glamorous comedy. Betty has a guise for any occasion, so come along and see what form she'll take at Très Très Cabaret!

And yes, before you ask, her eyes are blue.

Returning to Très Très Cabaret is none other than vivacious vamp, the one and only, SCARLETT DAGGERS!

This Rock ‘n’ Roll redhead will get you hot under the collar with her sizzling stage presence and 1,000 watt smile.

From a Hot Rod greaser-girl to a B movie Cobra Queen – and even Robin Hood – Scarlett’s weird and wonderful guises means she certainly stands out from the crowd. Performing across the UK, and internationally, for over nine years, her unique acts place her in high demand and you can catch her in all her glory, only at Très Très Cabaret on July 28th!

Returning to the Très Très stage is none other than unicyclist and gentlemen juggler, ADRIANO FETTUCINI!

Regularly seen on international stages and well respected UK tours, he's hot footing it to Stafford to surprise and delight you
for one night only!

Making her Très Très Cabaret debut: it’s none other than the dynamic, sassy starlet, CECE SINCLAIR!

Inspired by the golden era, she blends vintage glamour of classic striptease with diverse influences creating truly magnetic, exciting burlesque.

Cece has been bumping and grinding her way across the UK and Europe, including performances at various festivals, such as Hebden Bridge and Vienna Boylesque festival. Cece was also voted one of the UK's top 10 burlesque performers in 2016.

All of this has been personally selected for your entertainment by resident producer, promoter and performer: STAGE DOOR JOHNNY!

A flirtatious, lyrical lothario and seasoned comic raconteur with razor-sharp wit, he'll have you grinning, giggling and eating from the palm of his hand - sometimes literally. He can be heard singing everything from Shirley Bassey to Guns ‘n’ Roses as well as ridiculous self-penned medleys to surprise and delight you!

So don’t miss out on a night that’s sure to set tongues wagging and pulses racing!

Early booking is advised as a sell-out is expected again.

The show is strictly for over 18s only.

Très Très Cabaret will be performed in The MET Studio at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre on Friday 28th July at 8pm. Tickets are £15.50 and can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Fabulous five star reception for The Tempest at Stafford Castle

Following a storming opening weekend, Stafford Festival Shakespeare producers are celebrating the incredible critical reception of this year’s production of The Tempest at Stafford Castle.

Here’s what critics had to say:

★★★★★ “A triumphBirmingham Mail

★★★★★ “Outstanding, magical productionThe Stage

★★★★★ “It gives the RSC’s production a run for its money, that’s for sureBreak A Leg

★★★★“Stafford Shakespeare Festival has taken a centuries’ old production, given it a contemporary twist, and brought it to life for a whole new audienceStaffordshire Living

Spellbinding open-air spectacleStoke Sentinel

Something for everyoneStaffordshire Newsletter

Prenton’s insightful direction and Frances Collier’s delightfully atmospheric set ensure it takes audiences on a memorable journeyBritish Theatre Guide

The Tempest has also received a ‘Best Regional Stage Production’ nomination for the Break A Leg Awards 2017, with Stephen Beckett (Prospero), James Lawrence (Sebastian), Richard Gibson (Gonzalo), and Zephryn Taitte (Caliban) nominated for ‘Best Actor on Stage’, and Katrina Kleve (Francesca) and Grace Carter (Miranda) cited for ‘Best Actress on Stage’.

The Tempest will run until Saturday 8th July 2017 at Stafford Castle. Full ticket information and this year’s catering options can be obtained from the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting