This should prove an exciting summer for the lovely people at the Pilot Theatre who are working on their first Shakespeare production. The team who brought us the highly acclaimed Lord of the Flies will be tackling Romeo and Juliet. When I caught up with the York-based team, the director Marcus Romer was said to be still ‘bouncing around’ ideas.  Romeo and Juliet is incredibly current, so expect emphasis on gang warfare and knife crime and the human story. The play starts its two-month tour at its home base the York Theatre Royal on September 10. For details visit

THERE is still time for your students to enter the Foyle Young Poets Award. Last year,  Ink Pellet was blown away by the beauty and excellence of the winning poems. As well as having their poem published in a special volume, the winners will attend a gala day in London and win a week’s course at the Arvon Retreat. One of last year’s winners Ahdam Smart, said: ‘Going on an Arvon course for me was like taking a character from a black and white film to the IMAX cinema. The difference is that, with Arvon, you can carry on wearing the glasses when you leave.’ This year’s judges are Jane Draycott and Luke Kennard, and the closing date for entries is July 31. For further details, look at

AFTER two critically acclaimed summer runs at the National Railway Museum with York Theatre Royal, the breathtaking production of The Railway Children is going to London, transforming the former Eurostar platforms at Waterloo Station. The Railway Children tells the story of how the comfortable lives of three Edwardian children, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are shattered when their father is arrested on suspicion of betraying state secrets. The production starts on July 4 and runs until September 5. For further details telephone 0871 297 0740.

ONCE you’ve played Tony Blair, David Frost and Brian Clough, which other famous male could Michael Sheen possibly tackle? Hamlet, of course! Watch out for details of the Young Vic production next year. I feel a ‘Who is the best Hamlet?’ article coming on!

BEADY Eye is an Associate Company of the Theatre Royal Margate, which is energetically led by artistic director Will Wollen. As well as making the theatre a truly community venue, he is keen to ensure the venue creates an artistic output of its own.  Beady Eye is the brainchild of Kristin Fredricksson, who has created a work that may well one day be the scourge of charades players. Called  Everything Must Go or The Voluntary Attempt to Overcome Necessary Obstacles, it is Kristin’s tribute to her late father, the charismatic artist Karl, using cinefilm, clowning, dance and puppetry.  It plays the Barbican later this month. Keep a beady eye on them.
The good people of Aylesbury will soon be enjoying their new multi-million pound theatre. Part of the active Ambassador Theatre Group, the Waterside Theatre is a beautiful new building  that will serve around 300,000 people. The programme will be an exciting mix of West End shows, comedy, dance, concerts, gigs, pantomime, as well as international opera and ballet. The theatre is also committed to offer a wide education and outreach programme. This is an essential part of the work of a living theatre – and we’re glad of it. We’ll watch with interest.

HERE’S something to look forward to in autumn – the Manchester Literature Festival which takes place between 14 and 25 October. Follow the news on

FINALLY, back to summer and that perennial summer joy – A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Catch the show from Oddsocks, who will perform their high-energy version from their Elizabethan pageant wagon. The performance includes live music, circus skills, hunting dogs and audience participation. The tour kicks off on June 12th and runs throughout the summer. A real travelling troupe! Check out Oddsocks are just one of the scores of theatre groups that will be entertaining the summer crowds, come rain or shine. We’re looking forward to The Changeling’s Merry Wives of Windsor. But check your local listings for news.