The curtain goes up at His Majesty’s tonight, exactly 18 months since the theatre last staged a show before the pandemic lockdown.
And Freezin, the Aberdeen student show, is a perfect way to welcome audiences back to the iconic venue, said Jane Spiers, chief executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts.
“It feels terrific. We’ve all had to dig deep over the last 18 months. I don’t know if we thought at some stages we would make it, so to be here, we are hugely relieved and excited. Can’t wait to get going,” she said.
“And the student show is an absolute institution, this is its 100th year, so it couldn’t be more appropriate.”
Other APA venues are also bursting back into life today. The Lemon Tree hosts its first run of A Play, A Pie And A Pint from today, with Celestial Body. And over at the Music Hall, the Coda café has reopened, ahead of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis performing on Sunday.
Jane said: “It does feel as if we are starting to get back to normal. The box offices and all the venues have been open for the past week. We’ve had quite a lot of footfall and even seen a bit of a queue at the box office over the last week.”
Big shows lined up for His Majesty’s
All three venues are now in a phased re-opening, aiming to be fully up and running by November.
“We want to get it right so we’d rather come back slowly and take our time,” said Jane.
“Certainly at HMT we have shows running through October, such as Scottish Ballet with Starstruck. Then in the run-up to panto, we have Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Waitress and Bedknobs And Broomsticks, so it’s just terrific.”
Meanwhile, the cast and crew of Freezin say they feel honoured to be the show that is turning the bright lights back on at HMT. It is the first production to take to the stage since On Your Feet closed at the theatre on March 14 last year, days before theatres across the country went dark due to the Covid lockdown.
Amy Lamb, who has just graduated from psychology at Aberdeen University, said: “I think it’s just a fantastic honour for us to be the first to bring the theatre back. We found out that it is 18 months to the day since the theatre went dark. We are just so excited.”
Meanwhile, Michael Innes said audiences are in for a treat with Freezin.
Thanks for unfailing support
“There’s a lot of references to the original Frozen that it’s based on,” said the music student at Aberdeen University. “But, as per student show tradition, there’s loads of local references, a lot of pop culture references and a lot of songs the audience won’t expect, so that will be a nice surprise.”
And cast member Erin Chalmers said it had been hard work rehearsing for the show, but absolutely worthwhile for the students and the audience.
“Just take it all in and enjoy it and be glad to be back,” said the law student at Aberdeen University. “Hopefully everyone enjoys it.”
Beyond the run of Freezin, which ends on Saturday, Jane said APA is looking forward to welcoming audiences back.
“I would just like to say thank you,” said Jane. “We couldn’t have asked for more support over the past 18 months from the people of Aberdeen.
“We’ve just felt people willing us on and telling us how much less rich their lives are without us.
“And it’s not just for us, it’s for the city. Arts and culture drives footfall into the city centre and that’s exactly what the city needs at the moment. So come back and join us.”
To find out more about the shows coming up at the three venues, visit www.aberdeenperformingarts.com