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Graeae Theatre Company

Graeae presents

The Threepenny Opera

Graeae Theatre Company, West Yorkshire Playhouse, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company present

The Threepenny Opera
By Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill

A group or actors and musicians have just finished a musical number. Three actors are in the centre of the image with arms out stretched to the audience one of the men ins on the floor in a half split position. Around them the musicans pose with trumpets and saxophones. The men are dressed in smart clothes, two dressed as policemen. The women wear hot pans and high heels.
The image is taken against a white back drop. To the right a man and a woman stand in an embrace, the man looking to camera. To the left a woman stands, as andother woman is sat on the back of a man laying down. The woman leans her head back in engaging another actor in conversation.
Two actors, a man and a woman, are standing in a semi embrace, the man is wearing a morning suit, the woman is in a modern take on a victorian dress, with a tattoo showing on her thigh, in the background, blurred figures can be seen walking or wheeling against a metal shutter backdrop.
In muted tones a group of unruly characters holding instruments and placards  stand behind a woman who is holding up a handwritten sign saying The Threepenny Opera. One of the characters near the back holds a placard with stencilled lettering reading When times are tough, who is the real criminal.
The image shows characters from the Threepenny Opera. Macheath stands  in the centre of the images, starting straight to camera, slightly apart from the others. Five other people, three woman and two men stand either side. The lounge against a metal wire fence.


Imagine a world where evil goes unpunished, money is corrupt, the law is fickle and lowly souls remain on the poverty line. London’s most notorious criminal, Macheath, has recently married Polly, the daughter of Jonathan Peachum, leader of the beggars.

Mr Peachum is so displeased that he concocts a plan to have his new son-in-law hanged.  Through a deceitful web of blackmail, bribery and brothels, Macheath is eventually caught and taken to the gallows. Will he hang or will society offer him an escape?

“An opera for beggars. Conceived with magnificence such as only beggars could imagine, and an economy such as only beggars could afford”

The New Wolsey Theatre’s Peter Rowe and Graeae’s Jenny Sealey have joined forces once again to bring you their anarchic version of Weill and Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera – adapted from John Gay’s The Beggars Opera. 

A motley cast of characters reinvent this classic from the writer of The Causcasian Chalk Circle and Mother Courage, with Kurt Weill’s iconic music played live on stage by the actors themselves. Including well-known songs such as Mack the Knife and Pirate Jenny, expect a riotous musical comedy you’ll be begging to see!

All performances include audio description and a creative combination of BSL interpretation and captioning.

English translation of the dialogue by Robert David MacDonald.
English translation of the lyrics by Jeremy Sams.

Original German text based on Elisabeth Hauptmann’s German Translation of John Gay’s THE BEGGAR’S OPERA

Ages 12+


Read rehearsal blogs and more


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Production Credits

Creative Team

Directors Jenny Sealey and Peter Rowe

Designer Neil Murray
Musical Director and Arranger Robert Hyman
Movement Director Mark Smith
Projections Designer Mark Haig
Lighting Designer Malcom Rippeth
Sound Designer Drew Baumohl
Performance MD Joey Hickman
Casting Director Debbie O’Brien

Actor / Musician cast

Macheath Milton Lopes
Polly Cici Howells
JJ Peachum Garry Robson
Mrs Peachum Victoria Oruwari
Natasha Lewis
Amelia Cavallo
Tiger Brown
Will Kenning
Sophie Byrne
Barbara Hockaday
Joe Vetch
Ben Goffee
Nellie Stacey Ghent
Stephen Collins
Sonia Allori
Max Runham
TJ Holmes
John Kelly
Rev Kimball Joey Hickman

Audio Describer / Access Support Worker Wayne ‘Pickles’ Norman
Sign Language Interpreter Jude Mahon
Access Support Worker Helen Bryer

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Performance Schedule

Spring 2014

Nottingham Playhouse
Dates:21 February – 8 March
Tickets: £8.50 – £28.50
Tickets on sale now:

New Wolsey Theatre
Dates: 12 March – 22 March
Tickets: £8.50 – £25.00
Tickets on sale now:

Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Dates: 27 March -12 April
Tickets: £15.50 – £27.50
Tickets on sale now:

West Yorkshire Playhouse
Dates: 24 April – 10 May
Tickets: From £12
Tickets on sale now:

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Reviews / Feedback

‘Watching this production is like being carried along in a protest march, banners in your face’ The Stage

‘An exhilarating show’ The Sunday Times

‘the company unleash a charged, hysterical, non-stop onslaught of political commentary combined with riotous entertainment’ Exeunt Magazine

‘It truly is a show conceived with magnificence.’ The Big Issue

‘there is one hell of a theatrical collaboration going on here – but then, in many respects, this is one hell of a theatrical production.’ Ceasefire Magazine

‘this no-holds-barred event has everything Brecht must have wanted: aggro, cheek, biting irony, vengefulness, hypocrisy – and flair.’ Musical Theatre Review

‘fast and funny with strong acting and singing performances.’ Socialist Worker

‘a no holds barred production’ Theatre World Internet Magazine

‘Brecht would have loved it.’ Reviews Gate

‘The coffee bill for this show must be through the roof, but, fortunately, so is the energy and the talent.’ The Limping Chicken

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The Threepenny Opera Trailer

BSL synopsis for The Threepenny Opera

Behind the scenes at The Threepenny Opera rehearsals

The Threepenny Opera - The Threepenny Opera Audio Flyer

Download The Threepenny Opera Audio Flyer as an MP3

The Threepenny Opera - The Threepenny Opera Audio Introduction

Download The Threepenny Opera Audio Introduction as an MP3

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