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

REVIEW: @TheCentre @ChittyMusical @CarrieHFletcher @leemeadofficial #Wales #Cardiff #ChittyChittyBangBang

Imagine a world where one of the most famous spy novelists in the world creates a much loved children’s novel, which then goes on to star one of Hollywood’s greatest experts in the art of the cockney accent.

Imagining it? Well, if you’re still not 100% sure of what I’m talking about, it’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and since 2002 it’s been selling out as a musical all over the place, and now it’s taking a pitstop at Wales Millennium Centre till 21st August 2016.

'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' Tour

With a cast that includes some of musical theatre’s best known names – headed by former Joseph and the amazing Technicolor dreamcoat lead, Lee Mead as Caractacus Potts, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Truly Scrumptious (who actually played Jemima in the original London production in 2002), also Shaun Williiamson & Claire Sweeney playing the Bomburst’s.

It’s a story that doesn’t need much explaining, but if you’ve never seen the film before, here’s what the website says…

“Can the loveable but whacky inventor, Potts, along with his two children and the gorgeous Truly Scrumptious outwit the bombastic Baron Bomburst who has decreed that all children be banished from his kingdom? What happens when the children are caught and imprisoned with the other youngsters by the evil Child Catcher? Will it all end happily-ever-after? Well, of course it will!”.

Quite possibly one of popular cultures most famous villains is the child catcher, but as a 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' Tourfootnote, he wasn’t in the original Ian Fleming book. He was introduced via the screenplay for the movie by Roald Dahl. Next time you watch the film, it doesn’t take much to compare the likes of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The BFG to the film. You could be one of the generation for that the child catcher remains a terrifying reminder of your youngers days – this was certainly the case for the woman sat in front of me in the stalls. Every time the CC appeared, she couldn’t watch the stage – and was slightly mocked by the children she was with, bless.

'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' Tour

The audio and visuals of the show is amazing. Chitty herself (cars are always female – why?), is one of the most expensive props created, £750,000 being the figure being muted. And that’s what pretty much steals the show – sorry human performers but you know it too.

Lee Mead – now we know the boy can sing, and he dances pretty blooming good too. The old bamboo is an old school Hollywood dance extravaganza which transfers to the stage with so much ease. It’s a simple thing to forget that it’s been 9 years since Joseph as his performance belies someone with many more years experience.

Carrie Hope Fletcher, who you’ll know as being the younger sister of Tom from Mcfly, is terrific.  From the moment she rides onto stage to the when she’s a music box – really, truly, she’s brilliant.

Shaun and Claire are pure Vulgar..ians, and Andy Hockey (he’s from Pontypridd you know) and Matt Gillett (not from Ponty), both have show-stealing moments. Andy’s Granpa dancing is ace, and Matt, well, Matt as the child catcher…. See the previous comment.

If you want a proper evening out for all the family, you won’t go far wrong with this. The Sherman Brothers soundtrack will be buzzing around your brain for many an hour after you leave the Wales Millennium Centre. Yes, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you.

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

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

Twitter: @theCentre

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Tour

Photos from http://www.chittythemusical.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

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).

NEWS: @curiousonstage @TheCentre #Cardiff WELSH PREMIERE OF AWARD WINNING STAGE ADAPTATION OF THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

WELSH PREMIERE OF AWARD WINNING STAGE ADAPTATION OF THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

SWANSEA BORN JOSHUA JENKINS TO PLAY LEAD ROLE

Playing the role of Christopher Boone, Joshua Jenkins performs in the National Theatre’s stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s bestselling book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (14 – 18 April) at Wales Millennium Centre.

Swansea born and raised actor Joshua Jenkins who plays the central role of Christopher Boone speaks about performing in front of a home crowd:  “I’m incredibly excited to be bringing Curious to Cardiff.  This will be the first professional theatre job I’ve done in Wales, and I’m honoured and proud that it will be at the wonderful Wales Millennium Centre, where my family and friends from Swansea can come and watch.”

Joshua is joined by fellow Welsh company members: movement captain and actor Jessica Williams from Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley and Pembrokeshire born company manager Robbie Cullen who trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was published in 2003. It was winner of more than 17 literary awards including the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in the UK in 2004 and has been translated into 44 languages.

The stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won seven Olivier Awards last year and recently opened on Broadway to rapturous plaudits. New York Post said it was: “the most inventive show on Broadway” and Time Out New York said “Curious Incident is dazzling, pulse-pounding and remarkable”. It is directed by Associate Director of the National Theatre Marianne Elliott. Marianne co-directed War Horse with Tom Morris which visited the Centre last June and went on to become the bestselling piece of drama to be staged at Wales Millennium Centre.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time tells the story of Christopher Boone, who is fifteen years old.  He stands beside Mrs Shears’ dead dog, which has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington.  He has an extraordinary brain, and is exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life.  He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and distrusts strangers.  But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.

The central role of Christopher is played by Joshua Jenkins with Geraldine Alexander as his teacher Siobhan, Roberta Kerr as Mrs Alexander, Stuart Laing as his father Ed, Gina Isaacs as Judy and Clare Perkins as Mrs Shears.  The cast is completed by Chris Ashby (alternate Christopher), Emmanuella Cole (Punk Girl), Edward Grace (Mr Thompson), Lucas Hare (Roger Shears), John McAndrew (Reverend Peters) with Kieran Garland, Ann Marcuson, Paul Sockett and Jessica Williams in the ensemble.

The production is designed by Bunny Christie, with lighting by Paule Constable, video design by Finn Ross, movement by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph. wmc outside

The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time is at Wales Millennium Centre from the 14 – 18 April. Tickets range from £18 – £38.50. Premium seats are available. Age Guidance: 11+ (No admission to Under 2s). For more information visit www.wmc.org.uk or contact the ticket office on 02920 636464.

NEWS: @TheCentre to present new version of German classic Man to Man in March 2015

Wales Millennium Centre to present new version of German classic Man to Man in March 2015

Wales Millennium Centre is to present a new version of Man to Man in March 2015, the first full in-house production under the new artistic direction of Graeme Farrow. Translated and adapted by Alexandra Wood from Manfred Karge’s masterpiece ‘Jacke wie Hose’, the production will reimagine the one woman show as a visceral and virtuosic piece of physical theatre.

After her husband dies, Ella Gericke adopts his identity and continues working his job as a crane operator in order to survive in Nazi Germany. Compromising her own identity for survival, Ella is plunged into a new masculine world of beer, schnapps and poker; a claustrophobic existence dominated by the fear of discovery and the changing face of authority in a volatile twentieth century Germany.

Reworking the original German masterpiece into an intimate and all-consuming piece of physical theatre, Man to Man confronts the horrors of World War Two from a unique and deeply personal perspective.

Written by up and coming young playwright, Alexandra Wood, and starring Margaret Ann Bain as Ella, Man to Man is directed by Bruce Guthrie, (Associate Director for Sam Mendes on his world tour of Richard III, director of Twelfth Night and Othello, for the Singapore Repertory Theatre), alongside a stellar creative team including Scott Graham of leading physical theatre company Frantic Assembly.

Wales Millennium Centre’s Artistic Director, Graeme Farrow, commented: ‘’Manfred Karge’s Man to Man offers a unique perspective on German history with a dazzling mixture of poetry, prose, realism and magic. It is being made with a superb artistic team including the hugely talented physical performer Margaret Ann Bain. We aim to produce bold and striking work like this in Wales and take it to the world. Man to Man is a good place to start.’

Speaking about the new adaptation, Director, Bruce Guthrie, said: ‘Man to Man, is very different to plays I’ve directed before. It’s very episodic – a series of memories that Ella is re-living, and I found it really compelling when I first read the original script. This adaptation will very much be about taking the audience on a sensory journey as opposed to a narrative one, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to evoke different reactions from the audience based on the series of memories that are explored.

‘It’s a fantastic play, and we’ll be trying various different techniques to establishing a language and relationship with the audience to take them on a journey with the character: projection, lighting, the way that we interact with the set, or with the audience, or the physicality of the piece. It’s all up for grabs because the text is so rich and the memories are so potent. It’s going to be very exciting.’wmc outside

Manfred Karge’s original version of the play, Jacke wie Hose, was first staged at the Scgauspeilhaus Bocehum in 1982.  It was first translated by Anthony Vivas and performed in the UK under the English title Man to Man, with Tilda Swinton playing the role of Ella Gericke.

Man to Man is part of WOW Caerdydd, a festival celebrating, provoking and expressing female achievements, struggles and future challenges taking place in March 2015.

Man to Man is at Wales Millennium Centre 20 Mar – 27 Mar 2015, (preview performance 19 Mar 2015). Tickets are priced at £14, preview, £9. For more information and to book tickets, please visit www.wmc.org.uk or call the box office 029 2063 6464.

NEWS: @TheCentre @Mattbourne1 @New_Adventures bringing Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands to the stage

Matthew Bourne brings the Tim Burton classic Edward Scissorhands to the stage

Devised, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, Edward Scissorhands returns to Wales Millennium Centre from 10 to 14 March 2015.

Based on the classic Tim Burton film and featuring the beautiful and unforgettable music by Danny Elfman and Terry Davies, this touching love story tells the bittersweet story of a boy created by a lonely inventor who dies leaving him alone and unfinished. Left with only scissors for hands, Edward must find his place in a strange suburban world where the well-meaning community struggle to see past his appearance to the innocence and gentleness within.

The role of Edward will be shared between Dominic North and Liam Mower. Dominic North returns to the role that won him a National Dance Award nomination as Best Male Dancer in 2009. Making his debut as Edward this season, Liam Mower was recently seen in Billy Elliot Live as “Older Billy” when he returned to the show that made his name. This will be Liam’s 5th show with New Adventures, having recently played The Prince in Swan Lake and Count Lilac in Sleeping Beauty.

Playing Edward’s sweetheart, Kim Boggs, will be Ashley Shaw and Katy Lowenhoff. Ashley has played the Principal roles of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Sugar in Nutcracker! and the title role in Cinderella (all for New Adventures). Katy has become a popular New Adventures performer through her performances as Clara in Nutcracker! and her created role as “Hibernia” in Sleeping Beauty.

Etta Murfitt, Associate Director of New Adventures will play the role of Peg Boggs, shared with Madelaine Brennan. Also appearing in this production are Saranne Curtin, Tom Clark, Dominic Lamb, Leon Moran, Tim Hodges, Jack Jones, Danny Collins, Gavin Persand, Gareth Charloton, Cindy Ciunfrini, Tom Davies, Pia Driver, Nicole Kabera, Mari Kamata, Daisy May Kemp, Dena Lague, Chris Neumann, Edwin Ray, Will Bozier, Steph Elstob, Harry Francis, Bethany Pike, Katelyn Severn, Alex Sturman and Katie Webb.

Edward Scissorhands is at Wales Millennium Centre from 10 to 14 March 2015. Tickets range from £18.50 – £36.50. Premium seats are available. Age Guidance: 5+ (No under 2s). For more information and booking, visitwww.wmc.org.uk or call the ticket office on 02920 636464.

Scissorhands

NEWS: @TheCentre to present all-female production of #RichardIII

Wales Millennium Centre to present all-female production of Richard III

Wales Millennium Centre is to utilise its vast roof void as a performance space for the first time when it presents an all-female version of Richard III, 10 – 23 Feb 2015. The alternative performance space will provide the perfect setting for this boundary pushing adaptation that aims to challenge preconceived ideas about how and where Shakespeare should be staged.

Produced by Omidaze Productions in association with Wales Millennium Centre, this all-female production of Shakespeare, performed in an unconventional theatre space, promises to offer a unique and memorable audience experience, shed new light and perspective on Shakespearian text and engage new audiences.

While there is a strong history in the UK of men playing women, and all-male Shakespeare productions remain common place and acceptable, women playing men still remains very much in the minority. Through adopting the unusual approach of presenting an all-female production, especially of a play often viewed as a vehicle for a male-star and contains over forty male characters, Omidaze’s production of Richard III seeks to challenge these conventions.

By only using women for every role, both on and off stage, the production is also working to advance women’s equality in the theatre industry and raise awareness around employment equality for women in an industry where less than 30% of the creative talent is female, even though women make up 68% of theatre audiences.

Director of Richard III, Yvonne Murphy, who is passionate about making Shakespeare accessible and engaging to new audiences, has said: ‘I firmly believe that the status of women in theatre effects and reflects the status of women in society. We want to be provocative with regard to getting women’s voices heard, and that in order to give women the room and forum to express themselves artistically we must take affirmative action. One of the ways we trying to do this is by attempting to normalise the playing of male parts by women.’

Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre, Graeme Farrow, commented: ‘I’m extremely excited to see Wales Millennium Centre’s roof void used as a performance space for the first ever time. It’s the perfect alternative setting for a play that seeks to challenge preconceptions about theatre. It’s also wonderful to be working in association with Omidaze in leading the way to increased roles for women in theatre both on and off stage.’

Omidaze Productions aims to engage a non-traditional theatre going audience and break down barriers to accessing theatre, Shakespeare and the arts generally. One of the ways they intend to do this is through their Open Rehearsal Strategy, which they trialled in the Production Development phase. Omidaze will take rehearsals into over eight schools in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan in identified areas of deprivation and allow between 250 – 800 young people access to a professional production. Through this they aim to create a sense of empowerment, entitlement and ownership of what is sometime still perceived as an ‘elite’ art form.

Richard III forms one of the events leading up to WOW Caerdydd, a festival celebrating, provoking and expressing female achievements, struggles and future challenges taking place in March 2015.

Richard III is at Wales Millennium Centre 10 Feb – 23 Feb 2015, (Preview performance 9 Feb 2015). Tickets are priced at £12 (preview £9). Matinee performances available. Age guidance 10+. For more information and to book tickets visit www.wmc.org.uk or call the ticket office on 02920 636464.