The Night of 1000 Voices is a large-scale charity concert that has been running annually since 1999. UK choirs and stage schools join musical theatre professionals on stage at an epic venue – this year, the Royal Albert Hall – to sing their hearts out in aid of a good cause. This year’s concert is on Sunday 6th May, and Lucy Thackray caught up with producer Hugh Wooldridge to see how the event is shaping up
What’s the concept of The Night of 1000 Voices?
We’re a fundraising machine for different charities and we’ve raised many thousands of pounds over the years. This year, we’re celebrating Best of British, because of the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee. It’s at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 6th May – there are two performances, at 4 and 8 o’clock.
It’s hosted by Hugh Bonneville, who is Lord Grantham from Downton Abbey, and Alain Boublil, who wrote Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, and Trevor Nunn, who directed CATS and Starlight Express. There are choirs from all over the country who rehearse until February, once a week, and come together for the very first time on the fifth of May, and the concert is on the 6th. It’s a huge spectacle and a huge sound.
As the director of Chess in Concert, as well as many tribute concerts to composers and performers across the globe, you have worked on a lot of these concerts. What do you enjoy about producing and directing these events?
I do a lot of small plays and big events, and the big events you could never afford to do if they weren’t for a charity (in this case Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research). People are very generous with their time and their talent – it’s a great opportunity to work with hundreds of people, harnessing all that talent. In 2010, we raised £125,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research on the night, which is a lot of money.
I suppose the ones I’ve done in New York, at Lincoln Center – Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber – have been the most spectactular ones.
Well, it’s the Music of the Knights – Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Elton John, Cameron Mackintosh, Nicholas Hytner, Richard Eyre and Trevor Nunn. It’s the Best of British, it really is, and there are people flying in from all over the world to do it.
Kerry Ellis is singing a song from Moulin Rouge and also Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. They are all the top West End performers – because it is a Sunday, we were able to take people out of their shows.
There are tickets available for the afternoon, and a few for the evening where we’ve released some TV camera positions that we’re not going to be using. The best place to go is the Royal Albert Hall box office.
For more information, visit thenightof1000voices.com. For tickets, see royalalberthall.com.
Images: Performers at The Night of 1000 Voices 2010, 2012 poster