Let’s get this show on the road: the best theatre productions on tour

Let’s get this show on the road: the best theatre productions on tour

Our pick of the best musicals and plays touring the UK

When it comes to touring theatre, this year is one of the most exciting of the decade as long-running West End musicals and Olivier Award-winning plays hit the road for the first time ever. Here are the productions that will be appearing at a theatre near you.

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An Officer and A Gentleman

21 May to 15 September 2018

Liverpool, Edinburgh, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow

Based on the Oscar-winning film starring Richard Gere as a trainee US Navy pilot who falls for a local girl, this new musical will have its world premiere at Leicester's Curve theatre in April before touring the UK. Featuring 1980s pop classics such as Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Material Girl and – of course – Up Where We Belong, the show is expected to be a hit with a transfer to the West End predicted for late 2018.

Gareth Gates as Willard in Footloose © Matt MartinFootloose

Until 30 September

Various venues including York, High Wycombe, Coventry, Guildford and London

When a city boy skips into a rural backwater where dancing is banned, he soon has the whole town dancing to his rock’n’roll beat. This catchy musical based on the 1984 film of the same name is back on tour across the UK this summer, starring Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates as Willard and Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore. The same cast racked up a number of glowing reviews when they took the show on the road last year, so expect a rip-roaring production packed with dazzling choreography and catchy songs.

Valda Aviks, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cameron Blakely, Dickon Gough, Samantha Womack, Les Dennis and Grant McIntyre in The Addams Family © Matt MartinThe Addams Family

20 April to 4 November

Various venues including Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bath, Nottingham and Sheffield

The family of freaks will be making themselves at home in a theatre near you this summer. When princess of darkness Wednesday Addams falls in love with a smart young man from a respectable family, all hell breaks loose as Lurch, Uncle Fester and Pugsley wreak havoc. From the writers of award-winning hit Jersey Boys, it’s the first time the Broadway show has been staged in the UK and we won’t be surprised if it gets a West End transfer in early 2018. This is a must-see for all the family.

Grease – T Birds © Paul ColtasGrease

Until 31 December

Various locations including Oxford, Bristol, Dublin, Newcastle, Plymouth and Brighton

Undoubtedly one of the most famous musicals of all time, the high school tale of 1950s subculture will sweep across the UK. The first ever London stage production opened in 1973 with Richard Gere playing bad boy Danny and Stacey Gregg as Sandy, and more than 40 years later it’s still a riot of catchy songs and electrifying dance routines. The feel-good soundtrack features all the unforgettable songs from the 1978 hit movie including You’re The One That I Want, Hopelessly Devoted To You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’ and many more.

Jersey Boys © Helen MaybanksJersey Boys

16 December 2017 to 14 April 2018

Various locations including Birmingham, Liverpool, Hull, Milton Keynes and Glasgow

After nine years of entertaining London audiences, the run of this Olivier and Tony Award-winning jukebox musical came to an end in March, meaning it can now embark on a full UK tour. Following the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the show is packed with hits – many of which you won’t even realise were written by the dapper 1960s pop act – and the simple staging and choreography doesn’t get in the way of the playful, incident-packed story. The cast is yet to be announced but we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it’ll feature some of the stars from the West End troupe.

Cast of Hairspray © Ellie KurttzHairspray

16 August 2017 to 12 May 2018

Various locations including Cardiff, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leicester and Southampton

Following the enormous success of the 2015-2016 UK tour, the international smash hit returns to theatres across the UK this summer. With music and lyrics by Academy Award, Tony and Emmy-winning duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the story casts audiences back to Baltimore in 1923, where Tracy Turnblad is on a one-woman mission to dance her way onto national TV. Her audition makes her a star and she uses her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging herself a local heart-throb along the way. The star casting includes Norman Pace of Hale & Pace and Brenda Edwards who stepped into the limelight on The X Factor in 2005.


People, Places and ThingsPeople, Places and Things

22 September to 11 November

Locations include Manchester, Oxford, Bristol, Bath and Southampton

When Duncan Macmillan’s play opened at the National Theatre in 2015 it became the hottest ticket in the theatre world as critics and theatre-goers clamoured to see this intoxicating play which went on to win two Olivier Awards and secure a West End transfer. Lisa Dwyer Hogg takes on Denise Gough's raw and heart-breaking role as Emma. Tickets will almost certainly sell out, so contact us as soon as possible to secure yours.

Hedda GablerHedda Gabler

2 October 2017 to 3 March 2018

Locations include Plymouth, Edinburgh, Wolverhampton, Newcastle and Nottingham

The National Theatre production of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play enjoyed a sell-out run at the Lyttelton theatre and earned four- and five-star reviews from all the major critics. Directed by Ivo van Hove, who’s renowned for his avant-garde approach, it’s one of the most contemporary interpretations of the 19th-century play to date and it shouldn’t be missed when it embarks on its UK tour this autumn. Lizzy Watts portrays the troubled title character.

War HorseWar Horse

15 September 2017 to 7 April 2018

Locations include Canterbury, Bristol, Liverpool, Bradford and Nottingham

It's the First World War and young Albert's beloved horse, Joey, has been sold to the cavalry and sent to France, where, after heavy fighting, he's abandoned in no man's land. But Albert won't forget him and joins the army to embark on an epic voyage through Europe to save his steed. The West End hit show, which utilises puppetry, music, movement, and dramatic scenery to bring this epic war allegory to life, is making its second tour of the UK and tickets are on sale now.

Pictured top: The cast of Footloose © Matt Martin

Last updated on 13 September 2017

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