CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THE CHOIR

Citizens Theatre and Ambassador Theatre Group present
THE CHOIR
Book & lyrics by Paul Higgins
Music & lyrics by Ricky Ross
Directed by Dominic Hill
PRESS NIGHT: THURS 29 OCT, 7.30PM

A new musical co-production written by Paul Higgins and Deacon Blue singer and songwriter Ricky Ross and directed by Dominic Hill will be premiering at the Citizens Theatre this autumn. The Choir will be the first production to emerge from a partnership between The Citizens Theatre and Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), which was launched to create brand new musical theatre using the talent of local writers and composers.

The Choir is a funny, gritty but ultimately heart-warming musical play set in Wishaw about a group of strangers who come together, not always willingly, to sing in a community choir. With choirs never more popular thanks to films such as Pitch Perfect and TV shows Glee and Gareth Malone’s projects on the BBC, The Choir celebrates the friendships, community and solidarity that can come from joining with others in song.

The choir in question will be portrayed by a stellar cast. Ryan Fletcher was a cast member in the original West End production of smash hit musical, Once, but is known closer to home for his stage work in Black Watch and Beautiful Burnout (for NTS) and for TV appearances in Gary Tank Commander, The Limmy Show and River City.  Peter Polycarpou is instantly recognisable from the BBC series Birds of a Feather, and is in demand as a musical theatre actor having had roles The Pyjama Game (Shaftsbury Theatre), Cats and Phantom of the Opera (Really Useful Group), Les Misérables (original cast and 25th anniversary concert), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium) Oklahoma! (National Theatre) Miss Saigon (Cameron Mackintosh) Sweeney Todd (Chichester Festival Theatre) as well as numerous stage, television and film appearances. Myra McFadyen, whose work for stage includes Glasgow Girls and The Missing (NTS) and Interiors (Vanishing Point), as well as the film and stage versions of Mamma Mia, will also appear. 

Making their first-time appearances in a Citizens production are Anne Kidd (BBC’s Shetland, River City, Rapture Theatre’s Uncle Varick); Jess Murphy (National Theatre’s War Horse); Sandy Nelson (Sell a Door’s Sunset Song tour, Communicado’s Tam O’Shanter); James Quinn (BBC’s Dr WHO and Doctors, ITV’s Emmerdale, The Bill, The Royal); Johnson Willis (West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Of Mice and Men, Library Theatre Manchester’s Mother Courage), Neshla Caplan (Royal Lyceum Edinburgh’s BFG) and Cassie Webb, recent Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduate. Scott Reid (Fever Dream: Southside, The Maids) and Joanne Thomson (Kill Johnny Glendinning) will return to the Citizens stage for this production.

The Choir features brand new music written by Deacon Blue singer and songwriter Ricky Ross. Deacon Blue released their debut album 27 years ago, and have since enjoyed major hits with Dignity and Real Gone Kid. Their most recent albums The Hipsters and A New House have been accompanied by gigs at the Royal Albert Hall and SSE Hydro and Glastonbury Festival. Ross has also written hits for notable musicians including James Blunt, Ronan Keating, Jamie Callum and Nanci Griffith.

Speaking about The Choir, Ross said, ‘I’m really enjoying creating music for the stage and discovering new ways to tell people’s stories through song. The Choir is a musical play with a big heart about music’s power to bring people together which is something I find really compelling. It will be great to hear my songs performed on stage in the iconic Citizens Theatre.’

The script is written by Paul Higgins, best known for his TV roles in Utopia and The Thick of It. His debut work as a playwright, Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us, was presented at the Traverse Theatre by the National Theatre of Scotland in 2008.

Speaking about this new production Higgins said,‘I’m thrilled to be presenting my first musical play at the Citizens Theatre. Knowing the play would receive its premiere at the Citizens, it was important to me that we create a down-to-earth story with recognisable characters and settings, as well as a piece of theatre that’s going to be an enjoyable night out. It’s been great collaborating with Ricky on this project too; he has composed some beautiful, uplifting songs that really capture the spirit of the story.’

This new production is directed by Citizens Theatre’s Artistic Director Dominic Hill and is co-produced with Ambassador Theatre Group, the UK’s largest live-theatre company. ATG have worked with the Citizens Theatre to develop this new musical play from its earliest stages and supported Dominic Hill to create this major new piece of Scottish writing.

Discussing the partnership with Ambassador Theatre Group, Hill said, ‘I’m delighted to be embarking on this new venture with one of the foremost producers of musical theatre in the UK. We began this partnership back in 2012 with the intention of developing new work drawing on the rich creative talent in the west of Scotland. Working with Ambassador Theatre Group on The Choirwill allow us to create a big, ambitious new productionand I’m really excited to be bringing a new musical featuring music by one of Glasgow’s favourite artists to the Citizens’ audience this autumn.’

Howard Panter, CEO and Creative Director of ATG, said, ‘We are delighted to be partnering with the Citizens Theatre on the development of some very exciting new musical theatre work and are thrilled that The Choir, our first co-production, will be presented at The Citizens Theatre later this year. It has always been important to ATG to be investing in the future of great theatre, and working with Dominic and the fantastic team at the Citizens has been a richly rewarding partnership and one which we hope will continue to grow and develop.’

Tickets for The Choir are on sale now and available from citz.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0141 429 0022.

For more information, interviews and images, or to request tickets, please contact Claire Lowney, Marketing Officer .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 0141 418 6232.

LISTINGS

Citizens Theatre and Ambassador Theatre Group present
THE CHOIR
Book & lyrics by Paul Higgins
Music & lyrics by Ricky Ross
Directed by Dominic Hill

DATES: 22 Oct – 14 Nov, 7.30pm
Previews: 24, 27 & 28 Oct 7.30pm
Matinees: 4, 7, 14 Nov 2.30pm& Wed 11 Nov 1.45pm
Post show talk: 3 Nov
Lunch Event: Sat 14 Nov 12pm
British Sign Language performance: Fri 13 Nov 7.30pm
Captioned performance: Sat 14 Nov 2.30pm
TICKETS: 50p - £20.50
Previews £8.50 | Tuesdays £12.50
50p Tickets | 10 tickets, 10 performances on sale at 10am Saturday 17 October
NB – 50p Tickets must be bought in person at the theatre, cash only.

NOTES
CITIZENS THEATRE
The Citizens Theatre is an iconic venue and theatre company based in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. It has been one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres since 1945 and celebrates its 70th anniversary in its Gorbals home in 2015.  Fondly known as the Citz, it is led by Artistic Director, Dominic Hill.
Within a beautiful Victorian auditorium that dates from 1878, the Citizens presents a world-class, contemporary repertoire based on bold new interpretations of classic texts. As its name suggests, it places a strong emphasis on work that can enhance and transform the lives of citizens of all ages, cultures and social backgrounds through performance and participation that everyone can access.
For the latest information on all Citizens Theatre shows, learning and participation activity and the upcoming building redevelopment project visit citz.co.uk

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Citizens Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow, G5 9DS
Box Office: 0141 429 0022 │Admin: 0141 429 5561
Citizens Theatre Ltd. Registered No. SC022513 and is a Scottish Charity No.SC001337

AMBASSADOR THEATRE GROUP LTD
Co-founded by Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire OBE in 1992, the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG) is the world’s number one live-theatre company with 45 venues in Britain, the US and Australia. ATG is also one of the most prolific and internationally recognised award-winning theatre producers in the world with co-productions in the UK, New York, across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. ATG is the market leader in theatre ticketing services through ATG Tickets, LOVETheatre and Group Line.

ATG’s impressive portfolio of West End theatres includes historic buildings such as the Apollo Victoria, Donmar Warehouse, Duke of York’s, Fortune, Harold Pinter, Lyceum, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Playhouse, Savoy and Trafalgar Studios 1 and 2. In New York, ATG owns The Lyric Theatre, the largest theatre on Broadway.

In August 2015, ATG acquired ACE Theatrical Group (ACE), a company which specialises in the operation, design, development and construction of world class, live performance venues throughout North America comprising The Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, The Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, Louisiana, The Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in New Orleans, Louisiana, The Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas and The Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.

Earlier that month, ATG became leaseholder and took over the management of the Theatre Royal, Sydney’s oldest theatrical institution, one of the city’s premier venues and ATG’s first theatre in the Asia Pacific region.

ATG has regional UK theatres in Aylesbury, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Bromley, Edinburgh, Folkestone, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Richmond, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Torquay, Wimbledon, Woking and York.

ATG has offices in London, New York, Sydney, Mannheim and Cologne and is poised to accelerate international expansion.

Current and recent ATG co-productions include The Ruling Class starring James McAvoy, Oresteia, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown starring Tamsin Greig, East is East starring Jane Horrocks, Richard III starring Martin Freeman, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Robert Lindsay, Jersey Boys, Priscilla Queen of the Desert starring Jason Donovan/Duncan James, Inala, Love Me Tender, Macbeth starring James McAvoy, The Hothouse starring Simon Russell Beale and John Simm, Passion Play starring Zoë Wanamaker, Posh, Jumpy and Constellations (Royal Court at the Duke of York’s), Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical, Legally Blonde the Musical, Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Rocky Horror Show, Goodnight Mister Tom, The Mystery of Charles Dickens starring Simon Callow, South Pacific starring Samantha Womack and Paulo Szot, All New People starring Zach Braff, Ghost the Musical, Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!, Being Shakespeare starring Simon Callow, The Misanthrope starring Damian Lewis and Keira Knightley, West Side Story, Elling starring John Simm and Guys and Dolls starring Ewan McGregor.

ATG is also mounting productions around the world. ATG’s productions in Australia include Legally Blonde the Musical, Thriller Live, The Rocky Horror Show, Guys and Dolls and West Side Story. Recent ATG productions on Broadway include The Mountaintop starring Samuel L Jackson and Angela Bassett, Exit the King starring Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon and John Doyle’s award winning production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. ATG also co-produced Constellations on Broadway and currently co-producing multi Tony award winning The King and I with Lincoln Center Theatre.
ATG has a number of major production company initiatives/partnerships including Jerry Mitchell Productions, Theatre Royal Brighton Productions and Jamie Lloyd Productions. ATG also owns a major national family entertainment and pantomime company, First Family Entertainment (FFE).
ATG has a group partner company Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP), which is a West End and Broadway production company responsible for some of the most successful theatre productions in London and on Broadway over the past few years. Recent SFP West End and Broadway theatre productions and co-productions include the UK premiere of The Book of Mormon, Jez Butterworth’s The River on Broadway, starring Hugh Jackman, The Nether, Bend it Like Beckham the Musical, Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Electra, King Charles III, Sunny Afternoon, Shakespeare in Love, Jerusalem, Ghosts, Mojo, Chimerica, Twelfth Night & Richard III and Old Times. Sonia will also collaborate with J. K. Rowling on a new stage play to be based on the Harry Potter stories in co-production with Colin Callender.

ATG is the majority shareholder of BB Group, one of the leading producers and promoters of premium live entertainment in Europe with a particular strength in touring musicals and dance productions throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. BB Group productions include West Side Story, We Will Rock You, The Rocky Horror Show, Cats, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballet Revolución and its 2015 co¬productions include The Lion King and The Bodyguard. BB Group has won the tender to re-develop the “Staatenhaus” in Cologne as a 1,700 seat theatre.

RICKY ROSS

Ricky Ross has released five albums as a solo act. He has also written songs for or with artists including James Blunt, Ronan Keating, Jamie Culllum and Nanci Griffith, among many others. He presents his own radio show, Another Country with Ricky Ross on BBC Radio Scotland, and recently presented a TV show tracing the history of his hometown Dundee. He is one half of the duo McIntosh Ross who toured and released their much-admired debut album The Great Lakes in 2009.

PAUL HIGGINS
Paul trained at Central School, London. Theatre credits include: Luise Miller and The Cosmonaut’s Last Message… (Donmar), White Guard, Paul, The Hare Trilogy (National Theatre), Damascus (Traverse/Tricycle), The Tempest (Tron), Black Watch (NTS), Macbeth, Conversations After a Burial (Almeida), Measure for Measure (RSC), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe), Buried Alive (Hampstead), Nightsongs, American Bagpipes (Royal Court). TV credits include: Line of Duty, New Town, The Thick of It, Low Winter Sun, Staying Alive and A Very Peculiar Practice. Film credits include: In The Loop, Red Road, Complicity and Bedrooms and Hallways. Paul wrote Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us (Traverse/NTS) and the short films Peripheral Vision and Opera Lovers (BBC2).

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