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EVERYBODY DANCE… NILE RODGERS & CHIC ARE RETURNING TO SCARBOROUGH OAT

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The undisputed Kings of Disco Nile Rodgers & CHIC are returning to the Yorkshire coast for what promises to be this summer’s ultimate party night.

The legendary hit-makers will play a headline show at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on Friday August 21.

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday (March 13) via scarboroughopenairtheatre.com

Nile Rodgers is a multiple Grammy Award-winning composer, producer, arranger and guitarist with more than 200 production credits to his name. He is constantly traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music.

As the co-founder of CHIC, he pioneered a musical language that generated chart-topping hits such as Le Freak, Good Times and Everybody Dance that sparked the advent of hip-hop.

Nile Rodgers & CHIC are no strangers to Scarborough Open Air Theatre having played a sell-out show at the venue in 2018.

Nile said: “As most people know the UK is my home from home. Myself and CHIC had a brilliant time when we played Scarborough OAT in 2018 and we cannot wait to come back again this summer. It’s going to be another amazing night – so bring your dancing shoes!”

Nile transcends all styles of music across every generation with a body of work that’s gained him inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

His work with CHIC and his productions for artists such as David Bowie, Diana Ross and Madonna have sold more than 500 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide. His innovative, trendsetting collaborations with Daft Punk, Avicii, Sigala, Disclosure and Sam Smith reflect the vanguard of contemporary music.

This unmissable Scarborough OAT show is presented by Cuffe and Taylor. Promoter Peter Taylor said: “Nile Rodgers & CHIC are global superstars and we are delighted to be bringing them back to Scarborough OAT.

“The show in 2018 was brilliant, Nile and CHIC never fail to get an entire arena on their feet dancing. This is going to be one of the highlights of the summer and I would strongly advise people to get their tickets now because you will not want to miss this!”

Tickets for Nile Rodgers and CHIC go on sale via scarboroughopenairtheatre.com or in  person, from Scarborough Open Air Theatre Box Office (01723) 818111 and the Discover Yorkshire Coast Tourism Bureau (01723) 383636.

MACY GRAY AND LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY ADDED TO YORK FESTIVAL LINE-UP

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Grammy Award winner Macy Gray and British pop-soul stars Lighthouse Family will join music legend Lionel Richie for an unforgettable night at York Festival.

The two chart-topping stars are the latest additions to a stellar line-up for the brand-new music festival which will be held at York Sports Club between Friday June 19th and Sunday June 21st.

British music icons Madness headline the opening night before pop superstars Westlife take to the stage on Saturday and then Lionel Richie will close the festival on the Sunday.

And the four-time Grammy Award-winner will now be joined on the night by two artists with hit-packed live sets.

Macy Gray first broke onto the scene in 1999 with her debut album On How Life Is. Inspired by the stylings of Billie Holiday, the American R&B and soul singer-songwriter is revered for her wonderful and unmistakable voice.

Her hit song, I Try achieved global acclaim and delivered her a Grammy while debut album On How Life Is sold an incredible seven million copies around the world.

In the 20 years since, Macy has amassed a global fan base, appeared in many films and TV shows and released 10 studio albums — most recently 2018’s Ruby. As well as sold-out live shows and her own hit albums, she has featured on songs with such artists as Dolly Parton and Ariana Grande.

Lighthouse Family became one of the most successful British bands of the late 1990s and early 2000s, selling more than 10 million albums and producing such timeless hits as Lifted, High and Ocean Drive.

The Newcastle-based duo – singer Tunde Baiyewu and keyboardist Paul Tucker – released their first single Lifted in 1995. The uplifting pop-soul classic went on to become one of the defining songs of the era.

Six-times platinum debut album Ocean Drive was followed by Top 10 albums Postcards From Heaven and Whatever Gets You Through The Day. After an 18-year hiatus, Tunde and Paul reunited last year to record Blue Sky In Your Head, their fourth studio album, which saw them matching the chart success of their previous releases.

York Festival director Peter Taylor said: “We are delighted to add both Macy Gray and Lighthouse Family to our debut line-up. Together with the global icon that is Lionel Richie this is going to be an amazing and unforgettable night.”

York Festival’s opening night headliners Madness will be joined by indie chart-toppers Lightning Seeds, Craig Charles with his famous Funk and Soul Club DJ set together with Leeds indie rockers Apollo Junction and York’s very own Violet Contours.

Joining Westlife on the Saturday night will be superstar pop group All Saints, Brit singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis Bextor, indie rock band Scouting for Girls and Take That’s Howard Donald, who will be spinning the discs for a very special DJ set.

For more information and tickets go to www.york-festival.com

KIDZ BOP look ahead to first-ever UK headline tour

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KIDZ BOP the #1 music brand for kids, is bringing the KIDZ BOP World Tour to the UK for eight live concert dates in April 2020.

 This marks the first-ever headlining tour for The British KIDZ BOP kids, who have sold more than 275,000 albums to date.

The tour, which features today’s biggest hits “sung by kids for kids”, will visit iconic venues across the UK during the Easter holidays, opening at the world-famous The London Palladium on Tuesday, April 7. It follows the release of KIDZ BOP’s fifth UK album, KIDZ BOP 2020.

The KIDZ BOP Kids, Ashton, Max, Mia, and Twinkle, will bring the interactive live family-friendly concert experience to the following cities:

Tues April 7 – The London Palladium

Weds April 8 – The London Palladium

Fri April 10 – Liverpool Empire Theatre

Sat April 11 – Birmingham Symphony Hall

Mon April 13 – Glasgow SEC Armadillo

Weds April 15 – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall

Thurs April 16 – Cardiff St David’s Hall

Fri April 17 – Manchester Bridgewater Hall

The tour will see the KIDZ BOP Kids perform some of today’s biggest global pop hits live on stage. The all-new show features awesome set design, costumes, exciting choreography, and tonnes of cool surprises! Dads even have the chance to show off their best dance moves on stage during the “Daddy Dance Off.”

Tickets are on sale now from www.cuffeandtaylor.com 

 

We spoke to Ashton (14), Max (15), Mia (14) and Twinkle (13) as they prepare for the tour.

 

How long have you been in KIDZ BOP?

MAX (15): Just over three years now for me. I wouldn’t say I’m a veteran, but I am part of the original UK team, and we’ve added a few new people along the way.I’ve seen it grow and it has been so much fun doing all the shows.

I’d seen the American KIDZ BOP Kids and watched their videos loads before I auditioned – and seeing them doing all that and their live shows, I was so excited to be chosen for the UK team.

MIA (14): I’ve been in KIDZ BOP just over a year. It was a bit of a different start for me, as I was filmed during the audition process for a TV show. I was at school with Ashton and Twinkle, so I knew a bit of what KIDZ BOP was all about when I started the audition process which was massive with being on TV too. There were a lot of stages, and the very last one I was performing with the KIDZ BOP Kids, and when we finished, I was told I’d been chosen.

TWINKLE (13): I was 10 when I started, so it’s been over three years now, it’s gone so quickly. I did the same as Max and Ashton, going through a whole big audition process at the very start of it all; lots of rounds of dancing and singing, and I eventually got in. I was at the Sylvia Young Stage School for about a year before auditioning.

ASHTON (14): It’s been about three years since I signed up with KIDZ BOP, and it’s been incredible seeing how much we have grown from just making music videos here in the UK through to travelling to New York last year [2019] to film there on location, and then looking forward to 2020 and having our own tour in the UK.

 

What’s your favourite thing about being a KIDZ BOP Kid?

MAX: I love performing, I love being on stage – so the tour will be amazing; singing some of my favourite songs with some of my best friends. It’s amazing to think we now have a tour which will be all about us, the UK kids, after having done a big live show alongside the American kids last year.

MIA: It’s like all my dreams come true to be in KIDZ BOP; I get to rehearse songs, travel the world with my best friends, it’s all amazing. Honestly, I do love everything about it, but probably at the moment, I’m super excited for the tour and starting rehearsals to learn the new dances. I love all the clothes we get to wear too. We have a stylist called Gemma, who brings all the outfits to out shoots, I always look forward to seeing what she’s got for us.

TWINKLE: For me, it’s actually the rehearsals for our live shows and performances – which is a bit different to the others. It’s the time when we get to experiment with new dance moves and our vocals, and we learn so much during the rehearsal sessions. The process of creating the show is hard work but so much fun, and then we get to go out there, perform and see all the reactions from the audience; I love watching out for that too.

ASHTON: I really enjoy the production side of it, making the songs and learning about that technical process. Then, of course, we take it out to the live shows and performances and it’s amazing to see people singing the tracks back to you.

 

KIDZ BOP is massive in America where it first launched – and it’s growing more and more popular here in the UK now too. What’s the difference between the UK and US KIDZ BOP Kids?

MAX: We usually sing UK chart songs, and the US kids will sing the songs from their charts. But then there are some huge hits, which are big tracks on both sides of the Atlantic and we come together for those. Last year [2019], we went to New York to film with the US kids – and did Lizzo’s Truth Hurts where we appear in the US kids’ video, and we did Jess Glynne’s One Touch with them in our video. In November 2018, we had our first trip to America with KIDZ BOP, recording One Kiss (Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa) in the studio, but the trip last year was the first time we got out and about filming videos as well as recording in the studio.

ASHTON: Probably my favourite song of all the ones we’ve done so far is Beautiful People (Ed Sheeran), which we filmed on that trip – the video is awesome. We were filming on a beach in front of Coney Island… What’s not to love about that?

 

Do you enjoy making new friends and all the experiences which KIDZ BOP has brought you?

MAX: It’s been brilliant to meet everyone through this experience and we’ve all become such good friends. We all share the same passion and come together to sing and dance. Then there’s meeting the fans too, and we’re so lucky to have them… It’s like we’re all one big global KIDZ BOP family.

TWINKLE: It was amazing working with the US kids, with different people and on different songs. The trips we get to go on to film abroad are great fun. We’ve been to Germany to film with the German KIDZ BOP kids too, joining in with their videos – so we get to learn songs in other languages too. We might not have spoken the same languages but, like Max said, we share the love of singing and dancing and that’s what brings people together wherever they come from.

ASHTON: The whole experience is a dream come true for each of us. We’d never have imagined a few years ago that we would have achieved all of this; none of us had done anything like it before and we just didn’t realise how many opportunities it would bring us; traveling, meeting so many people, touring the UK. It’s just WOW.

 

Obviously, life as a KIDZ BOP Kid is limited – you’re only a kid for so long! So what would you like to do in the future?

MAX: Hopefully I’ve still got a little while as a KIDZ BOP kid, especially as I’m still loving it. I would definitely like to stay in music – writing and producing my own songs. I play guitar and a bit of piano, and I have a bit of software on my computer at home.

MIA: I would love to stay doing this forever if I could! But I’d also maybe like to try acting on TV. I had done some bits and pieces of acting before KIDZ BOP and TV adverts, but one of the things which has been really amazing about being in KIDZ BOP is getting to experience lots of different areas of the industry – music, TV, producing, performing. I’ve just learnt so much and it’s really opened my eyes to different things.

TWINKLE: Yes, I’d like to stay in the industry too, making more music and also doing more acting, probably in TV.

ASHTON: Before KIDZ BOP, I just wanted to be an actor, but this has really opened my eyes to so many different things and different opportunities in the music and entertainment business. I would love to work in music, but there are lots of things I want to know more about now too.

 

What are you looking forward to most with the tour?

MAX: For me, the Palladium dates will be the big ones as I’ve got my family and friends coming along, and it’ll be so good to see them all there in the audience. I’m especially looking forward to performing Uptown Funk, that’s my absolute favourite track at the moment because it gets such a great reaction when we perform it, whether it’s been live or on TV.

MIA: The first songs I did with KIDZ BOP were Rise and One Kiss, so they’re always special for me and I’m looking forward to doing them on the tour. Although, like Max – I also love Uptown Funk, it’s such a great track. And the Manchester show will be extra special for me, as I come from Lancashire so lots of my family and friends are coming. Every time I speak to them, they’re telling me more people have booked to come and see me there.

ASHTON: I’m excited to perform in Birmingham, because although I live in London I have a lot of family from there who don’t always get to see what KIDZ BOP is all about for me. And of course, who doesn’t want to say they have performed at The London Palladium? That’s going to be special as London is home. But I can honestly say, I really want to see the reactions from everyone right across the country – that’s going to be incredible.
When we did the KIDZ BOP World Tour headline show in London last year, with the US KIDZ BOP Kids, that was great – it was the first time people in the UK had had the chance to come out specially to see KIDZ BOP in a live performance, we’d always been part of other shows… And now, here we are preparing for our very own KIDZ BOP UK tour. We can’t wait.

GOOD CAUSES SET TO BENEFIT AS YORK FESTIVAL NAMES ITS CHARITY PARTNERS

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York Festival – the historic city’s major new three-day music event – will support no fewer than five local charities this summer.

Global icon Lionel Richie, pop superstars Westlife and British music legends Madness will headline the brand-new festival at York Sports Club between Friday June 19th and Sunday June 21st.

As well as three days of unmissable live music – which will also include performances by Lightning Seeds, All Saints, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Scouting for Girls among many others – it is hoped thousands of pounds will be raised for local good causes.

Festival organisers Cuffe and Taylor are today delighted to announce they have selected St Leonard’s Hospice (pictured above) and The Snappy Trust (pictured left) as York Festival’s first ever official charity partners.

These two much-loved, York-based charities will be joined at the festival by the Lord Mayor of York’s three chosen annual charities. This means festival goers will be supporting the work of five local good causes.

The mayoral charities will be announced when Cllr Chris Cullwick takes over civic duties from current Lord Mayor Cllr Janet Looker in May.

York Festival director Peter Taylor said: “We are absolutely delighted York Festival will be supporting five local charities and good causes in its first year.

“Just before Christmas we invited applications for charity partners. We were inundated with nominations from so many good causes who all do wonderful work locally. It was an almost impossible task to select which charities would be our official partners.

“Together with St Leonard’s and The Snappy Trust, we are really pleased to be working with the Lord Mayor’s charities. Representatives from all will be at the festival and we would urge festivals goers to do what they can to support these very worthy causes.

“It is going to be a brilliant first year for York Festival. Not only are we bringing a sensational line-up of world-renowned artists but also supporting the great work of these wonderful local organisations.”

St Leonard’s Hospice, which this year is celebrating its 35th anniversary, provides specialist palliative care and support for local people with life limiting illnesses.

As well as offering in-patient care and its Hospice@Home service, which allows people with to be cared for in their own homes, the Tadcaster Road-based hospice offers bereavement counselling, occupational therapy and spiritual care.

Dawn Clements, St Leonard’s Hospice’s Director of Income Generation, said: “We are thrilled to have been selected as a charity partner for the inaugural York Festival. 2020 is a special milestone for St Leonard’s Hospice, as we celebrate our 35th anniversary, and we look forward to celebrating with the community we serve. Because they care we can!”

The Snappy Trust (Special Needs Activities and Play Provision for York) supports children and young people with wide-ranging disabilities, from across the York area.

​It now helps youngsters by maximising personal development and providing good quality play and recreational opportunities for children and young people with special needs.

Anne Stamp, project manager at The Snappy Trust, which is based at Lowther Street, said: “We are delighted to be working with York Festival – a major new event for this great city and we cannot wait for it to begin.

“The people of York are so generous with their support of The Snappy Trust and we look forward to seeing them at the festival. Come and say ‘hi’ and see how you can help us continue to make a real difference to young people’s lives.”

And Cllr Chris Cullwick added: “As the Lord Mayor elect I look forward to taking up this important role in the city from May and I am delighted York Festival has kindly offered to support my nominated charities each of which is doing vital work in the local community.”

York Festival has a stellar line-up in its debut year.

Opening night headliners Madness, who have chalked up no fewer than 15 UK Top 10 singles and seven Top 10 albums, will be joined by indie chart-toppers Lightning Seeds, Craig Charles with his famous Funk and Soul Club DJ set together with Leeds indie rockers Apollo Junction and York’s very own Violet Contours.

Westlife headline on the Saturday night as part of their UK-wide Stadiums in the Summer Tour. The UK’s top selling album group of the 21st century will perform classic hits such as Swear It Again, Flying Without Wings and You Raise Me Up together with new songs from their forthcoming album Spectrum.

Joining Westlife on the night will be superstar pop group All Saints, Brit singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis Bextor, indie rock band Scouting for Girls and Take That’s Howard Donald, who will be spinning the discs for a very special DJ set.

Sunday night headliner is none other than international superstar Lionel Richie. The four-time Grammy Award-winner will perform a hit-packed concert that covers his extensive and much-loved repertoire – from his hit-making days with the Commodores right up to the present day.

For more information and tickets go to www.york-festival.com

UK’S RISING STARS JOIN WEST END MARVEL MARISHA WALLACE ON STAGE

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Young singing stars will join Broadway and West End leading lady Marisha Wallace on stage when her debut UK tour kicks off in March.

The powerhouse star of such smash-hit shows as Dreamgirls, Waitress, Aladdin, The Book of Mormon – and very soon Hairspray – will play a series of spectacular live shows throughout March.

And now local choirs and musical theatre students will perform with Marisha at the shows. They will join the West End star for what will be an unmissable rendition of This Is Me from the blockbuster movie The Greatest Showman.

The groups to join Marisha are:

Manchester Contemporary Youth Choir and Stagecoach Salford will perform at Sale Waterside

Everybody Sing community choir at Newbury Corn Exchange

BITA Musical Theatre at Birmingham Hippodrome

Showdown Theatre Arts and The Act Too Arts Academy at Horsham Capitol

Stagebox at Leeds City Varieties

Guildford School of Acting (GSA) at The Arts Theatre in London’s West End

Marisha is currently winning rave reviews in the West End smash hit Waitress and will soon play the iconic role of Motormouth Maybelle in the eagerly awaited West End return of Hairspray, alongside Michael Ball.

Before then though, Marisha cannot wait for her debut UK tour and to perform alongside young singers from across the UK.

Marisha said: “I could not be happier that so many community choirs and musical theatre students are joining me on stage throughout my UK Tour.

“This is my first ever headline theatre tour and I really want to make these shows unique and extra special. I cannot think of a better way to do that than to be joined on stage by such super-talented local performers.

“These shows are going to be amazing, so my advice is to get your tickets now!”

Inspired by the likes of the late, great Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald, Marisha’s voice will pull you from your seat and to your feet. She effortlessly infuses jazz, gospel and R&B with a healthy dose of soul that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted.

On Broadway, she has starred in shows including Disney’s Aladdin, The Book of Mormon and Something Rotten and then here, in the UK, as Effie White in the stellar West End hit Dreamgirls. Last summer she starred alongside Will Smith in Disney’s big screen summer blockbuster Aladdin.

Beginning at Sale’s Waterside (March 8), Marisha’s tour then heads to Newbury Corn Exchange (March 11), Horsham Capitol (March 13), Birmingham Hippodrome (March 14), Leeds City Varieties (March 16), Lichfield Garrick (March 17) and the Arts Theatre in London’s West End (March 23).

Tickets – priced just £25 – are on sale now via www.cuffeandtaylor.com

THE SHERLOCKS AND ELIZA SHADDAD TO JOIN KEANE FOR UNMISSABLE NIGHT

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Yorkshire indie rockers The Sherlocks and formidable songstress Eliza Shaddad will join Keane for an unmissable night at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

Keane – one of Britain’s most successful bands of the last 20 years – delighted their legions of devoted fans by returning from a six-year hiatus in 2019 with brilliant new album Cause and Effect.

They have won rave reviews since returning to the live arena and will play a massive headline gig at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on Friday July 17.

And they will be joined on the night by two of the UK’s most highly-regarded up-and-coming artists.

It is almost five years since Sheffield alt-rockers The Sherlocks burst onto the scene with a succession of radio hits and stellar live shows. Their 2017 debut album Live for the Moment was a Top 10 hit and was followed last year by their sophomore offering Under Your Sky, which won rave reviews and boasts anthemic new single One Day.

The Sherlocks – Kiaran Crook (guitar/vocals), Brandon Crook (drums) and Josh Davison (guitar) and Andy Davison (bass) – have played some massive gigs and festivals both as headliners and as special guests to such rock luminaries as Liam Gallagher, The Kooks and Kaiser Chiefs.

When Scottish-Sudanese singer-songwriter Eliza Shaddad released her debut album Future in 2018 it instantly won praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, MOJO and The Sunday Times. Her new EP Sept-Dec, features a grungier and edgier sound that has had the critics purring their approval.

Named a Rising Star of 2019 by the BBC, Eliza’s reputation for powerful live shows has seen her touring extensively with the likes of Kate Tempest, James Bay and Turin Brakes. She will join Keane throughout their 2020 UK Tour.

Before pausing in 2013, Keane had sold 13 million records worldwide, released four Number One studio albums, won two BRIT awards and an Ivor Novello award.

Their 2004 debut album Hopes and Fears, which gave the world such timeless classics as Somewhere Only We Know, Everybody’s Changing, This Is The Last Time and Bedshaped, is ranked among the UK’s 40 best-selling albums of all time.

Their 2019 return Cause and Effect – which includes the singles The Way I Feel, Love Too Much and Stupid Things – was produced by David Kosten and the Keane themselves, and is the sound of a band rejuvenated.

Tickets for Keane, The Sherlocks and Eliza Shaddad at Scarborough Open Air Theatre are on sale now via www.scarboroughopenairtheatre.com. They can also be purchased, in person, from Scarborough Open Air Theatre Box Office (01723 818111) and the Discover Yorkshire Coast Tourism Bureau (01723 383636).

Music Hall Legend Dan Leno to Return to London for West End Premiere

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The amazing life and tragic demise of music hall legend Dan Leno is being celebrated in an unmissable production making its West End debut in April.

Naturally Insane! The Life of Dan Leno will premiere at the Criterion Theatre on Monday April 27th. Tickets are on sale now HERE

Comedian, TV star and radio presenter Steve Royle stars as Dan Leno while comedy giant and music hall aficionado Roy Hudd OBE will guest star in the cameo role of Herbert Beerbohm Tree.

The London premiere of Naturally Insane! comes as the production has already toured across the UK and enjoyed rave reviews including the seal of approval from comedy legend Peter Kay.

Speaking about the production, Peter said: “It’s great to see the life of the great Dan Leno being brought to the stage with such brilliance. Steve Royle has funny bones and this unique heartfelt production allows us to see both Steve’s magnificent talent and Dan Leno’s.”

Naturally Insane! The Life of Dan Leno is set in Camberwell Asylum in the last weeks of Dan Leno’s life as he reflects on his life and career.

The Criterion Theatre has been chosen for this special premiere as it sits opposite the former London Pavilion Music Hall in Piccadilly Circus – where Dan Leno performed hundreds of times at the height of his fame.

A legend of his time, Dan Leno developed his skills as an artist in the Northern and Lancashire music halls before becoming a huge celebrity in London theatres. He also established his name as the pre-eminent pantomime star at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where he created some iconic dame roles and became a favourite of King Edward VII and the Royal family.

Written by playwright David Slattery-Christy, Naturally Insane! presents a joyful insight into the life of a legendary comedian.

Roy Hudd agreed to perform in the Criterion Theatre production after seeing the play in Eastbourne.

He said: “So many folk have tried to bring the Victorian comedian to life – almost impossible I thought until I saw Naturally Insane! The Life of Dan Leno by David Slattery-Christy.

 “This really is quite something. It captures the wild imaginings of a comic genius perfectly. Steve Royle looks like the man, moves beautifully, like the dancer Leno was, and makes you love him on sight. I do urge you to see it if you can.

 “I’m excited about it. I do believe this play is a bit special.”

Steve Royle was offered the part of Dan Leno after David Slattery-Christy saw him performing in Blackpool Grand Theatre’s pantomime where Steve has performed as lead comic for almost 20 years.

Speaking about the role Steve, who has appeared in a string of comedy TV shows including Phoenix Nights, Max and Paddy and Stand Up Britain, said: “Dan Leno was as passionate about pantomime as I am and hopefully I do him justice on the stage.

 “He is a hero of mine and it is therefore an absolute honour to get the opportunity to portray him in this masterpiece of a production.

 “Everyone involved is thrilled to be bringing Naturally Insane! to the West End so it will be very exciting indeed when we walk out onto the stage at the Criterion.”

After the performance there will be a short interval before Roy Hudd, who is president of the British Music Hall Society, gives a talk about Dan Leno and his legacy.

For more information about Naturally Insane! The Life of Dan Leno and to buy tickets go to www.criterion-theatre.co.uk/whats-on

Alternatively, you can call the Box Office 033 33 202 895.

 

ALFIE BOE TO HEADLINE SPECIAL ARMED FORCES DAY CONCERT

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Alfie Boe is to provide a thrilling climax to this year’s Armed Forces Day with a sensational concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

The nation’s gaze will be on Scarborough on Saturday June 27 when the historic Yorkshire coast resort has the prestigious honour of being the host town for this year’s Armed Forces Day National Event.

An estimated 200,000 people – including leading politicians and members of the Royal Family – are expected to head to the resort for a series of events that will honour the dedication and sacrifice of the nation’s servicemen and women.

And Armed Forces Day 2020 will be brought to a close in style as superstar tenor Alfie Boe delivers unmissable concert at the Open Air Theatre. Tickets for the event go on sale via scarboroughopenairtheatre.com at 9am on Friday February 21.

Chart-topping mezzo-soprano Laura Wright, who has performed at major events around the world, will be among those to join Alfie on stage for what will be a moving and magical evening.

Alfie said: “It is an amazing honour, as well as a huge thrill, for me to be back at this wonderful venue to perform on Armed Forces Day.

“I’ve played this venue many times and I’ve always received such a warm welcome from the good people of Yorkshire. The fact I will be performing as part of Scarborough’s hosting of Armed Forces Day’s National Event will make it even more special.  I cannot wait for June 27 – it will be an amazing evening.”

Alfie has conquered the world’s greatest stages and arenas as the star of such legendary stage productions as Les Misérables and La Bohème – together with his own sell-out concert tours. His unmistakable voice has cemented him as one of Britain’s biggest selling and best loved vocalists.

And he is no stranger to Scarborough OAT having previously headlined Armed Forces Day concerts at the venue, in 2015 and 2018, as well as performing there alongside his good friend and musical collaborator Michael Ball in 2017.

Last November, and for the first time since 2015, Alfie returned to the solo spotlight with the release of his vibrant and instant classic As Time Goes By – an album that celebrated the golden era of music from the 1930s and 40s.

Boasting Alfie’s voice at its strongest, and performing alongside Grammy award winner Gordon Goodwin and his Big Phat Band, As Time Goes By journeyed through the defining songs of the era, from the full force of Sing Sing Sing, through to slower, smoother numbers The Way You Look Tonight and the legendary title track.

Alfie will be singing songs from As Time Goes By, together with a host of other classics when he takes to the Scarborough OAT stage on June 27.

Laura Wright’s stunning Number One debut album The Last Rose has made her one of the biggest selling classical artists of the last decade. She is currently writing and recording her 7th album.

At the age of 24 she composed the Invictus anthem Invincible for Prince Harry and went on to write the official anthem for Women’s Cricket two years later. She wrote Brave for the Military Wives and became the first ever ‘official singer’ of the England Ruby team. Laura has performed at prestigious events such as the Rugby World Cup, NFL series, The Grand National, Royal Ascot and the FA Cup Final.

The Armed Forces Day concert is presented by Scarborough OAT programmers Cuffe and Taylor. Director Peter Taylor said: “Alfie is massively popular and is someone we are asked to bring back every year, so we are delighted to be welcoming him back to Scarborough OAT this summer.

 “Saturday June 27 will be an extra special night as the nation’s focus will be on Scarborough. It is such an honour to host the Armed Forces Day National Event and so we really could not think of anyone better to headline this concert than Alfie who will be joined by the wonderful Laura Wright.

“It will undoubtedly be an incredibly moving and special concert and, we feel, the perfect climax to a day that celebrates the dedication and sacrifice of our Armed Forces.”

 Stuart Clark, Scarborough OAT Venue Manager and Event Manager for the Armed Forces Day National Event added: “Alfie Boe is a firm favourite at the OAT and we are delighted to welcome him back in 2020. His show will be a highlight of the prestigious Armed Forces Day National Event in Scarborough and a wonderful musical celebration dedicated to our Armed Forces.”

 Tickets for Alfie Boe’s Armed Forces Day concert go on general sale at 9am on Friday, February 21 via www.scarboroughopenairtheatre.com. They can also be purchased, in person, from Scarborough Open Air Theatre Box Office (01723 818111) and the Discover Yorkshire Coast Tourism Bureau (01723 383636)

For more information, and a full lists of Armed Forces Day 2020 events in Scarborough, go to www.scarborougharmedforcesday.co.uk

LOUIS TOMLINSON ADDS MASSIVE OPEN AIR DATE TO WORLD TOUR

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Louis Tomlinson is extending his first ever solo World Tour with a massive outdoor show on the Yorkshire coast.

The chart-topping and multi award-winning singer-songwriter will play Scarborough Open Air Theatre on Saturday August 15.

Tickets go on general sale via www.scarboroughopenairtheatre.com at 9am on Friday (February 14).

As a member of global pop phenomenon One Direction, Yorkshire-born Louis sold more than 100 million records. He honed his song writing skills during his six years in the band which is clearly evidenced on his acclaimed debut album WALLS which was released last week to wide acclaim.

Louis’ World Tour kicks off on March 9 in Barcelona and then includes shows in Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Sydney, Tokyo, Rio De Janeiro, five sold-out nights in the UK, before heading to North America.

And now Louis can confirm an extra UK date on the stunning Yorkshire coast.

The show at Scarborough OAT is presented by promoters Cuffe and Taylor. Director Peter Taylor said: “We are delighted to be bringing Louis Tomlinson’s first ever World Tour to this wonderful venue.

 “Louis was an integral part of the biggest global pop phenomenon of the last 20 years and is also a proud Yorkshireman, so this is going to be a must-see date for his fans.

 “His debut album is brilliant and demand for tickets for his World Tour has been immense. We cannot wait to welcome Louis and his fans to this special arena for what will be a fantastic night.”

Louis began life as a solo artist with two hit collaborations – the club-ready Just Hold On with Steve Aoki and the brooding Bebe Rexha duet Back to You. These two singles have garnered more than one billion streams alone.

But 2019 was the year he truly found his feet as a solo artist. He followed his award-winning return in March with a run of acclaimed singles – the raucous Kill My Mind, the heartfelt Two of Us, reflective We Made It and the soaring pop perfection of Don’t Let It Break Your Heart.

Lyrically, he is rightly proud of all 12 tracks on the album, most rooted in real life, but in particular those that dig deep on subjects ranging from relationships and family to the folly of youth and days of self-doubt. Live, he is most looking forward to performing the songs that reflect the indie-rock he grew up on and still adores today.

“I feel like this is the start of my career, with so much to look forward to and all the plans in place,” says Louis. “Honestly, I’ve been through every emotion possible in the past few years and come out the other side stronger and more confident than I’ve ever been. I know I’ve made an album that my fans will like, one that sounds like me and has its own identity. There were times I wasn’t sure if this was what I should be doing. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Louis Tomlinson’s debut album WALLS is out now.

Tickets for his headline show at Scarborough Open Air Theatre go on general sale at 9am on Friday, February 14 via www.scarboroughopenairtheatre.com
They can also be purchased, in person, from Scarborough Open Air Theatre Box Office (01723 818111) and the Discover Yorkshire Coast Tourism Bureau (01723 383636).

Q&A with Britain’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer comedian KOJO ANIM ahead of debut UK tour

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Britain’s Got Talent 2019’s stand out stand-up comedy star Kojo Anim is heading out on the road with his debut UK tour.

The 39-year-old father of one was Simon Cowell’s golden buzzer act on this year’s series of the ITV talent show.

The head judge was so blown away by Kojo’s first audition routine he sent him straight into the live semi-finals, saying: “I don’t really like comedians on this show… But I love you!” That first BGT performance alone has had almost 27 million views on YouTube.

His new and exciting show Kojo Anim Presents The Taxi Tour will take in 26 towns and cities across the country.

Born in Ghana, Kojo moved to London as a child and grew up in Hackney – and he’ll be returning to home territory for the final show of the tour at Hackney Empire on Friday, March 20.

Tickets are on sale now from www.cuffeandtaylor.com

Getting set for his debut UK tour, Kojo said: “For me, Britain’s Got Talent wasn’t about winning £250,000, it was a chance to get in front of the judges, and to prove to myself that I can perform in front of anybody. My goal was to make it to the final, and now here I am – preparing my first solo tour, something I’ve been working towards for 20 years.”

Here, we chat to him as he prepares to make the world laugh, sharing his funny observations and stories about life, parenthood and family.

 

HOW HAS LIFE BEEN SINCE THE FINAL OF BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT BACK IN JUNE?

“Life is great – it’s all kicking off since the show, I mean… I’m going on a UK tour! I went up to the last week of the Edinburgh Festival, to do some shows, spread the word and mingle, which was brilliant, and I’ve had a sold-out try-out show in London too. So it’s all coming together ready for the tour.”

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND – YOU GREW UP IN FOSTER CARE, HOW WAS THAT?

“I was raised in Hackney, East London. My parents are from Ghana, and they got into a bit of trouble, so, from the age of five I was in foster care until about 16.

“I had an amazing experience of foster care. My foster family were from Guyana and Grenada, and I was with them the whole time. I was never moved around, which is brilliant, and a big part of what I want to share about having been a foster child – it’s important for both foster carers and the children to hear that message; foster care is not always a temporary thing.

“Some children don’t need to be in care forever, some do need long term. But consistency is what’s important, if that’s possible. And if they can get an injection of their culture, then it’s also OK for them to be with foster parents of another race, if they’re getting that background and input too. It helps ground you.”

IT’S GREAT TO HEAR A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE OF FOSTER CARE. ARE YOU STILL CLOSE TO YOUR FOSTER FAMILY?

“My foster mother, Aunty Sandra, she’s the main person in my life that I had a strong relationship with, and I still see her regularly now. She’s the first person I tell anything. My parents are in and out; we have good times and bad, but that’s all in a good place at the moment too. We’re all happy.

“With being a dad now, it’s important for me that those things are ironed out, for Roman’s sake. I’m big on energy, and I don’t want negative energy in his life. He is my priority, for him to be a happy boy – and he is.”

WHEN DID YOU REALISE YOU WERE FUNNY?

“I’d always been entertaining my family and friends. I was witty and quick with a response; in school, if I got in trouble, it was what I said not what I had done. I had an answer for everything.

“Comedy happened almost by accident. My first love was always football, but I had terrible discipline as a footballer. I was selected for a school of excellence with some of the best young players in England, on a course to study and play football. I was selected, but I had a terrible attitude about being on time, etc., and relied on being very talented. But it didn’t work out.

“I learned a big lesson in hindsight, and it turned out to be a blessing. Missing that opportunity to change my life, the pain I felt when it ended, that kept me disciplined when I found comedy. I would never let an opportunity ever slip through my hands again. I have so much respect for every opportunity that comes my way now.

“I realised I was a natural with comedy, but that I was going to work hard, find solutions and make no excuses.”

YOU WERE ‘DISCOVERED’ ON BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT, BUT YOU’D ALREADY BEEN WORKING ON THE COMEDY CIRCUIT FOR 20 YEARS. HOW DID YOU TURN THAT NATURAL ABILITY INTO A CAREER?

“So, yes, I’ve been doing comedy 20 years, and now I’m the newcomer – thanks to BGT. 20 years in a nutshell…

“I was doing talent shows at university, and had the chance to go to comedy school, so borrowed £150 from my Aunty Sandra – I’ve more than paid her back now. After that I did a lot of university comedy gigs and built up a fan base.

“From that, I was able to set up Kojo’s Comedy Fun House, which ran every Sunday for eight years, with 300 people queueing up outside each week, packing it to the rafters and coming along week after week. I came from a partying background, so would invite celebrities to the comedy shows, as well as hosting exciting new comedians and DJs, so it became somewhere people wanted to be.

“What really made it big though was when David Chapelle was in town and heard about the club. I called someone who had seen him and got them to put him on the phone. He just came down and performed. ‘Going viral’ wasn’t even a thing at the time, but that’s kind of what happened. It was the first show he’d done after going away following his big success so everyone was talking about it, it was huge on YouTube and was a real international moment to see him back on stage.

“People started talking about the Fun House and I was hearing from American comedians over in the UK who wanted to come down. I was just a young comedian wanting to express myself there, and all this came from that small place.”

ALONGSIDE STAND UP – YOU’VE WORKED IN TV, MADE A FILM, DONE RADIO. TELL US ABOUT ALL THAT…

“On the back of the Fun House, MTV Base got in touch, wanting to film the Fresh Prince Of Hackney, a take on the Will Smith show – when he was kind of fostered by his relatives in the Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. That was my first national exposure, and led to radio bookings – I did the Choice FM Breakfast Show, which is now Capital Xtra.

“I started writing too, I just didn’t know which was comedy was going to take me, so wanted to cover all the bases.

“I made a film called The Weekend on an absolute shoe-string budget and with a lot of new talents involved. And it got picked up by Netflix.”

AND BEFORE BGT, YOU WERE ALMOST BETTER KNOWN IN AMERICA THAN HERE IN THE UK. HOW WAS THAT?

“I’d met Nick Cannon through friends, who at the time was still married to Mariah Carey – how crazy is that?, and he was bringing a big improv[isation] show Wild N Out back to American TV and wanted to include some UK talent. I leapt at the chance; I’d watched the show as a kid, and it was a ridiculous opportunity to go and work with all these famous and amazingly funny people in America. Everyone I grew up with used to watch it, and there I was being invited to be the first British comedian on it.”

SO WHAT MADE YOU AUDITION FOR BGT?

“I had been going through a bad period financially and in opportunities. I’d had my son, and that made it so much more pressurised to decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life… I was feeling like I’d been placed in the ‘has-been’ box so far as a comedy career was concerned.

“I was approached by BGT, they’d seen some videos online – although I didn’t actually know it was BGT at the time. I was told the producers had loved the videos and they were dying to get me on the show, so I decided ‘Why not?’

“I’d always said it wasn’t for me, I didn’t think it was credible. But, when I discussed it with my fiancée, she said the fact they’d had to find me as an ‘unknown’ meant they didn’t know me – so I had nothing to lose.”

 WHAT WAS IT LIKE PREPARING FOR THAT FIRST AUDITION?

“I didn’t just plan for the first audition, I planned my acts for every round from the first audition to the final. I had 20 years of material, so why not? I just had to decide which way round to use it, and to get my head straight about what was to come.

“As I gradually went through each phase, I realised what the opportunity was actually going to mean to me. OK, it’s ‘Britain’s’ Got Talent – but I didn’t realise the world would be watching online, ‘Got Talent’ is a global thing.

“I know people in the comedy industry were saying ‘Why is he doing it?’, but people across the country didn’t know me. I had to be able to look at my son and know I had taken the chance, taken that massive leap of faith.”

SIMON COWELL FAMOUSLY HATES COMEDIANS ON BGT, BUT HE GAVE YOU HIS GOLDEN BUZZER. HOW DID THAT FEEL?

“I was so nervous. The judges genuinely do not know what’s coming next as you walk out; it’s a conveyor belt of talent.

“Simon had given two comedians on before me absolute hell that day. My plan was that I wanted Amanda Holden and David Walliams’ approval. Alesha Dixon had seen me at gigs, so I hoped she’d be on side. I’d actually written Simon Cowell off, as I knew I only needed three of them to back me.

“It was the very first day of filming, and – to add to the madness – Simon had never pressed his golden buzzer on day one. So when it happened, everyone was so shocked; day one and a comedian!

“The reaction was so gratifying. It told me ‘I can do this’. I had proven myself and removed the doubt about myself. After that, I knew I was good enough.”

HOW’S IT BEEN SINCE THE SHOW?

“Absolutely life-changing. My dad was in Ghana and it came up on the news. I didn’t leave the house for four days after the golden buzzer audition was on TV; I had so many messages on my phone and everywhere I went, people we giving me their love and support. All the work during those 20 years had been gearing up to it, and that’s made it all a bit easier to cope with.

“It’s crazy, and has all been at the same time as adjusting to life as a first time dad. Roman’s oblivious to it, but we’re capturing it all on our phones and it’s amazing that he’s been on the journey with us.

“Roman’s also been life changing. He’s allowed me to be selfish, and people told me how much harder I’d want to work after becoming a parent… You’re making decisions for your child and not just for you.”

WHAT WAS YOUR AIM WITH BGT AND HOW DO YOU FEEL AHEAD OF THE TOUR?

“It wasn’t ever to win, it was to be in a better position – to hopefully get a call, to get management and to progress. I had opened for Kevin Hart and Chris Rock, I knew what you need to have around you with a good team. The older you get with comedy, the more experience you have to draw on.

“Touring nationally is a dream come true and the hard work is happening. We are working on the material, there’s definitely going to be a look at fatherhood – looking at what goes through a man’s mind as a new dad, as well as asking some kind of serious questions, like ‘Will I end up looking like my parents, will my child end up in the same situation as me?’

“I’m looking forward to touring, going to places I’ve never been to – like Swindon, Malvern, New Brighton, places in Wales I can’t even spell…

“In January, I will be 40. I told my fiancée Tiff, I believe the best years of my life will be my 40s – and it’s definitely looking that way. Let’s have it!”

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