Our writers tell us what they’re looking forward to in this New Year…

2019 promises even more brilliant productions such as Kinky Boots, a feel-good tale about the unlikely friendship between the owner of a failing shoe factory and Lola, a drag queen in desperate need of some size nine heels! This new market proves to be just what Charlie needs to save the business. Tackling some complex issues such as the struggles of transgender people and the dying out of high-street local companies in a light-hearted way and with some fabulous and catchy songs to accompany it, Kinky Boots promises to be thoroughly entertaining and a romp from start to finish. 

– Beth McMillan

Heart of Darkness. Image courtesy of imitating the dog

I am excited for The Dukes’ Heart of Darkness production because Conrad’s tale of the darkness within should not be relegated to the back-bench of old literature. It is important to remember a time when racism and xenophobia were commonplace, and when the people of the Congo were labelled ‘dark shapes’ and ‘figures.’ I am curious to see how The Duke’s production will reimagine Marlowe’s detachment from the natives for the stage, and whether The Dukes’ use of hanging projection screens will add more to the performance or prove that the classics are better left untouched by modern technology.

– Lexi Burgess

Deputy Lifestyle Editor 

What am I looking forward to in 2019? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? After a cup of tea and some pondering, I realised that I had to pick The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts as my one to watch out for. I’m a sucker for a good crime thriller, and the synopsis had me clicking the pre-order button straight away. (Which is a bold move with a post-Christmas student bank account.) Out soon, on the 24th January, if you fancy a slightly darker, more chilling read in this cold, miserable month, then I suggest that you check it out.

– Lara Orriss

Lifestyle Editor 

Glory. Image courtesy of Red Ladder Theatre Company

I’m excited to see Glory at the Dukes this February, another home-grown production that has already been featured as one to watch by the BBC and other national newspapers. Written by Nick Ahad and directed by Rod Dixon, Glory looks inside the British wrestling ring and the crumbling careers of the old boxers in there fighting. It promises to be both comical and gritty, so what’s not to like?  

– Ruth Walbank

Arts and Culture Editor

Deadpan comedy duo Flo and Joan hit The Dukes in Lancaster on 2nd February, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have been following them for years on Youtube and their albums which are available on streaming. This summer I had the pleasure of seeing them live for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe and they did not disappoint. Their ‘Alive on Stage’ tour sees them cover all issues from cracker factories to sex robots, and features comedy segments cleverly addressing death threats received from their appearances on the Nationwide adverts. They are hilarious comic talents, and a must see for all. 

– Toby Cooke

Carolynne Editor

Flo and Joan. Image courtesy of The Dukes

As for the coming year, I’m always up for a bit of Shakespeare, and Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favourites, so you can bet I’ll be keeping an eye on Northern Broadsides’ production of it, coming to The Dukes this March.

– Isaac Rolfe 

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Ian McKellen. This fantastic actor – convincing in both the Shakespearian roles, action films, screenwriting, producing, and LGBT activist – is a remarkable human being, and is celebrating his 80th birthday by touring a solo show. Thereby, he visits The Dukes as well. McKellen says that it will start with Gandalf (of course) and probably end with an invitation to act with him on stage. I would be entirely satisfied with the presence of McKellen himself, but let’s be honest – how exciting is it?

  Berenika Balcer

Image courtesy of Royal Exchange Theatre

In 2019, I’m looking forward to seeing West Side Story performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre. The theatre itself is a feast of beauty for the eyes, and I’ve seen some of the best performances of my life here, so I’m confident that this will deliver. West Side Story is a timeless tale with completely undervalued songs (in my eyes) – I’m ready to fall in love with it once more. This piece isn’t until the Easter break in March, and student tickets are only £8, so grab yourself one!

Becky Scott

Associate Editor 

Leeds Playhouse. Image courtesy of Leeds Playhouse

West Yorkshire Leeds Playhouse was my favourite theatre, and I have seen many exceptional, unforgettable productions there from Sweeney Todd to His Dark Materials and Anna Karenina. It is the theatre I grew up in, and I was even lucky enough to perform in Measure for Measure there as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival. As part of the regeneration of its area of Leeds, the theatre has undergone significant refurbishments, increasing its size and accessibility and rebranding as Leeds Playhouse. I am very excited to return there in 2019 for the inaugural season for some more fantastic theatre.

– Johnathan Herbert

Associate Editor

Jewish culture and history have always interested me, and as Jews made up a large percentage of the population in the pre-WWII times (in Poland – 10% of the population, the highest in Europe), it is important to remember how influential they were in the development of European culture and science. Having recently visited Israel it encouraged me to deepen my knowledge. A great way to do so would be through attending The Jewish Culture Festival – SIMCHA in Wroclaw. Among the usual activities during the festival are: concerts, cooking and language classes, film screenings, art exhibitions, and many more. The festival usually takes place in the early June in the White Stork Synagogue – the only synagogue in Wroclaw to have survived the Holocaust. 

– Marta Wójtowicz