Our production of Stephen Sondheim’s iconic musical thriller Sweeney Todd provided a hugely entertaining closer to our 2015/16 season before a very busy summer ‘break’ and much-needed refurbishment to the front of house areas! The talented cast of both experienced Loft actors and newcomers to our stage delivered a well-received, artistic and critically acclaimed success that attracted an audience of well over 1,500 people – our biggest seller of the season, mirroring Scrooge from the previous season! Clearly there is a demand for the musical offering, although experience suggests that currently the mainstream rather than rock musical are the biggest crowd-pullers.
The 2015/16 season saw ongoing change at the Loft and served to underline that we will need to match output to resources and deliver an ever more flexible programme if we are to offer more choice to the citizens of Leamington Spa. And talking of resources, shows – particularly the big ones such as Sweeney Todd and the forthcoming Oliver! – don’t happen without superb input and support from our backstage teams, the theatre’s engine room. The Theatre is indebted to you all for your ongoing efforts.
We opened our 2016/17 season with the launch of our new Youth Theatre, Act One, and no less than six visiting productions, as we welcomed firstly Made in 48 Hours, who broke their own box office record and saw £1,700 paid to their chosen charity. This was followed by our neighbours from Spencer Yard, Heartbreak Productions, who concluded their national tours of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the original murder-mystery Murder on the Terrace, Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and David Walliams’ Ratburger, with five well-received performances in the Main House. This was quickly followed by two performances of the Criterion Theatre’s production of Bette and Joan in the Studio. Variety in abundance!
Although most of our 2016/17 season was announced before the break, I am delighted to announce the following additions to our programme. Firstly, Tell Tale Productions return to the Main House in January with their own, and very topical, production of Austerity Games. Tom O’Connor will direct Dawn King’s play of mystery, Foxfinder, in the Studio in early April, with David Fletcher making a return to the director’s chair later that month when he directs Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. I am also delighted to announce that Ladies in Lavender has now been rescheduled for early June, with Spa Theatre Juniors returning the following week. Last, and by no means least, we welcome a new director to the Loft Theatre, Rachel Adams (last seen in Three Sisters). She will close the season with a play soon to be announced. Busy times! Please see the website and elsewhere in this programme for further details of all these shows and more.
Next up in the director’s chair, we welcome back a returning William Wilkinson with his production of John Osborne’s modern classic The Entertainer, which will be followed up in early November by the GreenMatthews team who commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Great War with their musical tribute The Men Who Marched Away.
In closing, please allow me to remind you that you are all invited to our new season launch party on 1 October – hope to see you there!