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

NEWS: @TheCentre #WalesMillenniumCentre reveals programme of festive activities for all tastes and ages

From festive family shows to a spine-chilling production for adults, Christmas 2014 at Wales Millennium Centre promises to help everyone ease into the festive spirit this year.

From the start of December, visiting the Centre will be a treat in itself thanks to spectacular large- scale installations which will transform the public spaces into a beautiful winter landscape. Inspired by ice formations and created by paper artist Andy Singleton, this stunning visual display, Ice Storm, will provide a perfect backdrop for the Centre’s busy programme of events.

Departing form more traditional Christmas offerings, festive thriller The Frozen Scream will offer a chilling alternative for adult audiences from 11-20 December. Adapted for the stage from a lost 1920s mystery novel, this gripping new show is guaranteed to frighten and surprise with its unexpected twists and turns. A co–production by Wales Millennium Centre and Birmingham Hippodrome, The Frozen Scream is co-written by acclaimed Welsh author Sarah Waters and award-winning writer and performer Christopher Green, who will also be directing and performing in the show.

Complete with Welsh food and craft stalls, free live performances, workshops and children’s activities, Wales Millennium Centre’s Christmas Fayre will be filling the Centre foyer for two weekends in November (15 & 16, 22 & 23 Nov). Spend a few hours browsing the stalls and soaking up the atmosphere and you’ll leave feeling wonderfully festive and stocked up with gifts for friends and family.

As always, Father Christmas will be making plenty of appearances around the Centre this Christmas. Meet him in his grotto every weekend from 29 November (also 22 & 23 Dec), or join him for afternoon tea in the Centre’s ffresh restaurant (29 & 30 Nov, 6, 7, 13 & 14 Dec).

While the world’s most successful production, Disney’s The Lion King, will be dazzling audiences on the Donald Gordon Stage (6 Nov – 11 Jan), the Weston Studio will also be busy with a wide array of shows. Welsh language pantomime, Pws Mewn Bwts from Martin Geraint (1 & 2 Dec), promises to offer a perfect family treat for Welsh speakers and learners alike, or catch Smashed (5 Dec), an exhilarating mix of circus and theatre from award winning Gandini Juggling. Also featuring in the Weston studio programme is The Spirit of Christmas from Hijinx Theatre (27 – 29 Nov), Novello & Son (3 Dec) and What Would Beyoncé Do?! (4 Dec).

ffresh bar & restaurant will also be offering Christmas party nights from 4 December making it the perfect venue for your Christmas celebrations. Enjoy a three course meal from ffresh’s Christmas menu before dancing the evening away at the disco in ffresh Bar.

Speaking about this year’s Christmas programme, Graeme Farrow, Wales Millennium Centre’s artistic director said: ‘I really wanted Christmas in our tenth anniversary year to be extra special, which is why we’ve commissioned paper artist Andy Singleton to create an absolutely jaw-dropping installation which will transform the Centre into a true winter wonderland. I’m also hugely excited about The Frozen Scream, a co-production with Birmingham Hippodrome and a new Christmas venture for us. It will also be Welsh author Sarah Waters’ first foray into writing for the stage, so I’m especially pleased that we can be the first venue to present such new work from a Welsh artist. Most importantly, though, this Christmas is about welcoming people of all ages and backgrounds into the Centre, and helping them to discover that we really do have something on offer for everyone.’

 

For more information visit www.wmc.org.uk/christmas or call 029 2063 6464.

LISTINGS

06 Nov 2014 – 11 Jan 2015

Disney’s The Lion King

Donald Gordon Theatre |Tickets £22 – £81.50 | Age Guidance: 6+ (No under 3s)

Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and to the evocative rhythms of Africa, Disney’s The Lion King is a worldwide theatrical phenomenon. It has been seen by over 70 million people worldwide and is still drawing sell-out crowds at London’s Lyceum Theatre in its 15th year.

This award winning production will begin its long anticipated run at the Centre in November 2014.

15 Nov & 16 Nov, 22 & 23 Nov

Christmas Fayre

All Day |Glanfa Foyer |Free

In the run up to Christmas, the Centre will be full of festive spirit as we welcome visitors to our free, family-friendly Christmas Fayre held over two weekends (15 -16 November and 22 – 23 November). There will be plenty to keep you entertained with Welsh food and craft stalls, free live performances, workshops and children’s activities.

27 Nov – 29 Nov

Hijinx presents

Odyssey: The Spirit of Christmas

Weston Studio |Thu – Sat 7pm & Sat 3pm | £8 – £13

Perfect for all ages, The Spirit of Christmas is a musical festive treat celebrating family, friendship and shared histories. Megan is on a mission to find out about her grandmother, a glamorous performer that the family never talks about, who emigrated from Cardiff 60 years ago. All she has is one photograph and an invitation to a party for the chance to learn more about the woman she is told she resembles both in looks and talent. As her relatives bring out old photographs, stories come to life helping Megan to piece together her long lost history.The Spirit of Christmas brings together the infectious energy of Hijinx’s community theatre group, Odyssey, with the enthusiasm of pupils from Woodlands High School and talented music students at University of South Wales, Caerleon.

29 & 30 Nov, 6,7,13 & 14 Dec

Afternoon Tea with Father Christmas

ffresh Restaurant | 3pm | £12 adults (U12s £8)

Tea with Father Christmas is a lovely way to start your family festivities. Enjoy a delicious tea of sandwiches and sweet treats and get to tell the big fella in red what you want for Christmas.

01 Dec – 02 Dec

Cwmni Theatr Martyn Geraint a Theatrau Rhondda

Pws Mewn Bwts

Weston Studio | Mon 1pm & 6.30pm, Tue 10am & 1pm |£8 – £13 | Age Guidance: 5+

Pws Mewn Bwts is a Welsh version of the famous Puss in Boots adventure – the tall tale of a poor miller’s son, Jac, who is left little in his father’s will except a very talented Cat. After the roaring success of his debut as Dame last year, Martyn Geraint will spend another winter in his posh frocks as he tries to help Jac marry the princess. With fun, music, dance, special effects and interactivity for all the family, this Welsh language pantomime is great for Welsh learners.

03 Dec

Novello & Son

by Arnold Evans

Weston Studio |8pm | £8 – £13 | Age Guidance: 10+

It is 1938. Singer, pianist, conductor and one of Cardiff’s most famous daughters, Madame Clara Novello Davies, looks back at her life and her relationship with her son Ivor, whose unexpected fame has eclipsed hers. In a funny and at times poignant final performance, she tells her story, sings his songs, and allows us a glimpse of her conflicting emotions – envy, guilt, regret…and a new feeling of invisibility.

04 Dec

Live Nation presents

Luisa Omielan: What Would Beyonce Do?!

Weston Studio | 8pm | £8 – £13 | Age Restriction: 18+

All the single ladies, all the single ladies – here comes comedian Luisa Omielan with one of the most successful debut shows to come out of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. With 2 sell-out years at the Edinburgh Fringe, five runs in the main house at London’s prestigious Soho Theatre as well as sell-out shows in Belfast, Finland, LA, New York and Singapore, What Would Beyonce Do?! is the ultimate party with jokes in.

Thu, Fri & Sat from 4 – 19 Dec

ffresh Christmas Party Nights

ffresh restaurant | from 8pm |£29.50 per person

Enjoy a superb three-course dinner in ffresh Restaurant with a disco in the Bar until 1am.

Includes three course dinner, half a bottle of selected wines, crackers and disco.

05 Dec

Gandini Juggling

Smashed

|Weston Studio | 8pm | £8-£13 | Age Guidance: 7+

At the forefront of contemporary circus for over 20 years and having performed in over 40 countries, Gandini Juggling bring their award-winning sensation Smashed to the Weston Studio. A mesmerising mix of circus and theatre, inspired by the work of Pina Bausch, this is a rare opportunity to catch this global smash-hit.

11 Dec – 20 Dec

Wales Millennium Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome & Christopher Green present

The Frozen Scream

co-written by Christopher Green & Sarah Waters

| Weston Studio |Tue – Thu & Sat 8pm, Fri 6pm & 9pm |
Tickets £17 | Age Guidance: 16+ (Ticket includes a glass of mulled wine or a soft drink)

Based on the lost 1928 supernatural murder-mystery novel by CC Gilbert, The Frozen Scream tells the chilling tale of a group who find themselves stranded at an abandoned lodge in the depths of winter. Forced to entertain themselves, they begin to tell the tale of Jack Frost, the most terrifying of the Frost Giants. But as the story takes a shocking twist, they discover they should have heeded the early warnings to ‘beware the ice’.

PHOTOS: #BarryIsland #ChristmasEve 2013

2013-12-24 13.25.24Thought I’d do something a little bit different while I had time earlier today. It’s Christmas Eve and before going on the radio, popped down to Barry Island (Gavin & Stacey). Click on the photo to see the full set.

While I’m here… might as well do a little Christmas message 😉

To all those that have helped, not hindered. Made me smile not grimace. Had it large with, not made life feel small. Entertained, not ridiculed. Flirted with, not slapped. Tweeted, not blocked, Gigged with, not ditched. Poked, not punched. Listened to, not ignored. Texted, not deleted. You my friend are the reason I’m here to write this status. Lots have gone on in the past 12 months, some good, some amazing, and some a bit cack. We’ve managed to come out the other side and that’s all I wanted for Christmas. Who knows what the next 12 months will bring, if it’s half as mad as this one, watch out!

Nadolig Llawen/Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2013

ChristmasCard2013-PT

Just a quick post to wish you a very happy & peaceful Christmas. Instead of sending cards I do this now. It’s easier, less wasteful, plus the money is better spent on charity than using the Royal Mail. And as a bonus, you get to hear my voice…

 

 

Go buy the song  – the links are here

All it leaves me is to wish you a very Merry Christmas

(We’re donating money TextSanta instead of sending out cards – you can do the same here)

NEWS: Christmas at @TheCentre #WalesMillenniumCentre 2013

Christmas at Wales Millennium Centre

This Christmas at Wales Millennium Centre offers its biggest ever programme of free, family friendly events and activities. The festive season starts on 30 November, with a full feast of delights in store including family activities with the Milipwts, a humongous huggable yeti, Father Christmas in his grotto, a delectable offering of foods and crafts at the Christmas Fayre’s and not forgetting Wales Millennium Centre’s Christmas show, straight from the West-End Singin’ In The Rain.

For some great gift ideas and delicious Welsh delicacies the Christmas Fayres [30 Nov – 1 Dec & 7 – 8 Dec] return this year. Browse Welsh food and craft stalls around the Centre whilst enjoying some seasonal entertainment from the Glanfa stage. The Christmas Fayre weekends will also see a special visitor. Father Christmas will be visiting his Grotto [from 30 Nov and every weekend until 22 Dec] at the Centre, as well as ffresh Restaurant for an Afternoon Tea [30 Nov – 1 Dec & 7 Dec – 8 Dec].

The Glanfa stage will be full of festive cheer with a whole host of free performances taking place right across the season includingBay Church Carol Service [16 Dec], Penrhiw Nursery School: Nativity Play [8 Dec] and Dennis O’Neill performs seasonal favorites in Christmas with Dennis O’Neill and Friends [2 Dec]. As part of the free programme of activities, join the Milipwts at Christmas – the newest residents to the Centre, created especially for young visitors and their families. Find Ogi, Dyfi, Lecsi and Ponti in the Milipwts Den [open daily from 10am] for fun and games or join Ponti the music lover of the Milipwts to learn Ponti’s Christmas Song [14 – 15 Dec] and help him record his song to a CD.

Featuring a humongous (8-10ft) huggable yeti, a snow queen and a woodland guru uggabl, The Hiber-Nation [06 Dec 2013 – 05 Jan 2014] exhibition of wintry, mystical felt creatures is sure to delight the whole family. Designed by illustrator for the Guardian newspaper Jonathan Edwards and hand-crafted by the inimitable Felt Mistress, Louise Evans, this band of quirky, colourful creatures are created out of new and vintage fabrics including tweed, wool and flannel from Welsh mills. They’ll soon be found huddled in stairwells and suspended from ceilings around the Centre.

Glittering with the glamour of tinseltown, Singin’ In The Rain [3 Dec 2013 – 5 Jan 2014] will be showering the Donald Gordon Stage with over 12,000 litres of water ensuring the Christmas season at Wales Millennium Centre kicks off with a huge splash. The charm, romance and comedy of one the world’s best loved movies comes to life in this delightfully jolly family show featuring the classics from the original score; Good Morning Good Morning, Make ’em Laugh, Moses Supposes and Singin’ in the Rain.

 Full Christmas listings can be found at www.wmc.org.uk/Christmas  

Top 10 Biggest selling Christmas songs – from @officialcharts

To celebrate Christmas 2012, today the Official Charts Company reveal the Top 10 biggest selling Christmas songs of all time.

With more records sold in the run up to Christmas than a typical chart week, the Christmas Number 1 is THE chart topper every artist wants to achieve. And it has been this way since the Official Singles Chart began 60 years ago.

To have a Christmas Number 1 on your musical CV means you really are the best of the best; capturing the heats and minds of the nation… That, or you’ve managed to dazzle the British public with your, um, uniqueness (yes, we’re talking about you Mr Blobby).

However, not all of the biggest selling Christmas singles have been to Number 1 (two in the Top 10 peaked at Number 2, and one peaked at Number 5), and not all of the biggest selling Christmas singles have necessarily been, well, Christmassy.

To celebrate Christmas 2012 and 60 years of the Official Singles Chart, the Official Charts Company reveal the biggest selling Christmas songs of all time. These tracks may or may not have religious overtones, but have nevertheless captured the essence of what this special time of year is about.

At Number 1 on the countdown is Band Aid‘s Do They Know It’s Christmas? – the landmark charity single helmed byBob Geldof and Midge Ure to help raise funds and awareness for the 1984 Ethiopian famine. Featuring an all-star cast including members of The WhoU2 and Genesis to name but a few, Do They Know It’s Christmas? has sold a staggering 3.7 million copies to date and is the second biggest selling single of all time. The 20th anniversary version of the track is at Number 6 in the countdown with sales of 1.17 million copies.

Mary’s Boy Child also appears twice in the Top 10, making its first appearance at Number 2 with Boney M‘s 1978 rendition (which has sales of 1.85 million copies), while Harry Belafonte‘s 1957 original is at Number 5 (with sales of 1.18 million).

Wham!‘s Last Christmas, which we can officially confirm is the biggest selling Christmas song to have never reached Number 1, is at Number 3 in the chart with sales of 1.68 million. The Top 5 is completed by Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody at Number 4, which has sales of 1.21 million copies to date.

SINGLE TITLE ARTIST YEAR PEAK POSITION
1 DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS? BAND AID 1984 1
2 MARY’S BOY CHILD BONEY M 1978 1
3 LAST CHRISTMAS WHAM! 1984 2
4 MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY SLADE 1973 1
5 MARY’S BOY CHILD HARRY BELAFONTE 1957 1
6 DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS? BAND AID 20 2004 1
7 WHITE CHRISTMAS BING CROSBY 1942 5
8 FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK THE POGUES FT KIRSTY MACCOLL 1987 2
9 THE MILLENNIUM PRAYER CLIFF RICHARD 1999 1
10 WHEN A CHILD IS BORN JOHNNY MATHIS 1976 1

What we learned about Christmas

Most expensive Christmas tree

Think you’ve overstretched your budget this year?  Well, hopefully hearing this shocking Christmas fact will help you feel a little better about your Christmas spending splurge. One man, Yves Piaget, spent a whopping £10.4 million on decorating his Christmas tree. The tree was lavishly decorated with 83 pieces of jewellery in Tokyo.

Santa’s magic

Obviously we all know that Santa has magical powers, but researchers have calculated just how magical Father Christmas really is. The researchers found that in order to deliver all of his presents on Christmas Eve Santa would need to travel at 650 miles per second and visit 822 homes a second – no wonder he needs to eat so many mince pies.

Christmas tree soup

Did you think that eating satsumas was the most festive way to get your hit of Vitamin C? Think again. It turns out that you can actually eat parts of your Christmas tree and that the needles from your tree are a great source of Vitamin C. If you want to tuck into your tree after Christmas then dry out the needles before grinding. You can then use the dried needles as a garnish on soups.

Robin Christmas cards might annoy your postman

Robins are a Christmas card favourite and you’re likely to receive several glittery Christmas cards with a robin emblazoned cheerily on the front. Yet, robins can be seen in the UK (where the Christmas card tradition began) throughout the year. So why are they so popular at Christmas? Well, back in the nineteenth century postmen wore red tunics and were nicknamed ‘Robin Postmen’. Therefore putting a robin on a Christmas card was in fact a joke.

It’s A Wonderful Life

Nearly every family cosies up and watches It’s A Wonderful Life over Christmas, but did you know that this Christmas movie favourite had an FBI file? Although ludicrous, this shocking Christmas fact is real. In 1947 some thought the movie was a communist ploy and that its purpose was to undermine bankers. Here’s another shocking It’s A Wonderful Life Christmas fact: when the bridge scene was filmed, George is rather sweaty because it was in fact 90 degrees on the day of filming.

Weight gain at Christmas

Do you think you get a little heavier over the festive period? Even though most of us over-indulge and enjoy a few too many feasts studies have found that we don’t actually put on as much as we think. The US study found that participants thought they put on at least 5lbs (2.27kg), but they had actually only gained an average amount of 0.8lb (0.36kg) over the Christmas period.

Christmas in space

Some people want to escape from Christmas, but this Christmas fact shows us that Christmas is almost inescapable as carols have even been sung up in space. The first song to be sung in space was Jingle Bells. Two astronauts back in 1965 reported seeing a UFO. They then claimed that the UFO had one main command module and eight smaller modules in front and that the pilot was wearing a red suit. The mischievous pair then went on to sing Jingle Bells to NASA.

Home Alone

Everyone loves Home Alone, but did you know that Daniel Stern, the actor who played the baddie Marv, didn’t like spiders? He didn’t want to do the infamous tarantula scene, but agreed to the filming as long as it was completed in just one take. The scene was shot but Daniel Stern wasn’t allowed to scream in real life because it would have spooked the tarantula, so the scream had to be added by tech whizzes at a later date.

Biggest ever secret Santa

If you thought your works secret Santa was a tricky and complex business then imagine how difficult it was to organise the workers at Boots UK Limited, who took part in the largest ever secret Santa. The present swap involved 1,270 people and took place in 2008.

Christmas break-ups

You would think that Christmas is one of the most romantic times of the year. Mistletoe, open fires and endless parties is the perfect mix to get close to your other half, yet by looking at Facebook posts researchers has discovered that lots of couples break up two weeks before Christmas. In fact this period is the second most common time of the year for couples to split.