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  1. Published on: 04/05/2021 09:35 AMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Following its critically acclaimed sell-out premiere at Liverpool Theatre Festival in September, Swan Song, a revised comedy by acclaimed playwright Jonathan Harvey, is heading to Southport to re-open the Southport Little Theatre to live audiences as part of a northern tour.

    It's a one-man play starring Andrew Lancel, is directed by BAFTA award-winning director Noreen Kershaw and produced by Bill Elms.

    The play will re-open the theatre on Monday 5th July at 7.30pm and tickets are on sale now! This will be the first live performances at the Southport Little Theatre since closing in March 2020 when the Youth Theatre performed Swallows & Amazons. Swan Song is also performing at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool, Dukes Theatre in Lancaster, and City Varieties in Leeds. All venues will adhere to the current restrictions set out by the Government and will have all necessary procedures in play to create a safe environment to watch the show.

    Andrew Lancel first performed at the Southport Little Theatre in 1989, playing life changing roles like Alan Strang in Equus and Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing. Andrew lived and grew up in the town and was always a regular visitor to the theatre, having watched many plays there as boy, and so his successful acting career began.

    The former Rufford man is no stranger to audiences. Well established on the national theatre scene, Andrew is also widely known for his television roles as DI Neil Manson in The Bill and super-villain Frank Foster in Coronation Street. He was three times nominated for a national TV award and won a British Soap Award in 2012 for Coronation Street. He has twice played Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein on stage to great critical acclaim, first in Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles (also produced by Bill Elms) which premiered in Liverpool and went on to play London’s West End, as well as playing Epstein in the national tour of Cilla The Musical, Bill Kenwright’s stage adaptation of the TV series written by Jeff Pope. He recently appeared in the Royal Variety Show and Casualty for BBC and has just commenced filming The Thief, His Wife And The Canoe for ITV.

    He told QLocal: “The Little Theatre has always had a special place in my heart, and I’ve been going there with my mum for decades. I met some of my closest friends there and have always admired its output and history.

    “It’s a really classy venue and we are delighted to be bringing this funny, moving and very timely piece to reopen the theatre. I’m very excited to see what the SDC and Southport make of Dave Titswell!”

    Swan Song is a bittersweet comedy written by Jonathan Harvey. Set in Liverpool, it is Christmas 1997, the world is changing and in the staff room, Gay, forty-something, English teacher Dave Titswell finds that not all change is welcome. He has a crush, but life, love, and work are never straight forward for Dave. Will a school trip to The Lakes change things for the better, or make things decidedly worse? Swan Song will make audiences laugh, but equally pull at the heartstrings.

    Jonathan Harvey adapted the 70-minute play specially for Andrew Lancel at Liverpool Theatre Festival to play the solo role of Dave Titswell. Due to critical acclaim, the play will now perform at venues across the UK.

    Producer of Swan Song and Artistic Director of Liverpool Theatre Festival, Bill Elms said: “Swan Song is a funny, clever and inspiring production which opened the inaugural Liverpool Theatre Festival. Andrew Lancel, Jonathan Harvey, and Noreen Kershaw are an incredible blend of creative talent, and the play went down a storm in Liverpool. It is such a lovely piece that I approached Andrew and the team with the idea of touring. People are excited for the return of live theatre – and we’re excited to give them that experience back after such a long time with a really special production.”

    Award-winning Jonathan Harvey’s credits include Gimme Gimme Gimme; Murder Most Horrid; Coronation Street; Call The Midwife; and Tracey Ullman’s Show. His plays include Beautiful Thing, Corrie, Canary, Hushabye Mountain, Babies, Boom Bang A Bang’ and Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club. He also wrote the 2001 stage musical Closer to Heaven with the Pet Shop Boys and its sequel Muzik. He has won the John Whiting Award, the George Devine Award, two Manchester Evening News Awards, an Evening Standard Award, two British Soap Awards and a Writers Guild of Great Britain Award.

    Jonathan added: “Swan Song is a comedy about a teacher who’s trying to hold onto his dignity while the education system crumbles around him – and I’m thrilled Andrew is playing Dave. I’m delighted to also be working with Noreen again, she directed many of my Corrie scripts and my last episode of Call The Midwife. As the original Shirley Valentine, Noreen definitely knows a thing or two about one person shows.”

    Noreen Kershaw’s directing credits include Our Girl, Moving On, Scott & Bailey, Emmerdale, Shameless, Heartbeat and Coronation Street. She is also known for acting in Life On Mars, Brookside, and Watching. Noreen also originated the title role of Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre.

    Facebook: /SwanSongOnStage, Twitter: @SwanSongPlay, Hashtags: #DaveTitswell #SwanSong

    Watch it at Hoghton Street, Southport, PR9 0PA, Monday 5 July, performance time: 7.30pm, show duration: 70 minutes (no interval)

    Tickets on sale now, book here: www.littletheatresouthport.co.uk

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    Contact us with your news. Mob/Txt on 0754 3955 841 ormskirk@qnews.co.uk



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