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Senior Citizen Workshops Reveal Secrets of Live Theatre

Posted: 20 March 2012

Approved by ATG's PR & Communications Officer, David Bradbury

Ambassador Theatre Group’s Creative Learning Department in the West End has teamed up with the University of the Third Age (U3A), a lifelong learning co-operative for those aged 60+, to present a day of workshops at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.

On 12 March, 101 senior citizen theatre enthusiasts travelled from all over the country to the West End to find out how live theatre works and to meet professionals in the field as well as their fellow learners. Attendees also enjoyed an evening performance of the Olivier Award nominated Ghost the Musical, where the show’s production team were also on hand to share their knowledge and expertise.

A second identical workshop day will take place at the Piccadilly Theatre on 27 March with over 100 participants due to attend.

Throughout the day the U3A members completed four workshops. They worked with theatre historian Malcolm Jones to learn about the history of the Piccadilly and the changes in theatre practice over the decades; Paul Warwick Griffin, the Associate Director of Ghost, ran a workshop on theatre directing; Sharon Hobden, the Deputy Stage Manager of Ghost, and David Curl, the Company Manager, introduced each group to some of the special effects in the show and the complexities of backstage work; and Ali Taylor ran a workshop on playwriting, focusing on how to draw from your own life experiences to create theatre.

Karen Townsend, ATG’s Head of Learning and Access, said: 'Working in close partnership with the Piccadilly Theatre management team and the Ghost production team, this event was a shining example of how ATG Creative Learning engages with all ages within our communities, offering exciting lifelong learning opportunities to all. A fantastic opportunity for audience development, which we know will be the first of many, both in the West End and regionally.'

Rachael Lund, Deputy Theatre Manager of the Piccadilly Theatre, said: 'It was such a great experience working with the U3A and being able to engage with such enthusiastic, knowledgeable people. The workshops gave us an insight into what theatre is all about and what we as representatives of our beautiful buildings should be doing to encourage learning across all ranges of people. The Piccadilly Theatre is looking forward to hosting many more events to welcome people into our building and let them into the secrets of what makes live theatre magic.'

The Creative Learning department plans to build on the day’s success for an ongoing relationship between ATG Creative Learning and the University of the Third Age, connecting with specific local membership groups as well as the U3A headquarters in Bromley.

Co-founded by Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire in 1992, the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG) is the largest owner/operator of theatres in the UK with 39 venues, an internationally recognised theatre producer and a leader in theatre ticketing services through ATG Tickets.

Current and recent ATG co-productions include Ghost the Musical, South Pacific, All New People, Monkee Business, Matthew Bourne’s The Nutcracker!, Legally Blonde the Musical, Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Misanthrope, West Side Story, Elling, Guys and Dolls, Sweeney Todd, Company, Exit the King and The Rocky Horror Show.

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