The best theatre, dance and comedy tickets to book for 2023 | Stage
Blaccine: First Dose
Three new monologues exploring Black British perspectives on the Covid-19 vaccine will feature as part of Pitlochry Festival theatre’s Sound Stage audio offering. Writers Tonderai Munyevu, Maheni Arthur and Isaac Tomiczek will take listeners through the stories and debates, touching on complex realities.
Available online, 12, 19 and 26 January
Romeo and Julie
Shakespeare’s star-cross’d love story is the starting point for a Cardiff drama about the class divide; Romeo is a single dad while Julie dreams of studying at Cambridge. Director Rachel O’Riordan and writer Gary Owen join forces again after their storming revival of Iphigenia in Splott in 2022.
National Theatre, London, 14 February-1 April; Sherman theatre, Cardiff, 13-29 April
David Eldridge’s exquisitely quirky, intimate two-hander about a couple coming together after a housewarming party was a hit in 2017. Since then he has written a sequel, Middle, but director Bryony Shanahan takes us back to this original story which takes place in real time.
Royal Exchange, Manchester, 16 February-11 March
Shakespeare’s tragedy of ambition, betrayal and guilt is retold by Imitating the Dog, who are known for fusing live action with innovative video technology in inventive shows such as Dracula: The Untold Story. The company has reconceived the play as a neon-noir thriller.
Cast, Doncaster, 21-22 February, then touring until 6 May
The Good Person of Szechwan
Commissioned by English Touring Theatre, this co-production updates Brecht’s play about three gods and a penniless young woman determined to lead a “good” life. Adapted by Nina Segal, it asks whether altruism is achievable in a capitalist society.
Crucible theatre, Sheffield, 11 March-1 April; Lyric Hammersmith, London, 15 April-13 May
A Little Life
Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s monumental novel about friendship, sexual abuse and self-harm has its English-language premiere in London’s West End (after a version with van Hove’s ITA ensemble at the 2022 Edinburgh international festival). The cast includes James Norton and Omari Douglas.
Harold Pinter theatre, London, 25 March-18 June
The Lost Spells
Adapted from Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’s bestselling book, this family musical is billed as a boisterous adventure and is part of a growing rise in dramatic responses to the climate emergency.
Watford Palace theatre, 28 March-8 April, then touring until 4 June
This small, fantastically inventive fringe musical by SpitLip has really gone big since its first run in 2019. The wacky and winning comedy is based on a stranger-than-fiction story involving a secret service plot during the second world war.
Fortune theatre, London, from 29 March
The Royal Shakespeare Company brings us this staging of Maggie O’Farrell’s award-winning novel about the death of Shakespeare’s son. Adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti and directed by Erica Whyman, it will be presented in the renovated Swan theatre.
Swan theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1 April-17 June
The Secret Life of Bees
Lynn Nottage, Pulitzer-prize winner for Sweat, writes the book for this musical featuring a group of rebel women in small-town 1960s South Carolina. With music by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (Jelly’s Last Jam), this show glitters with creative talent.
Almeida, London, 8 April-27 May
A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction
This eco-friendly performance of Miranda Rose Hall’s ecological disaster play is an experiment in reimagining theatre in a climate crisis. Co-produced with Headlong, it’s directed by Katie Mitchell, stars Lydia West and will be powered by bicycles pedalled during the show.
Barbican, London, 26–29 April; UK tour dates to be announced
The celebrated poet Lemn Sissay adapts Kafka’s short story about a human who turns into an insect for a new production directed by Scott Graham for Frantic Assembly, a company known for its creative use of physicality.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, 11-16 September, then touring until 2 March 2024
Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning
This new version of Bram Stoker’s 1897 tale was conceived by Morna Pearson alongside Sally Cookson and relocates the drama to Aberdeenshire with the character of Mina Murray now at its heart. Performed by an all-female and non-binary ensemble.
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, 2-9 September, then touring until 14 October
Long before Succession, Brian Cox worked extensively in theatre. He is back treading the boards to play Johann Sebastian Bach in this new drama by Oliver Cotton. Directed by Trevor Nunn, it’s set in the court of Frederick II and presents a sparky encounter between the two men.
Theatre Royal Bath, 12–23 October
The New York choreographer became hot property with her TS Eliot-inspired Four Quartets in 2018. Her contemporary movement owes a lot to Merce Cunningham, but she has her own thoughtful, curious mind. This Royal Ballet double bill features 2019’s Everyone Keeps Me and a new work.
Linbury theatre, Royal Opera House, London, 4-16 February
Dada Masilo: The Sacrifice
The arresting Soweto-born performer and choreographer has carved out a distinctive niche reinventing the stories of classic ballets (Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet) against a backdrop of 21st-century African society and politics. The Sacrifice combines Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with the traditional Tswana dance of Botswana.
Brighton Dome, 21-22 February; then touring until 12 April
In a busy spring schedule, Scottish Ballet revive the sultry storytelling and heightened passions of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s A Streetcar Named Desire, last seen in 2015. They also show London audiences why their bang-up-to-date take on Coppélia took the 2022 Edinburgh festival by storm.
A Streetcar Named Desire is at Glasgow Theatre Royal, 13-15 April, then touring until 6 May; Coppélia is at Sadler’s Wells, London, 2-5 March
Nederlands Dans Theater
This triple bill from NDT includes a new piece by Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite, working with Complicité’s Simon McBurney. It’s part of an ongoing collaboration between the pair, two thoughtful creatives with great integrity, reflecting on the state of the natural world amid the climate crisis.
Sadler’s Wells, London, 19-22 April
The Dark Crystal: Odyssey
Choreographer Wayne McGregor recreates his favourite childhood film, Jim Henson’s 1982 fantasy The Dark Crystal, bringing together dancers from his own company with a cast of puppets created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. It’s a coming-of-age story about a reluctant hero on a quest to save the world.
Linbury theatre, Royal Opera House, 13 May-4 June
A mega-feelgood musical with wall-to-wall tap dancing, the classic tale of the small-town girl newly arrived in the big city who wants to make it big on Broadway. Directed by Jonathan Church (Singin’ in the Rain) with Olivier award-winning choreographer Bill Deamer as the man in charge of the shuffle-ball-change.
Curve, Leicester, 17 May-3 June, then touring until 28 October
A collaboration between Opera North and Phoenix Dance Theatre, taking on Mozart’s great unfinished Requiem from 1791. Dane Hurst choreographs the dancers in concord with Opera North’s orchestra. A second piece by Hurst, to music from South African composer Neo Muyanga, will form a response.
Leeds Grand theatre, 26 May-4 June
Free Your Mind
Danny Boyle directs this show launching Manchester’s new arts space, Factory International. It’s a large-scale, Matrix-inspired immersive performance, featuring dancers and hundreds of local performers, choreographed and soundtracked by Kenrick Sandy and Michael Asante from Boy Blue.
Factory International, Manchester, 13 October-5 November
A new show from Josie Long is more than just comedy, it’s a heart-on-sleeve update on the personal life and politics of one of her generation’s best loved acts. Ahead of the publication of her debut short story collection, Long now returns to “alternately yell at you and melt your heart” about new babies and the end days of Tory Britain.
The Stand, Glasgow, 12 January, then touring until 28 September
From online videos, to Man Like Mobeen, and now to a UK standup tour for the ex-teacher turned TV star. His recent West End stint promised reflections on “what’s going on in my life and a little bit on my childhood”. Touring, he’ll likely stay on similar territory.
Lowry, Manchester, 15 January, then touring until 4 February
With a debut tour, Yorkshire’s Maisie Adam has plenty to be buzzed about – which is very much the territory of her new show, a joyful confection celebrating her engagement, her sky-rocketing career and England’s victory in the women’s Euros.
Komedia, Brighton, 31 January, then touring until 16 March
The New York cabaret artist’s The Twist …? She’s Gorgeous took Edinburgh by storm on the 2019 fringe, and ended up on Netflix. Now she returns with a new suite of lacerating musical comedy, on “entering your 30s as a woman online, in love and [facing] the prospect of freezing your eggs”.
Norwich Playhouse, 1 February, then touring until 11 February
2022’s Edinburgh comedy award-winner comes to Soho with – well, what exactly? Campbell resists packaging his shows like anyone else. This one looks likely to be best bits from the fringe plus (it says here) “some fresh produce”. What’s certain is it’ll be slacker-ish, silly, and you’ll never know what’s round the next corner.
Soho theatre, London, 27 February-4 March
Hounded into exile in 2014 when the government forced the cancellation of his hit satirical show El Bernameg, the “Egyptian Jon Stewart” made a new life in America, featuring in Netflix documentary Tickling Giants, and guesting in Mo Amer’s recent comedy-drama Mo. Now he hits the UK, with a standup and storytelling show relating his remarkable life.
Royal Festival Hall, London, 9 March, then touring until 11 March
One of the finest comic alter egos of the last decade is Nick Mohammed’s excitable northern busybody Mr Swallow. The character never quite broke out – but Mohammed did, as a star of Apple TV+ smash Ted Lasso. Hence this first UK tour with “new, old, very old and previously unusable” Mr Swallow routines, sure to include magic, feats of memory and very daft comedy.
Duke of York’s theatre, London, 26 March, then touring until 14 May