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Brief Encounter With ... Trisha Ward

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Street of Dreams is a live musical tribute to ITV’s Coronation Street and will commence an initial short Arena tour during May. The whole Corrie Street will be brought to life, in what promises to be a spectacular tribute to “The Street”, with cast members past and present live on stage, as well on video screens. It will feature a 25-piece orchestra playing music by award-winning musical writer, composer and lyricist, Trisha Ward, who is from Redcar originally. So Whatsonstage Northeast took the opportunity to see how someone with local routes is working on such an immense project, which will be playing two nights in Newcastle, at the Metro Radio Arena at the end of May.

You are originally from Redcar, so do you still keep revisiting the area?
Even though for work purposes I now live in London, I still have family and friends in the North East, who I will stay with when the show is in Newcastle. In fact they are coming for the opening in Manchester and then again in Newcastle, which is great.

How did you get involved with this project?
Well, its really down to Whatsonstage, as I read an article on line by the then-ITV chief executive Dawn Airey saying ITV wanted to increase its revenue from other sources, such as live shows. This started me thinking about the idea of Coronation Street and I thought it would really work. So I wrote a couple of songs and sent an email to Dawn Airey. But at first they said the comments were said as a joke but my persistence paid off and we held a meeting with allowed things to progress. However, from that initial concept to the show opening has been a long hard three years and after the run I want and need to take a holiday.

A apart form the holiday what happens after the run?
I think there is plenty of life in the show, both in the UK and worldwide, as Coronation Street is watched and loved worldwide. So the show could tour to places like Canada and New Zealand for instance and also have another tour in the UK towards the end of this year. The ultimate goal however would be to somehow have the show play in the West End.

Your brother is also involved in the project is he not?
Oh yes, he is a TV producer and we run Reckless Entertainment which is basically a brother and sister team, which we formed in 2002. The idea was to set up the company to produce high quality television, music, film and theatre with a mutual vision to cross-promote their projects. The company has worked with many TV household names including Simon Cowell, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sharon Gless and on the music front, Brit award-winning producer Rupert Christie, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as close collaborator Academy Award winning director John Stephenson. Other stage projects include Sleeping Beauty at Sadler's Wells and Lonely Hearts a critically acclaimed modern musical.

So what can the audience expect from Street of Dreams?
Well there is a 26 metre set of Coronation Street, 25 piece orchestra and 38 cast members and several songs are from my 50th anniversary album to celebrate the show. The narrator is Paul O'Grady and he is joined on stage by “Street stars” including Kym Marsh, Katy Cavanagh and Brian Capron, as well as Jodie Prenger, winner of TV talent show I'd Do Anything. There will also be celebrity guests at each venue, with Russell Watson opening in Manchester and Joe McElderry, another North East talent, closing in Newcastle.

Although your so closely involved with the project do you have a favorite moment in the show?
It is all very special but there is one song, a duet between the young and old Elsie Tanners (Kym Marsh and Jodie Prenger) “I Know How It Feels” that is a particular favorite.

How are ticket sales?
The sales in Manchester are very good and the TV the show is made there so it has been well published in that area for a long time. But the other venues are catching up and once we open there will be increased sales, no doubt.

What happens between now and the opening in Manchester?
The set is still in Shepperton, where the technical rehearsals are taking place but on Sunday 6 trucks will move it to Manchester ready for the opening. Then we continue during May and end in Newcastle on the 29th and 30th.

Whatsonstage.com Northeast will review the show in Newcastle and the tour details are:

MANCHESTER ARENA - 9 and 10 MAY 2012
O2 ARENA, DUBLIN - 18 and 19 MAY 2012


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