NEWS: @TheCentre announces the world premiere of #TigerBay, a major #Welsh musical in 2017

Wales Millennium Centre announces the world premiere of Tiger Bay, a major Welsh musical

tiger-bay-portraitSurvival, romance and atonement in a diverse community: Tiger Bay, a new musical, takes place in what was once the most cosmopolitan port in the world, Cardiff Bay. A Wales Millennium Centre production in association with Cape Town Opera, this brand new show takes us back to the dawn of the twentieth century at the height of South Wales’s coal trade with characters drawn from the melting pot of Cardiff’s famous docklands.

Wales Millennium Centre has assembled an experienced creative team to craft the production, to premiere in November 2017. Directing is Melly Still, having just directed Cymbeline for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican and renowned for her Coram Boy at the National Theatre and on Broadway, and co-director Max Barton, Artistic Director PIGDOG and recently Associate on Stephen Schwartz’s Schikaneder, with a colourful original score by award-winning Welsh composer Daf James, book and lyrics by Cape Town Opera’s Michael Williams and design by Olivier award-winning Anna Fleischle.

Set at an extraordinary turning point in history, Tiger Bay tells of a time when Coal was King yet grinding poverty confronted opulent wealth. Valley girl, Rowena Pryddy, longs for a future away from David Morgan’s shop floor and its boarding house in central Cardiff. On the outskirts of the city, a man arrives in Tiger Bay looking for an escape from his past to find refuge in the city’s underworld of public houses, immigrants and street urchins. Above them all, in the Zodiac Room of Cardiff Castle, the Third Marquess of Bute grapples with his own seemingly insurmountable troubles and ironically it will be a lowly Water Boy who inspires the richest man in the world to leave a legacy for everyone.

Amongst a cast of unforgettable characters, the role of John Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute, will be played by John Owen-Jones – best known as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables in the West End and on Broadway – with further principals to be announced. Completing the cast will be a diverse ensemble to portray the rich multicultural community of the period plus a talented children’s chorus.

Graeme Farrow, Wales Millennium Centre’s Artistic Director, said “2016 has been a defining year for Wales Millennium Centre having created and delivered several landmark projects. I am immensely proud that 2017 will see us realise our next significant piece of work, Tiger Bay, a musical born from the history of our culturally diverse home in Cardiff’s former docklands which has relevance to the world we live in today. I hope that our latest venture will bring a great Welsh story to the world in a time when arts and culture must be a uniting force in our communities.”

Directors Melly Still and Max Barton said “Expect a gritty spectacular and a real thriller that draws on the lives and losses of the people from Tiger Bay, with a healthy dose of romance thrown in. This is a celebration of all that is unique about an extraordinary community, and we’re delighted to be involved with the community itself. And, doing justice to Tiger Bay’s celebrated music history, there are some belting numbers to boot.”

Michael Williams, writer and Managing Director at Cape Town Opera said, “First and foremost I have honoured the musical as an art form, although much of what found its way into the story is actually based on fact. Inspiration came from the complex mix of class, race and cultural diversity of this unique place in turn-of-the-century Britain. In writing Tiger Bay, the process of embedding myself in all things Welsh was made even more compelling when I uncovered my own Welsh roots; my grandfather worked in the Salvation Army in Cardiff and my mother was born there so, for me, the strong partnership between Cape Town and Cardiff began years ago.”

Alongside Tiger Bay, the Centre will be producing an extensive programme of musical theatre workshops, bringing leading artists to collaborate with young people from Cardiff’s Butetown and the historic Tiger Bay area.

The world premiere of Tiger Bay will be Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff (preview performance on Tuesday 14 November) and the production will run for two weeks until Saturday 25 November 2017.

Booking opens on Monday 28 November 2016. Tickets will be available £7-£39 and can be booked online at www.wmc.org.uk or via the Centre’s Ticket Office in person or by calling 029 2063 6464.

tiger-bay-landscape

NEWS: New stage for @TheCentre #Wales #Cardiff #WMC

A new stage for the Centre

Wales Millennium Centre is making cultural waves as it releases a whole season of sensational sounds from their iconic building in the Bay.  

Less than six months since Festival of Voice, the Centre is launching a season of live music hosted in their newly refurbished cabaret style space – truly keeping the spirit of their inaugural city wide festival alive.  A creatively engineered programme of jazz, contemporary music and entertainment will further unlock Cardiff’s access to international vocalists and performers.

“The response from the ten day festival in June was incredible and we recognised an appetite to submerge the city in an enriching and eclectic season of entertainment,” says Graeme Farrow – Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre.  “We brought the likes of John Cale, Van Morrison and Laura Mvula to venues across our city and we are delighted to launch our own in-house programme with the sensational sultry tones of Ala.Ni – an incredibly talented performer who supported Rufus Wainwright during our Festival.”

Recognised as one of Wales’ top visitor attractions, the Centre has a vision to deliver inspirational experiences to new and existing audiences, showcasing the talents of Wales and bringing world class quality entertainment to the stage.  This new programme is sure to offer the city something unique and is a great way to bridge the gap between each biennial Festival of Voice.

Every Friday and Saturday night throughout November and December, the Centre’s bar and dining area will be transformed for each performance – recreating a slice of Soho and New York on our doorstep.  The programme, which runs Nov-Dec 2016 and returns Feb-Apr 2017 includes performances from La Voix, Hello Cabaret, The Tootsie Rollers and winner of the Yamaha Jazz Scholars Prize from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama: Huw V Williams.

The Centre’s Managing Director Mathew Milsom says “We have incredible ambition here at the Centre and feel passionately about giving both new and existing audiences access to unique, quality art and culture.  Our live music programme will serve up a new dynamic in entertainment which we know there is demand for and we look forward to welcoming a new wave of visitors as well as familiar friends into this new space.”

To book tickets visit the Centre’s website www.wmc.org.uk/WhatsOn/livemusic/

NEWS: #Disney & @MaryPoppins comes to @TheCentre #Cardiff #Wales

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s International Supercalifragilistic Musical Hit Mary Poppins will fly into Wales Millennium Centre for Christmas 2016

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s multi award-winning musical Mary Poppins comes to the Wales Millennium Centre from 14 December 2016 to 14 January 2017; the last stop on its current UK & Ireland Tour.

The magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny arriving on Cherry Tree Lane has been triumphantly and spectacularly brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs. The stage version of MARY POPPINS is brilliantly adapted from the wonderful stories by PL Travers and the beloved Walt Disney film, starring Zizi Strallen as ‘Mary Poppins’ and Matt Lee as ‘Bert’.

Zizi Strallen most recently starred as ‘Lana’ in Matthew Bourne’s ‘The Car Man’. Her previous West End credits include: ‘Cats’; the multi award-winning ‘Merrily We Roll Along’; ‘Rock of Ages’; ‘Dirty Dancing’; ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and Matthew Bourne’s ‘Cinderella’ at Sadler’s Wells.  She has also appeared in ‘The Music Man’ at Chichester Festival Theatre and as ‘Penny Pingleton’ in ‘Hairspray’ at Leicester Curve.

mary-poppins-zizi-strallen-as-mary-poppins-photo-credit-johan-perssoMatt Lee, one of Australia’s premier “song and dance men”, played the role of ‘Bert’ in ‘Mary Poppins’ in the hugely successful Australian production of the show, his portrayal winning him the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Actor in a Musical. His other theatre credits in Australia include ‘Miss Saigon’, ‘The Witches of Eastwick’, ‘Rent’, ‘Grease’ and ‘The Boy from Oz’. Matt was also a permanent member of the judging panel for Australia’s ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.

The stage production of MARY POPPINS is co-created by Cameron Mackintosh and has a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and ‘Downton Abbey’ creator, Julian Fellowes. It has a timeless score by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman including the songs Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Feed the Birds with new songs and additional music and lyrics by the Olivier award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The producer for Disney Theatrical Productions is Thomas Schumacher.

The internationally renowned and multi award-winning creative team assembled for MARY POPPINS is led by stage and film director Richard Eyre. Co-direction and Choreography is by Matthew Bourne, with Co-choreography by Stephen Mear. Set and Costume Design is by Bob Crowley with Lighting Design by Natasha Katz, Sound Design by Paul Groothuis and Orchestrations by William David Brohn. The International Tour of MARY POPPINS is Directed by James Powell with Original Choreography adapted by Geoffrey Garratt. Musical Supervision is by Stephen Brooker.

The Olivier and Tony Award winning stage production of MARY POPPINS originally opened in the West End in 2004 and ran for three years and over 1,250 performances. The Broadway production opened in 2006 and ran for over six years. The show has subsequently enjoyed great success in Holland, Mexico and Vienna where it is in its second record breaking year. MARY POPPINS has toured Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the UK and has been seen by over 11 million people worldwide.

Mary Poppins comes to Wales Millennium Centre 14 December 2016 – 14 January 2017. Ticket prices range from £24 – £59. Age guidance 5+. For more information visit www.wmc.org.uk or call 029 2063 6464.

wmc outside

VIDEO: Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott @Colston_Hall @PaulHeatonSolo @atomic_box 22.3.16 #Bristol

 

 

Some bands you can chart your life by, when you started comp (Happy Hour), left school (A little time), did your first radio show (Rotterdam). That band was the Beautiful South and now after a hiatus and a successful “debut” in 2014, Paul and Jacqui return touring their second album, Wisdom, Laughter and Lines.

Having seen them on that debut tour in 2014 and to be honest, I’d class it as a one of the best I’d seen, how would this night in Colston Hall in Bristol fair?

Firstly, let’s not talk about the support. I’m one of those people who come to gigs early just to check out the support – and get my money’s worth. Having seen Wolf Alice, The Killers and Jack Garrett as support bands- well, as I said, let’s not talk about the support. Good boys but you get the feeling it was the wrong crowd

Anyway, to the main act

The first thing you realise is even if you’re not a massive fan, how many songs you’ll know. Back in the late 90s, the album Blue is the colour spawned two of the most played radio airplay songs – Rotterdam and don’t marry her (albeit the clean radio version – not the album version that Ken Bruce once played at 935am). Then here’s also Perfect 10, A little time and Happy Hour. Back catalogue withstanding, the performance of Jacqueline and Paul was faultless. Neither are show ponies in the Buble sense, but both have such distinctive voices you just need to close your eyes and be transported back to a younger age.

Both are very personable on stage, Paul even does Dad dancing – much to his daughters distain (that’s okay Paul, it’s your role in life).

After having seen them a couple of years ago I definitely notice a more confident performance. Now you may think this review is slightly biased since I’ve got a huge love of their back catalogue… Well, maybe. Needless to say if you’re a fan in anyway shape or form you will love them live. If you’re not a fan (having been dragged along by your other half), you might just be a convert by the end of the night.

 

Setlist

  1. Wives 1, 2 & 3
  2. Pretenders to the Throne
  3. (Man Is) The Biggest Bitch of All
  4. Have Fun
  5. The Horse and Groom
  6. Five Get Over Excited
  7. Prettiest Eyes
  8. Sundial In the Shade
  9. The Queen of Soho
  10. Old Red Eyes Is Back
  11. I Don’t See Them
  12. Anxious
  13. Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)
  14. I’ll Sail This Ship Alone
  15. The Austerity of Love
  16. Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud)
  17. I.Y.
  18. Happy Hour
  19. Perfect 10

 

  1. Encore:
  2. A Little Time
  3. Don’t Marry Her

 

  1. Encore 2:
  2. Heatongrad
  3. You Keep It All In

 

 

Review by Patrick Downes  Twitter: @ImPatrickDownes

NEWS: @TheCentre and @CapeTown_Opera #MandelaTrilogy #Cardiff #Wales

WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE &  CAPE TOWN OPERA PRESENT

MANDELA TRILOGY

TO TOUR THE UK AND IRELAND  FROM 24 AUGUST 2016

Wales Millennium Centre and Cape Town Opera are delighted to present the return of Mandela Trilogy, opening at Wales Millennium Centre from 24th to 27thAugust 2016 followed by a UK and Ireland Tour, finishing on 24 September 2016.

Mandela Trilogy, written and directed by Michael Williams with music by Peter Louis van Dijk and Mike Campbell, is a musical tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela and had its European premiere at Wales Millennium Centre in 2012.

Graeme Farrow, Artistic and Creative Director at Wales Millennium Centre said “Following its debut performances and fantastic reception at Wales Millennium Centre in 2009, we are delighted to be presenting Cape Town Opera’s Mandela Trilogy on a UK and Ireland tour next summer.  Showcasing the talent of the hugely gifted Cape Town Opera’s company, this production will offer audiences a wonderful spectacle with its exceptional cast, award-winning chorus and original score.  I’m delighted we are able to share the story of Nelson Mandela’s heroic and inspirational life, two years after his death. This tour is another step in the development of collaborative and exchange projects between the Centre and our strategic partner – Cape Town Opera.”

From tribal initiation rites on the banks of the Mbashe River, through the heady and rebellious jazz-fuelled days in Sophiatown, to incarceration and reflection on Robben Island and finally beyond, to freedom – this is the story of one of the world’s most iconic figures.

The amazing life of Nelson Mandela is brought vividly to the stage by Cape Town Opera in a large-scale celebration and tribute to the man who touched hearts and minds around the world.

Told in three parts by a cast and orchestra of over 60 South African performers, the music matches the vastly different phases of Mandela’s journey from freedom fighter to president.  The upbeat jazz and swing-influenced songs of Sophiatown are framed by musical styles more familiar in contemporary opera – with a dash of Xhosa folk music that grounds the production in its African roots.

Written by two different composers, each Act is in stark contrast to the others, but with an over-arching dramatic theme that shines a light on the life of an extraordinary man.

For more information, visit http://www.wmc.org.uk/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WalesMillenniumCentre/

Twitter: @theCentre

MANDELA TRILOGY comes to Wales Millennium Centre from 24th–27th August 2016 as part of a UK tour. Ticket prices range from £14 to £53. For more information and to book tickets visit www.wmc.org.uk or call 029 2063 6464. Age guidance 10+ (No under 2s).