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.


Shakespeare casting update

More than 5,000 actors have applied for roles in this year’s Stafford Shakespeare production – the biggest response since the company was founded in 1991.
Auditions were taking place in London over the past week after 14 roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream were advertised in theatre press and stage directories.
The production has a full professional cast of 17, with three of the roles already allocated to Australian actor Jonathan Hyde (Titanic, Jumanji) who will play Nick Bottom, Broadway star Kerry Ellis (Wicked, Les Miserables) as Tatania and Milly Zero (All at Sea, EastEnders) who will play Hermia.
Producer Mike Groves (pictured) said: ‘We were expecting around 1,500 applications for roles in the Stafford Shakespeare production, but we ended up with 5,132. The response was incredible and it just goes to show how highly regarded these plays are on a national level.
‘Everyone knows that the production values will be spot on and standards will be incredibly high.
‘We have whittled it down to 150 auditionees, with some fairly well-known names in among them, so it’s very exciting to be down in London seeing who could be in our cast. We actually had to extend our stay because there were so many people we wanted to see.’
Director Sean Turner and Company Stage Manager Wesley Carter make up the casting team with Mike.
As well as the principal cast members, the producers are planning one or two big name surprises for the show, which runs at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre from June 23 – July 9.
Marketing manager Keith Harrison said: ‘I don’t think the Gatehouse will ever have seen a show like it and there’s a real buzz about the place as the opening night draws nearer.’
More than 2,000 tickets have already been sold and the producers have also announced a spin-off production called The Fairy Academy for younger theatre-goers.
Mike Groves explained: ‘It’s linked to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and is a great introduction to the theatre for children aged 5-9. The youngsters join in and complete various tasks before a full graduation ceremony where they receive their fairy wings, which they get to keep, of course.
‘It will all be staged in a magical setting with a beautiful sound and light show so we are really excited to be welcoming some younger theatre-goers alongside our main production.’



Broadway star Kerry joins Shakespeare cast

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is proud to announce that Broadway and West End star KERRY ELLIS has joined the cast of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM.

Award-winning Kerry will play Titania, Queen of the Fairies, in the town’s prestigious annual Shakespeare production.

She recently completed a headline run in Anything Goes at the Barbican in London and her other credits include Fantine in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London, Nancy in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal and Grizabella in Cats at the London Palladium, taking over from Nicole Scherzinger.

She is perhaps best known for her role in the original cast of Wicked as witch Elphaba. After taking over the lead role from Idina Menzel she became the first West End actor to transfer the role to Broadway in 2009. She has also appeared as Meat in We Will Rock You and performed live with her long-time musical collaborator, Queen guitarist Brian May. In May, her fifth studio album – Kings and Queens – will be released after being produced by Mike Stevens, who has worked with Take That and ELO.

Kerry said: ’I am so excited to be joining the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to play Titania, Queen of the Fairies. This will be a new challenge for me and I cannot wait to get going on my first Shakespeare play.’

Producer Mike Groves said: ‘We are beyond delighted to have Kerry in our cast; she is a huge talent and it’s a real coup for Stafford to get someone of her international standing on board.

’We are looking forward to delivering something special in Stafford this summer.’

The production runs from July 23 – July 9 at the theatre.