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December 08


Thank you for being our FRIENDS... elcome to your new-look APA FRIENDS scheme. With APA now having three great venues in Aberdeen offering top quality dance, drama, music and comedy, we felt the time was right to look at how to make FRIENDS even better. And your feedback has helped shape the new look and way it all works. For example LOVE LIVE sums up exactly what we all enjoy about going to His Majesty’s Theatre, The Lemon Tree or the Music Hall. Going forward APA FRIENDS will not only benefit from exclusive discounts, offers, priority booking and partner rewards but we will also be rewarding you for your loyalty with different offers and reward points that can be redeemed against ticket prices – look out for more details. When you renew, you will get a new-look membership card which we hope you like! If you have never bought tickets online using the APA FRIENDS area of the website you must register the first time you use it (even though you are a member) to get access the priority booking area and all the latest news and offers. You will also get priority booking for more shows at The Lemon Tree and Music Hall. But because of the short lead time to let you know about these, it is important that we have your email and mobile phone details so that we can text or email the latest gig alerts to you. Malmaison Aberdeen has joined as an APA FRIENDS partner and they offer you a free glass of wine for every pre theatre dinner customer Monday to Thursday (or Champers for Matcham APA FRIENDS! see page six). And we have teamed up with both Malmaison Aberdeen and The Caledonian Hotel by Thistle and put together great theatre break packages for a host of shows in early 2009 (see offers section of website). Thanks for being an APA FRIEND and we look forward to seeing you at one of our venues soon. Have a great festive season,

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cots actress Elaine C Smith was on tour at His Majesty’s Theatre when she got the call from Calendar Girls producer David Pugh. And in February she returns to our stage in the company of an elite cast of leading ladies - Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Sian Phillips, Gaynor Faye, Brigit Forsyth and Julia Hills. All are rising to the challenge of posing artfully behind flowers, knitting and cream buns in the now-legendary tale of how a group of ordinary Yorkshire WI ladies posed in the nude for a calendar to raise cash for cancer research, after one lost her husband to the disease. It’s a story which has touched Elaine personally in more ways than one. "Calendar Girls was the last film my Mum saw before she died of breast cancer and my sister suffered from a condition very similar to the disease which John contracts in the play,” says Elaine. “Ordinary people often get a bad press and yet, in actual fact, ordinary people up and down the country are doing great things,” she added. “A story of what ordinary people can do really lifts me up and it makes a change to see something that proves how nice people can be.” And there’s as much camaraderie among the Calendar Girls cast as there was among the original WI ladies as they embarked on their adventure. "There's been no sense of competitiveness between us" says Lynda firmly. "Actresses get a bad press and of course you do come across some real bitches but in the main I've never had anything but good feedback from other women. “Any intelligent actor wants the piece to be as good as it can be and when you're working with the best people, you raise your game too. “In a way, it's as if we're like the original Calendar Girls. Something of their chutzpah, their nerve, their vitality, has been sprinkled like fairy dust on us." Like the rest of the cast, Edinburgh-born Brigit emphasises how harmonious Calendar Girls has been, questioning the preconception that actresses are generally a catty collection. “People said to me before I started to work on Calendar Girls that I'd never survive with this company but there has not been an ego between us," she says. – JOYCE SUMMERS

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SHONA BYRNE Head of Sales and Marketing 2


Alistair talks to APA FRIENDS about Shakespeare, young theatre-goers and a weekend in Montpellier M easure For Measure is perhaps one of Shakespeare’s least performed plays, a deep look into the issues of mercy, justice, truth, and how these important concepts impact on pride and humility. Starring Alistair McGowan, the play which has caused much debate over the years, will be staged at HMT in April and the stage and screen star has kindly taken the time to answer some questions exclusively for APA Friends.

And just quickly: Favourite part you have played? I've enjoyed almost all of them - particularly, Khlestakov in The Government Inspector, Clov in Endgame, Ford in Merry Wives: The Musical, Vernon Gersch in They're Playing Our Song. But I've never had quite so much fun as I did too-briefly playing the MC in Rufus Norris' Cabaret.

Being renowned for your Big Impression, do you think audiences come to see you perform on stage with preconceptions? I used to worry that people would see my name and imagine that I was going to do the character as someone famous. Certainly, when I played King James I in a play at Chichester there were lots of reviews which likened the character (a powerful, whimsical Scot) to Billy Connolly. So, now, after years spent trying to sound like someone, I find myself, on stage, always trying not to sound like someone!

Favourite night out? December 13th 1983 Favourite city? I spent a weekend in Montpellier just before Christmas last year. It's a beautiful, magical old town. Favourite song? I don't really have a favourite song. But I think the most exquisite piece of music ever written has to be Claude Debussy's Claire de Lune. I never tire of it. It stops me in my tracks every time. – SARAH HARBISON

Measure for Measure is possibly one of Shakespeare’s least performed plays, what drew you to it? The fact that it is less famous means people have fewer preconceptions about the play which I think makes it less of an albatross for an actor. I have always found the central concept of the play - Isabella's painful choice between her chastity and her brother's life - fascinating. On top of that, the Duke is a very interesting character whose motives for leaving his post and his duties are open to much discussion. But above all, I have always been interested in doing a tour and in playing a non-comic part in a Shakespeare play. Here was the chance to do both!

Some enchanted evening in a Deeside Secret Garden A

Do you think Shakespeare's plays still have relevance to modern life in Britain? Completely. In many ways the world - even the language we speak - is a totally different place now. And yet, the main themes of life, the main human emotions which Shakespeare depicts so beautifully and powerfully, are still exactly the same. They always will be. Sadly, no matter how much we see artistic representations of the folly of jealousy, 'overarching' ambition, lust, murderous intent, we still indulge in these emotions and passions and suffer the consequences.

walk in the woods will never be the same again after a trip to The Enchanted Glen for a spellbinding stroll through a magical forest amid a breathtaking display of lights and music. The three-night-only sound and light show in December transforms a beautiful woodland and water environment into a winter wonderland of stunning choreographed effects, moods and backdrops that will appeal to all age groups. A coach takes participants from Aboyne, to the nearby woodlands of Glen Tanar Estate, where walkers will have access to areas of the local estate which have previously never been open to the public, including the Secret Garden, a 100-year-old woodland that will surprise and amaze. Sponsored by TOTAL E&P UK, The Enchanted Glen is being organised by EventOne Management and director Gerry Muldoon said: “The event will be a fantastic evening of fun for the whole family.” Tickets for the event on Friday, Saturday and Sunday December 12, 13 and 14 will not be available on the night and must be booked in advance.

Do you think casting recognisable names extends the appeal of a lesser known play to a new audience? Particularly with reference to the younger generation of theatre goers? To a degree. Yet the biggest fan of a television star will still say they 'never go to the theatre'. Or will not want to see their favourite performer/actor/comic doing anything other than what they know them for. Others will, unwittingly, have their artistic horizons broadened simply to be in the same room as someone they've seen on the telly or on the silver screen - which can't be a bad thing. And, in the past, before the emergence of TV and film, theatre stars were the stars themselves. The big names of theatre were cast in the big roles. They were the draw. So, in a way, it has always been the same. 3


The glow from Sunset Song’s triumphant success lingers on fter a highly successful 10-day run at His Majesty’s Theatre, Sunset Song went on a triumphant five-week Scottish tour. And HMT’s first large scale in-house production was voted an outstanding hit by both theatre-goers and art critics alike. The play was seen by over 25,000 people by the end of the run, filling theatres in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Perth as well as in Aberdeen. And it received strong four star (Times, Guardian) and three star (Herald, Scotsman, Sunday Herald) reviews from national critics. While always confident in the quality of the production, the show’s success has exceeded all Aberdeen Performing Arts’ expectations. “Sunset Song has thrilled audiences across the country,” said APA chief executive Duncan Hendry. “We are grateful to everyone who helped make this such a stunning success and we are already considering HMT productions for the autumn of 2009 and 2010. “Hopefully Sunset Song will provide a model for future work coming from His Majesty’s and our success with this show gives us the confidence to move forward knowing that we can produce high quality, large scale work in Aberdeen.” – JOYCE SUMMERS

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Ed joins the hip line up of young guns at the Music Hall ver the last few years we have strived to bring you the very best stand up comics not only from the British touring circuit, but from acclaimed comedians from around the world. We’ve had the familiar faces from some of the most successful TV comedies in recent times, and we’ve also had the pleasure to introduce Aberdeen audiences to names to watch out for. This year alone we’ve had Dara O’Briain, Frankie Boyle, Omid Djalili, Dylan Moran and Russell Howard at the Music Hall and Craig Hill and Tim Minchin at The Lemon Tree. In recent months we’ve been able to announce the booking for Ross Noble and Phoenix Night’s Dave Spikey, along with the return of Jimmy Carr. And we are simply over the moon to announce yet another bigname comedian coming to our fair city, Irishman Ed Byrne. Over the last 10 or so years Ed’s stock and reputation has risen, backed with appearances on successful TV shows both in Britain and Ireland. His style is perhaps best defined as succinct and cynical with little time for fools, yet his strongly opinionated quips remain strangely uplifting and delightfully silly. Nothing escapes his comic vision, and his rapport with the crowd is always endearing and honest. In recent years he has had several sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and London’s Riverside Studios, alongside country-wide tours where tickets went faster than hotcakes. – CHRIS COLLINS

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How do you make a pig fly? H

ow To Look Good Glaikit marks the return of The Flying Pigs to the HMT stage. The hilarious local comedy troupe are always a huge hit with Aberdeen audiences and Greg Gordon has been one of the writers since the beginning. He took some time out from his busy writing schedule, as well as his job in Aberdeen University’s Law Department to answer some questions. Where does your inspiration come from for the characters and script ideas? It's a question of keeping your eyes and ears open as you go about your day-to-day life. New characters I'm working on just now are a frustrated minister, a laird who's fallen on hard times and an apparently coothy auld wifie who says the most vicious and cutting things to people. With the more established characters, the challenge is to make sure that there are new things for them to say - while remaining true to their character. Sometimes you think of very funny lines that you have to reject because that character wouldn't say that. What is your favourite part of the script-writing process? My least favourite part is starting out. The thing I enjoy most of all is probably when you write a sketch and get totally into the zone - ideas are forming apparently by themselves and you realise that you've just totally nailed one idea as well as you could have hoped to do. Even more enjoyable is when you go back to an idea you've been struggling with and suddenly have a bit of an epiphany as to why it hasn't been working. Some of our best sketches have been ones which were hellish to write but which came though in the end! The other thing I enjoy is the first read of the material by the others - hearing them laugh at it. That's probably the best part of all. Did you enjoy working with the BBC on the recent radio project? What were the challenges involved? It was very enjoyable. The sheer volume of material required was the main challenge. It also takes a bit of time to get used to the fact that on radio there are no visuals - what you realise is just how much work something like a slide projection showing a location, or a costume, or a bit of physical acting will do for you. Writing for radio is harder, but second time around we learned more of the tricks - made more use of sound effects to communicate ideas and actions, rather than having them all described laboriously. What does the future hold for Flying Pigs and for you as a writer? We've got the show coming up in June and we need more material for that. Hopefully we will do more work with the BBC going forward as well - we are in discussions with them at the moment and that is all very exciting. I also have an idea for a full-length play, a much darker piece of work, and a novel, both of which in the longer term I would like to get to. – BEN TORRIE

Caractacus heading for HMT anding on the stage at HMT next Autumn is a most fantasmagorical machine. With a 100-strong cast and crew, including 10 dogs, sensational sets and stunning special effects Chitty Chitty Bang Bang swoops into His Majesty’s Theatre next September for a three-week run as part of its high-flying UK tour. The star of this action-packed adventure is a truly magical car, packed with enough hi-tech wizardy to dazzle and delight the entire family. The production has been nominated for three Olivier Awards, won Best Musical in the 2002 Variety Awards, been nominated for five Tony Awards on Broadway and won the coveted Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for Best Family Show in 2006. This is the story of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s eccentric creator Caractacus Potts, his children Jeremy and Jemima and father Grandpa Potts, who along with the charming Truly Scrumptious, try and outwit the dastardly Baron and the famously evil Childcatcher. Songs include Truly Scrumptious, Toot Sweets, Hushabye Mountain and of course the Oscar-nominated title song, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. – JOYCE SUMMERS

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WIN a two-night stay at the fabulous We are delighted to announce that the newest partner to APA Friends, is Malmaison Aberdeen. As Malmaison Aberdeen, the twelfth addition to the Malmaison boutique hotel chain is set to open on Monday November 24, APA FRIENDS have already got fantastic offers lined up for you. Formerly The Queen's Hotel, the building is being transformed into a stunning luxury hotel with the Malmaison style and flair for design. This promises to be a great destination for APA FRIENDS members, as services will include a delightful brasserie where you’ll be able to watch the chefs at work on the open grill and finish off in the whisky snug and walk-in whisky pantry. For those looking for the personal pampering approach, the spa will be your ideal retreat from daily life, offering a range of treatments, steam room, drench showers, relaxation room, nail bar, spray tanning, and a fully equipped gym. Exclusively for APA FRIENDS members, Malmasion Aberdeen will offer you a glass of wine per member, and Matcham members will be offered a glass of champagne, for all those eating up to 7.30pm, Sunday to Thursday. General Manager Andy Roger said: “Malmaison is delighted to finally be opening in Aberdeen. I look forward to our association with Aberdeen Performing Arts and welcoming all APA Friends into the hotel in the coming months.” Malmaison Aberdeen are also offering APA FRIENDS the opportunity to win a two-night dinner, bed and breakfast stay in any Malmaison of your choice (subject to availability) by simply answering the question below, fill in a postcard and send your entry to: Joyce Summers, Press and Communications Manager, Aberdeen Performing Arts, Music Hall, Union Street, Aberdeen. Closing date is December 31 2008. QUESTION: Which complimentary drink would APA FRIENDS enjoy when dining at Malmaison Aberdeen?

ver the past few months it has been possible to see pretty much anything at one of APA’s venues, whether it be giant dancing slinkies at HMT, or exploding caravans at the Music Hall.

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Tap into something new

Surely, though, an international theatre piece performed entirely by bathroom fittings is a step too far? But no! Behold Tabula Rasa, a Spanish object theatre company visiting Scotland in February 2009. The Miser, by French dramatist Moliere, ´ studies the basic human instincts of greed and covetousness, as greedy old man Harpaggon tries to marry off his daughters (because they cost him too much money) without having to pay for the weddings.

‘very fast, very rude and extremely funny!’ Puppeteers UK This interpretation is set in modern-day Spain; however water is scarce and every character is a tap! The show is part of the second annual Manipulate (object animation) festival run by Puppet Animation Scotland and being held in Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre from February 3 to 7. Manipulate is a new celebration of exciting and powerful international visual performances and features awardwinning object theatre and animation from across the globe. The Miser will tour to The Lemon Tree on Thursday February 12 – go try something different! – BEN TORRIE

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Students plan to make a killing for local charities S

tudent Show returns to HMT next year with yet another hilarious musical comedy – with a murderous twist! And this year Aberdeen Students’ Charities Campaign promise heart-stopping action with Dial M For Mastrick – featuring distinguished Doric detective Perry Mastrick. There’ll be the usual mix of comedy, drama and well-known music as students from Aberdeen’s higher education establishments (University of Aberdeen, RGU and Aberdeen College) join forces and tread the boards at His Majesty’s Theatre. The annual charity fundraiser has been going strong in Aberdeen since 1921 and - along with the Torcher Parade and numerous other exciting events throughout the city all year round – raises tens of thousands of pounds which helps over 60 local and national charities, groups and organisations. Following the success of 2008’s Date Expectations, the team are already well underway with preparations for the 2009 production. The cast of the brand new musical suffer a severe case of stage fright at HMT when their leading lady Powis Hilton is murdered - Perry is soon at the crime scene and will stop at nothing to catch the killer. Will he solve the case before the final curtain falls? Before the fat lady sings? Before we squeeze in any more theatrical clichés? No matter whodunnit, one thing is for certain, the show must go on! Dial M for Mastrick runs at HMT from April 21 to 25.

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Back to ska basics with the Skatalites W

hen you think of Jamaican music, the first thing that pops into your head is reggae, right? It’s the sound that perhaps best captures how we view the island in the West Indies – sun-touched, laid-back, a bizarre mix of Christian moralising and rather risqué lyrics (to put it mildly!). But before reggae came the sound that set the template for all Jamaican music that followed, from ragga and dancehall to dub and rocksteady. It was the sound of ska. In a studio in Kingston in the mid to late 1950s, a small group of musicians, led by the now legendary Prince Buster, fused African and Latin rhythms with American jazz, boogie-woogie and rhythm and blues to pioneer a sound that was to spread far beyond the shores of the tiny island. Coinciding with Jamaica’s independence from the Commonwealth in 1962, the rise of ska was symbolic of a new confidence and cultural identity sweeping the nation. Right at the forefront of this musical movement was the 11-piece group The Skatalites. It was their 1964 recording Man in the Street which introduced the wider world to this incredible new sound, proving a huge influence in the formation of ‘skinhead reggae’ and the Two-Tone ska sound which swept Britain in the late 70s and early 80s. Performing until 1965, the band split before demand from skaenthusiasts around the world got them back together in 1983, and they have been touring and recording ever since. Though the passage of time has not always been the kindest to the group, the current line up still features three of the group’s original members, and the release of their latest album, On the Right Track, proved that they still have the magic, 50 years after they originally formed. You’d be forgiven for presuming that with line-up changes and the forces of time that this show would be lacklustre, musically alluring yet lacking in any vitality, comments levelled at iconic rock groups of the 70s that insist on forming for ‘one last tour’. But what you have instead is the accumulation of 50 years in the game; a sound tighter than a kettle drum and a brilliantly entertaining and varied show that will have you tapping your feet and grinning from ear to ear. It’s a show to remind you why you open your wallet to go see bands play. – CHRIS COLLINS

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THEATRE BREAKS

Fantastic Christmas gift ideas With Christmas just around the corner we’ve made Christmas shopping fun and easy! With a great line up of live entertainment coming your way our latest What’s On guide is packed full of shows and gigs that would make perfect Christmas gifts.

FROM £79

FOYER DINING GIFT VOUCHER

TICKETS TO A SHOW OR GIG

FROM £10

FROM £5

Whether you’re picking a present for a loved one, friend or family member we have got a host of top musicals, comedy, dance, drama and gigs that will add magic and sparkle to everyone’s Christmas. And if you just can’t choose from our exciting line up of live entertainment then gift vouchers are the answer! Or why not buy them an APA FRIENDS membership perfect for anyone who LOVES LIVE entertainment and who likes to get their hands on the hottest tickets in town first! We also have great dinner and show packages lined up with the Foyer at HMT, Foyer dining gift vouchers and exclusive weekend theatre breaks in Aberdeen with the recently opened Malmaison Aberdeen and The Caledonian Hotel by Thistle. So whether you’re looking for a stocking filler or that perfect Christmas gift we have everything you need to inspire you for a truly enchanting festive season.

APA FRIENDS MEMBERSHIP FROM £20

CONCERT TICKETS

GIFT VOUCHERS

for any gig or show

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FROM £9.95

(A gift that lasts all year)

FROM £10

FROM £5

HMT JEWELLERY OR BOOK

A la Carte dining at the Foyer at HMT FROM £17


APA Friends Newsletter Spring Summer 09