Interview With….Liam Gartland

We chatted to Liam about presenting the European premiere of Head Over Heels toThe Hope Mill Theatre.

Hi Liam – how does it feel to be bringing Head Over Heels to the UK? I was born and raised in Manchester and the Hope Mill Theatre was one of the first places I went to to watch musicals that I wouldn’t haven’t seen at the larger commercial theatres. Watching Joe Houston and Will Whelton build a 140 seat theatre in Manchester that has the facilities to programme huge titles made me even more excited to produce there. When looking for the perfect venue to premiere ‘Head Over Heels’ I knew that there was no better place than the Hope Mill.

What was it about this show that caught your attention? Head Over Heels is a musical that celebrates queer experiences, questions the patriarchy and has
songs by the Go Go’s, these standout reasons were the pulling force towards producing this show and the exact reason why many audience members will hopefully buy a ticket. Finding a cast, creative team and venue that could bring this production to life and begin the journey in the UK really excited me. As a producer in the early part of my career I challenge myself to find titles that will give audiences the same experience in a 140 seater as they would in a 3,000 seater venue and this musical could do that exact thing.

How did you come across Head Over Heels? I came across the show when I was listening to the soundtrack on shuffle, once I heard the music I knew I had to research more. I read the script, watched a lot of videos and contacted the licensing team. Shortly after this I arranged meetings with the original director and original producer of the Broadway production and from that moment on I knew this was the musical for me to produce.

Can you tell us a little bit more about what we can expect from the show? Head Over Heels is a laugh-out-loud love story that celebrates queerness. It’s full of songs, that once
you hear them, they will be on repeat for a long time. It’s a show that delivers important messages in a joyful way and most importantly it’s a great night out! So I think with the real heart that this show has, people will be missing out if they don’t book a ticket, there’s six weeks of performances and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Was there a particular reason why the Hope Mill Theatre was a perfect fit for Head Over Heels? Manchester is a city that celebrates queerness and the Hope Mill Theatre is a hub for vibrant new musicals and revivals. Head Over Heels has a long life ahead of it in the UK and there was no better place in the UK to start this than the Hope Mill Theatre.

What are you most looking forward to about bringing the show to UK audiences? When I found Head Over Heels, it filled me with great excitement, being able to premiere a Musical
that is filled with important messages and so much joy seemed like a perfect fit. So, I approached the team to see if I could hold the licence to bring the production to the UK and after pitching the wonderful Tom Jackson Greaves to direct and choreograph the production, we then had the rights.

By Emma Clarendon

Head Over Heels will play at The Hope Mill Theatre from the 26th January until the 4th March. For more information and to book tickets visit: https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/event/head-over-heels/

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