NEWS: New musical from @TheCentre gives platform to local community @TigerBayMusical

New musical from Wales Millennium Centre gives platform to local communitytiger_bay_the_musical

The arts and creative team behind Wales Millennium Centre’s next significant production, Tiger Bay the Musical, has developed an immersive creative learning programme for those who live in Butetown and the wider community.

 Tiger Bay the Musical, produced in association with Cape Town Opera, is a Welsh story of courage, reconciliation and love, built from the thriving multicultural community which still exists in Butetown today.

In keeping with this theme, the Centre will come together with the community over the next nine months to ensure the people of Butetown and Cardiff are involved in the production – starting with Performance Platfform, weekly creative sessions for 10 to 14-year-olds.

Already underway, Performance Platfform is led by industry professionals and teaches young people from the area audition techniques as well as providing them with opportunities to perform as part of Tiger Bay the Musical.

On Sunday 19 March the creative team, key cast and young people from the local community and further afield came together as part of Performance Platfform for a backstage tour and a joint rehearsal session. For many of the young people taking part, this was the first time they had set foot on a stage of such size.

Elan Isaac, Creative Learning Producer at Wales Millennium Centre, said, “This is the first time we have put on a creative learning programme attached to an in-house production, so we are really excited to deliver it with our local community and explore the different ways of involving them in the production.

 “The creative workshops are in full swing and the young people are really enjoying the sessions. We hope to find some raw talent for the production from these sessions, but the main purpose is to give participants an opportunity to learn new life skills, build confidence and resilience through the performing arts.”

 Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre, added, “Our ambition is to co-create a programme of activity around Tiger Bay the Musical that explores some of the themes of the show that will be as prevalent today as it was then. We have an opportunity to share experiences past and present, generation to generation so that the project resonates with our local community, Cardiff and Wales.”

 tiger_bay_the_musicalTiger Bay the Musical takes us back to the early 1900s in old Butetown, the docklands and Cardiff city centre at an extraordinary turning point in history, when coal was king and the industry booming.

Set to a rousing score from award winning Welsh composer Daf James, a cast of shop girls, sailors, donkeymen, suffragettes, immigrants and raggedy water boys will bring the atmosphere and sounds of old Tiger Bay to life. The musical recounts the story of growing conflict between the powerful Bute Dock Company and the Butetown community.

For information on developments in the Tiger Bay the Musical creative learning programme, visit www.tigerbaythemusial.com. The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical is on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Tickets are on sale now at wmc.org.uk.

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NEWS: @TheCentre casts local musical theatre graduate in principal role for @TigerBayMusical @VickyBebb #Wales #Cardiff

A Wales Millennium Centre Production06.jpg
in association with Cape Town Opera
Tiger Bay the Musical

Wales Millennium Centre casts local musical theatre graduate in principal role for Tiger Bay the Musical

Wales Millennium Centre is delighted to announce the casting of Welsh musical theatre graduate Vikki Bebb in its most significant production to date, Tiger Bay the Musical. Vikki, a valleys girl from Abercynon and graduate from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, will play the character of Rowena Pryddy, also a valleys girl, fighting for her place in the world, looking for true love and aspiring for prosperity. This will be Vikki’s professional début in a major role in musical theatre.

A Wales Millennium Centre production in association with Cape Town Opera, Tiger Bay the Musical takes us back to the early 1900s in old Butetown, the docklands and Cardiff city centre at an extraordinary turning point in history, when coal was king and the industry booming.

In this epic tale of opulent wealth and grinding poverty, Rowena longs for a future away from David Morgan’s shop floor and its boarding house in central Cardiff. Drawn to the vibrant cosmopolitan community in Butetown, Rowena rails against the social and racial prejudices held by everyone above and below the canal bridge.

Spotted by producers whilst performing at a special gala concert for The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Vikki was invited to audition for the principal role of Rowena and was overjoyed when the creative team selected her as their leading lady. In her first big break, she will perform alongside an exceptionally talented Welsh cast including award-winning and record breaking West End and Broadway actor & singer John Owen-Jones who will play the role of John Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute.

Speaking of her new role, Vikki said, “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had landed the role of Rowena. She is such a unique and interesting woman and she comes from the village just a stone’s throw from where I live! Starring alongside one of the biggest names in musical theatre, John Owen-Jones is a dream come true…I doubt he remembers, but I’ve actually sung with him before and I can’t wait to be sharing a stage with him again.”

Vikki, who was awarded a scholarship from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, will take on the role when the musical rehearses and previews at Artscape, Cape Town, South Africa in April and May.

Vivien Care, Head of Musical Theatre, RWCMD said, “We are terrifically proud that Vikki will be starring in Tiger Bay the Musical, and representing our professional Musical Theatre training at Royal Welsh College. Everyone who worked with Vikki thought she was special; she has a glorious voice, acts with integrity and detail, is a hard worker and wonderful person to have around in a company, and she grew up minutes from where this story is set! The casting feels so perfect for her, we’re delighted and so glad she was spotted at our gala evening. The musical theatre training at the Royal Welsh College focuses on being ready for any challenge the industry requires, so we are so excited for this next step in her career and can’t wait to see the show.”

Tiger Bay the Musical is a Welsh story of courage, reconciliation and love built from the multicultural community which still exists in Cardiff Bay today. Set to a rousing score from award winning Welsh composer Daf James – a cast of shop girls, sailors, donkeymen, suffragettes, immigrants and raggedy water boys will bring the atmosphere and sounds of old Tiger Bay to life. The musical recounts the story of growing conflict between the powerful Bute Dock Company and the Butetown community.

Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre said, “It is really important that we involve the community every step of the way in this production. Hand in hand with that is our desire to cast local actors so the story of Tiger Bay is told authentically, with knowledge and passion. The Centre has a huge role to play in promoting local talent; we want to showcase the best that Wales has to offer to the world. Last month we announced the casting of our two young ‘Iantos,’ Louise and Ruby, both from south Wales and now we are thrilled to have found Vikki who we know will represent Rowena and Wales exceptionally.”

The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical is on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and will preview in Cape Town in April and May.

Tickets are on sale now at wmc.org.uk. For all the latest news, follow @TigerBayMusical or go to www.tigerbaythemusical.com

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NEWS: Welsh schoolgirls land leading role in @TigerBayMusical @TheCentre #Cardiff #Wales

Welsh schoolgirls land leading role in Musical

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Ruby Llewelyn and Louise Harvey

Wales Millennium Centre announced two young locals who have secured one of the leading roles for its next original stage production, Tiger Bay the Musical.

 

Plucked from an open audition process in Butetown in December 2016, Louise Harvey, 9 from Rhiwbina and Ruby Llewelyn, 11 from Llantrisant will share the part of Ianto – an orphan boy, who is really a girl, dreaming of a better life.

While Ruby has previous acting experience, this will be Louise’s first ever foray into the performing arts. They will take to the Wales Millennium Centre stage in November for the world premiere following two months rehearsing and preview performances at Artscape Opera House in Cape Town, South Africa.

Louise, who attends Ysgol Y Wern in Llanishen, said “I was so shocked when I got offered the part as it was my first audition. I am so very grateful. I am very excited to visit South Africa. I can’t wait to start the official rehearsals and meet the rest of the cast!”

Ruby, who attends Cowbridge Comprehensive and is a keen musician studying cello at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, said: “I found out I had got the role the night before Christmas Eve, which was the best Christmas present. At first it was like I’d won a competition but it is starting to sink in now that I am going to Cape Town and be in a musical. It’s just a dream come true.”

Tiger Bay the Musical will bring to life the rich cultural history which helped shape the future of the Capital. The role of Ianto is pivotal within the storyline as it explores intergenerational and class relationships in the early 1900s when Cardiff Bay was one of the busiest and multicultural ports in the world.

Graeme Farrow,  Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre said: ‘We held open auditions in Butetown to give local talent a really good chance of attending the auditions. Finding Ruby and Louise who only live a few miles away is a gift to us and will help us tell the awe inspiring story of Tiger Bay in the early 1900s with authenticity and passion.’

Tiger Bay the Musical is being produced in association with Cape Town Opera, maintaining the long-standing relationship with South Africa born from one of the Centre’s original philanthropists, South African businessman, Sir Donald Gordon.

Tiger Bay the Musical will premiere in Cardiff in November 2017. Tickets are on sale now: wmc.org.uk. For all the latest news, follow @tigerbaymusical
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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.

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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.

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REVIEW: @MammaMiaMusical @TheCentre #Cardiff 12.10.16

REVIEW: Mamma Mia!
LOCATION: Wales Millennium Centre
DATE: 12th October 2016

It’s fair to say it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest jukebox musical of all time and it’s currently on tour around the UK with it’s present home of the Wales Millennium Centre. And as a footnote, tonight’s performance was the 3000th of a UK tour!

img_6009What more can be said about Mamma Mia that’s not been said before? It’s one of the biggest selling DVD’s, the music that it’s based around is from the biggest export of Sweden (baring Volvo and Ikea), and did you know Mamma Mia! Isn’t the first attempt at employing the ABBA catalogue for a stage musical. Abbacadabra was originally a French TV special that employed ABBA songs with altered French lyrics to tell classic fairy tales. In 1983, it was adapted to the London stage and ran for eight weeks.

If you’ve lived under a rock since 1999 and haven’t seen the film, this is the general premise;

It’s the story of a former pop-singer turned hotel owner on a Greek Island. On the weekend of her daughter’s wedding, she is reunited with the former members of her girl group and three ex-beaus, one of whom is the father of the bride-to-be. Add to this, the music of Abba, the feel of a summer romance and you have one of the biggest and brightest musicals of the last 20 years.

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When you review something like this there’s a danger of letting each performance be praised when there were particular moments for me to have the hairs stand on the back of my neck. Sara Poyzer’s Winner takes it all was one of those moments as was her number with Jaqueline Braun and Emma Clifford of Dancing Queen. The choreography is just stunning in the group numbers of Lay all your love on me and Gimme Gimme Gimme. Richard Standing as Sam provides the perfect opposite to Sara’s Donna – dot dot dot. And mention also to Lucy May Barker who plays Sophie, with a voice like that it won’t be long till she’s headlining a musical. img_6010

Mamma Mia was the first major musical of its kind, and since then we’ve had the music of Queen (We Will Rock You), Madness (Our House), The Kinks (Sunny Afternoon) and Spice Girls…. Well okay, that’s not the best comparison as it didn’t last too long. So okay, Jukebox Musicals aren’t everybody’ s cup of tea, you can’t put a Wicked against a We Will Rock You, but for a night of pure pop brilliance from one of the music’s best writers, an escape from the humdrum grind of the day to day life, get yourself down to the Wales Millennium Centre as Mamma Mia is there till 13th November.

It won’t cost much Money Money Money, for you to say I do I do I do, just ring ring the box office and you’ll be the winner that takes it all. Go on, take a chance!

(Photos from the Mamma Mia Tour Website)