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Win!  A Family Ticket for Gangsta Granny at Manchester Opera House. 


Win a family ticket to see the brilliant Gangsta Granny at the Opera House in Manchester.

We have a family ticket to give away for Wednesday 7th June for four people to see the show.

About the show

It’s Friday night and Ben knows that means only one thing – staying with Granny! There will be cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake and Ben knows one thing for sure – it’s going to be sooooooooo boring! But what Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret and Friday nights are about to get more exciting than he could ever imagine, as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny!

From the acclaimed producers of HORRIBLE HISTORIES comes the world premiere of this amazing story by David Walliams, the UK’s best-selling author for children.

TO ENTER simply email us your name and contact email to

Closing date is Thursday 1st of June so be quick!

Gangsta Granny runs at The Opera House from the 7th to the 11th June.

For tickets head here

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Would you like to be part of something BIG and join The James Bulger Memorial Trust in making KidsFest 2017 the best family festival ever?

The James Bulger Memorial Trust (JBMT)invites community groups and volunteers to help them stage an amazing festival for families in Liverpool.


So, whether you’re a member of a dance school, sports club or community group,JBMT welcomes you to join them at the festival’s new home in Stanley Park.


KidsFest 2017 will take place in Stanley Park at the end of the summer holidays onSunday 20th August and aims to give kids and families one last big adventure before school starts again in September.


The festival provides a great platform for organisations to showcase their services and talents. Participating organisations are invited to come along and provide demonstrations and deliver workshops at the festival which has attracted 12,000 families to date.

Individuals are also welcome to come and get involved as there will be plenty of volunteering opportunities on the day.


The festival is organised by JBMT in partnership with Orb Events. The Trust was set up in memory of James Bulger who was cruelly murdered in 1993 at the age of two. Its mission is to organise holidays and respite breaks for deserving children and their families.


Two years ago, they launched KidsFest – a free children’s festival – which was attended by 5,000 people in the first year which rose to over 8,000 visitors last year. So, the organisers have lots of exciting plans up their sleeves to ensure it is even bigger and better for summer 2017, meaning more local families and children will be able to fun in the sun whilst supporting the James Bulger Memorial Trust.


The festival will be packed withentertainment, activities, workshops and attractions to create a fantastic family-friendly event in the heart of North Liverpool. With fairground rides, bouncy castles, balloon sculptures, a zip wire, soft play area and full main stage programme of entertainment it simply doesn’t stop there!


James’ mother and patron of the charity, Denise Fergus, said: “I am immensely proud of the way that the people of Liverpool have taken this event to heart, we are so thankful to all the friends, supporters and organisations that have helped us to make it one of the largest free family focused events in the region.


“The last two years have been fantastic and now we are expanding the event into Stanley Park there is lots more opportunity for everyone to get involved. It’s a joy filled day which is the perfect way to remember James, I can’t wait to see you all there in August.”


Debbie Boyd from Orb Events added: “The James Bulger Memorial Trust has achieved lots of amazing things for the city and we are looking for anyone who has been inspired by their kindness and wants to give something back. The festival will be full of entertainment and activities for all, so let us know if you’d like to take part.”


If you’d like to get involved in KidsFest, please get in touch as soon as possible. Every volunteer helps make a difference! Contact or call 0151 707 0965 to volunteer your services.


Keep up to date with the charity and announcements for KidsFest


Follow KidsFest on Facebook JamesBulgerMT and on Twitter @kidsfest and @jbmt1

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Billy Elliot Opens at the Liverpool Empire! 

Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy’s journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.

Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, Billy Elliot the Musical has now been seen by over 11 million people across five continents and is the recipient of over 80 awards internationally, including ten Tony Awards and five Olivier Awards. 

Anna-Jane Casey returns to the role of ‘Mrs Wilkinson’ having successfully played the role at the Victoria Palace in the West End in 2014 with Martin Walsh ‘Dad’, Scott Garnham ‘Tony’ and Andrea Miller ‘Grandma’.  They are joined by Adam Abbou (14 years old from Liverpool), Emile Gooding (12 years old from Reading), Haydn May (12 years old from Bath) and Lewis Smallman (13 years old from West Bromwich) who all play the title role.


Performance Information

Billy Elliot

Tuesday 9th to Saturday 27th May 2017

Tue – Sat evenings 7.30pm, Thu & Sat matinees 2.30pm

Tickets from £12

Empire Theatre Box Office ¦ 0844 871 3017 ¦

 (Fees may apply to online/phone bookings. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge)


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Could your Child be the Next Star of the Stage? Maltilda Auditions in Manchester Announced! 

The RSC is looking for boys and girls to play Matilda, Bruce and their classmates for the UK and Ireland tour of Matilda! 

So if you love singing, acting and even more dancing this is the role for you. 

All children must be:

Age 8 to 13 and under 4ft 10

For Matilda must be under 4 ft 3 and age 8 – 12

All children must be available for the entire rehearsals and performance period from December 2017 to September 2018.

No holidays allowed. 

Children will travel with the production but have regular visits home and tutoring on tour. 

Auditions are the 3rd June so hurry! 

For further information and an application form contact Jessica Ronane, Children’s Casting Director at 

Good luck! 

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WIN A Copy of the Wonderful Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea!

The Tiger Who Came to Tea is roaring back into Liverpool and it’s almost time to welcome that hungry tiger through our doors once more!

This month sees the return of the truly magical Olivier Award nominated West End production as it opens on Thursday 30 March at the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool for a three day run of five fantastic performances.

To celebrate this limited run of performances we are giving away a copy of the brilliant children’s favourite Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea book!

To enter simply email us on telling us the name of the girl in the story and your name and contact number.

A winner will be chosen at random at 6pm on March the 24th so be quick!

If you need help with the answer or to find out more about the upcoming stage show head here and book today to avoid disappointment!

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Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Cinderella at The Lowry Theatre

Step into the magical world of Cinderella, where Fairy Godmothers triumph over cruel stepmothers, pumpkins turn into sparkling carriages and a jewelled slipper changes one girl’s life forever. This timeless story of love, courage and kindness reminds us all to have faith in our wildest dreams; someday they might just come true. 

Praised by audiences and critics alike, Cinderella is a sure-fire mix of wonderful dance, spectacular scenery, and a cast of characters that include mice, lizards and even a dancing frog, that captures every imagination.

Tickets from £18 – £47

Running time 2 hours 30 minutes

See the Lowry website for tickets.

For more information on the show see the Birmingham Royal Ballet Website.

Runs Wednesday 1st to Saturday the 4th March 2017

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War Horse is officially launched in Liverpool

It isn’t often you get a behind the scenes peek at shows but on Thursday 2nd February 2017 Joey, the breathtaking life-size equine puppet from War Horse cantered down to Liverpool for  a special early morning appearance at the Liver Building followed by an on-stage puppetry demonstration at its upcoming venue the Liverpool Empire Theatre.

The event was a wonderful opportunity to see Joey, the eight-stone puppet, constructed from cane, leather and tyvec up close and also included a talk about the history of the show from War Horse’s assistant puppetry director, Matthew Forbes with details on how each of the three actors controlling Joey bring this spectacular piece of puppetry to life.

War Horse seen by over 7 million people worldwide since its premiere at the National Theatre in 2007, is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the British in World War I. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in No Man’s Land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home.  A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.

Kash Bennett, the producer of War Horse said:  ‘We are absolutely delighted to be bringing War Horse to the Liverpool Empire Theatre. We hope that today, with Joey’s appearance in the city, we can bring the people of Merseyside a taste of the theatrical magic and artistry that Liverpool audiences can look forward to with this very special show.’

Michael Morpurgo added:  ‘After a few months rest, out at pasture, Joey, the War Horse and his great team from the National Theatre, will be touring the UK again, from 2017 through to 2018 and the centenary of the end of the First World War, then 2019. The NT will be taking their show all over the country, to towns and cities, many of them places War Horse has not been seen before.  I am so pleased this is happening; that so many more people will have the chance to enjoy this unique theatrical event. Steady boy, steady Joey. Trot on!’

The tour of War Horse coincides with the Centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War.   Liverpool’s St Georges Hall, situated right opposite the Empire Theatre on Lime Street played a significant part in the First World War.  On 31 August 1914, a month after the War broke out, the plateau outside this iconic Liverpool landmark  was packed with thousands of men queuing to sign up to the military.  By 10am, the first 1,000 men had been recruited, and by September 1914, more than 30,000 enlisted at St George’s Hall.  Thousands again gathered at St George’s at the end of the War, clambering on the lampposts in celebration.

War Horse is produced by the National Theatre –

Fancy a sneak peek? Liverpool news source the Liverpool Echo took some fantastic video which can be seen here (all credit to the Liverpool Echo)


Liverpool Empire Theatre

15 November – 2 December 2017

To book visit the Liverpool Empire Box Office, call 0844 871 3017* or visit*

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Youngsters Wanted To Star in Nativity! The Musical

Nativity! The Musical are on the lookout for young actors to star in their forthcoming world premiere production of NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL, which opens at The REP later this year, before touring around the country.

They are looking for children who are confident singers, dancers and performers to audition for lead roles in NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL. This exciting new show, written and directed by Debbie Isitt, premieres at The REP on 20 October and then tours to theatres in Southend, Sheffield, Manchester, Plymouth, London and Leeds where it finishes on 6 January 2018.

Debbie Isitt, writer and director of Nativity! said:

“The joyful and funny performances by the children in the Nativity! films were a huge part of their success and we’re hoping to recreate that for Nativity! The Musical. This is a great opportunity for young performers and I can’t wait to see and meet the talent that is out there.”

To audition for a lead part in NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL children need to be:

  • Aged between 9-11 by 1 September 2017
  • Approximately no taller than 135cm
  • We are looking for children with a playing age of 6-10 years old
  • Living in the West Midlands
  • They should be naturally confident, outgoing and keen performers and available for all the rehearsal and performance dates below.

Rehearsals in Birmingham:
Monday 11 September 2017 – Saturday 16 September 2017
Monday 18 September 2017 – Saturday 23 September 2017
Monday 25 September 2017 – Saturday 30 September 2017
Monday 2 October 2017 – Saturday 7 October 2017
Monday 9 October 2017 – 14 October 2017
Monday 16 October 2017 – 21 October 2017

Performance dates:
Birmingham Repertory Theatre 20 October 2017 – 12 November 2017
Southend Cliffs Pavilion 15 November 2017 – 19 November 2017
Sheffield Lyceum 22 November 2017 – 26 November 2017
Manchester Palace Theatre 29 November 2017 – 3 December 2017
Plymouth Theatre Royal 6 December 2017 – 10 December 2017
Hammersmith Apollo 13 December 2017 – 17 December 2017
Leeds Grand Theatre 20 December 2017 – 6 January 2018

Details of how to apply are as follows:

  • Upload a 1 minute YouTube clip of your child showcasing his/her talents. That can be singing, dancing, rapping or breakdancing  – whatever you think best shows their performing talent and personality.
  • Don’t forget to get your child to introduce themselves, and tell their name, age and where they are from at the start of video.
  • When you’ve uploaded the clip, complete the online application form and include a link to the video here
  • The closing date for you to get your clips and audition forms in is Friday 20 January 2017.
  • It is recommended that you make your audition video private and share with us a password to access it. Details on how to do this can be found here

Shortlisted children will be invited to attend an audition at The REP one day during week commencing 20 February

Further regional auditions will be announced at a later date so do check back.

(Image from )

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27 JUNE – 1 JULY 2017




The Liverpool Empire Theatre is delighted to announce that New Adventures are bringing the World Premiere tour of Matthew Bourne’s production of THE RED SHOES to the venue from 27 June – 1 July 2017. Tickets go on general sale on Friday 13 January at 10am, and are on presale to ATG Theatre Card members from Wednesday 11 January at 10am.

A beloved fairy-tale and Academy Award-winning movie, THE RED SHOES has seduced audiences and inspired generations of dancers with its tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. Victoria Page lives to dance but her ambitions become a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion.

Matthew Bourne’s magical new adaptation of the legendary Powell and Pressburger film reunites him with his regular collaborators and New Adventures Associate Artists and the team that brought you the world wide hit, Sleeping Beauty; Lez Brotherston (set and costumes), Paule Constable (lighting) and Paul Groothuis (sound).

This World Premiere is set to a new score arranged by New Adventures Associate Artist, Terry Davies using the mesmerizing music of golden-age Hollywood composer, Bernard Herrmann (most famous for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles andMartin Scorsese), whose work ranges from the witty and playfully robust to the achingly romantic and bittersweet.

An intoxicating drama where life imitates art with fateful consequences; THE RED SHOES will dazzle your senses and break your heart.

“Victoria Page”, the girl who dreams of being a great dancer, immortalised on screen by Moira Shearer, is played by New Adventures star, Ashley Shaw, most recently seen across the UK and internationally as “Aurora” in Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. Rising star and fellow “Aurora”, Cordelia Braithwaite, also plays the role, along with Sleeping Beauty favourite Katrina Lyndon in her principal role debut (at certain performances).

Sam Archer who created the title role of Edward Scissorhands in 2005 and who has starred in Cinderella, The Car Man and Play Without Words plays the iconic role of Svengali-like Impresario “Boris Lermontov”. One of New Adventures’ finest leading men, Chris Trenfield, will also play Lermentov, as well as musical genius, “Julian Craster”; the man with whom Victoria Page falls in love. Sharing the role of Julian is one of New Adventures most popular dancers,Dominic North, who was this year nominated for his second National Dance Award, along with rising star Andrew Monaghan who has already debuted leading roles in Swan Lake, The Car Man and Sleeping Beauty.

Completing the principal cast are the leading dancers of the Lermentov Company. Prima Ballerina, “Irina Boronskaja” is played by Michela Meazza, who has returned to New Adventures where she previously danced and created many leading roles (including “Lady H” in Dorian Gray, “Joyce” in Edward Scissorhandsand “The Stepmother” in Cinderella). She is joined by Company favourites Anjali Mehra, most recently seen as both “The Queen” and “The Girlfriend” inSwan Lake and Nicole Kabera, who played “Queen Eleanor” in Sleeping Beauty.

“Ivan Boleslawsky” the role made famous by Robert Helpmann is played by one of New Adventures finest young dancers, Liam Mower (the original West EndBilly Elliot but now taking on his seventh principal role with New Adventures). Also playing Ivan is popular company dancer, Danny Reubens, who scored a great personal success recently as “Jack” in Lord Of The Flies.

Company choreographer and ‘character dancer’ “Grischa Ljubov”, is created by veteran company dancer, Glenn Graham, who as well as playing “The Swan” in Swan Lake has recently been seen as “King Benedict” in Sleeping Beauty. Also playing the role of Grischa will be Leon Moran recently seen in Sleeping Beauty, The Car Man and as “Jim” in Edward Scissorhands.

Completing the New Adventures cast as the leading dancers and creative team behind the Ballet Lermentov are Steph Billers, Will Bozier, Jack Jones, Daisy May Kemp, Phil King, Dominic Lamb, Kate Lyons, Joe Walkling and Katie Webb. Joshua Harriette (Ballet Black, Michael Clark Company) andSeren Williams (Ballet Central graduate) have made their debuts with New Adventures in this production.

THE RED SHOES is supported using public funds by Arts Council England.


Performance Information

Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes

Liverpool Empire Theatre Tuesday 27 June – Saturday 1 July

Tue – Sat evenings 7.30pm. Thu & Sat matinees 2.30pm

ATG Theatre Card on sale: 11 January 10am General on sale: 13 January 10am

ATG Tickets 0844 871 3017**

Tickets from £12 in person at the venue Box Office, £13.90 online/phone*

*Transaction fees applies to online/phone bookings. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

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The wonderful world of The Very Hungry Caterpillar munches its way to The Lowry this February


Four stories from the world of Eric Carle
Wed 22 – Sat 25 February

One of the most iconic characters in children’s literature will be arriving in Salford next month, when The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show plays at The Lowry from Wed 22 to Sat 25 February, prior to a West End run.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show will feature a menagerie of 75 enchanting puppets during a magical 60-minute show that faithfully adapts four of Eric Carle’s best loved books for the stage: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Eric Carle’s books have captivated generations of readers with their iconic hand-painted illustrations and distinctively simple stories, introducing millions of children to a bigger, brighter world, and to their first experience of reading itself. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has nibbled its way into the hearts of millions of children all over the world. It has been translated into 62 languages and sold over 41 million copies, remaining one of the top ten bestselling children’s books of all time. Since it was first published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than seventy books, most of which he also wrote, and more than 132 million copies of his books have sold around the world.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is adapted for the stage by director Jonathan Rockefeller, whose production sees four master puppeteers weave their way through Eric Carle’s stories, bringing to life 75 magical puppets that faithfully recreate the wonderfully colourful world of Carle’s illustrations.

Jonathan Rockefeller said: “Eric Carle has created a deceptively simple, yet sophisticated introduction to reading through the magic of his iconic collage illustrations and memorable stories. I still have my original copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and to this day can’t help but be enthralled by the stylish and captivating art in Eric’s work.

“For many in the audience, this show will undoubtedly be their very first time at the theatre, so we have been very conscientious to ensure that we have been absolutely faithful to their favourite characters. Our goal is to take the audience on a truly memorable journey, bringing these stories to life through the magic of puppetry, movement and stagecraft. We have a menagerie of larger-than-life puppets, bursting with vibrant colour – it’s astonishing to compare the original illustrations to the puppets and how exact they are.

“When our puppets appear on stage the atmosphere is positively electric – parents and grandparents are swept up in nostalgia, and you can hear peels of laughter and squeals of delight as joy fills the theatre. We can’t wait to bring The Very Hungry Caterpillar to London!”

Eric Carle added: “I am delighted my friends in the UK will soon be able to share the same enjoyment I felt when seeing my characters come to life in the beautiful and enchanting Broadway production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show first premiered in Australia in 2015 before opening in New York at the Acorn Theatre in January 2016. It is currently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, and returns next month for a second run due to popular demand. The New York production broke box office records and attracted celebrities with families including Chelsea Clinton, Emily Blunt, Neil Patrick Harris and Diane Sawyer.

Listings Info
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
The Lowry, Salford
Wed 22– Sat 25 February 2017
11am, 2pm & 5pm
Tickets: £16.50 (Including booking fees)
Family Ticket £50
Box office: 0843 208 6000