Fifteen of the UK’s leading independent theatres have come together to create Music and Lyrics, a consortium that will specialise in producing large-scale musical tours.
The company has been set up by producer John Stalker, former chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival City Theatres Trust. The consortium features the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Sheffield Lyceum, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Belfast Grand Opera House, Royal and Derngate in Northampton, the Lowry in Salford, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Cardiff New Theatre, Southampton Mayflower, Wolverhampton Grand, Birmingham Hippodrome, Plymouth Theatre Royal, Leicester Curve and Bradford Alhambra.
Music and Lyrics’ first production will be the UK tour of Leicester Curve’s production of The King and I, which will open in Edinburgh next month and stars Ramon Tikaram and Josefina Gabrielle. The tour will visit all members of the consortium as well as a selection of non-consortium theatres.
Stalker told The Stage: “A number of us have been saying that there has been a growing sense of a lack of musical work on the number one circuit and we have been talking about addressing that in a collective way. There are very, very strong pieces of work produced in regional theatres up and down the country that don’t always get the future life that they justify and this is very good for the public investment that goes into them.
“The focus will be musical theatre in all its guises. We’re touring a large number one production on this occasion, there may be call in years to come to look at mid-scale as well as large-scale work. It’s about work of scale and ambition, so that it can command the stages of these number one touring venues.”