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Shropshire stage set for Boe, Ball and Sir Cliff

By Thomas Morton | Bishop's Castle | South Shropshire entertainment | Published:

The stage is set for two days of 'just fabulous' musical entertainment at a Shropshire stately home, as Alfie Boe, Michael Ball and Cliff Richard prepare to play.

A specially constructed outdoor stage, complete with seats, and a disabled viewing platform, for thousands of music fans, has been put up in the grounds of Walcot Hall, a country house that is more used to hosting wedding guests than gig-goers.

The stage is following Cliff Richard around on his Just... Fabulous Rock n Roll comeback tour, for which he decided to forego the usual concert venues and instead play in the grounds of historic castles and picturesque country estates.

Yesterday promoters worked around the clock to get the stage ready on land usually used for grazing at the hall in Lydbury North, near Bishop's Castle.

The house and grounds are a well-known wedding and holiday cottage venue owned by the Parish family for the past 60 years, and it is the first time a rock concert has been staged there – let alone two.

Sir Cliff will play tomorrow night, but tonight tenor Boe and musical theatre star Ball will tread the stage together, touring in tandem with Cliff to make the most of the opportunity to sing at some sumptuous locations that they would not normally get to play.

Walcot will be just the second venue on the pair's seven-date open air summer tour, having started at Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire, on Sunday.

Michael Ball said: “We are so excited about this tour. There is something magical about being in the open air when you sing.

“There is an atmosphere when the sun goes down, the lights come up on the stage and you are in a place where the music disappears into the ether. It’s a truly unique and special experience.”

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Alfie added: “The reaction to our theatre tour last year was brilliant. The audiences were fantastic, all the nights were special and so we are really looking forward to these open-air dates.

“When we perform together something just clicks, it works. We are great friends both on and off the stage and I think that comes across. When you are comfortable performing with someone, as myself and Michael are together, then I think that comes out in the performance and makes these nights truly memorable.

“We’ve added a few things from the theatre tour, a few surprises to the set, and we really hope the audiences like them. We think they will,” he said.

Having first met in 2006 while performing in Kismet with the English National Opera, Michael and Alfie have become lifelong friends.

They are touring their double platinum-selling album Together and announced ahead of the tour that they will release a follow up album later this year on Decca.

Thomas Morton

By Thomas Morton
@tmorton_star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star

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