Casting Announced For World Premiere of THE TOYBOY DIARIES at Hope Mill Theatre in Mancheseter

Casting Announced For World Premiere of THE TOYBOY DIARIES at Hope Mill Theatre in MancheseterThe cast and creative team has been announced for the World Premiere of The ToyBoy Diaries, the new British musical that is to be the first production staged in 2018 at the critically-acclaimed Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester.

The production, adapted from the best-selling memoirs by Wendy Salisbury, runs from Thursday 18 January to Saturday 10 February 2018 and is the first of five in-house musicals next year from the successful collaboration between Joseph Houston and William Whelton, co-founders of Hope Mill Theatre and producer Katy Lipson, of Aria Entertainment.

This new musical comedy charts the hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking sagas of mid-life dating.

When twice-divorced Lily inadvertently finds herself under a much younger man, it opens the door to a wild new world of inappropriate relationships. From Tom the Tender to Sam the Submissive, via Paul the Policeman, Hat Trick Patrick and Matt the Monstrous (with Old Willy and Philandering Phil mixed in along the way) Lily finally finds Ben the Bountiful.

The ToyBoy Diaries has a book by Simon Warne, music and lyrics by Andy Collyer and is based on the best-selling memoirs of Wendy Salisbury. Directed by Tania Azevedo.

The cast has now been announced for The ToyBoy Diaries. The lead role of Lily will be played by Johanne Murdock. Recent stage roles include Brutus in Julius Caesar and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (Guildford Shakespeare Company), Anne Hathaway in The Other Shakespeare (Pitchfork Productions). Film and television credits include Chameleon and Holby City.

The production also features Olivier Award-nominee Nicola Blackman (Destiny Rides Again, Babe the Sheep Pig, Gilgamesh and Just to Get Married) as Lily's best friend Penny. Matt Beveridge (The Frontier Trilogy, Titanic - Toronto and House of Therapy - Off Broadway) plays ToyBoy 1. Sharif Afifi (Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Wonderland - UK Tour) is ToyBoy 2. Alistair Higgins (Dreamboats and Petticoats - UK Tour, Sweeney Todd - Brighton, Charlotte's Web) plays ToyBoy 3.

The ToyBoy Diaries has music and lyrics by Andy Collyer (Little Women and Pippin Orchestrations - Hope Mill Theatre, The Verb, 'To Love' - Old Red Lion Theatre, Claus - Landor Theatre) and a book by his regular collaborator Simon Warne (Claus - Landor Theatre, Truth Talks - Southwark Playhouse, Double Effect - Finborough, and Original Spin - New End Hampstead.)

Director Tania Azevdeo's recent credits include Tenderly (New Wimbledon Theatre) XY (Page to Stage - The Other Palace) Paper Hears (Edinburgh Fringe and International Tour), Hello Again - Hope Theatre.)

The ToyBoy Diaries has musical direction by Andrew Griffiths, choreography by Sam Spencer-Lane, design by Jason Denvir, lighting design by Ben M Rogers, sound design by Calum Robinson,

Following The ToyBoy Diaries at Hope Mill Theatre is a new revival of the acclaimed modern Broadway hit Spring Awakening (Thursday 29 March to Thursday 3 May 2018) and Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic Aspects of Love (Thursday 5 July to Thursday 9 August 2018). Two more yet-to-be announced productions will follow in Autumn/Winter.

The ToyBoy Diaries runs from Thursday 18 January to Saturday 10 February 2018 and is on sale now.

Tickets from £16. Visit

Aria Entertainment was founded in 2012 by Katy Lipson.

Katy has just been awarded the Best Producer award by the Off-West End Awards and is a recipient of the Stage One Bursary and Start Up Award.

Katy is currently lead producer on the UK Tour of The Addams Family and the 50th Anniversary production of HAIR at the London Vaults, which she originally co-produced with Hope Mill Theatre in 2016, where she is Resident Producer and co-artistic director for in-house productions. She has also recently produced the London transfer of new musical The Toxic Avenger at The Arts Theatre, West End following a run at The Edinburgh Festival's Pleasance Theatre.

Recent productions include: the London transfer of Yank! (Charing Cross Theatre); tick, tick...BOOM! (Park Theatre); Little Women, Pippin, Yank!, Parade and HAIR (Hope Mill Theatre); Promises, Promises and The Toxic Avenger (Southwark Playhouse); Vanities The Musical (Trafalgar Studios); See What I Wanna See and The Return Of The Soldier (Jermyn Street Theatre); Bar Mitzvah Boy (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); The Adventures of Pinocchio, Lizzie and The Who's Tommy (Greenwich Theatre); The House of Mirrors & Hearts, Supported By Grant For The Arts (Arcola Theatre) and Marry Me A Little, Jerry's Girls and Forever Plaid (St. James Studio).

Katy is proud to have launched the From Page to Stage season of new musicals. She has produced four seasons, which showcased over 8 new musicals in each. The project was supported by Grant For The Arts in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The 2017 took place at Andrew Lloyd-Webber's recently-acquired theatre, The Other Palace, and was sponsored by RUG, TRW and R&H.

Other current projects include: The ToyBoy Diaries (Hope Mill Theatre) and the London transfer of Pippin (Southwark Playhouse).

Hope Mill Theatre was the dream of couple Joseph Houston and William Whelton who after a career in Musical Theatre and living in London, became inspired by the highly regarded Off West End theatres and the high-quality work they were creating. With the growing theatre industry blossoming in Manchester and no medium sized venues, they set up and established the independent venue, Hope Mill Theatre in November 2015. The venue has firmly placed itself on the northern map for its ambitious in-house musical productions. In October 2016 Joseph and William were awarded the Hospital Club Award for contribution to Theatre and Performance. They recently won a Special Achievement Award at the Manchester Theatre Awards and the venue was nominated for Fringe Theatre of the Year 2016. Joseph and William joined forces with Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment to collaborate on a season of musicals, including Parade, HAIR, and the UK and European Premiere of YANK! all receiving critical acclaim. William Whelton is a recent recipient of the Stage One Young Producers Bursary for emerging producers. Hope Mill Theatre hosts many emerging Manchester theatre companies, touring productions and offers a varied programme for its audiences. Recently Hope Mill Theatre was nominated for the prestigious Peter Brook Empty Space Award, which celebrates innovation in smaller theatres and was nominated for Fringe Theatre of the Year in The Stage's annual awards, for the second consecutive year.

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