New musical SIX heralds a new chapter at city theatres
- Credit: supplied by Norwich Theatre Royal
A new pop musical about Henry VIII's six wives is set to herald a new chapter in the history of Norwich Playhouse and Norwich Theatre Royal.
The show - called SIX - will be a Norwich Theatre Royal co-production and it will take to the Norwich Playhouse stage in July ahead of going to the Edinburgh Festival and London's West End later this year.
It comes as Norwich Playhouse - which the Theatre Royal has run under a management contract since 2003 - is set to legally merge with the Theatre Royal.
Stephen Crocker, the Theatre Royal's chief executive, said the move paved the way for even more exciting work being staged at Norwich Playhouse.
'Whilst audiences at the Playhouse and Playhouse Bar will see no day-to-day differences and the building will continue to work the way it always has, this merger is an important moment not just for both venues but also for Norwich, Norfolk and the East of England,' he said.
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'We are pursuing a new and ambitious artistic strategy which sees us join up programming across Stage Two, the Playhouse and the Theatre Royal with a particular focus on dance, classical music, drama, and work that we feel is extraordinary for Norwich like SIX.'
He added: 'Norwich Playhouse will absolutely remain the city's home of comedy adored by comedians and comedy audiences alike but we will begin to explore some innovative productions, shows and work which have not been possible in the past, and grow the Playhouse's role as a key player in the cultural life of the city, county, region and country.
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'I think that SIX is destined to be one of the next smash-hit British musicals so there is absolutely no better way to mark this new chapter in the life of Norwich Playhouse than with this fantastic show.'
SIX, which has had initial previews in London, is described as presenting the remarkable stories of Henry VIII's wives in a Beyonce meets Little Mix-style pop concert.
Casting is still to be confirmed but the show has a world-class creative team. The executive producer and musical supervisor is George Stiles, one-half of the writing duo Stiles and Drewe responsible for stage hits Mary Poppins, Half A Sixpence, and Betty Blue Eyes, meanwhile it is also being co-produced by Kenny Wax who is behind shows such as Top Hat and The Play That Goes Wrong.
Another important development for the Playhouse stage will be its close relaionship with the Rambert2 company, which brings together ten young dancers with outstanding ability, creativity and individuality to form a second Rambert ensemble. Rambert2 will be setting out on its debut UK tour in 2019 and aims to increase the reach of the Rambert company, bringing more distinctive, world-class dance to more people in more places.
Mr Crocker said: 'We hope the company will become a regular feature at the Playhouse building on the main company's long-standing annual visit to the Theatre Royal and accompanied by a programme of learning and participation work in Stage Two.'
Other performances soon to be heading to the Playhouse include Border Tales, which uses live music, dance and dialogue to reflect life in multi-cultural Britain through the eyes of the different communities who live here, and Skin, a piece of hip-hop theatre which follows a journey of gender transition.
'Absolute dream of a show'
Producer Kenny Wax is known for championing innovative work and he described SIX as an 'absolute dream of a show.'
'I have been producing theatre for 25 years and I am known for developing new talent having taken risks with young writers. Every now and then, this pays off and never more so than with the tremendous success we have enjoyed with Mischief Theatre and the 'Goes Wrong Shows' which you might have seen at the Theatre Royal, on TV or in the West End,' said Mr Wax, before adding that when he first saw the show SIX with his 16-year-old daughter they felt they had 'unwrapped the golden ticket together.'
'In all my producing years, I had never come across a musical quite like SIX. Instantly loveable, cool, sassy, lyrically brilliant, musically fabulous and at 75 minutes long an absolute dream of a show. I invited Stephen [Crocker] to see a workshop performance in London and he was sold, just like I was. You have a treat in store.'
SIX is at Norwich Playhouse from July 11 to 15. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk