Colors: Red Color

Global superstar Jason Derulo is bigger than ever before and has announced details of his second UK arena tour which takes place next March. Seven shows form the UK leg of his world tour which will see him take the stage at Genting Arena, Birmingham on 24th March 2018.

In the UK, Jason Derulo has topped the charts with four #1 smash hit singles in the shape of ‘In My Head’, ‘Don’t Wanna Go Home’, ‘Talk Dirty’ and ‘Want To Want Me’. In addition, he has also landed another eight Top 10 hits including his 2009 debut ‘Whatcha Say’, a feature on Little Mix’s ‘Secret Love Song’, and this year’s ‘Swalla’ which features Nicki Minaj and has already passed 383 million at Spotify alone.

Over the course of his career to date, Jason Derulo went from writing songs for Lil Wayne, Pitbull, Diddy, Sean Kingston and others, to selling 50 million singles worldwide. In the process, he has accumulated over 3.9 billion views on YouTube and in excess of 2 billion plays on Spotify.

From the Cider Museum in Hereford to narrow boats in Stoke on Trent and lime kilns in Worcestershire to the Rugby Hall of Fame in Warwickshire, hundreds of sites across the West Midlands are preparing to share their culture and reveal their hidden histories for Heritage Open Days 2017.  This year over 300 sites will be taking part, with FREE admission to every event – including 14 National Trust Properties. Here are just a few!

 The Old Coventry Evening Telegraph Building, Coventry

The iconic building was Coventry Evening Telegraph's former headquarters and has been a local for almost 50 years. Now owned by Complex Development Projects, who plan to retain much of the 1950’s design, the building is being opened up for tours and a display telling the story of the Coventry Evening Telegraph.

Thur-Sun 10am-4pm (pre-bookable tours)

Clifford Castle, Hereford

A privately-owned, 11th century border castle overlooking the River Wye, this newly-restored building offers a unique opportunity to see one of the smaller castles which defended the border with Wales. Visitors can see the outer bailey and gatehouse, and - by climbing a steep path – can enter through a second gatehouse to the inner bailey, protected by five round towers. There are fabulous views from here over the River Wye and in the distance the Black Mountains

Sat & Sun 10.30am-4pm

Hanley Park, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire

An introduction to Hanley Park's fascinating 120 year story and the latest on the £6 million restoration project underway and due for completion In 2018. There are 'Fountains of Fun' for the family on Saturday when you can make a splash the Victorian way. Dress for mess and craft your own fountain using principles of gravity, pressure and plenty of water.

Guided Park Walks: Thurs 6pm, Sun 2pm

Foundations of Fun: Sat 10am-midday

Broseley Pipeworks, Telford, Shropshire

The Broseley Pipeworks is an original 19th century clay tobacco pipe factory, abandoned in 1960, and restored by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in the early 1990s. It is open during the summer season as part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, but for the HODS event there will be an opportunity to get a closer view of how buildings like this are rescued, including original documents from the archaeology survey.

Sun 10am-4pm

With some of the biggest digital stars on the planet already confirmed to appear including Caspar Lee, Jim Chapman, Joe Sugg, Louise Pentland, Marcus Butler, KSI, PointlessBlog, Rose & Rosie and Zoella, organisers have announced that even more big names are set to join the bill including Oli White, Jake Mitchell, Jack Maynard, Josh Pieters, Mark Ferris, Lucy and Lydia, JanaVlogs, Niki and Sammy, Lookingforlewys, The Shades and Katie Pix.

And with New Hope Club offering up a cool music performance this is going to be the must-see event of the year!

Where the online world collides with the real world, guests arrive into the living, breathing space of HelloWorld and take a stroll down Main Street where the sun is rising over the town, the day begins and the town comes alive. Bands are performing, the shops and funfair are opening, and the aerobics class is in full swing. The biggest stars in Social Media are getting up close and personal with their fans. There are live music performances, games, bake-offs, parades, a fashion show, a Giant Arcade Machine, live comedy, signings and talks, even weather forecasts! Yes, HelloWorld even has its own weather!

HelloWorld’s guests can interact with their heroes like never before on the giant video Arcade Machine, a real life Big Piano and giant sports stages where guests can compete with top talent. Watched by millions of viewers online, HelloWorld will create a multi-sensory immersive live show like nothing on earth.

Suddenly the sun goes down, there’s a thunderstorm and the town is bathed in moonlight as the evening entertainment begins on the main stage - a huge 12-metre high projection mapped Emoji House!

The HelloWorld DJ provides the soundtrack as guests cheer along to games and live interviews with the stars, dance along to music acts and take part in a massive live video.  The night closes with a giant house party featuring all the big names of the social media world, making this an unforgettable shared experience.

Commenting on the show, social media entrepreneur Caspar Lee said: "I'm so excited to invite our incredible fans to a new live event, the scale of which we have never seen before in the digital space. We’ve all been working hard with an amazing team to create something truly special for them - I cannot wait to see our ideas come to life.” 

And Jim Chapman said: "I’m so excited to be part of such an exciting live project that means I can meet my audience in a way that has never been done before.”

HelloWorld’s award-winning and Grammy-nominated Creative Director, Paul Caslin, who has previously worked with Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry, Sir Paul McCartney and also on the MTV EMAs and X Factor said "HelloWorld is without doubt the most ambitious and exciting project I've ever been involved in. The aim is to create the world's first fully immersive live show featuring the biggest online and social media talent from across the globe all under one roof. Think 'Woodstock' for the iPhone generation".

A theatre company formed by three graduates from Birmingham School of Acting has been nominated for the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) 2017 Edinburgh Award.

In 2016, the Birmingham students created Theatre63 – which now boasts a strong collective of eight alumni – and they all continue to strive to complete their original and ultimate goal of performing 63 shows.

The NSDF award recognises the créme de la créme of emerging theatre companies and has shortlisted 20 performances from this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme, including Theatre63’s latest show. All shortlisted productions must be brand new – new writing, new devised theatre, a new adaptation or an innovative reworking of a film or a play.

Theatre63 producer and performer, George Alex Pollard, said:

“Being Shortlisted for the NSDF Award is an exciting accomplishment. The Fringe Festival has allowed us to meet other companies and we are able to learn and develop our skills in a place that is so open and passionate about new work.”

Theatre63 are performing ‘Cockroached’ at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) throughout Edinburgh Festival Fringe. ​ A post-apocalyptic black comedy set in the colourful but dirty confines of a makeshift home – the storeroom of Peek’s Party Store – their one-hour show is performed by two actors who switch roles each night.

The BA Acting graduates – who originate from Devon to Derby – have collectively written, produced and perform in the play. Meanwhile, Kirsten Banks, BA Stage Management graduate from Birmingham School of Acting, manages the production’s technical aspects.

Actor Freya Sharp, Theatre63, said:

“It’s great to be part of a new, pro-active company that have created work for themselves so early on in their career. It’s wonderful to play a part that is non-gender specific, as it allows me to push my boundaries and not conform to the stereotypical female roles.”

The winning company will be announced on Tuesday 22 August, and will be awarded a run at the Pleasance Theatre in London alongside a £500 cash prize.

Daniele Sanderson, Deputy Head of Birmingham’s School of Acting, said:

“We are very proud of Theatre63 being nominated for an award at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival for their first-ever play, ‘Cockroached’.

“Our BA Acting encourages students to develop their own creativity and to be entrepreneurial in their approach to making their own work. Theatre63 perfectly expresses our hopes for our future graduates. We wish them luck!”

All members of Theatre63 graduated from Birmingham School of Acting, part of Birmingham City University, in 2016 and the company are now based in London.

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre’s production of Brassed Off marks the venues return to producing theatre in-house for the first time in almost 40 years from Wednesday 23 August – Saturday 2 September 2017.

Rehearsals began on Monday 31 July and take place at a rehearsal venue in the city and on stage at the Grand Theatre. Director Gareth Tudor Price is working with a professional cast of 6 principal actors, 4 principal actors from the local community, 6 local children, an ensemble of 18 local actors and 32 band members.

Jeffrey Holland plays ex-miner and veteran conductor of Grimley Band, Danny and the cast includes Christopher Connel (Phil), Miriam Grace Edwards (Sandra), Ash Matthews (Shane), Clara Darcy (Gloria) and Eddy Massarella (Andy). They are joined by local actors Tim Jones (Harry), Greg Yates (Jim), Susie Wilcox (Vera) and Donna Heaslip (Rita).

Sharing the young role of Craig will be Henry Hart, Samuel Allen Cooper and Alexander Hogg. Sharing the role of Melody will be Lydia Hart, Mollie Cotterill and Catherine Richmond-Maud.

Grand Theatre Press & PR Manager Scott Bird said, “rehearsals are well underway and it’s great to see the potential of the Grand Theatre being explored to the maximum. This production not only features a fine professional cast but actors and musicians from the area; I hope local audiences will feel the same sense of ownership that we do as a team who are creating this new staging of a well-loved story.”

Brassed Off is written by Paul Allen, adapted from the screenplay by Mark Herman. It’s 1994; and Danny’s lifelong ambition to lead Grimley Colliery Band to the National Brass Band Competition at the Royal Albert Hall looks like it might finally happen. But as Grimley pit faces closure, the future looks bleak as the town is thrown into conflict. Flugelhorn player Gloria arrives in town bringing with her a renewed sense of hope and a touch of romance, but no-one knows who she’s really playing for...

Brassed Off is produced by Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. It is directed by Gareth Tudor Price, formerly Artistic Director of Hull Truck Theatre. Set and costume design is by John Brooking. Lighting design for the production is by Anthony Aston.

Brassed Off was first performed at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield on 17th March 1998.

Tickets for Brassed Off between Wednesday 23 August – Saturday 2 September 2017 are now on sale and can be purchased in person at the Box Office, by calling 01902 42 92 12 or online at

The London Games Festival will return in 2018, running from 5 April to 15 April, organiser Games London has announced.

The London Games Festival is delivered by Games London, the three-year initiative from Film London, the capital's screen industries agency, and video games trade body Ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment).

Games London is backed by the Mayor of London with funding worth £1.2m from the London Enterprise Action Panel, and seeks to make London the games capital of the world.

Over 50,000 people attended 40 different events across 20 different venues during the 2017 festival. The Festival has also established itself as a platform for global business in games with the Games Finance Market delivering nearly £20m potential business in April.

Since its launch in January 2016 Games London has connected 145 games businesses in the UK with 109 global investors, driving over £30m potential business back into local companies.

The 2018 festival aims to go even further with a wider programme of outdoor events and an even bigger offering for the games developer community.

With Game of Thrones returning to our screens this summer, Haven's Thornwick Bay Holiday Village in Yorkshire has the perfect outdoor event to fully immerse the whole family in the world of knights and medieval jousting.

Sitting on North Landing and the picturesque Flamborough Nature Reserve, Haven's newest park welcomes back a spectacular display of horsemanship in this breath-taking medieval jousting tournament.  The actors are trained stunt performers and have appeared in major films and TV series including Victoria, Peaky Blinders and Poldark. Most recently, two of the cast starred in the popular ITV series Victoria as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's riding doubles, played by the talented Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes.

Throughout the show these world class knights demonstrate exceptional skills including lightning fast sword play and talented horsemanship alongside competing in the ultimate jousting contest. Audience interaction is encouraged and this family show invites children and adults alike to cheer for their favourite knight as a dramatic story unfolds.

"Atkinson Action Horses are delighted to have the opportunity to combine their years of experience providing high energy adrenaline fuelled performances, with the timeless family values of Haven Holiday Parks,” says Benjamin Atkinson of Atkinson Action Horses. “Don't miss the chance to witness the fanfare and fury as Knights clash in the jousting arena on the cliff tops of Thornwick Bay."

Having appeared in jousting and horse productions all over the world, these are amongst the most experienced riders in the country. Guests are also given the chance for a meet and greet with the knights after the show where they can ask questions to the actors and see the beautiful horses up close.

Following its world première at the Edinburgh Festival a new play from celebrated Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell, opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

A blistering and timely family drama set in Glasgow; ‘The Whip Hand’ is an explosive new play about power, privilege and our inescapable past.

Dougie is just turned 50 and his family are throwing him a party. But, he’s about to throw them a curveball, and there’s no going back.

He wants to make right a terrible wrong, even if it puts his daughter’s future at risk.  However, his motivation may not be as pure as it seems. Will anyone in the family escape the fallout?

Maxwell says: “It’s about a guy asking his family to back him in a scheme that harkens back to Scotland’s darkest past.  It’s about trying to make up for mistakes and trying to move on. It’s about class, ignorance and race.  It starts off fast and funny but soon roars off into something unstoppable as the family is ripped apart at the seams.

It’s an honour to have the production in Birmingham.  I love the city and the theatre and I hope that the play grips the audiences here as it did at the Edinburgh Fringe.”

Directed by Tessa Walker, ‘The Whip Hand,’ which is presented by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Traverse Theatre Company, in association with National Theatre of Scotland, is at The Rep between Tuesday 5 and Saturday September 16?

The Belgrade Theatre is on the hunt once again for the region’s most talented young performers to audition for the junior chorus of this year’s pantomime, Cinderella.

Children aged 9 -16 are invited to audition at the theatre on Sunday 3rd September, starting promptly at 10am. Parents are asked to bring their children to the Belgrade Theatre foyer for 9.30am.

Young hopefuls will be split into groups and taught a short dance routine by the show’s choreographer, which they will later be asked to perform in front of Writer, Director and Dame, Iain Lauchlan. If a child makes it through the first round s/he will be asked to stay for a further round in the afternoon.

Panto legend Iain Lauchlan, has a career spanning over 40 years in the entertainment industry, and is best-known as a former presenter of successful children’s TV series’ including BBC’s Playschool, Fingermouse, Playdays, Storytime and Fun Song Factory. He also wrote the BAFTA award-winning children’s television series, The Tweenies. Cinderella will be Iain’s 23rd pantomime at the Belgrade Theatre.

He said, “I’m very excited to see some fresh new talent at this year’s auditions. Every year, we see hundreds of youngsters, with different levels of experience in performing, but ultimately we’re looking for plenty of enthusiasm and someone who will shine on the stage. As the writer, director and Dame, I know how much hard work goes into rehearsing a pantomime, but it’s also a fun and rewarding experience for the whole cast and everyone involved. It’s always a joy bringing a touch of sparkle and magic for so many families over the festive season!”

Children attending the auditions are advised to wear shoes to dance in (no glass slippers necessary) and clothing suitable for them to move and dance in. At least one parent, guardian or nominated person must wait with each child. Unaccompanied children will not be eligible to audition on the day.

At the end of the afternoon, three teams of eight will be selected as Cinderella’s Junior Chorus, plus one team of understudies, and will appear in performances on the Main Stage throughout the festive season alongside a cast of professional actors.

Pre-registration for this year’s Young Chorus Auditions is not essential although applicants are encouraged to pre-register their interest online in advance via the Belgrade Theatre website at

Those children lucky enough to be chosen for the pantomime teams will be asked to stay behind with their parents for their initial wardrobe measurement and to be allocated a team.

Join Cinderella on her quest to win the heart of the dashing Prince Charming, with a little help from her best friend Buttons and the enchanting Fairy Godmother. But with her evil Ugly Sisters determined to ruin her chances and the clock about to strike midnight, will Cinders manage to win the Prince’s love before the spell runs out?

This year’s panto will feature the spectacular sets, lavish costumes and sing-along-songs that make a trip to the Belgrade a truly unmissable Christmas treat. What’s more, with not one but two dastardly dames in the shape of the Ugly Sisters, this year’s show is set to be double the fun!

Legendary jazz trumpeter and US chart topper, Tom Browne, will be headlining at The Jam House Birmingham on 7th September.

Tom Browne first rose to prominence through his early work with American jazz saxophonist Sonny Fortune and is acclaimed for his No.1 US Billboard R&B single “Funkin’ for Jamaica (N.Y.)”. The hit record is a floor-filler track par excellence. Released by Tom Browne in 1980, “Funkin’” regularly finds a place in every DJ set, every night, throughout the Western World!

In 1979 Browne’s debut album “Browne Sugar” charted at No. 6 on the Jazz Albums Chart and his follow-up album, “Love Approach”, featuring "Funkin'", hit the top slot in the Billboard charts in its first week. As well as his second single hit, “Thighs High (Grip Your Hips and Move)”, Browne released several more successful albums throughout the '80s, earning him a legacy as being one of the best smooth jazz trumpet artistes of all time!

In 1994 the trumpeter returned and released the funk album “Mo’ Jamaica Funk”, earning strong reviews from the critical press. The extolled jazz number “Another Shade of Browne” followed in 1996, spawning the hit single “What Took So Long?”.

Browne has continued performing live since his initial debut. His show at the Jam House is highly anticipated, and will see the return of classic favourites alongside contemporary material.

John Bunce, General Manager at The Jam House Birmingham, comments: “I’m really excited for this show and am looking forward to hearing some of Tom’s brilliant tracks performed live again! Our Funk & Soul Night Out is always a fantastic evening and Tom will be a brilliant addition, his big record tracks are sure to get everyone dancing!”

Local music mavericks Punch Records are about to embark on a major artist development program providing exceptionally talented local musicians with the support, opportunities and infrastructure they need to achieve their national goals. Punch’s latest talent development program ‘Next Level’ is their most innovative and intensive project to date.
‘Next Level’ is a six month program designed with artists needs directly at the core of the project. Singer-songwriters and live event favorites; Call me Unique, Dee Ajayi and Sophia Lee Soul, rising grime star Scorpz and nationally championed producers; A Class and Rynsa man make up the ‘Next Level’ collective.
Ammo Talwar CEO of Punch explains - “Birmingham is on the crest of a creative wave at the moment and there is a category of artist that could maximise their potential with some infrastructure assistance which is currently lacking from the city, particularly at a high industry level, ‘Next Level’ seeks to be the solution to this problem.
These artists were chosen because of their substantial local success, fan following, radio play and all round talent. The main aim is to provide this amazing talent on the cusp of national recognition, a holistic program that enhances their growth within the myriad (and often confusing) elements of the music industry.”
Local favourite Call me Unique says “I have worked with Punch for the past 6 years on and off. I’m very excited about this long term commitment to local artists and learning new things with fellow local musicians - it’s going to be fun”

Set in a Northern American town where everyone and anyone is a criminal or can’t be trusted, ‘The Comedy About A Bank Robbery’ is the latest play by Mischief Theatre, the company that brought you ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ and ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ and it is an absolute thriller.

The play starts with two convicts planning an escape from prison, planning on stealing a valuable diamond which is being housed in a bank in a small town on the border with Canada. From there the play moves at a pace that is both quick and balanced, with plenty of songs that would fit in perfectly on a show tune soundtrack, bringing with it plenty of laughs, gasps and applause.

Foremost amongst the cast who delivered the laughs and the audible gasps from the audience were Gareth Tempest as Mitch, Sean Kearns as Robin Freeboys, Steffan Lloyd Evans as Sam and Hannah Boyce as Caprice. You really got the sense that they were thoroughly enjoying what they were doing, and that was reflected in the way the play came across.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is a thoroughly enjoyable event, if you enjoy slapstick and a healthy bit of comedic singing then this is the play for you. Go and see it, laugh, cry, sing, clap and enjoy one of the finest plays that London has to offer.

by Vivek Rajkhowa

The musical production of WONDERLAND due to take place at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre next week has unfortunately been cancelled with immediate effect. The remaining tour dates at theatres in Richmond and Bournemouth have also been cancelled.

Sales for the production in Wolverhampton had been strong with over 4000 people due to attend. The decision to cancel has been made by the producers directly and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre has just been notified of the cancellation.

Adrian Jackson CEO and Artistic Director of Wolverhampton Grand said, "Wonderland has performed in over 25 venues up and down the country and it is extremely disappointing that Wolverhampton audiences will not now have the opportunity to see it. Cancelling a production is never taken lightly and only when all other options have been exhausted. Unfortunately, in the case of Wonderland, it is understood that the production company had no other option. The Grand Theatre prides itself on the experience and customer service we deliver to our patrons and we deeply apologise for this situation which is completely outside the control of the theatre.”

A full refund will be issued to everyone who has purchased a ticket and the sales team are already contacting customers. Anybody wishing to discuss further can call the Box Office on 01902 42 92 12.

Join Rich and his virtuoso musical mates for a frankly gratuitous mash-up of the very best of comedy and music. Performing will be Rich's regular band of talented yet chronically unemployable urchins. The floor will reek of liquor and spent dreams.

Rich Hall is the star of the critically acclaimed BBC 4 documentaries "Rich Hall's Californian Stars", "Rich Hall's You Can Go To Hell", "I'm Going To Texas", "Rich Hall's Inventing The Indian", "Rich Hall's Presidential Grudge Match" and most recently "Rich Hall's Countrier Than You". He also wrote and starred in a four-part series for BBC Radio 4 in November 2016 called "Rich Hall's (US Election) Breakdown".

Rich Hall's critically acclaimed grouchy, deadpan style has established him as a master of absurdist irony and the king of rapid-fire wit. He has also become well known for his television and radio work.

Shaggy, Maxi Priest, Chaka Demus & Pliers and Mitchell Brunings are to appear live in concert in the “I Love Reggae Christmas Special” on 16th December 2017 at the Genting Arena, Birmingham.

Shaggy is a Jamaican-American reggae fusion singer who will be “headlining” the concert following his recent appearances at Glastonbury & Strawberris & Creem music festivals together with concert performances in US and Canada. Classic hits such as “Boombastic”, “Oh Carolina” & “It Wasn’t Me” will undoubtedly wow the fans and have everyone on their feet. He continues to be at the forefront of popular reggae music having collaborated with numerous artists including Chaka Khan, Beres Hammond, Rayvon, Tarrus Riley, Chronixx, OMI, Pitbull, to name a few.

Chaka Demus & Pliers are a Jamaican reggae duo made up of DJ Chaka Demus and singer Pliers known for their hits "Tease Me" and "Murder She Wrote". As a duo, they enjoyed more commercial success with mainstream pop fans after their collaboration began in the early 1990s. Their songs continue to be major hits and party favourites today and their energy and style on the live stage will be enjoyed by everyone.

Maxi Priest is a British reggae singer who has had worldwide hits and notoriety with songs like “Wild World” and “Close To You”. Maxi recently performed at the Wembley SSE Arena in the popular and successful ‘Shabba, Maxi and Friends’ Summer Reggae Fest, alongside headliner Shabba Ranks, Barrington Levy and Mr Vegas. Maxi Priest’s music continues to grow and maintain popularity all over the World.

Mitchell Brunings is a hugely talented reggae singer born in Surinam, South America and raised in The Netherlands. Mitchell was the star from “The Voice of Holland” in 2013 where he amazed all 4 judges with his rendition of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and the video went viral with more than 60 million views on YouTube. Mitchell visited Birmingham last year performing at the Solihull Summer Fest before later starring in the Sell Out “One Love: The Bob Marley Musical” at the Birmingham Rep theatre.

The National Theatre’s energetic and imaginative new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece - Jane Eyre, comes to Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 4 – 16 September as part of a major twenty-one city tour of the UK.

2017 marks the 170th anniversary of the first publication of Jane Eyre - and Charlotte Brontë’s much loved story of the trailblazing Jane is still as inspiring as ever. This bold and dynamic production tells the story of one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfilment.  From her beginnings as a destitute orphan, Jane Eyre’s spirited heroine faces life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart.

Director Sally Cookson said about her production of Jane Eyre:

“Adapting a novel for the stage is a challenging prospect – especially when that novel is cited as many people’s favourite of all time. It is always daunting when you’re working on a story which everyone knows so well, because you want to surprise and maybe challenge people’s expectations, without losing any of the things which make them like the story in the first place.”

Cookson continues: “I chose this particular title because it’s a story that I love and have enjoyed a close relationship with ever since I was intrigued, as a child, by Orson Welles’ black and white melodrama with fabulous music by Bernard Herrmann.”

“I didn’t actually read the novel until I was in my early twenties and I remember thinking while I read it: ‘This is a clarion cry for equal opportunities for women, not a story about a passive female who will do anything for her hunky boss’. I was struck by how modern Jane seemed – her spirit and strong will, her peculiar and brilliant mind striving for personal freedom to be who she is, lashing out against any constraint that prevents her from being herself. She was exactly the sort of person I wanted to be.”