Tag Archives: NEWS

NEWS: STRICTLY COME DANCING – THE PROFESSIONALS 2020 UK TOUR PRO DANCERS ANNOUNCED

Dust off your dancing shoes! Following the hugely successful Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals 2019 UK Tour, fans up and down the UK will be thrilled to learn the line-up of dancers who will be bringing all the glitz and glamour to the live stage in the brand new 2020 Professionals Tour. Tickets are on sale now.

Cha-cha-cha-ing their way around the UK will be no less than 10 of the incredibly popular and multi award-winning professional dancers from the 2019 Strictly Come Dancing BBC One series, in what promises to be another explosion of electrifying dance.

The world class line-up of Strictly professionals performing on the tour are: Australian Open Champion and 2018 finalist Dianne Buswell; Two-time Ballroom and Latin World Champion Nadiya Bychkova; Italian Latin Champion Graziano Di Prima; Professional World Mambo Champion and former Strictly finalist Karen Hauer; World Professional Latin Showdance Champion and 2017 Strictly Champion Katya Jones; undefeated four-time British National Champion Neil Jones; eight-time South African Latin American Champion and 2016 Strictly finalist Oti Mabuse; 2017 Strictly finalist Gorka Marquez; four-time Italian Dance Championship winner Luba Mushtuk and two-time Strictly Come Dancing South Africa finalist Johannes Radebe.

STRICTLY COME DANCING – THE PROFESSIONALS UK TOUR 2020

Visiting Scotland at:

2 June                              Glasgow: Clyde Auditorium                                 7.30pm

3 June                              Edinburgh: Playhouse                                           2.30pm & 7.30pm

4 June                              Edinburgh: Playhouse                                           7.30pm

For more information and to book tickets visit strictlytheprofessionals.com

NEWS: CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR CITIZENS THEATRE PRODUCTION OF PINOCCHIO

The Citizens Theatre has unveiled the cast for its production of Pinocchio, written by Robert Alan Evans and adapted with Lu Kemp, based on the original and much-loved story by Carlo Collodi.

Audiences can expect the same distinctive style that has earned the theatre a reputation for unique and alternative Christmas shows with inventive storytelling, atmospheric set design and live music.

Returning to the Citizens stage for another festive season are Andy Clark and Irene Allan. Andy Clark has regularly performed at the theatre since Vernon God Little in 2004. Andy recently appeared at the Citizens in the 2017 studio show Lampedusa and in the 2018 festive revival of A Christmas Carol. Clark’s past credits at the theatre also include The Libertine, Othello, The Bevellers, Peter Pan and Hamlet.

Irene Allan’s performance as the Witch in Hansel & Gretel (2016) was described by the Daily Record as “utterly fabulous”. Audiences may also remember Allan from her role as Cinderella’s Stepmother in the theatre’s 2017 festive production.

As part of the theatre’s commitment to nurturing new talent, the Citizens Actor Intern, Liam King, will star as Pinocchio.  Having recently graduated from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Liam’s internship is funded by the Robertson Trust.

Also returning to the Citizens is Elisa De Grey, who appeared in A Christmas Carol (2018) and starred as Tinkerbell in Peter Pan at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre last summer.

Taking on the role of Gepetto is Gary Lilburn who will be familiar to many as Sharon’s dad, Des, in the hit Channel 4 series Catastrophe.  Gary has also appeared in Silent Witness, Casualty, Mrs Brown’s Boys (all BBC) and on stage in As You Like It (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare’s Globe) and at the Citizens Theatre in 2013 in Dr Faustus.

Making their Citizens debuts are Helen Katamba (The Ugly One, Tron Theatre Company; Macbeth, National Theatre; The Three Musketeers, The Dukes) and Stephanie Payne, who has recently graduated from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and is the Citizens’ second Actor Intern this season.

Directed by Artistic Director Dominic Hill, this new Christmas production reunites the talented creative team behind the Citizens’ festive productions of A Christmas Carol and Hansel and Gretel.  Designer Rachael Canning and Lighting Designer Lizzie Powell will bring the stage to life whilst an immersive soundscape will be created by Hill’s regular collaborator Nikola Kodjabashia and performed live on stage by the company.

As well as previous Christmas shows A Christmas Carol, Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel, Kodjabashia has lent his distinctive style to Hill’s productions of Cyrano de Bergerac, This Restless House, Hamlet and Crime and Punishment in recent years.

Family tickets for Pinocchio start from just £39 and a range of concessions are available.

Sat 7 Dec    7pm (P)

Mon 9 Dec    7pm (P)

Tue 10 Dec    7pm (Red)

Wed 11 Dec    10.30am (Schools) & 7pm (Red)

Fri 13 Dec    10.30am (Schools) & 7pm (Red) (BSL Signed)

Sat 14 Dec    2pm (Blue) (AD & Cap) & 7pm (Blue)

Sun 15 Dec    1pm (Blue) & 5pm (Blue)

Mon 16 Dec    10.30am (Schools) & 7pm (RLX)

Tue 17 Dec    10.30am (Schools) & 7pm (Red)

Wed 18 Dec    10.30am (Schools) & 7pm (Gold)

Fri 20 Dec    7pm (Gold)

Sat 21 Dec    2pm (Gold) & 7pm (Gold)

Sun 22 Dec    1pm (Gold) & 5pm (Gold)

Mon 23 Dec    2pm (Gold) & 7pm (Gold)

Tue 24 Dec    1pm (Gold) & 5pm (Gold)

Fri 27 Dec    2pm (Gold) & 7pm (Gold)

Sat 28 Dec    2pm (Red) & 7pm (Red)

Sun 29 Dec    1pm (Red) & 5pm (Red)

Mon 30 Dec    2pm (Red) & 7pm (Red)

Fri 3 Dec    2pm (Green) & 7pm (Green)

Sat 4 Dec    2pm (Green) & 7pm (Green)

P – Preview
RLX – Relaxed Performance

Previews:         Sat 7 & Mon 9 Dec, 7pm
Relaxed:        Mon 16 Dec, 7pm

BSL Signed:        Fri 13 Dec, 7pm

AD & Captioned:    Sat 14 Dec, 2pm

RELAXED PERFORMANCE
Mon 16 Dec, 7pm
Particularly suitable for those with an autistic spectrum condition or additional sensory or communication needs.  Please note there will be some alterations to lighting and sound effects and a relaxed attitude towards noise and movement at this performance.

NEWS: OPERA IN CONCERT SERIES CONTINUES WITH SCOTTISH OPERA PREMIERE OF MASCAGNI’S IRIS

The Scottish Opera premiere of Pietro Mascagni’s Iris, a gripping tale of innocence lost, takes place on 1 December at City Halls, Glasgow.

Conducted by Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford, Roxana Haines (Opera Highlights 2019) directs this semi-staged work, featuring soloists Helena Dix, Ric Furman (Kátya Kabanová 2019) and Roland Wood (Pelléas and Mélisande 2017). They are joined by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a 40-strong chorus.

Set in Japan, Iris tells the story of a naïve young girl who is blissfully unaware of life’s darker side. When she is tempted from her home, she suffers a brutal crash course on how cruel the world can be. An opera full of colour and vibrancy it features ‘Hymn to the Sun’, which is often hailed as Mascagni’s finest work.

Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford said: ‘Iris is, in many ways, Mascagni’s greatest opera. Composed six years before Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, it too looks to Japan for inspiration. The opening ‘Hymn to the Sun’ is one of the most spectacular depictions of a sunrise in music, starting from the murky depths of a solo double bass playing a quasi tone-row, later swelled by the rest of the strings, glittering horn calls and just when you think it can’t get any louder the full chorus join in to reach a tremendous climax. The drama is brutal and uncompromising, with some of the most alluring music given to the most desperate and appalling situations which creates a huge sense of unease in the listener.’

The Opera in Concert series continues in May 2020 with the passionate and lyrical Cavalleria rusticana by Mascagni. Performed at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, it tells the tale of a young Sicilian villager who returns from war to find his fiancée has married someone else. Conductor Stuart Stratford has chosen to pair it with Leoncavallo’s lesser-known work Zingari, another Scottish Opera premiere. With a parallel narrative that sees another love triangle go disastrously wrong, Zingari is based on Pushkin’s The Gypsies. Orpha Phelan directs soloists including Evez Abdulla, Justina Gringyte and Julia Sporsén.

The Opera in Concert series concludes with a semi-staged performance of Utopia, Limited. A new co-production with D’Oyly Carte Opera and State Opera South Australia, this Scottish Opera premiere will be performed with an updated libretto by director Stuart Maunder, and a revised musical version by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, who also conducts. Wittily satirising the British Empire’s politics, monarchy and press, Gilbert & Sullivan’s penultimate opera is performed by the cast of The Gondoliers, and designed by Dick Bird. Utopia, Limited tours to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Hackney Empire in London.

Mascagni’s Iris

1 December 2019, 3pm

City Halls, Glasgow

www.scottishopera.org.uk

NEWS: SUSAN PENHALIGON JOINS THE UK TOUR OF AGATHA CHRISTIE’S THE MOUSETRAP

Television star Susan Penhaligon (Bouquet of Barbed Wire, A Fine Romance, Emmerdale) will join the cast of Agatha Christie’s legendary whodunnit as Mrs Boyle at Theatre Royal, Glasgow this month.

Directed by Gareth Armstrong, the timeless thriller will be staged at the city centre venue from Monday 28 October until Saturday 2 November. The Mousetrap returned to the road by popular demand earlier this year and has been earning standout reviews from critics and public alike.  

As the snow storm worsens the inhabitants of Monkswell Manor find themselves cut off from the outside world and we discover there is a murderer in their midst. With a third and final murder anticipated there is a race against time to reveal the secret and discover the identity of the murderer.

Susan Penhaligon (Mrs Boyle) is well-known for her role in the ITV drama Bouquet of Barbed Wire, and for playing Helen Barker in the ITV sitcom A Fine Romance. She also played Jean Hope in UK soap Emmerdale. She has toured the UK extensively with stage productions including The Importance of being Earnest, Cabaret, Rehearsal for Murder, And Then There Were None, The Constant Wife, Verdict and Dangerous Obsessions. Stage credits also include Caste (Finborough Theatre), Murder on Air (Theatre Royal Windsor), Broken Glass (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Compliant Love (Palace Theatre) and The Cherry Orchard (Royal Exchange). Susan has also appeared on film in Top Dog, Citizen Versus Kane, Say that You Love Me, Say Hello to Yesterday and Private Road.

The cast also includes David Alcock (Mr Paravicini), Geoff Arnold (Detective Sgt. Trotter), Nick Biadon (Giles Ralston), Lewis Chandler (Christopher Wren), John Griffiths (Major Metcalf), Harriett Hare (Mollie Ralston) and Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen (Miss Casewell).

The Mousetrap has been thrilling audiences for 67 years and the identity of the murderer remains theatre-land’s best kept secret.

First seen in Nottingham in 1952 starring Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim, The Mousetrap went on to become the world’s longest running stage production following its West End transfer to The Ambassadors in 1952 and St Martins in 1973 where it has played ever since, continuing a record-breaking run with over 27,500 performances in London so far. The beloved murder mystery returns to the road following the success of the first ever UK tour in 2012.

FEATURE: The Tron Ambassadors Programme Part 1

Since 2003 the Tron have enabled young people to experience a range of the career opportunities available within a fully operational theatre via the one-year Tron Ambassadors scheme. Through this scheme they foster deeper connections with the theatre itself, and the work they do both in-house and within the community, as well as an understanding of the wider theatre and creative arts industries.

Tron Ambassadors take part in regular workshops with Tron staff, external visitors and leading professionals to identify and develop transferable skills. Previous Tron Ambassadors have worked with the Tron’s production, marketing and front of house departments, theatre critics, set and costume designers and professional actors and directors. The programme also allows the Ambassadors to gain an Arts Award qualification from their full participation in the programme.

For the past four years, I have been lucky enough to work with these talented young people on the theatre criticism element of the programme. Always a joy to discover new voices and foster new talent in the field of arts criticism, I have also had the privilege of working with the most talented writers at The Reviews Hub.

Published here are the first batch of reviews of How Not to Drown, Dritan Kastrati’s perilous asylum story.

 

How Not to Drown

Reviewer: Holly Noble

Far too often we see on the news the horrific scenes of refugees fleeing their homes, family and friends just to get the taste of freedom. We see boats upturned, people struggling to swim and the terrifying death toll that increases every year. It isn’t often we hear a first-hand account from someone who was successful in the journey.

Dritan Kastrati’s How Not to Drown tells of his extraordinary personal story of loss, hardship and loneliness as he navigates his way to London, the danger of being caught always following him. What you often don’t hear is what happens after immigrants seek refuge. For Kastrati this was anything but easy; through learning a new culture and language, to trying to find a loving family through the foster care system.

The acting is excellent, giving you goose bumps, knowing that Kastrati is standing right in front of you as he tells you the story of his trials and tribulations.

The stage resembles a raft on an angle that spins around, this original device is effective in conveying the story. The small cast and the limited number of props are effective rather than distracting. The lighting and music is tied in well, giving you chills and adding drama.

After seeing How Not to Drown, it is clear, that it deserves all the recognition and awards it has received.

 

Reviewer: Astrid Allen

How not to drown is the story of Dritan Kastrati, an 11-year-old refugee from Kosovo travelling to the UK sent by his father to find his brother in London. Kastrati co-writer and actor performs his own life story, and the result is powerful and moving. The play explores what it is like to be torn between two cultures and the true inhuman nature of the UK fostering system.

In the first half of the play we get to see Dritan’s perilous journey on train, boat and lorry. The cast all have backgrounds in movement and director Neil Bettles choreographs movement with beautiful fluidity and keeps the audience in suspense during the journey.

When Dritan arrives in London he meets his 17 year old brother but they are soon separated and Dritan is put into foster care as his brother cannot legally look after him. He cannot understand why he would not be able to stay with his brother but he does not have the English to explain. Heartbreakingly, Dritan is put into a number of uncaring foster families until he is 16 and is legally allowed to leave care. He never truly feels at home with his carers and he can tell that none of them will ever really love him, Dritan misses his family and that feeling of being loved.

After his 16th birthday Dritan goes back to see his parents but they’ve moved from his childhood home and it doesn’t feel the same as it used to. Dritan is lost and no longer understands his own identity. This play is heart-wrenchingly honest, it holds nothing back from the audience and will invariably make you cry.

Reviewer: Devin McWhirter

Theatre has the power to portray important messages in an entertaining way and can draw a variety of emotions from audience members, and we see this in the extraordinary How not to Drown.

The play portrays the true story of Dritan Kastrati’s childhood and the dangerous journey from his war ridden home to the safety of his brother in London.

How Not to Drown, has the power both to draw you to the edge of your as it portrays Kastrati’s dangerous journey to get to London, and evoke anger and sadness at the discrimination and hardships he has had to face from the Law, Child Services and the carers he was forced to live with. It also moves greatly, particularly the scenes of him being torn away from his family.

How Not to Drown is a very relevant and important story that should be see and listened to by the widest audience possible.

Reviewer: Amy Waterston 

How Not to Drown is an exquisite piece of theatre which is a perfect example of theatre being a “mirror of society.”

The production’s use of the five versatile actors in multiple roles, not only showcases the cast’s acting ability, but also the intricate direction of the production, forcing the audience to realise the true horror of what is happening to people living in care today.

How Not to Drown captures these raw issues, due to the storyline following the real life of the lead actor Dritan Kastrati. The physicality of the piece draws the audience’s attention to the whirlwind of issues that Kastrati experienced. As an audience member, the piece really hits home as its impossible to question fact. This emphasised the upsetting reality and was a prime example of how powerful physical theatre can be.

Reviewer: Jacob McMillan

The story of a young Kosovan refugee and his treacherous journey through human smugglers, foster care, and life; told first-hand by the man he has become.
This play, from the staging to the sound design to the performances, is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. Caught in the middle of the Kosovan-Albanian war, Dritan Kastrati left his home at eleven but didn’t know that he would never truly find it again.
The staging in this performance is incredible; the slanted stage is simply genius. Throughout the play, the performers lean out, as if to tell a secret, to the audience. This creates a sense of involvement for the audience, you are on the smuggling boat or in the foster home with the protagonists. It is no wonder why this play won the Scotsman Fringe First Award.
Truly brilliant, it will be interesting to see what comes from next from Kastrati.

Reviewer: Stanley Stefani

How Not to Drown is a masterclass in theatrical storytelling, portrayed by the man who went through it.

Utilising the very clever use of a rotating slanted stage to add to the creativity throughout the play, Dritan Kastrati tells the emotionally compelling story of growing up and being forced to leave his home country to join his brother his London. Conveying the full journey that 11-year-old Dritan takes in order to escape the wars in his home.

This is a beautifully told story and is a must see for anyone with an interest in amazing pieces of theatre.

Reviewer: Euan Warnock

It is interesting to think that How Not To Drown is named the way it is, not just because of the instances of our real life protagonist panicking under the depths, but also because of the feeling that the performance engenders in you, a ‘sinking feeling’, right down to the caverns of your soul.

Right from the opening five minutes, all the way to the final third… as a matter of fact, those would be the most brilliant part of an already great drama, How Not To Drown manages to keep its audience captivated with an ever-twisting, ever-turning, (most of the time quite literally, with the remarkable stage design) real life tale of a little refugee boy trying to worm his way through the British asylum system.

The innovative set design, especially the smaller and raised addition on which the actors spend almost the entire performance, causes the show to feel even smaller in scale, but this disadvantage is used to a wonderful degree. Whenever the stage feels small, it is because it is meant to feel claustrophobic, and the way it moves, without spoiling anything, is used fantastically.

One of the main draws of this production is that it is a real life story, written and performed by the man (Dritan Kastrati) who lived through it, and for the final third of the play it becomes quite clear that he isn’t fully acting, he is still clearly feeling all of the emotions of how it happened all those years ago.

This is a five-star production, unique and expertly staged, with incredible acting, and a captivating story of a little boy washed up in the United Kingdom, trying to find his way along the path to happiness.

More Tron Ambassadors reviews to follow in part 2.

NEWS: Taking root: first full cast read-through for Gaiety’s Jack and the Beanstalk

The full cast and creative team of The Gaiety’s Pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk came together for the first full read-through of the script.

Last week, the cast and creative team enjoyed being together for the nearly-finalised script, working on their character development, musical plans, technical ideas and sowing the seeds for what will prove to be a GIANT of a pantomime.

The Gaiety Theatre, in association with The Coo Shed have teamed up with brand new writing duo Ken Alexander and Fraser Boyle to create the first in-house pantomime since The Gaiety re-opened in 2012. Focusing on local traditions, places and names, The Gaiety are creating a truly Ayrshire pantomime that will give local people a show they can call their own;

We’re very keen that the panto is tailor-made for the theatre and the audience in Ayrshire as well. So it’s going to be set in Ayrshire, in a country village so there will be lots of local references – very topical, we hope. Ken Alexander

The cast, made up of Chris Forbes [Scot Squad], Karen Bartke [Scot Squad], Gavin John Wright [River City], Kirsty Malone [Sunshine on Leith], David McGowan [Trust Me] and Jillian Cunningham, together with full ensemble, will be performing ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ at The Gaiety from Friday 29th November – Sunday 5th January. Tickets are available from The Gaiety Box Office on 01292 288235 or online at http://www.thegaiety.co.uk

Jack and the Beanstalk

29th November 2019 – 5th January 2020

Main Theatre

£14.00 – £22.00

Family Ticket: £72

Phone: 01292 288235

Online: http://www.thegaiety.co.uk

Box Office: The Gaiety, Carrick Street, Ayr

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA’S EMERGING ARTIST PROGRAMME CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY AS SEVEN ARTISTS ARE WELCOMED FOR 2019/20 SEASON

Scottish Opera has welcomed a talented group of Emerging Artists for the 2019/20 Season: Samuel Bordoli, Arthur Bruce, Jasmine Clark, Charlie Drummond, Mark Nathan, Michael Papadopoulos and Lucy Walters.

The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme was launched in 2009 and offers young artists a period of full-time work with the Company to help them launch their careers. Initially set up to nurture outstanding young singers, the programme now also includes positions for a repetiteur, costume trainee, a composer in residence, and, for the first time, an associate producer. Previous Emerging Artists include soprano Jennifer France, repetiteur Jonathon Swinard, baritone Ben McAteer and composers Gareth Williams and Lliam Paterson.

Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera General Director said: ‘It’s a great pleasure to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Emerging Artists programme, which has over 40 alumni, with many of those having gone on to perform all over the UK. The incredibly flexible programme helps a tremendous breadth of artists at the start of their careers through an immersive opera company experience where they can draw on all the resources available to strengthen their skills, preparing them for a life in the performing arts. I also have to acknowledge the generosity of our supporters who have from day one been genuinely delighted to help support the Emerging Artists, and how much that support has grown over 10 years.’

Samuel Bordoli ARAM returns for a third year as composer in residence. In the 2018/19 Season, he composed an Overture and To Music for the Autumn 2018 Opera Highlights tour, as well as Le trésor des humbles for soprano and orchestra, premiered in March at Aberdeen’s Music Hall. During the Company’s 2017/18 Season he composed Wings and three piano interludes for the Opera Highlights tour, and Grace Notes to complement the Company’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

Samuel studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he was the Mendelssohn Scholar. He was mentored by Peter Maxwell Davies for nine years. His broad output has included a chamber opera, Amerika, performed at the Tête à Tête opera festival in London, and a choral anthem, The Great Silence, premiered at the Windsor Festival for the Queen’s 90th Birthday. His music theatre piece Belongings was premiered on the Caledonian Sleeper between Aberdeen and London. He has also composed four Live Music Sculptures, site-specific compositions for London landmarks, including Tower Bridge, the Monument and St Paul’s Cathedral, and last year he co-produced Planets 2018, a new ‘Planets Suite’ performed inside planetariums across the UK.

This Season, Samuel is working on an original short digital opera film and a prelude to A Midsummer Night’s Dream entitled Hermia’s Nightmare, and he composed a new piece for Opera Highlights. For his work at Scottish Opera, Samuel was nominated for the ‘One to Watch’ Award at the 2018 Sunday Herald Culture Awards.

Scottish baritone Arthur Bruce is The Robertson Trust Scottish Opera Emerging Artist 2019/20. A graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Alexander Gibson Opera School, the Royal Northern College of Music and English National Opera’s Opera Works programme, Arthur was a member of Scottish Opera Young Company (formerly Connect). He has performed roles with Bampton Classical Opera, Berlin Opera Academy, Saffron Opera Group, Opera Eos, Edinburgh Grand Opera, London Young Sinfonia, Edinburgh Players Opera Group and Bowdon Festival Opera. He is also a Britten-Pears Young Artist. This Season at Scottish Opera, Arthur is performing in Amadeus & The Bard: 18th Century Cosmic Brothers, a new production about the links between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Robert Burns. He also goes on tour with Opera Highlights in the Spring, and performs in Iris, Utopia, Limited and The Gondoliers which tours to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and London.

Elizabeth Salvesen Costume Trainee Jasmine Clark will work on Scottish Opera’s Season 2019/20 productions in the Costume Department, headed by John Liddell. Graduating in 2017 with a 1st Class BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design (Costume Interpretation) degree from Arts University Bournemouth with a particular interest in historical costume, Jasmine has worked on a number of operas, musicals, short films and television programmes. These include La bohème at the Royal Opera House, The Pilgrim’s Progress at Royal Northern College of Music, Les Misérables at Birmingham Hippodrome and the BBC drama Father Brown. Former Student Head of Arts University Bournemouth Costume Archive, in her spare time Jasmine has volunteered as a Tattershall Tailor at National Trust Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire, creating historically accurate medieval costumes for staff to wear at events.

Soprano Charlie Drummond is an alumna of King’s College London (English Literature), the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Alexander Gibson Opera School and the National Opera Studio. She is a Samling Young Artist and the recipient of several awards including the Help Musicians UK Tutton Award, an Independent Opera Voice Scholarship, the Musicians’ Company Silver Medal and the Bruce Millar Gulliver Prize. Charlie has performed with companies including Longborough Festival Opera, British Youth Opera and Raucous Rossini. She also has a keen interest in contemporary opera and has premiered the role of Serena Farage in the new opera The Secretary Turned CEO (Lucid Arts), and performed in the world premiere of Simoon by Erik Chisholm (Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland).  This Season at Scottish Opera she will perform in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Iris, The Gondoliers, Utopia, Limited and the Company’s Opera Highlights Autumn tour.

Baritone Mark Nathan studied at the Alexander Gibson Opera School, having graduated with distinction from a Master’s at London’s Royal College of Music. He completed an undergraduate Music degree at Birmingham University. Mark has worked with opera companies including Welsh National Opera, Opera Loki, Hampstead Garden Opera and Winterbourne Opera, performing roles including Don Giovanni, Papageno, Marcello and Dr Falke. He has also appeared in musicals including Guys and Dolls and Into the Woods.

Mark is in demand as a recitalist and oratorio soloist, and is a keen lyricist, having written several musicals, and a collection of children’s poems entitled ‘Riddle Me This’, which has been set to music by Ronald Corp for the New London Children’s Choir. Mark plays the cello, piano, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, accordion, and the banjo. He plays in chamber ensembles, orchestras and pit bands. This season at Scottish Opera he will perform in A Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Gondoliers and the Opera Highlights Autumn tour.

London-born repetiteur and conductor Michael Papadopoulos is the 2019/20 Emerging Artist repetiteur. He trained at the National Opera Studio and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, having previously read Music at Trinity College Oxford. As a repetiteur, he has worked at Opera Holland Park (La traviata, Isabeau, Il segreto di Susanna), where he was Young Artist Repetiteur for the 2018 season, and British Youth Opera (Don Giovanni), as well as working on Julian Philllips’ The Tale of Januarie at GSMD. Recent conducting projects include a new opera by Edward Lambert for the 2019 Tête à Tête festival (Apollo’s Mission), Bach’s St John Passion, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah (with the choir and musicians of St Paul’s Knightsbridge), and Daniel Saleeb’s Occo’s Eternal Act at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This Season at Scottish Opera, Michael will be working on Susanna’s Secret, Tosca, Nixon in China, The Gondoliers and Utopia, Limited, as assistant conductor on Iris and as Music Director/Pianist on the Opera Highlights Spring tour.

Lucy Walters is the Emerging Artist associate producer. After studying music at the University of Bristol and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Lucy interned at Wigmore Hall where she assisted the Learning Team with their administration and events. She then joined the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as the Chorus Projects Officer, primarily working with the CBSO’s family of symphonic choruses on large-scale choral projects, performances with other orchestras, and chorus international touring. While at the CBSO, Lucy helped to co-ordinate the 2014 BBC Proms Youth Choir (Britten’s War Requiem with the CBSO and Andris Nelsons) before managing the project in 2015 (Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with Vienna Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle). Since leaving the CBSO in 2016, Lucy has enjoyed refocusing on her passion for Opera in the Opera North Planning Team where she managed residencies for the National Opera Studio and Royal Northern College of Music. Jointly appointed by Opera Ventures and Scottish Opera, Lucy is primarily working on the future life of the Company’s co-production of Breaking the Waves over the next year.

The Emerging Artist singers and repetiteur will perform in four recitals; at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh in October, University of St Andrews in November, and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of Glasgow in January.

The Emerging Artists are supported by The Robertson Trust, Elizabeth Salvesen, Idlewild Trust and Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artist Benefactors.

 

Performance Diary

 

Fri 25 October, 6.30pm

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

 

Wed 20 November, 1pm

University of St Andrews

 

Fri 10 January, 1pm

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

 

Thu 16 January, 1.10pm

University of Glasgow

www.scottishopera.org.uk

Image: James Glossop – Scottish Opera Emerging Artists (left to right) Lucy Walters, Mark Nathan, Arthur Bruce, Charlie Drummond, Jasmine Clark and Michael Papadopoulos

NEWS: Casting announced for new Oor Wullie musical

Dundee Rep Theatre and Selladoor Productions today announce casting for their brand new musical, Oor Wullie.  The world premiere opens at Dundee Rep Theatre from 23 Nov – 05 Jan before touring Scotland until 14 March.

Martin Quinn will star as Scotland’s favourite comic strip scamp Wullie.  Paisley born Martin is currently starring in Peter Gynt at The National Theatre of Great Britain having made his stage debut at Dundee Rep in Let The Right One In and appearing in Passing Places with Dundee rep last year and says of taking on the iconic role:

Martin Quinn

‘initially it was quite daunting, seeing as everyone’s used to Oor Wullie as a one page adventure, whereas we’re trying to breathe life into it as a full scale musical. But we’ve got such a great script and team on the show, that side of it is all taken care of. I’m just looking forward to channelling my inner “cheeky chappy”, reminiscent of when I was a wee guy and my gran kept the Sunday Post for me. What I’m more scared of now is getting my hair dyed blonde which my girlfriend tells me if it isn’t done properly can turn green!’

Ann Louis Ross and Irene Macdougall, both founding Members of Dundee Rep Ensemble, celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year, will join new Dundee Rep graduate actors Bailey Newsome (Soapy Soutar) and Leah Byrne (Primrose) and former graduate Leanne Traynor who, in a slight twist will play a reimagined Basher Mackenzie.

Dan Buckley and Grant McIntyre will join Martin on stage as lifelong pals Fat Boab and Wee Eck respectively with George Brennan completing the superb cast.

 The iconic laddie from Auchenshoogle is much loved for his big heart, constant war against boredom and his mischievous energetic pranks which often land him in a scrape or two! Now you can see the spiky-haired scallywag live on stage as he embarks on an adventure with pals Fat Boab, Soapy Soutar, Wee Eck, and the rest of the Sunday Post gang – the only question is; where’s his bucket?!

Dundee Rep Theatre

Saturday 23rd Nov, 2019 – Sunday 5th Jan, 2020

01382 223 530 – www.dundeerep.co.uk

 

Glasgow Theatre Royal

Monday 20th Jan, 2020 – Saturday 25th Jan, 2020

0844 871 7647 – https://www.atgtickets.com/venues/theatre-royal-glasgow/

 

Edinburgh King’s Theatre

Tuesday 28th Jan, 2020 – Saturday 1st Feb, 2020

0131 529 6000 www.capitaltheatres.com 

 

Ayr Gaiety Theatre

Monday 3rd Feb, 2020 – Saturday 8th Feb, 2020

01292 288235 https://thegaiety.co.uk/

 

Inverness Eden Court

Monday 10th Feb, 2020 – Saturday 15th Feb, 2020

01463 234 234   https://eden-court.co.uk/

 

Stirling Macrobert Arts Centre

Wednesday 26th Feb, 2020 – Saturday 29th Feb, 2020

01786 466 666 http://www.macrobertartscentre.org

 

Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre

Tuesday 3rd Mar, 2020 – Saturday 7th Mar, 2020

01224 641122 – www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/his-majestys-theatre/

 

Kirkcaldy Adam Smith Theatre

Monday 9th Mar, 2020 – Wednesday 11th Mar, 2020

01592 583302 www.onfife.com/venues/adam-smith-theatre

 

Greenock Beacon Arts Centre

Thursday 12th Mar, 2020 – Saturday 14th Mar, 2020

01475 723 723. http://beaconartscentre.co.uk/

INTERVIEW: Emily Ashton, Belle in The Wedding Planners, a new musical comedy by Gillian Duffy & Alyson Orr at Eastwood Park Theatre this October

Mairi has her dream job running the ‘I Do’ wedding agency, planning that special day for brides to be all over the country. But it’s not all plain sailing – she has to deal with Bridezillas, Wild Hen Nights and making sure there’s always plenty of Prosecco on tap!

Mairi is also fed up being single; she can’t wait to find her Mr Right -she’s on every dating site there is, but she still can’t find her Prince Charming. And to make matters worse, her colleagues Rose and Belle (played by Emily) are both in relationships.

As Mairi continues to search for romance, she stumbles upon a secret that threatens to plunge the agency into chaos and ruin everything for an unsuspecting bride to be.

The Wedding Planners is the hilarious girls’ night out you won’t want to miss!

Tell us a little bit about the play.

It’s an original musical-comedy that takes place in the office of the ‘I Do’ wedding planner’s agency. It focuses mostly on the lives of and relationships between the three wedding planners that work there – Rose, Belle and Mairi – with plenty of surprises, fun and laughs along the way!

And your role…?

I play feisty and fun Belle! She’s a bit of a party animal and a Tinderella but at the end of the day she always gets the work done too! Work hard, play hard (maybe harder!) – I think that’s what Belle’s motto would be.

The play uses different types of languages, can you tell us more about that?  

The three girls tend to go into ‘wedding planner’ mode, which means a lot of wedding jargon! My character in particular likes to talk about online dating too, which is a different world altogether.

Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?

I come from a very musical family, therefore growing up I was constantly surrounded by musicians and performers! I was fortunate enough at a very young age to experience a day at work with my Dad – which just so happened at the time to be the Lyceum Theatre in London! Watching the show (Jesus Christ Superstar – now one of my favourite musicals!) along with seeing all of the ‘magic’ backstage got me totally hooked. I grew up performing with an amazing local youth theatre (Kayos), and then later some of the great amateur theatre companies local to Inverclyde. I always knew that I wanted to be an actress, however, wanting me to have something stable to fall back on, my parents encouraged me to go to university before going to drama school. I studied Theatre Studies at Glasgow University for four years, and three months after graduating I found myself at The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, training to be a professional actress! I graduated from ALRA in 2014 and have been out in the big bad world ever since.

Any advice for aspiring performers?

Everyone will tell you that it is one of the hardest professions to get into and to make a living from – and they would be right! However if you were born to be a performer, you will have it in you to combat every knock back, rejection or obstacle that comes your way. Stay true to yourself and work on believing in yourself too – self confidence is so important in this industry. Always do what makes you happy – even if that sometimes means leaving the profession for a while, or going down a slightly different path from what you imagined. Learn from and appreciate everyone that you work with, and never see anything as a ‘failure’ – only another opportunity to learn and grow from.

Finally, why should people come along to see the play? And where else can we see it?

The Wedding Planners is guaranteed to be a great night out for everyone! It’s full of laughs and the music is brilliant too. We have amazingly catchy, original songs penned by the very talented Alyson who plays Rose, so it will be a great chance to hear some new music as well as having a right giggle. It’s also a great excuse to pop some prosecco (as if we need a reason for that!). The show is playing in various lovely venues including Glasgow’s Oran Mor, The Beacon in Greenock, Paisley Arts Centre, Motherwell Theatre, Eastwood Park and East Kilbride Arts Centre. We’re even going to Irvine (Harbour Arts Centre) and Livingston (Holden Park Centre) too!

Tickets for The Wedding Planner at Eastwood Park Theatre on Wednesday 30 October are available now, priced at £15 standard: eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/boxoffice.

NEWS: Eight-year-old boy lands leading panto role at Eastwood Park Theatre

An eight-year-old boy has landed a leading role in his local theatre’s official pantomime production and is set to perform to thousands of theatre goers this December.

Giffnock Primary pupil Sam Felderhof will play his dream role of Buttons in Eastwood Park Theatre’s all singing, all dancing panto.

The school boy secured a place at GAMTA, home to many Scottish stars in the making, when he was just six years old and recently appeared in Bugsy Malone at Brickhouse Theatre, playing one of Fat Sam’s Gang.

Sam will join the rest of the GAMTA cast including leading lady Ava Anderson, who will play Cinderella, and Ugly Sisters Chiara Flynn and Rebecca McComb on stage.


Image: Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital

Sam said: “The casting took place last week and I was so excited to be told I was going to play Cinderella’s best pal Buttons – I can’t wait to get all the kids in the audience joining Buttons’ gang.

“It’s such a fun part to play in what’s set to be a huge GAMTA panto production. All the other cast members have great experience performing for big audiences and singing with live bands so I’m sure I’ll learn a lot along the way.

“I’m thrilled to be performing at Eastwood Park Theatre – it’s my local theatre and I’ve always wanted to be on stage there so to land a lead role there so early on has been a dream come true for me.”

18-year-old Ava Anderson from Hamilton, who will play Cinderella, said the whirlwind of panto has already begun.

Ava said: “I auditioned on Wednesday, was told I was successful on Saturday and on Sunday I went along to Eastwood Park Theatre in a Cinderella ballgown for a ‘Selfies with Cinders’ event and had my picture taken with lots of little princesses and prince Charmings.

“I have been at GAMTA since I was 14 and played the the Fairy Godmother in The Wiz at the Citizen’s Theatre last year.

“I love singing, acting, dancing and audience interaction so I can’t wait to get the panto rehearsals underway – it’s going to be a brilliant show.”

Tickets are £15 standard/£45 for a family panto pass and are on sale now for Cinderella at Eastwood Park Theatre- oh yes they are! www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/boxoffice.

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