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October Theatre Highlights on South Bank


Transport yourself to the Southern States of the US of A this month with this rousing musical based on a true story about a group of young lads who boarded a train, only to have the journey change their lives, and the face of a America, forever. Arriving in the UK for the very first time, this Kander and Ebb classic explores a devastating journey and chronicles the young boys’ fight to defend their innocence. The musical reflects the story of a landmark legal case that highlighted the problem of racial discrimination in the US judicial system. Whilst travelling on a freight train, a group of white boys accused the Scottsboro’ Boys of attacking them and sexually assaulting two white girls. That was it. No question about it. The Scottsboro’ boys were arrested and all but one sentenced to death. The unfair trial outraged many in the more liberal north and a battle ensued to secure the boys a retrial. Whether it was granted and whether they were freed, you will have to find out for yourself. This passionate and empowering musical plays at the Young Vic until 21 December.

For more information, and to book tickets, click here.


If you like your drama in the style of TV thrillers such as The Returned and The Killing, we predict that The Events is the play for you. This new play from Scottish playwright, David Greig, is lead by Claire, a local vicar and leader of the church choir in this small and tight knit community. One fateful day Claire witnesses the murder of one of her choir members. She makes it her personal mission to seek answers from the boy who committed the horrific crimes and in the process, both Claire and the audience, learn about human ability to fathom the unfathomable and stand up to adversity in the face of atrocity. One of the most interesting aspects of this new production is that each performance is accompanied by music from a local choir.

For more information, and to book tickets, click here.


Currently taking the Lyttleton Theatre by storm is another new musical, The Light Princess. This new musical was guaranteed to be a hit when two heavyweights of the music and theatre worlds joined forces. Through music and lyrics by written multi-Grammy nominee Tori Amos, and direction from Olivier award winner Marianne Elliott, the story navigates the emotional territory surrounding themes of grief, rebellion, and the power of love. Prince and Princess, Althea and Digby, live in two opposing kingdoms but have more in common than their warring realms can ever imaging. Both struck by extreme grief upon losing their mothers, they retreat into their own silent worlds, void of happiness. When Digby declares war on Althea’s kingdom, she defies her father and goes out to face her demons. Upon encountering Digby on isolated land, the two royals find a part of themselves in each other and begin an affair. But to find true love, they must confront their haunting past.

For more information, and to book tickets, click here.


Outside in The Shed, it’s a whole other world. This October, transport yourself to rural China and embark on a journey with our protagonist, Sunny. Having grown up on a rural farm, Sunny becomes curious about an urban life and secures herself a job in a factory in the big city. She expects that fortune and happiness await her, but her journey may not be as smooth as she hopes. The play alludes to hot topics in contemporary Chinese culture such as a willingness to forget the past and a perhaps naive belief in a future that will bring guaranteed happiness. Sunny’s factory surroundings highlight the problem of appalling working conditions and the treatment of workers from other regions as second class citizens. Sunny perseveres and works her way up the ranks to a higher position. But when she eventually returns to visit her home village, will she be lauded for her hard work, or lambasted for her new urban attitudes?

For more information, and to book tickets, click here.


James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave play warring lovers Benedick and Beatrice in Shakespeare’s timeless comedy Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Mark Rylance.While young lovers Claudio and Hero have their forthcoming nuptials threatened by the resentful scheming of a Prince, marriage seems out of the question for reluctant lovers Beatrice and Benedick in this witty comedy about the never ending search for perfect love. James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave recently starred in Driving Miss Daisy both in the West End and on Broadway and will reunite on The Old Vic stage to play these iconic roles for the first time. We sent our guest contributor, Andy Currums to review the play, and what he uncovered was an interesting relationship between Rylance and Shakespeare, especially with regards this particular play. Read more, here.

For more information, and to book tickets, click here.


This month, the National Theatre reaches the ripe old age of 50. Having set many theatrical milestones on its long journey, this particular birthday is a cause for celebration. What you may not know is that, before the iconic brutalist structure made its mark on the riverfront, the National Theatre actually found its home in the building that now houses the Old Vic. To celebrate its older sister’s 50th, the Old Vic is hosting a special one day seminar. Sessions will trace the birth of the idea, the search for a suitable site for a national theatre, reminiscences from those working at the Old Vic under Olivier's direction and a look at how national theatres developed abroad. The seminar will also include tours behind the scenes of three of London’s best theatres.

For more information, and to book tickets, click here.