In only a few weeks, Tristan will return to the stage with his Strictly Come Dancing professional partner, Kristina Rihanoff in Strictly Theatre Co.'s An Evening With Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus. Managing Director, Paul Irving, took time from his busy schedule to talk with us about this very special show as well as his many other productions.
We know you will enjoy this fun Q and A. Show ticket information as well as social media links are provided at the conclusion of this interview.
First of all, tell us how Strictly Theatre Co. began, how it has grown, and what your vision is for the future.
I first started producing shows in my home town of Great Yarmouth in 1999, when I was seventeen. However, Strictly Theatre Co began much later, in 2015, after I approached Camilla Dallerup about doing a two-night show at the local theatre I was working at, along with her professional partner, Ian Waite. The success of this show led us to do several tours across the country, and Strictly Theatre Co began to grow!
We have just produced an extremely successful tour with Strictly Come Dancing professional, Giovanni Pernice, and are excited for Kristina and Tristan’s tour too!
My vision for the future is to keep growing the business, putting on more successful tours, with the view of producing a west end musical one day.
We’ve been looking forward to the possibility of a Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus tour since they were pro partners on Strictly Come Dancing. What can you tell us about their upcoming tour? Knowing what you know about these two extraordinary performers, what do you think the audience can expect to see?
It’s very exciting to see them touring together, finally! They are a fantastic partnership, really fun, and wonderful dancers.
The audience are in for a treat, with awesome dance routines, both ballroom and Latin, great stories about their time on ‘Strictly’, and fun interaction with the audience. Not only does the show have all of that, but it also has the added delights of singer Mark Read, from popular boyband A1, who will be hosting as well as singing for us.
You have already produced a number of shows all over the UK and these have been very successful. Please share a little about some of the shows that are already completed and what you have coming up.
As mentioned above, we have produced some very successful tours with Camilla Dallerup and Ian Waite and also Giovanni Pernice. Giovanni’s tour was a completely different concept to the ‘An Evening with..’ style. We were very keen to create something that no one else was doing, and it really paid off— the tour was a big hit with audiences across the country.
Along with Kristina and Tristan’s tour this autumn, we are also producing Camilla’s farewell tour with Ian, as she is retiring from dancing to concentrate on her new career as a Life Coach in Los Angeles. We are also working with Camilla on her ‘Reinvent Me’ UK tour, which is a workshop that coincides with the release of her new self-help book of the same name.
2018 is set to be a very exciting year for Strictly Theatre Co, so keep an eye out for some announcements very soon…!!
The logistics of putting together a production such as An Evening with Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus (or any other show) are mind-boggling. What are some of the challenges? How do you go about organizing and making sure it all goes as smoothly as possible? What kind of staffing is required at various show venues?
The hardest part is definitely booking the venues! Ideally you would try to book theatres along an organised route from one to the next. However, as you can imagine it isn’t as simple as it sounds!! Many theatres are not available on the dates you want, creating a logistical nightmare!!
As well as the dancers having their own rehearsals, we always have a ‘tech’ week before the tour starts, so that the show is 100% ready for opening night. We have a great team in place to ensure that everything from lighting, sound, costumes, are perfect, led by the tour manager to oversee everything.
The staff of Strictly Theatre Co. has a wealth of experience in the entertainment industry. How did it all come together?
Most of the staff are people we have known or met along the way, as the company has grown.
Karis Day, Director of Productions, started out working for my wife, before they both transitioned over to Strictly Theatre Co when it started getting too busy for me to run on my own!
Kirby Thompson and Tristan Griffen, Sound and Lighting Technicians, both previously worked for the same theatre as I did, so we have built up great working relationships over time.
I am very lucky to have such a good team, who share my passion for theatre and are just as excited about the company’s future as I am.
What are some of the most memorable moments from your past shows? I’m sure there have been a few “uh-oh” moments as well—is there anything you can share?
The most memorable moments are when things happen that shouldn’t!! For instance dancers falling over on stage, a female dancer doing a kick, sending one of her ballroom shoes flying thirty feet in the air…luckily just missing the audience!!
On a serious note, when the audience reacts with great enthusiasm and standing ovations for a show, it is truly overwhelming.
Tristan mentioned in our last interview that he was very happy to have the opportunity to perform in a show in Ireland. What would you say to his family and friends who are planning to attend?
There is no better feeling than bringing a show to your home, as I have had the opportunity to do with Ian and Camilla. I brought their show to the theatre that I performed in as a child, so for Tristan to be able to come to Ireland must be wonderful for him and his family. I’m sure they will be extremely proud of him and they will definitely be entertained! It made complete sense to take the show to Ireland, especially with Tristan headlining it, along with Kristina.
Finally, do you have a message for Kristina and Tristan’s fans as things heat up for the tour?
If you want to have fun, get some ‘Strictly’ gossip, watch two amazingly talented dancers perform lots of your favourite ballroom and Latin dances, listen to some gorgeous singing, and have a bit of a dance yourselves, then you do not want to miss this show! It’s going to be sensational! BOOK NOW direct with the theatres. We are also putting the finishing touches to a souvenir programme that will be on sale during the tour.
Strictly Theatre Co.
Ticket information for An Evening With Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus