Boy George's award-winning West End musical Taboo will embark on a six-month, UK-wide tour this winter (See News, 27 Mar 2003). The tour opens at The Lowry in Salford, where it runs from 11 December 2003 to 17 January 2004 before continuing to 26 further venues. The former Culture Club lead singer will be on hand at The Lowry tomorrow (2 July 2003) to launch the show's regional premiere to the press.

Boy George was one of Britain's biggest stars in the 1980s and it's from that decade that he took his inspiration for Taboo. When Billy, an aspiring photographer, launches himself onto London's vibrant club scene during the "decadent" decade, he encounters many of the era's most notorious personalities - including Marilyn, Steve Strange, Leigh Bowery, Philip Sallon and George himself.

While Taboo includes snippets of some Culture Club classics, George also penned an original score with songs including "Ode to Attention Seekers", "Stranger in this World", "Love Is a Question Mark", "Guttersnipe", "Touched by the Hand of Cool", "Out of Fashion" and "Pie in the Sky".

Full casting for the tour has not yet been finalised, though it will feature Stephen Ashfield, who took over from role creator Euan Morton as the young Boy George in the West End production last year. In October 2003, Morton and the real Boy George, who had several stints playing Leigh Bowery in London, will star in the Broadway transfer of Taboo.

The musical, which has a book by Mark Davies, premiered on 29 January 2002 (previews from 11 January) at The Venue, a theatre space specially created in the crypt of a church off Leicester Square in London. The West End production closed on 26 April 2003 after an oft-extended run of 15 months. Taboo is directed by Award winner Christopher Renshaw and designed by Tim Goodchild, with costumes by Mike Nicholls, lighting by Chris Ellis, sound by Jem Kitchen and choreography by Les Child.

The regional production is presented by Fiery Angel and The Lowry, marking the latter's first-ever touring co-production, by arrangement with Adam Kenwright. Following Salford, it will visit Wycombe, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cork, Nottingham, Southampton, Edinburgh, Leeds, Bristol, Belfast, Brighton, Cardiff, Norwich, Plymouth, Sheffield, Richmond, Woking, Oxford, Liverpool, Leicester, Wolverhampton, Cheltenham, Southend, Stoke-on-Trent, Bromley and Milton Keynes. Exact dates have yet to be confirmed.

- by Terri Paddock