Cunard Announces the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company

When Cunard Line’s new Queen Elizabeth debuts in October 2010, the Line will introduce an original concept in theatrical entertainment at sea with the newly formed Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company. Guests will enjoy a brand new repertoire of shows premiered by the Theatre Company’s 29 singers, dancers, actors and musicians. Video blogs about the new entertainment programme have been posted on the WeAreCunard channel, featuring Queen Elizabeth’s on-board Entertainment Director Alistair Greener chatting with Cunard President Peter Shanks (Part One) and Martin Lilly, director of entertainment (Part Two).

New shows will include the hit “Slice of Saturday Night,” a popular nostalgic pastiche of 1960s music which has been staged in London and toured extensively throughout the UK and US. Adapted especially for the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company by its original writers, the Heather Brothers, “Slice of Saturday Night” features all of the Theatre Company members – the largest production show that Cunard has ever staged.

Performing in the new ship’s majestic Royal Court Theatre, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company will present a compelling variety of musical productions and abridged versions of popular plays such as a Neil Simon triple bill and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” The Simon show will feature three scenes, one each from some of the playwright’s best-loved shows – “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “Plaza Suite” and “The Odd Couple” – each linked by their setting: an apartment or hotel suite. At the conclusion of each show, the audience may take part in an informal Q&A session with the actors.

“The Piccadilly Line,” showcasing the talents of the entire Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company, explores the spoken word, song and prose as characters get on and off a train journey on the world’s oldest underground rail system. The action is set in the shell of a London tube train carriage.

“Hotel Royale” is a musical production featuring 16 singers and dancers who whimsically bring to life the story of a hotel which is past its prime – once the playground of the rich and famous, it is now home to some quirky staff and unusual guests.

“Sing,” a lively production based on the popularity of “Singers in Concert” performed on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, features 21 live musicians and four singers on stage, and creates a dynamic, audience-pleasing atmosphere in the Royal Court Theatre from the very first note. The show’s influences are drawn from contemporary musical theatre, pop and classic songs which will be very familiar to the audience.

“La Danza” is a cutting edge dance production showcasing the virtuoso talents of the dance ensemble. Following in the footsteps of “Apassionata” and “Dance Passion,” two hugely successful shows currently running on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, “La Danza” will delight guests who enjoy a wide range of choreography performed by truly talented performers.

Queen Elizabeth’s guests will also be able to take part in a specially written panel quiz show which will offer an afternoon of friendly banter. The Theatre Company will have its own take on topical news and entertainment stories.

“The entertainment on Queen Elizabeth is the most extensive ever seen on a Cunard liner, mixing tradition with satire,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The Royal Court Theatre is comparable to London West End or Broadway Theatre – and we have created our own Theatre Company to really bring it to life. From the best of Broadway to Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ – we offer something for everybody.”

“We are thrilled and honoured to be able to continue our successful partnership with Cunard in providing the production shows for this stunning new ship,” said Belinda King of Belinda King Creative Productions. “With the creation of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company, we look forward to delighting Cunarders old and new with a wonderfully entertaining selection of shows, now including original theatre productions as well as established stage favourites. Once more, Cunard is raising the standard in on board entertainment and we are proud to be working alongside them.”

Queen Elizabeth continues the tradition of presenting Cunard’s Royal Nights with the debut of “The Cunard Ball,” “London Swings,” “The Starlight Ball” and the “Elizabethan Ball.” “London Swings” will be featured on the same evening as “Slice of Saturday Night,” with its inspirations taken from flower power and popular British ’60s icons such as Twiggy, Mary Quant and Carnaby Street.

In addition, Queen Elizabeth will offer Cunard’s award-winning Insights enrichment programme which introduces guests to stimulating experts and accomplished academics. Through a series of lectures, Q&As, social gatherings and workshops, guests connect with personalities who have achieved notable distinction in areas including history, world affairs, science, arts and literature. The Insights programme underscores Cunard’s view that on board entertainment should afford guests a provocative and rewarding experience.

New for Queen Elizabeth will be the introduction of Professional Insights, a series of expert workshops on diverse subjects including antiques and auctions, sculpture, movie reviews, performance poetry, and even weather forecasting.

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