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The Buskers Opera Supports London’s Homeless Communities with White Light
UK - Inspired by The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay, The Buskers Opera is a brand-new musical currently running at the Park Theatre in North London. Written by Dougal Irvine, it stars Olivier Award-winning actor George Maguire and is set in London in 2012 as a group of street performers gather in protest against the over-priced, corporate games. Alongside the performances, the production company is working closely with local homeless charities as a means of engaging them with theatre. With its strong reputation in all types of theatre, WL is supporting the production by sponsoring the lighting equipment.
The show has opened to rave reviews, with The Stage calling it “The best and most original British musical score since Bend It Like Beckham”. Neil Marcus, one of the show’s producers, comments: “We are delighted with the response so far. We’ve been working on the show for several months now, which included workshopping sections of the piece with Cardboard Citizens, a theatre company working with those who have experienced homelessness. It’s a piece that is very close to all our hearts so it’s fantastic to hear the amazing feedback from our audiences.”
The show is lit by Christopher Nairne, who recently won the OffWestEnd Award for Best Lighting Designer, which is sponsored by WL. He comments: “The design for the lighting rig came about largely by considering how best to light the space in Anna Williams’s exciting set design. It’s quite an open set for the cast so it was a case of working out which angles and textures layered over it would be suitable for getting the most out of the piece.”
Christopher then visited WL’s Wimbledon base and drew on the company’s unparalleled lighting inventory. Christopher states: “As this was a musical, we required more colour and variety than you might normally have on a play. I chose the Martin MAC TW1s as these allowed us to create live colour fades and shifts in focus, effects which are much more visible to the audience, whilst keeping the same tone as the generic rig. Having moving lights on a show like this has made such a huge difference and really helps to elevate the piece. We also hired additional Fresnels, ETC Source Four profiles and Birdies to supplement the venue stock.”
The team behind The Buskers Opera are also working within the local community to ensure that everyone receives the chance to see the show. Neil comments: “The show deals heavily with the theme of homelessness and it was really important that we engaged with this community and gave them the opportunity to see a piece that would hopefully resonate with them.”
The team have managed to raise £6,500 towards the PassItOn ticketing scheme which will gift free tickets to local homeless charities in the North London area. The show will also host the Park Theatre’s first ever relaxed performance, aimed at welcoming those with special mental or physical needs, on 2nd June.
Neil adds: “We’re unbelievably proud of our production. Not only do we feel it is a strong show with an important message but it is really giving back to the local community and ensures that those who may not normally engage with the arts now receive the opportunity to do so.”
The show runs until 4th June and there is hope that this particular production is one of many. Christopher adds: “I am extremely proud of this show and extremely grateful to WL for all of their help and support throughout. They’ve contributed towards a really valuable, worthy piece of theatre and we appreciate everything they’ve done.”
Maria Alves, WL’s business development manager, comments: “This was a fantastic project for us to sponsor as a company. Not only is it a very funny and moving production but it also signifies the huge impact that theatre can make off stage, within our towns and cities.”
photos: Simon Annand
20th May 2016
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