nightingaleTonight sees the one and only preview for THE EMPEROR AND THE NIGHTINGALE at Theatre by the lake before tomorrow’s opening night. We’re all ready for an audience now – hope they enjoy it!!

You can find production details, and buy tickets here:

Christmas in China! (..sort of)

18134 The Emperor and the Nightingale new image v5Rehearsals have started today for the Christmas show at Theatre by the Lake. This year’s production is THE EMPEROR AND THE NIGHTINGALENeil Duffield‘s reworking of the tale by Hans Anderson, set in ancient China. The piece will be performed by 8 talented actor musicians, and features a score written by myself, and which is heavily influenced by traditional Chinese music. Day 1 has consisted of introducing the cast to some of the new instruments they will be tackling, including the Guzheng and the Dizi, and starting to learn some of the songs. We also had a fabulous read through of the script, and got to see the amazing set and costume designs by Martin Johns. Tomorrow will see the start of getting the show on it’s feet with Director Ian Forrest and movement director Bronya Deutsch. If you’re up near the Lakes this Christmas then please feel free to come and catch the show, which previews on Nov 25th, and opens on the 26th:

THE RIVALS gets 4**** review from The Stage

RivalsMany thanks to Stephen Longstaffe for a lovely mention in THE STAGE review for THE RIVALS at Theatre by the Lake: “The mood is kept upbeat by composer Richard Atkinson’s delightfully sparky 18th-century score..”

You can read the whole review here:

Congratulations to everyone involved in making this fabulous production.

Photo by Keith Pattison.


THE SHEPHERD'S LIFEToday sees the final two (sold out) performances of THE SHEPHERD’S LIFE. Huge thanks to all at Theatre by the Lake, and beyond, that have contributed to making the show such a success.

I am incredibly proud to have been a small part of the project. Chris Monks has done an amazing job in adapting James Rebanks’s remarkable book for the stage, and the puppet designs, and puppetry by Jimmy Grimes have helped bring the show to life in a truly magical fashion. Here’s hoping that there is a further life for the play, and that all the people who couldn’t get to Keswick, or indeed couldn’t get tickets, get the chance to see the show for themselves in the future.

In the meantime, you can follow James on Twitter @herdyshepherd1 or, if you haven’t yet done so, read the book: