Northern Connections at the Riley Theatre

Three emerging dance artists from Leeds and Manchester will perform a triple bill at the Riley Theatre on 27 April, as part of the Arts Council-funded programme Northern Connections. Chapeltown’s Akeim Buck, Leeds’ Daniel Phung and Sheffield’s Keira Martin will perform dance pieces in a bid to demonstrate, nurture and retain talent in the north of England. Now in its second year, Northern Connections has partnered with Spin Arts and Yorkshire Dance to make this professional development opportunity possible.

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The Flamenco Edition

Following successful tours in 2015 and 2016, Flamenco Edition returns in 2017 with the Ana Morales Flamenco Company. Touring to more venues than ever before and following the success of previous tours – Jesus Fernandez in 2015 and Olga Pericet in 2016 – Flamenco Edition 2017 presents Ana Morales Flamenco Company in Reunión – a brand new show for the UK, touring to Newcastle, Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham and Bournemouth between 9–17 May.

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The UK’s first revolving theatre

Liverpool is set to install the UK’s first revolving theatre, as part of plans to revitalise Liverpool’s Ten Streets dockland area into a creative hub for arts and technology organisations. The ‘stage-around theatre’, in which seats rotate to face different stages, will be the first of its kind in the UK, as part of ambitious plans for a new creative quarter that officials hope could create thousands of jobs in Liverpool.

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The New Musical Development Collective

The New Musical Development Collective, a new organisation to nurture emerging musical theatre artists, is being launched, partnering with Theatre Royal Stratford East. The organisation will focus on the development of British musicals and musical theatre artists, through supporting four new musical projects and eight artists over the course of a year. The group will therefore be in residence at Theatre Royal Stratford East for one year from March.

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Northern Ballet announces MacMillan triple bill

Northern Ballet recently announced a triple bill of works by late choreographer Kenneth MacMillan for this autumn, with further performances in spring next year. The programme will consist of MacMillan’s Las Hermanas, Gloria and Concerto, and will be performed in both Bradford and Leeds. This programme will mark the first time Northern Ballet has danced ballets by MacMillan, and additionally marks 25 years since the choreographer’s death, backstage at the Royal Opera House.  Continue reading Northern Ballet announces MacMillan triple bill

Rosie Kay Dance Company’s new work

Rosie Kay Dance Company recently premiered new work MK ULTRA, focusing on the generational gap in knowledge about mind control conspiracies within pop culture today. The work is therefore inspired by pop-culture conspiracy theory and the Illuminati, a shadowy elite cult that brainwashes child actors and singers, and controls mass opinion through puppet performers (who brainwash with music videos and mass entertainment vehicles). This sits on a hotbed of ‘Fake News’ and ‘Alternative Facts’ which often create headlines.

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Crazy for Caroline Flack

The classic musical Crazy for You is soon to reappear around the UK, as it embarks on a UK tour this summer. Adding to the excitement of the musical reopening, television presenter Caroline Flack will make her stage debut in the UK tour. Flack previously won the 2014 series of Strictly Come Dancing – and trained at Bodyworks in Cambridge – so a step onto the musical theatre stage will not be at all taxing for the performer.

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Annie – starring Miranda Hart

Much-loved comedian Miranda Hart is set to make her West End debut in the musical Annie, playing the notorious Miss Hannigan in Nikolai Foster’s show. Foster will direct the new production of Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre, London to open in May this year, a distinct change for Hart renowned for her stand-up comedic talents. Musical theatre will be a new string to her bow, with fans anticipated to support the star’s venture into singing, dancing and acting.

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Hair’s 50th anniversary production

The 1960s musical Hair is set to receive an immersive revival at The Vaults, in the heart of London, returning to the city for its 50th anniversary production. This new production of the acclaimed musical will be a particularly immersive one, celebrating the show’s anniversary in October, underground in The Vaults near to Waterloo in the city.

Hair will run at The Vaults from 10 October to 3 December, with previews from 4 October: it is set to be a hugely successful opening. Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, the production will be preceded by an immersive experience including pop-up restaurants and themed stalls down in The Vaults, and added post-show entertainment will include ’60s discos, live bands, and screenings of iconic ’60s movies. In an experience similar to that of Secret Cinema, the musical is sure to delight and excite.

Hair is set in the East Village of New York in 1967, and tells the story of a tribe of young people yearning to change the world – under the shadow of the Vietnam War. It features the songs “Aquarius”, “Let the Sun Shine In” and “Good Morning Star Shine”, and has a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni. With music by Galt MacDermot the show is a plea for change, and is particularly poignant in how relevant it could be regarded today.

The production will be mounted by four young producers; Katy Lipson, Ollie Rosenblatt, Joseph Houston and William Whelton. Whilst they have some experience under their belts the foursome are undoubtedly fresh-faced, however this unique transfer looks set to deliver for them. Already there has been a very positive reaction to the vibrant young production of Hair, providing it with both a future and longevity. At 50 years old The Vaults is the perfect setting to celebrate this continually topical and moving musical.

Theatre Etiquette

Theatre etiquette is a topic that springs up time and time again, albeit faster than the time it takes for your neighbour along the row to move from their seats to let you past to yours. This is just one instance in the theatre of behaviour that detracts from the theatrical experience for many audience members, where their enjoyment is tainted by the fact others cannot and will not behave accordingly.

Shuffling along the row to your seat aside, it seems many audience members – be it at a musical theatre show, a ballet, a straight play or even an immersive experience – are unable to abide by simple etiquette rules in the theatre in order to enhance everyone’s experience. A Saturday matinee performance is notorious for sweet wrappers and young children, but more often than not food is taken into the auditorium similar to the cinematic experience. Some may argue that this shift towards cinema is positive in encouraging new audiences to enjoy the theatre, however not at the distraction from what is happening on stage.

Mobile phones are another bugbear for many, audience members and critics alike. With a world that is increasingly technology-orientated, it is no surprise that mobile phones and tablets are constant in our daily lives. As the lights go down the audience is still awash with a glow as they check those final emails or social media sites, unwilling to turn the device off or even to silent. Sometimes said device even takes precedence over what is happening on stage, with all usher rules taking the backseat. Curtain call photographs are now in abundance as audiences strive to take them despite calls from ushers!

Whilst there is no doubt that theatre is changing, becoming more accessible and welcoming to new audiences, it seems unorthodox for the theatre etiquette to change so drastically too.