Berkshire is set for another incredible entertainment season this New Year, as Corn Exchange announce their Spring 2024 season. The January-April line up includes a diverse host of theatre, comedy, music, dance, and more, from returning classics to exciting new shows, all set to dazzle Newbury’s audiences.
Celebrating music’s most iconic women, West End star Kelly O’Brien will delight with her Dolly Parton tribute The Dolly Show (25th January) while Women in Rock (27th January) will take audiences on a journey through five decades of the world’s greatest female rock legends. Rock ‘n’ roll greatness continues with the UK Pink Floyd Experience (2nd February) and Back Into Hell: A Tribute to Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman (23rd February). Direct from their smash-hit West End run, the divas of Queenz – The Show With Balls! (2nd March) will dazzle Newbury’s audiences, while internationally acclaimed Emilio Santoro bring his award-winning Elvis tribute Emilio Santoro as Elvis (8th March) to the UK. Delight in a rip-roaring comedy music show with a splendiferous injection of Big Band swing in Crooners (9th March), and prepare to be blown away by the greatest guitar riffs of all time, featuring over 30 authentic guitars, in The Story of Guitar Heroes (21st March).
Featured on BBC’s Songs of Praise, The Spirituals (22nd March) will grace the stage with a series of fantastical reimaginings of spiritual anthems. Awake My Soul – The Mumford & Sons Story (28th March) will take audiences on a musical journey of Britain’s beloved folk-rock group, while Woman Like Me: The Little Mix Show (6th April) brings to life the chart-topping hits and phenomenal vocals of the iconic girl group. Continuing the tributes to legendary British acts will be hit stage production Shape of You: The Music of Ed Sheeran (13th April), featuring the amazing music of one of the world’s greatest singer-songwriters along with an opening set of songs from George Ezra. Performed by a highly talented 10-piece band, The Signatures (19th April) will bring authentic Northern Soul Music to audiences, and rounding out a fantastic season of musical talent is the spell-binding celebration of pop divas Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and Beyoncé, Legends: The Divas (20th April).
Opening the Spring theatre season, and returning to Newbury for their 10th anniversary tour, Dirty Dusting (26th January) tells the story of three cleaning ladies who chance on an ‘unconventional’ way of earning some extra cash. Peppa Pig is back in her oinktastic new live show, Peppa Pig’s Fun Day Out (7th –8th February), guaranteed to provide Peppa fans with a perfect introduction to theatre. New dark comedy Cracking (20th February), presented by SDJ Productions, employs both stand-up and theatre to question what’s funny and where we draw the line, while UK’s leading full mask theatre company Vamos’ Boy on the Roof (7th March) presents a breath-taking story of an unlikely friendship. Witty physical comedy Houdini’s Great Escape (14th March), presented by New Old Friends in association with Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, presents a hilarious alternative retelling of the infamous escapologist’s life with a whodunnit twist – New Old Friends return to the Corn Exchange following recent hits Crimes on Centre Court, Crimes Camera Action and Crimes in Egypt. Unpredictable twists continue in Say It Again, Sorry?’s The Importance of Being…Earnest (25th – 26th April), a sparkling spin on the classic tale of love and double-lives.
A selection of phenomenal family entertainment will entertain audiences of all ages – Corn Exchange will be transformed into a laboratory in Top Secret – The Magic Science (3rd February) as the wonders of magic and science are fused, and The Highland Joker’s The Bubble Show (11th February) will see the renowned bubble artist dazzle with his unique blend of storytelling and bubble art. Acclaimed theatre company Tall Stories presents The Gruffalo’s Child (15th – 17th March) – this enchanting adaptation of the award-winning picture book promises songs, laughs, and scary fun for all.
The beloved host of CBeebies’ ‘Popcast’ returns with his legendary live performance Nick Cope: Family Music (24th March), an organic, educational, and fun musical extravaganza. Tom Fletcher’s interactive adventures for big imaginations are leaping from page to stage in There’s a Monster in Your Show (2nd – 5th April), as the iconic book characters come to life in this playful live show featuring original music. The Museum of Marvellous Things (11th April) presents an interactive family show based on the picture book by Kristina Stephenson, where the impossible comes to life, and baby sensory show Kaleidoscope (20th April) will enchant little ones, inspired by research into how a baby’s sense of sight develops and how they categorise colour.
Be transported to a jaw-dropping world of wonderment and mystery in The Greatest Magician: An Evening of Wonders (23rd March); following a sell-out run in 2022, James Phelan presents an all new magic comedy show that will leave audiences dizzy in disbelief. Coming to Newbury after another sell-out London run is KVN Dance Company, who will bring their inventive reimagining of Coppelia (18th April) to Corn Exchange, featuring the full classical Delibes score remixed and a fusion of classical ballet with contemporary dance and hip-hop.
It’s set to be a season of non-stop laughs, beginning with Miles Jupp: On I Bang (24th January), where the beloved TV star (The Durrells, The Full Monty, Have I Got News For You) will tell the story of his brain seizure and neurosurgery experience. Straight from Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Mark Watson: Search (1st February) will see the Taskmaster star explore our search for meaning (with or without Google), while viral sensation Josh Pugh (21st February) returns following his sell-out debut UK and Ireland tour with a show about enjoying yourself and doing your best. As seen on Have I Got News For You and 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Reginald D Hunter: The Man Who Could See Through S**T (24th February) explores the phenomena of what’s true and what’s real, and following a sold-out tour, Chris McCausland – Yonks! (28th – 29th February) presents a masterclass in stand-up that has literally been yonks in the making!
Beloved Corn Exchange regulars The Comedy Network (9th February, 1st March, 5th April) will continue their monthly performances in Newbury, inviting audiences to grab a drink, sit back, and relax in the company of some of the best up and coming comedians. Tight roping the thin line between politics and entertainment, Rosie Holt: That’s Politainment! (12th April) will see the comedian and satirist investigate the phenomenon between terrible political careers and lucrative entertainment opportunities. Rounding out the comedy season, and following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Andy Parsons: Bafflingly Optimistic (27th April) remains optimistic in the face of the Four Horsemen (disease, death, war, and overpriced Ketchup).
Community remains at the heart of Corn Exchange Newbury, with the 50th Anniversary Volunteer Recruitment Fair (13th January) coming to Berkshire once again, bring 55 local charities together to showcase their work and look for volunteers. Musicals take centre stage this season as the UK’s largest amateur musical theatre youth group, Rare Productions, return to the stage with High School Musical (18th – 20th January), while Music Theatre International will enchant with The Little Mermaid (14th – 17th February) this February half term. A night of music and laughter supporting Breast Cancer Now will ensue in The No Mo Chemo Show (10th February), featuring Newbury’s Jody & The Jerms, Oxford’s 9-piece spectacle The Shapes, and up-and-coming band HööF who were recently featured on BBC Introducing, plus comedians Nick Helm, Paul F Taylor and special guests.
Local dance talent will be celebrated, first up in Zoielogic Dance Theatre’s Man Made (12th March), an all-male youth dance platform that brings together young people from across Newbury to push the boundaries of male dance, followed by Spring Equinox (19th March), a coming together of West Berkshire dance companies for an innovative and inspiring evening of dance.
Come together with friends old and new to share your thoughts on exciting reads in Book Club, which returns on the third Sunday of each month, and grab a drink and prepare to show off your theatre, film and TV knowledge in the Theatre Film and TV Quiz (7th February, 17th April). Unwind with a selection of delicious cocktails while enjoying an evening of live entertainment from talented local performers or activities around the Corn Exchange in Cocktail Club (15th February, 14th March, 13th April), returning after popular demand. Come along and browse ecofriendly makers, businesses and charities celebrating greener living at the Sustainability Fair (9th March), and catch local performers showcasing their talents every first Sunday of the month at the Open Mic in the Balcony Bar.
On at The Base is the GENerate Student Art Exhibition (12th – 28th Jan), an opportunity to marvel at the next GENeration of artists’ creations, featuring artworks created by students from local schools, sixth forms, and colleges. The Base also hosts the 59th instalment of Wildlife Photographer of the Year (1st March – 14th April), on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, celebrating the very best nature photography and photojournalism and using the unique emotive power of photography to inspire wonder and create advocates for the natural world.
The full season can be found on the website here: www.cornexchangenew.com.