Curtain up on a great New Year

As 2012 approaches, the heads of our best local entertainment venues say what they’ve got in store for the coming year

Friday, 28th December 2012, 2:30 pm

Victoria Johnson - marketing manager, 53 Degrees

After an exciting year featuring some huge live performances from the likes of Marina and the Diamonds, Peter Hook, Orbital, DJ Fresh, Lostprophets, The Wanted and Edinburgh Festival Comedy Award winning stars like The Boy With Tape On His Face, 53 Degrees prepares for what promises to be an even more amazing 2013 with a line up that’s bigger and better than ever before!

Kicking off a brand new year in style, Bluetones frontman Mark Morriss performs an intimate set of singalong Britpop favorites on January 11th, making the perfect way to ease you back into the gig scene after the Christmas party season. Laugh your socks off with Irish-born-Aussie-resident Jimeoin (17/02), who proves that ‘Big in Australia’ doesn’t have to mean Rolf Harris; check out ‘Mock The Week’s Tom Stade (01/03) and his hilarious ‘drunken Canadian’ sketch in the stand up’s brand new ‘Totally Rocks’ show; and be sure not to miss star of the BBC’s hit sitcom ‘Hubburn’ Chris Ramsey, in the live show that’s really got tongues wagging in the comedy world.

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For fans of up-and-coming indie, Bastille really are the ones to watch right now, blending intelligent song based electro with surrealist David Lynch-inspired imagery. But if you’re more of a classic rock fan, why not check out shows from some of the best rockers on the scene, with legends such as punks Stiff Little Fingers, space rock maestros Hawkwind, 90s hit-makers The Wonder Stuff, spoken word banter from Howard Marks, and ultimate Beatles tribute band The Bootleg Beatles playing an era-spanning set that makes for a guaranteed night out.

With all this and more, one thing’s for sure – 2013’s going to be a good one!

More information at Purchase tickets at

Chris Haylett - general manager, Preston Guild Hall

2012 was a great year for the Guild Hall and Charter Theatre: 2013 will be even better!

The Guild Hall and Charter Theatre has had a fantastic year with sell-out concerts including Alfie Boe and McFly to West-end favourite Chicago but the good news doesn’t end there, next year is already looking exciting!

Family entertainment is always high on our list and for the first time ever live on stage, we welcome Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom as well as a virtuoso performance of the Dickens’ classic Nicholas Nickleby. Family members young and old will enjoy The Chinese State Circus’ new show Ying and Yang which features 30 Chinese acts that are sure to amaze.

Music features heavily in the New Year, and there’s something for everyone. Kaiser Chiefs will raise the roof of the Guild Hall, while The Drifters present an evening of timeless classics as part of their 0th Anniversary Tour. Jools Holland returns with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and the King of Pop himself is relived in Jackson Live.

Whether it’s Brass at the Guild, Billy Fury: Halfway to Paradise, Suggs, pictured, or Brit Floyd we’ve got it covered!

There’s also a great range of stand-up comedy to choose from, with Patrick Monahan Shooting From The Lip, Micky Flanagan showing he’s Back in the Game, Jimmy Carr returning with his new show Gagging Order, Jason Manford discussing First World Problems and Sarah Millican telling us why she’s a Home Bird.

We have two of the most popular classical ballets next Spring, with Moscow Ballet La Classique’s Coppelia, the enchanting tale of eccentric Doctor Coppélius and his clockwork creation, and the magical Swan Lake, performed by English Youth Ballet’s professional principal dancers and a large cast of up to 100 young talented regional dancers.

As always we have a host of community events on in the theatre from Ann Louise Holden’s Legends, Carlova’s Dance Dance, Dance and Kids4Kids Heroes and Villains. The Charity Players present the Ray Cooney farce Run For Your Wife and Preston Opera present Verdi’s masterpiece La Traviata.

For something a little different An Evening of Burlesque might tickle your fancy with a show that’s all tease and no sleaze or maybe you’d prefer to be rocked and shocked by the Circus of Horrors!

Following on from the success of the Hairy Bikers, Ready, Steady Cook Live comes to the Guild Hall with all your favourite elements from the TV show, including the red tomatoes and green peppers, and the ‘Quickie Bag’.

Whatever your taste, there are lots of opportunities to be entertained at the Guild Hall and Charter Theatre over the coming months, we look forward to seeing you there!

Full listings are available online at

Robin Talbot, marketing manager - They Eat Culture at the New Continental

It’s been a fantastic Guild year here for TEC’s arts programming at The Continental, but if there’s one thing we don’t do, it’s rest on our laurels.

We’re continuing our regular live music programme of nationally and internationally significant acts, including shows from Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore with Michael Chapman, the Cinematic Orchestra’s Stuart McCallum, Pictish Trail and friends hosted by Josie Long, the Monochrome Set and the Would-Be-Goods, and a return trip from The Magic Band (yes, THAT Magic Band), along with our jazz and world music strand with weekenders in the Spring and Autumn.

We’ll have two seasons of quality touring studio theatre, starting at the beginning of the year with Horse + Bamboo’s sublime family show The Nightingale, Box of Tricks Theatre’s My Arms and the first cross-regional Word:Play, Conor McKee’s Thrasher, Radio 4’s Molly Naylor and The Middle One’s My Robot Heart, and Fuel’s superb The 14th Tale coming up from Battersea Arts Centre.

There’ll also be a revamped, rebooted version of our literary night, Word Soup, along with other spoken word and literature events, and the return of the Continental’s Cinema Club, with specialist documentary, music, and independent films, not to mention crossover film/music and spoken word performances.

Add to this a new season of workshops, talks, and craft / vintage events and, of course, our two music and arts friendly Beer Festivals in May and September.

And you can also spot us out and about taking programmes around the city. So 2013’s a year to be reckoned with.

Ruth Heritage - Then The City

Ever wanted to get involved with bringing your city to cultural life?

Want to get involved in programming somewhere on your doorstep, or take on a bit of citizen action to elp shape what the city does next? They Eat Culture’s ‘Then The City’ project means you can do just that.

We’ll be working initially with groups and individuals from around Preston, from Roller Girls to Taxi Drivers and anyone in between, in early 2013 to understand our needs as audiences and to develop programming skills – and to shape some great events from music to theatre to film in unused spaces over Spring 2013.

Get involved at

Ian Robinson - vice president, Chorley Little Theatre

There’s another great line-up of plays and stand-up comedy at Chorley Little Theatre in 2013 as the building’s owner CADOS mark their 80th Anniversary with more premiere productions.

A brand-new version of the Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of The Baskervilles takes to the stage in June, after the plays Kes and Two and the musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

Audiences for CADOS shows have increased by over 25% in the last two years and they hope to hit new heights in this special year.

A strong line-up of comedy is led by TV stars Russell Kane and Chris Ramsey with a tour warm-up by Sean Lock. The theatre is also a stop-off for the debut tour by Fosters Comedy Newcomer Award-winner Roisin Conaty as well as Chorley’s own homegrown veteran “chameleon of comedy” Phil Cool with his farewell show.

Other comedians coming in the Spring include Simon Evans, Robin Ince, Justin Moorhouse, and Richard Herring making his fourth appearance at the venue.

Music is provided by tribute band ABBA Forever, folk favourites The Houghton Weavers, and upcoming swing singer Joe Martin launching his new album of Beatles covers.

All profits from shows go towards the upkeep of the century-old building, with audiences being asked to “spend a penny” to help fund toilet refurbishment, amongst other improvements.

Joe Sumsion - theatre manager, Lancaster Dukes

The Dukes will be true to its Northern roots in 2013 with a raft of Made in Lancashire productions lined up.

The fascinating double life story of the Lancashire pub landlord and the country’s most famous ‘official executioner’ will be told in our first co-production of the year, Pierrepoint – The Hangman’s Tale which runs from January 31-February 23 in The Round.

Our second co-production of the season is Savage Children, two plays about children from very different worlds, based on real historical events. Mirad, Boy From Bosnia runs from May 21-22 and Wild Girl from May 23-25. Performances for and by young people continue to be are an important strand at The Dukes. In March, our Senior Youth Theatre present We Lost Elijah as part of the 2013 National Theatre Connections Festival. And The Dukes Young Actors and Young Company, who stormed the theatre with The Unsociables last spring, perform their version of Hamlet in April.

We’ll be delighted to welcome audiences young and old to the return of our outdoor walkabout productions in the summer. These shows are the biggest of their kind in the UK and in 2013 we are excited to present Robin Hood in Williamson Park from July 5-August 10.

We are committed to producing homegrown shows and continuing our young people’s projects so to help support our aims we are continuing our major fundraising drive in 2013. Already planned is a Diamond Charity Dinner at Morecambe’s famous Art Deco hotel on March 16.

As well as producing our own drama, we also look forward to shows by visiting companies this spring.

Some are old favourites like Northern Broadsides who will stage Rutherford & Son directed by Jonathan Miller in February while others are Dukes newcomers including Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory who begin their first ever national tour in Lancaster with Two Gentlemen of Verona in May and Northern Ballet with their bite-sized, child friendly show Ugly Duckling in April.

Our comedy line-up continues to be popular and this season we welcome Hardeep Singh Kohli, Zoe Lyons and Northern comedians Jason Manford and John Shuttleworth.

Jack Bamber - manager, Frog and Bucket Comedy Club

After a fantastic third year of bringing top comedy to Preston with big names like Isy Suttie (Peep Show), Sarah Millican (Queen of Comedy), Jimmy Cricket, Mick Miller, Semour Mace (Ideal) and Smug Roberts (Mrs Browns Boys) we can’t wait for 2013 and here’s why.

Kick starting our way into 2013 with a refurbishment of the customer facilities and main areas around the venue we will be back with our regular shows on January 5th.

After the success of our Halloween and Christmas specials stay tuned for more themed nights and Special events throughout the new year starting with our Valentines February events.We love television comedy quiz shows so we have been working very hard on, on the 7th of February will be launching our brand comedy quiz called “Whose Mocking 9 out of 10 Frogs Anyway” with two comedy panels duelling topical and satirical wit for points, puns and putdowns.

The show will run on the first Thursday of every month and will be free entry for the February launch.

Beat the Frog is our famous amateur act night, up to ten acts every week battle it out to Beat the Frog and become the next big thing. Beat the frog returns on Wednesday it is always free entry with £2 pints. We have booked the freshest and best names on the comedy circuit for 2013 so keep posted via our website and social networks.

Personally I have had the most wonderful year at the Frog & Bucket Comedy Club meeting some extremely talented dedicated artists and being supported by a dedicated team of talented people behind the scenes and have loved every second of the Proud Prestonian spirit that we all experienced in last year’s guild celebrations.

I have been inspired to produce new events around the city in 2013 with the frog and bucket and can’t wait for you to see what we have for you.