Last night Hope Mill Theatre streamed a special online concert featuring an array of musical theatre performers, celebrating the much-loved music from legendary songwriting duo Rodgers + Hammerstein.
The concert saw the cast perform their songs at home, with performances edited together into a complete concert experience, hosted by Hope Mill Theatre’s founders William Whelton and Joseph Houston.
The line-up featured 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)
The venue was also thrilled to introduce cast members from the cancelled forthcoming production of Cinderella, Matthew Blaker, Julie Yammanee and Cinderella herself, Georgie Buckland. Buckland is a recent graduate from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was found through the venue’s open call for the role which received of over 500 submissions.
The concert also included 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.
Songs by the legendary Rodgers + Hammerstein performed included Shall We Dance (The King and I), Edelweiss (The Sound of Music), I Can’t Say No (Oaklahoma!), and of course, Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific), as well as a ‘singalong’ version of Do, Re, Mi (The Sound of Music). Plus a moving version of You’ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel) reflecting on the current situation and paying tribute to the NHS.
Some Enchanted Evening also featured some special guest hosts and familiar theatrical faces who introduced the songs and paid tribute to Hope Mill Theatre.
These included Hope Mill Theatre patrons Tracie Bennett, Russell T Davies and Denise Welch, director and choreographer Andrew Wright, writer Jonathan Harvey and many supporters of the theatre including Hayley Tamaddon, Sally Dynevor, Nick Winston and more.
The concert was free, but donations can be made by audiences to raise money to help the venue to reopen when the time comes, and to get back on its feet. Full details of this can be found here: https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/support-us
The concert can be found on the theatre’s YouTube channel until Sunday 3rd May: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sICc_L8tCMw
Joseph Houston, Artistic Director of Hope Mill Theatre, said: “We have worked so hard to bring together our first online production. It is so important to us that we continue to share work and keep engaged with our wonderful audiences. We have had so much support since closing and we are extremely grateful. Theatre is such a powerful art form, so it is important that for now, we continue to bring escapism & entertainment online. However, I think it proves even more the importance and sheer joy that live theatre gives and certainly makes me so excited to be back in a theatre seat. We hope you enjoy our concert and can keep supporting us through these difficult times.”
Like many theatres across the country, Hope Mill Theatre has been closed since Tuesday 17th March due to Covid-19.
The venue 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, which was due to open in May.