Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Theatre Still Going Strong ; 100 YEARS OF THE OPERA HOUSE

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Theatre Still Going Strong ; 100 YEARS OF THE OPERA HOUSE

Article excerpt

Manchester's Opera House marked its 100th anniversary on Boxing Day. In the last of six features telling the history of the theatre, NATALIE ANGLESEY looks at how the Opera House has tackled a new millennium with new vigour.

THE new millennium meant business as usual for The Opera House, with musicals such as Fame, Dr Dolittle and the return of Phantom of the Opera.

But there were corporate changes afoot. In 2001, the theatre became a Clear Channel Entertainment venue. Four years later a spin off division, Live Nation, took over the venues operation.

By the end of 2004, The Opera House had undergone a refurbishment totalling around Pounds 1m, and by the end of 2009, there was another owner for the theatre - Ambassador Theatre Group, which also acquired sister theatre the Palace.

ATG embarked on another Pounds 500,000 renovation of the Opera House, and a campaign was launched to ensure that Manchester Gets It First! Since then the company has been true to its promise launching two world premieres and a UK premiere with sell-out performances which have catapulted The Opera House and Manchester back onto the national and international theatre circuit. After the first night of Laughter In The Rain - an example of the increasingly popular genre of "jukebox" musicals - Neil Sedaka fans were given a rare treat when the singer-songwriter performed on stage after the curtain call to standing ovations.

Audiences laughed until they cried at the hilarious Monty Python musical Spamalot with a kingly Marcus Brigstocke and a superb Jodie Prenger. Just when we thought it couldn't get much better Michael Ball enjoyed a sell-out run as Edna in Hairspray.

2011 started in terrific style as the public queued around the block for Britain's Got Talent auditions with hosts Ant and Dec as well as judges Michael McIntyre, Amanda Holden and David Hasselhoff, who is back at the theatre right now in Peter Pan. …

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