Stafford Shakespeare announces Twelfth Night for 2024

We are delighted to announce that the 2024 Stafford Shakespeare production will be The Bard’s much-loved comedy TWELFTH NIGHT.

Performances are scheduled to take place from June 21 to July 7 with the venue yet to be decided.

Further details are available from…/show-must-go…



Gatehouse lands Community Award

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre and Stone Leisure Centre are celebrating after winning accolades at the national Freedom Leisure Awards Ceremony.

Stone Leisure Centre was awarded Best Performance of the Year across all Freedom Leisure sites for their fantastic Learn to Swim programme, while the Gatehouse Theatre won the Wales and The North Region’s Healthy Communities Project of the Year for their Classic Film Afternoon programme. Stone Leisure Centre and the Gatehouse Theatre are managed by Freedom Leisure on behalf of Stafford Borough Council.

Stone’s Learn to Swim programme has been a huge success, involving beginners of all ages and Manager Nick Meehan said: ‘We help children from 3 months upwards and adults to learn how to swim. It’s a fantastic experience that opens up new possibilities for everyone, as well as supporting confidence, enjoyment and safety in the water.

‘We’re delighted to have won this award as recognition for the team’s efforts and also for the people who have come along and learned to swim with us.’

The Gatehouse Theatre’s Classic Film Afternoons have also been a huge hit with the local community and General Manager Gary Stevens said: ‘We’ve been blown away by the response from people in Stafford and beyond. We show classic films and people get a cake and a hot drink for as little as £5.00 in total.’
The events are Dementia Friendly and also operate alongside the Gatehouse’s involvement in the Chatty Café initiative.

Gary added: ‘We love being a place where people can just pop in for a coffee and a chat, use our free wi-fi or just warm up at this time of year! We are a community facility and the Classic Film Afternoons are a brilliant example of why the Gatehouse is at the heart of the community in Stafford.’
The next Classic Film Afternoon is on December 7 when there will be a special Christmas showing of the Bing Crosby film, Holiday Inn (film starts at 1.00pm).

Freedom Leisure Chief Executive Officer Ivan Horsfall Turner visited the Stafford and Stone venues to congratulate the teams personally on Friday.
He said: ‘I’m really pleased to present the Healthy Communities Award for this very innovative project to the Gatehouse. The Theatre team are making a positive contribution in respect to mental health benefits to the local community.

Freedom Leisure’s Stafford Area Manager Liz Hulse said: ‘I am delighted to share the good news that our teams at Stone Leisure Centre and the Gatehouse Theatre were recognised for their achievements at our company conference. It’s great to see the success and hard work of our colleagues in Stafford Borough recognised nationally.’ 


NEW: Name a Seat

It’s time to take your seat at the Gatehouse for the next 10 years, with our new ‘Name a Seat’ programme.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, mark a special moment, say thank you to a friend, or honour a fellow theatre-lover, naming a seat in the main auditorium is the perfect memento of happy hours spent at the Gatehouse down the years.

Your support will make a big difference and help towards projects including our Gatehouse Youth Theatre groups, which give local youngsters their first taste of theatre, our Dementia Friendly Classic Film Afternoons, or our ongoing support for local community groups.

It won’t guarantee you’ll be able to book the seat for every show, but you’ll be part of the furniture in more ways than one!

Simply choose what you’d like to say on your specially-engraved metal plaque and we’ll proudly display it on a seat of your choice for the next 10 years.

Donations start at £150 for one seat or £250 for two (although you can donate as much as you like above those amounts).

You will also receive a downloadable Certificate of Thanks and a picture of the plaque in place (we will also happily arrange a visit to the theatre for you to grab your own photo).

So name a seat today – and there’ll always be a part of you at the Gatehouse.

Simply contact the Box Office on 01785 619080 for details or call in for a chat about naming YOUR seat.


Tesco fund backs Classic Film Afternoons

The Gatehouse Theatre will receive £1,500 from Tesco’s Stronger Starts scheme that it will use to continue its Classic Film Afternoons this autumn.

The popular Dementia Friendly daytime shows include a classic film, a hot drink and a cake for just £6.00 (or £10 for two). Showings take place on a big screen and this season will feature movie gems such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Some Like it Hot and Rebel Without a Cause.

Gatehouse Theatre general manager Gary Stevens said: ‘We are delighted to receive this money from Tesco’s Stronger Starts fund – and especially grateful to all the people of Stafford who helped by backing us with their tokens in-store.

‘Our shows are Dementia Friendly, fully accessible and great value. We look forward to seeing even more guests for refreshments and these classic films over the next few months.’

To boost funds for extra food and activity equipment, Tesco is introducing a £5m grant programme, in partnership with Groundwork UK, to give children across the UK a stronger start in life. The grants will help schools and children’s groups provide nutritious food and healthy activities that support young people’s physical health and mental wellbeing, such as breakfast clubs or snacks, and equipment for healthy activities.

Tesco’s Stronger Starts – previously Tesco Bags of Help and Tesco Community Grants – has already provided over £100 million to more than 50,000 projects across Britain.

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK CEO, said: “Helping schools and children’s groups access the food and resources they need is vitally important in getting children a stronger start in life. Children with enough food have more energy, better concentration, and ultimately achieve more too.”

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s UK Chief Executive, said: “As a community charity, we have seen first-hand how schools and other groups supporting young people have been playing a much bigger role in ensuring children are getting a healthy start to the day and getting access to spaces and services to support physical activity and mental health. Family budgets are tight and school budgets are tight, but it’s so important that children stay fed, fit and focused, so we’re delighted to be able to prioritise these activities alongside Tesco with the Stronger Starts programme.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. To find out more visit


Youth Theatre shows revealed

Drum roll please . . . our latest Gatehouse Youth Theatre shows have been revealed. Get ready for Chicago, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Matilda The Musical.

There’s still plenty of time to sign up to Gatehouse Youth Theatre for the coming year. We are proud to be investing in the future of our industry. Projects start in September and run term time. The age groups are:
Juniors: 7yrs – 11yrs (Matilda the Musical)
Plays: 12-18yrs (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
Musicals 12- 18yrs (Chicago)
Join us today by emailing

Mark leads panto cast

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre and Imagine Theatre are delighted to announce that the cast of this year’s magical family pantomime Beauty and the Beast will be led by CBBC favourite Mark Rhodes.Double BAFTA award-winning presenter Mark first appeared on our screens as a finalist in 2003’s Pop Idol. After teaming up with fellow contestant Sam Nixon, they went on to have a number one single before cementing themselves as the faces of CBBC for more than 19 years.

Mark is perhaps best known for presenting the return of the iconic Crackerjack (CBBC), eight series of Sam & Mark’s Big Friday Wind-Up (CBBC), as well as the much-loved Saturday morning show TMI  (CBBC).Over the years, Mark has presented hundreds of hours of TV, including Junior Bake Off, Match of the Day: Can You Kick It?, Copycats, Taking the Next Step, Sport Relief Does Glee Club and Top of the Pops Reloaded to name just a few. He can currently be seen hosting the hugely popular Masked Singer Live at venues up and down the country.

Mark said: ‘This will be my eighth panto, but my first in Stafford which I’m especially looking forward to, being a local lad who grew up nearby in Wolverhampton. It’s my favourite time of the year and I can’t wait to see you all there for lots of fun and laughs this Christmas.’
Joining Mark on stage will be a Dame with over two decades of experience as David Phipps-Davis takes the role of Madeline Marzipan. And Stafford’s panto fans will be delighted to see the return of the hilarious Wink Taylor and Wendy Abrahams, as well as Theo the Mouse, who brought the house down in Snow White in 2021.

Gatehouse Theatre Manager Gary Stevens said: ‘We are over the moon with this incredible cast for Beauty and the Beast. Mark is a CBBC legend and a real national treasure, while David is one the best Dames in all the kingdom.
‘To have Wink and Wendy back is the icing on the cake, especially as it means the return of Theo The Mouse, who is absolutely hilarious in everything he does. We can’t wait for opening night and to give the people of Stafford and beyond the greatest pantomime they’ve ever seen.’

So what’s the plot of this fantastic family show? Well, when an arrogant Prince is cursed to live as a beast his only hope of salvation is to find love before the last petal falls from a magic rose. When pretty village girl Beauty comes into his life, is this the chance he has been waiting for?

Join us at the Gatehouse this Christmas to find out!


We’re backing the Boro

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is delighted to have joined the ranks of Stafford Rangers Football Club supporters with our new advertising board at the famous Shed End.
As well as taking a spot behind the goal at Marston Road, the theatre is also sponsoring the club’s academy mini-bus in the months ahead.
Roy Sales (pictured), from the club’s commercial department, said: ‘It’s great to have the Gatehouse on board. It’s a brilliant place for a night out and we look forward to working closely with the theatre in the years ahead.’
Gatehouse Marketing Manager Keith Harrison added: ‘The Rangers have been getting great crowds this past season and advertising at Marston Road is a fantastic way of reaching a new audience for us, as well as showing support for a brilliant club.
‘We’re two of the biggest entertainment venues in town and it makes sense to work together – up the Boro!’
If you’re a local business looking to raise your profile in Stafford and beyond, contact Roy on 01785 602430 or Keith on 01785 619080.

For those about to rock

Producer Mike Groves gives an update on this year’s rocktastic Summer School production ROCK OF AGES.

Check out this video and shiny information pack to download or flick through here.


Shakespeare cast announcement

STAFFORD GATEHOUSE THEATRE is proud to announce the full cast for Shakespeare’s best-loved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, June 23 – July 9.
More than 5,000 people applied for roles in the annual Stafford Shakespeare production, which will see the Eastgate Street theatre transformed into a mythical Greek playground.
As well as Titanic star Jonathan Hyde and the ‘first lady of the West End’ Kerry Ellis, are actors who have appeared in hit shows such as Ted Lasso and The Crown, as well as the hit play ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’.
Olivier Award-nominated Dan Burton (White Christmas, Gypsy) will join in the role of Oberon. Will Taylor (The Play That Goes Wrong, The New Musketeers) will take on the loveable role of Puck.
Lucinda Freeburn joins as Peaseblossom and Sam Lightfoot-Loftus will take on the role of Cobweb, together with Kerry Ellis as Titania, to complete the fairy line-up or, in this case, the mythical Greek gods.
Joining Milly Zero (EastEnders, The Crown) as Hermia is Noa Nikita Bleeker (Ted Lasso) in the role of Helena and the male lovers are made up of Richard Logun (Birds and Bees) as Lysander and James Bradwell (Holby City, Murder They Hope) as Demetrius. The other Athenians are Toby Webster taking on Theseus and Oyin Orija (To Kill a Mockingbird) as Hippolyta.
Previously announced Jonathan Hyde (Titanic, Jumanji, The Mummy) will play Nick Bottom and joining him are the mechanicals Amy Revelle (The Time Machine, The Possibility of Colour) as Quince; Megan Marszal as Snug, Olivier Sublet as Flute, Elaine Hua Jones as Starveling and Daniel Copeland as Snout/Egeus.
The creative team for the production includes Sean Turner (Play That Goes Wrong, The New Musketeers) as the director. Chris Whittaker will provide the Choreography/movement.
Stamatis Seraphim is the composer, Jida Akil will design the costumes. Anna Phillips is the set designer whilst Barry Smith provides the lighting design and sound designer is Holly Khan.
Stafford Shakespeare Producer Mike Groves said: ‘I am very excited to have this cast on board.
‘Having a cast of 17 is no small feat in the current climate and the whole team has done well to achieve this. The Dream is hilarious and this cast reflects our ambition to thoroughly entertain.
‘Coupled with our contingent of actor-musos, this production is really going to sizzle.’
More than 2,000 tickets have already been sold for the production and Gatehouse Marketing Manager Keith Harrison said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to have such a strong cast, with huge West End, Broadway, TV and film experience.
‘The production itself will be an immersive experience with lots of surprises as soon as you step foot inside the theatre.
‘It’s not just another show at the Gatehouse, it’s a one-off and people will never have seen the theatre like this before.
‘Already, people in the industry are asking whether it will transfer to the West End, but there are no plans for that – it’s a case of see it in Stafford or miss out.’
Tickets are available from the Box Office on 01785 619080 or by clicking here

Marti Pellow show postponed

We are really sorry to tell you that we have just received the following statement from Marti Pellow’s promoter:

Due to a viral illness that has affected four members of the tour party on Marti Pellow’s Pellow Talk tour, including Marti, this week’s shows including Stafford Gatehouse on April 23 will be postponed. Members of the touring party have been battling illness for some days and it is no longer possible to continue at present. A short pause will ensue, before dates resume. Dates that have been postponed will be rescheduled. Marti and the Promoter both apologise that it’s necessary to put a hold on the tour for now – and look forward to resuming as soon as that’s physically possible. Please retain your tickets and a new date will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Please monitor for further updates.

Customers who wish to have a refund should contact the Box Office on 01785 619080. Apologies again – we are as disappointed about this as you are – and we will let you know as soon as the show is rescheduled.