The spine-tingling Dickens classic A Christmas Carol is on at Leeds Playhouse’s Pop-Up theatre, in association with SOYO Leeds.
This must-see Christmas production in Leeds has already been reviewed by Blog Up North's Mel Neale.
Here's what Mel thought:
The Leeds Playhouse Pop-Up theatre is delightfully intimate and a perfect performance space for this beloved classic. Our adventure begins as we locate this tucked away gem, when we discovered the entrance we were immediately transported on to a Dickensian street. The smell of mulled wine filled the air, and the audience hustled and bustled on the cobbled street or found a quaint little corner to sit in. On entering the theatre itself I was enchanted; The set design, lighting and costume were magical. As I sat in expectation for the performance to begin I realised I was a little nervous; like many of us, this story holds a special place in my heart and I am protective of it. However, the story was placed in very safe hands. Deborah McAndrew’s northern adaptation did us proud.
The stage opens in song as our vibrant ensemble bring the victorian setting to life. This talented chorus seamlessly morph from character to character as they weave the tapestry of the story. Throughout this telling there is a dark undertone, the fragility of life is never far away and the impish chorus of spirits are a reminder of the ever present afterlife. However, the excellent performances of Hull truck theatre and Amy Leach’s direction, meant that laughter, joy and hope are also ever present. In one moment we might be in the otherworldly enchantment of the ethereal ghost of Christmas past, in the next the tenderness of the Cratchit home, and in the next being entertained in musical hall style by the fabulous ghost of Christmas present.
This enchanting, funny and musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol cannot fail to get you in the Christmas spirit.
. With an extended run and over 17,000 tickets already sold, this much-loved Dickens tale is filled with Christmasspirit, joy and music and runs from 20 November 2018 to 19 January 2019.
The official Low-Down
The production's Tiny Tims are played by young local actors Lipalo Mokete from Leeds and Seb Smallwood from Harrogate. Cast following an open call-out in September which saw over 50 young people audition for the role, Lipalo and Seb have spent their half terms rehearsing with cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Robert Pickavance (Europe, Leeds Playhouse).
The full company are made up of the Leeds Playhouse Ensemble with Bob Cratchit being played by Darren Kuppan (Morocco in Europe, Leeds Playhouse) and Mrs Cratchit played by Jo Mousley (Katia in Europe, Leeds Playhouse).
Taking us through Scrooge’s dreams are the ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, played by Tessa Parr (Adele in Europe, Leeds Playhouse) and Elexi Walker (Airplays, Leeds Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds) respectively.Joining them are Joe Alessi (Fret in Europe, Leeds Playhouse) who plays the infamous tormented ghost Marley; Susan Twist (Airplays, Leeds Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds) as Mrs Fezziwig; and Dan Parr (Berlin in Europe, Leeds Playhouse) as Fred.
A Christmas Carol is adapted by award-winning, West Yorkshire born playwright Deborah McAndrew, directed by Leeds Playhouse’s Associate Director Amy Leach (Road, Romeo & Juliet, Kes, The Night Before Christmas, Leeds Playhouse) and designed by award-winning Hayley Grindle (Road, Romeo & Juliet, Leeds Playhouse).
A Christmas Carol is a Leeds Playhouse production in association with Hull Truck Theatre.
A Christmas Carol, Leeds Playhouse Pop-Up theatre
Tue 20 Nov – Sat 19 Jan, Press Night Fri 23 Nov, 7pm
Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online leedsplayhouse.org.uk
Review by Janet Hale
Jersey Boys is a musical following the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from the 1960s through to their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The music is amazing, from love songs to high energy numbers. The story was narrated by the different characters in the group, with the songs intermingled, there was also a lot of humour in it too. The set was very minimalistic but worked very well.
I didn't recognise any of the cast but it did not matter in fact I think I think it would have detracted from the musical. All the male members of the group were excellent singers and dancers.
The cast is as follows:
The role of Tommy De Vito is played by Peter Nash
Bob Gaudio is played by James Winter
Nick Massi is played by Karl James Wilson
Hank Majewski is played by Dan O'Brien
Norm Waxman is played by Joe Maxwell
Francine is played by Amy Thiroff
The background musicians were also very good. The only downside was a female group who sang one song, I didn't feel it was needed and their singing wasn't the best.
I would highly recommend this, a really good night out.
The official low-down
Leeds audiences can not take their eyes off the Jersey Boys as the Tony, Olivier and Grammy Award-winning show is on at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 20 November to Saturday 1 December 2018.
Based on the remarkable true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the musical charts the ‘wrong side of the tracks’, New Jersey group’s rise to stardom to become one of the most successful bands in pop history; by the age of 30, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons had sold more than 175 million records worldwide and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Jersey Boys first opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre on 18 March 2008 and moved to the Piccadilly Theatre in March 2014. The Olivier Award-winning West End production closed on Sunday 26 March 2017 following nine amazing years. The first UK & Ireland Tour of Jersey Boys was a record-breaking success and ran for 18 months, from 4 September 2014 to 5 March 2016.
Winner of Broadway’s Tony, London’s Olivier and Australia’s Helpmann Awards for Best New Musical, Jersey Boys is the winner of 57 major awards worldwide and has been seen by over 25 million people.
Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700
140 YEARS OLD: LEEDS GRAND THEATRE CELEBRATES MAJOR MILESTONE
The press night of Jersey Boys also celebrated the anniversary of Leeds Grand Theatre - 140 years!
Leeds Grand Theatre turned 140-years-old on Sunday 18 November and celebrated this major milestone with a series of events spanning two weeks, including the ‘Oh What a Night’ a red carpet event in collaboration with hit Broadway and West End musical, Jersey Boys.
Built in 1878, reportedly following an off-the-cuff remark by Prince Albert that Leeds needed a good theatre as “nothing was more calculated to promote culture and raise the tone of the people”, Leeds Grand Theatre or The Grand Old Lady of Leeds (the staff universally refer to the Grand as ‘she’) is an intriguing mix of Romanesque and Victorian Gothic styles and a major milestone in Victorian design; famed for its sumptuous interior, plasterwork and other decorative features.
The brainchild of architect, George Corson, the build took 13 months to complete at a cost of £62,000. The overall scheme embraced six shops, Assembly Rooms, a Supper Room and large cellars; this magnificent Grade II* listed building was deemed ‘ahead of its time’ and once described as ‘probably the finest of its size in Britain’.
Opening night featured Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing starring the then actor-manager and playwright, Wilson Barrett (several function rooms within The Grand have since been named in his honour). Stars that have since trodden the boards include Julie Andrews, Ken Dodd, Bruce Forsyth, Elton John, Peter Kay, Morecambe and Wise, Laurence Olivier, Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele. In more recent years, The Grand has welcomed Fern Britton, Dara O’Briain, Jake Bugg, Andrew Flintoff, Nigel Havers, Jane McDonald and Sting.
Seating 1466 at full capacity, the auditorium provides a home for performances of all types, including its resident companies Opera North and Northern Ballet. Since its Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council supported ‘transformation’ in 2006, the theatre has hosted the best of the West End and other touring productions, including large musicals, drama from the National Theatre, comedians and music. The theatre provided a venue for the world premieres of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s, The Girls (2015), and Fat Friends The Musical (2017) which was penned by Leeds’s own award-winning writer, Kay Mellor.
Chris Blythe, CEO, says: “Leeds Grand Theatre is a stalwart in a city famed for its cultural offering; a jewel in its crown. It has welcomed an incredible number of diverse entertainers and shows over the past 140 years and will continue to do so for many years to come; we hope at least another 140!
“Thanks to the overwhelming and enduring support of the people of Leeds (not forgetting the significant financial support from Leeds City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund) the theatre has weathered substantial challenges throughout its 140 years. From a planned demolition in 1969 to make way for new office blocks to the discovery of a significant risk to the roof holding up the ornate plaster ceiling in the auditorium which almost closed the venue in 2016, the theatre remains true to the old motto that ‘the show must go on’. It is a tribute to the staff, both past and present that this ‘grand old lady’ of Leeds continues to bring entertainment and joy to the city and the region.”
Patrons of Leeds Grand are being encouraged to share their stories on social media tagging @grandtheatreLS1 and using the hashtag #LeedsGrandAt140 or by emailing email@example.com. The best stories will be shared on The Grand’s social platforms.
“We should all be so very proud of the Grand Theatre, right through the country, the world and of course here in Yorkshire.” Dickie Bird OBE.
By Rebecca Roversi
In 1947, up to two million people died due to the divide of British India. Until 7:30pm on Wednesday 7th November, when I watched Nick Ahad’s play “Partition”, I had no knowledge of this important aspect of history.
The Partition of India is something rarely spoken about. A violent and traumatic time for those involved that separated families and broke up communities. India was split into two nations, separating Hindus and Muslims. Religions that had been living harmoniously were suddenly enemies and this has had a ripple effect, which the generations of 2018 are still affected by.
Despite the deep and difficult nature of this topic, Nick Ahad has created an excellent balance of comedy, tragedy and education. Originally a radio play, Partition was brought to life in front of me in the Pop Up Theatre at Leeds Playhouse. Set in Leeds, it tells the story of Saima and Ranjit on their wedding day which threatens to be ruined due to their families feud, dating back to the partition and therefore, resisting their marriage.
Truthfully, as I entered the theatre and was confronted with microphones, music/script stands, a door, table, bench and a variety of props, I questioned what I was going to see. Was it just going to be actors talking their lines and bashing a few props about? Within the first minute I was hooked. A clever balance of radio play and performance, it went against conventional theatre and everything I would have shouted at my students for in my former drama teacher days. Actors in their own clothes, scripts and a stage manager on stage all breaking the illusion of theatre in a traditional sense questioned everything I know however I immediately connected with the characters and these elements added to the whole experience.
The cast, Balvinder Sopal, Mez Galeria, Luke Walker and Sushil Chudasama, immediately engaged the audience with their vocal talents and seamlessly multi-rolling. I was fascinated with the way Sushil switched between an 18, 30 something and 70 year old man. A live radio play is exposing for the actors and he used nothing but his vocal abilities and non-verbal communication to transform into these characters. His performance of Rajpal’s monologue, which I later learned was a true testimony from a man who had experienced Partition first hand, was powerful, very moving and almost brought a tear to my eye. It reminded me of my Grandad, who had served in the war and wouldn’t talk about his experiences thus showing that, despite different battles, different religions and different countries, there is so much common ground.
Balvinder Sopal also played three roles that were polar opposites. An elderly Asian lady struggling with her only daughter marrying a Sikh, Mandy, the nervous registrar holding her first ceremony and Denise, a brash, confident café owner. She simply used a blue scarf with strong physical and vocal expression to clearly portray the characters and I loved her character of Denise, a direct Yorkshire lass, bossing her colleague (played by Luke Walker) around and showing very little customer service! Denise brought a drop of humour to the play when it was getting deep or intense.
The creation of Radio Drama is always something that has fascinated me so to see stage manager Lucy Bradford on stage, jiggling keys, clattering bowls and spoons and, most hilariously, waving some rubber gloves about, was interesting and added a level of comedy to the performance. In all honesty, the performance by the actors was so engaging that, as an audience member, you forgot about the scripts, microphones and other elements that usually you wouldn’t see. Clever lighting created split scenes and the use of spot indicated when Saima or Amina were talking to their dad/husband who had passed away. These moments brought the mother and daughter together, despite being apart physically and emotionally.
I have spent 12 years teaching students Drama and watched many theatrical performances over the years, Partition is a piece I will remember for a long time. The education it gave me had a deeper impact on me and, as someone who loves the full theatrical experience of set, lighting, costume etc. it took me out of my comfort zone and I enjoyed it so much because of that fact.
Partition is going on a schools tour and I know the response will be fantastic.
Despite studying the World Wars in the curriculum, the Partition is nowhere to be seen and such an important part of history. I believe students will connect with Nick Ahad’s story and the characters, as I did, which will make it real and give facts and figures a face. This play could have a real impact on the younger generations; opening them up to history, culture and relationships they haven’t experience before. A modern, thought provoking, funny piece of theatre which will stick in the audiences mind for years to come.
11/14/2018 0 Comments
By Panni Loh
Step back in time to the mysterious world of Professor Victoria B Darcy on Ecclesall Road.
Inside is a botanical delight of blossom overhead, with cocktails and desserts topped with edible flora.
Succulent frosted blackberries donned my ‘hedgerow’ cooler which was refreshing with its blend of lavender, apple and lemon syrups.
Meanwhile we were treated to a botanical crown by Erin and Vicky from Swallows and Damsons.
Dropping by with their fragrant foliage and flower stems we were all soon suitably crowned to sample the botanical feast that awaited us.
A botanical feast
Roasted chicken on a bed of chickpeas, wilted spinach and chorizo melted in the mouth with fresh pesto to add a tang. Fish in poppyseed batter with fries and drinks. Cocktails even came with deserts, but as driving i chose the elderflower pannacotta with sugar cube shaped home shortbread.
The staff were very helpful and full of botanical knowledge to help with selection making. The menu also catered for vegetarians and with tasty food and the curious botanical works I’ll be sure to go back again.
Visit The Lost and Found in Sheffield, at the following address:
516 Ecclesall Road,
Or for more information, go to: https://the-lostandfound.co.uk/sheffield
By Panni Loh
I was invited to review renowned York restaurant The Star Inn The City with my daughter and grand-children during the half-term holidays.
We were treated to canapés and drinks whilst the children tested out the new kids menu aka The Startlets Menu.
Entering The Star Inn the City, York City Centre
The magic started whilst walking under an archway in the city walls to find The Star Inn The City sitting proudly by the river.
My first impression was that care had been taken with each table decorated with a unique ornamental gourd.
I loved the prawn cocktail lettuce boats and select artisan breads.
My favourite part was the dessert, the bramble mousse topped with honey and pumpkin seed granola-so nice to have such a seasonal dish from fruits of autumn.
Here's how my grand-children and daughter got on with their food:
It was a special time in such a fantastic space with glass walls allowing you to keep cosy but feel part of the autumn river and park scene.
After being well looked after by friendly staff we all had a lovely sunny walk along the river before we headed over the park to see St. Mary’s Abbey ruins.
The Star Inn The City is not just beautiful inside but it’s set in a very pretty natural setting close to York’s amazing historical sites.
A huge thank you to, The Star Inn The City, Kate from Avocado Events and Ben from York on a Fork for hosting. It was great to meet Orange Kite First Aid, Harrogate Mama, Helpful Mum, York Mumbler, Families Online, Little Vikings and everyone else. My Grandchildren loved using the Doddle Cutlery too!
By Nicola of Mind Garbage blog
First things first, for anyone who doesn’t know what Motown the Musical is, here is the official description of the show.
With just $800 borrowed from his family Berry Gordy founded Motown Records and launched the careers of legendary artists including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Temptations, and many more.
This is the next chapter in Motown’s incredible history and is an experience you’ll never forget. Featuring over 50 classic hits including My Girl, What's Going On, Dancing in the Street, I Heard It Through The Grapevine and Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
Motown The Musical tells the thrilling tale of the man who broke barriers, fought against the odds to create something more than a record label. Discover the story behind Motown, the personal relationships, the professional struggles, and - of course - the music that made history, defined the sound of a generation and got the whole world moving to the same beat.
Not only is this an amazing expression of a particularly great time for music, it is also a great story that is worth telling, and one that until tonight I was mostly unaware of. A story about how music can overcome many barriers and bring people together, and with the hard work of the artists, and Berry Gordy Motown records managed to do just that.
Before I saw the show I wasn’t sure if the story was going to be very present or whether it would just be a bunch of motown classics masquerading as a musical, but there is no doubt that the plot of the show is very much present and just as (if not more) powerful than the music.
There are 2 main storylines intertwined throughout the show, the main one is of course that of Berry Gordy building Motown Records and all of the drama that comes along with it, the second is his relationship with Diana Ross. Both of these storylines of course run alongside each other wonderfully. But the real underlying theme is so evident at the end of the show that no one could possibly doubt that love is really what it was about all along. Their love for each other, their love for the music, and their love for the man who brought them all together.
I’d like to be able to pick one stand out star of the show to tell you about, but the truth is that the entire cast work together and compliment each other so well, that every single one of them shines while they are on stage. I wasn’t sure whether or not they would all be able to fill the big shoes of the legends that they were playing, but they all managed to do an exceptional job.
One character in particular however did stand out to me as adding an extra level of heart and light relief to the show and that was Smokey Robinson played by Nathan Lewis, if found the character to be effortlessly charming and funny in a very endearing way.
Berry Gordy was played Edward Baruwa who had an incredibly commanding presence on the stage, which was perfectly complemented by the wonder that was Karis Anderson as Diana Ross. The two worked together extremely well and had excellent chemistry on stage.
As well as the vocals, the music itself was amazing, and the sets were absolutely stunning. Hats off the entire team working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring to life the legacy of an amazing man in such a terrific way. And especially the director Charles Randolph-Wright who did a magnificent job with this show.
Now, the official description of the show says it is a thrilling tale, and there can be absolutely no doubt that it is, however, what makes the show even more thrilling is the feeling in the audience as the show goes on. At the beginning it felt like sitting down to any other show in the theatre, exciting of course, but not any more extraordinary than any other time I’ve been.
I can pinpoint the moment that the feeling in the audience changed, the energy increased, and it went from feeling like a musical, to feeling like something I haven’t really experienced before. That moment was during Dancing in the Street, that was when the I heard the first person singing along, and saw the first people dancing in their chairs.
From that point on the atmosphere was something completely different, people were clapping along to the hits, dancing and singing along as well. It really felt like rather than being in a theatre in Leeds watching a musical, we were all in the crowd at a genuine Motown music show. It was an exciting thing to be a part of. By the end, the entire crowd was on it’s feet dancing and singing along, it was a standing ovation of a completely different sort.
Whether you are a fan of Motown, a fan of theatre, a fan of music in general, or simply want a night of being transported to another time and place, then I would highly recommend that you go and see this show. You won’t be disappointed.
The show is running at Leeds Grand Theatre until the 17th November and is selling out fast, if you want to see this and other phenomenal shows then tickets are available at www.leedsgrandtheatre.com
Based on the Oscar-winning film starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man stars Gavin and Staceyâs Mathew Horne and Downtown Abbeyâs Ed Speleers as brothers Raymond and Charlie Babbitt (Horne and Speleers).
I had heard a lot about the film and having an autistic brother, I was inclined to see the show, alongside my step-dad, to see what all the fuss was about.
My step-Dad Lee Furness had seen the film of which he feels is a fair portrayal of Autism and Savant syndrome (for the time it was made) - the only problem being is the film has led to the wider public thinking that all autistic people have this picture perfect memory and the symptoms of "Savants." Whereas my brother does not.
I haven't seen the film and had only read the storyline so the stage adaptation was a first for me.
Rain Man - Review
The play was gripping thanks to the outstanding performances of the two leads Horne and Speelers. The scenes were simple.
My step-dad said that it was very similar to the film, but he felt that it could have been transformed for the stage rather than just a basic replica of parts of the film (see our video review below).
I however really enjoyed the storyline and the actors really set this show alight for me.
My stand-out moment was when Charlie teaches Raymond to dance. It brought a tear to my eye because it reminded me of my little brother when he discovered his love of dancing.
It was an endearing show and left you feeling warmed at the end and ready to go off into the cold autumnal night thanks to a gentle night in one of my favourite theatres.
The official low-down ( in case, like me, you haven't seen the film)
When self-centred salesman Charlie Babbitt discovers that his long-lost brother Raymond, an autistic savant with a genius for numbers, has inherited the family fortune; he sets out to get âhis halfâ. Charlie âborrowsâ Raymond from the institution where he has spent most of his life and the two brothers embark on a trip across America where Charlie soon discovers that Raymond is worth more than he could have ever imagined.
Directed by Jonathan OâBoyle, Rain Man follows previously acclaimed Bill Kenwright productions of films to the stage, including A Few Good Men, The Shawshank Redemption and Twelve Angry Men.
Classic Screen to Stage Theatre Companyâs production of Rain Man is on at Leeds Grand Theatre until Saturday 3 November 2018.
Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700
Gone are the awkward Christmas Parties where you're crammed inside an old stuffy office with a wilting piece of mistletoe hanging awkwardly between you and your colleagues. Instead, welcome to a new era of stylish Christmas Parties set inside some of the UK's coolest venues.
One of those places is top art gallery The Hepworth Wakefield (ArtFund Museum of the Year 2017) home to world-renowed art and inspired by Barbara Hepworth.
The Hepworth Wakefield is a great and versatile venue for events, weddings conferences and of course Christmas Parties!
Forget plastic cups and dry sandwiches and get ready for a drinks reception amongst some of the most instagrammable sculptures in the world.
Groups of all sizes can enjoy a shared or private Christmas Party like no other...
Enjoy Cocktails on arrival whilst you chat and mingle amongst the art work which is set inside the purpose-built building, designed by the acclaimed David Chipperfield Architects. The Hepworth Wakefield is in the heart of Yorkshire and the venue overlooks the River Calder. It is easily accessed by public transport or from the motorway.
Next, guests are treated to a festive four-course-feast, created by the in-house team of top chefs, using the best local seasonal produce. From a take on the traditional Turkey roast to roast vegetable and cranberry crumble, followed by Christmas Pudding Lollipops coated in white chocolate and brandy sauce. There's an array of Christmas-inspired dishes to choose from.
Once people have indulged in a delightful dinner, the party starts with a guest DJ and chill-out lounge, complete with a dance floor to dance the night away...
More about The Hepworth Wakefield and The Hepworth Cafe
The Hepworth Wakefield is named after the Wakefield-born and bred Barbara Hepworth. It contains work from Ben Nicholson, Patrick Heron, L.S. Lowry, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore as well as work by significant contemporary artists such as Frank Auerbach, Maggi Hambling, Anthea Hamilton, Martin Parr and Eva Rothschild.
The Hepworth Wakefield is in the process of creating The Hepworth Wakefield Riverside Gallery Garden which will be one of the UK’s largest free public gardens and will transform the surroundings to the gallery.
The Hepworth Cafe, set inside the venue also offers up food art thanks to Excecutive Chef Chris Hale and team.
MasterChef finalist Chris Hale, from Wakefield, took over the reigns of the gallery’s catering offer a year ago and has since received glowing reviews in The Observer, Waitrose Food Monthly, The Yorkshire Post and Boughton’s Coffee House magazine. The NorthStar Roast coffee (complete with latte art thanks to their in-house baristas) is not to be missed as well as the wide range of loose leaf teas.
Chris and his team of chefs work hard creating bespoke menus for any event held at The Hepworth Wakefield as well as transforming The Hepworth Cafe menu each season (it changes with each new exhibition).
Celebrate the festive season with a Christmas party at The Hepworth Wakefield
Enjoy drinks, fine locally sourced food and an evening of entertainment surrounded by internationally renowned art.
A Christmas party night at The Hepworth Wakefield includes:
– Celebratory drink upon arrival
– Four course festive dinner
– DJ entertainment
– Chill out lounge
£45.00 per person
– Friday 7 December
– Saturday 8 December
– Friday 14 December
– Saturday 15 December
Other dates available for private/exclusive bookings.
We can accommodate smaller office groups to larger organisations and companies.
How to book
Contact us today to book:
Review of the opening night of Cilla The Musical at Leeds Grand Theatre 16/10/2018.
Written by Lisa Bourne for Evoke Media Group / Blog Up North.
The show opens with a teenage Cilla White singing into a hairbrush, imagining the delights of becoming a star, and ends with her singing on her very own TV Show, her name in bright lights.
Cilla The Musical is the musical adaptation of the critically acclaimed hit ITV television series by Bafta Award winner Jeff Pope, and follows the story of how dreams of fame came true for a “gawky young girl with red ‘urr” from Liverpool.
I was born in 1984. Cilla Black was staple Saturday night TV viewing in our house throughout my childhood. Blind Date and Surprise Surprise ran from 1984 and 1985 respectively into the early 2000s but it was only as I grew older that I discovered she’d been a popstar. So, when I heard about the show, I was intrigued about Cilla’s fight for recognition and subsequently what content Cilla The Musical might contain.
Musical numbers from The Big Three, The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers set the scene of the emerging Mersey Beat. I readily admit that 60s rock and roll music and ballads don’t usually float my boat but I barely stopped smiling throughout the show. The live music was actually quite infectious and the storyline was full of humour which pleasantly surprised me. It really showcased Cilla’s determination to succeed. Kara Lily Hayworth has an absolutely fantastic voice and her portrayal of Cilla’s growth in confidence is delightful.
Another surprise for me was how much I fell in love with some of the other characters. They weren’t there simply to support Kara in her role as Cilla but each one added something to the story – Cilla’s manager Brian Epstein (Andrew Lancel) battling with his own demons, her beloved Bobby (Alexander Patmore) trying his best to support Cilla whilst simultaneously being pushed away, and John Lennon’s (Michael Hawkins) dry quips all pulled me in!
The staging was also brilliant. There were some really clever but subtle uses of props, space and lighting. In one scene, Cilla sings live on American TV and the set is in grayscale presumably to reflect the footage being televised on black and white sets. In another, after a night of dancing in The Cavern, a coat rack prop is reeled out while the ladies have a chat by the coats – a lovely little nod to Cilla’s coat room attendant role. Don’t even get me started on the stunning costumes. There were so many changes I lost count!
It was a whistle-stop tour of Cilla’s life in the 1960s. It had everything from dreary interiors to glitz and glam, tragedy to humour, and ultimately I left feeling totally uplifted and inspired. Not bad to say I knew very little about Cilla Black when I went in!
One thing I will definitely not forget in a hurry are the goosebumps springing up on my arms when Kara sang Anyone Who Had A Heart.
The standing ovation after the final number was totally and utterly deserved. Big congratulations to all involved in the show.
Blog Up North Blogger CubKit went along with Lisa and has written this review.
10/7/2018 0 Comments
The Burberry Foundation is launching in Yorkshire the first in-school programme of its scope and scale to understand how deep experience of the arts can have a positive effect on young people’s lives. The impact of the four-year long programme will be studied by researchers from the Policy Institute at King’s College London, who will examine how cultural and creative education can help young people to transcend challenging circumstances, widen their horizons and realise their aspirations.
Created in close partnership with the Ideas Foundation, the ‘Burberry Inspire’ programme will be delivered in eight schools in Yorkshire, and run by four eminent, local organisations across theatre, film, dance and art: Leeds Playhouse, Leeds Young Film, Northern Ballet and The Hepworth Wakefield.
By measuring the impact of the programme on the students’ personal and academic development, the Policy Institute at King’s College London aims to generate valuable evidence about the effects of creative learning and provide a greater understanding of effective ways to engage with young people.
Each of the four organisations will provide the schools with a dedicated Artist in Residence who will give Key Stage 3 students  wide-ranging, hands-on experience of different areas of the creative arts. The Artist in Residence will also collaborate with teachers and students to co-create events designed to have a broad reach across their local communities. Each organisation will work with two schools per year, with all eight schools working with all four organisations by the end of the four-year programme.
Heather MacRae, Managing Director of Ideas Foundation said: “Ideas Foundation is incredibly excited to be partnering on this project. We believe creativity doesn’t have a class, but it should have a classroom. By bringing creativity into schools we are delivering experiences that will inspire young people and give them a qp2n insight into future careers in the creative industries.”
Dr Benedict Wilkinson, Senior Research Fellow at the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said: “The Policy Institute is delighted to be involved in this initiative. Too many cultural and educational programmes are introduced without being adequately evaluated, so we’re thrilled that the Burberry Foundation has set out to rigorously analyse the impact of this project from the get-go. Doing these kinds of evaluations, rather than relying on anecdotes, is how we come to know how what actually works, and gives us the best chance of making a difference to young people’s lives.”
Alexander Ferris, Director of Creative Engagement at Leeds Playhouse said: “We are incredibly excited by the potential of the project and our shared ambitions of inspiring young people, raising achievements and aspirations through participation in the arts. Creative activity in our schools is a vital part of every young person’s education – fostering skills in empathy, reflection, resilience, communication and adaptability. Our Playhouse Education programme brings together teachers, educators, young people and theatre professionals to find innovative ways to support the curriculum and to ensure that the young people of Leeds have access to an excellent cultural education. Working in collaboration with the other Yorkshire partners, supported by the Burberry Foundation, is going to create so many opportunities and transformative experiences, not only for the young people participating, but also for the organisations involved.”
Debbie Maturi, Manager at Leeds Young Film said: "Leeds Young Film has been working with young people to learn about and make films for the last 16 years, and we are delighted tobe working in partnership with filmmaker Rad Miller and schools across the Yorkshire region tohave our legacy as a leading film educator recognised by the Burberry Foundation. Over the next four years we will work with young people to become the next generation of film talent, opening up skills and career opportunities in film that they may not have considered, and are nationally in demand including transferable contemporary skills such as narrative filmmaking including using virtual reality, vlogging and social media. Our school partners will also explore the world of cultural film watching and making, including opportunities to participate in our leading film festivals, including Leeds Young Film Festival which now welcomes over 15,000 attendees every year, which we hope to grow even further as we work towards Leeds 2023 year of cultural celebration."
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council added: “I am delighted that Leeds Young Film is part of this exciting and important programme within secondary schools. We know that our young people will benefit hugely from access to the essential and transferable skills that cultural organisations can offer. We are excited to see how the programme develops alongside existing cultural activity across Leeds City Council and within our communities.”
Leanne Kirkham, Director of Learning at Northern Ballet said: “As a Leeds-based company with an international reputation, we are thrilled that this ground-breaking project is happening in the North of England, shining a light on Yorkshire’s exceptional cultural offer. Through this project, Northern Ballet will reach thousands more young people and open their eyes to the opportunities available in arts and culture, offering progression and pathways intothe sector. Northern Ballet wants everyone to experience great art. The aims of this project could not align better with this, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Nicola Freeman, Director of Engagement and Learning at The Hepworth Wakefield said: “With the number of young people taking GCSE and A-level arts subjects in the UK at record lows, combined with the very real need for creative thinking and innovation for our future economy, there couldn't be a more pertinent time for The Hepworth Wakefield to be working in a sustained way with secondary school students. We are incredibly grateful to the Burberry Foundation for enabling this ambitious four-year project with our local schools and regional cultural partners. It is so important that young people are given an opportunity like this to experience world-class art, be inspired to express themselves creatively and appreciate the range of careers that are open to them. We are really excited by the outcomes that this project will deliver for so many young people in Yorkshire.”
The Burberry Foundation has a longstanding relationship with Yorkshire and supporting its communities, such as tackling educational inequality through a partnership with Teach First and The Career & Enterprise Company.
Yorkshire is also the home of the iconic Burberry trench coat, which is manufactured in Castleford using materials produced at the Burberry Mill in Keighley.
Blog Up North Influencers
Blog Up North champions the north of England through its online magazine and its influencer network, connecting brands and businesses with some of the best northern influencers.
The North of England boasts some of the best places to go all year round. There'll be an experience that exceeds your expectations.
If you can't find what you're looking for, please do contact us or tweet us @bloggerupnorth.
We also welcome guest posts if you have an area of expertise that will help promote the North of England.