On Sunday 18 November, 2 December, 20 January 2013 and 24 February 2013, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is set to perform in Rain Room at The Curve, Barbican Centre. Random International’s acclaimed Rain Room installation in the Curve gallery will be inhabited by dancers from Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, performing continuously evolving interventions in the Rain, with a score by contemporary composer Max Richter.
Known for their distinctive approach to digital-based contemporary art, Random International’s experimental artworks come alive through audience interaction. Their largest and most ambitious installation yet, Rain Room is a 100square metre field of falling water for visitors to walk through and experience how it might feel to control the rain. On entering The Curve the visitor hears the sound of water and feels moisture in the air before discovering the thousands of falling droplets that respond to their presence and movement.
Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is part of Weekend Labs which are immersive arts workshops for adults, offering two full days of action and conversation with other interesting people at the Barbican. They give an opportunity to explore creative work in-depth though practical work in a range of international art forms with Weekend Labs giving a direct access to world class arts and learning programme. These events will build on a series of past collaborations between the award-winning choreographer McGregor and the acclaimed studio Random International, including Random International’s Future Self (MADE, Berlin, April 2012) and Wayne McGregor | Random Dance’s FAR which premiered at Sadler’s Wells in November 2010. FAR is now touring nationally and internationally.
McGregor is a multi-award-winning British choreographer and director, internationally renowned for his physically testing choreography and groundbreaking collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science. In addition to being Artistic Director of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, he is also Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London and Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet (appointed 2006).
Admission is free but audiences will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis from the queue.
2012 is set to see two exciting new musicals hit London’s West End Theatreland: The Bodyguardand Viva Forever!. The Bodyguardis adapted from the Oscar-winning 1992 film which saw Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner star, whilst Viva Foreveris an original story based on the music of the hit British girl band the Spice Girls, opening at the Adelphi and Piccadilly Theatres respectively.
Broadway actress Heather Headley will be making her West End debut complete with New Yorkers and sparkling dresses when she begins her role in The Bodyguard, with the book by Alex Dinelaris and directed by Thea Sharrock. She plays world-famous singer Rachel Marron opposite Lloyd Owen as ex-Secret Service agent-turned-bodyguard Frank Farmer who is hired to protect her when threats are made against her life, with love unexpectedly blossoming. Headley is a Tony and Grammy Award winning actress who first became known when she originated the role of Nala in the Broadway production of The Lion King. She then went on to originate the title role in Aida, for which she won the Tony Award for ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ (2000), and also took part in the concert production of musical Dreamgirlsdonning similar high-heeled shoes and big hair.
British television actress Hannah John-Karmen will also make her West End debut in the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever!,based on a book by Jennifer Saunders and directed by Paul Carrington. John-Karmen plays Viva, a young girl who lives on a houseboat with her mother – to be played by Sally-Ann Triplett – and forms a girl band with her friends, entering an X Factor-style TV talent show. John-Karmen took part in the developmental, leg-warmer clad workshops of the musical alongside Triplett and was offered the lead role after impressing the creative team. The 22-year-old actress, a huge Spice Girls fan, trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and is most known for her TV work, most prominently as burlesque dancer Rosa Maria Ramirez in The Hour and Jo ‘the ice-cream girl’ Portman in Misfits, but has also appeared in The Syndicate, Whitechapeland Black Mirror, among others.
London’s West End is currently in a state of flux. Musical productions continue to close, making way for others to take their place, for sometimes only weeks at a time. At first this seems localised; however, it may be that these occurrences spread outside of London, nationally and even internationally.
From the blue spangled leotards and tap shoes of Crazy For You, to Betty Blue Eyes the singing pig, it is hoped that this does not mark the end of the British musical. Successes such as Billy Elliot – the aspiring young dancer who steps boldly into professional ballet shoes – hold hope that West End musicals contain the magic ingredient that will spell a lengthy run.
However, it is inevitable that there are musical productions waiting left, right and centre ready to fill previous shows’ homes, and fill again those tired tights which once ruled the stage. The level of competition to rule the West End stage is seen to have increased dramatically.
The correlation between a show’s origin and success rate appears irrational. Whether a show’s life is home-grown from “baby ballets” to pointes, its content relating to that of its surroundings, or a production of far-off wonder, it bears no relation on how long it will stay running, which is additionally independent of how much an audience appears to love it. Despite this, even the most least likely musicals such as Thriller have been received spectacularly – if the jazz shoe fits, wear it!
Arguably a certain amount of performance relies on popularity in order to be a triumph, yet another key element of the mix is of course originality, to maintain freshness within the industry. This only further emphasises how unpredictable a show’s success can be and how we cannot predict the future of the British musical industry.