Director of Soho Estates Fawn James and Artistic Director Rachel Edwards together announce the opening programme for the Boulevard as the newly-reimagined venue opens its doors to the public for the first time in October 2019. The first show will be the London premiere of Dave Malloy’s celebrated song cycle Ghost Quartet brought to life by the team behind the recent hit production of Sweeney Todd which won great acclaim in London and New York. Ghost Quartet will run alongside a packed roster of late-night and Sunday performances of cabaret, improv, jazz, comedy, classical music and poetry. The Boulevard Theatre’s 2020 season will be announced in September.
London’s newest theatre is located in the heart of Soho in Walker’s Court. The venue is situated in the exact location where Fawn James’ grandfather Paul Raymond opened the original Boulevard Theatre which famously became home to Peter Richardson’s Comic Strip. Architects SODA studio, in collaboration with theatre specialists Charcoalblue, have designed an innovative new flexible space which features Europe’s most advanced revolving theatre and a two-floor glass bridge leading to a restaurant and bar area. For more information on the building please see press pack attached.
GHOST QUARTET – LONDON PREMIERE
Thursday 24 October 2019 – Saturday 4 January 2020
Music, Lyrics and Text by Dave Malloy
Directed by Bill Buckhurst
The Boulevard Theatre opens with the London premiere of Ghost Quartet by the three-time Tony Award-nominated writer of Broadway smash-hit Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Dave Malloy. Bill Buckhurst directs and reunites the creative team behind his sell-out production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which transferred from a pie shop in Tooting, to the West End, and eventually to a sell-out New York run becoming the longest running production of Sweeney Todd in history.
Ghost Quartet will be directed by Bill Buckhurst with musical direction by Benjamin Cox, design by Simon Kenny, movement direction by Georgina Lamb, lighting by Emma Chapman, sound by David Gregory and casting by Will Burton CDG.
Rose has a problem. She’s been betrayed by her lover, a local tree-dwelling astronomer, with her very own sister. Rose seeks vengeance and a passing bear might just offer the answer. But his services come at a price: a pot of honey, one piece of stardust, a secret baptism – and a photo of a ghost.
A kaleidoscopic journey spanning continents, centuries and the cosmos ensues. But even through the fogs of time and a haze of whiskey, Rose can’t shake the feeling that she’s done this all before…
Ghost Quartet is an intoxicating musical of love, loss and spirits – of both the spectral and alcoholic kind. Wildly inventive, Malloy’s piece draws inspiration from a rich tapestry of work from Arabian Nights and Edgar Allan Poe to Grimms’ fairy tales and Stephen Sondheim, woven together by gospel, honky-tonk, folk ballads, electro-pop and jazz. This hauntingly beautiful song cycle is a story about stories themselves; how we tell them, how we hear them, and how they evolve, intertwine and draw us in.
The Boulevard Theatre is delighted to announce a lively late-night offering of music, comedy and cabaret running from Wednesday – Saturday straight after the theatre show.
SOHO SOUNDS: JAZZ
Wednesday night weekly from 6 November – 18 December
Soho Sounds is the Boulevard Theatre’s new music night, showcasing the best UK and international performers in the theatre’s intimate and stylish setting. For the first season, the Boulevard Theatre will recreate the swinging spirit of bohemian Soho with a jazz night curated in collaboration with composer, pianist and arranger Alex Webb of The Copasetic Foundation. Known for his work with vocalists, Webb’s music has been performed widely. As creator and producer his shows include Strayhorn the Songwriter, Charlie Parker on Dial, Fever: Jo Harrop sings Peggy Lee and Cafe Society Swing which enjoyed theatre runs in London and New York. Each week for Soho Sounds, a different prestigious guest singer will join the house band led by Alex Webb on piano, Andy Champion on double bass and Pete Hill on drums.
Confirmed performers include David McAlmont (“Yes”, McAlmont and Butler, The Glare with Michael Nyman, Set One: You Go To My Head), American singer China Moses (This Ones for Dinah, Crazy Blues and Nightingales), saxophonist Tony Kofi (Point Blank and For the Love of Ornette with Jamaaladeen Tacuma), Jo Harrop (guested on Call Me Lucky and backing vocalist for Neil Diamond, LeAnn Rimes and Enrique Iglesias), Vimala Rowe (Out Of The Sky with legendary guitarist John Etheridge and recently co-composed “Martinete” with Flamenco giant Paco Peña) and singer-songwriter Anna Ross (First Day and backing vocalist for Duran Duran, Lisa Stansfield, Stereophonics, Tom Jones, Sting and Tina Turner).
Thursday night weekly from 7 November – 2 January
After the curtains have fallen in theatres across the West End, the Boulevard Theatre’s Finale is just beginning. Curated in collaboration with Nadim Naaman (best known for his performances in Phantom of the Opera, West End and Sweeney Todd, Tooting/ West End) each week a different star of the stage will take to the mic to share their favourite songs and stories. The Boulevard Theatre’s intimate cabaret space is the perfect place to hear showtunes in a stripped-back style that lets the vocals shine.
Confirmed artists include Fra Fee (The Ferryman, West End/Broadway and Les Misérables, West End/film), Nathaniel Morrison (currently appearing in Waitress, with other West End credits including Dancing In The Streets, Porgy and Bess, Sister Act and Hairspray), Sabrina Aloueche (We Will Rock You and Les Misérables, West End) and Claudia Kariuki (School of Rock, West End).
LATE NIGHT SCENE
Friday night alternate weeks from 8 November – 20 December
British Comedy Award winner and BAFTA nominee Nina Conti will host the inaugural Late Night Scene, a gleefully unruly after hours mixed-bill show curated in collaboration with Simon Pearce (The Invisible Dot). Nina’s television credits include Live at the Apollo (for which she won the British Comedy Award), QI, Russell Howard’s Good News, Sunday Night at the Palladium, The John Bishop Show and Family Tree and on radio Clare and the Community (BBC Radio 4). She received a BAFTA nomination and won a Grierson Award for her directorial debut Her Master’s Voice.
Award-winning performer Kiri Pritchard-McLean will then take up the baton, presenting the boldest and funniest comics in town throughout the autumn. Winner of the Best Compere and Best Club Comedian at the Chortle Awards 2018, and as seen on Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and Russell Howard’s Good News, rising star Kiri will introduce an exceptional line up of established comedy titans and fresh-faced emerging upstarts from the worlds of stand up, sketch, and character comedy.
THE YES QUEENS
Friday night alternate weeks from 1 November – 3 January
The Boulevard Theatre is proud to announce Soho’s newest female-led comedy improv night curated by Julie Clare (whose work as a producer includes In the Heights, King’s Cross Theatre; Sideshow, Southwark Playhouse and Chinglish, Park Theatre). Each week a different line-up of queens will grab the sceptre and hilariously hold court for an evening of spontaneous scenes, sketches and games created on the spot with suggestions from the audience.
Special guests confirmed so far include comic Pippa Evans, a core member of the award-winning improv team behind Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. Pippa has made guest appearances on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show and Comedy Central’s Drunk History. Also confirmed is Cariad Lloyd whose TV credits include BBC One’s This Time with Alan Partridge, and Channel 4’s Peep Show. Cariad’s podcast Griefcast won three Gold prizes at the British Podcast Awards 2018.
Saturday night weekly from 2 November – 4 January
The Black Cat Cabaret and Boulevard Theatre present After Dark; a moonlit cocktail of late-night entertainment. Soho’s latest, greatest late-night cabaret is a bewitching cocktail of musical incantations, comedy and dazzling circus spectacle. Visiting luminaries from across the international scene will be expertly assembled by resident compère and chansonnière Dusty Limits (director of Black Cat Cabaret, whose solo shows include Mandrogyny and Psycho).
Black Cat Cabaret is renowned for bringing together an exceptional line up of the very best contemporary cabaret. Originally inspired by the absinthe-soaked heyday of Montmartre’s underworld their show Salon Des Artistes won Best Production at the London Cabaret Awards 2014. Past venues have included Café de Paris, Grand Hall, Hotel Café Royal, Underbelly Festival Southbank and Crazy Coqs Live At Zédel where they enjoyed an ongoing sell out run.
Sundays at the Boulevard Theatre will feature an inspiring programme of live podcasts, eclectic and imaginative classical music concerts and the very best in spoken word talent.
SUNDAY SERVICE: PODCASTS
Weekly at from 3 November – 5 January at 11am
Kick off your Sunday morning the right way as the Boulevard Theatre hosts a different established podcast each week, recorded in front of a live audience. Taking the most interesting and fresh new voices out of headphones and into an auditorium. More details to be announced soon.
SUNDAY SERVICE: CONCERTS
Weekly from 3 November – 5 January at 2pm
Each Sunday the Boulevard Theatre presents a concert showcasing the most exciting and inventive artists in classical music today. Music researcher, writer and presenter Katy Hamilton co-curates with Musical Director and composer Benjamin Cox (Les Misérables, Showboat and Broken Wings, West End and Sweeney Todd, Tooting/ New York) bringing together ground-breaking artists from different classical styles and musical genres. Whether new to the genre or a seasoned sonata fan, this programme of work will have something for everyone; from Baroque and Romantic to experimental new work and improvisation, all performed in the Boulevard Theatre’s intimate and informal setting.
Performers confirmed so far include boundary breaking iyatraQuartet (who create music for violin, cello, bass clarinet and percussion drawing on backgrounds encompassing classical to experimental and Indian to folk music. In 2019 they won the Kennedy-Kolodziejski Award for their debut album This World Alone). Contemporary quartet The Hermes Experiment (made up of harp, clarinet, voice and double bass with awards including Royal Overseas League Mixed Ensemble Competition, Tunnell Trust Award, Park Lane Group Young Artists and Nonclassical’s Battle of the Bands). Kadialy Kouyate (born into the great line of Kouyate Griot in Southern Senegal, Kadialy plays the kora and sings), Kumori Saxophone Quartet (who regularly perform standards of the saxophone repertoire, ranging from classical to jazz and beyond, alongside their own arrangements and transcriptions) and The London Klezmer Quartet (who delve into the celebratory and soulful music of Jewish eastern Europe bringing audiences around the globe echoes of a vanished world).
SUNDAY SERVICE: POETRY
From 3 November – 5 January at 4.30pm
From ballads to blank verse and sonnets to slam battles, this weekly event will explore how we take poetry from the page and bring it to life through performance and discussion. Curated by leading poetry organisation Live Canon, each week offers a platform to guests from different parts of the verse world to come together and share their work in an exciting and enlightening way.
Confirmed artists include Inua Ellams (whose plays include Barber Shop Chronicles, The Half God of Rainfall and upcoming adaptation Three Sisters. Pamphlets of poetry include Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, Candy Coated Unicorn and Converse and The Wire-Headed Heathen), Mona Arshi (whose collection of poetry Small Hands won the Forward Prize and Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection in 2015 and whose second collection Dear Big Gods was recently published) and Richard Scott (winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, the Michael Marks Poetry Award 2016 for his pamphlet Wound and the 2017 Poetry London Competition for his poem Crocodile. His first book Soho was published in 2018).
For up to date listings for the Late Night and Sunday programme at the Boulevard Theatre please see http://www.boulevardtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/