Buxton Opera House is known as one of the county’s leading receiving theatres, but this month the venue will be co-producing a thrilling production of Our Man in Havana, in collaboration with Creative Cow and Malvern Theatres.
The partnership, says Matthew Parish, Creative Cow’s producer and a founding member, is a great opportunity for both parties, which he hopes will continue in the future.
“For us, it means we are able to open the show in a venue we know well, and work with a team that we can rely on to get the production up.” says Matthew. “We have toured many times to Buxton Opera House, so when the chance arose, we wanted to make it happen.”
A spokesperson for Buxton Opera House said they were “delighted” to be associated with Creative Cow and Malvern Theatres during the project: “It’s both an opportunity to be recognised nationally as a new producer and also a great promotional exercise, since the Opera House brand will be touring into theatres up and down the country, along with the show.”
Our Man in Havana comes after Creative Cow produced one of Graham Greene’s other novel’s Travels With My Aunt last year to great acclaim. The reason the company favours Greene’s novels are for their “brilliant stories”, reveals Matthew.
“We want to entertain our audiences with the plays we put on and when you begin with such a gem of a story, you hope it makes it hard to fail. Our Man in Havana is a great plot and an incredibly topical one to tell at this moment in time.”
Set in Cuba 1958, audiences will enjoy the uproarious farcical elements of Our Man in Havana, which tells the story of Jim Wormold – a hapless vacuum cleaner salesman, who is sucked into a dirty world of espionage and double agents.
Thrillingly adapted for the stage by Clive Francis, Greene’s original novel has been filleted to perfection, bringing out the hilarious and subversive.
“It is very apt to be touring this show now.” says Matthew. “Secret agents abroad and “fake news” – it couldn’t be more relevant – whilst it’s still a funny and clever story. Clive Francis has adapted the novel so wonderfully, that it makes it accessible to a modern audience.”
But it’s not always plain sailing reveals Matthew. Selecting theatre shows to produce can be a tricky process.
“We’ve made errors in the past with shows. For example, we toured Hard Times just at the peak of the financial crisis! We realised when you’re performing Hard Times alongside shows like Dreamcoats and Petticoats, people would rather see shows like the latter in the depths of a recession.”
“Touring theatre is not easy but we strive to make it work and stay positive – finding avenues to collaborate with theatres and create work which can go out on the road.
“We love the Opera House, it is easily one of the most beautiful theatres in the UK, set in stunning surroundings. And despite it being a large venue, it lends itself to plays – there’s a real feeling of intimacy in the space.”
Our Man in Havana opens at Buxton Opera House from Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 April 7.30pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets are priced from £16 to £20 and discounts are available. Call 01298 72190 or visit www.buxotnoperahouse.org.uk