Archive for the ‘Tour news’ Category

Rehearsals underway for “Wuthering Heights”
6 February 2009

Whether it’s the harsh moors of Yorkshire or the sun scorched deserts of Rajasthan, extreme weather is a major feature of Wuthering Heights; so it’s perhaps fitting that the first day of rehearsals was cancelled because of the snowstorms that brought Britain to a standstill.

However, undeterred by bad weather and refreshed after a day of building snowmen, the first day of rehearsals took place on Tuesday. The company gathered at the Lyric Hammersmith (the show’s London venue) and the room was packed with everyone involved with the show, both onstage and off. Even at this early stage you get a sense of how big this production is going to be.

Kristine Landon Smith, the show’s director and Tamasha’s co-Artistic Director, has plenty of experience directing large scale shows and musicals, but even a seasoned professional still gets a case of first day jitters:

“Finally first day of rehearsals. Highest records of snow in eighteen years meant we had to cancel it ! I couldn’t believe it, I had woken during Sunday night (I always have a fitful sleep the night before first day of rehearsals) and had not felt optimistic. When we decided to cancel at 7am on Monday morning, my immediate thought was that I would have another day of preparation for what lay ahead. That meant 45 laps in the pool on Monday afternoon – some directors pore over their scripts, I did a six-mile run on Saturday and another 45 laps on Sunday! The thing that is so important for me during a rehearsal period is to have the right energy level to maintain a lively rehearsal room with a large company over the course of five weeks. And that takes some doing – particularly on day one. Introductions, sharing your vision for the show, quickly building the right atmosphere, and persuading a whole range of people to come along with you.”

Kristine working with actors at a 'Wuthering Heights' workshop November 2008
Kristine working with actors at a “Wuthering Heights” workshop, part of Musical Futures at Greenwich Theatre, November 2008. Photo: John Zammit

With all that exercise, it’s amazing that she can still stand up, but her infectious energy is already rubbing off on the rest of the company. Pretty soon, she and the cast will be keeping the snow at bay and will have turned this rehearsal room into the world of Rajasthan, full of song, dance and music.

Music is perhaps one of the first things you think of when someone mentions Bollywood, and this show will be no exception. In keeping with the Bollywood tradition, all the music will be prerecorded and the actors will lip-synch to the songs during the musical numbers just like they do in the movies; but it’s not just being recorded anywhere.

On the other side of the world and far away from the snow of England, Musical Supervisor John Rigby has been in Bangalore, India recording the music for the show with co-arranger Chandru and his musicians at Bollywood Strings:

“I’ve been in India for about 10 days so far and I can’t remember when I last had a more exciting or interesting time working on a show! It’s pretty hectic here, schedules are constantly changing and Chandru has done an amazing job of keeping everything on track! At times the work is a little frustrating as we have to record each musician separately and so it is sometimes hard to imagine what the final result will be until it is all put together, but we are very excited by what we are hearing and it really feels like we are creating something very new. The quality of the musicianship here is very high and they have such pride and passion about their instruments that it is a real pleasure to work with them.

Yesterday we had sessions all day and evening with the guitarists, and several other local musicians – all Chandru’s friends – turned up to hear. Of course events led onto Chandru’s terrace at the end of work and the whiskey was poured freely as we looked at pictures on the internet of London in the snow! Chandru is both a wonderful musician to work with and a fantastic host. The food and weather is amazing although there has barely been time to leave the studio. I hope I at least see the city before I have to board a flight home a week tomorrow. There is much to do before then though and our sitar player awaits so I’ll have to sign off. Can’t wait to hear the final mixes and put everything together back in London (and have a roast dinner and a proper pint!) but for now I’ll enjoy every moment of the culture, people and music of this wonderful country.”

When the music is complete in another week (providing the whiskey doesn’t flow too freely), we all look forward to hearing the amazing work that John, Chandru and his team have done. Until then, if you’re looking for somewhere to keep warm and beat the cold, you might just find, tucked away in Hammersmith, a sunny little corner of India.


News: Free tickets for Under 26s
15 January 2009

As part of a government initiative to get more young people into the arts, theatres across the country are giving away 1 million theatre tickets to anyone under 26.

Oldham Coliseum Theatre is just one of the venues taking part, and from Tuesday 17 February, a limited number of free tickets will be available for Wuthering Heights when it premieres there in March.

For more information on how to get your hands on them, call the Oldham Coliseum Theatre Box Office on 0161 624 2829.

News: Full cast confirmed
15 January 2009

As of today, we can finally confirm the full cast for Wuthering Heights.

The lead roles of Shakunlala and Krishan will be played by Youkti Patel and Pushpinder Chani respectively. Pushpinder performed in Tamasha’s first Bollywood musical, Fourteen Songs Two Weddings and a Funeral, and has a number of theatre, film and television credits behind him. Youkti graduated from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in 2007, and was a series regular in the three-part BBC drama Casualty 1907. Wuthering Heights is Youkti’s professional stage debut.

Gary Pillai will play their wealthy neighbour Thakur Vijay, Anil Kumar as Shakuntala’s brother Hari and Sheena Patel as Vijay’s sister Anita. The domestics, Yusuf and Ayah, will be played by Nish Nathwani and Tamasha stalwart Rina Fatania. Also appearing will be Shammi Aulakh as Baba, Divian Ladwa as Changoo and Amith Rahman and Davina Perera as part of the ensemble.

For full cast biographies, click here.

News: Tickets for Wuthering Heights now on sale
14 January 2009

Tickets for Wuthering Heights are now on sale. The tour – Tamasha’s biggest to date – will visit  eight cities and towns across England and Scotland.

The show will premiere at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre (13 – 28 March) where it wil perform for just over two weeks, followed by one week runs in Exeter (7 – 11 April) and Glasgow (21 – 25 April).

For our main London dates, we are delighted to be returning to the Main House at the Lyric Hammersmith – a venue which has staged many of Tamasha’s past productions, including Balti Kings, Fourteen SOngs, Two Weddings and a Funeral, Ghostdancing and Strictly Dandia.  Wuthering Heights will run from 29 April – 23 May – residents or workers in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham can get free tickets for the first performance on 29 April, and a number of £10 tickets are available for the rest of the first weekend.  For more information, call the Lyric box office on 0871 22 117 29 or visit their website.

The tour continues on to Newcastle (27 – 30 May), Southampton (2 – 6 June), Coventry (9 – 13 June) before finishing near Bronte country in  Harrogate (16 – 20 June).

Click here for the tour schedule and box office phone numbers.  Note that concessions and preferential rates for schools and groups of 10 or more are available at all venues.