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Gripping drama Vincent River will be first production of new English-language theatre

18:02 13/08/2021

The Bridge, which hopes to be Brussels’ first professional English-language theatre, will debut its first production in October. But first it is holding an audition for a community musical theatre event.

The Bridge hopes to be the first successful professional theatre to perform English-language plays in Brussels. Thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers and the generosity of the cultural community, it is holding a theatre workshop for young people this month, auditions for a musical theatre production next month and its first professional production in October.

The musical theatre event is part of All Together Now!, a global initiative that sees theatres around the world performing the same selection of songs one weekend in November. “So it will be a local event but at the same time part of something global,” says The Bridge co-founder Edward McMillan. “That’s why we wanted to get involved in the project, because we are a local theatre with a global mindset.”

All Together Now! is a celebration of community and culture following “this crazy 18-month period that we have all experienced, with its accompanying strain on our social relationships,” says McMillan. “I am a firm believer in the power of singing together, in the sense of community that it engenders and in its mental health benefits. All Together Now! enables people of all backgrounds and ages to make music together.”

Open to everyone

Members of the community can audition for All Together Now! on 12 September. The first part of the audition is open to everyone and doesn’t require advance preparation. “We will do some singing and dancing as a group so that we can see how you get on with the material,” explains McMillan.

The second part of the audition is open to those who would like to be a soloist or as a duo. “We ask people attending this part to prepare a contemporary song from the show selection listed on our website, or a song of their choice.”

All Together Now! will be performed twice on 14 November in Théâtre du Vaudeville (pictured above), located in the Saint-Hubert Royal Galleries. Tickets will go on sale in October.

Even more significantly, The Bridge will stage its first professional production this autumn. McMillan and the team have chosen Vincent River, a two-person, one-act play by British playwright Philip Ridley. A real-time interaction between a young man and a woman whose son was murdered in a homophobic attack, it premiered to great acclaim in London’s Hampstead Theatre in 2000.

Scene from Trafalgar Studio's Vincent River
Trafalgar Studios’ 2019 production of Vincent River  ©Scott Rylander

“They are two grief-stricken strangers connected by their relationship to the young victim, Vincent River,” says McMillan. “It is an incredibly touching and surprisingly humorous play, and I am delighted that we are able to bring it to Brussels for the first time.”

The two actors are from London and will travel to Brussels for rehearsals in October. The play will premiere on 20 October and run for three weeks. While McMillan cannot yet reveal the location, he does say that it is “a unique, beautiful venue in Ixelles”. Tickets will go on sale soon, he confirms, and will be cheaper the earlier they are bought.

Another venue that cannot yet be named is the potential permanent home for The Bridge. There are negotiations underway with “a certain iconic location in Brussels,” he says. But that’s it for now.

In any case, this all costs money, and The Bridge – a registered non-profit – is offering various means for businesses, philanthropic organisations and individuals to get involved. “We will launch a patron and crowdfunding scheme, offering exclusive rewards in return for a donation. We are also taking advantage of Brussels’ Proxi-loan scheme, enabling individuals to earn money through investment in us and get a tax break at the same time.”

And then there are corporate partnership schemes. The Bridge, he says, “needs the support and generosity of the English-speaking community”. This can mean donations, but it can also simply mean buying up tickets to its productions. Anyone interested can sign up for the newsletter or contact the organisation.

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw