Lincoln’s biggest theatre event is back in the extraordinary setting of Lincoln Cathedral this spring, as the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company brings together over 200 performers and a live orchestra to perform the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Leading this now iconic event as Quasimodo, the Hunchback himself, is University of Lincoln student Andre Buhagiar. Whilst continuing studying for a degree in Performing Arts at the University, Andre will perform to an audience of nearly 10,000 people from the 23rd of May – 4th of June.
Following four previous sell-out productions at the Cathedral by Creative Director Ben Poole and his cast of Lincoln volunteer actors and crew, the show is now supported by the University, with students and University expertise helping to bring it to life.
Andre Buhagiar, Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, said: “Second only to playing Quasimodo in Notre Dame, Lincoln Cathedral has to be the most fitting venue, it’s one of the world’s stunning buildings, with its own gargoyles and brilliant haunting features, not least the bells!
“To be performing the lead role in a musical of this scale is incredible. It could be described as terrifying but I’m hugely excited. Rehearsals are well under way and I’m so pleased to be performing alongside extremely talented people and many friends here at the University.”
Ben Poole, Creative Director of the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company, said:“These huge community productions have become iconic in the city and beyond. We know that the scale and the spirit of inclusivity in the production is also matched by the quality of it. Those that have seen West End and Broadway shows have also come to Lincoln for these major events and told us they are unforgettable experiences that offer a scale, energy and unique atmosphere even shows in London and New York cannot match.”
“For many years I’ve wanted to stage the Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Lincoln Cathedral. From its vast and monumental interior to the medieval faces calved into the stone, every detail, component, and character within this breathtaking building is made for hosting the spectacular.”
“Having the support of the University, both in terms of talent and expertise, allows us to keep improving our production values for the audience and represents just how much of a special place Lincoln is. ‘One community’ might be a cliché thrown often without meaning, but in this case, without doubt the whole community is once again coming together to produce something truly wondrous. Let the bells ring!!!”
Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for Dance at the University, Kirsty Russell, is the show’s Movement Director and is assisted by dance students at the University of Lincoln. While the students are performing in lead dancing roles, they are also using their contribution to the production towards their BA Hons Dance and MA Choreography and Performance Practices degrees.
Kirsty Russell said: “I’m thrilled personally to be choregraphing what has now become such an iconic event in the city. For our students to not only showcase their talent but also help bring the show to the stage is a unique opportunity for them.
“It’s going to be an incredible 12 nights in the spring, the hard work and creative process is well under way to ensure it will be an unforgettable experience for all who witness it.”
Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader in Technical Theatre, Michael Hoyle, together with Technical Theatre students, are involved in the design and build of the set of Hunchback of Notre Dame inside Lincoln’s huge medieval Cathedral.
Michael Hoyle said: “Working in partnership with the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company is allowing the students to practice their expertise in this area.
“Lincoln Cathedral is an astonishing venue for such a production, and the challenge to ensure the highest quality set, lighting and sound is one myself and our students, as part of their programme, are very excited to take on.”
James Fox, the show’s Musical Director and Associate Lecturer in Fine and Performing Arts at the University, said: “Anybody who has listened to the soundtrack of the Hunchback of Notre Dame will know what an amazing, complex and dramatic score it is, with music that is intense, raucous, heart-breaking and stirring in equal measure.
“A huge cast, orchestra and choir will fill Lincoln Cathedral with the most staggering sound, I’m tremendously excited for what we are about to share with the audience!” The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Lincoln Cathedral, performed by the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company and supported by the University of Lincoln is taking place from May 23rd – June 4th and tickets are on sale now via the Lincoln Cathedral website.
Photo Credit: Richard Hall