Belfast Operatic Company (BOC), one of Northern Ireland’s most valued and longest standing musical theatre companies is taking on a production of epic proportions as they prepare to bring to the Grand Opera House the incredible story of The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the first time ever.
Based on the 1996 Disney movie, the show tells the story of Quasimodo and how he stands up to his overpowering guardian in a bid to help Esmerelda, the gypsy girl.
Whilst remaining hugely entertaining, the production still takes on a number of more serious themes, which very much resonate in society today, those such as inclusion and disability, and is narrated throughout by the fantastic gargoyles of Notre Dame who watch over as the story unfolds.
The gargoyles play an interesting role as they not only communicate what is going on in Quasimodo’s head but in that they also communicate with him through sign language.
Kerry Rodgers, Director explains
“Quasimodo has lived his life in the bell towers of Notre Dame and as a result his hearing is impaired. Sometimes this fact can get overlooked as it may be difficult to portray but we realise that it is essential, and we really wanted to include this important aspect of the show no matter how challenging. It is unique and inclusive and I’m very happy with how it is turning out”
With music created by multi award winning composer Alan Menken, famous for his scores and songs which feature in The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas, and lyrics written by Stephen Schwartz who is famed for the songs from Wicked, the audience will be entertained by big powerful scores throughout. Naomi Smyth, who takes on the role of Esmerelda and has been a member of BOC for two and half years says;
“The show is wonderfully creative, thought provoking, powerful and emotional and I am loving the process of creating this beautiful and often painful story and bringing to life the passion and beauty of my character. Not only are the songs incredible to perform, but it will absolutely change how you view your friends, family and everyone else in society, for the better.”
With a cast of 40, who will be accompanied on stage with a full choir, BOC are once again pulling out all the stops and not shying away from a challenge; Colin Boyd, Chairman of the charitable organisation goes on;
“As a charitable amateur musical theatre company ,I am proud to say that we never back down from a challenge, more often than not bigger is better, most recently we delivered the spectacular show, ‘A Christmas Carol’ , we’ve embraced both Sister Act and Titanic the Musical with Gusto and time and time again our shows are met with regular standing ovations – we’re not afraid to take on the professionals and I believe we are every bit as good – I’m so looking forward to seeing this incredible and unique story unfold on the beautiful stage at the Grand Opera House and I am sure the audience will love every minute of the tangled love story of Quasimodo.”
BOC is made up of a collection of individuals from all walks of life who are passionate about musical theatre, from young new members who bring the fresh energy and excitement to lifelong supporters who share experience and wisdom, the team are highly committed not only to each production but also to each other and that shines through in the pleasure that is eminent from the members;
Conor Anderson who will be playing the role of Quasimodo says:
“I’ve been a member of BOC for one year now and I have loved every minute of it, being a part of this team has introduced me to so many new friends and allowed me to follow my passion, it’s fun, always challenging and fills me with a sense of purpose. BOC is a place for likeminded people to share our passion – we all do it because we love it.”
For over 60 years Belfast Operatic Company, or BOC as they are more fondly known, has been delivering the best in Musical Theatre to audiences across Ireland. Based in Belfast, BOC is a diverse and inclusive mix of talent, who all come together to share the joy, spirit and sheer thrill of creative performance.
Although musical theatre has changed a lot since the first production in 1960, BOCs ethos has remained the same, to bring the highest quality musical entertainment to our audiences, whilst nurturing and maintaining the fun enjoyed by its members.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame will be showcased at the Grand Opera House from the 7-11th March with shows at 7.30pm along with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm which will also be signed. The show is recommended for those aged 12+.
Ticket on sale now at www.goh.co.uk
For more information on BOC please visit belfastoperatic.org