Hope Mill Theatre is putting on an amazing show featuring West End stars singing from their own homes

Hope Mill Theatre is staging an online concert featuring West End stars, celebrating the music of legendary musical theatre duo Rodgers + Hammerstein, on Sunday 26th April at 7pm.

Like many theatres across the country, Hope Mill has been closed since mid March due to COVID-19. The team ceased all productions and made the difficult decision to cancel their first in-house production of the year, which was to be the UK theatrical premiere of the Broadway version of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella in May.  

Instead, the theatre is producing a virtual concert featuring some of the much-loved duo’s favourite songs from shows such as Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific and Cinderella. Free to watch (with donations encouraged), it will be pre-recorded and shared on the venue’s YouTube channel and social media platforms Twitter and Facebook.

2020 04 13 Hope Mill Theatre Concert Poster

The cast will perform their songs at home, with performances edited together into a complete concert experience; also featuring some special guest hosts and familiar theatrical faces.

The line-up includes West End stars Maria Friedman (Ragtime, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) Louise Dearman (Wicked, Sideshow) and Sophie-Louise Dann (Lend Me A Tenor, Bend it Like Beckham.)

Cast members from the cancelled production of Cinderella will appear too; including Matthew Blaker, Julie Yammanee and Cinders herself. Georgie Buckland is a recent graduate from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was found through Hope Mill’s open call for the role, which received over 500 submissions.

170201 Hope Mill 1
Since launching in 2015, Hope Mill Theatre has become an acclaimed fringe venue

The concert will also include performers from past Hope Mill Theatre productions - Joel-Harper Jackson (Little Women), Laura Harrison (Parade) and Simbi Akande (Putting It Together) - as well as Any Dream Will Do contestant Keith Jack.

The theatre will be launching a crowdfunder on the evening, which will be used to raise money to help the venue to reopen when the time comes.

Artistic director Joseph Houston said: “It has been important for us as a venue to stay engaged with our wonderful and loyal audiences and supporters. Since closing we have had so much love and support from individuals and it has been the catalyst for us to continue to do what we know best and produce theatre, just in a very different way. We were so upset that we had to cancel our production of Cinderella as we had lined up the most incredible cast but we are thrilled that finally some of these talented performers will have the chance to be seen.”

2020 04 13 The Rodgers Hammerstein Organization
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote many famous musicals The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization

Executive director William Whelton added: “Rodgers + Hammerstein are credited as the creators of musical theatre as we know it and we could think of no other way of celebrating theatre during these times than to host a concert dedicated to them.”

The Rodgers + Hammerstein concert will take place on Sunday 26th April at 7pm. It will be shared on Hope Mill Theatre’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Love theatre? Also don’t miss…

To celebrate the anniversary of ZARA - its co-production with Walk the Plank and Emergency Exit Arts - theatre producer Mind the Gap will be streaming a filmed version of the final performance, which took place outside London’s Imperial War Museum, direct to your living rooms.

With a soaring musical score, a cast of over 100, cherry pickers, tanks, 3D projections and a mechanical moving ‘baby’ that's bigger than a double decker bus, ZARA is a truly unique experience. This giant outdoor theatre event for the whole family tells the epic story of one learning disabled mother and her fight to protect her baby.

The (free) stream will take place on Mind the Gap’s YouTube channel on Sunday 19th April at 8pm


Read more: How you can enjoy Manchester’s arts scene at home