Take a trip down memory lane

Horrible Histories: Royal dance
Horrible Histories: Royal dance

Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians are on the rampage at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool next week.

Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians are on the rampage at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool next week.

Birmingham Stage Company’s two Horrible Histories productions help audiences to feel what it was like to live in the 16th century ruled by hideous Henries and the evil

Elizabeth I, or in the 19th century struggling to survive the misery of the mines and rotten railways! Both shows are cleverly adapted from Terry Deary’s best-selling Horrible Histories books.

Deary is the world’s best selling non-fiction author for children and one of the most popular children’s authors in the country. The shows run from Wednesday to Sunday.

Box Office: 01253 743339 or www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk.

A coming-of-age story about a natural-born troublemaker, and his relationship with his father, comes to Preston’s Continental pub theatre next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The 14th Tale follows Inua Ellam’s real life journey from his birthplace in Nigeria to the culture-shock of England, charting trials, tribulations and mischief-making along

the way. Using playful rhymes, he weaves vivid and endearing characters, while at the same time challenging expectations of what it is to be a young male in the UK today. Continental promoters They Eat Culture are delighted to be bringing London theatre producers Fuel up to the North West from the Battersea Arts Centre, when this award-winning spoken word artist performs for two consecutive nights.

Still only 28 Inua has achieved considerable success as both a poet and performer.

The 14th Tale, his first full-length show, won a Fringe First Award at Edinburgh in 2009 before going on to tour nationally and internationally.

His subsequent shows Untitled and Black T-Shirt Collection have both toured nationally and sold out the National’s Cottesloe Theatre.

Creative director of TEC, Ruth Heritage, said: “I called Fuel about a year ago to speak about how we would love to work with them in Preston to develop audiences for quality performance, and potentially to co-commission and produce work for Preston which can tour elsewhere.”

Guardian journalist and blogger Maddy Costa will be working with Fuel and various venues to create both an online buzz and a record of the project. For audiences there will be a minibus collecting them from around Preston for the event.

Groups have a special discount on the concessionary rate, and they’ll be hosting a workshop by Inua for any performers who want to get involved. Box office: 01772 499425 or 01772 253731 or online from Seetickets or WeGotTickets.

There’s a chance next week to see local young people perform a play, commissioned by the National Theatre Connections Festival, in Lancaster.

The Dukes Senior Youth Theatre will present We Lost Elijah at DT3, The Dukes youth specific venue, in Moor Lane from Thursday to Saturday. The play follows the story of a group of young people who are all affected in different ways by the discovery that their classmate has gone missing and explores the challenges of being a teenager in today’s society.

We Lost Elijah features 17 actors telling the story through physical theatre, live filming and projection, live sound and music.

The play’s score was composed by Thom Waite, a young musician who, although not a member of the Dukes Youth Theatre, offered to write the music as he hopes to pursue a career in music technology.

One of the directors, Mary Sharples said: “Our aim has been to shape the piece around the interests and skills of the group, and also around skills that they wanted to learn.”

The play will be performed again at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre’s on May 4 alongside two different Connections plays presented by other groups.

A director from the National will see the show at the Dukes and deliver feedback and The Dukes Senior Youth Theatre will find out whether they’ve been chosen to perform at the National in the summer.

Box office: 01524 598500 or www.dukes-lancaster.org

Nabucco, a magnificent golden eagle with a 6ft wingspan, is sure to steal the limelight in opera director Ellen Kent’s production of Tosca at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool on Sunday. The seven-year-old bird of prey, nicknamed Mouse, will appear in just a handful of performances around the UK – including Blackpool. Ellen Kent is bringing two new productions on March 10 (Tosca) and March 11 (Carmen).

Nabucco, who was bred in captivity, has been in training for his time in the spotlight with falconer Derek Tindall, who will be accompanying him on tour. Puccini’s Tosca is an epic tale of true love and treachery featuring torture, murder and suicide alongside some of opera’s best-known music. Set in Rome and based on a play by Victorien Sardou, it was once described as a “shabby little shocker”.

The shows also feature children from a local stage school and another animal performer - Max the donkey, who will take centre stage in Carmen.

Bizet’s dramatic opera tells the story of the downfall of soldier Don Jose, who is seduced by the fiery gypsy Carmen.