NEWS: 80 more tickets on sale for @Intothearkmusic as change of date announced for @velvetcoalminer

Velvet Coalmine, the Blackwood festival of writing, rock & roll and coal has announced that Into The Ark’s headline gig will now take place on Friday 1 September, with 80 more tickets available to fans.

Into The Ark, originally from Blackwood, were planned to perform on Friday 8 September, but due to a change in the band’s schedule the gig will now take place a week earlier.

The headline event will remain at Blackwood Methodist Church with expanded capacity to allow more fans to see their hometown heroes. An extra 80 tickets will go on sale at 9am on Friday 18 August.

Dane from Into The Ark said: “We’re very sorry to have to reschedule our gig at Velvet Coalmine, however we are delighted that we can now expand the capacity at the venue and allow more of our amazing fans to come and see us in our hometown. Velvet Coalmine is a great initiative for Blackwood and we wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Iain Richards, founder of Velvet Coalmine, said: “Velvet Coalmine is all about giving locals the opportunity to explore their talent potential. We hope seeing local lads Into The Ark achieving such great things is an inspiration for other young people in Blackwood.

We understand the change of date might leave some people disappointed. For those who have a ticket but are unable to make the new date, we’d like to apologise and will look to refund tickets wherever we can.”

Along with Into The Ark, Velvet Coalmine boosts a whole host of inspiring events including UK’s leading spoken word performers, Tongue Fu, Double Olympic Taekwondo Champion and Wales Sports Personality of the Year, Jade Jones MBE, The One Show’s science presenter, Marty Jopson, and comedian, Mike Wozniak.

With literature at the heart of the festival, there will be appearances from Young People’s Laureate Wales, Sophie McKeand and National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap GlynAfrica Writes, the annual celebration of African contemporary literature in London will bring poetry performances, workshops for teachers, book club discussions and creative writing sessions for their first ever visit to Wales.

Plus, the Children’s Literature Festival will return for a second year, created by Velvet Coalmine with backing from Blackwood Town Council to inspire, stimulate and engage school children through creative workshops with some of the best writers in Wales.

Velvet Coalmine takes place from 7 to 16 September in multiple venues across Blackwood. For the full festival programme and to get your tickets, visit: velvetcoalmine.com

REVIEW: @AddamsFamilyUK @TheCentre #Cardiff #AddamsFamily100

The words, comedy, dark and musical aren’t often used in the same sentence, but when they do, they produce something wonderful & brilliant, as is the case with The Addams’ Family Musical currently at Wales Millennium Centre and tonight was also the 100th performance!

Based on the Charles Addams’ comic strip, and of course, the tv show, not forgetting the two major films from the early 90s – and an MC Hammer interpretation of said theme, he said they were “2 legit” you know.  It’s seven years since the musical made its debut on Broadway, and its lyricist, Andrew Lippa is Leeds born and Motown bred – so you’ve an idea of the pedigree behind this piece.

The look of the production is right on point, basing a lot of imagery on the fact its origins were from a comic strip. The lighting and sound bring you right into the world of Central Park (yes – the Addams’ Family home is in Central Park in NYC) – so much so, when the lights came on at the end, it took me a few minutes to adjust to the Cardiff ambience.

It has some real big stars of musical theatre including Cameron Blakely (Gomez), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Wednesday) and Samantha Womack (Morticia). It’s sometimes difficult to judge whose performance to highlight when the cast and ensemble gel together so well and bring the story to musical life. It’s also tricky to mention people in the order of “importance” – so I’m not going to, I’ll just showcase some of my favourite moments – and then leave it to you to discuss (or argue) the order/opinion.

I’ve followed Carrie’s work since her brother shared some of her Youtube cover versions (Only Exception being one such piece). I’ve always loved her voice, and saw her last year in the UK Tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it was during this time last year that she announced she was on the UK Tour of Addams’ Family – and here we are. Her stand out moments are Pulled and Crazier than you – and if you’ve seen her Youtube channel, you’ll know the latter quite well.

The phrase about not judging a book by its cover was probably written for Les Dennis (Fester). I realise now he’s been in several musical – Hairspray, Me and my girl & Spamalot, but for one moment did I think he could perform? Honestly, I didn’t – but, I’m glad to be proven wrong as he can and did, plus there’s a nice little touch during Act One of something that rarely happens during a musical – if you see it, see if you spot what I’m talking about – all I shall say is breaking down the fourth wall.

 

The sound, the imagery, the ensemble and production just work so well. It’s different from a normal musical, it’s funny, and you’ll take from it a message that being normal is just a state of mind.

Take two hours out of life, and become an Addams’ – you won’t want to leave. They’re creepy and they’re kooky, and you should go and booky a night with the Addams’ Family at Wales Millennium Centre

Review by Patrick Downes

NEWS: @TheNoelSullivan returns home for @TheCentre homegrown production

Cardiff born singer and actor, Noel Sullivan cast for Tiger Bay the Musical

This November, Tiger Bay the Musical – Wales Millennium Centre’s biggest in-house production to date – will premiere in Cardiff with Welsh singer and actor, Noel Sullivan returning home to join the lead cast.Noel Sullivan during Tiger Bay the Musical previews in Cape Town_Please credit NARDUS ENGELBRECHT

Noel, who hasn’t performed on stage in Wales for almost two years, takes on the gritty role of Harbour Master, Séamus O’Rourke in Tiger Bay the Musical, a story of the notorious underworld of Wales’ capital at the turn of the 1900s.

Playing the ambitious opportunist, exiled from Africa to make his fortune through unsavoury means on Cardiff Docks, will be a change in direction for Noel, whose theatre repertoire includes a string of romantic leads, such as Danny Zuko in Grease and Galileo in We Will Rock You.

Noel, whose grandfather worked on Cardiff’s docks, said: “I am used to taking on roles in productions that are already established, so not only will this be the first time I play the bad guy, it is incredibly exciting to be part of a brand new musical of this scale created in Wales.

“I last performed at the Centre during the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tour in 2015, plus numerous times before then, so I can’t wait to come home to perform in a show which has come out of a place that helped me in my career.”

Following a short, successful run of previews at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town earlier this year, the featured role of Séamus has now been expanded and developed further within the production, presenting Noel with a stronger, meatier role which plays to his strengths.

Noel continued: “The test run in Cape Town was so inspirational, they have a completely different energy out there which has influenced some changes for when we bring the show to Wales in November. It is going to be nothing like the Centre has seen or done before.”

“Growing up in Cardiff you had to travel to Bristol to see a show so the Centre was a much needed addition to Wales. It is time Cardiff and Wales were recognised on the world stage for its musical theatre talent. A production like Tiger Bay the Muscial, conceived and produced in Wales, deserves all its hopes for a bright future. I’m very honoured to be on that journey.”

A Wales Millennium Centre production in association with Cape Town Opera, Tiger Bay the Musical is set in 1900s Cardiff at a time of unrest between the workers heaving coal in the docklands, known as Tiger Bay, and the Bute Dock Company and merchants of the Coal Exchange they afforded.

A fictional story of revolution, reconciliation, courage and love, the award-winning creative team – composer, Daf James, writer Michael Williams and director, Melly Still – have remained sympathetic to the reality of the era which includes forming a promdominently Welsh cast.

Noel will join award-winning and record breaking West End and Broadway performerJohn Owen Jones who plays John Crichton-Stuart, Cardiff’s richest man tormented by loss. 

Rising star Vikki Bebb, a Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama graduate from the south Wales valleys, will play Noel’s love interest, Rowena Pryddy, a shop girl with suffrage ideals. Plus, Welsh school girls Louise Harvey from Rhiwbina and Ruby Llewellyn from Llantrisant will share the role of tenacious water boy, Ianto.

The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical will take place on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre and will run until Saturday 25 November 2017. Tickets on sale now at tigerbaythemusical.com

REVIEW: @Greasemusical @TheCentre #Cardiff #UKTour #18Jul2017

20229226_1386632198057407_272362647520683066_n♬♫♪ Stranded at the drive-in, branded a fool, just how will I start, my Grease review….♬♫♪

One of the world’s biggest musicals has returned to Wales Millennium Centre for a two week run as part of its UK tour that stars Tom Parker (formerly of The Wanted), Jimmy Osmond (formerly a teen singing legend), Danielle Hope (Loves Ruby slippers), and Louisa Lytton (formerly Ruby from Eastenders – yes, I’ve seen what I’ve done there)

Pink Ladies Photos by Paul Coltas

The main thing to remember if you’ve not seen the musical version of Grease is to not to think “oh, this is different to the film” – which I will admit to doing a little bit during the performance. The musical came first; the film version of the musical will always be different.

That aside, this production is brilliant, the sets, costumes, the sound, all add to a pretty impressive staging of a musical that began in 1971 and has had the likes of Richard Gere, Patrick Swayze, Craig Mclaughlin and Luke Goss as Danny, and of course Elaine Paige, Samantha Womack, Debbie Gibson and Sonia as Sandy.

How do the two leads fair in this list of alumni, well, Tom Parker in his first stage acting role is pretty impressive. Being in one of the biggest boy bands in the UK certainly put him in good stead for the musical and dance numbers – and he has something most ex boy band members don’t have – comic timing and a personality to boot.

Tom Parker (Danny) and Danielle Hope (Sandy) Photo by Paul ColtasDanielle Hope’s musical theatre pedigree is undeniably brilliant. Having won “Over the Rainbow” and becoming Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, becoming  Éponine (twice) in the London production of Les Mis and touring with the Sound of Music and Joseph and the amazing Technicolor dream coat, watching her was a joy – just a shame her talent wasn’t showcased further.

The standout moment for me was Jimmy Osmond singing Beauty School Dropout, which further goes to prove there’s no age limit on talent – and class never gets old. A showman, will always be a showman.

Louisa Lytton’s portrayal of Rizzo shows a different side to a character that the film version seems to miss. The song “There are worse things I could do” makes more sense on the stage as the lyrics are being told to another person, not the audience.

Pink Ladies Photos by Paul ColtasOther mentions to Ryan (Doody) and Oliver (Roger) – although not well known outside of theatre circles, both are brilliant vocally and added something a little special – if your only experience of Grease is the film – this will be a special “oh, I didn’t know that” moment.

The ensemble numbers are where Grease truly takes flight. From Greased Lightning, to We go together, I dare you to sit in your seat and not want to hand jive your way around the auditorium.

If you’re a fan of the film, and have never seen the musical – I’d recommend you take a long hard look at yourself and book tickets now. If you’re not hopeless devoted to the film – I’d also recommend booking tickets now because I’ll tell you more, tell you more, for those Summer nights, Grease will sell like lightening, of the greased variety

Grease is currently at Wales Millennium Centre till 29th July 2017

Tom Parker (Danny) and Danielle Hope (Sandy) Photo by Paul Coltas (2)

NEWS: @velvetcoalminer announce @Intothearkmusic @thevoiceuk as headliners for #Blackwood festival

Today (30 June) Velvet Coalmine, the Blackwood festival of writing, rock & roll and coal, announce The Voice UK finalists, Into the Ark as headliners for the event taking place 7-16 September 2017.

Velvet Coalmine is now in its fourth year, bringing the best in arts, literature and music to Blackwood to inspire the community and raise the profile of the area. Into the Ark, Taylor Jones (21) and Dane Lloyd (25), originally from Blackwood, will perform alongside Mynyddislwyn Male Voice Choir at the Methodist Church on Friday 8 September.L-R, Taylor Jones and Dane Lloyd of Into the Ark

Joining the band on the Velvet Coalmine line-up are UK’s leading spoken word performers, Tongue Fu, Double Olympic Taekwondo Champion and Wales Sports Personality of the Year, Jade Jones MBE, The One Show’s science presenter, Marty Jopson, and comedian, Mike Wozniak.

With literature at the heart of the festival, there will be appearances from Young People’s Laureate Wales, Sophie McKeand and National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn. While a new playwriting and one-act play competition allows theatre groups and aspiring writers to embrace the event.

Africa Writes, the annual celebration of African contemporary literature in London will bring poetry performances, workshops for teachers, book club discussions and creative writing sessions as part of their tour of Africa and the UK. This will be their first ever visit to Wales.

Plus, the Children’s Literature Festival will return for a second year, created by Velvet Coalmine with backing from Blackwood Town Council to inspire, stimulate and engage school children through creative workshops with some of the best writers in Wales.

Blackwood, nestled in the heart of the valleys, is one of the most deprived towns in the UK with a higher than the national average level of young people leaving school with either no qualifications or GCSE at grade D (31.4% vs. 25.9%). Velvet Coalmine aims to tackle the issues the community faces, by educating and inspiring the young people who live there.

Iain Richards, founder of Velvet Coalmine, said: “We want to give everyone in Blackwood an opportunity to engage with the arts, from children through our school workshops right through to the parents with our evening events. With the help of a five-year sponsorship from Blackwood Town Council, we have worked hard to make this year’s line-up truly international, inspirational and aspirational.”

Into the Ark wowed audiences on The Voice UK earlier this year gaining UK wide recognition and a place on tour with their mentor, Tom Jones this summer.

Taylor from Into the Ark said: “There was nothing like Velvet Coalmine when we were growing up in Blackwood. It is definitely something that has been missing so we are delighted to be involved. We can’t wait to play at the festival surrounded by people who have supported us throughout our music career.”

 Tickets for all Velvet Coalmine events go on sale today apart from Into the Ark which go on sale on Friday 7 July at 9am and Jade Jones on Tuesday 1 August at 9am.

Velvet Coalmine takes place from 7 to 16 September in multiple venues across Blackwood. For the full festival programme and to get your tickets, visit: velvetcoalmine.com

 

NEWS: @TigerBayMusical @VikkiBebb cast for #Cardiff premiere and tour with @johnowenjones

Tiger Bay the Musical’s leading lady cast for Cardiff premiere and tour with John Owen-Jones01

Wales Millennium Centre is delighted to confirm that Welsh musical theatre graduate Vikki Bebb has been cast in a leading role in the Centre’s most significant production to date, Tiger Bay the Musical, created by a multi-award-winning team led by composer, Daf James, writer Michael Williams and director, Melly Still.

Following her outstanding performance during previews in Cape Town, Vikki from Abercynon, will join Musical legend John Owen-Jones to lead the cast for the world premiere in Cardiff. Vikki will play Rowena Pryddy, a shop girl from the Welsh Valleys, who journeys to the big city, finding love in her quest for a place in society.

The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama alumna impressed the musical’s creative team and cast so much that her co-star and Broadway actor, John Owen-Jones has invited her to join him on his home coming tour, Bring Him Home: A Collection of Musical Favourites this June.

Vikki, aged 26, said: “It is an absolute honour to play Rowena for the world premiere of this new musical in Cardiff and performing with John on his tour is a fantastic opportunity. I went to Cape Town looking to learn as much as I could from the extremely talented people around me, and being cast for Cardiff is beyond anything I expected.”

Award-winning and record breaking West End and Broadway performer John Owen-Jones, said: “The Bring Him Home tour will travel throughout Wales so it would be rude not to take Vikki along with me and showcase her amazing talent to a home audience before we perform together again in November.”

The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical is on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.  Produced in association with Cape Town Opera, the musical takes us back to the early 1900s in old Butetown, the docklands and Cardiff city centre at an extraordinary turning point in history, when coal was king and the industry booming.

Vivien Care, Head of Musical Theatre, RWCMD said: “Vikki is a star in the making, a wonderful ambassador for our professional Musical Theatre training at Royal Welsh College and deserves her place on the Wales Millennium Centre stage. She wowed the crowds in Cape Town and we have no doubt she will do it again in Cardiff in November.”

The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical is on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre. Tickets are on sale now at www.tigerbaythemusical.com

NEWS: The search is on for Welsh amateur playwrights @velvetcoalminer #Blackwood #VelvetGoldmineArts

Iain_1
Iain Richards, founder of Velvet Coalmine

Velvet Coalmine, a music, literature and arts festival now in its fourth year, takes place between 7 – 16 September 2017 in Blackwood. As part of this year’s festival it has teamed up with Blackwood Little Theatre to find the newest and boldest playwrights from across Wales to write a one act play which will be read and appraised by four experienced and published authors.

The festival of writing, rock & roll and coal started in 2014 and since then has been instrumental in raising the profile of the area and the aspirations of local children and families. This competition will go that one step further, giving amateur writers the leg up they need.

Neil Maidman from the Blackwood Little Theatre, said: “It doesn’t matter if you haven’t had anything published, acted out or written anything before. This competition is all about finding new and raw talent that we can help get onto a bigger stage.”

Iain Richards, founder of Velvet Coalmine, added: “Since we started the festival we have had one aim – to empower local children to be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do. We hope that by launching this play writing competition and showcasing local talent to a wider audience, someone’s talent will get recognised amongst experts in their field.”

Here’s what you need to know to enter:

·       You should submit a one act play for at least two performers. It cannot be a monologue

·       The duration of the play should be around 40 – 50 minutes

·       The play should not have been previously published

·       Entries will only be accepted by authors over 18

·       Equal consideration will be given to English and Welsh language entries.

·       There is a prize of £250 for the winner and £100 for the runner up.

·       Winning play will have a script in hand public reading at Velvet Coalmine.

·      Entries should be e-mailed to blackwoodvelvet@outlook.com by midnight on the 31stJuly 2017

The winners will be announced on Friday 15 September at the festival. The full line up of acts will be announced on the 30 June along with ticket sales to the festival. For further information and criteria for entry go to www.velvetcoalmine.com

 

NEWS: @TheCentre casting news and forthcoming shows #Cardiff #Wales

wmc outsideLots of things happening at Wales Millennium Centre  in the coming months;

Here’s just a little taster

Casting news

JIMMY OSMOND TO STAR IN GREASE

Jimmy Osmond is to star in Grease as Teen Angel, having previously played the role in the West End. He joins Tom Parker (The Wanted) who makes his musical theatre debut playing Danny Zuko, Danielle Hope (Over the Rainbow winner) who plays Sandy and Louisa Lytton (Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders) who plays Rizzo.

Grease is at Wales Millennium Centre between 17 and 29 July 2017

 

DARIUS CAMPBELL JOINS SHERIDAN SMITH IN FUNNY GIRL

Darius Campbell will reprise his role as Nick Arnstein, joining Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl. Funny Girl comes to Cardiff in July, after wowing critics and audiences alike in the West End. The iconic musical tells the story of Fanny Brice – whose vocal talents and comedic ability see her rise from Brooklyn music hall singer to Broadway star.

Funny Girl is at Wales Millennium Centre between 4 and 8 July 2017

MISS SAIGON

Cameron Mackintosh is delighted to announce final casting for the UK and Ireland tour of his acclaimed production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon. The cast includes Red Concepcion as The Engineer, Sooha Kim as Kim, Ashley Gilmour as Chris, Zoë Doano as Ellen, Gerald Santos as Thuy, Ryan O’Gorman as Joh and NaNa-Young Jeon as Gigi.

Miss Saigon is at Wales Millennium Centre between 29 November 2017 and 6 January 2018

CRAZY FOR YOU

Charlotte Wakefield will play Polly in Crazy For You, joining the previously announced Tom Chambers as Bobby and Caroline Flack as Irene. She made her West End debut as Wendla in Spring Awakening, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award and played Maria in the critically acclaimed production of The Sound of Music at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre receiving nominations for Best Actress in a Musical at both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards

Crazy For You is at Wales Millennium Centre between 5 and 9 September 2017

 

New Shows coming soon

 

ROB BRYDON ANNOUNCES SHOWS AT THE CENTRE

One of Wales’ greatest comedy exports, Rob Brydon, makes a welcome return to the Centre next year for his first stand-up tour since 2009.

Perhaps best known for the television shows Gavin and Stacey, Would I Lie To You? and The Trip, Rob starred opposite Kenneth Branagh earlier this year in the West End production of The Painkiller.

Rob Brydon: I Am Standing Up is at Wales Millennium Centre between 8 and 10 October 2018

 

SUNSET BOULEVARD COMES TO THE CENTRE

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award®-winning masterpiece Sunset Boulevard, starring internationally acclaimed musical theatre star, Ria Jones, as Norma Desmond, comes to The Centre next year.

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded silent-screen goddess Norma Desmond lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screen writer Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world and is seduced by her and her luxurious lifestyle. Joe becomes trapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free, with dramatic consequences.

Sunset Boulevard is at Wales Millennium Centre between 26 February and 3 March 2018

 

MILKSHAKE! LIVE COMES TO CARDIFF

Milkshake! Live The Magic Story Book is coming to Cardiff this summer. Starring Milkshake! favourites Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Toyland Detective and Fireman Sam, the show will be presented by Milkshake!’s Olivia Birchenough and Derek Moran. This all singing all dancing musical masterpiece will take the audience on a journey through the world’s favourite fairy tales.

Milkshake! Live, The Magic Storybook is at Wales Millennium Centre on 9 July 2017