How Do You Measure A Year? One Year of RyCa Refresh

When I planned my first concert ‘RyCa : Refresh’ last year, it was meant to be a one night only passion project, to prove to the world (and myself), that new life could be breathed into existing musical theatre. Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen are awesome, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the decades of cult classic musicals that came before us. They may be dated but that’s nothing we can’t change. Those ‘Golden Oldies’… they can be Refreshed. 

I think everyone who works in Musical Theatre has an obligation to help it evolve. Growing up, I genuinely couldn’t get my head around people that would pay hundreds of pounds to be one of thousands watching a pop artist, but wouldn’t consider paying £25 to watch a musical. 

So I took a report that documented the top reasons millennials weren’t going to the theatre, and combatted every single bullet point by creating my first Cabaret show. The report said that tickets were too expensive, so the average price for refresh was £12. The report suggested that grand and elaborate spaces might put non-theatre goers off, so we did Refresh in an underground bar and abolished any premise of a dress code. The other cluster of points that I found really interesting, were the ideas that an arts event should be a social experience. Millennial want to be able to grab a drink during the event, arrive late and have the option to discuss the work with their friends during the show. Splitting my event into 3 short acts gave the audience time to grabs drinks and have a chat, whilst also meaning that people could slip in if they’d missed act 1. 

Refresh is already starting to bridge the gap between music lovers and musicals. It’s Musical Theatre in it’s most basic form : a catalogue of story telling songs, but disguised as a pop concert. One of the most exciting things about my cast, is the idiosyncrasies of voices. Textures and tones that are often deemed ‘too quirky for mainstream theatre’. If you want to reach millennial audiences, you have to use millennial voices. You just have to.

Although I spent weeks conceptualising and coming up with the ideas behind ‘REFRESH’. I cannot write this post with out taking the time to thank everyone that had involvement. From Floor Managers to Ushers, Box Office staff to Band, My incredible creative team and my beautiful beautiful cast. So, (in alphabetical order), Thank you :

Abbi Hodgson, Adam Gillian, Anders Rye, Anthony Fagin, Ben Farrall, Bill Pamplin, Cat Carter, Cat-Una O’Shea, Celia Learmonth, Charlotte Miranda Smith, Charlotte Payne, Dan Cooper, Dan Hall, David Young, Ed Manthorpe, Elander Moore, Ellie Mitchell, Elliot Sturt, Finn Hartley, Fran Lawrenson, Gabriel Mokake, George Shrapnell, Harry Elliot, James William-Pattison, Jeffrey-Jay Antwi, Jo Noel-Hartley, Jono Pamplin, Kayla Carter, Kayleigh McKnight, Kirsty Vijn, Linnea Didrick, Lydia Rose Bertie, Mark Hartley, Matt Liptrot, Natasha Petrovic, Nick Anderson, Patrick ‘Harpr’ Harper, Phil Manley-Reeve, Reuben Greeph, Rhys Benjamin, Rochelle Rose, Ryan MacKenzie, Sam Carlyle, Sam Luff, Sonum Batra, Sophie Martin-Wynn, Vanessa Fisher, Wesley Maddocks, William Lloyd.

Refresh would be just a figment of my imagination with out all of these people. #TeamRyCa

 

Ryan Carter