August 29, 2009
Being a Virgo means that I have spent almost every birthday in some way connected to Edinburgh, yesterday was no exception. It was great to catch up with many different friends around the City and celebrate. Over the years I have celebrated my birthday by driving a packed car from Edinburgh to London (50th), by having a massive chinese meal with 150 Pleasance crew and staff (42nd I think), and by sitting in a lighting perch for the whole 24hrs of my birthday plotting a show with our Bristol University called WHO NEEDS ACTORS, opening my cards between lighting states (20th). Read more
August 25, 2009
I was at the British Council reception last night – a great gathering of many promoters and presenters from nations across the globe preparing to take to the streets of edinburgh in search of great new work. Phelim McDermott gave a wonderful heartfelt and impassioned plea to the delegates to enter into conversations with the performers and the companies. He challenged us to engage wholly with the potential of real connection, and to see whether something that happens this week could influence artistic endevours in years to come. He warned against “shoulder surfing” Read more
August 24, 2009
Last night we held the final of the Musical Theatre University Challenge, and FASCINATING AIDA did a brilliant short set of songs to remind the audience what consumate professionals (and gloriously dark storytellers) they are. They sure awakened interest from a student audience – great fun.
Cheers and applause for BRISTOL who beat off fierce competition from Mountview in the Semi-Final and then showed their superior skill against Edinburgh in a very tough contest. Read more
August 23, 2009
Last night we had the semi-finals of the first Musical Theatre University Challenge. LIPA challenged Edinburgh, and Mountview challenges Bristol. A tough battle with some extraodinary knowledge of the history and the trivia of the genre. Tonight the final will be between EDINBURGH and BRISTOL and we are delighted we’ll be starting with a couple of songs by the award winning trio. It should be quite a night, and I hope the other 6 teams will come and support. Read more
August 21, 2009
Hard to realise we are only about a half of the way through in terms of the financial capacity of the whole Festival – 10 days to go. I’m finding a lot of companies hitting that pain threshold. The cathartic process (or joyous or painful process) of creating the show, getting the first audiences in, appealing to the press, reading the first reviews, and finding your way to the late late night bar – these are all hopefully achieved now. So the next two weeks can feel like a real slog. This is the point at which people can sometimes take the foot off the gas. Read more
August 21, 2009
Last night saw the first two quarterfinals of the very first Musical Theatre University Challenge. A fantastic atmosphere was created by the three members of Fascinating Aida taking charge of the scoring, chairing and mystery voice in true BBC sonorous tones. Congratulations to the cast of FALSETTOLAND & SIX WAYS (LIPA Liverpool) and the home team of Edinburgh (led by George Square press officer (Joe Pike). Commiserations to great sports GINGERS THE MUSICAL (Leeds University) and The JERRY SPRINGER Company (RSAMD Glasgow) for putting up a tremendous fight. Read more
August 20, 2009
It’s a busy time at George Square over the next week as we watch teams battle through the rounds of our Musical Theatre University Challenge hosted by Fascinating Aida. The teams gathered yesterday evening to do a quick technical rehearsal before heading down to enjoy the bar in the cabaret – they’re ready to go, doubting their own knowledge but I’m sure there will be a few people who surprise themselves with actually how much they do know.
A quick question from the pile for today (the answer tomorrow) for you readers:
Which West End performer and television sit-com star both ‘produced’ and ‘starred’ in the 1995 Singing in the Rain?
A free ticket to the final for the correct answer! Just add a comment below.
Not only do we have University Challenge running through from Thursday to Sunday, but the MTM:UK Award nominations have just been announced so – with another hat on – we’re busily putting together the awards gala for Tuesday, in aid of the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Of course, we don’t know the winners and won’t know until you do but we hope to have all the nominated productions joining together at George Square to celebrate Musical Theatre.
That’s on Tuesday 25th August, 7.00pm. See you there.
Stay tuned for another update, and the answer to that question, tomorrow. I’ll let you know how the teams do tonight. Ah, must remember to go and buy table cloths…it’s the glamour I’m in it for!
August 13, 2009
Preparations for the first Musical Theatre University Challenge are picking up. We’ve just finished typing up 830 questions and now comes the joy of checking all the answers, grouping them into starters and bonus questions. There are some great questions from Whatsonstage.com readers, some crazy ones, and a few downright impossible. We will use this basis to create a load more because we reckon we need 1,000 good ones to make a great contest. Read more
August 12, 2009
I’ve just come out of Six Ways the new piece by 3 young graduates of LIPA, Michael Bradley, Paddy Clarke, and David Hutchinson and I am very excited. Last night I heard Sam Thackray from the cast delivering a knock-out diva cabaret set in our George Free series (think a young Roger Allum in La Cage). This morning the trio of writers gave a fascinating masterclass on the creative process for their collaboration, then I get to see the result in George 2 this afternoon – sharing the tears of many of the audience with this gritty morality tale of relationships. Wow. Read more
August 11, 2009
The last few nights have seen us getting to grips with the free cabaret programme in the bar of George Square Theatre (George 1 or George Free whichever you fancy). It’s taken a while to get the lighting right and the atmosphere buzzing, but by last night it felt like the place to be for anyone who wanted to enjoy a few showtunes, catch up with other companies, see some new work, and promote their shows. Read more