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Watford Palace Presents...Shows for All Tastes

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If you thought that funding shortfalls meant the end of innovative programming at the refurbished Palace Theatre in Watford, think again. Artistic director and chief executive Brigid Larmour has forged new creative partnerships to create an interesting autumn season.

The two main in-house productions are a revival of the award-winning family drama My Mother Said I Never Should by Charlotte Keatley and the pantomime. Larmour was the original director of the Keatley play in 1987. It explores four generations of mothers and daughters within one family and has been an international success, translated into over 20 different languages. It runs between 24 September and 17 October.

The co-production with Scamp Theatre of Stick Man opens on 5 September with morning and afternoon performances; there's also a matinée on Sunday 6 September. It can also be seen at the Edinburgh Festival in August (where it premieres) and at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester on 19 September as part of a national tour.

New writing ensemble Nabokov have two productions on offer. The first, on 11 September, is by Joel HorwoodIs Everyone Okay?. This three-hander blurs the line between theatre and stand-up comedy with a story of two women and a mixed-up man trying to make sense of fractured work and personal lives.

2nd May 1997 is by Jack Thorne and is the story of a political upheaval and how it impacted on those closest to it as well as mere bystanders. Nabokov's partners for this new play, to be directed by George Perrin and designed by Hannah Clark, are the Bush Theatre in Hammersmith as well as the Mercury and the Palace. It runs on 20 and 21 October before moving to the Mercury on 22 October.

Fom the Chichester Festival Theatre and the Bristol Old Vic comes the stage adaptation by Ben Power and Tim Carroll of Spike Milligan's Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. It has a cast of seven, with Sholto Morgan playing Spike, is directed by Carroll and designed by Laura Hopkins. You can see it for yourselves between 2 and 7 November.

The Palace has a tradition of pantomimes with a slight twist to the story, just enough to keep the audience alive to every nuance of the plot but never too much to disappoint children who prefer their fairy tales to be consistent. This year it's Cinderella with a script by Joanna Read and Stuart Thomas and direction by Kate Saxon. 28 November through to 2 January is the season for magic footwear.

Hertfordshire County Youth Theatre is an unusually confident ensemble with a penchant for original work. on 30 and 31 October they perform the adaptation as Grimm Tales by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy in a stage version by Tim Supple which is directed by James Williams. If you venture into the woods at the Palace you will meet Hansel and Gretel, Rumplestiltskin and a golden goose. Happy hunting!


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