Reasons to be Cheerful (2017)

A raucous musical featuring the hits of Ian Dury and the Blockheads

Book by Paul Sirett. Directed by Jenny Sealey.
Music by Ian Dury & the Blockheads
A Graeae Theatre Company production
in association with the Belgrade Theatre Coventry.
  • North West End Liverpool Echo
  • The Stage Whats On Stage Time Out (2017) Londonist What's On Live Reviews Hub Love London Love Culture The Sunday Times Time Out (2012)
  • The Guardian Sardines Magazine
  • Read the reviews

  • The Stage "It feels fresher than ever in this new touring version… Sealey’s production is one of glorious anarchy. Far from being an add-ons, the creative integration of sign language, audio description and captioning adds to the theatricality." Read more...
  • Whats On Stage "Graeae create a show which makes inclusivity and accessibility an intrinsic part of the show. This is landmark, punchy and powerful material, essential viewing for anyone angry at the status quo." Read more...
  • Time Out (2017) "It’s so full of cheer that, like the actors at the beginning, it spills off the stage and runs rampant through the auditorium....Topping it all off is a stunning band, fuelling the show with almighty sax solos (Louis Schultz-Wiremu) and prodigious keys from Joey Hickman - any show with a keytar solo is instantly pretty awesome." Read more...
  • Londonist "It’s raucous, riotous, and rough and ready. A wryly funny, high-energy group of actors, musicians and singers with considerable talent. It’s hard not to be moved by their passion for the songs and the enthusiasm for the music shown by the audience." Read more...
  • What's On Live "An exhilarating, hugely entertaining, rollercoaster ride of a live experience. " Read more...
  • Reviews Hub "Loud, exuberant and thoroughly enjoyable…you’ll be leaving the theatre with a very big grin on your face." Read more...
  • Love London Love Culture "Completely infectious...a wildly entertaining show that is enthusiastically received by the audience (including a standing ovation in the middle of one number) and deservedly so." Read more...
  • North West End "I am thrilled when a piece of theatre truly re-ignites my passion for the arts and the joy they can bring to an audience. Graeae Theatre certainly achieved this last night…This was my first experience of Graeae Theatre’s innovative approach to theatre but I will definitely be following their future projects as I left the theatre last night inspired by what I saw on stage… I can safely say every single person left the theatre with a clear reason to be cheerful last night, well done to all involved!" Read more...
  • Liverpool Echo "Part gig, part play, part rally, if Mamma Mia is the sort of jukebox musical that leaves you with a saccharine overload, you’re far more likely to find solidarity with these other chart heroes of 1979." Read more...
  • East Midlands Theatre "As a patron of Graeae in his life, [Ian Dury] would be very proud of this extraordinary show directed by Jenny Sealey. We whole-heartedly implore you to go and see it." Read more...
  • The Sunday Times "The music is brilliant and there are moments of pure punk genius."
  • Time Out (2012) "Rough, ready and bloody brilliant."
  • The Guardian "The stage gives off a million volts."
  • Sardines Magazine "A joyous and boisterous grand finale to the show’s third outing" Read more...

NEW SONG ‘If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong’
by Chaz Jankel, Derek Hussey and John Kelly to be performed at each show.
Available to listen to and download here.


Celebrating the infectious music of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL is a punk rock musical and gritty coming of age tale, which always leaves audiences shouting for more. Featuring Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ greatest hits including Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, Sweet Gene Vincent, Spasticus Autisticus and Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick this acclaimed show will fill the theatre with raucous glee.

Knock me down with a feather…

It’s 1979: Labour loses to the Tories, strikes rock the nation and Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3) climbs the charts. As the ultimate fans, Vinnie and his mates would do anything to see Dury at the Hammersmith Odeon, only the gig is sold out. But life has a habit of throwing strange things at you, and one night of frustration becomes something else entirely…

Let’s ‘ave it! Following nationwide tours, concert versions across the world and a performance at the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL is back on the road one last time!

‘I’m so excited for everyone who will see Reasons to Be Cheerful for the first time on this 2017 tour, you are in for a treat. I love it – it’s energizing, it’s moving and it’s enormous fun.’  Jemima Dury

‘It is amazing to think that 37 years after Ian and I wrote Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3), the song still has such an impact and sounds so fresh.  The respect they have for Ian’s lyrics and lust for life is undeniable. If Ian were alive I am sure he would be laughing his head off and applauding the bravura of this very talented ensemble. Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved.’  Chaz Jankel

All performances include captioned dialogue, BSL-interpreted songs and audio description.

Age Recommendation 14+

Supported by Arts Council England

Originally produced by Graeae Theatre Company, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Relaxed Performances

West Yorkshire Playhouse 12 October at 1.30pm (Matinee)
Theatre Royal Stratford East 2 November 1:30pm (Matinee)


For anyone who needs a clear view of the projected text is advised to buy central stalls seats – or the equivalent.

Full Cast Biographies

Please find full cast biogs here


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Reasons to be Cheerful - Easy Read Story


Image gallery

Image gallery

  • Vinnie
    Stephen Lloyd
  • Colin
    Stephen Collins
  • Janine
    Beth Hinton-Lever
  • Pat
    Karen Spicer
  • Bill/Bobby
    Gerard McDermott
  • Nick/Dave
    Max Runham
  • Cousin Joey (keyboards)
    Joey Hickman
  • John (lead vocals)
    John Kelly
  • Nixon (bass guitar)
    Nixon Rosembert
  • Paul (guitar)
    Paul Sirett
  • Paula (drums)
    Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth
  • Louis (saxophone)
    Louis Schultz-Wiremu
  • Debbie (SLI)
    Jude Mahon
  • Pickles (AD)
    Pickles 'Wayne' Norman
Performance schedule
  • Friday 8 September - Saturday 4 November 2017 National Tour
Related events
  • R2BC-title treatment for website homepage Productions

    Reasons to be Cheerful

    National Tour

    A new production of Graeae’s acclaimed raucous musical featuring the hits of Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

  • Reasons to be Cheerful production diary

    Week Eleven – The last week at Theatre Royal Stratford East By Stephen Collins It’s the last night of Reasons to be Cheerful. It’s 11pm. The last show has finished 40 minutes ago. I’m sat alone in the dressing room with a small bottle of champagne from John Kelly (cheers you lovely man). The room is […]

  • Reasons to be Cheerful rehearsal diary

    Week Three By Joey Hickman Hello I’m Joey and I’m the Musical Director for Reasons to be Cheerful. This week has been quite the week! It was week 3 of rehearsals for the actors and week 2 for the band. It was our final week of rehearsals so our last push to get everything ready […]

  • Chaz Jankel, Derek Hussey & John Kelly write new song for Reasons to be Cheerful

      To accompany the new production of Reasons to be Cheerful, touring the UK one final time this autumn, we are delighted to announce that a new song has been written by Blockheads Chaz Jankel and Derek Hussey as well as lead vocalist from the show John Kelly. Entitled ‘If It Can’t Be Right Then […]

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