It’s been 10-years since Pendleton Sixth Form College’s largest theatre, The Eccleston, was officially opened. To celebrate they are taking things back to where they began, with a performance of the world-renowned, ‘Les Misérables’, the first show to be performed in the theatre a decade ago.
Named after one of Salford’s greatest actors, Christopher Eccleston, the 260 seat Pendleton theatre has hosted countless productions and shows.
The theatre is the setting of the college’s spectacular ‘Season of Shows’ and has been the backdrop of everything from musicals to masterclasses, dance shows to debates, symphonies to showcases.
Hundreds of students started their professional careers in this very theatre and some of the best in the business have directed productions here. It holds some of the most sophisticated technical equipment, sound and lighting in the industry, and provides the perfect setting for all of the college’s performing and productions arts students to learn - whether they are centre stage, or building it.
Neil Bennett, Head of the Centre of Excellence for Performing and Production Arts at Pendleton, was involved in the initial design of The Eccleston all that time ago, when he first worked for the college. He said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be able to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Eccleston Theatre here at Pendleton - especially as I was one of the team that helped design the inner dimensions and structures of the theatre and rehearsal spaces in the beginning.
“Even more thrilling is to celebrate the anniversary with the show that opened the theatre, Les Misérables, and to celebrate 10-years since we last did it here in The Eccleston and nearly 20-years since I myself conducted it at The Point Theatre, Dublin with Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean.
“Our students have done a superb job and thanks to our outstanding staff who have directed, choreographed, designed sets and everything else down to technical aspects and wardrobe, we have another spectacular week of theatre to look forward to."
The department will be reviving the legendary musical for staff, students and the people of Salford and beyond between the May 15 and 19.
Joe Meighan, Associate Theatre Director at Pendleton, said: “After I found out that The Eccleston Theatre opened with a production of Les Misérables in 2008, I thought it would be fitting to celebrate the achievements of the Performing Arts Department, the college and the theatre by producing a brand new version of the show.
“I am extremely proud of the work the students have created and cannot wait to share this story with an audience this week.”
Neil added: “The production will be fresh, exciting and vibrant, with a full orchestration and a unique set and historically accurate costumes. I could not think of a better way to continue my journey at Pendleton than by conducting this stunning piece.”
Set against the backdrop of 19th Century France, “Les Misérables” tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice, and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.
Ex-convict Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.
Performed entirely by the students of Pendleton Sixth Form College’s Performing Arts Department, this school edition of the worldwide, smash-hit musical features the timeless songs ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, ‘Bring Him Home’, ‘On My Own’ and ‘One Day More’.
The production also marks the closing of 2017/2018 Season of Shows at Pendleton, and the beginning of an exciting collaboration between the new production team and the Performing Arts Department.