The British Theatre Playhouse, a long-standing member of the British Chamber of Commerce and the European Chamber of Commerce turns 15 in April 2018.
The British Theatre Playhouse is a professional theatre production company incorporated in Singapore in 2004 and is internationally focused with a strong British connection. In 2012, it established a UK branch office, in order to work even more closely with established British playwrights, writers, actors, directors, musical directors, set and costume designers. The company has produced and presented a series of highly successful British productions in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the UK.
In April 2018, we incorporated a branch office in Malaysia as BTP has been bringing shows to Malaysia since 2005 so the new company, British Theatre Playhouse Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. will continue to work and grow the appreciation of British theatre, dramas, comedies, musicals and concerts in Malaysia.
At BTP, we pride ourselves on high standards equivalent to London’s West End and offer UK casts comprising prominent stage, television and film actors. Every one of BTP shows has featured stars from London’s West End.
When we produced our first show, Alan Ayckbourn's "How The Other Half Loves", in a dinner-theatre setting at Singapore's Shangri-La Hotel from April 27th - 30th, 2004, the production was a sell-out.
In October 2004, we produced Oscar Wilde's "The Importance Of Being Earnest" at the Jubilee Hall Theatre at Raffles Hotel Singapore.
The producers were honoured to have the presence of The President of Singapore, His Excellency, Mr S.R. Nathan and the First Lady as well as Minister Mentor, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mrs Lee and Senior Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong and Mrs Goh in the audience.
The great success of the show led to the transfer of the production to the Greenwich Theatre, London, in April 2005.
In May 2005, we next presented Ray Cooney's hit farce "Funny Money" at the Shangri-la Hotel Singapore and then at the new Hilton Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, where it was sold-out.
In April 2006, BTP turned to the playwright who was known by all as 'The Master', Noel Coward, with a production of his most famous play, "Private Lives". This celebrated the 76th anniversary of the original West End production on September 24th 1930.
Following Singapore, the production went on tour to Kuala Lumpur (Hilton Kuala Lumpur), Penang (Eastern & Oriental Hotel) and to Bangkok (The Oriental, Bangkok) with great success.
"Private Lives" was nominated by the public for "Best Leisure Event" 2006 Tourism Award by the Singapore Tourism Board.
"A Bedfull of Foreigners" by Dave Freeman was our next production, followed by Alan Ayckbourn’s "Relatively Speaking", which toured to Kuala Lumpur and Colombo, Sri Lanka.
However, in recent times, the appeal of musical shows in the region has been clear to us and we have diversified to include musical plays and musicals such as Jim Cartwright’s "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice"; Alan Plater’s "Blonde Bombshells of 1943" and, for May 2011, a new musical which made its world premiere debut in Singapore, "Buddy vs The Killer", devised by British actor-musicians Billy Geraghty and Kevin Oliver Jones and featuring the songs of Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis. The success of the musical led to the transfer of the production to the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and Futurist Theatre in the UK.
In 2012 we produced Ray Cooneys hilarious,
award-winning farce "Out of Order" at Raffles
Hotel Jubilee Hall and the Double Tree Hotel in
Kuala Lumpur and enjoyed great box office
success at both venues.
In a change of artistic - direction, we then presented Louis Hoovers solo music show "Salute to Sinatra" in October 2012 at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. With a live 18 piece band on stage to back Louis, it made for a sensational evening of Ol Blue Eyes music!
October 2013 saw our most successful production since our founding in 2004 with sell-out audiences in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur as well as great success in Bangkok. The play was Agatha Christies The "Mousetrap" and our production was part of the worldwide celebrations of the Diamond Anniversary of the first performance in London and the continuous sixty year run since then. With a cast from London and a set from heaven (actually Bangkok!) it is a production we will, for ever, be proud of.
And so to 2014 and what better play to follow the quintessentially British crime thriller of Agatha Christie then that equally quintessentially British award-winning comedy "Yes, Prime Minister" by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn.
Based on the phenomenally successful BBC television series (by the same writers) the stage version ran for two years in London West End (2011/2012) followed by a successful tour of the UK in 2013.
Coming direct from London, "Yes, Prime Minister" opened at Raffles Hotel's Jubilee Hall theatre on the 8th May 2014 for a limited season and toured to Kuala Lumour. The Singapore run saw audiences at full-house capacity each night which was testament to the excellent performances and the direction of Robin Herford. We are deeply honored that President Tony Tan and PM Dato' Seri Najib Razak came to see the play in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur respectively.
Extending our horizons into the music world again, in January this year the British Theatre Playhouse presented two great "gigs" from British-born singer "Leo Sayer in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur". Leo wowed audiences with his singing and energy and was living proof that good musicians never fade away, they get better with age!
In May 2015 we returned to one of the favourite forms of British theatre – farce. The Playhouse production of the world’s longest running comedy, “No Sex, Please – We’re British" starred Nick Wilton and was directed by Alister Cameron and enjoyed great success in both Singapore and KL.
In Singapore we were honoured to welcome, once again, President Tony Tan.
In April 2016 we produced
"The Vortex" by Sir Noel Coward. This is the
play that launched his career as one of the
great British dramatists with its scathing
expose of London high society in the 1920s.
Originally produced in 1924, it simply scandalised London but enjoyed phenomenal success at the box office and Coward, who was just at twenty four years old at the time, never looked back.
We have long wished to produce this play but the challenge was always to find the right actress for the demanding role of "Florence Lancaster", the promiscuous, high society beauty facing advancing years and declining lovers.
It is with great pleasure therefore that we casted the distinguished Hollywood British actress Jane Seymour, OBE to appear for the British Theatre Playhouse in this role.
The production - set in the glamorous world of 1924 London - opened at Raffles Hotel, Jubilee Hall Theatre on April 28th 2016.
And once again, we organised a successful fund-raising "Art for Charity" gala to support the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Cross Singapore which was attended by President Tony Tan and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, as well as the British High Commissioner, H.E. Scott Wightman and Mrs Anne Wightman, and the EU Ambassador H.E. Dr Michael Pulch and Mrs Gabriele Pulch.
In November 2016, the British Theatre Playhouse collaborated with Worldwide Entertainment in order to present in Singapore Let’s Dance – Paul Roberts Sings David Bowie. The show opened in Cé La Vi at Marina Bay Sands on 10 November and lasted until 12 November 2016. The show was attended by the EU Ambassador to Singapore, Dr Michael Pulch, and his wife, Gabriele Pulch, and other important people of the local political and financial scene. David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), used to be a British pop singer, songwriter and actor, famous for hits such as Let’s Dance, Space Oddity, Ziggy Stardust, China Girl, and many more. Thus, he was one of the pop icons who influenced Paul Roberts, himself a singer, songwriter and actor and former lead singer of the British punk rock music band The Stranglers for more than 15 years. The other band members who comprised the band for that particular show in Singapore was Andy Ellis (guitar), Martin Lawrie (keyboards), Kita Steur (bass) and Jason Day (drums). Also, when HRH Princess Anne attended a charity event on 3 November for two charities of which she is the Patroness, The Mission to Seafarers and Riding for the Disabled, Paul Roberts also performed there, after the respective arrangement of the BTP.
In June and July 2017, the British Theatre Playhouse produced Stars of the West End in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, in association with Worldwide Entertainment. The first event in Singapore was a regular performance, and the second one was a charity gala in aid of the charity organisation ‘Food from the Heart and was attended by the President of the Republic of Singapore HE Dr Tony Tan, the British High Commissioner HE Mr Scott Wightman, the EU Ambassador Dr Michael Pulch and the President of the British Chamber of Commerce, Dr Bicky Bhangu. Both the events took place at One Farrell Hotel and Spa. Likewise, there was a regular performance in Jakarta, attended by the Minister of Tourism HE Mr Ariel Yahya, and the Deputy British Ambassador and Head of Mission to Indonesia Ms Juliet Maric Capeling, and the event took place in Ciputra Artpreneur Theatre. Finally, there was a charity gala alongside a performance in Kuala Lumpur attended by Her Majesty Tunku Ampuan Tuanku Najihah, and the event took place at the Gardens Ballroom of the Gardens Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
In Stars of the West End, four leading stars of some of the most successful musicals in the history of London’s West End, such as THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, LES MISÉRABLES, CATS, CHICAGO, EVITA, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, MAMMA MIA!, MISS SAIGON, WEST SIDE STORY and WICKED!, presented songs from the aforementioned musicals.
The four leading in Singapore stars were Mike Sterling, Shona Lindsay, Tom Solomon and Jayne O'Mahony. In Kuala Lumour and Jakarta, Jayne O'Mahony were replaced by Yildz Hussein.
In October 2017, the British Theatre Playhouse in association with The British Club Singapore produced Tea with the Old Queen.
It is a one-man theatrical comedy written and directed by the award-winning writer Graham Woolnough and stars its current protagonist Ian Stark.
In June and July 2018, the British Theatre Playhouse produced the Asian tour of The Definitive Rat Pack in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, in association with Worldwide Entertainment. The British Theatre Playhouse is renowned for its many years of presenting to audiences in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia with the very best in live entertainment brought from London’s West End. This year they've extended their reach and Dubai is now included in their itinerary.
Having met in London’s West End in 2003 as the original cast of The Rat Pack: Live from Las Vegas, which earned an Olivier Award nomination, the British Theatre Playhouse welcomed Stephen Triffitt, Mark Adams, and George Daniel Long, now known as The Definitive Rat Pack, to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. The production has toured internationally and, driven by UK performers and musicians, now widens the impact of musical theatre in Asia. The first event in Singapore was a public performance, and the second one was a charity gala in aid of The Business Times Budding Artists Fund and was attended by the new President of the Republic of Singapore Madam Halimah Yacob, the British High Commissioner HE Mr Scott Wightman, and the Malaysian High Commissioner HE Dato' Zulkifli Adnan. Both the events took place at One Farrer Hotel and Spa's Grand Ballroom. Likewise, there was a regular performance in Kuala Lumpur, and the event took place in the Grand Ballroom of Hilton Kuala Lumpur. Finally, there were two regular performances in Dubai, and the event took place in Dubai Opera.
The Definitive Rat Pack in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai featured a special guest "Nancy Sinatra" played by Hannah Lindsey and a swinging 9-piece band.