Spring season offers a variety of shows

Cinderella On Ice is one of the productions at the Kings Theatre, Southsea this spring (April 4-8)
Cinderella On Ice is one of the productions at the Kings Theatre, Southsea this spring (April 4-8)
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REVIEW: Beauty and The Beast at Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham

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There’s no denying it; 2012 is going to be a big year for anniversaries, national events, and those little known games called the Olympics. But the theatres in the area aren’t holding back, with a host of plays and musicals to keep audiences entertained this coming spring.

One anniversary that is of particular significance is the Charles Dicken’s bicentenary. February 7 will be 200 years since the birth of the Portsmouth-born world-famous author, and celebrations will be taking place across the city to mark the day.

One Off Productions brings David Copperfield to the Kings Theatre, Southsea from February 7-11.

On the other side of the city the Groundlings Theatre, Portsea will hold a Dickens Week from January 30 until February 6, with Victorious Victorians, a Victorian Childhood Workshop, Twisted Expectations, and a Dickens Ball.

Aside from that the theatre has planned productions of Jo’s War, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Romeo and Juliet, and Titanic 100.

The Russian Ice Stars will return to the Kings Theatre, Southsea with Cinderella On Ice at the start of April, with the national tour of Chicago, starring Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ali Bastian and singer Bernie Nolan arriving in March.

The theatre will also be showing magician Paul Daniels, Brendon Cole Live & Unjudged, and the classic British comedy, Doctor In The House.

Another theatre known for it’s big national touring productions is the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton. For two weeks it will be home to the seven Tony Award winning musical South Pacific starring Samantha Womack, but soon after the Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia will be performing a selection of classic ballets.

Other performances at the Mayflower Theatre include Dreamboats and Petticoats, Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy, Calendar Girls, The King and I, Dirty Dancing, and Oliver.

Further afield the Chichester Festival Theatre may not have announced it’s spring/summer season yet, but it still has plenty to offer with Swallows and Amazons, Yes, Prime Minister at the end of January, and Carl Rose Opera’s return with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe in February.

For more information contact the Kings Theatre on (023) 9282 8282 or go to kings-southsea.com. Groundlings Theatre on (023) 9273 7370 or go to groundlings.co.uk. Mayflower Theatre on (023) 8071 1811 or go to mayflower.org.uk. Chichester Festival Theatre on (01243) 781312 or go to cft.org.uk.

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

Speaking of anniversaries, two theatres in the area are hitting milestone birthdays this year.

The Ferneham Hall in Fareham is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary since its opening in 1982. There will be an open day later on in the year, as well as a couple of surprises.

For more information call Ferneham Hall, Fareham on (01329) 824864 or go to fernehamhall.co.uk.

But similarly another big birthday is being celebrated by one of the prestigious theatres in the area, as Chichester Festival Theatre turns 50.

Having quickly grown beyond the ‘tent in the park’ it started out as in 1962, the theatre has applied to create a whole new building for extra space during the summer season this year.

It has also applied for planning permission to modernise and refurbish the existing buildings.

For more information call Chichester Festival Theatre on (01243) 781312 or go to cft.org.uk.