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Rehearsals Begin For THE LITTLE PRINCE’s Reign At The Lyric Theatre
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Rehearsals begin for THE LITTLE PRINCE’s reign at the Lyric Theatre  for Nicholas Lloyd Webber and James D. Reid’s first full scale musical collaboration.

Rehearsals began today in the Lyric Theatre of a new musical adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince. Written by the younger generation of the Lloyd Webber dynasty, Nicholas, and James D. Reid, The Little Prince will be the Christmas treat on the Northern Bank Stage of the newly opened Lyric Theatre, Belfast from 1 December. It is being co-produced by the Lyric Theatre with Lamplighter Drama and is being directed by the Lyric’s Artistic Director, Richard Croxford.

Artistic Director Richard Croxford said, “We are delighted to produce the world premiere of this adaptation of The Little Prince. It is a thoroughly modern musical with lots of variety and it will be sung right through from beginning to end by a hugely talented cast of eight actors with a beautiful blend of voices. The music is a delight to listen to on its own. The costumes, designed in the style of haute couture will be a feast for the eyes and are worth the ticket price alone. This is a wonderfully contemporary take on a classic tale. And fans of The Little Prince won’t be disappointed with this new translation from the original French.”

The Little Prince.

The timeless story of the Pilot who crashes in the desert (echoing Saint-Exupéry’s own experience in 1935) and encounters the innocent yet wise Little Prince became an instant classic on publication in 1943, and has been translated into 180 languages worldwide. The Little Prince’s deceptively simple storytelling of his life on his lonely asteroid, and his encounters with characters such as the haughty Rose, the Fox and the Snake around the solar system has filled the imaginations of millions of readers and is appreciated on many levels, from the simple to the profound. Lloyd Webber and Reid’s new version captures the full magic of the story and sensitively illustrates the Pilot and Prince’s journeys with an epic sweep of cross musical genres and fabulous songs that will remain with audiences long after they leave the theatre.

The production has attracted a first rate musical theatre cast: The Prince will be played by young soprano Niamh Perry, returning to her Northern Irish roots and best known as a finalist for the part of Nancy in the television show I’d Do Anything. Niamh has also recently appeared in Love Never Dies and as Sophie in Mamma Mia! in the West End as well as many concert appearances as a soloist.

The Pilot will be played by Corey Conradi, one of the best known actors and singers in his native Norway, and well known to audiences across Scandanavia for his innumerable plays at the Norwegian National Theatre as well as in many musicals, on television and film. Cassandra Compton (who was a child lead in Whistle Down The Wind and the RSC’s Secret Garden, and – more recently – a finalist in the first series of The X Factor, and in Les Miserables, Dirty Dancing and Wicked in the West End) plays The Rose; Laura Pitt Pulford (Parade, Southwark Playhouse) plays The Snake; Sophie May Wake plays The Fox, and the cast is completed by Nathalie Carrington, Sophie Franklin and Justine Marie Mead.

Gilly Campbell, Drama and Dance Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, “The Lyric has provided an outstanding cultural programme over the past 60 years, generating some of the most ground-breaking and innovative theatre. It looks like that trend is set to continue in the new theatre with a very exciting season programme planned for the year ahead. We wish the Lyric every success and look forward to experiencing some of the best theatre Northern Ireland has to offer.”

The Little Prince runs on the Northern Bank Stage at the Lyric Theatre from 1 December 2011 to 15 January 2012. For more information, go to www.lyrictheatre.co.uk or contact the Box Office on (028) 9038 1081.

*  The Lyric is the only full-time producing theatre in Northern Ireland.

*   Visit the Lyric Theatre’s website on www.lyrictheatre.co.uk

*  The Lyric Theatre’s main auditorium is proudly supported by the Northern Bank. Housed in the main auditorium of the new theatre, the Northern Bank Stage will be at the heart of this iconic landmark building. There will be 389 seats in a single tiered rake, allowing audiences to enjoy the same unique sense of intimacy with the actors on stage that was one of the most successful characteristics of the old theatre. Both Northern Bank and the Lyric Theatre are indigenous brands with strong local history and connections; both are integral parts of the local community.

Niamh Perry playing in The Little Prince.

*  Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Currently celebrating its 60th anniversary in a new state of the art venue, the Lyric Theatre in Belfast makes a unique and vital contribution to the community as the only full-time producing theatre in Northern Ireland. Employing local actors, including Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds and Adrian Dunbar at early stages of their careers, its mission is to produce high-quality professional theatre that is alive to the complex cultural experience and diverse traditions of the community, and to use the power of live theatre to empower, inspire, engage and educate.

A very important part of the new Lyric Theatre’s strategy is to tour as widely as possible, to give audiences outside Northern Ireland an insight into our culture and to the work of the Lyric. Officially opened in May of this year by Brian Friel, the Lyric’s new home on the banks of Belfast’s River Lagan, on the site of the  previous theatre, is a landmark £18.1m building that signals  the  continued regeneration of the city and a catalyst for real progress in arts infrastructure for artists and audiences alike.

*  Lyric Theatre Belfast and Lamplighter Drama present the World Première of The Little Prince:

adapted from the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Music and Lyrics by Nicholas Lloyd Webber and James D. Reid

Directed by Richard Croxford

Designed by Gary McCann

Musical Direction by Vincent Guibert

Choreography by Debbie Maguire

Cast: Nathalie Carrington, Corey Conradi, Cassandra Compton, Sophie Franklin, Justine Marie Mead, Niamh Perry, Laura Pitt Pulford and Sophie May Wake.

At the Lyric Theatre, 55 Ridgeway Street, Belfast, BT9 5FB

Dates: Thursday 1st December 2011 – Sunday 15th January 2012

Ticket prices: £18 – £19.50 (preview, senior citizen and family / group discounts available)

Box Office: (028) 9038 1081

  • Nicholas Lloyd Webber has been making music for most of his adult life; from releasing his own records, to scoring for film and television and then to theatre, including three scores for the Oxford Shakespeare Company. His credits include his own recordings under the name of Archangel which have been played on BB Radio 1, 2 and 6 Music with videos played on MTV, Channel 4, E4 and NME TV. He has co-written a series of songs for the BBC with James, as well as music for the American television series Grey’s Anatomy and has scored numerous award-winning short films.
  • James D. Reid works extensively as a writer, composer and director. After leaving University he studied theatre directing at the Central School of Speech and Drama, after which he directed theatre and comedy in and around London. Since 2003 he has worked as a director and writer for children’s television, working primarily for the BBC. As well as directing, James has also composed a wide variety of music for the BBC and often works in close collaboration with Nicholas Lloyd Webber, most recently on music for the American television series Grey’s Anatomy. He has performed and composed for a number of bands and shows and is the creative director of Wondervan Productions who are currently developing a musical comedy for children’s television.
  • Lamplighter Drama Ltd. has been founded by Emma Randle (Executive Producer) and Charlotte Lloyd Webber (Executive Director) and is dedicated to the creation and production of new and imaginative theatre of many genres. Their name is inspired by their first production:
    “Perhaps, the lamplighter is absurd. However… at least his work has some meaning. When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one more flower. It is a beautiful occupation. And since it is beautiful, it is truly useful” (from The Little Prince, translated by Irene Testot-Ferry). www.lamplighterdrama.com