WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link

Top news stories of 2016

From Emma Rice to Benedict Cumberbatch, here are a selection of the top news stories on WhatsOnStage this year

Emma Rice resigned from the Globe

Emma Rice takes over the Globe from April

In this place last year was the announcement of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This year it's a little more heavyweight, with the news in April that newly appointed artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Emma Rice would step down after only two summers. The theatre-world was thrown into a storm of speculation about the whys and wherefores of her departure. In the end, it came down to lighting.

Lin-Manuel Miranda visited In the Heights

Lin Manuel Miranda
© Ben Hewis

The current god of new musical theatre Lin-Manuel Miranda popped over to these shores to chill with the cast and crew of In the Heights in September. It was a beautiful moment, and Miranda made a speech about the show, why he did it and how great our cast was. And we filmed it just for you.

Benedict Cumberbatch wins a WhatsOnStage Award

Benedict Cumberbatch with his WhatsOnStage Award
© Ben Hewis

After getting a lot of coverage in 2015 for his Hamlet, Benedict Cumberbatch crowned what must have been a very jolly year for him with a vote from the people. In February he won the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actor in a Play. And his acceptance speech was lovely.

Moulin Rouge will be turned into a musical

Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor

The news that Baz Luhrmann's film Moulin Rouge was to be made into a new stage musical was met with frenzied excitement by you all, which suggests to us that this was something a lot of people had been waiting for. Details were sparse, but: it is happening. Oh, and don't forget that Moulin Rouge will be Secret Cinema's first show of 2017.

Harry Potter hit

Poppy Miller (Ginny Potter) and Jamie Parker (Harry Potter
© Manuel Harlan

This year was the year of stage Potter. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child finally opened in the West End in July to rapturous reviews and a huge number of people flying from every corner of the world to see it. Our news story announcing the cast - Jamie Parker, Noma Dumezweni, Paul Thornley and more - was one of the most read articles on the site. And now lots of them have been nominated for WhatsOnStage Awards. Go figure.

Alan Rickman - and many other greats - died

Alan Rickman
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

It was not a good year for losing brilliant people. In the theatre world we lost not just the great Alan Rickman, but also Victoria Wood, Edward Albee, Howard Davies, Gene Wilder and lots more. It was an incredibly sad year. Let's hope 2017 will be luckier.

Hamilton will be coming to London

Hamilton on Broadway
©Joan Marcus

It was finally confirmed in June 2016 that Lin-Manuel Miranda's masterpiece would be coming to London and the theatre would be the newly refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre in October 2017. The news meant it's now your chance to be in the room where it happens.

Sheridan Smith cancels performance of Funny Girl

Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl
© Marc Brenner

This year was a tricky one for the brilliant Sheridan Smith, who continued to wow in Funny Girl. She hit headlines after a show was cancelled half way through. Producers cited technical difficulties, and they later released a statement to say she was taking a leave of absence.

Stranger Things's Dustin sung Les Mis

Gaten Matarazzo singing "Bring Him Home"

When we shared a video of Gaten Matarazzo singing "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables on Facebook, the video proceeded to go viral. It was right in the middle of Stranger Things madness and set the internet alight. Which is exactly what we like.

Robert Icke provoked controversy by leaving at the interval

Director Robert Icke
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

When Robert Icke announced he walked out of shows all the time, the theatre-world was aghast. In an interview with The Stage he said he quite often got to the interval and made a dash for it. Our blog on whether or not leaving at the interval was ever really acceptable provoked a storm of reaction.