The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 6 August 2019
World Record - Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour has been named the highest-grossing tour of all time, breaking a record set by U2 that had stood for eight years. Coming off the back of the chart-topping album of the same name, the Divide tour began in March 2017, and will have encompassed 255 shows when it finishes with four homecoming gigs in Ipswich later this month. So far it has grossed $736m (£607m), breaking U2’s record of $735m, with 12 dates still left to play.
It has also been named the most attended tour of all time: when it finishes, more than 8.5m people across 43 countries will have seen Sheeran perform, breaking U2’s record of 7.3m.
Writing on Instagram, Sheeran said: “Thanks so much for each and every one of you who have come to a show. 12 shows left, will never forget it.” Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp told Pollstar, who amassed the tour data: “What Ed has accomplished is truly incredible - to even be in the same ballpark as [U2] or spoken in the same sentence with a touring act like that is very humbling.”
U2’s record was set in 2011 by their 110-date 360° tour. Rather than focusing on stadiums as U2 did, Sheeran has included more intimate arenas - his average concert attendance is 34,541, around half U2’s 66,091 average. He also rejected VIP areas and sold tickets at a relatively low price, 14.2% lower on average than U2’s, but the sheer number of dates has ensured the record was broken nonetheless.
Immersive Future - West End producer Hartshorn-Hook has unveiled an ambitious plan to become “the future of immersive theatre” with the creation of a dedicated company and a network of venues. Its founders said they had their sights set on rivals such as Secret Cinema and Punchdrunk, and that they had been driven by the expanding popularity of the genre to start the new venture, Immersive Everywhere.
Hartshorn-Hook, which alongside producing and general management runs the Arts Theatre, is co-producing the forthcoming immersive version of The Wolf of Wall Street and general-manages the immersive Great Gatsby show in London, which has been running since 2017.
Broadway Bound - Musical Six is transferring to Broadway. The show, about the six wives of Henry VIII, will open at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on 12 March, 2020, with previews from February 13. Co-writers Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss said: “We are unbelievably excited about Six coming to Broadway. We are so grateful that we get to share our show with an even wider audience.”
The show is directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage, with choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille. It has set design by Emma Bailey, costumes by Gabriella Slade, sound by Paul Gatehouse, and lighting by Tim Deiling. Orchestrations are by Tom Curran. It is produced by Kenny Wax, Wendy and Andy Barnes, George Stiles and Kevin McCollum. The New York cast has yet to be announced.
Stepping Down - Louise Jeffreys is to step down as artistic director of the Barbican after nine years in the role and two decades at the venue. Jeffreys joined the Barbican as head of theatre and arts projects in 1999 and became artistic director in 2010. She will leave the post at the end of this year, with a replacement yet to be announced. “My creative home for 21 years, the Barbican has given me many opportunities to grow and develop,” Jeffreys said. “However, nothing would have been possible without collaborating with amazing artists, organisations and communities – and the wonderful team of talented and committed people with whom it’s been a huge privilege to work. I will miss and cherish it enormously.”
(Jim Evans)
6 August 2019

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