Love Theatre Day 2019 Competition with Northern Ballet

In honour of this year’s Love Theatre Day (Wednesday 20th November) we’ve teamed up with Northern Ballet—one of the UK’s premier ballet companies — for an exciting giveaway.

Northern Ballet’s Geisha

The world première of Northern Ballet’s new production Geisha takes place in Spring 2020.

It’s been choreographed and directed by Kenneth Tindall, the talent behind Northern Ballet’s acclaimed Casanova (also seen on Sky Arts), this highly anticipated production unravels the mysterious and honour-bound world of Geisha.

Two young women, bound by vows of friendship, find themselves in the midst of a collision between East and West. As their lives are torn painfully apart, encounters from beyond the grave unleash an unexpected vengeance on their world. An act of true devotion offers the only chance for redemption. Age guidance 12+.

This production is based on remarkable true events, and is an official event of the Japan-UK Season of Culture. What better way to celebrate Love Theatre Day than by winning tickets to a world-first dance production?

Win 2 tickets to see Northern Ballet’s Geisha!

Ayami Miyata and Minju Kang in Geisha. Photo Guy Farrow Northern Ballet Stagefreight

Here’s how to enter:

To enter our prize draw for the 2 tickets to Northern Ballet’s Geisha simply:

Hurry as the competition ends midnight Friday 29th November.

The winner will be informed via social media on Monday 2nd December, and can choose which performance they want to see. Northern Ballet’s Geisha runs from March-May 2020 in Leeds, Sheffield, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

View our full terms and conditions for the competition here.

Can’t wait for the competition to end to get your ticket?

You can book your tickets now on the Northern Ballet website.

The team behind Northern Ballet’s Geisha:

  • Choreography and Direction Kenneth Tindall
  • MusicAlexandra Harwood
  • Libretto Gwyneth Hughes
  • Set and costume design Christopher Oram
  • Lighting Alastair West
  • Historical Consultant Lesley Downer

The greatest theatre facts for World Theatre Day

Did you know it’s World Theatre Day today?

Promoted by the International Theatre Institute, World Theatre Day celebrates theatre around the world, making people and governments aware of the immense value that theatre offers.

From Shakespeare to Sondheim, theatre is something everybody can benefit from and enjoy!

We’re certainly fans.

Since we’re experts in theatre transport, we know how important theatre is to the people who watch and perform it.

In honour of the event, we’ve assembled this list of facts, records and other interesting info for theatre fans touring the UK and Europe.

And who knows? This could be where your own love affair with theatre takes its first steps into the spotlight!

Theatre Facts 


  • There are over 1,300 active theatres in the UK, including amateur and professional venues, pop-up theatres and established institutions. The Theatres Trust’s database contains records of almost 4,000 theatre buildings; sadly, some have been demolished or repurposed.

Tyne theatre

  • The Birmingham Hippodrome might not be for you. This theatre is the busiest in the UK, attracting 520,000 visitors per year.


  • The smallest regularly operating theatre is the Kremlhoftheater in Austria. It opened back in 2008 and seats just eight people. The stage is 1.3m², though on the plus side all shows are free to attend.


  • The Royal Albert Hall has the highest seating capacity of any London theatre. There is space for 3,901 audience members during each performance


  • The best plays don’t just deal in heavy subject matter. The original chandelier in The Phantom of the Opera weighed a ton, or over 2,200 lbs! Its builders constructed it over four weeks, and used 6,000 beads in its construction.


  • Although the superstitions of actors are well documented, and the subject of some mockery, some are more unusual than others. London’s Palace Theatre traditionally kept two seats permanently reserved for their resident ghosts; one is, allegedly, an unknown ballerina, while the other is the Welsh actor Ivor Novello. The theatre abolished the practice after the runaway success of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.


  • Many theatres also leave a ghost light on stage after everyone has left for the night. Depending on who you ask, this simple light bulb is either a safety measure (e.g. to stop people falling into the orchestra pit) or a way to appease any ghosts in the area.
ghost light in theatres
The ghost light is a venerable theatre tradition.
  • The Lyceum Theatre had Irish author Bram Stoker as its acting manager during the late 1800s. Stoker would write his legendary novel Dracula during his employment. Today, the Lyceum Theatre is famous for its production of The Lion King, which has been performed over 7,500 times at the venue since 1999.


  • The longest running theatre production of all time is currently the murder mystery play The Mousetrap. First performed in 1952 in the West End, the play has been running without a break ever since. The 25,000th performance took place in 2012.


  • The Intimate Revue boasts the shortest theatrical run in West End history. Performed at Westminster’s Duchess Theatre in 1930, the production closed without actually completing its first performance. According to The Telegraph, scene changes began taking up to 20 minutes apiece; managers had to scrap seven scenes so they could finish the play before midnight.


  • If you’ve ever been to Shakespeare’s Globe in Bankside, you might have marvelled at its traditional structure, including its thatched roof. In fact, the Globe is the only building in London allowed to have a thatched roof. The policy dates back to the Great Fire of London in 1666, which burned for three nights and destroyed over 13,000 houses.


  • If you fancy going to the theatre abroad, Vienna’s English Theatre might be what you’re after. This Austrian venue, founded in 1963, is the oldest English language theatre in continental Europe. Today it is a popular attraction for both visiting tourists and local residents.


  • Few theatre productions are complete without some kind of stage machinery. The Drottningholm Theatre in Sweden is no exception; its current incarnation opened in 1766, and the stage machinery from that era is still in use today. The machinery includes a corkscrew wave machine, a thunder machine for storm sound effects, and a chariot-and-pole system, which allows for rapid scene changes.

stage audio settings

  • When it comes to rapid costume changes, nobody can beat Paul Kieve. The British illusionist organised 29 costume changes for the 2002 Cambridge Theatre production of Our House. Kieve received a Guinness World Record for his efforts.


  • Visitors to Disney amusement parks are, effectively, enjoying a large-scale theatre performance. All employees of the parks are known as Cast Members, and according to WhatsOnStage, Walt Disney World has 2 million costumes in its theatrical wardrobes.


  • And finally a theatre fact that’s closer to home for us. The world premiere of Northern Ballet’s Victoria took place at the Leeds Grand Theatre. The new biopic is a co-production between Northern Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada.

As you can see, the world of theatre is filled fascinating facts to enjoy. But if you’re interested in putting on your own show, Stagefreight is here to help.

We know how important planning and speed are to theatre transport. As such, we have a proven track record of impeccable timing, and can get each trailer in the right place at the right time. We’ve catered for theatre tours of all shapes and sizes, from a single van to 28-trailer theatre tours.

We also have excellent working relationships with some of the UK’s biggest theatre companies. By working with the collective talent (both on and off stage) of Northern Ballet, Opera North, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet, we’ve truly become experts in theatre transport.

Whatever your requirements, give us a call today on 0113 797 898.

Love Theatre Day 2018 Competition with Northern Ballet

Win 2 tickets to Northern Ballet’s brand new production Victoria!


In honour of this year’s Love Theatre Day (14th November) we’ve teamed up with one of the UK’s premier ballet companies, Northern Ballet, for an exciting giveaway to their world première production Victoria!

Launching in spring 2019 this biopic ballet brings the fascinating story of Queen Victoria to life through dance.

Choreographed by Cathy Marston, who created Northern Ballet’s award-winning Jane Eyre, this highly anticipated production reveals the sensational story of one of Britain’s longest ruling monarchs.

Join Northern Ballet as Victoria’s daughter, Beatrice, learns how her mother’s life was filled with passion, tragedy and fierce devotion.

As the annual social media phenomenon, Love Theatre Day celebrates all things theatre, what better way to enjoy this day than by winning tickets to a world’s first dance production filled with enticing storytelling.

Here’s how to enter:


To enter our prize draw for the 2 tickets to Northern Ballet’s Victoria simply:

 Like and share/tweet our competition posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Hurry as the competition ends on Tuesday 20th November at midnight.

The winner will be informed via social media on Wednesday 21st of November.

View our full terms and conditions for the competition here.

Victoria runs from March-June 2019 and the lucky winner gets to choose where to see this fantastic show.

Northern_Ballet_Stagefreight_Social___Facebook_Photo_Guy Farrow_Abigail Prudames and Joseph Taylor in Victoria_

Here are the Victoria tour dates:


  • Leeds Grand Theatre (World Première) | Saturday 9th – Saturday 16th March


  • Sheffield Lyceum Theatre | Tuesday 19th – Saturday 23rd March


  • London Sadler’s Wells | Tuesday 26th – Saturday 30th March


  • Leicester Curve | Tuesday 2nd– Saturday 6th April


  • Edinburgh Festival Theatre | Wednesday 10th – Saturday 13th April


  • Milton Keynes Theatre | Tuesday 30th April- Saturday 4th May


  • Cardiff New Theatre | Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25th May


  • Belfast Grand Opera House | Wednesday 29th May – Saturday 1st June


Our team at Stagefreight and Northern Ballet wish everyone the best of luck with winning this exciting prize!

Can’t wait for the competition to end to get your ticket?

You can book your tickets now on the Northern Ballet website:


The creative team behind Victoria are:

And if you’re a ballet or theatre company with your own show to get on the road, find out how Stagefreight’s services can help.

Local Pantomimes of 2018/2019

For many families, no Christmas is complete without a trip to the local pantomime. Whether you love the outrageous costumes, cries of “he’s behind you!” or the classic fairytales retold, theatres will be filled with families looking for a wonderful night of entertainment.

With hundreds of pantomimes and winter shows to choose from, we’ve highlighted some of the best local pantomimes that British theatres have to offer.

Cinderella: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto, Leeds

Friday 30th November 2018–Sunday 13th January 2019


If you’re after something a little different from your pantomimes, Leeds’ City Varieties has something perfect. Cinderella: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto puts a modern twist on the classic pantomime.

Starring a talented cast of actor-musicians, this version of Cinderella mixes the classic tale with a range of pop and soul hits. Expect audience participation and plenty of corny gags alongside loud live music, smoke effects, flashing lights and loud bangs! However, the organisers recommend children under 4 don’t attend.

If you’d like to learn more about this exciting pantomime experience, visit the City Varieties website.

Aladdin, Bradford

Saturday 8th December–Sunday 20th January

Pantomime was practically born in Bradford’s Alhambra theatre, and the 2018/19 show won’t disappoint. This year the Alhambra is hosting a performance of Aladdin, and there’s some excellent performers helping to bring it to life.

Bradford veteran Billy Pearce is back to play Aladdin’s brother Wishee Washee, while boy band star Simon Webbe joins him as Aladdin. Porridge actor Christopher Biggins will star as Widow Twankey, in his ninth appearance in the part. Further casting is yet to be announced, but you’re sure of a spectacular show regardless!

If a member of your family has an Autistic Spectrum Condition, you can attend a relaxed performance on Tuesday the 8th of January. These offer altered lighting and special effects—though the content of the show will stay the same—and a less formal atmosphere to help reduce anxiety levels.

To book tickets for this show, visit the official Bradford Theatres website.

The Snowman, London

Thursday 22nd November–Sunday 6th January

Based on the picture book by Raymond Briggs, The Snowman is a beloved Christmas tradition. The animated special premiered on Channel 4 in 1982, and continues to be broadcast on British televisions every December. Today’s Snowman aficionados can enjoy a live stage show, which is running this Christmas at London’s Peacock Theatre.

The stage show expands upon the original story a little, but otherwise stays true to the tale of a boy’s snowman coming to life. As well as the impressive costumes (we’re a fan of the dancing pineapple, ourselves) we love the minimalist set and breath-taking aerial manoeuvres. This is the perfect choice for both the young and the young at heart!

It’s also been very well received by critics. The Daily Express praised the set design and the show’s “joyful celebration of life as a snowman—or woman”, while the Manchester Evening News declared “It’s the music and dance that bring this performance to life”.

Head to the Visit London website to book tickets now.

Beauty and the Beast, Edinburgh

Saturday 1st December–Sunday 20th January

black teapot

This ‘tale as old as time’ dates back to the 1700s, and lives on in dozens of adaptations and reinterpretations. Now Scottish panto lovers can enjoy it for themselves, thanks to a new performance at the Edinburgh King’s Theatre.

The Edwardian theatre was built in the early 1900s and is one of the UK’s most opulent theatre venues. Allan Stewart—star of two Royal Variety Shows—appears as Mrs Potty, while Naked Radio star Andy Grey appears as Hector. Scottish broadcaster Grant Stott makes an appearance as Flash Boaby.

If you’d like to book tickets, visit the Capital Theatres website for further details.

Snow White, London

Saturday 8th December–Sunday 13th January

person holding a red apple

London’s Palladium Theatre has hosted pantomimes for 70 years. It’s continuing that rich tradition even now, with a lavish production of Snow White to look forward to this Christmas.

The show boasts some amazing actors including Julian Clary, who has been a veteran of pantomime for 20 years. Other stars include comedienne Dawn French and Vincent & Flavia, of Strictly Come Dancing fame. If the show is anything like last year’s pantomime, Dick Whittington, it’s certainly worth attending.

2017’s show boasted an animatronic rat and a flying London bus, as well as dance sequences from hit dance group Diversity. With a ‘lavish festive production’ trumpeted on the official website, we heartily recommend this one to all pantomime fans!

Click here to book tickets.

Peter Pan, Birmingham 

Wednesday 19th December–Sunday 27th January

The creation of Scottish writer J.M.Barrie, Peter Pan is a legendary star of both Disney films and children’s books. However, one of his earliest appearances was in a stage play in the early 1900s. Pantomimes have long since brought him back to his roots, and this year, the Hippodrome is hosting a performance of Peter Pan with an all-star cast and amazing flying effects.

Jimmy Osmond—singer, actor and member of sibling group The Osmonds— appears as the nefarious Captain Hook; other stars include Matt Slack, Jaymi Hensley and award-winning actress Meera Syal. Acrobatic troupe the Timbuktu Tumblers will also be in attendance, ensuring this is one pantomime you can’t afford to miss!

To book tickets, visit the official Birmingham Hippodrome website.

Beauty and the Beast, Cardiff

Saturday 8th December 2018–Sunday 13th January 2019

Welsh theatregoers can enjoy their own version of Beauty and the Beast at Cardiff’s New Theatre. It boasts a highly impressive cast; visitors can look forward to Emmerdale and You’ve Been Framed star Lisa Riley, as well as Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas and Footballers’ Wives actor Ben Richards.

Other stars including Mike Doyle, Danny Payne, Adam C Booth and Stephanie Webber, ensuring this is a performance you won’t soon forget!

Book tickets now at the New Theatre website.

Jack and the Beanstalk, Liverpool

Friday 14th December–Sunday 6th January

person holding seedling

Liverpool’s Empire Theatre features the largest two-tier auditorium in Britain, and is located near Lime Street Station meaning easy access. It’s also hosting an exciting performance of Jack and the Beanstalk this December.

This pantomime at the Liverpool Empire Theatre features ballroom dancer and Strictly Come Dancing Shirley Ballas as Mother Nature. It also features stand-up comedian John Evans, veteran of stand-up and cruise ships, appearing as Simple Simon. It’s guaranteed family fun in the heart of Liverpool!

For further details, visit the ATG Tickets website.

Cinderella, Bristol

Saturday 8th December–Sunday 6th January

pile of pumpkins

If you’re looking for a more conventional Cinderella story, have no fear! The Bristol Hippodrome is here to help, although there are still one or two twists to look forward to.

This special-effects packed show features West End star and pantomime veteran Brian Conley. In an exciting twist, fashion guru Gok Wan will be on hand as the ‘Fairy Gokmother’, dispensing fashion advice and creating the most magical gown panto-land has to offer! Book tickets now at the ATG Tickets website.

If you’re planning on attending a local pantomime this Christmas, we hope you have a lovely time. And if you’re thinking of putting on your own theatre show, we at Stagefreight—an experienced theatre haulage company—are here to help.

We know that planning and speed are both essential for theatre transport, and we’ve got a proven track record of perfect timing. We can cater for theatre productions of all sizes, ranging from single van tours to 16-trailer tours and much more! We’ve worked with theatre tour companies like Opera North and the English National Ballet to name a few and have a lot of theatre transportation experience.

Visit our Services page to learn more about what we do, or call us on 0113 797 898 to discuss your next tour.

Game Changing Musical and Theatre Tours

Few things get the heart racing like a great theatre production. Whether it’s the soaring spectacle of a West End musical or the raw emotion of a dramatic play, nothing quite beats going to the theatre for yourself.

We at Stagefreight have been involved in a fair few stage transportation tasks over the years.

We’ve put together a list of musicals and plays that pushed the medium forward, either with outstanding set design or bold subject matter.

The Lion King

Based on Disney’s 1994 film, the stage adaptation of The Lion King remains a smash hit. It debuted in 1997 at Minnesota’s Orpheum Theatre before moving to Broadway and the West End.

It is still being performed today; with 14 million audience members attending the London show since its opening—and a global gross of over £3 billion—this is one show that’s here to stay.

But where does its popularity come from? We suspect the source material has something to do with it; the original film came out at the peak of the Disney Renaissance, a legendary era in Disney film history. However, the musical isn’t a slavish recreation of the film. 

By necessity it sets itself apart, and it’s the ways it does this that makes it an experience in its own right. The show’s sheer spectacle is a big part of its success. 

Director Julie Taymor combined imaginative, non-literal costumes and sets with attention to detail and a high level of immersion; the actors literally walk up the aisles in the opening scenes of the performance. It also stays timeless by mixing other ingredients into each performance, like Kabuki costumes and Malaysian shadow puppetry. The masks of the characters all have specific and intriguing design, so it’s all about handling these with absolute care when transporting this particular musical production. 

It’s the perfect blend of old theatre techniques and new (or more recent) stories, and it’s one audiences continue to fall in love with. If you’d like to see it for yourself, The Lion King is performed year-round at London’s Lyceum Theatre.

The Phantom of the Opera

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s novel debuted in 1986. It went on to win the Olivier and Tony awards for both Best Musical and Best Actor, along with more than 70 other major theatre awards. Today, audiences can go to performances across the world, in locations such as London, Denmark, New York and even Budapest!

A major part of the show’s success is its focus on fantastic sets, particularly the chandelier that comes crashing down at the end of the first act. It weighs one tonne, measures more than 3 metres wide and is decorated with 6,000 beads. 

Other notable features of the musical production include a character riding in on an elephant, a ‘river’ of dry ice, and the 280 candles that burn throughout the performance each night.

A pared-back version of the musical was created for a touring production, which exists alongside the original one. However, this version had some clever ideas of its own; the best is the giant cylinder that contains most of the sets. It rotates on the stage during each production, opening at different points to reveal the next scene. However you see it, The Phantom of the Opera promises to be an exciting, extravagant experience. Plus it opens up some stage transportation challenges, which gets us lot here at Stagefreight all riled up.  

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

C.S.Lewis’ fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia is a beloved part of children’s literature, chronicling the history—from birth to death—of a magical world. The first book published—The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe—is probably the most famous, and was adapted for the stage last year in an exciting new production.

The Leeds Playhouse hosted a stage adaptation of the book until January 2018. The actual set was very pared-back; War Horse designer Rae Smith used a flat black stone, with clouds of paper lampshades to represent the changing seasons. Aslan the lion was transformed into a giant puppet, while the children’s evacuation to the countryside used a model train (carried aloft by the cast) instead of the real thing. Other changes include a dance sequence when Edmund tries Turkish delight for the first time, while summer (according to The Stage) is a little more psychedelic than the original story.

Smith’s approach to theatre design is a great way of approaching a familiar idea in a more creative manner. It trusts the audience to suspend their disbelief in service of the show’s imagination.

We hope we see Rae Smith’s creativity in many more works to come.


Rock musicals make up a major part of the theatre scene; shows like Dreamgirls, Grease and Starlight Express have been delighting audiences for years. But the very first rock musical launched on Broadway in 1968, to polarising reactions and a place in theatre history.

Hair takes place in 1960s America at the height of the Vietnam War. It follows “the tribe”—a group of young hippies trying to escape conscription while staying true to their countercultural roots. Touching on topics like race, drugs, sexual freedom and pacifism, Hair reflected many of the USA’s contemporary anxieties. A review in the New York Times called it “the frankest show in town”, and “so new, so fresh and so unassuming, even in its pretensions.”

Hair‘s subject matter was a shock to the system; before its release, Broadway shows followed very narrow rules and traditions around music and subject matter. Hair introduced a countercultural flavour to Broadway shows—and wider society—that would go on to inspire a host of other stage productions. It was also a harbinger of today’s cultural landscape, with bad language, drug use and nudity common features of our entertainment.

Unsurprisingly Hair was highly controversial upon its release. Its use of (brief) nudity in the first act angered many audience members, as did its depiction of the American flag; after all, the Vietnam War was in full swing when Hair debuted. It was also at the centre of two American court battles in Massachusetts and Tennessee, while the cast was expelled from Mexico on a morals clause. Fortunately the UK’s Theatres Act—introduced in 1968—allowed it to appear here without legal wrangling.

With four Broadway revivals since the original closed in 1972, Hair’s legacy continues to endure into the 21st century. 


One of the many musicals inspired by Hair is Rent, a 1993 musical based on the Italian opera La bohème. Set in Manhattan’s East Village, Rent follows several young artists trying to follow their dreams and pursue relationships during America’s AIDS crisis. Just as Hair was defiant and countercultural, Rent featured a diverse cast and placed HIV-positive characters at the centre of its story.

Besides its bold subject matter, Rent differentiated itself thanks to some stripped-back, inventive set design. Many productions of it use grimy, skeletal stairs and scaffolding to capture the New York setting. This minimalist approach is a far cry from the dramatic, complex sets of other Broadway giants like Phantom of the Opera.

After its release Rent went on to win several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, three Tony Awards and four Drama Desk awards. It’s spawned its own breed of uber-fans (called ‘Rentheads’) and inspired references in the likes of The SimpsonsDeadpool and Team America: World Police.

With 30 separate productions since its debut, this is one Broadway hit that won’t be clearing out any time soon.

Don Giovanni

Inspired by the Spanish libertine Don Juan, Don Giovanni is an Italian opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It tells the story of an amoral, promiscuous nobleman who grossly disrespects his fellow man, only to pay dearly for his actions. It was first performed in the late 1700s, but a new Israeli performance put a very exciting spin on it.

Running at Tel Aviv’s Opera House through February, this performance of Don Giovanni boasted an international cast of solo singers. However, its most exciting feature may be the set itself; it featured a miniature house that rotates on stage as the opera progresses. It also features projected images on the set, which act as a metaphor for Giovanni’s creative abilities. According to Ynet News, projected images are becoming a frequent part of today’s operatic productions, suggesting this one is very much in line with the latest trends.

Although this production has ended, it’s a testament to the amazing technical achievements today’s theatre shows are capable of. Our friends at Opera North have completed their fifth year of touring Don Giovanni and we’re looking forward to future Don Giovanni performances by them. 


In Jewish folklore, a golem is a clay figure animated by magic. That ancient idea was given new life in a bold stage play by a theatre company called 1927.

This theatre company tests our understanding of what theatre is capable of.

Golem is a stage play that combines live-action performance with intricate projected animation. Physical objects are essentially nonexistent, taking video projection to new levels of immersion. The play tells the story of a society in which the golem is introduced as a domestic servant. As time passes, the golems are replaced by slicker, newer models, but the society’s hunger for newer, better golems may prove to be its undoing.

It’s just 90 minutes long, but Golem was hailed as a theatre masterpiece after its debut. The Observer described it as a “glimmering evening; anyone interested in the theatre must attend”, while The Telegraph  said it was a “witty collision of knowingly antiquated aesthetics, wide-ranging cultural influences and modern-day sensibilities”. Fans of the avant-garde should watch 1927 very closely going forward.

Think your show could be the next groundbreaking masterpiece? We at Stagefreight are here to help you bring it to life and get it touring!

We know how important planning and speed are to any theatre tour production. That’s why we’ve got a track record of perfect timing, whether you need a single van or 28 individual trailers. We’ve also worked with major companies like Opera North, Northern Ballet and English National Ballet, giving us the expertise we need to pull off any stage transportation job.

For more information, give us a call on 0113 797 898 or visit our Contact Us page for other contact options.

The Most Exciting Theatre Shows Across Europe

With 28 theatre trailer tours under our belt, we know what the show must go on really means! That’s why we’ve decided to look at some of the best shows currently touring across the UK and Europe.

Kiss Me, Kate

theatre transportation script

First performed in 1948, Kiss Me, Kate is an award-winning musical comedy inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. It follows Fred and Lilli- divorcees performing a Shakespeare play- as they grapple with gamblers, gangsters and unrequited love. The play splits the action between the characters’ performance of Shakespeare and the drama backstage. The result is a delightfully meta show that’s perfect for theatre fans.

There are plenty of opportunities to see the show; British theatregoers can attend performances in Leeds, London and Edinburgh. If you’re in Italy or planning a trip anytime soon, you can also see the show as part of the Ravenna festival from Thursday the 7th of June.

I Love Piaf

theatre transportation Paris

Edith Piaf- legendary singer, French icon and star of a controversial SpecSavers advert– is an indelible part of France’s cultural landscape. That’s why it’s only fitting she gets her very own musical, playing this month at the Theatre Trevise in Paris.

I Love Piaf explores several chapters of the singer’s life across locales such as Montmartre, New York and Moscow. It also features some of her most famous songs, including ‘La Vie en Rose’ and ‘Je ne regrette rien’. As an added bonus, this performance includes an English-language pack and audio guide with live subtitles.

If you love Edith Piaf’s music or want to learn about her on her home soil, this is an excellent opportunity. For more information, visit the Paris Tourist Office website or book tickets here.

La Calisto

theatre transportation bear

If you want something a little off the beaten track, this opera may be just what you’re looking for. It’s a real cultural stew; an Italian opera, based on Greek myths, performed in a German opera house!

La Calisto tells the story of a nymph, who attracts the attention of Giove (the god of thunder). However, she incites the jealousy of Diana (Giove’s wife) in the process. When Diana turns Calisto into a bear, Giove rearranges the stars to form Ursa Major in her honour. The opera was a critical and commercial failure when it was first released in the 17th century. However, after some reworking to make it more accessible, it’s bounced back to become an opera classic.

Tickets are available now for performances at Munich’s National Theatre. It’s actually the third theatre to hold that name; the first one was destroyed by fire in the 1800s, while the second was blown up during an air raid in the Second World War. Click here for more details about the opera.


theatre transportation cross

If you’re looking for an opera singer at the height of her powers, this opera is the perfect choice. Thais is a French opera which takes inspiration from a 10th-century story. Its lead role is notoriously difficult to sing, and reserved only for the most accomplished artists. Athanael, an ascetic monk, is tormented by visions of a courtesan and embarks on a mission to convert her. The courtesan eventually converts to Christianity, but as she grows closer to God Athanael begins to find his own faith tested.

This opera is performed in July at Spain’s legendary Teatro Real, which boasts a storied history. It was originally a music college before reopening as a concert hall in the 1960s. It also hosted the 14th Eurovision Song Content in 1969! In the 1990s the country remodelled it as an opera house, with in-theatre video projectors ensuring everyone can view the performance.

To book tickets, click here.

Don Pasquale

theatre transportation Milan

Milan’s most famous opera house plays host to Don Pasquale, one of the 19th century’s most famous works. A comic opera in three acts, Don Pasquale is a classic tale of love, foolishness and mistaken identity! The aged Don Pasquale decides to marry and produce an heir after disowning his nephew. His doctor locates a bride-to-be for the Don, but as the Don is soon to discover, this vision of loveliness isn’t all she seems…

Visitors to Milan can enjoy this opera in truly luxurious surroundings; the Teatro alla Scala is one of Milan’s most beloved institutions. The 18th century building was closed for three years from 2002 for a highly controversial renovation; today, the Teatro alla Scala boasts a lovingly restored auditorium, an improved backstage area and- best of all- screens on seat backs with subtitles in three languages. Click here to book tickets.

This is just a small sample of the brilliant operas Europe has to offer at the moment. And these are the kinds of shows our theatre transportation service can help you put together.

We know planning and speed are a vital part of theatre transportation, and we’ve got a proven track record of getting your props, sets and costumes in the right place at the right time. We can cater for all performances of all shapes and sizes, from single-van tours to 28-trailer theatre tours. What’s more, our experience with Opera North, Northern Ballet and the English National Ballet means we’re ready for any and every eventuality.

Visit our Contact Us page to get in touch, and take your first step towards theatre touring transport you can always depend on!

Win This World Theatre Day

World Theatre Day Competition


It’s the perfect time to pay homage to this fantastic art form and to spread the joy. So, we’re hosting a competition!

Just Retweet, share or like our competition posts via our Twitter or Facebook accounts to enter our prize draw.

Don’t delay entering as our competition ends at

Midnight on Thursday the 29th March...Entry deadline extended!!! Enter by Midnight 2nd April! 

Winners will be announced on April 3rd.


The prize

We’ve teamed-up with Opera North and together we’re giving away

2 tickets to Strauss’ masterpiece, Salome.

  • This is opera at its most extreme, concentrated into 100 intense and exhilarating minutes.
  • Based on Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, this is the savage tale of King Herod’s step-daughter. When Herod’s prisoner Jokanaan (John the Baptist) rebuffs her advances, Salome vows she will kiss him – no matter the consequences.

 This dramatic opera presented in concert is a great piece to visit and perfect for anyone looking to give Strauss a try. 


Good luck everyone and happy World Theatre Day! 



For full terms & conditions please view of competitions T&C page.

The Most Iconic Valentine’s Theatre Shows

Love is in the air this February and what better way to celebrate than with an iconic theatre show? As experts in stage transport, we’ve gathered some top theatre shows to inspire your Valentine’s celebrations.

The Phantom of the Opera

If you want a classic theatre production, The Phantom of the Opera is a great choice. An epic tale of magic, mystery and romance, it’s one of the longest-running stage shows the world has ever seen. It also boasts a few stage transport challenges, like the grand chandelier and the subterranean gondola that immortalises the show.

Writing in The Guardian, Emma Brockes said that Phantom ‘is sweepingly, swooningly, poignantly over the top and like all the best musicals, will both soothe and transport you.’

We couldn’t agree more.

You can book tickets at

Or if you’re looking for a theatre transport company which can handle a chandelier, then give us a buzz.

The Lion King

If you need a more family-friendly stage show, The Lion King is an obvious choice. The hit stage adaptation of Disney’s 1994 film first opened in the UK back in 1999. Other Disney musicals have come and gone, but The Lion King‘s still going strong in 2018.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the story needs almost no introduction. This epic tale of betrayal, royalty and romance on the Serengeti has been a hit since its debut.

The stage show boasts beautiful lighting, extravagant costumes, and all the film’s hit songs including, of course, ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’

You can get tickets for this show now at the Lyceum Theatre.

Twelfth Night

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous this Valentine’s Day, Shakespeare’s famous play may be just what you’re looking for. Twin siblings Viola and Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck, and make their way to the land of Illyria. Upon disguising herself as a man, Viola becomes entangled in a love triangle with the Duke Orsino and the Countess Olivia. A hilarious comedy of errors ensues with enough romance to be an iconic Valentine’s theatre show.

2018’s production takes place Stratford-upon-Avon, where the Bard himself was born. If you can’t make it to the theatre, you can watch the production live at selected cinemas on Valentine’s Day.


Want to take a leap into the unknown? Beginning, a new play by David Eldridge, might be just what you’re looking for. It offers a sober, grounded take on relationships that sets it apart from other romantic plays.

After a housewarming party, Laura, a 38-year-old managing director, finds herself alone with friend of a friend Danny, a 42-year-old middle manager. The two seem to have little in common; they’re worlds apart in terms of politics and living situations. But as the evening progresses, Laura and Danny discover neither is as different- or accomplished- as they appear to be.

The play also boasts an impressive set that brilliantly brings the play’s setting- a North London flat- to life. Strewn with lights, streamers and discarded drinks, it’s not hard to become invested in this little slice of realism.

The play runs throughout February at London’s Ambassador Theatre.

Hedda Gabler

Looking for an anti-Valentine’s Day theatre show? Henrik Ibsen’s tale of doomed romance and failed ambition is the perfect antidote to February’s lovey-dovey atmosphere.

General’s daughter Hedda has just returned from her honeymoon, and is (unhappily) married to academic George Tesman. After reuniting with Eilert, an old flame, Hedda grows jealous of Eilert’s new partner and resolves to come between them… with disastrous results.

Newcastle’s Theatre Royal production does a lot with a little. The result is an understated but effective set, and the play has gotten glowing reviews from The TimesRadio Times and The Guardian. Book tickets now at the Theatre Royal website.

Whatever your tastes, there’s plenty of theatre shows to look forward to this Valentine’s Day. And whether your show is as grand as a Andrew Lloyd Webber production or as restrained as Ibsen, Stagefreight can help bring your production to life.

Our stage transport service is top of the line; we understand how important planning and speed are, and we’ve got a proven track record of getting all your equipment to the theatre on time – every time.

We’ve catered for productions of all shapes and sizes, too. Whether you need a single van or a 28-trailer theatre tour, Stagefreight is happy to help.

We aren’t the fresh-faced apprentices in this field, either. Our connections with famous companies like Opera North, Northern Ballet and English National Ballet have given us an in-depth understanding of performance, theatre and musical productions.

Get a fast, free, no obligations quote today. Give us a call on 0113 797 898, or email us via


Love Theatre Day Celebration

It’s the fourth year of Love Theatre Day, a global celebration of all things theatre.

We want to take this opportunity to thank and celebrate all the backstage preparations that make the fantastic world of theatre happen.

To do this in style, we’ve put together an infographic of Opera North’s Kiss Me Kate theatre tour.

It shows how our team of drivers supported the show and made sure all the theatre transport plans went like clockwork.

Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share what you love about theatre, #LoveTheatreDay.

And if you’ve got a theatre tour coming up and are looking for a theatre transport team, get in touch with us today.

We can provide a quote within 30 minutes of the receiving your request.

Love Theatre Day Infographic

Love Theatre Day infographic

The Rise of the Theatre Talent Show

At the beginning of 2017 the BBC launched Let It Shine; a reality show to find performers for a new, ‘Take That’ inspired musical.

It’s the latest in a long line of similar talent shows that have appeared on British screens in the last decade and which moved on to become theatre tours in their own right.

We thought it would be interesting to look back at previous theatre talent shows and see how well their theatre productions turned out.

Join us on our trip down memory lane, as we relive the highs and lows of this unusual time in television history.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

The theatre talent show phenomenon kicked off with How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Contestants competed for the lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2006 production of The Sound of Music, and were judged on their performances by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself, as well as Doctor Who actor John Barrowman.

Eventually, the finalists were narrowed down to ten hopefuls, who competed for votes each week live on BBC1. The winner was Welsh actress Connie Fisher, who received a six-month contract to play the role of Maria Rainer.


Connie’s debut at the London Palladium was warmly received by several newspapers:


  • The Guardian said Connie “occupies the Palladium stage with absolute confidence and winning charm”.


  • The Independent said Connie was “charmingly natural from the moment she starts to sing” and possessed “a mellifluous warmth, a comforting maternal quality”.


  • Variety was less complimentary, saying she was “winningly confident” even if she “lacks originality and the essential vulnerability”.


Despite the review by Variety, Connie went on to star as Maria during a UK theatre tour of The Sound Of Music in July 2009, which started in Cardiff before touring to Bradford and Southampton among other places.


Any Dream Will Do

The following year, Andrew Lloyd Webber returned to television to find his next star.

The theatre talent show, ‘Any Dream Will Do’, offered a starring role in the 2007 performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

Hosted by the unmatched Graham Norton, the show followed a similar format to How Do You Solve… with twelve Joseph hopefuls reaching the final.


The Essex-born Lee Mead won the competition, in the end, receiving the most public votes after nine weeks of live shows.


Joseph’s reviews were mixed:

  • Writing for, Chloe Preece said the props and costumes “look like they came from a charity shop”. She went on to criticise the songs, saying “ ‘Any Dream Will Do’ and ‘Close Every Door to Me’ were the only mildly passable ones”. However, she praised Mead himself, citing his “rich and strong” voice and popularity with the audience.


  • The Evening Standard was more complimentary, saying the show “offers a seductive blend of camp, kitsch”.


  • The Times said Lee Mead was “both talented and enthusiastic”, while the show as a whole “is a reminder of how splendidly versatile Lloyd Webber can be”.


Mead went on to perform as Joseph for 600 shows before appearing as Joseph for the last time in January 2009.

A ‘10 years since Joseph!’ anniversary theatre tour is planned for 2018 with Milton Keynes, Newport and Redditch as key destinations so far.

I’d Do Anything

Andrew Lloyd Webber returned to television for a third time with I’d Do Anything in 2008.

This time the production in the limelight was Oliver!

The search was on for the lead role of both Oliver Twist and Nancy.

Three young hopefuls would go on to play the part of Oliver in the West End, while just one would go on to play Nancy.


Blackpool entertainer Jodie Prenger landed the role of Nancy, while the role of Oliver was shared by Gwion Jones, Harry Stott and Laurence Jeffcoate.

The four were joined by   Rowan Atkinson as Fagin, and all of them appeared in the 2009 production at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, which ran for just under two years.


Reviews for the show were mixed again:


  • Writing in The Guardian, Susannah Clapp described Jodie’s Nancy as “boisterous by strangely bland”.


  • While Michael Billington (writing in the same publication) said she “delivers her big number with passionate fervour” even if there were “too many cockney knees-up for his liking”.


  • Michael Coveney delivered the most damning verdict in The Independent:  “(…) she can’t act and she doesn’t have the depth of lung power to fill a plastic bag, let alone a West End theatre on a daily basis”.


Over the Rainbow

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 4th BBC collaboration followed his search for a Dorothy (and Toto) to star in his 2011 production of The Wizard of Oz.

According to Lloyd Webber himself The Wizard of Oz presented unique challenges, as previous productions had struggled to differentiate themselves from the 1939 film.

Eventually the show opened at the London Palladium, where it ran for 18 months.


The show was also unusual in that the winner was eventually replaced by her alternate. Danielle Hope, a 17-year old Mancunian, beat out all ten of her rivals in a grueling eight-week competition.

However, her rival Sophie Evans was brought on to play the role once a week, before replacing Danielle full time in 2012.

Lloyd Webber’s production was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for the Best Musical Revival.


  • Writing in the Telegraph, Charles Spencer (self-professed Wizard hater) said Danielle’s Dorothy offered a “thoroughly competent rather than an inspired performance. She sings Over the Rainbow with feeling (…) but she lacks the heart-catching vulnerability of the young Judy Garland”. However, he did also say that fans of the original film would enjoy it.


  • The London Evening Standard’s Henry Hitchings was more complimentary, saying Danielle Hope made “a winning impression. Her performance combines innocence with easy charm, and her voice soars”.


  • Sophie Evans’ performance was well received by the Oxford Times . Christopher Gray described her as “an actress and singer of the greatest accomplishment”.


  • While Karen Price from the Wales Online said she “plays a naive and tender Dorothy who you really want to befriend”.



The last theatre talent show to hit our screens by Webber was Superstar.

It followed the search for the lead actor in Lloyd Webber’s 2012 production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

This show was marked by a few changes: it moved to ITV, with Amanda Holden presenting it and Jason Donovan, Dawn French and Melanie Chisholm replacing John Partridge, Sheila Hancock and Charlotte Church as the judges.


The show was won by Sunderland actor Ben Forster, who benefited from previous experience in productions like Grease and Thriller – Live.

Lloyd Webber’s production premiered at the 02 Arena in London, before going on to Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Dublin and several other venues.

It also saw a high number of celebrity cast members.

Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles played the role of Herod, while Spice Girls member Mel C played the role of Mary Magdalene and Tim Minchin played the role of Judas.


The production polarised critics:


  • While the Telegraph’s Laura Thompson praised it, citing Tim Minchin’s “weary intelligence’ and Mel C’s ‘lovely relaxed Mary Magdalene”.


  • The Guardian’s Lyn Gardner was far less complimentary. She said the show contained “spectacle, but very little variety” and decried the performers’ poor acting abilities.


Ready For A Theatre Tour?

Whatever shape your theatre tour takes, Stagefreight is on hand to ensure that the show goes on.

Our trailer selection means we can safely transport props and stage equipment for large and small productions without issue. For productions performing at multiple venues, our staff will help you get on the road as soon as possible, helping you complete your theatre tour with minimal stress.

Don’t forget to visit our Case Studies page. There, you can read about our experiences working with major clients like Opera North.

If you think Stagefreight can help you with your own production, don’t delay; get in touch with us now via our contact page.