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George Stagnell and Sam Hird in Stephen Dolginoff's Thrill Me

"Pick Me Up Theatre are not only remarkably prolific but their work is consistently outstanding"

That’s what York's top arts critic Charles Hutchinson says about us!


And he’s backed it up with a string of five star reviews – including for our hugely popular sellout production of Stephen Dolginoff’s Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story starring Sam Hird and George Stagnell which prompted the American composer to ask Pick Me Up to stage the UK premiere of his new musical Monster Makers in 2019. Above: Stagnall and Hird in Thrill Me at the York Medical Society. Below: Andrew Isherwood, Tony Froud, Emma Louise Dickinson, and Darren Lumby in Monster Makers

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Other five-star successes have included intimate and powerful stagings in Theatre@41's black box studio in Monkgate, York, like Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins.  From left: Jonny Holbek, George Stagnell, Alexa Chaplin, Juliet Waters, Mark Hird, Simon Radford, Connor Mellor, Craig Kirby.  Photo by Matthew Kitchen.

Stephen Sondheim's Assassins

Assassins was paired with a thrilling production of Sweeney Todd, which went back to Sondheim's original vision for a smaller 'chamber' piece that would "scare people". Susannah Baines as Mrs Lovett and Nick Lewis as Sweeney. Photo by Matthew Kitchen

Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd

That same intimacy was used to great effect in a production of Sondheim’s Follies, where audience members felt like guests at Weismann’s reunion party. Angie Millard, in a review for York Mix, said it was a “special experience” that drew the audience into the world of the central characters. From left: Tracey Rea, Juliet Waters, Maggie Smales, Beryl Nairn, Sonia Skelton, Susannah Baines, Sandy Nicholson.

Stephen Sondheim's Follies

Other memorable productions at Theatre@41 have included a special show celebrating the 40th anniversary of Dad's Army, Lee Hall's glorious stage adaptation of Shakespeare in Love, the UK premiere of Denis T Giacino's hilarious off-Broadway musical Disenchanted!, and Edward Albee's controversial award-winning play The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?


Charles Hutchinson chose our one-man staging of Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful as York Production of the Year in 2018 and George Stagnell as Performer of the Year for his "remarkable" portrayal of Tommo and 20-odd other characters. The production also attracted five-star reviews and sellout audiences when it appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe, alongside performances of  George Butterworth's Songs from A Shropshire Lad by Sam Hird and Sam Johnson.

George Stagnell as Tommo in Pick Me Up's production of Private Peaceful

York premieres have included two pieces by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe – an intimate production of Betty Blue Eyes, based on Alan Bennett's A Private Function, and a spectacular staging of Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure –  as well as The Addams Family, Ghost, Dogfight and The Pitmen Painters. Photo: Betty Blue Eyes and her creator and puppeteer Elanor Dunn, with Chris Speight  as Mr Allardyce.

Stiles and Drewe's Betty Blue Eyes

We stage larger scale shows every year at York's Grand Opera House – recent productions have included Leslie Bricusse's Scrooge The Musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, the  RSC version of The Wizard of Oz, and Lerner and Lowe's classic musical My Fair Lady .

Magical Mister Mistoffelees – Nathan Mundey

Photo by Matthew Kitchen: Nathan Mundey (as Mister Mistoffelees) and the cast of Cats

My Fair Lady York Grand Opera House

Photo by Matthew Kitchen: Toni Feetenby as Eliza Doolittle, Sandy Nicholson as Mrs Pearce, and Rory Mulvihill as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.


Take a look at more photos from past productions here.

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