Friday feeling – news aplenty

All hail the return of Nicola Walker to the stage! Get your tickets for Camelot! Discover the Heart of Darkness! Get your exam in musical theatre singing with ABRSM!

London Musical Theatre Orchestra has announced casting for Saturday’s concert version of Camelot at the London Palladium and there’s still a few tickets going. Packed with some of musical theatre’s best songs, LMTO’s concert version with full orchestra will celebrate the centenary of Alan Jay Lerner’s birth.

The role of Arthur will be played by Olivier Award-winner David Thaxton (Passion / Les Misérables / Jesus Christ Superstar), Guenevere will be played by Savannah Stevenson (Wicked / Aspects of Love / Follies), and Lancelot will be played by internationally renowned opera star Charles Rice (Mozart’s Requiem The Barber of Seville / Candide).

Sam Swann (Jekyll & Hyde / Mr Selfridge / Vicious / Wendy & Peter Pan) will play MordredClive Carter (Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again Oklahoma! / Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert We Will Rock You / Into the Woods) will play both roles of Pellinore and MerlynNimue will be played by Celinde Schoenmaker (Barnum / The Phantom of the Opera / Les Misérables), Matthew McKenna (Sunset Boulevard / Starlight Express / We Will Rock You / Legally Blonde / The Phantom of the Opera) will play Sir DinadanSir Lionel will be played by Emmanuel Kojo (Girl From the North Country / Show Boat / The Scottsboro Boys), Sir Sagramore will be played by Oliver Savile (Wicked / LMTO’s State Fair The Phantom Of The Opera) and Raphael Higgins-Humes (Lion King / Motown The Musical / Matilda The Musical) will play Tom of Warwick.

The LMTO Chorus includes: Jake Byrom, Elissa Churchill, Charlotte Clitherow, Ed Court, Emma Fraser, Lee van Geelen, Erin Hair, Daniel Hall, Adam Hepworth, Matthew McDonald, Emma Oliver, Cameron Potts, Lydia Shaw, Rosie Williamson, Lizzie Wofford and Thomas Wright.

Tickets for Camelot are on sale now.

Alun Armstrong, Maggie Steed and Nicola Walker have been cast in the world premiere of The Cane, written by Mark Ravenhill and directed by Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone.

With design by Chloe Lamford and lighting design by Natasha Chivers.

The Cane will be performed in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs Thursday 6 December 2018 – Saturday 26 January 2019. 

“It will be the biggest send off any teacher has ever had. No teacher is as loved”

After 45 years as a dedicated teacher, Edward is looking forward to the imminent celebration to mark his retirement.

But his home is under siege. A mob of angry students have gathered. A brick has been thrown through the window, he and his wife haven’t left the house for six days, and now his estranged daughter has arrived with her own questions.

“Why would they attack the most popular teacher in the school?”

There will be a post-show talk with Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone and writer Mark Ravenhill on Tuesday 18 December 2018.

Full casting announced for the UK stage premiere of Heart of Darkness

imitating the dog, one of the UK’s most original and innovative performance theatre companies are delighted to announce full casting for the UK stage premiere for their bold retelling of Joseph Conrad’s extraordinarily influential and timely novel – Heart of Darkness.

The production’s ensemble will feature Laura Atherton (A Farewell To Arms, imitating the dog); Msimisi Dlamini (Soul Sister, West End and UK Tour; Spanish Tragedy, Arcola Theatre and Butterfly Lion, Curve Leicester) Keicha Greenidge (In The Club, Bafta winning Three Girls and From Darkness, all BBC); Morven Macbeth (A Farewell to Arms, imitating the dog; Bring The Happy, Invisible Flock and Opening Skinner’s Box, Improbable) and Matt Prendergast (The Train, imitating the dog).

Following on from their popular and critically acclaimed adaptation in 2014 of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, imitating the dog will stage an exploration of Conrad’s classic novel filled with visually rich, multi-layered work that fuses live performance and digital technology.

Written more than 100 years ago, amid the optimism at the turn of a new century, Heart of Darkness, which explored the journey of Conrad’s narrator Charles Marlow travelling up the Congo river into the Congo Free State in the heart of Africa, is a tale of lies and brutal greed and of the dark heart which beats within us all. Now retold as the journey of a black woman through war torn Europe, the play explores a forsaken landscape lost to the destructive lust for power and emerges as a tale absolutely for our time.

Negotiating race, gender and the themes of exploitation, violence and nationalism, imitating the dog’s Heart of Darkness is a searing parable for our times, created at a moment when versions of Britain’s colonial past are being held up as a golden era and when our relationship to Europe is being severely tested.

Co-directed by imitating the dog’s co-founders Pete Brooks and Andrew Quick, Heart of Darkness will premiere in Italy at Marche Teatro’s Teatro Sperimentale in Ancona and then tour to Aberystwyth Arts Centre (16-17 November) and Birmingham Repertory Theatre (20-24 November). In 2019 the production will tour from March to May to Doncaster, Glasgow, Lancaster, Keswick, Newcastle, Didcot, York, Ipswich, Salford, Liverpool and Coventry.

Announcing new exams in Singing for Musical Theatre at Grades 1–3

Learners with a passion for stage and film musicals can now master the power of the West End and Broadway’s most iconic show tunes with the newly launched ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre exams – endorsed by industry experts and supported by top global theatre stars.

From Gershwin to Sondheim, the West End to Disney, the songs in the new ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus span the world of musical theatre across stage and screen, giving learners the opportunity to celebrate their achievements, through the established and globally recognised ABRSM graded exam structure.

Award winning global theatre star Kerry Ellis, ‘West End’s favourite leading lady’; Cleo Demetriou, the youngest ever Olivier winner for her role in Matilda, and Ash Hunter of Hamilton fame have given their support to the new ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre exams – to encourage the first cohort of learners to take ABRSM’s Singing for Musical Theatre exams from January 2019.
Industry experts, including the Brit School, have worked with ABRSM to create an online-only syllabus: this innovation will ensure that new songs from the latest musicals can easily be added.

Musical theatre performer Kerry Ellis said: “Whether you plan to use your Singing for Musical Theatre exam as a springboard for an audition, as preparation for the industry or simply because you love singing songs from musicals, it is important you build all the skills you need to be a rounded and successful performer.”

ABRSM Chief Executive Michael Elliott said: “Industry experts and leading consultants have worked with us to create this appealing new syllabus. These exams will be authentic to the genre and capture the energy and fun of musical theatre, while giving learners a strong, structured environment in which to develop their technical and performance skills through the songs they love. We’ve designed the exam to support learners to be their very best.
“We are sure the new and attractive set of singing for musical theatre exams will be very appealing to a wide range of teachers and learners worldwide – both those already familiar with ABRSM, and those for whom our exams will be an exciting new venture.”

Singing syllabus and vocal health
The songs featured in the ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre exams have been carefully selected by industry experts to reflect the different dramatic contexts and genres within musical theatre. At Grades 1–3, the selected material encourages vocally safe singing for young and developing voices, as well as songs that are age-appropriate in content.

Rachel Lyske, Brit School teacher and ABRSM consultant, said: “Vocal health has been a massive consideration when selecting the ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre repertoire – vocal challenges and demands increase at each grade. Due to the nature of ABRSM exams, the syllabus allows for a focus on the understanding of music and the technical aspects of singing.”

ABRSM is fully committed to making graded Singing for Musical Theatre exams available right up to Grade 8. Grades 4 and above will be following soon.

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