Curtain up as stars celebrate Letchworth Broadway Theatre opening

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Regional theatre has received a welcome boost with the creation of a new theatre in the iconic 1936 Art Deco-designed Broadway Cinema building in Letchworth, Herts.

The Broadway Theatre launch season was announced today and its programme includes family entertainment, work by Michael Morpurgo and David Walliams, and comedy from Roy Hudd and Nichola McAuliffe.

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Olivier Award-winning producer Sue Scott Davison, who lives in Letchworth and is creative programmer of the Broadway Theatre, says the venue’s inaugural season offers a diverse programme of theatre, comedy, live music, dance and family entertainment, which will dovetail with the cinema’s screenings and national releases.

The theatre, which is uniquely funded by the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, a community benefit society, will open with a star-studded launch event in February.

The new versatile, two-in-one venue, which will be complete by the end of December, can be turned into a theatre, and back to a cinema overnight. The back of house – new dressing rooms and a green room – are housed within a new extension to the cinema building.

Sue Scott Davison said: “The challenge with every new space is how to develop an audience, but the success of the live screenings at the Broadway Cinema has proven that there is a desire for good, quality performance on which to build. We are very excited about the opening programme.

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“To be charged with providing the town and the surrounding areas with a diverse schedule of theatre, comedy, music and dance is daunting, but as this will be the first fully-programmed, professional theatre space in the area, the advantages are considerable.

“Offering a new, mid-scale space to touring companies, performers and musicians, and so close to London, will help in securing the best.”

Highlights of the season include the launch of the UK tour of Waiting for God, a stage adaptation of the hit TV comedy series, starring Roy Hudd and Nichola McAuliffe.

The BAFTA nominated Best Comedy Series delighted TV audiences across several BBC series in the 1990s. This all-new script is penned by the sitcom’s creator Michael Aitkens and is directed by Tony Award winner David Grindley.

All the favourite characters from the original series are reimagined for 2017, facing the challenges that come with growing old disgracefully in the era of the silver surfer.

Family entertainment includes the first adaptation of David Walliams’ The First Hippo on the Moon, Julia Donaldson’s The Scarecrows’ Wedding, Birmingham Stage Company’s Horrible Histories, and a special performance of Michael Morpurgo’s The Mozart Question, narrated by the author himself.

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Pilot Theatre Company and York Theatre Royal will bring their acclaimed production of The Machine Stops, an adaptation of an EM Forster short story and The Reduced Shakespeare Company will present William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (Abridged).

2Magpies Theatre will tell the story of cyclists Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani, as they re-stage the drug fuelled race on Ventoux, the most fearsome mountain encountered on the Tour de France.

Ventoux charts the parallel lives of these champions who overcame great adversity in tandem, and the mountain that cast them in opposing directions. 2Magpies restage the race using breathtaking video accompaniment and a pair of road bikes, asking the question – how far will we go to succeed?

Sue said: “And at a time when the representation of women in theatre continues to be the subject of heated debate, I am also thrilled to be a part of a six-strong female arts team which has been building over this past year to deliver the very best in live entertainment.”

For more details about what’s on go to www.broadway-letchworth.com

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