J. J. Abrams to join Michael Giacchino at 50th birthday party at the Royal Albert Hall

Star Trek, Lost and Star Wars: Episode VII director J. J. Abrams will join his friend and collaborator, movie music titan Michael Giacchino, at the composer’s 50th birthday party at the Royal Albert Hall next month.

Abrams and War for the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves have been added to the stellar line-up of Giacchino’s first ever major career retrospective on Friday 20 October, which will showcase his scores from the likes of Rogue One, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Super 8, Jurassic World, The Incredibles, and Up – for which he won an Oscar, BAFTA, Grammy and Golden Globe.

Michael Giacchino said: “I am honoured that these incredible filmmakers are taking the time out of their schedules to join me on that stage at the Royal Albert Hall.

“I am fortunate to call them friends, and thrilled that they will be there to celebrate with me. In many ways, this is their show as well, because it was their vision and storytelling that inspired the music we’ll be performing with the Cinematic Sinfonia that evening.”

Abrams and Reeves complete a virtual ‘who’s who’ of hot Hollywood filmmaking talent appearing on-stage at Michael Giacchino at 50, alongside Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Gareth Edwards, Andrew Stanton, Colin Trevorrow and Carlton Cuse. They’ll be on hand to introduce musical suites from their films – and to share the stories behind them.

The concert will be hosted by self-described “maker of things” Adam Savage, (from US TV sensation Mythbusters), who said: “As a movie geek, it’s insane to think that Michael has penned music for many of my all-time favorite movies – hell, I think I have a costume or prop from nearly every one of his scored films! Being his friend is the icing on the cake. Emceeing his birthday at the Royal Albert Hall?! I have to pinch myself. It’s going to be a stellar evening and I can’t wait.”

Also announced today are Bond, the best-selling string quartet, who will play a new arrangement of ‘Married Life’ with orchestra, from Giacchino’s Oscar-winning score to Up.

Giacchino himself will share conducting duties with maestro Ludwig Wicki, a familiar face to fans of the Hall’s acclaimed ‘Films in Concert’ series, and the program will span Giacchino’s musical work from across the last 20 years, as well as giving the audience a personal glimpse of the composer through stories and home movies from his childhood.

Abrams and Giacchino have worked together since the hit TV series, Alias, and on feature films including Star Trek, Mission: Impossible 3, and Super 8. Reeves and Giacchino have collaborated four times, their most recent project being this summer’s critically-acclaimed War for the Planet of the Apes.

A portion of the proceeds from this concert will go directly to the Royal Albert Hall’s Education & Outreach projects to spread the positive powers of music to new audiences and communities.

Michael Giacchino at 50 is part of the Hall’s Festival of Film, which runs from 7 October to 3 November, and features 25 events across seven spaces, headlined by Film in Concert presentations of Jaws, Fantasia and The Addams Family, alongside a celebration of the legendary James Horner (TitanicAliensAvatar) and a world premiere career retrospective of James Newton Howard (The Hunger Games, The Dark KnightFantastic Beasts).

Friday 20 October, 7:30pm www.royalalberthall.com

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Love Actually Live Concert with full orchestra set to tour the UK

It is one of the world’s best-loved modern Christmas films, having become synonymous with the season for many, and now Love Actually will be screened live across the UK as part of a huge concert tour, featuring a full orchestra performing the enchanting score.

Kicking off the holiday season and getting many into the holiday spirit, the tour will begin at the London Palladium on 11th November, before travelling onto Manchester, Glasgow, and Birmingham, before finishing up in Edinburgh.

Directed by Richard Curtis and originally released in cinemas in 2003, Love Actually tells ten separate yet interweaving stories of love around Christmas time.

The film features an all-star ensemble cast, including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy, Martine McCutcheon, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley Rowan Atkinson, Martin Freeman, and many more.

A full, live orchestra will perform Craig Armstrong’s evocative score at these shows, with the film being projected onto a huge screen. Armstrong is one of the UK’s most recognised film composers, with his work being awarded a BAFTA for his Achievement in Film Music.

With the film becoming a Christmas tradition for many, audiences attending the Love Actually Live Concert Tour will be treated to a unique way to watch the film that has gotten so many into the holiday spirit for the last 14 years.

 

1st December – Manchester Bridgewater Hall

2nd December – Bristol Colston Hall

3rd December – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

4th December – Birmingham Symphony Hall

5th December – Edinburgh Usher Hall

10th December – London Theatre Royal Drury Lane – Matinee and Evening Performances

Second Woman and War festival announced

Women and War: EXODUS is a month-long multi-disciplinary festival examining the impact of war on women and the roads they take and the changes they make to rebuild their lives elsewhere. Any time, any place, any war, any woman.

Now in its second year, Women and War: EXODUS will focus on displacement and what it is to be a refugee, from any period of history and any part of the world. It will celebrate the lives of some of the courageous women from across the world through theatre, music, dance, art, film, performance, poetry, craft, cuisine, and comedy.

Actress Rula Lenska leads this year’s festival fundraiser, An Evening With Rula Lenska at So & So At The Bridge, just by London Bridge Station on Saturday June 17th. She performs a dramatised reading of Peace And War: Extracts from the Memoirs of Elizabeth Carroll, Rula’s mother who came to the UK as a refugee from Poland in 1946.

The festival will host work from around the globe, visiting Colombia, Myanmar, Chile, Poland, Mali, Afghanistan, India and Iran documenting, exploring and giving voice to the experiences of women, before, during and after war.

This year, the festival is based in a pop-up theatre in South London breathing life back into Streatham Hill Theatre, just ten minutes from Brixton and right by Streatham Hill station.

Festival Director and Executive Producer Sarah Berger said: This year’s Women and War Festival,EXODUS, is a celebration and tribute to the resourcefulness and courage of women from across the world who have found themselves displaced because of war.

At a time when the rights of women are under attack in sharing our multiple cultures, we will demonstrate that even though we may feel helpless in the face of the greatest diaspora in living history, by listening, bearing witness, and sharing in these extraordinary stories, we can make a difference. Any of those women could be your mother, your sister, your daughter, or you. It is not a story of them; it is a story of us.”

 “This is a multi-disciplinary opportunity to laugh, cry, imagine, witness, and share the lives and cultures of women from across the world.

Supporter, actress and Fascinating Aida member Dillie Keane added: When first I visited Women and War last year, what shocked me was that it was the first of its kind – and that it was long overdue. This years festival focuses on refugeeism and displacement, and it seems to me it couldnt be timelier given whats happening in the world, politically speaking. Do yourself a favour and go to at least one of the events. Youll come away better informed, and maybe a little bit empowered. Go.

You can find more details and a full schedule of events on the website  www.womenandwar.co.uk

Belle of the Hall: Disney in Concert: Beauty and the Beast confirmed for iconic London venue

One of this year’s most popular movies will get the ‘Films in Concert’ treatment at the Royal Albert Hall in December, as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast comes to the iconic London venue with full accompaniment from the Philharmonia Orchestra.

The live-action musical, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the beastly Prince, will be screened in full and with the stars’ memorable vocals intact, as the entire musical score is performed live by on stage by a full symphony orchestra.

The event on Saturday 9 December follows other smash-hit musical movie experiences for all the family at the Hall, including Frozen Sing-Along and Ratatouille in Concert, with Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert coming up in October.

Lucy Noble, Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “The Films in Concert series has become a genuine phenomenon: a chance for audiences to experience a movie in a whole new way. Beauty and the Beast is an instant classic with everything we look for when staging these events: an enthusiastic following, a great story on a large scale, and a simply unforgettable score.

“We’re so honoured to host the European premiere of the film as a live concert experience, bringing Alan Menken’s remarkable music to centre stage, where it truly belongs.”

Beauty and the Beast, released in March, is a live-action musical extravaganza based on Disney’s 1991 animated classic. Directed by Bill Condon, it stars Watson, Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

It tells the story of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realise the kind heart of the true Prince within.

Alan Menken – who won two Oscars (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated film – wrote the score, which included new recordings of the original songs he wrote with lyricist Howard Ashman, as well as three new songs created alongside Tim Rice.

It is one of the most successful films ever made, having grossed $1.2bn in just three months, following acclaim from the likes of Empire, the Telegraph, Rolling Stone and the New Yorker.

Beauty and the Beast will screened at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 9 December.

Tickets for December’s stunning cinematic event at the Royal Albert Hall go on sale at 10am on Friday, priced £30-60, from www.royalalberthall.com

Musical fans can experience Singin’ In The Rain Live on-screen with 60 piece orchestra at the London Palladium

One of the most iconic musicals of the golden era of Hollywood will be brought to life as never before this November 12th, as Singin’ In The Rain will be projected onto a huge 40ft screen, accompanied by full live orchestra for a matinee performance at the London Palladium.

Singin’ in the Rain is frequently described as one of the best films ever made, topping the American Film Institute’s 100 Years of Musicals list and ranking 5th in its updated list of the greatest American films ever made, testament to the relevance that the film still has on audiences 60 years later.

Featuring award-winning on-screen performances by Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and of course, Gene Kelly – who also co-directed and choreographed the musical to Nacio Herb Brown’s stunning original songs, and Arthur Freed’s renowned lyricism, there is little question that this is one of Hollywood’s most revered pictures.

Accompanying the film and illustrating the spellbinding music of Singin’ In The Rain will be the Novello Orchestra, conducted by David Mahoney. Having previously performed a sell out London performance of The Jungle Book Live with Orchestra, The Novello Orchestra and David Mahoney will also embark on a September tour of La La Land Live with Orchestra, proving them the leading film with live orchestra combination.

If you ever wanted to experience one of the greatest movie musicals of all time while a live orchestra performs all that unforgettable music, your time has come!

Singin’ in The Rain will be at the London Palladium on 12 November

Adrian Lester and John Simm to star in new three-part psychological thriller on ITV

ITV and Tall Story Pictures today announced casting for Trauma, an original drama written by multi award-winning playwright and dramatist, Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster, The Town) and directed by Marc Evans (Hinterland. Safe House 1 & 2, Aberfan Young Wives’ Club). Adrian Lester (Hustle, Undercover, London Spy) will star as family man Jon Allerton, a well-educated, confident and high achieving trauma surgeon. John Simm (State of Play, Exile, Prey) stars as Dan Bowker, a factory manager struggling to cope as his life unravels around him.

John Simm and Adrian Lester will lead the cast of new drama entitled Trauma on ITV

The three-part psychological thriller centres on the lives of two fathers, Dan and Jon, whose lives collide when Dan’s 15 year-old son Alex is stabbed and tragically dies in the trauma department attended by high-achieving consultant Allerton.

Devastated, heartbroken and pushed to the edge, Dan believes Jon is responsible for Alex’s death. As he strives for justice, Dan begins to unpick the very fabric of Jon’s life as his own unravels in the wake of Alex’s killing.

Trauma is an intricate, fast-paced thriller that questions what makes a man good and explores what happens when the very institutions established to protect us and those who represent them, let us down.

Producer, Catherine Oldfield, who developed the show with Mike Bartlett, said, “We are delighted to have such a fantastic cast, led by John and Adrian, to bring this gripping modern British story to the screen for ITV. ”

Mike Bartlett added, “I wrote Trauma knowing we needed, and hoping we’d get, hugely talented actors for the roles. But this cast has exceeded expectations. I’m a huge fan of all of them individually and can’t wait to see them on screen together.”

The series begins filming in June 2017 in and around London.

World Premiere Screening of Touching the Void with live orchestra comes to the Barbican Hall

The Bafta Award-winning film Touching the Void will return to the big screen on Sunday 18 June for one night only. A world premiere, composer Alex Heffes, a long-time collaborator of director Kevin Macdonald, will bring his brilliant and dramatic score to life in a live presentation of the whole film with a 60-piece orchestra at the Barbican Hall in London.

In an exclusive Q&A before the event, author and legendary climber Joe Simpson, director Kevin Macdonald and composer Alex Heffes will be reunited on stage to discuss the background and making of the film; a unique chance for the audience to hear, directly from the filmmakers, how Simpson’s book was brought to the screen.

In 2003, Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In SeptemberThe Last King of Scotland) adapted Joe Simpson’s book into a drama-documentary film, featuring interviews with Simpson and his climbing partner Simon Yates, together with dramatised scenes of the events. Touching the Void won Best British Film at the 2004 Bafta Awards after opening to critical acclaim; critic Roger Ebert described it as “an unforgettable experience… enthralling, fascinating, terrifying” and Time Out proclaimed it to be “a meditation on extreme human endeavour, character, friendship…”

Alex Heffes says: “Its a thrill to be performing my music to Touching the Void live to picture. Its a wonderful chance to bring this amazing film to a new audience and for me to revisit it with my long-time friend and great director Kevin Macdonald.

Joe Simpson says: “It will be great to see the film on the big screen again and thrilling to hear Alex’s score played live, as well as discuss the story and film in front of an audience at the Barbican.

Touching the Void tells the extraordinary story of two British climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, who attempt the west face of Siula Grande in Peru. Hampered by snowstorms on their descent, Simpson fell through a hole masked by a snow drift and, still attached to Yates by rope and with a severely broken leg, was hanging in mid-air over a precipice. Yates cut the rope so at least one of them would survive. Simpson, by some miracle, also survived and, despite terrible injuries, crawled to safety. The story, of life-changing decisions and incredible survival against the odds, captivated the world and Simpson’s book on his experience became a best-seller.

This vivid and pulsating film, enhanced by Heffes’ original music played live promises to be a unique presentation of this incredible tale of survival and human endurance.

Touching the Void will be at the Barbican Hall on 18 June

Casino Royale accompanied by live symphonic score for first time ever at the Royal Albert Hall

This September, at the Royal Albert Hall, Casino Royale will be screened for the first time with the score performed live by a full symphony orchestra, as part of the venue’s ‘Films in Concert’ series.

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 in Casino Royale

Casino Royale composer, David Arnold, who has scored five Bond films, will discuss his collaboration with the 007 franchise in a pre-concert question-and-answer session.

Lucy Noble, Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “With the success of our Films in Concert series, we’ve been asked countless times when a Bond film will get the full orchestral treatment. We’re delighted today to announce the first ever Bond-film-in-concert: the 2006 blockbuster,Casino Royale, with David Arnold’s thrilling score performed live. Following the world premieres of Die Another DaySkyfall and Spectre at the Hall, this promises to be another unforgettable event featuring these two iconic British institutions.”

Grammy and Emmy award-winning composer David Arnold added: “It is a constant privilege to be a part of the James Bond universe. I’ve loved the series since childhood and, more significantly, I’ve loved the music.  I couldn’t be more excited to be presenting the score to Casino Royale live to picture. It was a labour of love – as were all my Bond scores – and I’m looking forward to sharing it at this iconic venue.”

Casino Royale, directed by Martin Campbell, is the 21st Bond film in the series, and the first starring Daniel Craig, with an international cast that includes Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright and Judi Dench.

Casino Royale in Concert is the first installment in a brand new James Bond Concert Series, produced by Film Concerts Live!, in association with EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM).

Casino Royale in Concert Casino is at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 30 September, 2:30pm and 7:30pm

Tickets priced £35-80 go on sale at www.royalalberthall.com from 9am on Thursday 18 May.

Harry Potter Film Concert Series will return to the Royal Albert Hall to unlock the Chamber of Secrets

As six sold-out screenings of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ in Concert come to a close at the Royal Albert Hall, the venue has delighted fans by revealing that the sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in Concert, will follow next year.

The three shows, featuring John Williams’ iconic score played live by the BBC Concert Orchestraconducted by Justin Freer, will run from Friday 27 to Saturday 28 April 2018. Tickets are on sale now.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second in the phenomenally popular eight-film series based on J. K. Rowling’s novels, and follows a thrilling year in the life of Harry, Ron and Hermione, where cars fly, trees fight back and a mysterious house-elf pays Harry a visit to warn him of what lies ahead this year in the world of wizardry.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in concert 27-29 April 2018 ©2002 Warner Bros. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K. Rowling.

Lucy Noble, Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “We’re delighted to announce that the Harry Potter Film Concert Series will be returning to the Hall – along with a full symphony orchestra – for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in Concert.

“These very special screenings will allow audiences to relive the magic and adventure of this extraordinary film in high-definition on a 40ft screen, while experiencing John Williams’ epic score as they’ve never heard it before.”

The Grammy-nominated score by five-times Oscar-winner Williams became an instant classic, as the composer conjured a succession of magical motifs.

This film concert series has been created by CineConcerts, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and will be conducted by its creator and producer, Justin Freer. He said: “The Harry Potter film series is a once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomenon that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. It was with great pleasure that we introduced an opportunity to experience the award-winning music scores played live by a symphony orchestra, all while the beloved film is simultaneously projected onto the big screen, and it makes for an unforgettable event.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in concert 27-29 April 2018 ©2002 Warner Bros. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K. Rowling.

Brady Beaubien of CineConcerts, producer for the Harry Potter Film Concert Series added: “Harry Potter is synonymous with excitement around the world and we hope that by performing this incredible music with the full movie, audiences will enjoy returning to this magical world, and to the many wonderful magical characters who inhabit it.”

Tickets for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, priced at £28-74, are on sale now from www.royalalberthall.com.

For more information about the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, go to www.harrypotterinconcert.com.

Zoë Wanamaker, Miranda Richardson and Phyllis Logan lead all-star cast in Kay Mellor’s brand new ITV Drama ‘Girlfriends’

Brand new ITV drama Girlfriends – from the pen of BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Kay Mellor and starring Zoë Wanamaker (Mr Selfridge, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, My Family, Gormenghast, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), Miranda Richardson (Mapp & Lucia, And Then There Were None, Churchill, iBoy) and Phyllis Logan (The Good Karma Hospital, Downton Abbey) – starts filming next month produced by Rollem Productions.
Girlfriends is a contemporary story of Linda, Sue and Gail as they struggle with the responsibilities that come with being a modern woman of a certain age.

After the dramatic and sudden death of Linda’s husband Micky, childhood friends Linda (Phyllis Logan), Sue (Miranda Richardson) and Gail (Zoë Wanamaker) find themselves back together again. Each has their own problems to face; from a looming divorce from the husband she still loves and the loss of a high-powered job through age discrimination, to juggling the endless responsibilities of their grandchildren and aging mothers.

As widowed Linda tries to come to terms with being on her own after over 30 years of marriage, she and her girlfriends are horrified to find that this could be the least of her worries. As questions over the circumstances of Micky’s death start to be asked, accusations reveal secrets, deception and doubts that tear at our Girlfriends’ friendship. Will it endure or will it be severely put to the test?

Girlfriends is a contemporary story about friends, family, responsibilities and the inevitable changes that age brings… But true friendship remains the same no matter how many years have passed.

Phyllis Logan says: “I’m thrilled to be part of Girlfriends, written by the wonderful Kay Mellor and to be working not only with her but the stellar cast that has been assembled. It’s a hugely exciting project and I feel enormously fortunate to be involved in it. I can’t wait to get started.”

Miranda Richardson comments: “A whole summer spent working on a women-driven script, written and directed by a woman who has proved herself many times over as a force of nature in TV drama alongside some of our most gifted female actors – what’s not to like?”

Zoë Wanamaker adds: “I’m looking forward to working on this exciting new series with such a stellar cast.  I have long been a fan of Kay’s work and am relishing the opportunity to work alongside Miranda and Phyllis.”

Kay Mellor says: “Girlfriends is my passion project, it’s a story that I’ve been longing to tell.  It’s wonderful to be returning to ITV and working with Polly Hill again – she’s an inspiration to me.

I’m so looking forward to working with such a talented cast.  It’s fantastic that we’ve got such high-calibre actors to play the three very different leading characters.

I’m aware that there are a lot of women of a certain age who feel like they are invisible and unheard, so I’m proud to have the chance to shine a light on their lives and give them a voice.  The series is not just a platform for their voices though – there is a big, bold, dark story at its heart, which is shot through with humour.  I’m hoping both men and women will love it as much as I’ve loved writing it.”

Polly Hill, Head of Drama for ITV adds: “This is a fabulous cast and testament to Kay’s wonderful scripts.  Kay celebrates women of a certain age and female friendship through this wonderful and compelling story. I am proud to have this on ITV and delighted to see Kay return to the channel in such a brilliant way.  I can’t wait to see Zoë, Miranda and Phyllis bring her characters to life, and look forward to sharing Girlfriends with our audience next year.”

Girlfriends is a 6 x 60 drama series and has been commissioned by Polly Hill, Head of Drama for ITV. The series will be directed by Kay Mellor (The Syndicate, In The Club) and produced by Josh Dynevor (Fat Friends Series 3, The New Worst Witch).  The executive producers are Kay Mellor for Rollem Productions and Polly Hill for ITV.  It is a Rollem production for ITV and the series will be distributed by All3media International.

David Swetman, VP Acquisitions at All3media says: “It is a real pleasure to be working with Kay Mellor and her talented team at Rollem – we’ve admired Kay’s work for many years and it has been a pleasure working with her on upcoming production, Love, Lies & Records.  We are delighted to announce that we have secured Acorn Media Enterprises again as the North American partner for this Rollem show (Acorn Media Enterprises is the UK-based development division for the Acorn brand of RLJ Entertainment, Inc.).”