Reasons to be Cheerful

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Presented by Graeae Theatre Company in association with the Belgrade Theatre Coventry

The ULTIMATE Ian Dury and The Blockheads musical IS BACK!

Celebrating the infectious music of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Reasons To Be Cheerful is a punk rock musical and gritty coming of age tale.

Featuring Ian Dury and the Blockheads' greatest hits including Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, Sweet Gene Vincent, Spasticus Autisticus and Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick this acclaimed show will fill the New wolsey Theatre with raucous glee... again!

It’s 1979: Labour loses to the Tories, strikes rock the nation and Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3) climbs the charts. As the ultimate fans, Vinnie and his mates would do anything to see Dury at the Hammersmith Odeon, only the gig is sold out. But life has a habit of throwing strange things at you, and one night of frustration becomes something else entirely.

Lets ‘ave it! Following nationwide tours, concert versions across the world and a performance at the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, Reasons To Be Cheerful is back on the road one last time!

All performances include captioned dialogue, BSL-interpreted songs and audio description.

Please note that due to the riotous nature of this production, there will be strong language throughout the performance.

Originally produced by Graeae Theatre Company, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Cast & Creatives

Stephen Lloyd — Vinnie

Stephen Lloyd  is Artistic Director of Amplified Theatre, an inclusive theatre company that focuses on merging live theatre with alternative music genres. His theatre credits include: Henry V (UK Tour), The Deranged Marriage (Watford Palace/West Yorkshire Playhouse/Rifco Arts), Reasons To Be Cheerful (UK Tour/Graeae/New Wolsey/Theatre Royal, Stratford East),, Come Dancing, Red Riding Hood and Cinderella (Theatre Royal, Stratford East) Film and TV credits include: Boycie in Rock and Chips, Holby City, Silent Witness, Gracie! (BBC), Paralympics Opening Ceremony (Channel 4), Seat 25 (Red Kite Films).

Stephen Collins — Colin

Stephen Collins is an actor, workshop facilitator and recently debut as a director & Associate Artist for Amplified Theatre.  His theatre credits include Summit (Fuel Theatre), Nodus Tollens (DH Ensemble), The Government Inspector (Ramps on the Moon/Birmingham Rep), Threeepenny Opera, The Iron Man (Graeae), Shakespeare Globe's Love's Labour's Lost & Red Flags (Deafinitely Theatre), Hansel & Gretel (Red Earth) & The Winter's Tale (Taking Flight).

Beth Hinton-Lever — Janine

Beth Hinton-Lever has recently graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts with an MA in Performance (Musical Theatre). Her choreography of Jason Robert Brown's Parade won her the Award for Best Choreography at the National Student Drama Festival, which started her professional performing career. Credits include: Mona/Georgina in Dancehall (CAST Theatre), Princess Aurora/Rosie in Sleeping Beauty (CAST Theatre), and Clara in Welfare (Arts Theatre).

Dan McGowan — Nick/Dave

Dan McGowan recently became Academy Director of Hijinx Theatre, overseeing training courses across Wales for adult actors with learning disabilities. Previous roles include Meet Fred (Hijinx Theatre), Our House (Garrick Theatre).

His main focus is in writing and directing which has led to the short films Boat (nominated for Best Welsh Short at Cardiff Independent Film Festival, Best Short at Madrid International Festival 2017l), Triple Word Score and the recently-completed The Stand, plus the Unlimited-commissioned online comedy Flatmates.

Gerard McDermott — Bill/Bobby

Gerard McDermott’s recent theatre credits include; Merry Wives (Northern Broadsides), Blood Wedding (Graeae), Bunny’s Vendetta (Blue Eagle), Being Tommy Cooper (The Old Red Lion), Fool for Love (The Riverside Studios) and Calendar Girls (Tour/Noel Coward Theatre). For Graeae he has appeared in Blasted (Northern Broadsides).
Television and film credits include; Doctors, EastEnders, Downton Abbey (BBC), and Eyes and Prize (2017).

Karen Spicer — Pat

Karen Spicer  has played a variety of roles on screen in Coronation Street (ITV), Emmerdale (ITV), Doctors (BBC) and Clocking off (Channel 4).

On stage she has worked with Graeae, Trestle, Red Ladder, Theatre Centre, Roundabout, Quick Silver, Fittings Multimedia, The Nuffield Theatre Southampton, Interplay, and Polka.

Joey Hickman — Uncle Harry and Musical Director

West End: Andy and Assistant Musical Director, Dreamboats and Petticoats (Playhouse).

Other theatre: Credits include Puck, Thisbe (Door Ajar/The Vaults); Prince, Cinderella (Tobacco Factory and Travelling Light); Noah Claypool and Performance MD, Oliver! (Watermill); Trip, The School for Scandal and Balthasar, Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory); The BFG (Birmingham Rep); Band Leader, Three Minute Heroes (Belgrade); Reverend Kimble and Performance Musical Director, The Threepenny Opera (New Wolsey Theatre/UK tour); Gwyn and Assistant Musical Director, The Snow Spider (UK tour); various roles and Touring Musical Director, Our House (UK tour/New Wolsey); Billy, I Was a Rat! (UK tour/Birmingham Rep); Gwyn, The Snow Spider (Ovalhouse); Grandfather Dodderspittle, The Fumidor; Lee Harvey Oswald and Co-Musical Director, Assassins; Spellbinder, Tales from the Vienna Woods; Antonio and Musical Director, Twelfth Night; Alwa, Lulu.

Music: Musical Director and Arranger, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery (Mischief /Criterion).

Training: BA (Hons), Actor Musicianship, Rose Bruford.

John Kelly — Lead Vocals

John Kelly has completed five UK tours as well as many international performances.  John is Artistic Director of DaisyFest, National Associate Artist for Drake Music, musician with circus company ExtraOrdinary Bodies and is Policy & Strategy manager at Merton Centre For Independent Living. John sang Spasticus Autisticus, live at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in London, and has also guested with the Blockheads.

Nixon Rosembert — Bass

Nixon Rosembert is an accomplished musician who has performed/recorded either in the recording studio, on television, or live with Mariah Carey, Ronnie Laws (EWF), Angie Brown, Pete Brown, Reasons To Be Cheerful (band), The Honeyz, Sam Moore (Sam & Dave), Ruby Turner, Jools Holland, Juliet Roberts, Billy Paul, ABC, Cleveland Watkiss, Emmett North Jnr, Clem Curtis & The Foundations and many more. He has written music for theatre and toured with theatre companies as a musician and actor.

Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth — Drums

Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth has been playing the drums for over two decades. Faircloth has performed at intricate math-rock polyrhythms in Quadrilles, the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games, toured with Reasons to be Cheerful and Psycho Delia, in addition to forming a Kate Bush tribute band.

Max Runham — Percussion

Max is from a small village in Kent called Hextable. While training at Rose Bruford, he landed his first TV role, appearing in Hollyoaks. Since then he has appeared in Graeae's production of 'Threepenny Opera', HOME theatre's production of Simon Stephens' 'The Funfair', 'The Family Way' by Bill Naughton at the Bolton Octagon, Greyscale's 'Gods are fallen and all safety gone' and last year, Max made his debut with The National Theatre and Complicite in 'A Pacifist's Guide to The War on Cancer'. Max then spent 2017 with Ramps on the Moon's production of The Who's 'Tommy' and Graeae's production of Reasons to be Cheerful.

Alongside this, Max is a very passionate musician and has been performing extensively as a solo artist throughout London over the past 5 years and recently composed/recorded music for an upcoming documentary 'Chalk'

Jude Mahon — Debbie (SLI)

Jude Mahon trained as an Actor at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and as a British Sign Language Interpreter at Wolverhampton University. These two skills have worked together in numerous roles on television and in theatre. As a Performance Interpreter Jude won The Best Supporting Actress award from Nottingham Playhouse for her role in Graeae’s The Threepenny Opera.

Wayne ‘Pickles’ Norman — Pickles

Wayne ‘Pickles’ Norman has been working professionally for forty years; his first job was the Artful Dodger in the West End production of Oliver! in 1977.

Television credits include; Terry and June, Dr Who, Eastenders, Grange Hill, Inspector Morse and The Harry Enfield Show (BBC). Theatre work includes The Merry Wives of Waltham, Welcome Home, The Coming of Gowf, Afters and Counting the Ways. Pickles has been working for Graeae for 15 years as an access worker and also an audio describer appearing in their hit shows Reasons To Be Cheerful, The Iron Man and The Threepenny Opera.

Jenny Sealey — Director

Director / Artistic Director of Graeae

Jenny Sealey co-directed the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony alongside Bradley Hemmings (GDIF). She has been Artistic Director and CEO of Graeae since 1997 and has pioneered a new theatrical language, coining the term ‘aesthetics of access’. Credits for Graeae include The House Of Bernarda Alba, Blood Wedding, Blasted, The Threepenny Opera, The Limbless Knight, Belonging and Reasons To Be Cheerful. International work includes Romeo and Juliet in Bangladesh, Blood Wedding in Tokyo and Belonging in Brazil. Jenny was awarded her MBE in 2009 and The Human Rights Awards for the Arts in 2012.


Paul Sirett — Dramaturg

Paul has worked extensively as a dramaturg on a wide range of productions, including new plays, classics and musicals. Before becoming freelance, Paul ran the literary departments at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Soho Theatre. He is currently associate dramaturg of the Ambassador Theatre Group. Paul is also an Olivier-nominated playwright and musician. His plays and musicals include: The Big Life (Stratford East and West End); Reasons to Be Cheerful (Graeae, New Wolsey and Stratford East); Come Dancing (Stratford East) and Rat Pack Confidential (Nottingham Playhouse, Bolton Octagon and West End). Paul currently plays guitar in the band Dr Schwamp. He is an associate artist of Soho Theatre, an associate teacher of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, an associate fellow at the University of Warwick and literary associate at the Theatre by the Lake.

Reviews of Reasons to be Cheerful

What the press say

“Loud, exuberant and thoroughly enjoyable…you’ll be leaving the theatre with a very big grin on your face.” ★★★★

The Reviews Hub

"Laugh out loud funny, an exhilarating, hugely entertaining, roller coaster ride of a live experience” ★★★★

What’s On Live

“as a patron of Graeae in his life, [Ian Dury] would be very proud of this extraordinary show directed by Jenny Sealey. We whole-heartedly implore you to go and see it.” ★★★★

East Midlands Theatre

What the public say

Great show, really enjoyed it. There is a beach hut at Felixstowe called Reasons to be cheerful part 923! Wish I'd thought of that one 1st----beach hut no 953

Gary Wilson

Absolutely overjoyed that I bought tickets to this on a whim, very last minute on Sunday, for the coming Wednesday. This was a superb show full of energy and life, plenty of heartfelt moments and a decent amount of comedy. So pleased to see the inclusive cast rocking the stage and loved how this was not used as a gimmick. Fabulous show, very good night out. 5 Stars.

Bianca Hedley-Chilvers

So glad this is coming back! It's fantastic.


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