Hope Mill Theatre announces 2018 season!

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Award-winning Hope Mill Theatre and resident producer Aria Entertainment today announce their much anticipated 2018 season, with three bold, exciting and ambitious in-house productions.

The converted mill in Ancoats currently hosting the European premiere of Little Women enjoyed a landmark 2017 season which saw 5* critically acclaimed productions and London transfers for Yank! and Hair with Pippin following in early 2018 will begin the season with the world premiere of new British musical The ToyBoy Diaries (on sale today).

This new musical comedy which runs from 18 January to 10 February 2018 charts the hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking sagas of mid-life dating. When twice-divorced Lily inadvertently finds herself under a much younger man, it opens the door to a wild new world of inappropriate relationships. From Tom the Tender to Sam the Submissive, via Paul the Policeman, Hat Trick Patrick and Matt the Monstrous (with Old Willy and Philandering Phil mixed in along the way) Lily finally finds Ben the Bountiful.

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Spring Awakening will run from 19 March to 3 May 2018. A production hailed as “one of the great musicals of the last decade” (New York Times) and the winner of eight Tony and four Olivier Awards, Spring Awakening follows a group of teenagers in late-19th-century Germany navigating the struggles and virtues of blossoming youth, with an electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and a Grammy award-winning rock score. This landmark musical will be presented in an intimate and bold new production helmed by director Luke Sheppard (In The Heights, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole).

Third show to be announced is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s romantic classic Aspects of Love which will run from 5 July to 4 August 2018. Featuring the iconic “Love Changes Everything” Aspects of Love tells the story of passion, love and loss across three generations of a family and their artistic companions, against a background of 1940’s France and Italy.

The hugely successful partnership between Joseph Houston and William Whelton, the co-founders of Hope Mill Theatre and producer Katy Lipson, of Aria Entertainment is further testament to their commitment to make Hope Mill Theatre the home of new musicals and revivals in the north and beyond with two more yet-to-be announced productions in Autumn/Winter.

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William Whelton and Joseph Houston, co-founders of Hope Mill Theatre said: “We wanted to make sure our third season was even more ambitious and we feel we have managed to achieve that with the world premiere of the new British musical The ToyBoy Diaries, an exciting revival of Spring Awakening with an Olivier Award-winning creative team and our first staging of an Andrew Lloyd Webber classic – Aspects of love. Once again we have proved the power of regional theatre and continue to spearhead Hope Mill Theatre as a leading player in new musical staging, musical premieres and exciting revivals.”

Katy Lipson, of Aria Entertainment, who has just seen her production of The Addams Family transfer to Singapore stated “I have enjoyed working with the theatre on taking our shows to new commercial levels in London and am extremely delighted to announce the first three shows of our 2018 season, it is an honour to share this diverse selection of work with you. We hope to continue to champion the genre and bring in audiences from far and wide.”

Further information can be found here

@Hopemilltheatr1

@ToyBoyDiaries

 

Yank!

Yank! is a story which needs to be told, it teaches us about love, and shares a poignant and heartfelt message inspiring audiences to love freely and with no time to waste.

Yank! is the third in-house production born from the hugely successful paring of Hope Mill Theatre and Aria Entertainment, who together brought both Parade and cult classic Hair to Manchester audiences last year, with the addition of third producer Ben Millerman, Yank! further confirms their commitment to delivering new and innovative theatre as this beautiful production is brought to life by Director James Baker and his stellar cast.

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Based on the 2010 Off-Broadway production written by David Zellnik with a score created by brother Joseph, Yank pays homage to Rodgers and Hammerstein and charmingly evokes the time period of the unforgettable 1940’s. The scrip has both great humour and enormous heart as we follow the journey of Stu (Scott Hunter) after he is called up to serve for his country in a war he doesn’t fully understand. As a vulnerable and scared young recruit Stu meets and falls in love with macho and self-assured, all-American guy Mitch (Barnaby Hughes), the two merely want to survive the war so they too can live and love their own American dream, sadly such a simple wish proves to be more of a challenge than any military battle they face, and so an emotional and complex uphill battle just in trying to be true to themselves begins.

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Scott Hunter gives an exceptional performance as Stu, we see how love changes him from a fearful and weak new recruit into an assured and quietly confident man whose inner strength and belief in his right to love is unshakeable. The relationship between Hunter and Barnaby Hughes (Mitch) is heart-warming, delicate and pure with a strong on stage chemistry, you desperately want them to make it. The whole cast are superb, each character is delivered with colour and is strongly defined from the swaggering, larger than life, Czechowski (Kris Marc-Joseph) to the flamboyant and fabulous Rotelli (Tom Lloyd) every single cast member makes their mark. Special mention must go to both Chris Kiely who plays Atrie the toe-tapping photographer who takes Stu under his wing and Sarah-Louise Young who plays multiple female roles and delivers each and every one with style and sass.

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There is stunning choreography from Chris Cuming culminating in the most beautiful of dream sequences which is a real highlight of this lovingly crafted production and again shows the sheer level of talent in this small cast of twelve.

Yank! is a delight, full of emotion and performed with true heart and soul, at a time when division is so rife it is crucial we see the importance of love, are able to love whom we choose and be loved back without question or complication. A truly special piece of theatre which delivers a powerful and honest message, Yank! is absorbing, dynamic and deeply moving.

Tickets available via http://www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

 

Yank! Preview

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On March 9th award-winning venue Hope Mill Theatre will host the European Premiere of the much anticipated Yank! A moving World War II love story which will examine what it means to be a man, to be in love, and explore the struggles simply being in love can bring.

Based on the 2010 Off-Broadway production written by David Zellnik with a score created by his brother Joseph Zellnik the musical transports us back to the unforgettable sounds of the 1940’s, focussing on the life of Stu (Scott Hunter) who is called up to serve for his country. Stu meets and falls in love with all-American guy Mitch (Barnaby Hughes) and so begins a tougher and more emotional fight than Stu ever expected to be facing.

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Yank! will be the third in-house production delivered by the hugely successful paring of Hope Mill Theatre and Aria Entertainment, who brought runaway hit Parade and cult classic Hair to Manchester audiences last year. This pairing is clearly one which understands the importance of getting things absolutely right, they put their heart and soul into delivering emotional, powerful, dynamic and beautiful productions, the prospect of them handling something with issues so current and so important is utterly thrilling. Add to this the fact that James Baker (director of Parade) is at the helm along with the addition of a third co-producer, Ben Millerman from Mr Millerman Presents and you soon realise that this is going to be something very special, without doubt crafted with love.

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We were lucky enough to join the cast for a preview at Hope Mill Theatre and hear from director James Baker who shared just how thrilled he is to be given the opportunity to tell such a beautiful story and really examine what it means to love in a time when division is so rife.

“I read the musical and just absolutley adored it, I think for me it’s important that when I pick up a musical, I absolutely  fundamentally love the story, for me it’s always about the story and Yank! has such a beautiful story. It’s about two people, two men that fall in love in World War II  in America, that alone is an exciting prospect, a gay love story set in World War II, that was enough to hook me in, but then the layers, the questions, the things that it asks, made me think there’s much, much more to this musical”

The cast delivered several of the shows musical numbers including the beautiful Rememb’ring You, My Soldier and Your Squad Is Your Squad each of which were absorbing and really gave a taste for this vibrant and dynamic production. Scott Hunter and Barnaby Hughes’ voices perfectly complimented each other, rich and powerful with an enormous amount of warmth. Sarah Louise Young the only female in the production sounded exquisite as she delivered her piece with real emotion and heart.The 12-strong cast are hugely talented and totally committed to doing justice to this emotive and bold piece of theatre, we fully expect Yank! to follow in the footsteps of Parade and Hair in firmly placing Hope Mill Theatre on the cultural map as a groundbreaking and innovative venue and one of Manchester’s brightest and boldest assets, roll on opening night!

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Yank! will run for four weeks from Thursday 9th March to Saturday 8th April at Hope Mill Theatre. Tickets are available now. Previews £15, all other performances £16-£22

www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk