Following sold-out seasons in Manchester and London, the award-winning and critically acclaimed 50th-anniversary production of Hair produced by Hope Mill Theatre and Aria Entertainment is to tour next year from March. A newly imagined production, produced by Hope Mill Theatre, Aria Entertainment and Senbla directed by Jonathan O’Boyle will open at The New Wimbledon Theatre on 22 March 2019. Hair will then tour to Cheltenham, Manchester, Cardiff, Plymouth, Birmingham, Sunderland, Dartford, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Edinburgh, Oxford, Sheffield, Brighton and Milton Keynes, with further dates to be announced.
This production of Hair set in 1967, the year in which it premiered depicts a hippie ‘tribe’ of youngsters in the East Village of New York yearning to change the world, questioning authority and the American flag. Wild, colourful, sexually liberated and free, they are united in protest and song, under the shadow of the Vietnam War. Hair, featuring iconic hits such as Aquarius, Let the Sun Shine In, I Got Life and Good Morning Starshine, is written by Gerome Ragni (book and lyrics), James Rado (book and lyrics) and Galt MacDermot (music).
Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle – whose recent credits include Rain Man and Hope Mill’s recent production of, Aspects Of Love – other members of the Hair creative team include Gareth Bretherton (Musical Director), William Whelton (Choreographer), Maeve Black (Designer), Ben M Rogers (Lighting Designer), Calum Robinson (Sound Designer) and producers Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Joseph Houston & William Whelton for Hope Mill Theatre, Ollie Rosenblatt for Senbla, and associate producer Guy James.
Launched only three years ago Hope Mill in Manchester has become one of the most successful and innovative fringe venues in the UK. In October 2016 it was awarded the Hospital Club Award for contribution to Theatre and Performance and last year received a Special Achievement Award at the Manchester Theatre Awards. The venue was nominated for The Peter Brook Empty Space Award, won a Northern Soul Award for small theatre of the year and was nominated for Fringe Theatre of the Year 2016 and 2017, before winning the prestigious Stage’s Fringe Theatre of the Year award 2018. Most recently the venue was featured in the Evening Standards top 10 must-visit regional venues.
Hope Mill and Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment have together produced a number of award-winning musicals including most recently The Return Of The Soldier and next month open a new production of the Sondheim compilation show, Putting It All Together. In 2017, Hope Mill and Lipson were named on The Stage 100 list 2017. The news of this tour and their continued success will no doubt result in their moving up several places on the list when it is published again in December.
Richard Hall | Image: Contributed