Cast: New £22m Arts Venue in Doncaster

Cast is ‘Right Up Our Street’: Scale, spectacle, access and opportunity is at the heart of Doncaster’s £22m new arts venue.

Cast will showcase a diverse range of work by homegrown talent and national/international companies. Productions will include everything from intimate and delightful family shows through to outrageous cabaret and comedy.

A Cast of Thousands Opening Ceremony – produced in partnership with Slung Low – celebrates the opening of Cast and the launch of Right Up Our Street a £2.5million project to engage more people from Doncaster in the arts

The first season includes Richard Cameron’s The Glee Club, Slung Low and Phoenix Dance Theatre

Launch night: Friday 6 September 2013

6pm: A Cast of Thousands Opening Ceremony
8pm: Press night for The Glee Club, Box Office 01302 303 959

cast logo and link to their websiteCast, Doncaster’s new £22m arts venue, opens to the public on Friday 6 September. This day also marks the official launch of ‘Right Up Our Street’ – a £2.5million project that aims to engage more people in the arts in Doncaster.

The whole weekend is a celebration of the arts, including ‘A Cast of Thousands’, an opening ceremony produced in partnership with Alan Lane’s Slung Low.

‘A Cast of Thousands’ will be centred around three parables about how the arts can change lives, which will exist both as gigantic graphic novels appearing around Doncaster, created by artist Rachana Jadhav, and as performances – including choirs, anthems and flash mobs. The celebrations will continue all weekend, with ‘Open House’ events from 12noon on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September, giving the public a chance to see inside the new venue as well as experiencing pop-up performances and exciting events.

The weekend also sees the launch of ‘Right Up Our Street’, Doncaster’s successful ‘Creative People & Places’ bid, which uses investment from Arts Council England to increase participation with the arts in Doncaster. The project will include five long-term programmes of arts-based community engagement and dozens of high-quality original commissions for artists.

Cast is the flagship element of the new £300 million Civic and Cultural Quarter (CCQ). Operated by an independent trust, the building was jointly funded by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Arts Council England. These two organisations remain the core funders of the organisation.

Cast’s opening season includes a new production of Doncaster playwright Richard Cameron’s The Glee Club, directed by Esther Richardson (6 – 21 September), and a co-production with Right Up Our Street. It closes with a Cast-produced pantomime, Cinderella (5 – 31 December), which will be directed by Kully Thiarai.

Work touring into the building includes Filter Theatre in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company with a contemporary adaption of Twelfth Night and Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Particle Velocity.

cast image 1‘The Glee Club’ kicks off a key strand of work that is about and for Doncaster and is the first time that Doncaster’s most famous play has ever been professionally produced in the town. This song-filled comedy charts the lives and heartaches of a group of miners from Edlington. Set in the summer of 1962, not all is as it seems – behind the smiles, laughter and pally camaraderie hide some devastating secrets.

First performed at The Bush in 2002, it has never been professionally produced in Doncaster. This new production, directed by Esther Richardson (Soho Theatre, Northampton Royal and Derngate), will bring the production home to its native Doncaster.

Kully Thiarai, Director of Cast, comments:

“Artists and audiences sit at the heart of our aspiration to collectively create a thriving, artistically exciting and entertaining venue. To work with and for our communities to deliver experiences that will blow them away and even change their lives. We want to say, ‘look – this is here. This is yours. Make it your home, be part of a Cast of Thousands’. We want to make Cast the cultural living room for the town.

“Out of 282 local authorities measured by Arts Council England for their engagement with the arts, Doncaster came 274th. But this is not a place that we recognise. We do not believe there is a lack of creative potential or ambition in the town’s people, merely an untapped and invisible voice needing an opportunity to be unleashed. The Doncaster we know is full of artists, musicians, writers and performers; full of people who think creatively and value imagination. Time after time, we have seen that when local people have the chance to engage with great art they respond with enthusiasm, imagination and pleasure. What we do recognise is that those opportunities are scarcer than they should be.”

cast image 2Elaine Hirst, Co-director at darts (Doncaster Community Arts) who are lead partners on the Right Up Our Street consortium said: “For over 20 years our artists have been encouraging people in Doncaster to have a go at making great art – music, drama, film, dance, poetry – and we’ve seen the difference taking part can make to people’s lives and communities. The opening of Cast on 6 September means that now people will have easy access to a fantastic performance venue on their doorstep which will welcome a host of great performers and will offer a range of brand new exciting opportunities to see and make great art.

“The launch of Cast perfectly coincides with Right Up Our Street, and through this project we will be working in targeted communities, commissioning new projects from local artists (professional and non-professional), and working with artists of national and international reputation – all aimed at developing Doncaster’s arts scene. By 2016 many more people in Doncaster will be enjoying the arts in their communities as well as seeing productions at Cast. Arts that are Right Up Our Street”.

Tickets for Cast’s opening season are on sale via Doncaster Ticket Office on 01302 303 959 and from www.castindoncaster.com

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