Manchester Mind's Eye News 2019 | Anne Hornsby – Mind’s Eye Description Services, UK
  • Anne Hornsby | Mind's Eye
  • Anne Hornsby | Mind's Eye
  • Anne Hornsby | Mind's Eye
  • Anne Hornsby | Mind's Eye

Mind's Eye News 2019

Summertime and the shows need describing..

First on our list and last show of Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s current season is The Hired Man, on 3rd July, a Hull Truck Theatre co-production set in Cumberland in 1898 and based on the Melvyn Bragg novel with music by Howard Goodall. The Hired Man is a story of love and betrayal, set against a backdrop of English country traditions being swept away as a new century faces the gathering storm of war.

On 4th July the Calendar Girls tour reaches Nottingham Theatre Royal. Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s award-winning musical comedy tells the true story of a group of Yorkshire ladies who achieved something extraordinary. Don’t miss this new musical comedy that The Times described as ‘pure gold’.


At Bradford Alhambra on 6 th July is Amélie, the story of an astonishing young woman who secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness. But when a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart. Amélie, played by the delightful Audrey Brisson, is based on the much loved five-time Oscar-nominated film. Although times are hard for dreamers, Amélie is someone to believe in.

Also on 6th July, at Leeds Grand Theatre, is Grease, a new staging of the classic Fifties musical starring Peter Andre alternating with Strictly winner Ore Oduba. And the third show for Mind’s Eye on 6 th July is steamy musical The Bodyguard at Wolverhampton Grand. We will always love The Bodyguard!


On 13th July we provide audio description for the world premiere of SWIM - a brand new show with live music, videography and playful, intimate storytelling, This is an immersive experience about isolation, being held and just jumping into really cold water.

For the Manchester International Festival, we audio describe The Nico Project. From her 1967 debut with The Velvet Underground to her premature death just two decades later, Nico was one of pop culture’s most enigmatic figures. Now, Maxine Peake (performer) and Sarah Frankcom (director) conjure this visionary artist up from the shadows with a stirring theatrical immersion into her sound, her identity and the world in which she fought to be heard. The AD performance of Nico Project is presented on 17th July at the Stoller Hall, Manchester’s award winning and newest performance space.

Our second description for Manchester International Festival is a collaboration between composer Philip Glass and performer-director Phelim McDermott. Tao of Glass is an exploration of life, loss and a single question: Where does true inspiration come from? Part-concert, part-performance Tao of Glass is presented with an ensemble of musicians and puppeteers, soundtracked by Glass’s mesmerising music and shot through with Improbable’s trademark theatricality. Tao of Glass is presented at the Royal Exchange Theatre on 20 th July.

Also for the Manchester International Festival audio description will be available from 8 July for Atmospheric Memory. For more details contact MIF. The audio description will take you on a tour of this amazing and exciting new installation housed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Castlefield, Manchester.

Little Miss Sunshine

On 18th July at Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre we offer Little Miss Sunshine, the story of a young girl who has her heart set on winning a national beauty contest. This uplifting modern classic celebrates the quirks of every family, the potholes in every road, and the power of overcoming our differences.

On 24th July at Bradford Alhambra we proudly describe the most popular show in our repertoire, Les Miserables, in Cameron Mackintosh’s new staging.

A very different take on the musical is provided by Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre with Scouse Pacific, on 25 th July. This Summer why not get away from it all? Let us take you across the oceans to the exotic uncharted island of Secosu where many years ago shipwrecked stowaway Billy Riley from Walton was washed ashore. Finding himself on an island that was populated mainly by women, Billy made the most of it and now, in 2019, his legacy continues – an island community of Scousers in the South Pacific!

On 27th July at 10.30am at Tate Liverpool, Anne Hornsby will lead a tour of the exhibition, Keith Haring. A part of the legendary New York art scene of the 1980s, Keith was inspired by graffiti, pop art and underground club culture. Visitors to the exhibition will see more than 85 artworks including large, vibrant paintings and drawings. Also on display are posters, photographs, and videos that capture the vibrancy of 1980s New York street culture.

On 3rd August the long-running Motown tour reaches Milton Keynes Theatre. Don’t miss this dramatization of the sound that inspired a generation, the music that moved the world.

There is a Light that Never Goes Out

Also on 3rd August we offer There is a Light That Never Goes Out at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Using 21st-century artefacts and technology, this vivid and passionate production shows how the Luddites helped inspire the birth of Manchester’s radical political identity – and how their long-misunderstood protests against mechanisation remain massively relevant today.

A special Summer treat for children aged three upwards on 15th August is the smash-hit production of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Direct from the West End, this fun-filled adaptation is based on the much-loved book picture by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.

Saturday Night Fever Leeds

Finally, on 31 st August we describe Saturday Night Fever at Leeds Grand Theatre. With one of the bestselling of movie soundtracks all time this is the story of Tony Manero, who escapes the harsh realities of working-class Brooklyn life when he embarks on a reckless, yet thrilling road to dancing success.

June News

Having now been seen by over 30 million theatregoers, Richard O’Brien’s legendary The Rocky Horror Show returns to the UK as part of a sell-out worldwide tour and is being audio described at the Regent Theatre, Stoke, on Friday, 7 June at 17:30.

Also on the same day at 19:45, there is an audio descried performance of Dressed at Home, Manchester. A costume maker, a theatre maker, a singer, and a dancer. All friends since school, telling a true story. After being stripped at gun point, Lydia sets out to redress herself with a new healing set of armour. Lydia now only wears clothes she has made. Dressed is about the power clothes have to define us, to liberate us, to hide us and to embellish us. It is about making something beautiful out of something dark and traumatic. Combining choreography, live sewing, comedy and original music, it is a celebration of female performance and friendship.

Let It Be

Celebrate The Beatles’ meteoric rise to fame at the Bradford Alhambra on Saturday, 8 June at 14:30 with an audio described performance of Let It Be. Direct from the West End, this international hit show celebrates the legacy of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band. Relive The Beatles’ meteoric rise from their humble beginnings to the heights of Beatlemania with live performances of early tracks including ‘Twist and Shout ‘and She Loves You’ as well as global mega-hits ‘Yesterday’, ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Come Together’ and, of course,’ Let It Be’. Plus experience the all-new Let It Be Part 2 – the reunion that never was, set a decade after the group went their separate ways, featuring some of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison’s best-loved solo material. Travel back to the magical sixties and join John, Paul, George and Ringo for an unforgettable night of live music.

Heralded as one of the funniest plays ever written, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is being audio described at the Albert Halls, Bolton, on Wednesday, 12 June at 19:30. Bachelors and best friends, Jack and Algernon, create alter egos to escape their tiresome lives. However, when they both fall in love and attempt to win the hearts of two women, the pair become tangled in a tale of deception, disguise and misadventure. Don't miss the chance to catch this sensational and lavish comedy.

Bill Kenwright’s ’Superb’, ‘Wonderful’ and ‘Brilliant’ production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling family musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is being audio described on Thursday, 13 June at the Leeds Grand at 14:00. Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’, and ‘Any Dream Will Do’.

American Idiot

There are three terrific audio described musicals to choose from on Saturday, 15 June, all at 14:30. At the Bradford Alhambra, you can catch the explosive rock musical American Idiot. Winner of two Tony Awards® and the 2010 Grammy Award winner for Best Musical Show Album, American Idiot is the story of three boyhood friends, each searching for meaning in a post 9/11 world. The show features the music of Green Day with the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong and book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer. This thrilling musical has had Green Day fans enraptured and introduced a generation of theatregoers to their powerful and moving musical style. Starring singer-songwriter Luke Friend (X-Factor), Tom Milner (The Voice and Waterloo Road) and introducing Sam Lavery as Whatsername.

Avenue Q is back and you can catch it at the Wolverhampton Grand. Following a smash- hit run in 2012, the fur-lariously laugh-out-loud musical is back by popular demand. Catch- up with all your favourite (and unforgettable) characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life’s burning issues – like what do you do with a BA in English? How do you find your purpose? And is the internet really just for… never mind. Missed all the fuzz last time round? Don’t let your life suck – book now!

The hilarious and heart-warming comedy, Educating Rita, is at the Theatre Royal Norwich. It won the Olivier award when it was produced in London’s West End by the RSC and was adapted into the multi award-winning film which starred Julie Walters and Michael Caine.

Lost Soul

Dave Kirby is back with a brand new sequel to Lost Soul, the huge smash hit comedy that has been seen by more than 50,000 people and the new show is being audio described at the Royal Court Liverpool, on Wednesday, 19 June at 20:00. Smigger’s having a mid-life crisis. All he wants to do is roll back the years and dance to 70's soul music with Donna, Terry and Pat. But since the grandkid came along, Donna hasn’t been interested in their usual Sunday nights in town (or much else). Their daughter hasn’t helped, lumbering them with the baby most weekends while she's out with the dad. Well, maybe the dad (it’s a one in four chance). Smigger's had enough, his head’s wrecked and he’s not having it any more. Smigger, Donna, Terry and Pat will take us from Scottie road to Pontins Prestatyn to Liverpool’s over-40's Sunday night pub scene for endless laughter set to a 70's soul soundtrack that will have you dancing out of the Royal Court and strutting straight down to Smokie Mo’s.

On Saturday, 22 June, there are two audio described shows to choose from, both at 14:30. Based on the Oscar-winning film, Little Miss Sunshine is at the Bradford Alhambra. The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile in to their rickety yellow camper van. Can it survive the 800-mile trip from New Mexico to California – and more importantly, can they? This uplifting, modern classic celebrates the quirks of every family, the potholes in every road, and the power of overcoming our differences. This EUROPEAN PREMIERE stars Mark Moraghan (Coronation Street, Holby City, 9 to 5), Lucy O’Byrne (Evita, Les Misérables, The Sound of Music), two-time Olivier-award nominee Paul Keating (Little Shop of Horrors, The Full Monty), Gabriel Vick (Avenue Q, Les Misérables, Eastenders) and Ian Carlyle (The Lion King, We Will Rock You).

Discover why Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has kept people guessing for so long, at the Theatre Royal Nottingham. It has become the longest running show of any kind in the history of theatre. Gwyneth Strong, best known for her role in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses in which she starred in the role of Cassandra, will perform as Mrs Boyle with further star casting to be announced.

Book Of mormon

Now with sold-out productions in London, on Broadway, and in North America, Melbourne and Sydney, The Book of Mormon has become a worldwide sensation and is being audio described on Wednesday, 26 June at the Palace Theatre Manchester at 19:30. This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent on a mission to a place that's about as far from Salt Lake City as you can get. Laugh out loud funny with insanely catchy music, you will be humming for months on end! Be sure to catch Book of Mormon whilst you can!

Ending this month of audio described theatre is Hobson’s Choice on Saturday, 29 June at the Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester at 14:30. ‘It’s a man’s world and you girls should keep within your boundaries and do as you’re told.’ If tailor Hari Hobson isn’t bossing his daughters about in his Northern Quarter workshop, he’s putting the world to rights in his local pub. His oldest daughter, Durga, is the brains behind the operation. But when Hobson says that Durga is too valuable to lose and must give up all idea of getting married, she takes her fate into her own hands and opens a rival shop nearby. Cutting through generational divides, it shows that in family life, some stories never get old – and some things never change.

We look forward to welcoming you to a performance soon!

May Presents…

Liverpool’s Royal Court takes on another classic with their own (non-musical) version of My Fair Lady, audio described on Wednesday, 8 May at 20:00.

My Fair Lady

Mary is in the Royal on her way out. She’s not too bothered though, she’s had a good innings. Came from nothing and ended up running her husband’s company – one of the biggest scaffold-ers in the North West. There’s a tidy amount to leave behind and just her only child, Higson, to leave it to. Nice lad but a bit of a biff. He needs a good woman to take him in hand. A good Scouse woman…….

Lizzie runs the posh florist in Liverpool 1. She's from old money in Cheshire but now has no money in Fairfield - she’s got airs and graces that she can’t afford. She and Higson hit it off, but she needs to pass herself off as a Scouser to land the jackpot. She’s going to need some lessons, lucky that her mate Sandra is there to lend a hand. Come and join us to see if Lizzie can blag her way in Liverpool society or if she gets sussed as a wool and told to do one!

Hailed as ‘the theatrical event of 2018’, the multi-award winning Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King And I is embarking on a World Tour direct from its record breaking sold out season at The London Palladium and is being audio described at the Opera House Manchester on Thursday, 9 May at 19:30.

It is the greatest musical from the golden age of musicals – adored by the public and critics alike - with one of the finest scores ever written including; Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You, and Shall We Dance, featuring a company of over 50 world-class performers and a full-scale orchestra. A celebration of the lavish heritage of the very best in romantic musical theatre from an unparalleled multi-award-winning creative team, directed by Tony Award winner Bart Sher (South Pacific & My Fair Lady - Broadway). This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness this glorious production.

Blood Brothers

Willy Russell’s legendary Blood Brothers is being audio described on Saturday, 11 May at 14:30 at the Leeds Grand. Starring Olivier Award nominated British actress Linzi Hateley (Mamma Mia, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Les Misérables, Chicago, Grease and Mary Poppins) in the seminal role of Mrs Johnstone. The superb score includes Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit Tell Me It’s Not True.

On the same day and at the same time, there is an audio described performance of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita at the Bradford Alhambra. When married hairdresser Rita enrols on an Open University course to expand her horizons, little does she realise where the journey will take her. Her tutor Frank is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and borderline alcoholic, who’s less than enthusiastic about taking Rita on, but the two soon realise how much they have to teach each other.

This hilarious and heart-warming comedy won the Olivier award when it was produced in London’s West End by the RSC and was adapted into the multi award winning film, which starred Julie Walters and Michael Caine. Written by one of our greatest ever playwrights, and starring one of our best loved actors Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and introducing Jessica Johnson as Rita.

On 14 th of May at 10.30am you have a chance to catch the enlightening and moving exhibition FACING OUT which is at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Artist Lucy Burscough has painted portraits of survivors of facial cancer, and their surgeon. Each participant has been invited to select works from the Whitworth’s collection to be exhibited alongside their portraits. Audio description attenders will have the opportunity to touch two sculptures on display, and to listen to the audio stories of those who are featured. Highly recommended and admission is free.

Sweeney Todd

The malevolent tale of Sweeney Todd comes lurching back to life in the masterly musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler at the Liverpool Everyman, audio described on Wednesday, 15 May at 19:30.

England is choking. Its landscape is blackened. This is the rotten core of the decaying nineteenth century. As the rich sit back, the workers are left to forage for society’s scraps. But in the big city – the unconcealed pinnacle of this desperate misery – one man is plotting. From his fearsome barber’s chair, he’s planning the bloodiest, juiciest, most succulent act of revenge ever seen. The story of Sweeney Todd’s cut-throat vengeance – and Mrs Lovett’s curiously toothsome pies – has left a curdling, crimson trail for over 150 years. So sit down, tuck in and enjoy the revolutionary taste of a tale with a blood red heart.

This year’s LIGHT NIGHT LIVERPOOL takes place on Friday 17 th May. Join Anne for a whistle stop tour around some of the many events and exhibitions on offer during this special evening with its festival and party feel. If there is anything particular you fancy visiting, let us know in advance and we’ll try to include it during the evening.

A dazzling and dynamic musical in Broadway history, West Side Story, will be audio described at the Royal Exchange Manchester on Saturday, 18 May at 14:30. All tickets are sold, but you could try to ring for returns. The show is being brought back next year with an audio described performance on 23 May, so please book early for this one.

'Could it be? Yes, it could. Something’s coming – something good.' This show marries stunning choreography to a matchless songbook – Maria, America, Somewhere, Tonight – as it translates ROMEO AND JULIET to 1950s Manhattan. It’s the Jets and the Sharks, two rival gangs who make New York’s mean streets even meaner. But it’s also passionate, tender and deeply romantic – the greatest love story ever told. Reimagined for the round with new choreography by Aletta Collins (SWEET CHARITY) and orchestrations from Bernstein specialist Jason Carr, Sarah Frankcom’s production follows Royal Exchange hits such as SWEET CHARITY and GUYS AND DOLLS and THE PRODUCERS, as it brings a whole new energy to a bona fide Broadway classic.

Strangers on a Train Set

On Sunday, 19 May at 14:00, there is an audio described performance of Strangers on a Train Set at The Lowry Theatre. Challenging a youth to turn down his music, Irene Sparrow, inventor of the left-handed crochet hook (patent pending, as seen on Dragon’s Den) finds herself under suspicion of murder after the train emerges from a tunnel with the young man dead. But this is no ordinary train, each passenger is reading a book, each book is a portal into a parallel universe of train related crime fiction. With clever use of projection, LipService give you a whistle stop tour that will leave you breathless and racing for the refreshment coach. So don’t blow your stack, this show is just the ticket to help you let off steam and overuse many more railway metaphors. A show that appeals to crime aficionados and narrow gauge railway enthusiasts alike.

The touring production of Les Misérables is being audio described at the Milton Keynes Theatre on Wednesday, 22 May at 14:30. It tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.

And finally this month, at the Oldham Coliseum on Thursday, 30 May at 19:30, there’s a chance to eavesdrop on what may have happened at the Queen’s infamous weekly meetings with Margaret Thatcher, in Handbagged Entertainingly told and packed with satirical humour, the two women collide as they share their opposing views of Britain’s role in the world. With a supporting cast of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Geoffrey Howe, Denis Thatcher and others, all played by one actor! Handbagged is funny, sharp and mischievous. It became a huge West End hit and went on to be nominated for Best Comedy at the 2015 Olivier Awards.

Springtime for Theatre and Audio Description!

Kinky Boots

With songs by Grammy® and Tony® winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots takes you from the factory floor to the glamorous catwalks of Milan at the Liverpool Empire on Wednesday, 3 April, audio described at 19:30. Kayi Ushe will be putting on the boots to play Lola following his award winning, critically acclaimed performances in Australia. He is joined by Paula Lane as Lauren, best known for her role as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street and West End star Joel Harper-Jackson will play Charlie Price. If you miss it, you can catch it again being audio described by Anne Hornsby at the Leeds Grand on Wednesday, 17 April at 19:30 or at Nottingham Theatre Royal on Thursday 6 June at 19.30.

Full of passion and romance, heart-pounding music and sensational sexy dancing, the record-breaking production of Dirty Dancing will be audio described by Anne Hornsby at the Wolverhampton Grand on Saturday, 6 April at 14:30. The classic story of Baby and Johnny returns, following three blockbuster West End runs and three hit UK tours, featuring the much-loved songs Hungry Eyes, Hey! Baby, Do You Love Me? and the heart - stopping (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.


There are three audio described performances taking place on Saturday, 13 April. You can catch Joseph and The Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Milton Keynes Theatre at 14:00 described by Jonathan Nash; the sensational hit West End musical Motown at the Alhambra Theatre Bradford at 14:30 (and in Nottingham on Saturday, 27 April at 14:30) described by Anne Hornsby, or The Lady Vanishes at the Regent Theatre Stoke at 14:30 described by Chris Berry.

Motown the Musical

When Socialite Iris’ unexpected travelling companion suddenly disappears, Iris is perplexed to find that all the other passengers deny ever having seen her. But with the help of musician Max, she turns detective, and together they try to solve the mystery of why the lady vanished… Building on the phenomenal decade-long success of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, The Classic Thriller Theatre Company presents a quick-witted and devilishly fun thriller, based on the 1939 Hitchcock classic, ranked as one of the best British films of all time. The cast features Lorna Fitzgerald, fresh from her shock departure from the role of Abi Branning in BBC’s EastEnders, Matt Barber, Atticus Aldridge in Downtown Abbey and Robert Duncan, Drop The Dead Donkey.

Based on the 1980 phenomenal pop culture film, Fame The Musical, the international smash hit sensation, will be audio described by Pat Hayes on Saturday, 20 April at the Regent Theatre Stoke at 14:30. It follows the lives of students at New York’s High School For The Performing Arts as they navigate their way through the highs and lows, the romances and the heartbreaks and the ultimate elation of life. Starring Keith Jack (Any Dream Will Do, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat), Mica Paris (Love Me Tender, Chicago, Mama I Want to Sing) and Jorgie Porter (Hollyoaks, Dancing on Ice).


The smash-hit production of Annie comes to Bradford for one week only direct from London’s West End and is being audio described on Wednesday, 24 April at 14:00 by Anne Hornsby. This ‘glorious revival’ (The Times) stars award-winning actress Anita Dobson (Eastenders, Wicked, Loose Women, Chicago, Call The Midwife) as the tyrannical Miss Hannigan! With its Tony® award-winning book and score, including the unforgettable songs It’s The Hard-Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll love it!


Inspired by a true story, Peter Shaffer’s gripping psychological thriller, Equus, is being audio described by Chris Berry on Saturday, 27 April at 13:30 at The Lowry. It explores the complex relationships between devotion, myth and sexuality. When teenager Alan Strang’s pathological fascination leads him to blind six horses in a Hampshire stable, psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart is tasked with uncovering the motive behind the boy’s violent act. As Dysart delves into Alan’s world of twisted spirituality, passion and sexuality, he begins to question his own sanity and motivations in a world driven by consumerism. “Haunting, engrossing theatre… a must-see” WhatsOnStage

Tender, acute and wryly funny, Visitors is being audio described by Anne at the Oldham Coliseum on Wednesday, 1 May at 19:30. In a rural farmhouse, a family is falling apart. Stephen can’t afford to put his mother into care; Arthur can’t afford to stop working and look after his wife. When a young stranger with blue hair moves in to care for Edie as her mind unravels, the entire family are forced to question what the future holds and who gets to choose how they live their lives. This is a story about ageing, care and families, but most of all an ode to life-long love.

At HOME Manchester on Friday, 3 May at 19:30, there is an audio described performance by Anne of Richard III. “What do I fear? Myself?” After decades of civil war, the nation hangs in the balance. Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to change the course of history. Richard was not born to be a king, but he’s set his sights on the crown. So begins his campaign of deceit, manipulation and violence – and he’s killing it. Yet, behind his ambition lies a murderous desire to be loved.

Ghost The Musical comes to Bradford and is being audio described by Anne at the Alhambra on Saturday, 4 May at 14:30. The movie has proven to be one of cinema’s biggest all-time hits. Starring the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg it was the highest grossing film of 1990 and won an Oscar for screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin who has adapted his screenplay for this musical. The movie and the musical feature The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody alongside many more terrific songs co-written by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart. ‘a roaring success. The house was brought down with thunderous applause’ The Gazette

We look forward to seeing you at a show soon!

March News

Our March programme of audio described shows begins on 1st March at 7.30pm at HOME, Manchester. Wise Children is a new adaptation of Angela Carter’s great last novel, a big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and heartbreak and a celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope. Show girls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity – and butterflies by the thousand. Emma Rice (Romantics Anonymous; Tristan & Yseult) brings her unique, exuberantly impish vision, launching her new theatre company of the same name. “A life-enhancing, brilliantly uninhibited, all-singing and dancing adaptation… Joyous”The Observer

The acclaimed tour of Kinky Boots marches on, reaching Bristol on 6th March at 7.30pm. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the shoe factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola - a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos. With songs by Grammy and Tony winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots takes you from the factory floor to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Kayi Ushe will be putting on the boots to play Lola following his award winning, critically acclaimed performances in Australia. He is joined by Paula Lane as Lauren, best known for her role as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street and West End star Joel Harper-Jackson will play Charlie Price.

The Bodyguard

The re-launched tour of The Bodyguard is at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool on 7th March at 5pm, still starring the excellent Alexandra Burke. A former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard is hired to protect a superstar from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge – what they don't expect is to fall in love. A breathtakingly romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a whole host of irresistible classics including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, Greatest Love Of All, Million Dollar Bill, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and one of the greatest hit songs of all time – I Will Always Love You.

The Band

The Band is at Milton Keynes Theatre on 8th March at 5pm. With story by award winning writer Tim Firth, The Band is for anyone who grew up with a boyband and about how those songs became the soundtrack to their lives. For five 16 year old girls in 1993, the band is everything. 25 years on, we are reunited with this group of friends as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes. Featuring the music of Take That, Britain’s most successful boyband of all time, whose songs include Never Forget, Back For Good, A Million Love Songs, Greatest Day, The Flood, Relight My Fire, Shine & Rule the World and starring the winners from the BBC’s Let it Shine, Five to Five. The Band is now the fastest selling musical theatre tour of all time. Don’t miss your chance to see this breathtaking brand new production first before it hits London’s West End. Please note, some strong language in the show.

With the Octagon Theatre, Bolton closed for rebuilding, Arthur Miller’s The Last Yankee is presented just across the road at Bolton Library with our audio described performance on 11th March at 7.30pm. Two men visit their wives in a psychiatric hospital. Both women struggle with depression and addiction to prescription drugs. This funny, compassionate and profoundly moving play gives hope to us all.

Facing Out: Life after treatment for facial cancer is at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester with an AD tour by Anne Hornsby on 12th March at 10.30am. This is an exhibition of portraits of people who have experienced facial cancers together with their choice of artworks from the Whitworth collections. The portraits have been created in public by Lucy Burscough during her residency at Maggie’s Cancer Support Centre at The Christie Hospital. Centre visitors were welcome to chat to Lucy about her work as they watched the paintings develop. As someone who looks at faces for her job, Burscough is interested in what happens when someone experiences cancer which alters their appearance. If the face changes, how does that affect one’s sense of self? Becoming the subject of a portrait under these circumstances is an empowering act of defiance and welcoming people to look at one’s face, scars and all, is an invitation to acknowledge a shared humanity and triumph over this indiscriminate illness.

Motown The Musical is at the Opera House, Manchester on 13th March at 7.30pm. The songs. The sound. The story. The tale of Motown Records and the man who fought to create something more than just a record label and brought to us music that defined a generation. This is Motown the Musical! This is the next chapter in Motown's incredible history and is an experience you'll never forget. Featuring over 50 classic hits including 'My Girl', 'What's Going On', 'Dancing in the Street', 'I heard it through the Grapevine', and 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'.

On 18th March at 5pm at the Portico Library, Manchester is an audio described tour by Anne Hornsby of Fancy Pants. In this exhibition, books from the Portico Library’s collection are presented alongside new artworks that examine how dress and costume’s relationships with gender, class, power and identity have always been complicated. Artists Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Ruby Kirby, Lindsey Mendick and Camille Smithwick offer expressive works that explore how dress and costume connect with celebration, ritual and morality. These works are complemented by volumes from the collection. A fascinating exhibition and an opportunity to experience this historic Manchester venue.

Over at Manchester’s Palace Theatre on 19th March at 7.30pm is Les Miserables. After nearly a decade since the last sell-out UK tour, Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed Broadway production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical Les Misérables will tour the UK in 2019. This brilliant new staging has taken the world by storm and has been hailed as ‘Les Mis for the 21st Century’. With scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, the magnificent score of Les Misérables includes the songs: I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Bring Him Home, One Day More, Master Of The House and many more. Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 45 countries and in 22 languages, Les Misérables is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular musicals. Storm the barricades for a ticket. Please note: The performance includes gunfire, smoke and flashing light effects

At Liverpool on 20th March at 7.30pm we present Brick Up 2, the Royal Court Theatre’s follow up to the show that brought the house down in 2017. The tunnels are blocked, the Runcorn Bridge is rubble and The Kingsway Three have completed their mission. But The Wirral are not going to take this lying down! Led by Ann Twacky, a hardy bunch of the Wirralians are rising up and calling for Birkenhexit. They don’t want the tunnels back and they are prepared to go to extremes to keep them shut. They can do just fine on their own, thank you very much. Written by Nicky Allt and Dave Kirby. Tickets will shift faster than Boris Johnson on a Grab-a-Granny night!

At the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester is Barber Shop Chronicles.One day, six cities, a thousand stories. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops. Sometimes they have haircuts, sometimes they listen, more often than not they talk. Barber shops are confession boxes, political platforms, preacher-pulpits and football pitches... places to go for unofficial advice, and to keep in touch with the world. Barber Shop Chronicles is a heart-warming, hilarious and insightful play, set in Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, Accra and London. The play invites the audience into a uniquely masculine environment where the banter may be barbed, but the truth always telling. The barbers of these tales are sages, role models and father figures, They are the glue that keeps men together. ★ ★ ★ ★ 'This wonderful new play is a revelation' The Times (National Theatre 2017). Barber Shop Chronicles will be described by Eleanor Walk on 23rd February at 2.30pm.

Benidorm Live

At Leeds Grand Theatre on 23rd March, Chris Berry describes Benidorm Live. Starring Jake Canuso (Mateo), Janine Duvitski (Jacqueline), Adam Gillen (Liam), Sherrie Hewson (Joyce Temple-Savage), Shelley Longworth (Sam), Tony Maudsley (Kenneth) and featuring Neptune’s very own Asa Elliott, the official world premiere of Derren Litten's smash-hit ITV comedy Benidorm is set to bring sunshine and smiles to Leeds in the stage debut production of the hugely popular TV show. ITV’s award-winning comedy celebrates over a decade of all-inclusive hilarity, having followed the ensemble cast of holiday makers and staff for ten series since it first broadcast in 2007. Book now for a dose of Benidorm sunshine and see your favourite stars from the Solana live on stage for the very first time.

At St Helens Library on 28th March at 2pm and 7pm, The Hard Way is the story of Anna Mitchell, a one-woman show of storytelling and song.

Back at HOME, Manchester and The Funeral Director on 30th March at 7.45pm is a new drama on the theme of Muslim same-sex relationships. For Ayesha, life as the director of a Muslim funeral parlour isn’t always easy, but she has things pretty sorted. She and Zeyd share everything: a marriage, a business, a future. Until Tom walks in to organise his boyfriend’s funeral. A snap moral decision, informed by the values of their community and their faith, has profound consequences. Forced to confront a secret she has hidden even from herself, Ayesha must decide who she is – no matter the cost. Winner of the 2018 Papatango New Writing Prize from 1,384 entries, The Funeral Director is an incisive and heartfelt story of sexuality, gender and religion in 21st century Britain.

Avenue Q

Finally, at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford on 30th March at 2.30pm is the zappy musical Avenue Q. Missed all the fuzz last time round? Don’t let your life suck – book now for this hilarious show. The fur-lariously laugh-out-loud musical is back by popular demand. Catch-up with all your favourite (and unforgettable) characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life’s burning issues – like what do you do with a BA in English? How do you find your purpose? And is the internet really just for….never mind. Created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Co-creator of Book of Mormon). From the producers of Footloose, Flashdance and American Idiot. Suitable for audiences 14+. ‘You’d be a muppet to miss it!’ Edinburgh Evening News

Join Us For A Fabulous February!

Dirty Dancing is back! Exploding with heart-pounding music, breath-taking emotion and sensationally sexy dancing, this show will be audio described at the Alhambra Theatre on Saturday, 2 February at 15:00. Featuring 35 hit songs, including Hungry Eyes, Hey Baby, Do You Love Me? and the heart stopping (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life. Don’t miss your chance to catch this sensational new production! Dirty Dancing will also be audio described at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre on Saturday 6 April at 14.30pm.

Directed by the BAFTA-winning Noreen Kershaw (Coronation Street, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes), A Different Way Home will be audio described at 19:30 on Thursday, 7 February at the Oldham Coliseum. In this deeply moving, funny and astutely observed play, two monologues from a brother and sister living on the outskirts of Manchester tell a powerful story from two wildly different perspectives. Leslie, who has lived with his mother all his life, tells of the events leading up to her death, unwittingly revealing the extent of his loss and his bitterness towards his sister, Maureen. Feeling betrayed and rejected by her family, Maureen tells a different story of grief and isolation. The two powerful voices remind us of the need for families to communicate and for love to transcend prejudice. Both roles within the play will be taken by Coliseum favourite – Kenneth Alan Taylor.

Club Tropicana

Take a trip back to the electric 80s and embark on a summer of love and smash-hit classics, with the audio described performance of Club Tropicana at the Alhambra Theatre on Saturday, 9 February at 14:30. The star cast is led by Joe McElderry (X Factor winner, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Neil McDermott (EastEnders, Eugenius!), Kate Robbins (Spitting Image, ITV’s The Imitation Game, Dinnerladies), Emily Tierney (Eugenius!, Wicked, The Wizard of Oz); and former Sugababe star Amelle Berrabah, making her musical theatre debut.

Welcome to the vibrant Club Tropicana Hotel - the 1980s answer to Love Island - where the drinks are free and the whole family is invited to join the ultimate holiday musical, celebrating all that we love about the 80s. The show is set to a soundtrack of some of the most iconic, chart-topping acts from the 80s, including ABC, Cyndi Lauper, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, a-ha, Culture Club, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Bucks Fizz and Depeche Mode; - experience their hits all performed live on stage. Club Tropicana - Your destination awaits!

More than 10,000 theatre-goers cheered when Jersey Boys made its sell-out premiere in Waterbury in October 2013. Worldwide, more than 24 million people have seen the show that made critics and audiences cheer. Jersey Boys is returning to the Palace Theatre, Manchester, and is being audio described on Tuesday, 12 February at 19:30. The show features the Frankie Valli's and Four Seasons’ hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

Winner of every major Best Musical award, including the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, 'London's hottest musical' (Smooth Radio) Kinky Boots comes to Venue Cymru with the show being audio described on Wednesday, 13 February at 19:30. With songs by Grammy and Tony winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and book by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), this 'dazzling, fabulously sassy and uplifting' (Time Out) musical celebrates a joyous story of Brit grit to high-heeled hit, as it takes you from the factory floor of Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan! West End star Kayi Ushe will be putting on the boots to play Lola. He will be joined by Paula Lane as Lauren, best known for her role as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street, and Joel Harper-Jackson, who recently starred in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time UK tour, will be playing Charlie Price. It’s the ultimate fun night out for you and your loved ones, so book now and experience the energy, joy and laughter of this dazzling show. Don’t worry, if you miss it this time, it is being audio described again on Thursday, 21 February at New Theatre Oxford, at the Bristol Hippodrome on 6 March, at Liverpool Empire on 3 April, at Leeds Grand on 17 April, at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal on 6 June, at Bradford’s Alhambra on 26 October, and at Milton Keynes Theatre on 6 November.

The Animals and Children Took to the Streets

The Animals and Children Took to the Streets will be audio described at Home, Manchester on Thursday, 14 February at 14:30. Welcome to the Bayou, a part of the city feared and loathed wherein lies the infamous Bayou Mansions; a sprawling stinking tenement block, where curtain-twitchers and peeping-toms live side by side, and the wolf… is always at the door. When Agnes Eaves and her daughter arrive late one night, does it signal hope in this hopeless place, or has the real horror only just begun? Seamlessly synchronising live music, performance and storytelling with stunning films and animation, this is the wickedly twisted international hit tale from the multiple award-winning company behind Golem, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and The Magic Flute. Like a giant novel bursting into life, 1927 invite you on a theatrical journey of startling originality.

The smash hit musical Rock of Ages is back in the UK, and is audio described at the Regent Theatre Stoke on Saturday, 16 February at 14:30. Lose yourself in a city and a time where the dreams are as big as the hair, and yes, they can come true! This hilarious musical comedy will have you singing and laughing along with its epic songs, including We Built This City, The Final Countdown, Here I Go Again, Can’t Fight this Feeling and I Want To Know What Love Is, played loud and proud by an awesome live band. Now a global smash with hit seasons on Broadway, London’s West End and Las Vegas and a star- studded Hollywood movie version, we promise you outrageous rock ‘n’ roll debauchery at the biggest party in town!

Yellow Brek Road

Gerry Linford (The Miracle Of Great Homer Street) returns with a brand new comedy that is out of this world! Yellow Brek Road is being audio described on Wednesday, 20 February at 20:00 at the Royal Court, Liverpool.

The Potters have always been happy in their Anfield home, times may have been tough but they can rely on each other. Dot’s turned 21 now and she wants more. Her mates are off to Ibiza but she needs to stay at home to look after her foul-mouthed Nan. It’s just not fair! As night falls beneath a magical full moon her world is turned upside down when a bump to the head sends her spinning away through time and space. She lands on the moon where she meets a host of familiar looking characters, including barmy Uncle Barry and the slimy sod who wants to sell their house from under them. Will she learn her lesson? There’s one thing for certain – there’s no place like home.

Mother Courage and her Children is presented at The Royal Exchange Manchester, in a sharp new version of Brecht's universally celebrated classic, by Anna Jordan, The audio description is on Saturday, 23 February at 14:30.

War rages over decades, but it’s business as usual for Mother Courage. She roams the grid from one army camp to another, her ragtag offspring in tow. Boots, beer, drugs, guns – anything a soldier desires can be bought from off the back of MC’s cart. She’s determined to turn conflict into capital. But what will it cost her? Julie Hesmondhalgh (THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES, WIT, BROADCHURCH) returns to the Royal Exchange as the tenacious Courage.

From the writer of Partition and the award-winning The Chef Show, Glory will be audio described at the Dukes Theatre on Wednesday, 27 February at 19:30.

Meet Dan, Ben and Sami. Three wrestlers compelled to climb over the ropes and into the ring to fight for glory. Three men wrestling with demons, life, each other. Jim ‘Glorious’ Glory used to be a somebody. In the heyday of British wrestling, he was a colossus. Now his empire has crumbled. Through Dan, Ben and Sami, Jim catches a glimpse of resurrection; a chance to re-establish his great name and his decaying gym. But do they want to wrestle and restore Jim’s glory? Or do they have a different fight in mind? Only one hero can emerge.

A Skull in Connemara

We return to the Oldham Coliseum on Thursday, 28 February at 19:30 with an audio described performance of BAFTA and Academy Award-winning Martin McDonagh’s black comedy, A Skull in Connemara.

This show draws you into the unfolding mysteries of an Irish village. Mick is a gravedigger whose wife died under mysterious circumstances some seven years ago. Rumour has it, it was murder. When the time comes to exhume bodies from the Connemara graveyard he finds her bones are missing.

Going into March, Wise Children will be audio described at Home on Friday, 1 March at 19:30. A big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and heartbreak, this is a celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect show girls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity – and butterflies by the thousand.

On Tuesday, 5 March, Arthur Miller’s The Last Yankee will be audio described at the Bolton Library at 19:30. Two men visit their wives in a psychiatric hospital. Both women struggle with depression and addiction to prescription drugs. Once ‘the handsomest pair in town’, Patty and her carpenter husband, Leroy, now struggle to make ends meet whilst trying to create a home for their seven children. John Frick, a wealthy businessman, can’t understand why Karen, ‘a women who has everything she could possibly want’, has inexplicably ‘lost all her optimism’. In a world where so many people experience mental health concerns, Arthur Miller’s funny, compassionate and profoundly moving play gives hope to us all.

Looking ahead to 12 March is an audio described tour of the FACING OUT exhibition at the Whitworth.

With so many shows to choose from, we look forward to seeing you soon!

Meanwhile Anne is off to Kilkenny to work with Arts and Disability Ireland, to train staff and artists in visual impairment awareness and audio description. Representatives from many different galleries and museums will attend the training, ensuring a warm welcome for blind and partially sighted visitors in future.