Plays, musicals, dance and opera in the Norwich Theatre Royal spring season
From the heart-breaking to the rib-tickling, the shows at Norwich's Theatre Royal look set fair to cater for all theatre-going tastes.
Pantomime Peter Pan having sailed away, Norwich's Theatre Royal's drama offerings for 2015 start with the touring production of Peter James' Dead Simple between 20 and 24 January. The second chiller-thriller of the season is The Woman in Black which plays from 9 to 14 February.
David Hare's political comedy The Absence of War makes its presence felt in a Headlong production between 24 and 28 February. Younger audiences can experience the new Horrible Histories offerings from Birmingham Rep in the shape of Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders in the week 22-26 April.
You couldn't ask for two more sharply contrasted plays than Michael Simkins' adaptation of Dear Lupin based on the book by Roger Mortimer and starring James Fox 27 April-2 May) and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which Angus Jackson has dramatised from John Boyne's novel (5-9 May).
Dear Lupin concerns a father and son's wry but affectionate exchange of letters. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is the story of a friendship which springs up between the eight-year old son of a concentration camp commandant and a boy whose only future seems destined to be the gas chamber.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong was a 2014 WhatsOnStage.com comedy award winner and it trips onto the Theatre Royal stage between 11 and 16 May. The National Theatre's The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-time tours nationally from December this year and arrives in Norwich from 8 to 12 September.
There's wit as well as magic in Matthew Bourne's dance drama Edward Scissorhands which returns to the theatre between 3 and 7 February. Three classical ballets are brought to Norwich by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia from 16 to 8 February – La fille mal gardée, Coppélia and Swan Lake. Northern Ballet returns with The Great Gatsby, which premiered here in 2013, between 14 and 18 April.
English Touring Opera have two contrasting works to offer from 23 to 25 March. Puccini's La Bohème must surely be one of the most popular operas ever written while ETO's exploration of lesser-known Donizetti continues with Il furioso all'isola di San Domingo, billed here as The Wild Man of the West Indies.
Large-scale musicals suit the Theatre Royal admirably. The first of the new season is Barnum in the Chichester Festival Theatre's production (3-14 March). Top Hat launched its successful tour and West End season here in 2011 and it steps out again from 31 March to 11 April.
Opera North's Carousel from 2012 sparkles between 28 and 30 May. The whole family is catered for with Shrek: The Musical based n the DreamWorks animated film and playing from 9 to 28 Jane. 17 to 22 August displays Craig Revel Horwood as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Finally, there's Dirty Dancing between 28 August and 5 September.