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The Color Purple musical set for first UK tour this autumn

The cast of The Color Purple_Photography by Manuel Harlan
The 2019 cast of The Color Purple. Photography by Manuel Harlan

The Color Purple is to tour across England and Wales this autumn.

Leicester’s Curve theatre and Birmingham Hippodrome have announced that they will be taking their 2019 co-production to seven venues later this year.

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Having previously only played to UK audiences in London, Leicester and Birmingham, thanks to support from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Funding, the musical is now set to visit six new cities across England and Wales.

Co-producers Birmingham Hippodrome will open the tour from 13 to 17 September, the production will then visit Theatre Royal Plymouth (27 September to 1 October), Royal & Derngate Northampton (4 to 8 October), The Lowry in Salford (11 to 15 October), Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff (18 to 22 October), Mayflower Theatre Southampton (25 to 29 October), finishing its run at Norwich Theatre Royal (1 to 5 November).

The production is directed by Tinuke Craig with casting and full creative team for the tour to be announced.

Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel and adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winner Marsha Norman, Allee Willis, Brenda Russell and Stephen Bray, The Color Purple tells the powerful and life-affirming story of courageous heroine Celie.

Abused and oppressed throughout her youth, Celie embarks on a journey through joy, despair, anguish and hope, discovering her own unique voice thanks to the incredible women in her life. From an unbreakable bond with her sister Nettie, to friendship with fiercely independent Sofia and a life-changing affair with glamorous singer Shug Avery, Celie learns to love herself.

With a profoundly evocative score by Grammy award-winners Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray and drawing inspiration from jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, this landmark musical celebrates life, love and the strength to stand up for who you are and what you believe in.

Speaking about the news, Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said: “Tinuke Craig’s exquisite production of The Color Purple goes from strength to strength and we are thrilled it will embark on a UK tour this autumn following a hugely successful run at Curve and at Birmingham Hippodrome in 2019.

“This marks the first time The Color Purple has toured UK venues and we are thrilled audiences across the country will be able to experience this incredible story and the power of this beautiful, life-affirming musical.

“Huge thanks to our friends at Theatrical Rights Worldwide and Arts Council England, who have been instrumental in making it possible for Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome to tour our award-winning, critically acclaimed production.”

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England added: “It’s fantastic that so many more people will have the opportunity to see The Color Purple when the show tours the country later this year.

“This National Lottery investment through the Arts Council greatly widens opportunities to see the show, and we hope as many people as possible get that chance – from Plymouth to Northampton and beyond.

“As theatres welcome audiences back through their doors this year, we are proud to champion the role creativity plays in bringing people together, boosting wellbeing and helping the country to recover.”

Chris Sudworth, Director of Artistic Programme at Birmingham Hippodrome, said: “After a phenomenal response from our audiences in 2019, we are delighted to be opening our exceptional co-production – made with our friends and partners at Curve – here at Birmingham Hippodrome in September.

“This first UK tour of The Color Purple is another step in the Hippodrome’s commitment to creating bold, relevant work at large scale that speaks to our city and the UK today.”


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