Grandma Saves The Day! A Musical About the Giles Family - New Wolsey Theatre

Grandma Saves The Day! A Musical About the Giles Family

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It’s Ipswich in the late 1980’s and the Giles family are thrown into confusion when the upwardly mobile Stinkletons move in next door. It takes Grandma Giles to sort it all out with a few swift blows from her brolly and her familiar battle cry – ‘Gertcha!’.

Combining the much loved Giles cartoon characters with classic hit songs from the eighties including Our House, Simply the Best, Wake Me Up Before You Go- Go and many more, all played live by our multi-talented company of actor-musicians, this is a fast-moving, funny and pop filled comic strip for all the family.

Directed by Pete Rowe, and in true New Wolsey style, this show is not be missed!

Age guide 8+

Cast & Creatives

Steve Simmonds — Grandma Giles

Steve Simmonds headshot

Theatre includes: Rewind/Record in Alice in Wonderland (Liverpool Playhouse/Plymouth Theatre Royal); James/Mr Burney in The Invincibles (Queen’s Theatre/New Wolsey); Operation Julie (Theatr na nog); George Mole in Adrian Mole (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch); Belinda Bigtop in Goldilocks (New Wolsey Theatre); Samuel Byck in Assassins (Watermill Theatre/Nottingham Playhouse); Grandma in Grandma Saves the Day, The Snow Queen, Cinderella, Guys And Dolls, Aladdin, Never Lost at Home (New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich); As You Like It Workshop (National Theatre); The Threepenny Opera (Bolton Octagon); The Lady in the Van (Theatre Royal Bath); The Who's Tommy (New Wolsey Theatre/Ramps on the Moon); Made in Dagenham (Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch/New Wolsey Theatre); Return to the Forbidden Planet 25th Anniversary Tour (Forbidden Planet Musicals, directed by Bob Carlton); 20th Century Boy, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (West End/Chichester Festival Theatre); The Buddy Holly Story (Buddy Musical Productions); Aladdin and Cinderella (Stafford Gatehouse); Lend Me a Tenor, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, 12th Night, The Servant of Two Masters, Gaslight, Bouncers, It's a Fine Life (Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch); The Comedy Of Babi Babbett, Noah Babel's Ark (Rude Mechanicals); Mack and Mabel (West End – Adam Kenwright/Watermill); Pinafore Swing (Watermill/No.1 Tour).

TV includes: Love Soup (BBC) and, prior to training, he played Stitch in Oliver!, directed by Sam Mendes at the London Palladium.

James Haggie — Rupert Farley Rusk

Adam Langstaff — Gareth Stinkleton

Adam trained at the Oxford School of Drama.

Work in the theatre includes: Grandma Saves the Day! (New Wolsey, Ipswich); Left My Desk (New Diorama); Oxy and the Morons (New Wolsey, Ipswich); The Who’s Tommy (U.K. tour); Roll Over Beethoven (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry); Jackie the Musical (U.K. tour); Beauty and the Beast, The Sword in the Stone, Sinbad, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, The Snow Queen (New Wolsey, Ipswich); Manon Lescaut (Royal Opera); Hot Stuff (Queens Theatre Hornchurch); Our House (U.K. tour); Gawain and the Green Knight (The Yard, London); The Flying Dutchman (English National Opera); Miss Nightingale (Hippodrome Matcham Theatre & U.K. tour); Emperor and Galilean (National Theatre); Alice in Wonderland (Exquisite Folly, London); Noah's Ark (Mervyn Peake Centenary Festival, Blue Elephant Theatre, London).

Film includes: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (Baby Cow).

Lana Walker — Vera Giles

Lana trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and graduated with a First Class BA Hons. Degree. Her theatre credits include: Actor/Musician in I Happen To Like New York (Orange Tree Theatre); Fairy Bowbells in Dick Whittington (Stafford Gatehouse Theatre); Little Miss Muffet and Goldilocks in Red Riding Hood (New Wolsey Theatre) Ipswich; Rebecca The Mother in Operation Bible (4Front Theatre); Ladybird in James And The Giant Peach (Northern Stage); Sandra in Touched, Mrs Fairfax and Mrs Reed in Jane Eyre, Ensemble in Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, Karen in A Slice Of Saturday Night, Old Wife and Ensemble in Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Lady Tabitha Belch in Twelfth Night, Larissa in Brezhnev's Children, Polly Peachum in The Beggar's Opera all whilst training at Mountview.

Lana was a Session Singer on the Cast Recording of the films Pan and Kung Fu Panda 3.

Guy Freeman — Larry Stinkleton

Guy trained at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts (2011-2014)

Theatre credits include: Billy Bungalow in Dick Whittington (Stafford Gatehouse Theatre), Bosun in The Return of the Forbidden Planet (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), Ensemble u/s Derek and Outspan in The Commitments (UK & Ireland Tour), Perrault in Sleeping Beauty (South Hill Park Arts Centre),
Broom in The Sorcerers Apprentice (UK Tour), Matt in Muswell Hill: Happy Birthday Matt (The Orange Tree Theatre), Various Characters in Natural Theatre (The Natural Theatre Company).

Other credits include: Joe/Specialist/Presenter in Minded (Spectrecom Film), Actor/Deviser in Reclaimed (R&D Workshop), Ensemble Singing in Macgregor a New Musical (Cast Recording) and Max in Towers (Sundance Film Festival).

Ben Goffe — Eric/Robin Day

Ben trained at The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.

Theatre credits: Snow White at the London Palladium (Qdos Entertainment); Dido, Queen of Carthage, The Hypocrite, A Midsummer Night's Dream (all RSC); Sinbad The Sailor (Theatre Royal, Stratford East); The Winter's Tale (Taking Flight); Beauty And The Beast (New Wolsey, Ipswich); The Threepenny Opera (New Wolsey/Graeae) , The Iron Man (Graeae); My Favourite MadMan (AZICS); The Horror! The Horror! (Wiltons Music Hall); The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Arts Theatre); Peer Gynt Recharged (Riverside Studios)

T.V. appearances: The Best Bottoms In The Land, Let's Dance for Sports Relief, Short Work (all BBC); The Friday Night Project, Big Brother’s Big Mouth (Channel 4); Foreign Player (Uzong Films)

Films include: Artemis Fowl (Disney); Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Warner Bros.) AM★DAM (Lennox Bros.)

Music Videos: Somebody's Watching Me, Superfreak (Beatfreakz); Rolex Sweep (Skepta); Never Gonna Snow (Chris Moyles)

Pantomime includes: Dick Whittington and his Cat (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham); Dick Whittington, Peter Pan, Aladdin (all FFE)

Nicky Swift — Eileen Stinkleton

Training: National Youth Music Theatre, Birmingham University and The Royal Academy Of Music where she received The Ian Fleming Musical Theatre Award.

Theatre: Rosie in Mamma Mia! (UK and International tour 2018-19) Shirley in Shirley Valentine (30th Anniversary UK tour), Footloose (UK Tour), Les Miserables (Queens Theatre, West End), Lennon (Royal Court, Liverpool), Songs For Victory (UK Tour), One Night In Istanbul (Echo Arena, Dublin Gaiety and Belfast Grand Opera House), Jack And The Beanstalk, Mother Goose, Aladdin, Dick Whittington, Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood (Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse), Cats (Arena Tour), The Buddy Holly Story (Upstairs At The Gatehouse), Alice In The Walled Garden (Brockwell Park), Twelfth Night, Plaza Suite, The Odd Couple and A Slice of Saturday Night (QE Theatre Company on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth), Richard Taylor’s Whistle Down The Wind, (Edinburgh Festival, Sadler’s Wells and West Yorkshire Playhouse), Charlie (Buxton Opera House), Creation and Warchild (All NYMT), Her Benny (Liverpool
Empire), David Copperfield (UK Tour), Sixteen Gobs (Kings Head, London), Habeas Corpus and City Of Angels (RAM).

Nicky has appeared as a soloist alongside Dame Judi Dench in An Enchanted Evening at Theatre Royal Drury Lane and at charity galas at The Palace Theatre, The Royal Albert Hall, O2 Arena and for HRH Prince Edward at St James’ Palace. She has worked as a backing and session singer for Tom Jones, Lesley Garrett, Elaine Paige and Cynthia Erivo.

Nicky made her Off-Broadway debut in A Broadway Diva Christmas at The Julia Miles Theatre, New York.

TV and Radio: Hillsborough (ITV), Voices Raised, Blue Peter, Sport Relief and The Olivier Awards (BBC). Loose Ends (BBC Radio 2), New Musicals with Stephen Sondheim (BBC Radio 2).

Peter Manchester — Father Giles

Peter trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

After graduating he toured with the musical LES MISÉRABLES for a year, performing with the show at The Royal Variety Performance, the Classic Brit Awards and the 25th Anniversary O2 concert. Further theatre credits include Moll Flanders (Mercury Theatre, Colchester); The Recruiting Officer (Donmar Warehouse), Dick Whittington Rock Panto (Stafford Gatehouse Theatre) Romeo and Juliet (Stafford Shakespeare Theatre); Robin Hood and the Babes in The Wood (City Varieties Leeds); 20th Century Boy,  Mods and Rox and Sleeping Beauty (New Wolsey Theatre). A Midsummer Nights Dream (Iris Theatre Company); COCO (Sadler’s Wells Theatre) .

TV and film credits include the ITV drama Without You, starring Anna Friel and Muppets Again for Walt Disney Pictures.
His spare time is devoted to writing and music.

Alice Keedwell — Mother Giles /Mrs Thatcher

Training: Guildford School of Acting

Stage credits include: Loki in Thor & Loki (Edinburgh Fringe/ High Tide Tour); Tess in Amateur Politician workshop (West Yorkshire Playhouse/ Hull Truck); Mrs Nordstrom in A Little Night Music (Watermill Theatre); Evil Queen Morgana in Snow White (Broadway Theatre); Nanny Cook/ Jasper Baddun in The One Hundred And One Dalmatians (Castle Theatre Wellingborough); Otter / Chief Weasel/ Barge Woman in Wind In The Willows (Lord Chamberlains Men); Sophie in Fairytale of New York (Soho Theatre); La Boheme (Opera Up Close / Soho Theatre)

Television credits include: Anonymous (Tiger Aspect); The Thorntons (Comedy Central)

Christina Tedders — Carol Giles

Christina trained at the Royal Academy of Music before making her professional and West End debut as part of the Original London cast of Once The Musical (Phoenix Theatre).

She recently played the title role in Maggie May at Liverpool's Royal Court. Her other theatre credits include: Mariah in Carmen the Gypsy (workshopped at NT Studio, then The Arcola Theatre/UK Tour) Orwell's Down and Out Live (Libby Brodie Productions); Oranges & Elephants (Hoxton Hall); Maria in Our Man in Havana workshop (Watermill Theatre); Petra in A Little Night Music (Watermill Theatre); Bernie in The Commitments (UK Tour); Adelaide Adams in Calamity Jane (Watermill Newbury/Tour); and The Young Woman in Putting It Together (Belfast Lyric Theatre).

Further credits include: Soloist in Friday Night is Music Night (BBC Radio 2); and Victoria (ITV).

Grace Lancaster — Bridget Giles

Grace is a 2016 graduate from the Actor Musicianship course at Rose Bruford College.

Theatre credits include: Cinderella in Cinderella the Rock and Roll panto (Leeds City Varieties). Miranda in Return to the Forbidden Planet (Eastbourne Devonshire Park), Princess Lotus Blossom in Aladdin the Rock and Roll panto (Leeds City Varieties). Ariel and Swing in Footloose (UK/international tour and West end). Gretel in Grimm's Fairy Tales (White Bear Theatre). Wendy in tutti frutti's Underneath a Magical Moon (York Theatre Royal and UK tour). Little Sally in Urinetown (Stratford Circus). Ensemble in Theatre Ad Infinitum's Run(Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf). Anya in The Cherry Orchard (Rose Theatre).

Grace is also a professional musician and has performed across the UK and internationally on saxophone and vocals with the New York Brass Band.


Phil Wilmott — Writer

Phil Wilmott is a multi-award winning director, artistic director, playwright, composer, librettist, teacher, dramaturg, arts journalist…. and occasional actor. He has worked in theatres across the world on everything from classical drama, musicals and family shows to cabaret and cutting edge new writing. The UK’s most commissioned musical theatre writer, he is also the founding artistic director of The Steam Industry, an umbrella organisation which incorporates The Finborough Theatre (under the Artistic Directorship Of Neil McPherson, one of the most influential small theatres in the UK producing an award winning repertoire of classics and new writing) and The Phil Willmott Company, which presents ‘Essential Classics’: an annual season at the Union Theatre of productions in which great writers of the past have reflected on issues of the day.

He was an Associate Artist of London's acclaimed Battersea Arts Centre for ten years and has also been Associate Director of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford and Co-Director of the U.K’s leading degree course in Musical Theatre at London’s Arts Educational School where he was also Head of Acting. Published and widely performed work includes FEMME FATALE and The Dick Barton Special Agent Trilogy (Croydon Warehouse), Around the World in Eighty Days (BAC and Liverpool Playhouse and tour) Uncle Ebenezer - A Christmas Carol (BAC and U.S.A) Stupid Cupid (Gay Sweatshop tour) and WOLF BOYS. Phil has written pantomimes for all the top pantomime companies including Snow White for Milton Keynes Theatre, Dick Whittington for Oxford Playhouse and Aladdin & Puss in Boots for the T.M.A Award nominated Corn Exchange in Newbury.


Cleo Pettitt — Set & Costume Designer

Training: B.A. (hons) Theatre Design & M.A. Scenography, U.C.E. Birmingham; Linbury Prize for Stage Design finalist, 1997; nominated for Best Set Design 2017, 2019 & 2021 (Great British Panto Awards) – Winner in 2021.

Cleo is delighted to be designing the legendary Ipswich panto for the first time. She regularly designs many others, including for Watford Palace Theatre, Greenwich Theatre, Belgrade Coventry, Palace Theatre Westcliff, The Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton and costumes for the Hackney Empire.

Other shows – in Bermuda: Mamma Mia!; The Pirates of Penzance; South Pacific; The Producers; Jesus Christ Superstar; Oliver!; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Into the Woods; Dreamgirls; Cabaret; Beauty and the Beast; The Full Monty; Ragtime; The History Boys; Fiddler on the Roof; The Addams Family.

In Dubai: Fame; Blood Brothers; Woman in Black; Annie; High School Musical (1 & 2); Abigail's Party; Don't Dress For Dinner; Dial M for Murder; The Sound of Music (Time Out Award: Best Musical), transferred to Bahrain and Qatar.

In Canada: the opening two seasons for the Montgomery Theatre, Prince Edward Island, with works from Wilde to Coward and Shaw.

Opera: The Marriage of Figaro (Lyric, Hammersmith); Cosi Fan Tutte, Tosca (Christ’s Hospital, Horsham); Simon Boccanegra, The Merry Widow (Bloomsbury Theatre); Don Giovanni, Heaven (Charing Cross). For Anchorage Opera, Alaska: The Magic Flute; The Sound of Music; The Pirates of Penzance.

Other work includes: Bad Days and Odd Nights (Caryl Churchill plays, Greenwich Theatre); Grandma Saves the Day! The Giles Family Musical (New Wolsey Theatre); Dracula (Cheltenham Everyman/national tour - costumes); A Christmas Carol (Players Theatre, New York); Missing Persons (Trafalgar Studios, London); Art (Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds); Ladies Cage (Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester); Macbeth, Robin Hood, The Snow Queen (Creation Theatre, Oxford); Around the World in Eighty Days (Liverpool Playhouse); The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Cyclops (The Scoop, South Bank); Company (Palace Theatre, Westcliff); Swollen Tongues (National Tour); Trust Byron (Gate Theatre and Tour); Joyisms (Looking Glass Theatre, Off-Broadway); A Christmas Carol (Players Theatre, Greenwich Village, New York).

Barnaby Southgate — Musical Director & Arranger

Sound Designer

Mark Dymock — Lighting Designer

Credits include: Kiss me Quickstep, Once, Rope. (New Wolsey Theatre);The Wisdom Club, (Theatre Royal BSE); Jack and the Beanstalk (Derby Arena); Soldier On (The Other Palace); Ken (Terry Johnson, Pleasance); Revenants (Pleasance, Kenwright); Measure for Measure, Alice In Wonderland, Loves Labours Lost (GSC); Dell Computers Gala (Buenos Aires); Kiss Me Quickstep, Haunting Julia, Roll Over Beethoven, Don’t Look Now (OFFIE nominated for Best Lighting Design), Return to the Forbidden Planet, Godspell, The Merchant Of Venice, Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!, They’re Playing Our Song, Jack And The Beanstalk, Cinderella, Ladies Down Under, The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband (Queen’s Theatre); Cathy (Soho Theatre); East (Brighton Theatre Royal and Festival); Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin (Evolution); Meena and the Masala Queens (Rifco tour); Northanger Abbey (Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal Tour); Clybourne Park (Regional premiere tour); Return to the Forbidden Planet (25th Anniversary Tour); Cathy (Cardboard Citizens tour); Betty Blue Eyes (Regional premiere tour); Michael Morpurgo's Butterfly Lion (Kenwright, National Tour); Snow White, Peter Pan, Wind in the Willows, James and the Giant Peach, Noises Off, Friend or Foe, The History Boys, The Hired Man (Mercury Theatre); House and Garden, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Arabian Nights, Treasure Island, Wind in the Willows (Watermill); The Deranged Marriage, MummyJi Presents, Break The Floorboards and Happy Birthday Sunita (Rifco and Watford Palace); Walking the Chains (Bristol Temple Meads Passenger Shed); The Full Monty, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Oliver!,(Bermuda City Hall); working with Willy Russell on Educating Rita, Breezeblock Park(Liverpool Playhouse); Shirley Valentine (Royal Court Liverpool); Farm Boy, The Hired Man, Kissing Sid James (New York E59).

Debbie O'Brien — Casting Director

West End/UK Tours include: The Choir of Man; Dirty Dancing; Thriller Live; American Idiot; Knights of the Rose; 20th Century Boy; The Knowledge; Close to You; Priscilla Queen of the Desert; Sinatra; Our House; Starlight Express; Mum’s the Word; Jackie; I Was a Rat; Grease; The Snowman, Flashdance; The King and I; Showboat; Dancing in the Streets; The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas; Daisy Pulls It Off; The Harder They Come; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Saturday Night Fever; Fame; Peter Pan; The Pirates of Penzance; Smokey Joe’s Café; The Rocky Horror Show; Doctor In the House; Mahabharata; Anything Goes; What a Feeling; A Chorus Line; A Tribute to the Blues Brothers.

Regional and international productions include: Tony! The Tony Blair Rock Opera; Trio; Playboy of the West Indies; The Birds and the Bees; Never Lost at Home; Friends! The Musical Parody; Hugh Jackman The Show; Cruel Intentions; Friends the Musical Parody; Menopause the Musical; Starlight Express; Once; We’ll Live and Die In These Towns; The Noise Boys; Kinky Boots; Million Dollar Quartet,; Jersey Boys; Rock of Ages; Room; Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin; Oxy and the Morons; The Last Five Years; Five Guys Named Moe; The BFG.

Children’s casting includes: Waitress; The King and I; Avalanche; The Bodyguard; Caroline or Change; Annie; Medea; The Sound of Music.

Recorded media includes: Mimi’s World; Waybuloo; Grandpa In My Pocket; What’s Your News; Planet Cook.

Sundeep Saini — Choreographer

Sundeep is an Offie nominated movement director & choreographer.

Credits Include: Ladies Down Under (New Vic Theatre); Brief Encounter (Royal Exchange Theatre); Mind the Monsters (Oxford Playhouse); The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds); The Blonde Bombshells of 1943 (Octagon Theatre Bolton/Theatre by the Lake/SJT); The Trial of Josie K (Unicorn Theatre); Ladies Day (New Vic & Octagon Theatre Bolton); Richard II (Guildford Shakespeare Company); Jack Frost and the Search for Winter (UK Tour); Brown Girls Do It Too (Soho Theatre & UK Tour); The Importance of Being Earnest, A Midsummer Nights Dream, The Comedy of Errors (Roman Theatre of Verulamium); Passion (Hope Mill Theatre); The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Queens Theatre Hornchurch); Anthem (Wales Millennium Centre); The Princess & the Pea (UK Tour); Aladdin (The Capitol); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (The Maltings); Billy the Kid (NYMT); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (East London Shakespeare Festival); Dick Whittington, Dame Terry’s Very Merry Christmas (Watford Palace); Squad Goals (Dagenham & Redbridge FC); As You Like It (National Theatre Public Acts Production); Grandma Saves the Day, Goldilocks & the Three Bears (New Wolsey Theatre); Never Never, Robin Hood, Christmas Allsorts, Jack & the Beanstalk, Beauty and the Beast (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch).

Reviews of Grandma Saves The Day! A Musical About the Giles Family

What the press say

"A jaunty jukebox musical"

The Stage

What the public say

This was hilarious from the start to the finish. It is such a feel good show. The cast were all brilliant and we loved the story (not sure Margaret Thatcher would be too pleased with some of the parts portraying her though). This is the first time I've been in an audience where so many people were laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves! I think the huge standing ovation at the end reflected this. This is such a brilliant show, the best we've seen in ages.

Shirley Dodman

An excellent production - superb and inventive stage product, surpassed only by the versatile, approachable and totally convincing cast. Sprouting from roots in the Wolsey's marvellous Panto season, this is a considerable item in the theatre's repertoire.

Chris Meggs

What a great show! Clever, funny, great music amazing talented cast, and all multi instrumentalists! See this show if you possibly can, even if you have to sell your grandma...


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