Grand Opera House confirms no shows until after September 20 at the earliest

Kevin Clifton in his dream role as Scott Hastings in Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom: Now running at the Grand Opera House, York, in November 2021, rather than November 23 to 28 this autumn, directed by Craig Revel Horwood

ALL performances at the Grand Opera House, York, are suspended until September 20 at the earliest “in order to help contain the spread of Covid-19”.

A statement from the Cumberland Street theatre’s owners, the Ambassador Theatre Group, said today: “We apologise for the inconvenience caused but hope you understand, given the exceptional circumstances.”

“We were encouraged to see the Government’s intervention to protect UK culture this week,” it went on. “We continue to work closely with health authorities and look forward to the wonderful re-opening of the Grand Opera House as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.

“To this end, we are sorry to confirm that all performances at Ambassador Theatre Group venues have been suspended until Saturday, September 20.

“If you have a booking that has been affected by this suspension, you do not need to do anything. Over the coming weeks, we will contact you directly and will be able to handle your requests and enquiries.”

Shows aplenty have been rearranged, such as Strictly Ballroom, starring Strictly Come Dancing old boy Kevin Clifton (November 15 to 20 2021) and comedy gigs by Ross Noble (Humournoid, January 21 2021) and Jimmy Case (Terribly Funny, April 28 2021).

“We are working with producers to re-schedule as many postponed shows as possible, so please do bear with us,” ATG’s statement said. “If your performance is re-scheduled, your tickets will be automatically moved to the new dates and you will be informed accordingly.

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“We have also recently announced new performances, such as The Rolling Stones Story on January 22 2021 and The Simon & Garfunkel Story on April 29. Please book with confidence, knowing that if there are any further suspensions, your new tickets will remain fully valid for further exchanges or refunds.”

ATG added: “Customers booked for performances between August 3 and September 6 will be contacted in the week commencing July 13. Customers booked for remaining performances will be contacted in the week commencing July 20.”

Full credit vouchers valid until December 31 2021, including all fees, or refunds, are available for all cancelled shows. For further details, go to  ATGtickets.com/corona.

Nationwide, over the past few months, ATGtickets Customer Service Teams up and down the country have handled the re-scheduling of more than 15,000 performances of plays, musicals, comedy and live music.

“From November 2020 and throughout 2021, we have a wonderful array of productions on sale, everything from pantomime to The Book Of Mormon, Disney’s The Lion King to Jimmy Carr and Derren Brown to We Will Rock You,” said ATG.

“On behalf of all our staff, backstage crews, front-of-house teams, actors, dancers, musicians and the entire British theatre industry, we want to thank you for your support and understanding as we work together to ensure the future success of our industry.

“All of us at ATG are enormously proud to be a small part of British theatre, renowned as the greatest in the world. The arts has inspired, educated, entertained and enriched the lives of audiences for hundreds of years but has never been challenged like this. With your on-going commitment, we believe we can come back faster and stronger than ever before.”

Kevin Clifton must wait year longer to play dream role after Strictly Ballroom delay

Clifton suspension: Kevin Clifton’s dream role is put on hold for a year after postponement of the Strictly Ballroom tour. Picture: Dan Hogan

KEVIN Clifton will not be in Strictly twice over this year.

In March, the 2018 champion announced he was leaving the Strictly Come Dancing professional squad after seven seasons in annual pursuit of the BBC One glitter ball trophy, filling his diary instead with the 2020/2021 UK and Ireland tour of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical, directed by Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood, no less.

The tour should have run from September 26 to June 26 2021, but the Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated its postponement until a new starting date of September 27 2021 in Plymouth.

“Kevin from Grimsby”, 37, will play his dream role of Scott Hastings at the Grand Opera House, York, from November 15 to 21 2021, rather than November 23 to 28 this autumn.

Further rearranged Yorkshire dates are: Bradford Alhambra Theatre, November 22 to 27 2021, Hull New Theatre, April 25 to 30 2022, and Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, May 30 to June 4 2022, on a tour that will end in where else but the ballroom-dancing mecca of Blackpool on July 2 2022.

“You can still expect a simply fab-u-lous show for all to enjoy,” promises director Craig Revel Horwood

Announcing the tour’s postponement, the producers say: “To ensure everyone’s safety in these uncertain times, we had to take the difficult decision to reschedule the original tour dates.

“But the good news is that all of the shows in the touring schedule have been rearranged and tickets for each performance will be exchanged automatically, so fans will not miss out on this musical extravaganza. Details of how to exchange tickets will follow in the coming weeks.” 

Clifton says: “I’m really delighted that the Strictly Ballroom tour has been rescheduled.  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s my all-time favourite film and Scott Hastings is my dream role, so I can’t wait to bring this musical to theatres across the UK next year.  In the meantime, please stay safe and keep well, everyone.”

Director Craig Revel Horwood enthuses: “I’m thrilled that our new production of Strictly Ballroom The Musical has been rescheduled for 2021/2022.  The tour may be a year later, but you can still expect those same sexy dance moves, scintillating costumes and a simply FAB-U-LOUS show for all to enjoy, starring the one and only Kevin Clifton.”

Clifton joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2013, performing in the final five times, missing out only in 2017 and 2019, and he was crowned Strictly champion in 2018 with celebrity partner Stacey Dooley, the BBC documentary filmmaker, presenter and journalist.

“I’m beyond excited to be finally fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play Scott Hastings,” says Kevin Clifton, dressed a la mode as Hastings goes into battle on the ballroom floor

A former youth world number one and four-time British Latin Champion, Clifton has won international open titles all over the world. After making his West End musical theatre debut in 2010 in Dirty Dancing, he starred as Robbie Hart in The Wedding Singer at Wembley Troubadour Park Theatre and as rock demigod Stacie Jaxx in the satirical Eighties’ poodle-rock musical Rock Of Ages in the West End, a role that also brought him to Leeds Grand Theatre last August.

Clifton last performed at the Grand Opera House, York, in the ballroom dance show Burn The Floor last May.

Strictly Ballroom The Musical tells the story of Scott Hastings, a talented, arrogant and rebellious young Aussie ballroom dancer. When his radical dance moves lead to him falling out of favour with the Australian Dance Federation, he finds himself dancing with Fran, a beginner with no moves at all.

Inspired by one another, this unlikely pair gathers the courage to defy both convention and family and discover that, to be winners, the steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom.

Featuring a book by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, the show features a cast of 20 and combines such familiar numbers as Love Is In The Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and Time After Time with songs by Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect.

Rock on: Kevin Clifton as rock demigod Stacee Jaxx in Rock Of Ages at Leeds Grand Theatre last August

Strictly Ballroom began as an uplifting, courageous stage play that Luhrmann devised with a group of classmates at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Art in Australia in 1984. Eight years later, he made his screen directorial debut with Strictly Ballroom as the first instalment in his Red Curtain Trilogy.

The film won three 1993 BAFTA awards and received a 1994 Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture. Strictly Ballroom The Musical had its world premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in 2014, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, staged the first British production in December 2016 to January 2017.

When announcing his full-time move into the world of musical theatre only a week before the Covid-19 lockdown in March, Clifton said: “I’m beyond excited to be finally fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play Scott Hastings in Strictly Ballroom The Musical. When I was ten years old, I first watched the movie that would become my favourite film of all time. This is my dream role.

“Plus, I get to work with Craig Revel Horwood again. I really can’t wait to don the golden jacket and waltz all over the UK in what’s set to be an incredible show.” Now, alas, he must wait for a year longer.

Tickets for the York run are on sale at atgtickets.com/york; Bradford, “on sale soon”;  Hull, from May 15, at hulltheatres.co.uk; Sheffield, “in the autumn”.

Joanne Clifton, Kevin’s sister, as Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show at the Grand Opera House, York, last June

Did you know?

KEVIN is not the only member of the Clifton dancing family of Grimsby to have graduated from Strictly champion into musicals. Sister Joanne, 36, appeared at the Grand Opera House, York, as demure flapper girl Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie in February 2017; combustible Pittsburgh welder and dancer Alex Owens in Flashdance in November that year and prim and proper but very corruptible Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show in June 2019.

Strictly speaking, Kevin Clifton WILL still be in Strictly. Here’s why…

From Strictly to Strictly Ballroom: Kevin Clifton in his dream role as Scott Hastings. Picture: Dave Hogan

KEVIN Clifton will still be in Strictly after all this year…and next year too.

Not the 2020 series of Strictly Come Dancing, but the 2020/2021 UK and Ireland tour of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical, directed by Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood, no less.

“Kevin from Grimsby”, 37, will play his dream role of Scott Hastings, with Yorkshire dates in York, Hull, Sheffield and Bradford, after the 2018 Strictly champion announced his exit last week from BBC One’s ballroom dance show, ending  seven seasons in annual pursuit of the glitter ball trophy.

“I really can’t wait to don the golden jacket ,” says Kevin Clifton

Clifton is making a full-time move into the world of musical theatre, kicking off with the musical version of the 1992 Australian film that so inspired him in childhood days in Grimsby.

“I’m beyond excited to be finally fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play Scott Hastings in Strictly Ballroom The Musical,” he says.  “When I was ten years old, I first watched the movie that would become my favourite film of all time. This is my dream role.

“Plus, I get to work with Craig Revel Horwood again.  I really can’t wait to don the golden jacket and waltz all over the UK from September this year in what’s set to be an incredible show.”

Craig Revel Horwood: directing Kevin Clifton in Strictly Ballroom. Picture: Ray Burmiston

On tour from September 26 to June 26 2021, Strictly Ballroom will visit the Grand Opera House, York, from November 23 to 28, as well as Hull New Theatre, October 12 to 17; Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, April 12 to 17 2021, and Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, May 31 to June 5 2021.

Clifton joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2013, performing in the final five times, missing out only in 2017 and 2019, and was crowned Strictly champion in 2018 with celebrity partner Stacey Dooley, the BBC documentary filmmaker, presenter and journalist.

A former youth world number one and four-time British Latin Champion, Clifton has won international open titles all over the world. After making his West End musical theatre debut in 2010 in Dirty Dancing, he starred as Robbie Hart in The Wedding Singer at Wembley Troubadour Park Theatre and as rock demigod Stacie Jaxx in the satirical Eighties’ poodle-rock musical Rock Of Ages in the West End, a role that also brought him to Leeds Grand Theatre last August.

Kevin Clifton as Stacee Jaxx in Rock Of Ages at Leeds Grand Theatre in 2019

Clifton last performed at the Grand Opera House, York, in the ballroom dance show Burn The Floor last May.

Strictly Ballroom The Musical tells the story of Scott Hastings, a talented, arrogant and rebellious young Aussie ballroom dancer. When his radical dance moves lead to him falling out of favour with the Australian Dance Federation, he finds himself dancing with Fran, a beginner with no moves at all.

Inspired by one another, this unlikely pair gathers the courage to defy both convention and family and discover that, to be winners, the steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom.

Sam Lips as Scott Hastings and Gemma Sutton as Fran in the British premiere of Strictly Ballroom The Musical at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, in 2016/2017. Picture: Alastair Muir

Featuring a book by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, the show features a cast of 20 and combines such familiar numbers as Love Is In The Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and Time After Time with songs by Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect.

Strictly Ballroom began as an uplifting, courageous stage play that Luhrmann devised with a group of classmates at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Art in Australia in 1984. Eight years later, he made his screen directorial debut with Strictly Ballroom as the first instalment in his Red Curtain Trilogy.

The film won three 1993 BAFTA awards and received a 1994 Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture. Strictly Ballroom The Musical had its world premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in 2014, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, staged the first British production in December 2016 to January 2017.

Joanne Clifton, Kevin’s sister, as Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show at the Grand Opera House, York, last June

Kevin is not the only member of the Clifton dancing family of Grimsby to have graduated from Strictly champion into musicals. Sister Joanne, 36, appeared at the Grand Opera House, York, as demure flapper girl Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie in February 2017; combustible Pittsburgh welder and dancer Alex Owens in Flashdance in November that year and prim and proper but very corruptible Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show in June 2019.

York tickets are on sale on 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york; Hull, 01482 300306 or hulltheatres.co.uk. Sheffield and Bradford tickets will be available soon.