Friday 11 September 7.30pm
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Icepicks and Violets Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

When asked “Why climb Everest?, George Mallory famously replied “Because it's there.”

But also 'there' was the 22 year old Andrew 'Sandy' Irvine. If this cold, treacherous mountain held any fear for Mallory then Irvine was oblivious and steadfast. Mystery now hangs over them – as heavy as the clouds that draped over their final moments.

George Mallory's legend was assured. But what of his partner Sandy Irvine? The question of whether he will ever be found is unknown – but with him may lay all the answers. His ice pick was discovered placed on a ledge a few feet from the summit, and a single Alpine violet that he had picked at the foot of the mountain was passed on to his sister.

Told in narration, epic verse and song, “Icepicks and Violets” is the first ever musical biography of Mallory and Irvine. Produced by Dean Johnson, who has been called 'the best songwriter in Liverpool’.

Dean Johnson Company
Friday 25 September 7.30pm
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The Doppel Gang Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

A new comedy play by Dominic Hedges, inspired by the legendary Marx Brothers, The Doppel Gang combines the wild wit of iconic comedy giants – Groucho, Harpo and Chico – with generous helpings of British humour and humility.
War wages in Europe, while back in Blighty a group of entertainers battle to save a theatre from closure, by masquerading as The Marx Brothers. As the Blitz tears through London, a hopeless theatre manager, Lombard, persuades a desperate double act, Tommy and Cyril and not-so-convincing male impersonator Rachel to join him in an audacious stunt; one last roll of the dice to save his building and boost morale.

Just Some Theatre
Friday 9 October 7.30pm
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A Wife or The Gallows & Other Telling Tales Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

A new Northern ‘Canterbury Tales’ for family audiences - an evening of six tale-telling misadventures with comic, swashbuckling, sad and bawdy traditional stories, linked through character, music and song in a ‘Canterbury Tales’, story-telling format.
Including popular Northern Tales such as ‘A Snowball in June and Midside Maggie’s Bannock’; ‘The Adventures of Launcelot Errington and his Nephew Mark’ and other unremembered classics! As well as tales from the working roots of the region: fishing, mining and ship building.
An evening to delight, enchant and entertain with music, song and plenty of humour.

Northumberland Theatre Company
Friday 23 October 7.30pm
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Swan Canaries Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

June 1918, and Polly Barton, 18 today, is starting work as a ‘Canary Girl’ (so named because the TNT turns their skin yellow) working in Shell-filling Factory Number 6, Chilwell. Her fiancé is fighting at the Front, but she is reassured by the guidance of his mother, the rambunctious Rose Hill, and her sister Liza. They’re supervised by Polly’s old Sunday school teacher, Mary Maguire. It’s as if their tiny village community has been uprooted and transplanted to work in the biggest munitions factory in England!
The work is tiring, the shifts are long, but the pay is excellent! The women settle in to a pattern of 12-hour shifts, punctuated by sing-songs and sporting events, to keep up morale. Despite the horrors of the war, they discover a new independence and self-reliance... Until the terrible day the war comes to Chilwell.

Arletty Theatre
Friday 30 October 7.30pm
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Fashionably Late Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

Ruth Rich and her family are planning a joint birthday party for Dad’s 60th and Fred’s 18th when tragedy strikes. Can the party go ahead? Should it? With a Will, (actually despite the Will), the family find a way to celebrate family, love and all that matters in a unique fashion.

Ginny Davis returns to the stage as Ruth Rich and numerous other characters within her friend/family circle, playing alongside James Goldsworthy, co-founder of Popinjay Productions, who trained with the Year Out Theatre Company, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Ginny Davis
Wednesday 11 November 7.30pm
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Stepping Out Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

For this their tenth production at the Heron TheCompany bring us an ambitious and exciting show, with a cast of ten, music and tap dancing and many costume changes. This play about eight rather odd individuals who attend the same weekly tap dancing class in a village hall, starts off as just a social occasion but Mavis, their teacher, raises the stakes by getting them to take part in a Charity Gala. The result is a funny, slick show that will leave you with a happy glow. This heart-warming ensemble piece is set vaguely around the 1980's. Mavis and her cantankerous pianist coax and wheedle the class towards the big day. The cast bare their souls and strut their stuff!
The play by Richard Harris opened in the West End, on 24 September 1984 and ran for nearly three years. It was awarded the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy in 1984 and went on to play on Broadway in 1987. It was made into a film in 1991, starring Liza Minnelli. Since then there have been numerous tours and the show has remained a firm favourite of audiences over the years.

Friday 27 November 7.30pm
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The Unknown Becomes Known Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

We are delighted to welcome back to the Heron The Annapurna Indian Dance Company, which aims to introduce the rich artistic and cultural heritage of India through performances of graceful and rhythmic Indian dances and storytelling.

Join them as they pay homage to the Indian servicemen of WW1
The evening reveals a piece of history which touches upon race, religion and culture through the idiom of dance, story telling and music.
Narrated by author and broadcaster Ian Clayton, with Dancers Rashmi Sudhir, Santosh Menon, Jyoti Manral and Madhura Godbole with Musicians Ramya Tangirala and Vijay Venkat.
Directed by Shantha Rao

Annapurna Indian Dance Company
Friday 11 December 7.30pm
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The Fell Walker Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

A dynamic, whirlwind, ‘film noir’ adaptation of Cumbrian author Michael Wood’s bestselling novel - the Fell Walker is a dramatic, fast paced, chiller thriller, set in The Lake District, the Scottish Highlands and the mean streets of Manila.
A government minister is found dead at the foot of a North Lakes mountain. A local journalist is ‘seduced’ for top secret information surrounding the nuclear power industry

Fired Up Theatre
Friday 29 January 7.30pm
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A Double Bill - Mr Merrick, The Elephant Man Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

Joseph Merrick (better known as The Elephant Man) is possibly the most famous ‘freak’ in history. Many stage plays and the popular film have told a romantic and often fictional account of his story.

‘Mr Merrick, The Elephant Man’ is the first play to actually only deal with the known facts about Merrick’s final years in The London Hospital, Whitechapel and his complicated relationship with his doctor, Frederick Treves.
With a cast of just two, the use of interactive video projections and a soundtrack consisting entirely of actual Victorian recordings, the show has been marked as a 'must see' at several Fringe Festivals by leading review sites. Painstakingly researched and written with the support of Merrick historians, expect to be enlightened and moved by the stirring true story of ‘the most remarkable creature ever to draw breath’.

Friday 29 January 8.30pm
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Jack the Ripper: Facts, No Fiction Admission -

London, 1888: Jack the Ripper is killing Whitechapel prostitutes. 125 years later, all most people know about this serial killer are myths and theories. Philip Hutchinson is an author, guide and lecturer on the Ripper murders and regarded as a world authority on the case. He'll tell you just the facts, with some unexpected laughs thrown in.

Lucky Dog Productions
Friday 12 February 7.30pm
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The Singular Exploits of Sherlock Holmes Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

The greatest fictional sleuth of all time springs back to life in these stirring adaptations of the Conan Doyle classics. A high-energy one-man show, featuring a plethora of dashing heroes, villainous rogues and vintage thrills! Featuring the great detective recounting highlights of his crime-busting career.

The show also includes autobiographical snippets detailing his life and times, the adversaries he has faced and mysteries he has solved. The performance is an affectionate one-man homage to the world’s greatest detective that includes quick costume changes and wry humour

Don’t Go Into The Cellar!
Friday 26 February 7.30pm
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A Double Bill - Songs of Love Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

Five in a Bar return to The Heron for this double bill. Following their guiding maxim “songs of meaning sung with feeling”, for which they improvise their own harmonies and arrangements, they prepare us for Clare Pollard’s poetry of - ‘love in all its beautiful, messy, stupid complexity”.
Formed in 1998 through their friendship and the sheer joy of singing in harmony they have since performed across the North West of England singing their a capella arrangements of a wide variety of music - from folk and traditional to contemporary classics and blues.
They are: Jude Glendinning, Anne Green, Val Macconnell, Diane Sammons and Carole Wood

Five in a Bar
Friday 26 February 8.30pm
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Ovid’s Heroines Admission -

Written in Rome sometime around 20BC, Ovid’s Heroines is a series of letter poems in the voices of women from Greek and Roman myth. Women – including Medea, Penelope and Ariadne – address the men they love.

Poet Clare Pollard’s new free verse translation, (published by Bloodaxe Books), rediscovers Ovid’s work for the 21st Century, bringing to life a cast of women who are brave, bitchy, sexy, horrifying, heartbreaking and surprisingly modern.

Jaybird Live Literature brings them to the stage in a new live literature production. Clare reads, recites and performs her astonishing poems, and love letters fly back and forth between the ancient world and modern Britain. The messages of longing, suffering and beauty they bear are universal and timeless.

Jaybird Live Literature
Friday 11 March 7.30pm
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DiaoChan Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

Following the success of 'The Autumn of Han' Red Dragonfly return with another colourful and exciting English adaptation of a Chinese classic.

Based on the ancient Chinese legend of DiaoChan, part of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, this production has been called a Chinese Macbeth, and brings to the stage an epic story of lust, jealousy and revenge.

The Empire is in turmoil and the tyrant DongZhuo, with the great warrior LuBu at his shoulder, has made an eight year old boy Emperor and is ruling as chancellor. As he systematically puts to the sword those who oppose him, the minister WangYun fears for his life and that of his daughter. WangYun confides these fears to a singing girl called DiaoChan, a courtesan of his household and his daughter’s friend.

Performed in English by a British East Asian cast.

Red Dragonfly Productions
Friday 8 April 7.30pm
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Emma Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

Emma Woodhouse is handsome, clever and rich. She’s also a bit of a meddler. After her governess marries, (with Emma’s help of course), it is clear that Miss Woodhouse must become a matchmaker. Who better to start with than unpolished Harriet Smith? But as her interfering gets out of hand, it may be time for Emma to question her judgement. Advised by friend Mr Knightley, can Emma untangle the web she has spun? And what does she truly know of her own heart?

Following on from Persuasion and David Copperfield Hotbuckle return to the Heron stage with Austen’s most perfect novel, brought enchantingly to life with live music and their trademark ensemble style

Hotbuckle Theatre Company
Friday 15 April 7.30pm
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Guest Speaker: Chris Wadsworth - “Behind the Scenes at the Gallery” Admission - £5

Chris Wadsworth will be a welcome guest when she visits The Heron Theatre, to talk of her experiences, described in her new book, LIFE CLASS, as ' . . . . . . pure theatre, with a large cast of interesting people - art lovers, eccentrics and artists passing through the gallery each day’.

All are welcome and can book on-line here to join Chris, as she tells more of her 25 years at Castlegate House, Cockermouth - the gallery she began almost by accident, which became an overnight success and took over her life. Following her illustrated talk Chris will be happy to sign copies of her book.

Saturday 23 April 7.30pm
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Twelfth Night Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

Following on from their performance of Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” we are pleased to welcome back to The Heron Warton Drama Group, directed by Marion Plowright to perform Twelfth Night.

This story of identical twins, separated by storm and surviving shipwreck, is amongst the most loved and memorable of Shakespeare’s comedies. The tale of love lost and found, of mistaken identity and foolish aristocrats will surely delight the audience.

Warton Drama Group
Friday 13 May 7.30pm
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Flanders & Swann Revisited Admission - £12 under 18s - £5 Members - £10

Michael Lunts, who is always warmly welcomed by Heron audiences, has had a life-long interest in the work of both Flanders and Swann and John Betjeman, and has incorporated their work in many of his musical revues. Here he brings them together for the first time in a partnership, of which all parties would have approved. (He hopes!).

Laugh away those 21st Century Blues in the company of Flanders and Swann, perfectly complemented by the words and wit of Sir John Betjeman. Featuring a cornucopia of songs, familiar and less familiar, from ‘The Hippopotamus’ to ‘A Transport of Delight’, from ‘The Gnu’ to ‘Have Some Madeira, M’Dear’, the songs of Flanders and Swann are, as pianist, actor and singer Michael shows, rooted in that vision of the recent past often called ‘Betjeman’s Britain’.

This is a world where ‘Miss Joan Hunter Dunn’ unwittingly brushes shoulders with the ill-fated lovers in ‘The Honeysuckle and the Bindweed’, where Betjeman shares his love of all forms of ‘obsolete transport’ with Flanders and Swann’s evocation of pre-Beeching Britain in ‘The Slow Train’ etc.

Wallow, (along with the Hippopotamus!) in a little nostalgia for a by-gone world and the more gentle humour exemplified by these arch-observers of the national character.

Michael Lunts