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Bridewell to get Passion-ate for its anniversary



Preview: Jack Foley

THE Bridewell Theatre is to celebrate its landmark 10th anniversary with a major revival of of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical, Passion, from March 9 to April 3.

The production is based on the Italian film, Passione d’Amore, which was adapted from a 19th Century novella, and will star Clare Burt (Into the Woods), Mark Carroll (Miss Saigon) and Kate Arneil (She Loves Me) star as the three protagonists.

It is set among a battalion of soldiers in a bleak frontier town, as lonely Fosca’s obsessive passion begins to threaten the happiness of Georgio and his mistress, Clara.

Passion has already been performed in the West End, in 1996, when it starred Michael Ball, Maria Friedman and Helen Hobson, but its origins lie on Broadway, where it premiered in 1994, and won three Tony Awards, for best musical, best score and best book.

Joining the three principals in the Bridewell’s revival are Matthew White, who was recently Olivier-award nominated for Ragtime, William Kenning, David Menkin, Dominic Brewer, Nigel Pilkington, Simon Masterton and Sebastian Bates.

The show will be directed by artistic director, Carol Metcalfe, and designed by Carrie Southall.

It is being staged at the Bridewell despite the threat of closure now hanging over it, due to a change in its charitable lease.

The theatre is now facing a financial shortfall of £100,000 per annum, which has placed its future in jeopardy, but a fundraising campaign has begun in earnest, details of which can be accessed via the Bridewell’s website, or by calling the theatre, on 020 7353 0259.

l Just weeks before its threatened closure, the Bridewell has announced that it has succeeded in raising the £110,000 needed to safeguard its immediate future.

More than half of the cash came as a result of the theatre’s first-ever core public funding.

Since being founded in 1994, the Bridewell has existed rent-free, but a change of lease, announced last Summer, means it must now pay full rent, as well as a service charge of £90,000 per annum.

The deadline for renewing the lease was March 31, 2004.

However, the Corporation of London and Arts Council England has granted the theatre a one-off core funding grant of £30,000 apiece.

The public money, on top of £50,000 raised through private audience appeals, have enabled the theatre to sign a new two-year lease.

Bridewell chairman, Robert Cogo-Fawcett, commented: "The receipt of funds from both the Corporation of London and Arts Council England is hugely welcome - welcome because it bridges the gap created by the withdrawal of funding by the St Bride’s Foundation and because it is an affirmation by both these bodies of the high regard in which they hold the theatre’s work in the City.

"The public have responded with donations at a gratifyingly significant level making their contribution to an exemplary structure of funding partnership, which reflects the importance of the Bridewell as a unique place for the development and encouragement of musical theatre in London."

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