The Most Exciting Theatre Shows Across Europe

With 28 theatre trailer tours under our belt, we know what the show must go on really means! That’s why we’ve decided to look at some of the best shows currently touring across the UK and Europe.

Kiss Me, Kate

theatre transportation script

First performed in 1948, Kiss Me, Kate is an award-winning musical comedy inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. It follows Fred and Lilli- divorcees performing a Shakespeare play- as they grapple with gamblers, gangsters and unrequited love. The play splits the action between the characters’ performance of Shakespeare and the drama backstage. The result is a delightfully meta show that’s perfect for theatre fans.

There are plenty of opportunities to see the show; British theatregoers can attend performances in Leeds, London and Edinburgh. If you’re in Italy or planning a trip anytime soon, you can also see the show as part of the Ravenna festival from Thursday the 7th of June.

I Love Piaf

theatre transportation Paris

Edith Piaf- legendary singer, French icon and star of a controversial SpecSavers advert– is an indelible part of France’s cultural landscape. That’s why it’s only fitting she gets her very own musical, playing this month at the Theatre Trevise in Paris.

I Love Piaf explores several chapters of the singer’s life across locales such as Montmartre, New York and Moscow. It also features some of her most famous songs, including ‘La Vie en Rose’ and ‘Je ne regrette rien’. As an added bonus, this performance includes an English-language pack and audio guide with live subtitles.

If you love Edith Piaf’s music or want to learn about her on her home soil, this is an excellent opportunity. For more information, visit the Paris Tourist Office website or book tickets here.

La Calisto

theatre transportation bear

If you want something a little off the beaten track, this opera may be just what you’re looking for. It’s a real cultural stew; an Italian opera, based on Greek myths, performed in a German opera house!

La Calisto tells the story of a nymph, who attracts the attention of Giove (the god of thunder). However, she incites the jealousy of Diana (Giove’s wife) in the process. When Diana turns Calisto into a bear, Giove rearranges the stars to form Ursa Major in her honour. The opera was a critical and commercial failure when it was first released in the 17th century. However, after some reworking to make it more accessible, it’s bounced back to become an opera classic.

Tickets are available now for performances at Munich’s National Theatre. It’s actually the third theatre to hold that name; the first one was destroyed by fire in the 1800s, while the second was blown up during an air raid in the Second World War. Click here for more details about the opera.

Thaïs

theatre transportation cross

If you’re looking for an opera singer at the height of her powers, this opera is the perfect choice. Thais is a French opera which takes inspiration from a 10th-century story. Its lead role is notoriously difficult to sing, and reserved only for the most accomplished artists. Athanael, an ascetic monk, is tormented by visions of a courtesan and embarks on a mission to convert her. The courtesan eventually converts to Christianity, but as she grows closer to God Athanael begins to find his own faith tested.

This opera is performed in July at Spain’s legendary Teatro Real, which boasts a storied history. It was originally a music college before reopening as a concert hall in the 1960s. It also hosted the 14th Eurovision Song Content in 1969! In the 1990s the country remodelled it as an opera house, with in-theatre video projectors ensuring everyone can view the performance.

To book tickets, click here.

Don Pasquale

theatre transportation Milan

Milan’s most famous opera house plays host to Don Pasquale, one of the 19th century’s most famous works. A comic opera in three acts, Don Pasquale is a classic tale of love, foolishness and mistaken identity! The aged Don Pasquale decides to marry and produce an heir after disowning his nephew. His doctor locates a bride-to-be for the Don, but as the Don is soon to discover, this vision of loveliness isn’t all she seems…

Visitors to Milan can enjoy this opera in truly luxurious surroundings; the Teatro alla Scala is one of Milan’s most beloved institutions. The 18th century building was closed for three years from 2002 for a highly controversial renovation; today, the Teatro alla Scala boasts a lovingly restored auditorium, an improved backstage area and- best of all- screens on seat backs with subtitles in three languages. Click here to book tickets.


This is just a small sample of the brilliant operas Europe has to offer at the moment. And these are the kinds of shows our theatre transportation service can help you put together.

We know planning and speed are a vital part of theatre transportation, and we’ve got a proven track record of getting your props, sets and costumes in the right place at the right time. We can cater for all performances of all shapes and sizes, from single-van tours to 28-trailer theatre tours. What’s more, our experience with Opera North, Northern Ballet and the English National Ballet means we’re ready for any and every eventuality.

Visit our Contact Us page to get in touch, and take your first step towards theatre touring transport you can always depend on!

Win This World Theatre Day

World Theatre Day Competition

 

It’s the perfect time to pay homage to this fantastic art form and to spread the joy. So, we’re hosting a competition!

Just Retweet, share or like our competition posts via our Twitter or Facebook accounts to enter our prize draw.

Don’t delay entering as our competition ends at

Midnight on Thursday the 29th March...Entry deadline extended!!! Enter by Midnight 2nd April! 

Winners will be announced on April 3rd.

 

The prize

We’ve teamed-up with Opera North and together we’re giving away

2 tickets to Strauss’ masterpiece, Salome.

  • This is opera at its most extreme, concentrated into 100 intense and exhilarating minutes.
  • Based on Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, this is the savage tale of King Herod’s step-daughter. When Herod’s prisoner Jokanaan (John the Baptist) rebuffs her advances, Salome vows she will kiss him – no matter the consequences.

 This dramatic opera presented in concert is a great piece to visit and perfect for anyone looking to give Strauss a try. 

 

Good luck everyone and happy World Theatre Day! 

 

 

For full terms & conditions please view of competitions T&C page.

The Most Iconic Valentine’s Theatre Shows

Love is in the air this February and what better way to celebrate than with an iconic theatre show? As experts in stage transport, we’ve gathered some top theatre shows to inspire your Valentine’s celebrations.

The Phantom of the Opera

If you want a classic theatre production, The Phantom of the Opera is a great choice. An epic tale of magic, mystery and romance, it’s one of the longest-running stage shows the world has ever seen. It also boasts a few stage transport challenges, like the grand chandelier and the subterranean gondola that immortalises the show.

Writing in The Guardian, Emma Brockes said that Phantom ‘is sweepingly, swooningly, poignantly over the top and like all the best musicals, will both soothe and transport you.’

We couldn’t agree more.

You can book tickets at lovetheatre.com

Or if you’re looking for a theatre transport company which can handle a chandelier, then give us a buzz.

The Lion King

If you need a more family-friendly stage show, The Lion King is an obvious choice. The hit stage adaptation of Disney’s 1994 film first opened in the UK back in 1999. Other Disney musicals have come and gone, but The Lion King‘s still going strong in 2018.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the story needs almost no introduction. This epic tale of betrayal, royalty and romance on the Serengeti has been a hit since its debut.

The stage show boasts beautiful lighting, extravagant costumes, and all the film’s hit songs including, of course, ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’

You can get tickets for this show now at the Lyceum Theatre.

Twelfth Night

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous this Valentine’s Day, Shakespeare’s famous play may be just what you’re looking for. Twin siblings Viola and Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck, and make their way to the land of Illyria. Upon disguising herself as a man, Viola becomes entangled in a love triangle with the Duke Orsino and the Countess Olivia. A hilarious comedy of errors ensues with enough romance to be an iconic Valentine’s theatre show.

2018’s production takes place Stratford-upon-Avon, where the Bard himself was born. If you can’t make it to the theatre, you can watch the production live at selected cinemas on Valentine’s Day.

Beginning

Want to take a leap into the unknown? Beginning, a new play by David Eldridge, might be just what you’re looking for. It offers a sober, grounded take on relationships that sets it apart from other romantic plays.

After a housewarming party, Laura, a 38-year-old managing director, finds herself alone with friend of a friend Danny, a 42-year-old middle manager. The two seem to have little in common; they’re worlds apart in terms of politics and living situations. But as the evening progresses, Laura and Danny discover neither is as different- or accomplished- as they appear to be.

The play also boasts an impressive set that brilliantly brings the play’s setting- a North London flat- to life. Strewn with lights, streamers and discarded drinks, it’s not hard to become invested in this little slice of realism.

The play runs throughout February at London’s Ambassador Theatre.

Hedda Gabler

Looking for an anti-Valentine’s Day theatre show? Henrik Ibsen’s tale of doomed romance and failed ambition is the perfect antidote to February’s lovey-dovey atmosphere.

General’s daughter Hedda has just returned from her honeymoon, and is (unhappily) married to academic George Tesman. After reuniting with Eilert, an old flame, Hedda grows jealous of Eilert’s new partner and resolves to come between them… with disastrous results.

Newcastle’s Theatre Royal production does a lot with a little. The result is an understated but effective set, and the play has gotten glowing reviews from The TimesRadio Times and The Guardian. Book tickets now at the Theatre Royal website.

Whatever your tastes, there’s plenty of theatre shows to look forward to this Valentine’s Day. And whether your show is as grand as a Andrew Lloyd Webber production or as restrained as Ibsen, Stagefreight can help bring your production to life.

Our stage transport service is top of the line; we understand how important planning and speed are, and we’ve got a proven track record of getting all your equipment to the theatre on time – every time.

We’ve catered for productions of all shapes and sizes, too. Whether you need a single van or a 28-trailer theatre tour, Stagefreight is happy to help.

We aren’t the fresh-faced apprentices in this field, either. Our connections with famous companies like Opera North, Northern Ballet and English National Ballet have given us an in-depth understanding of performance, theatre and musical productions.

Get a fast, free, no obligations quote today. Give us a call on 0113 238 0805, or email us via info@stagefreight.com.

 

Love Theatre Day Celebration

It’s the fourth year of Love Theatre Day, a global celebration of all things theatre.

We want to take this opportunity to thank and celebrate all the backstage preparations that make the fantastic world of theatre happen.

To do this in style, we’ve put together an infographic of Opera North’s Kiss Me Kate theatre tour.

It shows how our team of drivers supported the show and made sure all the theatre transport plans went like clockwork.

Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share what you love about theatre, #LoveTheatreDay.

And if you’ve got a theatre tour coming up and are looking for a theatre transport team, get in touch with us today.

We can provide a quote within 30 minutes of the receiving your request.

Love Theatre Day Infographic

Love Theatre Day infographic

The Rise of the Theatre Talent Show

At the beginning of 2017 the BBC launched Let It Shine; a reality show to find performers for a new, ‘Take That’ inspired musical.

It’s the latest in a long line of similar talent shows that have appeared on British screens in the last decade and which moved on to become theatre tours in their own right.

We thought it would be interesting to look back at previous theatre talent shows and see how well their theatre productions turned out.

Join us on our trip down memory lane, as we relive the highs and lows of this unusual time in television history.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

The theatre talent show phenomenon kicked off with How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Contestants competed for the lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2006 production of The Sound of Music, and were judged on their performances by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself, as well as Doctor Who actor John Barrowman.

Eventually, the finalists were narrowed down to ten hopefuls, who competed for votes each week live on BBC1. The winner was Welsh actress Connie Fisher, who received a six-month contract to play the role of Maria Rainer.

 

Connie’s debut at the London Palladium was warmly received by several newspapers:

 

  • The Guardian said Connie “occupies the Palladium stage with absolute confidence and winning charm”.

 

  • The Independent said Connie was “charmingly natural from the moment she starts to sing” and possessed “a mellifluous warmth, a comforting maternal quality”.

 

  • Variety was less complimentary, saying she was “winningly confident” even if she “lacks originality and the essential vulnerability”.

 

Despite the review by Variety, Connie went on to star as Maria during a UK theatre tour of The Sound Of Music in July 2009, which started in Cardiff before touring to Bradford and Southampton among other places.

 

Any Dream Will Do

The following year, Andrew Lloyd Webber returned to television to find his next star.

The theatre talent show, ‘Any Dream Will Do’, offered a starring role in the 2007 performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

Hosted by the unmatched Graham Norton, the show followed a similar format to How Do You Solve… with twelve Joseph hopefuls reaching the final.

 

The Essex-born Lee Mead won the competition, in the end, receiving the most public votes after nine weeks of live shows.

 

Joseph’s reviews were mixed:

  • Writing for londontheatre.co.uk, Chloe Preece said the props and costumes “look like they came from a charity shop”. She went on to criticise the songs, saying “ ‘Any Dream Will Do’ and ‘Close Every Door to Me’ were the only mildly passable ones”. However, she praised Mead himself, citing his “rich and strong” voice and popularity with the audience.

 

  • The Evening Standard was more complimentary, saying the show “offers a seductive blend of camp, kitsch”.

 

  • The Times said Lee Mead was “both talented and enthusiastic”, while the show as a whole “is a reminder of how splendidly versatile Lloyd Webber can be”.

 

Mead went on to perform as Joseph for 600 shows before appearing as Joseph for the last time in January 2009.

A ‘10 years since Joseph!’ anniversary theatre tour is planned for 2018 with Milton Keynes, Newport and Redditch as key destinations so far.

I’d Do Anything

Andrew Lloyd Webber returned to television for a third time with I’d Do Anything in 2008.

This time the production in the limelight was Oliver!

The search was on for the lead role of both Oliver Twist and Nancy.

Three young hopefuls would go on to play the part of Oliver in the West End, while just one would go on to play Nancy.

 

Blackpool entertainer Jodie Prenger landed the role of Nancy, while the role of Oliver was shared by Gwion Jones, Harry Stott and Laurence Jeffcoate.

The four were joined by   Rowan Atkinson as Fagin, and all of them appeared in the 2009 production at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, which ran for just under two years.

 

Reviews for the show were mixed again:

 

  • Writing in The Guardian, Susannah Clapp described Jodie’s Nancy as “boisterous by strangely bland”.

 

  • While Michael Billington (writing in the same publication) said she “delivers her big number with passionate fervour” even if there were “too many cockney knees-up for his liking”.

 

  • Michael Coveney delivered the most damning verdict in The Independent:  “(…) she can’t act and she doesn’t have the depth of lung power to fill a plastic bag, let alone a West End theatre on a daily basis”.

 

Over the Rainbow

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 4th BBC collaboration followed his search for a Dorothy (and Toto) to star in his 2011 production of The Wizard of Oz.

According to Lloyd Webber himself The Wizard of Oz presented unique challenges, as previous productions had struggled to differentiate themselves from the 1939 film.

Eventually the show opened at the London Palladium, where it ran for 18 months.

 

The show was also unusual in that the winner was eventually replaced by her alternate. Danielle Hope, a 17-year old Mancunian, beat out all ten of her rivals in a grueling eight-week competition.

However, her rival Sophie Evans was brought on to play the role once a week, before replacing Danielle full time in 2012.

Lloyd Webber’s production was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for the Best Musical Revival.

 

  • Writing in the Telegraph, Charles Spencer (self-professed Wizard hater) said Danielle’s Dorothy offered a “thoroughly competent rather than an inspired performance. She sings Over the Rainbow with feeling (…) but she lacks the heart-catching vulnerability of the young Judy Garland”. However, he did also say that fans of the original film would enjoy it.

 

  • The London Evening Standard’s Henry Hitchings was more complimentary, saying Danielle Hope made “a winning impression. Her performance combines innocence with easy charm, and her voice soars”.

 

  • Sophie Evans’ performance was well received by the Oxford Times . Christopher Gray described her as “an actress and singer of the greatest accomplishment”.

 

  • While Karen Price from the Wales Online said she “plays a naive and tender Dorothy who you really want to befriend”.

 

Superstar

The last theatre talent show to hit our screens by Webber was Superstar.

It followed the search for the lead actor in Lloyd Webber’s 2012 production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

This show was marked by a few changes: it moved to ITV, with Amanda Holden presenting it and Jason Donovan, Dawn French and Melanie Chisholm replacing John Partridge, Sheila Hancock and Charlotte Church as the judges.

 

The show was won by Sunderland actor Ben Forster, who benefited from previous experience in productions like Grease and Thriller – Live.

Lloyd Webber’s production premiered at the 02 Arena in London, before going on to Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Dublin and several other venues.

It also saw a high number of celebrity cast members.

Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles played the role of Herod, while Spice Girls member Mel C played the role of Mary Magdalene and Tim Minchin played the role of Judas.

 

The production polarised critics:

 

  • While the Telegraph’s Laura Thompson praised it, citing Tim Minchin’s “weary intelligence’ and Mel C’s ‘lovely relaxed Mary Magdalene”.

 

  • The Guardian’s Lyn Gardner was far less complimentary. She said the show contained “spectacle, but very little variety” and decried the performers’ poor acting abilities.

 

Ready For A Theatre Tour?

Whatever shape your theatre tour takes, Stagefreight is on hand to ensure that the show goes on.

Our trailer selection means we can safely transport props and stage equipment for large and small productions without issue. For productions performing at multiple venues, our staff will help you get on the road as soon as possible, helping you complete your theatre tour with minimal stress.

Don’t forget to visit our Case Studies page. There, you can read about our experiences working with major clients like Opera North.

If you think Stagefreight can help you with your own production, don’t delay; get in touch with us now via our contact page.

The Biggest Theatre Shows of 2017

Learn more about the hottest shows on the horizon

As a theatre transport company, Stagefreight has been involved in some breathtaking stage shows over the years.

There’s nothing quite like seeing someone tread the boards first hand.

That’s why we’re highlighting some of the most exciting theatre shows around the UK.

The Tempest (Barbican Theatre)

The Shakespearean play of magic and misdirection needs no introduction. However, it’s never been performed quite like this; with an actor in a state-of-the-art motion capture suit.

Starring as Ariel in the Barbican Theatre’s production, Mark Quartley’s suit generates a digital avatar that mimics his movements.

The suit’s intricacies are explored in this article, but the lavish sets may be enough to turn your head.

This play is an excellent introduction to Shakespeare for younger theatre-goers. Book your tickets from Barbican here.

Mark Quartley and Simon Russell Beale in The Tempest at the Barbican Theatre (Photo: Topher McGrillis, RSC)
Mark Quartley and Simon Russell Beale in The Tempest at the Barbican Theatre (Photo: Topher McGrillis, RSC)

Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre) 

This sung-through musical has exploded in popularity during its American tour. It tells the life story of Alexander Hamilton- immigrant, statesman and Founding Father- via music influenced by both classic theatre shows and contemporary hip-hop.

Shining a light on a vital chapter of American history, the work has received numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, an American composer and actor whose career spans 15 years and numerous awards. He also co-wrote the songs for Moana, Disney’s latest animated musical.

Hamilton is coming to the UK for the first time this November. Playing to sold- out venues across the USA, this is one history lesson you can’t afford to miss.

Visit Ticketmaster for more details and tickets.

Hamilton Musical Poster Victoria Palace Theatre
Hamilton Musical Poster Victorian Theatre

Pagliacci 

If you’re looking for a legend among theatre shows, the new production of Pagliacci may be just what you’re looking for.

This classic Italian opera is a tragic tale of murder and jealousy in two acts.

Combining both tragic and comedic moments, the opera contains some of the medium’s most famous musical pieces.

This production stars Peter Auty as Canio, the original singer of ‘Walking in the Air’ from The Snowman.

Performing at venues across the country including Leeds, Hull and Nottingham, this production has been organised by Opera North.

We’ve pleased to work with them as a theatre transport company, and we heartily recommend this new show.

Book tickets at the Opera North website: https://www.operanorth.co.uk/productions/pagliacci

Also, read all about our work with Opera North in our case study.

Pagliacci Opera North
Pagliacci (Photo:Opera North)

Ghost Dances 

This contemporary dance piece is returning to British stages for the first time in 13 years. Written by Christopher Bruce and first performed in 1981, the theatre show is a tribute to the people of South America and the trials they have endured.

Written by Christopher Bruce and first performed in 1981, the theatre show is a tribute to the people of South America and the trials they have endured.

It also takes inspiration from Day of the Dead imagery and Latin American music.

Ghost Dances’ haunting costumes and powerful emotional themes mean seeing it now is a rare opportunity.

The piece was performed several times in the past through the 80s and 90s. It garnered positive reviews from many different publications including the New York Times, Independent and Evening Standard.

This time the piece is being performed by Rambert, a London-based contemporary dance company. However, they are performing at several venues nationwide; you can buy tickets from their website.

Miguel Altunaga, Carolyn Bolton in Rambert's new revival of Christopher Bruce's Ghost Dances (2016)
Miguel Altunaga, Carolyn Bolton in Rambert’s new revival of Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances (2016)

The Sleeping Beauty

This lavish stage production is inspired by the classic Charles Perrault fairytale.

The timeless story of fairies, princesses and spinning wheels has seen countless adaptations. However, this show from the Birmingham Royal Ballet might be one of the most lavish yet.

Featuring elaborate costumes, gorgeous sets and rave reviews from the Guardian, Times and Sunday Telegraph, this is an exciting yet family-friendly night out.

Book tickets now at the Birmingham Royal Ballet website.

Birmingham Royal Ballet Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty (Photo: Birmingham Royal Ballet)

These are just a handful of theatre shows you can look forward to in the UK.

We can’t wait to see what the theatre transport side of our business sends our way next!

Don’t forget you can read more about our prior theatre jobs on the Our Work page of the website.