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: @WickedUK Flies Back to #Cardiff @TheCentre in 2018

Multi record-breaking UK & Ireland touring production

Returns to Wales Millennium Centre for a strictly limited 4 week run

From Wednesday 31 October to Saturday 24 November 2018

Wicked_Elphaba_Credit Brinkhoff and Mögenburg (Small)

Wicked, the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is delighted to confirm that its spectacular, multi record-breaking and critically acclaimed touring production will return to Wales Millennium Centre in 2018. One of the most successful productions in the venue’s history, Wicked was previously seen by over 90,000 people during its celebrated engagement in March/April 2014.

A truly outstanding production” (South Wales Evening Post), Wicked returns for four weeks only from Wednesday 31 October to Saturday 24 November 2018. Tickets go on public sale on Monday 27 March, and are priced from £20.

wicked-glinda-and-elphaba-a-previous-cast-photo-credit-matt-crockettExecutive Producer Michael McCabe said: “We were overwhelmed by the incredible response from audiences and critics alike when we first brought Wicked to Cardiff for the Welsh premiere in 2014, and it is extraordinary to think that over 90,000 people came and saw us. The whole team at Wales Millennium Centre showed such tremendous enthusiasm and support, and we’re all really delighted to return to this stunning venue.”

Managing Director at Wales Millennium Centre, Mathew Milsom, said: “It is a pleasure to be bringing Wicked back to our stage next year.  One of the smartest modern musicals, Wicked is packed full of show-stoppers, spectacular design, and certainly complements our varied programme for 2018.  It is sure to be a highlight for musical-lovers and we look forward to welcoming the cast and crew back to Wales Millennium Centre.”

Acclaimed as “one of the greatest musicals of our time” (Daily Mail), “a magical mystery tour through the fantasyland of Oz” (London Evening Standard) and “one of the West End’s true modern classics” (Metro), Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students and their extraordinary adventures in Oz, which will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West. Based on the acclaimed, best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire that ingeniously re-imagines the stories and characters originally created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, Wicked has become a global phenomenon featuring astounding technical wizardry, stunning costumes and show-stopping songs by three-time Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz.

This spectacular production of Wicked, acclaimed by the Northern Echo as “the ultimate Broadway experience for theatre audiences all over the UK”, played a fifteen-city tour of the UK & Ireland from September 2013 – July 2015, winning five-star rave reviews at every venue. It resumed touring in July 2016 to embark on a major international tour including engagements in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Shanghai and Beijing, before a much anticipated return to the UK & Ireland in 2018.

Wicked is already the 17th longest running show in West End theatre history and recently celebrated a decade of performances at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it continues an open-ended run. Around the world, Wicked has now been seen by over 50 million people in 15 countries, and won over 100 major awards.

 Wicked has music and lyrics by multi Grammy and Academy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz (Godspell and Disney’s Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Enchanted) and is based on the acclaimed novel ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ by Gregory Maguire and adapted for the stage by Winnie Holzman. Musical staging is by Tony Award-winner Wayne Cilentoand the production is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello.

Wicked is produced around the world by Marc Platt, Universal Stage Productions, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone. Executive Producer (UK/International Tour) Michael McCabe.

Casting for the 2018 UK & Ireland Tour is to be announced.

WICKED IN NUMBERS

  • WICKED was seen by over 90,000 people in its first visit to Wales Millennium Centre in 2014.
  • By the time this acclaimed production of WICKED returns to Cardiff it will have travelled almost 12 thousand miles (by road, sea and air) since its debut in Manchester on 12 September 2013.
  • Almost 1.5 million theatregoers have seen this production to date.
  • This “thrilling theatrical experience” (Metro) features 350 stunning costumes, 140 wigs, 244 pairs of shoes, 110 hats, 125 pairs of gloves and 30 prosthetic masks.
  • It takes 100 people, both on-stage and behind the scenes, to delivery every single performance of this gigantic touring production that has been acclaimed as “every bit the West End show” (The Public Reviews).

WICKED AROUND THE WORLD

  • WICKED has been seen by over 50 million people across over 100 cities in 15 countries.
  • WICKED is already the 17th longest running show in London theatre history and now one of the top five longest running musicals currently playing in the West End.
  • WICKED recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary in the West End, and has played over 4000 performances at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it continues an open-ended run.
  • WICKED has won over 100 major awards including 3 Tony Awards, 6 Drama Desk Awards, 2 Olivier Audience Awards, 9 WhatsOnStage Awards, an Evening Standard Theatre Award and a Grammy Award.
  • WICKED was also recently named as the ‘Best Theatre Production for Schools’ at the School Travel Awards.

Official website: www.WickedTheMusical.co.uk

Twitter: @WickedUK

Facebook: /WickedUK  |  Instagram: @WickedUK

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)

NEWS: ALVIN AILEY® AMERICAN DANCE THEATER RETURNS TO @TheCentre AS PART OF UK TOUR 2016

ALVIN AILEY® AMERICAN DANCE THEATER RETURNS TO WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE AS PART OF UK TOUR 2016 

TUESDAY 4 & WEDNESDAY 5 OCTOBER 2016

 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of the world’s most popular dance companies, will return to the UK for the first time in six years and presents an exhilarating mixed bill of dance at Wales Millennium Centre on Tuesday 4 & Wednesday 5 October during its UK tour 2016. Celebrating the human spirit through the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition, Ailey’s performances, under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Battle, form the perfect edition to the Black History Month line-up taking place across Wales throughout October.

Founded in 1958, the company is recognised by the U.S. Congress as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World.” In almost six decades, Ailey’s artists have performed for over 25 million people in 71 countries on six continents and continue to wow audiences and critics around the world.

Commenting about the Company’s return to the UK, Ailey’s Artistic Director Robert Battle said:I’m proud to continue Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s legacy of extensive international tours with my inaugural visit leading the Company’s extraordinary dancers through the United Kingdom. Presented by Dance Consortium six years after they so successfully last welcomed Ailey, we’ll share a diverse repertory of works including several UK premieres.  I’m excited for audiences old and new to experience the uplifting performances that have inspired people the world over, fulfilling Mr. Ailey’s belief that ‘Dance came from the people and should always be delivered back to the people.

Head of Programming at Wales Millennium Centre, Louise Miles-Crust, said: “After a 6 year absence from the UK, I’m extremely excited Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, one of the world’s most exciting and inspiring modern dance companies, will be performing at the Centre as part of their UK tour.  From British Dance Edition to the Mariinsky Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, 2016 has been an exceptional year for dance at the Centre, bringing the very best in national and international dance across a wide range of genres to audiences in Wales. Alvin Ailey, with their fresh, modern style and wide audience appeal, will bring this year’s season of dance at the Centre to a breath-taking conclusion.”

The Wales Millennium Centre programme will include UK premieres by two of today’s most acclaimed choreographers: the uplifting Exodus by hip hop choreographer Rennie Harris; and the spiritual journey of Four Corners by Ronald K. Brown. A company UK premiere, the dreamlike duet After the Rain Pas de Deux by Christopher Wheeldon, will also be performed during the Cardiff evening.

Drawing the programme to a close will be Revelations by Alvin Ailey. The beloved crowd-pleaser, the most widely-seen modern dance work in the world, will be performed by the incomparable Ailey dancers. Revelations premiered in 1960 and continues to bring audiences all around the world to their feet.

The Ailey CARDIFF 2016 programme, which is subject to alteration, will be as follows:

Four Corners / Exodus / After the Rain Pas de Deux / Revelations

UK Premieres

 Exodus (2015) Choreography by Rennie Harris / Music: Original compositions by Raphael Xavier, “A New Deal” by Ost & Kjex. Acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie (Lorenzo) Harris created a work that explores the idea of “exodus” – from one’s ignorance and conformity – as a necessary step toward enlightenment. Set to gospel and house music along with spoken word, the work underscores the crucial role of action and movement in effecting change. Exemplifying his view of hip hop as a “celebration of life”, Exodus marks Harris’ latest invitation to return to spiritual basics and affirm who we are. His previous contributions to the Ailey repertory include Home (2011) and Love Stories (2004), Judith Jamison’s dynamic collaboration with Harris and Robert Battle.

Four Corners (2013) Choreographer: Ronald K. Brown    / Music: Carl Hancock Rux, Yacoub & Various Artists. Four Corners brings to life the vision of four angels standing on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds. Drawing inspiration from the lyrics of Rux’s Lamentations, Four Corners trails 11 dancers as they rise to seek a life of peace on the “mountaintop”; a powerful and hope-filled journey of tribulation, devotion and triumph.

Company UK premiere

After the Rain Pas de Deux (2005 / Ailey Company Premiere 2014) Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon / Music: Arvo Pärt. An instant hit at New York City Ballet in 2005, Christopher Wheeldon’s dreamlike duet – praised for its sublime simplicity and intricate partnering – is revealed in a fresh light as the Ailey dancers make it their own. Set to music by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, the sensual male‐female pas de deux has resonated deeply with audiences and marked the first work by Christopher Wheeldon to enter the Ailey repertory.

Ailey Classic

Revelations (1960) Choreography by Alvin Ailey / Music: Traditional Spirituals. More than just a popular dance work, Revelations has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans. An American classic acclaimed as a must-see for all, Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece is a tribute to his heritage and genius. Using African-American spirituals, the work fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. Seeing Revelations for the first time or the hundredth can be a transcendent experience, with audiences cheering, singing along and dancing in their seats from the opening notes of the plaintive I Been ’Buked to the rousing Wade in the Water and the triumphant finale, Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.

 

ALVIN AILEY® AMERICAN DANCE THEATER – UK Tour 2016 – WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE, CARDIFF

Tue 4 & Wed 5 October at 7.30pm

Wales Millennium Centre CARDIFF

Tickets: 029 2063 6464 www.wmc.org.uk

REVIEW: #MandelaTrilogy @TheCentre @CapeTown_Opera #Wales #WMC

REVIEW: #MandelaTrilogy #WalesMillenniumCentre @TheCentre @CapeTown_Opera – Thu 25th August 2016

It was back in June 2012 that the Mandela Trilogy got its European premiere in Wales Millennium Centre, and in August 2016 it has returned and it feels like it never went away.

slider_three(1)It’s based on Nelson Mandela’s life within three acts. Act One is a very young Mandela, Act Two is when he becomes an integral part of the ANC and the struggle, and Act Three is based around his incarceration and his release in 1994.

Let’s be honest about this review, I’m not the biggest fan of opera. I appreciate it as an art form and understand how people can swept away within an aria – but for me I’m more of a Les Mis than a La Boheme kind of guy. But in saying that, each act of the Mandela Trilogy isn’t your standard opera – it has a definite jazz feel in act two (written by Mike Campbell), and act one and three (written by Peter Louis van Dijk) have definitely modern contemporary feel. My first idea of what it might be like was – and this may show my lack of education – I did expect it to be a bit Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It wasn’t, and I found myself liking that.aMandelaTrilogyMunich7

Although some may say the lack of a South African soundtrack does detract a little, but for me the orchestration was magnificent to say the least. You could feel immersed by the sound of the Cape Town Philarmonics conducted by Alex Fokkens.

The Mandela’s were all vocally brilliant – Aubrey Lodewyk (later life Mandela), Thato Machona (Younger Mandela) and Peace Nzirawa (freedom fighting Mandela). The female leads were fantastic too, with special mention to Candida Mosoma (Dolly), her performance of Meadowlands – wow.

aMandelaTrilogyMunich5You may have seen the films Invictus or the Long walk to freedom, but this opera will give you more of the journey of the man. Sometimes we see things in one way, and it takes something like this to learn a new way – and find out about the man more than the myth – for me anyway.

The performance all round was faultless – and if you want to have an evening of education and culture, you won’t go far wrong