The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 15 September 2020
West End Revival - Six and Everybody's Talking About Jamie will become the first musicals back in the West End in mid-November, eight months after the curtain came down. They will hit the stage three weeks after a string of non-musical shows reopen London's theatre district. The Play That Goes Wrong, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap and Adam Kay's This Is Going To Hurt will all admit socially distant audiences in October.
Venue heads said "robust risk mitigation" would be in place. They include reduced capacities, contactless tickets, temperature tests and deep cleans, as well as hand sanitation, face coverings and track and trace.
The producers of Six, the hit show about Henry VIII's wives, will take a separate cast to The Lowry in Salford from late November. The musical had been due to be staged in the Greater Manchester venue's 450-capacity Quays theatre over Christmas, but will move into the complex's 1,700-seater Lyric in order to accommodate all ticket holders while ensuring social distancing.
Producers hope Everybody's Talking About Jamie will resume at the Apollo in November, but the group's biggest production - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace - will not return until at least February.
Lifeline - Actor Liam Neeson has told the Northern Ireland Executive that £33m in support funding for theatres and venues is a "lifeline". In July, NI received £33m as part of a UK government package for theatres, arts and music venues and museums. However, the executive has not yet decided how that money will be spent or when it will be released.
Neeson said funding support was needed to help secure the livelihoods of almost 8,000 people working in the arts and creative industries. In a message to members of the executive recorded for the Lyric theatre in Belfast, where he is a patron, Neeson said he was speaking as "a proud Northern Irishman".
"I came up through the ranks, as it were, of the arts scene in Northern Ireland during the 1970s, beginning in 1976 to be exact at the Lyric theatre in Ridgeway Street in Belfast. I experienced first-hand, as many of you may have, the potential of physical danger as I practised and learned my craft in that theatre - which, by the way, never closed its doors once during the height of the Troubles.”
Pared-Down - A subdued version of The Last Night of the Proms was held in London, after a row over Rule, Britannia! threatened to overshadow the event. It saw a pared-down version of the BBC Symphony Orchestra play to an empty Royal Albert Hall, in order to comply with coronavirus restrictions.
After a very public row, the patriotic songs Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory were sung by a small choir. The BBC was criticised for plans to omit the lyrics last month. Critics said the words evoked a British colonial, imperialist past that is at odds with the values of modern Britain and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The BBC insisted its original decision had been driven less by politics than by the limitations imposed on musicians, and choirs in particular, during the pandemic.
Criminal Records - For the last decade singerJill Brown has been conducting music workshops in HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow. These experiences in Scotland's biggest prison have inspired her to start a label aimed at those doing time. "My goal is to give people a voice and it's simply that," says Brown. "It's to give people a voice that feel they are denied that, and it's to plant a seed of hope to let them see that their lives can be better and they can give back to society." The plan is for the label to start working with ex-offenders once they are released from prison. But the eventual goal is to record and release records with those who are still inside.
Farewell - Jamaican reggae pioneer Frederick Nathaniel ‘Toots’ Hibbert has died at the age of 77. The musician fronted the reggae and ska band Toots & the Maytals from the early 1960s.
Hibbert "passed away peacefully" in Kingston, Jamaica surrounded by his family, the group announced. Hibbert is credited with popularising reggae music and even naming the genre - his 1968 single Do the Reggay is the first song to use the term. RIP.
(Jim Evans)
15 September 2020

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