Plymouth’s Theatre Royal and Drum Theatre have announced an eclectic programme for the summer 2010 season.

Large scale musicals, Hairspray, Joseph and The Sound of Music, currently touring the UK, dominate the main auditorium during August, together with a rich variety of drama, dance and comedy in both venues, some premiering in the Devon resort.

Hofesh Shechter Company returns to the Theatre Royal after their critically acclaimed first visit last season to present a special preview of Shechter’s new work, Political Mother. Hofesh Shechter offers audiences in the South West an exclusive opportunity to be the first to see his new work before its world premiere at the 2010 Brighton Festival. Performed by 10 dancers and accompanied by Shechter’s cinematic score performed by a band of live musicians, Political Mother resounds with his trademark raw physicality, percussive grooves and daring unisons. Friday 14 May – Saturday 15 May

Simon Callow, one of Britain’s greatest actors, features in The Man from Stratford: Being Shakespeare. Callow tracks down the real William Shakespeare, bringing to life both the man and the unforgettable characters – lovers, kings, soldiers and clowns – who have since conquered the world’s stages. Following the worldwide success of The Mystery of Charles Dickens and hot on the heels of his sell out hit Dr Marigold & Mr Chops, Callow joins forces with Jonathan Bate, pre-eminent Shakespeare biographer to fill the stage with Shakespeare’s real and imagined worlds. Thursday 10 June – Saturday 12 June

Lend Me a Tenor “an uproarious new musical comedy” by Peter Sham and Brad Carroll is a riotous, unpredictable explosion of mistaken identities and unexpected romance – based on the award winning West End and Broadway hit comedy by Ken Ludwig. This brand-new production is directed by Olivier award winning director Ian Talbot (High Society, Anything Goes) and choreographed by Tony nominated choreographer Randy Skinner (42nd Street, White Christmas). Lend Me a Tenor is a Theatre Royal Production and plays Friday 24 September – Wednesday 6 October

The Drum Theatre Plymouth and The Royal Court Theatre present The Empire, following the huge success of The Drum Theatre’s last collaboration with the Royal Court; The Girlfriend Experience. Helmand in the height of summer. Gary, a British soldier, and Hafizullah, his Afghan colleague, guard an injured young prisoner, Zia, found in the heat of battle. Gary wants answers, Hafizullah just wants to make it through the day and Zia thinks there has been a big mistake. DC Moore’s second play dissects the politics of occupation, home and abroad. Thursday 13 – Saturday 29 May

Of the new season, and its home produced output in particular, Adrian Vinken, Chief Executive at the Theatre Royal said: “We continue building and producing this summer giving our audiences more chances to see new productions before the rest of the world does. The Empire will only play Plymouth and London’s Royal Court theatre whilst Lend Me a Tenor the Musical will premiere at the Theatre Royal before transferring to the West End. Though very different, both productions support our commitment to bring Plymouth and the South West the very best theatre currently available in the UK.”