Miss Saigon Revival- Prince Edward Theatre London

Since the show made its debut 25 years ago at the Theatre Royal on London’s Drury Lane, it has broken records, played in over 300 cities and won awards all around the world. Now, 25 years on, Miss Saigon is back on the West End and it continues to mesmerize audiences as it did when it first began.

From the creators of Les Miserables, the show is a love story that tells the tale of Kim, a bar dancer in Saigon who falls in love with an American GI named Chris. Set amidst the turbulent backdrop of the Vietnam War, the story is as heart-warming as it is heart-breaking, and the award winning music and set design will guarantee a night at the theatre that you’ll never forget.

On 22nd September this year, a special 25th anniversary gala performance of the show took place, which saw original cast members join the current performers for a special finale. Tickets for the show that night were made available for the same price as they were when the show originally opened in 1989, ranging from £13.50 to £22.50, and the show was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2’s flagship show Friday Night is Music Night.

During the spectacular finale, the original Kim (Lea Salonga) and Chris (Simon Bowman) reunited onstage to reprise numbers from their original performances and during Last Night of the World, they were joined on stage by the current Kim and Chris. Finally, during Jonathan Pryce’s reprisal of his role as The Engineer in American Dream, he was joined by the entire cast and the show’s creators Claude-Michele Schonberg, Alain Boubill and Cameron Mackintosh who thanked the cast and audience.

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse can be found close to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre on Bankside in London. It was built using discovered 17th century theatre plans and the design and layout emulate that of the Blackfriars Theatre in Jacobean London.

The theatre was designed by Jon Greenfield and cost £7.5 million to complete. The outer shell of the building had existed for years as a rehearsal and education space, but it was only completed inside and officially opened in January 2014. The renovated interior of the building is an oak inner structure consisting of musician’s gallery, thrust stage, two horse shoe galleries and an ornate painted ceiling.

Like the Jacobean theatres which inspired its design, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse doesn’t rely on modern theatre lighting and sound systems, instead it is lit purely by beeswax candles mounted in sconces and chandeliers and sometimes even held by the actors. Instead of using microphones and speakers in the conventional way, actors on this stage are simply expected to project their voice to be heard, much in the way Shakespeare’s playing company would have done in the original theatre.

As a result of the traditional sound and lighting in the venue, the seating capacity is small, capable of seating only 340 audience members. The design of the benches in the pit and gallery however means that audiences are close enough to the actors to hear what’s going on onstage, aided by the well-designed acoustics in the building.

Although unconventional, the theatre’s design makes for a totally immersive, magical experience for audiences who – in experiencing the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – can attempt to imagine what a visit to the theatre would have been like in Shakespeare’s day (minus the rowdy drunks in the pit throwing rotting fruit at the players, of course). The theatre opened to its first production, The Duchess of Malfi starring Gemma Arterton, on 15th January 2014 and the playhouse met rave reviews for its daring and exciting concept: bringing a piece of theatrical history into the 21st century for all to experience.

HOME Manchester

2014 has seen the merging of two of Manchester’s best loved arts and culture venues – the Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre – into a new artistic centre. HOME will be a platform for exploratory, thought provoking independent film work as well as a showcase for contemporary art, festivals and commissioned work.

Boasting Danny Boyle and Suranne Jones amongst its patrons, HOME aims to be a place for everyone including young people, local communities and the existing audiences of the Cornerhouse Cinema and Library Theatre. There will be a purpose built setting including a 500 seat theatre, a 150 seat studio, a gallery, five cinema screens and digital production and broadcast facilities all located in the new Whitworth Street West building. So not only will this be a place for professional and commissioned work, it will also be a space for education, experimentation and culture where audiences will be encouraged to explore contemporary issues, ask questions and see ‘the world through Mancunian eyes’. Opening in spring 2015, HOME represents a promising future for arts and culture in the North West.

So all in all it’s been a good year for the arts in the UK, and what we’ve mentioned here only scratches the surface of the diverse and exciting range of work that’s been going on both locally and nationally.

In the meantime, all that’s left to say is a very big thank you to all of our customers in 2014. We hope that 2015 will continue to allow us to work on these exciting, challenging projects with customers both new and existing. From all of us here at PG Stage we’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

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