So the fireworks lit up the sky and 2024 was launched………off we go with what I hope will be a wonderful year of theatre.

We are excited to bring you a programme of comedies, original and new versions of classic plays, contemporary theatre, a stunning musical which was a massive hit in London in 2022, physical theatre, a genre we have not staged before and high drama. Much of our programme focusses on staging work by the very best writers – much garlanded playwrights who have earned their place in any hall of fame. All in the hands of my brilliant team of directors.

The new brochure for the first six months of the year is already in the theatre, with much more detail on the productions ahead, so do pick up a copy when you are next in. All details also on the website up to June.

First up is my own production of Yasmina Reza’s Life x 3. This is the third of her plays that I have directed, following The God of Carnage and Art which we staged last January to huge acclaim. Life x 3 started life at the National Theatre with a stellar cast of Mark Rylance, Imelda Staunton, Harriet Walter and Oliver Cotton and then moved to the Old Vic and then the Savoy Theatre, plus an American cast on Broadway.

It covers three versions of the same disastrous evening – hence Life x 3 – when a couple arrive for dinner on the wrong day. The evening looks set to be a disaster…..unless events can take a different turn. Or two…..An antidote to a gloomy January evening. Come and relish my terrific cast in action.

After the last night of the run, on Sunday 28th January we are welcoming back Mike Paul-Smith’s quite brilliant Down for the Count band in a show entitled The Legends of Swing. Here is the chance locally to see a jazz band who are absolutely at the top of their profession and who can be seen frequently at Ronnie Scott’s famous club in London. It was a sellout last time they visited us, so you will have to be super fast to secure a ticket……….

We are also offering something a little different in our Studio Theatre on 10th February too. We are welcoming the innovative and talented company of Improvesarios for an evening of fun and mayhem as they put down their scores and put their creative prowess to the test. Using your suggestions, this group of classically trained musicians improvise a brand new opera completely on the spot! Help them make beautiful musical moments or laugh along as they try to hold it all together. Their fate is in your hands. After their award winning 2023 season, with previous adventures including prison breaks, lost love in the hotel business and even the sacking of Rome, no scenario is too outlandish or too mundane for this group to turn into an opera. Tickets are available on the website – book early to get a seat.

In other news we are so sad to report the loss of two people who spent many years involved at the Loft – Tony Dixon and Pat Pugh. Tony first appeared on the Loft stage in 1998 and his last production was The Lieutenant of Inishmore in 2011. Pat and Denzil Pugh were deeply involved with the Loft for a long time. Sadly Denzil died several years ago and just before Christmas his wife Pat died aged 95. Our thoughts are with their families and friends and we hold brilliant memories of them all.

Around us at the theatre we are feeling lightheaded as the construction vehicles have rumbled away, scaffolding which has almost enveloped our theatre front and back has disappeared and the mess and muddle has retreated. The development at the rear of the theatre is nearing completion and we are introducing ourselves and welcoming our new neighbours.

Finally, we launched a scheme to encourage young theatregoers in December last year, offering 16 – 25 year olds free tickets to see our shows in 2024. No catch, you just have to show your ID at the box office to be the proud owner of a ticket for any Loft show. We are keen for them to get the theatre habit which we hope will last a lifetime. The scheme started on 1st January 2024.

Thank you to those of you who continue to support us. We believe that theatre at its best is life enhancing and we continue to strive to perform to professional standards and bring you local, affordable theatre on your doorstep. Without you the Loft theatre could not continue, so we are endlessly grateful to you for your support. Every ticket sold makes every difference. It really does.

January, 2024.