Les Misérables: Let The People Sing

Les Misérables: Let The People Sing

A Northern Ireland musical theatre society will lead the way as part of a unique collaborative effort to stage the one of the world’s favourite musicals, Les Misérables.

Belfast Operatic Company is one of eleven groups throughout the UK, and the only group in Northern Ireland invited to lead produce a new staging of the show.

This new production will be part of a unique amateur theatre project known as ‘Let the People Sing.’ Created by Cameron Mackintosh and Music Theatre International (MTI), the initiative will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Boublil and Schönberg's worldwide phenomenon throughout 2025. 

The show, which has never previously been made available to amateur groups in the UK whilst it continues to play to packed houses in London’s West End, will be staged in Belfast’s Grand Opera House in March 2025.

Belfast Operatic Company will act as lead producers of the show but will collaborate with fellow local societies, Ulster Operatic Company and St Agnes’ Choral Society as well as the Grand Opera House Trust, to produce the show. 

The group will also have the support and guidance of the show’s West End and international associate creative teams as they prepare their production of the show.

Casting for all the new productions, including the one being staged in Belfast, will be via open casting calls.

Colin Boyd, Chairman of Belfast Operatic Company, said:“It is our great honour to be one of the first musical theatre societies in the UK to produce and perform Les Misérables. We are very grateful to Sir Cameron, his team and the colleagues at Music Theatre International for putting their trust in us to create this new original production. Our thanks also goes to Ian Wilson at the Grand Opera House for allowing us to present the show on the most hallowed stage in Northern Ireland.”

“In 2025, Belfast Operatic Company will celebrate 65 illustrious years of producing outstanding live entertainment. What better way to celebrate this landmark moment for the company than staging a unique production of the musical phenomenon that is ‘Les Mis’. Staging this beloved show is a magnificent opportunity for us to showcase the very best performing talent Northern Ireland has to offer. It promises to be a production which our performers and our audiences will never forget.”

“I’m proud to say that registration of auditions is now open and, alongside our fellow collaborating musical theatre societies, we are calling on performers to sign up for their chance to be part of this incredibly special project.” 

Explaining the background of the ‘Let The People Sing’ project, Cameron Mackintosh commented: “The phenomenon of LES MISÉRABLES continues to break new ground, just as Victor Hugo’s novel has since it was first published in 1862.

The world’s longest running musical was first made available to students under 19 (in an edited schools' edition) in 2002, to mark the bicentennial of Victor Hugo’s birth.

As we approach the extraordinary landmark of the 40th record-breaking year of the iconic musical’s London run, alongside countless productions around the world, we are delighted to invite 11 of our leading amateur companies in the UK to stage, for the first time, the entire show in their own productions. This will involve many hundreds of amateur performers around the country, becoming part of our own yearlong celebrations.

The success of this much-loved musical was famously made by the public - not the early critics - so what better way to enjoy this unprecedented event, than Let the People Sing!” 

Sean Gray, Managing Director of MTI’s London office said: "MTI cherishes our amateur theatre companies.  They bring our musicals to the whole country, including to towns and areas not regularly visited by national touring productions.  They nurture and develop talent in a unique and invaluable way, as well as providing opportunities for everyone who loves performing and making theatre to be a part of productions on all of the country's stages.  Many of the great shows live on in amateur productions, often decades after their initial productions in the West End or on Broadway. 

Although we have been able to license thousands of productions of LES MISERABLES SCHOOL EDITION to schools and youth groups, the remarkable success of the West End production in London and on tour means it hasn't been possible to offer the show to our major amateur companies.  But for one year, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to invite amateur theatre companies across the UK to produce eleven local productions, which we hope will be genuine local community projects.  We already know how much excitement the project will generate and we are really looking forward to guiding everyone towards a great national amateur celebration of LES MISERABLES in 2025 to mark the 40th anniversary of the London production.  Let the people sing!"

The other ten community-wide productions of Les Misérables: Let The People Sing will be staged in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich, Porthcurno (Cornwall) and Swansea throughout 2025.

To register for Belfast Operatic Company’s open casting call for Les Misérables, visit belfastoperatic.org.

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