Storyhouse to stage world premiere of new Tim Firth musical

A poignant, heartfelt and funny new musical from award-winning stage and screen writer Tim Firth (Calendar Girls The Musical, Kinky Boots and The Band) will receive its world premiere at Storyhouse this spring. 

Now is Good is being staged at the Chester venue from 11-28 May, and tickets are on sale from Wednesday 2 February.

The musical will be directed by Joyce Branagh and arranged by George Francis. It stars Michele Dotrice (Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, A Very English Scandal). 

Now is Good writer Tim Firth said: “I like to think that shows pick their own titles. I stumbled on a phrase during my first chat with Storyhouse. 

“In the intervening years, with the world seemingly on a different planet, I found myself writing a comic musical about combatting loneliness. Not only that; apart from having live tigers on stage, it’s a story that involves one of the riskiest things ever attempted in a theatre. 

“But we mustn’t lose our willingness to take risks in order to have fun. Life’s too short. Now is good. The title is having its day.” 

Now is Good is a musical comedy about the greatest challenges currently facing humanity: how to help your children, where to hide your biscuits and how to fight loneliness.   

When builder Ray and his son Neil embark on a very personal renovation project, it unlocks a bank of memories – and with the arrival of some unexpected help, it also takes an extraordinary turn.  

Frodsham-raised Tim Firth has enjoyed a prolific writing career with his many stage and screen credits including Calendar Girls, Kinky Boots, Neville’s Island, The Flint Street Nativity, All Quiet on the Preston Front, Our House and The Band. 

Now is Good is his fifth musical. 

Michele Dotrice is known to millions as Betty, the long-suffering wife of the hapless Frank Spencer in the hit BBC sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Her extensive screen credits also include A Very English Scandal, Vanity Fair, Bramwell and The Way We Live Now, while recent stage appearances include Tim Firth and Gary Barlow’s The Girls, Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest and Mrs Wilberforce in The Ladykillers. 

Meanwhile the new production is being directed by Joyce Branagh. The West Yorkshire-based actor, playwright and director started her career as a trainee director at the Orange Tree Theatre and Bristol Old Vic and later became associate director at Watford Palace Theatre. 

Her directing credits include Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Sunshine Boys, Travels With My Aunt and The Thunder Girls. 

Meanwhile this spring she can be seen in elder brother Sir Kenneth Branagh’s awards-tipped feature film Belfast. 

And George Francis returns to Storyhouse after working on The Wizard of Oz. 

His other credits as musical director and orchestrator include Amelie the Musical (Watermill, UK tour and West End), Miracle on 34th Street (Liverpool Playhouse), The Last Five Years (Burton Brewhouse) and Fiddler on the Roof and Paint Your Wagon (Liverpool Everyman).  

Storyhouse producer Helen Redcliffe added: “We’re very excited to be working with Tim Firth to stage this fantastic new musical for Storyhouse audiences. 

“Now Is Good is a beautiful, tender and feelgood show which is filled with Tim’s trademark wit, humour and humanity as well as some fantastic melodies. We can promise it will be a magical experience.” 

Tickets on sale on Wednesday 2 February to Storyhouse Members and on general sale on Friday 4 February.

Book tickets here.

For more information, contact:  
Nancy Davies  
Marketing and PR Manager 
07886 743531