17 Sep 2013
Cast – Doncaster’s new theatre – opened its doors this weekend, welcoming a total of over 6,000 people inside the town’s cultural living room for the first time – double the number expected.
The weekend began with a spectacular outdoor performance in A Cast of Thousands, the opening ceremony. Created by the critically acclaimed Yorkshire-based company Slung Low, A Cast Of Thousands revealed three parables based on the power of the arts and how they have and will continue to transform Doncaster.
There were performances from legendary Jazz musician Dennis Rollins, the first live performance of the anthem “It’s Our Time” written especially for the opening event by critically acclaimed folk duo Rita Payne, huge fire-breathing monsters, musicians on the roof and performances from the Cast of the inaugural production The Glee Club.Finally, a spectacular fireworks display from the top of the building marked the moments the doors officially opened.
The weekend then continued with the opening of The Glee Club – a play chosen to be the first production as it is set in Doncaster and written by the town’s leading playwright Richard Cameron. Following the lives of six miners from Edlington in the summer of 1962, the production continues a run until Saturday 21 September.
The weekend also gave the opportunity for people to take a look round the new building. Across its 4 performance spaces, public square, meeting spaces and foyer, events and activities gave a flavour of what was to come. Performances included the launch of Breakin’ Convention 2014 as the festival makes its way to Doncaster direct from Sadlers Wells, free concerts from Doncaster Youth Jazz Association who celebrate their fortieth anniversary in a concert at Cast this year, and from Sheffield-based Music In The Round who will present ensemble and children’s concerts in the venue from 2014.
Kully Thiarai, Director of Cast, comments:
“We are over the moon with how the opening weekend went. From the first event on Friday to the close on Sunday we have welcomed thousands of people through our doors to enjoy a look at the building and some incredible performances. The reaction has been overwhelming, seeing double the amount of people we expected. Our hope is that people have been inspired by what we have to offer and return to enjoy a performance here soon.”
The weekend was summed up by one Doncaster resident: “The opening of Cast was everything it had promised to be. Fantastic atmosphere, heart-rending performance of The Glee Club and an inspired opening celebration. Everything about the place does Doncaster proud. Big congratulations to everyone concerned.”
Cast is the flagship element of Doncaster’s new £300 million Civic and Cultural Quarter (CCQ). Operated by an independent trust, the building is jointly funded by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Arts Council England. Cast’s first season includes performances by Gareth Gates, Kate Rusby and Cast’s own pantomime, Cinderella, which will be directed by Kully Thiarai.
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