Footloose has confirmed that it will finish its run at the West End’s Novello Theatre at the end of its current booking period on 11 November 2006, making way for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s annual 16-week residency at the venue, which, as announced last week (See News, 25 Aug 2006), commences on 16 December.

Producers of the musical are, however, looking for a new West End home. They face competition for vacancies from The Rat Pack, which is also homeless after leaving the Savoy last month (See News, 30 Jun 2006), as well as other musical productions vying for West End berths.

Following extensive UK tours, Footloose opened in the West End on 18 April 2006 (previews from 8 April). The story centres on city boy Ren who moves with his mother to a small town in middle America where rock music and dancing are outlawed for religious reasons. Sparks fly when Ren and the minister's teenaged daughter Ariel rebel.

The 1984 film version starred Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer. Derek Hough and Amy Pemberton play Ren and Ariel in the West End, with Seventies pop stars David Essex and Cheryl Baker as Ariel’s church-going parents. From 9 September, Michael Howe takes over as Reverend Shaw from Essex, who leaves at the end of his limited three-month contract (See News, 12 May 2006).

Footloose has a book by Walter Bobbie and Dean Pitchford, who wrote the original screenplay. Its hit songs from the film include “Holding Out for a Hero”, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” and the title number. The London production is directed and choreographed by Karen Bruce.

- by Caroline Ansdell