- Coventry Musical Godiva Rocks, created by the team behind One Night in November, will premiere on the Main Stage
- Belgrade Theatre teams up with Citizens Theatre, Glasgow and KP Productions to co-produce Faithful Ruslan – The Story of a Guard Dog, directed by the acclaimed Helena Kaut-Howson as part of its B2 10th Anniversary Season
- The true story of Pink Sari Revolution is brought to life in a co-production with Curve Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and English Touring Theatre
- Christmas at the Belgrade includes traditional pantomime Cinderella playing alongside alternative festive comedy, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Sisters in B2
The Belgrade Theatre has announced its full line-up for the autumn 2017 season, including the must-see Coventry musical Godiva Rocks making its world premiere on the Main Stage in October, from the creative team behind the smash-hit Coventry Blitz play One Night in November.
Girl meets boy in Coventry – but nothing, and nobody, is what they seem, all because of one extraordinary night at the Orchid Ballroom, back in December ’64. Shady financier Leo Freeman’s decision to knock down the Orchid ballroom has far-reaching consequences – as daughter Nell meets the extraordinary Patrick Vernon – and the hunt for a missing tape reveals a history of musical passions and romantic jealousies stretching back to the dawn of musical time.
With a large cast and a live band on stage, Godiva Rocks will feature 20 classic songs from Coventry artists such as Frank Ifield, Vince Hill, Hazel O’Connor, The Specials, Terry Hall, King, The Primitives and The Enemy. Local playwright, Alan Pollock wanted to capture a sense of pride for Coventry’s vibrant musical history, from the 1960s to the present day.
Writer Alan Pollock said, “On one level, this is a warm, funny, human story that keeps you guessing right to the end. But on another, it’s a story about an enormous pride: we, Coventry, have produced this music. It came from somewhere inside us – from the people, the atmosphere and the soil of the place – and we sent it out into the world. Now it’s coming home and I hope people can celebrate that.”
Autumn 2017 will also mark the 10th Anniversary of the Belgrade Theatre’s B2 Auditorium with a landmark production of Faithful Ruslan – The Story of a Guard Dog co-produced with Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre and directed by the internationally renowned Helena Kaut-Howson. Based on the cult novel by Georgi Vladimov and translated by Michael Glenny, this powerful new play is set during 1953, following the death of Josef Stalin, when the inhabitants of prison camps across Russia were liberated and many guard dogs were abandoned. This production follows on from the success of previous collaborations between Kaut-Howson and the Belgrade on their productions of Sons Without Fathers and Uncle Vanya.
The B2 10th Anniversary celebrations continue with Pink Sari Revolution, based on the book by award-winning journalist Amana Fontanella-Khan, produced in partnership with Curve, West Yorkshire Playhouse and English Touring Theatre. It tells the remarkable true story of Sampat Pal, who formed an army of over 400,000 pink-sari wearing Indian women known as the Gulabi Gang, who fought for the rights of women in India. Pink Sari Revolution will unite a team of award-winning Indian and British Asian artists as part of UK/India 2017 – a year-long celebration to mark India’s 70 years of independence and showcase British and Indian creativity.
Completing the B2 10th Anniversary Season are a variety of new and exciting performances by local and emerging theatre companies. This includes Finding Joy, by the acclaimed mask theatre company, Vamos, Hymns for Robots by Noctium Theatre Company, Freeman by Strictly Arts and A Haunting by Shoot Festival producer Jen Davis.
Celebrating the infectious music of Ian Dury and the Blockheads is punk rock musical Reasons to be Cheerful, beginning its nationwide tour at the Belgrade this September. Combining a gritty coming-of-age story with the band’s best rock n roll hits, Graeae Theatre Company are taking the show back on the road following the success of a previous tour and performance at the 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony.
This is followed by the equally raucous music of Madness with the Olivier award-winning Our House this November. Created by Tim Firth, the writer of the smash-hit shows like Calendar Girls and Kinky Boots, this high-energy, feel-good show will star TV actress Deena Payne, best-known for her longstanding role as Viv Hope in Emmerdale.
Marking a decade of success, the Agatha Christie Company returns to the Belgrade Theatre to present the stage adaptation of Ruth Rendell’s best-selling novel, A Judgement in Stone. Having performed to packed houses across the country and selling over two million tickets worldwide, the company are now bringing a new murder mystery to the stage from the author hailed by The Sunday Times as ‘the best woman crime writer since Agatha Christie.’
There is also plenty for families to enjoy this autumn with children’s classics such as The Tiger That Came to Tea, direct from a smash-hit West End season and The Railway Children, bringing the much-loved Edwardian country-side adventure to the stage. Later in the season, families are invited to witness the incredible pre-historic creatures that once ruled the earth in Dinosaur World. Looking ahead to spring 2018, the Belgrade has also announced that it will be presenting David Walliams’ Awful Auntie – Live on Stage, from the producers of the sell-out show, Gangsta Granny.
For audiences young and old, the Russian State Ballet and Opera House will perform three masterpieces of classical ballet, including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Romeo & Juliet. Each stunningly choreographed ballet is set to a 30 piece live orchestra, making it a magical family treat in the countdown to Christmas.
The jewel in the crown of the festive season, however, will of course be this year’s Belgrade pantomime, Cinderella, which is set to be the most spectacular!
The rags-to-riches tale, will once again be written and directed by Iain Lauchlan, whose career spans almost 40 years in children’s entertainment. Having presented BBC Playdays for eight years and Fingermouse, as well as producing children’s TV favourites Fun Song Factory and The Tweenies, Iain most recently voiced the character of Chef Seymor Tattie on Bob the Builder.
Iain will also take on the role of dame for his 23rd Belgrade pantomime alongside stage sidekick Craig Hollingsworth as Buttons, who together, have cemented their reputation with Coventry audiences as a much-loved comedy duo.
Continuing another festive tradition at the Belgrade, B2 will host a brand new, alternative Christmas comedy, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Sisters throughout December. Written by Nick Walker, this hour-long show will provide festive grown-up entertainment, as Cinderella is given a Wild West (Midlands) makeover.
As usual, the Belgrade will also play host to a variety of one night music concerts and tributes throughout the season including The Quo Experience, Someone Like You – The Adele Songbook, Bobby Socks and Blue Jeans, Killer Queen, The Little Mix Experience, Girl Power – Celebrating Pop Legends The Spice Girls, Vampires Rock – The Ghost Train, Islands in the Stream, The Magic of the Beatles, 80s Mania and Rockin’ and Rollin’ with Laughter.
Also announced for February 2018 is the new musical, Son of a Preacher Man, written and directed by Craig Revel Horwood and set to a soundtrack of greatest hits by Dusty Springfield.
Tickets for all of these shows and more are available now by calling the Belgrade Theatre Box Office team on 024 7655 3055 or book online at www.belgrade.co.uk where tickets are cheaper.