Joseph set to take over Marina

It is the biggest production ever to hit Lowestoft - if the staging will fit in. With a day before curtain up on the West End production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, it was all hands on deck yesterday at the town's Marina Theatre.

It is the biggest production ever to hit Lowestoft - if the staging will fit in.

With a day before curtain up on the West End production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, it was all hands on deck yesterday at the town's Marina Theatre.

And with three articulated lorries full of equipment, only three full- time staff and less than 36 hours before the curtain rises, setting up the biggest production is somewhat of a challenge.

The bringing of this Joseph to the Marina Theatre has been four years in the making, and last-minute nerves are not going to sway bosses.


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"We may have to get the shoehorn out," said theatre manager Martin Halliday. "But we'll be making the most of state-of-the-art counter- weight system . . . and a lot of brute force."

Featuring a giant pyramid taking up the whole stage, huge sphinxes lowered from the ceiling and a brought-in sound system, it is by far the most ambitious set to grace a theatre normally associated with comedians and tribute bands.

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But Mr Halliday has spent his time in charge moving the Marina away from its end-of-the-pier style past, bringing in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Moscow Ballet as regular performers.

It is the latest production that the theatre manager is most proud of securing, however.

"Lowestoft will have never seen anything like it to date," he said. "We've gone from a theatre that does adult comedians to one that has a programme that would be at home at any theatre in the UK.

"And people are responding really well. Joseph has broken all box office records here over the 12 performances, and the producers say it's opening with the highest advance sale of tickets of anywhere on the tour.

"It's a great sign that people here want a diverse programme and will help us get more big name shows in the future - it's already secured us the touring production of Annie for the autumn.

"If you look at us in terms of a football team, we've gone from the third division to the championship playoffs. This is putting theatre at Lowestoft back on the map.

"This town deserves the best and it doesn't get better than the number one touring production in the UK."

The show opens tonight and runs until Saturday.

Mr Halliday said that more than 5,000 tickets of the 12-show run been sold.

A few remain in the 700-seat auditorium - phone the box office on 01502 533200.

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