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London Song Festival Presents GHOST LIGHTS: Ivor Novello and His Leading Ladies

The broadcast takes place on Saturday 12th December at 7pm.

London Song Festival Presents GHOST LIGHTS: Ivor Novello and His Leading Ladies

Ghost Lights is set on the empty stage of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on the 5th September 1939 when all theatres were closed due to the outbreak of WW2. Ivor Novello meets Mary Ellis, Dorothy Dickson and Elisabeth Welch to reminisce about their work and also their concerns for theatre and its survival.

London Song Festival has announced the details of this year's festival finale. Ghost Lights has been specially commissioned for the 2020 season and will also include the winning song selected from competition entries to compose a new song to close the first act of the production.

"I am so excited by this," said Nigel Foster, "huge thanks to the wonderful cast: Rosemary Ashe, Rebecca Louise Dale and Fenton Gray, Justina Kehinde, and to Artist Digital who will stream it online and to David Slattery-Christy for writing this wonderful script. The London Song Festival's theme this year is 'Roads to Solace'; when I decided on that title back in January, little did I realise how horribly appropriate it would become just a few short months later. The London Song Festival's aim is to show that music and beauty and poetry and their emotional impact cross all boundaries. Music and beauty and art can never die; they brought solace and inspiration in 1939 when everything seemed so bleak, and one of the very few things we can say of the present and predict for the future is that art and beauty and music will always be there to uplift, sometimes to challenge, but always to inspire and bring solace."

"I was thrilled to get the commission to write this script for the London Song Festival," said David Slattery-Christy, "and create a link from the present to the past theatre closures of 1939. During my career I was lucky to meet both Mary Ellis and Elisabeth Welch so to me they are not just characters from history. Novello and his work I know well after working on the OSCAR & BAFTA winning film Gosford Park as the Novello and music consultant, and more recently as script advisor and guest on the BBC Radio 3 Composer Of The Week dedicated to Novello and his work."

Broadcast on Saturday 12th December at 7pm


Rosemary Ashe: Rosie has played and created many roles in some of the most popular musicals of the past 40 years, including The Boyfriend, The Phantom of the Opera, Forbidden Broadway, Oliver!, The Witches of Eastwick, Mary Poppins and Adrian Mole. She has also enjoyed playing a wide variety of roles on the stage in opera and plays as well as on television, in cabaret and concert.

Rebecca Louise Dale: Rebecca is a British Vocal Artist and Opera Director. She trained firstly as an Operatic Soprano before continuing her studies as a Lyric Mezzo Soprano. It was during the period of transition where Rebecca Louise was able to unravel her inner child and fall in love all over again with melodies written by some of the most wonderful Musical Theatre Masterminds of all time: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Hart, Porter, Kern and Gershwin. Today Rebecca Louise Dale performs Music from the Golden Age Era of Musical Theatre, Jazz and Opera and loves how no matter what genre it is the power of musical interaction stays constant. As an Opera Director Rebecca Louise has been praised for her sensitivity and fresh approach to grand opera. Whether Rebecca Louise is on or off stage she has only one intention and that is to tell a story in its truest form.

Fenton Gray: Theatre credits include: Ko-Ko in The Mikado (Gielgud Theatre), Manfred in Sunset Boulevard (London Coliseum), Gus The Theatre Cat in Cats, Pimp/Clacquesous in Les Miserables, the original casts of Blood Brothers and Top Hat and the ill-fated Out Of The Blue. He has played Ko-Ko in The Mikado numerous times over the last 25 years, for The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company (Sadlers Wells, UK Tour, BBC2) and The Carl Rosa Opera Company (UK & USA Tours), and notably with Dame Hilda Bracket as Katisha. Other G&S roles on national tour include Jack Point in The Yeomen Of The Guard for the D'Oyly Carte, Bunthorne in Patience and Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore for the Carl Rosa Opera Company, and the title role in The Sorcerer for Opera Della Luna. Other regional productions include MC in Cabaret (Leicester Haymarket), 'Hold Me Touch Me' in The Producers (UK Tour) & Noël Coward in Noël and Gertie (Sherringham Little Theatre). Opera roles include Goro in Madama Butterfly, Bardolph in Falstaff and Pang in Turandot.


Justina Kehinde is writer, director, performance poet and actor interested in exploring unheard stories. In 2012 she made theatrical history directing, acting and co-producing the first all black all female production on a Cambridge stage, Ntozake Shange's 'For Coloured Girls [...]', before successfully selling out the London production. In 2013 she gave a TEDx keynote and in 2017 was selected out of 150 applicants for Damsel Productions directorial development scheme, co-writing and directing a scratch of her debut play, UMUADA, which debuted at the Bunker Theatre in Southwark, London. Developing the script, UMUADA went on to headline the 2018 PlayMill festival at the King's Head Theatre. Currently working on extending the play into a full-length production, she is an alumna of The Royal Court Theatre's 2019 Writing Group and is part of the Young Vic Director's Programme.

David Slattery-Christy: is an award-winning playwright most recently toured a critically acclaimed new play Naturally Insane! The Life of Dan Leno about the life of Victorian music-hall comedian starring Steve Royle that will have a West End showcase performance at the Criterion Theatre in 2021. He has also worked as script writer and advisor for several BBC Radio and TV productions and has also directed many theatre plays and musicals. His involvement in adapting the libretto for Ivor Novello's 1935 musical Glamorous Night, which premiered at the Buxton Opera House, resulted in him directing the 50th Anniversary Concert to celebrate the life and work of Ivor Novello at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London's West End.

Subsequently he worked as the Ivor Novello Consultant on Julian Fellowes and Robert Altman's OSCAR and BAFTA winning film Gosford Park, and contributed to the BBC Documentary on the life of Novello, The Handsomest Man in Britain, and has also been a script advisor and guest of the week on the BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week dedicated to Ivor Novello's life and music, with presenter Donald McCloud.

Nigel Foster:

Nigel studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won every prize and award available for piano accompaniment. His teachers have included Roger Vignoles, Graham Johnson and Iain Burnside. In 2015 Nigel was appointed a Steinway Artist.

He has played for singers including Roderick Williams, James Newby, Julien van Mellaerts, Ailish Tynan, Iiona Domnich, Nadine Benjamin, Diana Morre, Simon Wallfisch and Gillian Keith. In his formative years played for Graham Johnson's Songmakers' Almanac and with conductors including John Eliot Gardiner and George Solti, working with singers including Renee Fleming, Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu.

Nigel is the founder, director and pianist of the London Song Festival, an annual event promoting the song repertoire. In addition to featuring internationally known artists, the Festival acts as a major showcase for young up-and-coming singers.

Nigel has broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, has appeared on television in several European Countries, features on the soundtrack of the French film 'L'Homme est une Femme comme les autres' and has a number of CD recordings to his credit. He has performed in most European Countries, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Israel, the USA, Canada and South America.

Aimee Leigh is a Choreographer, Movement Director and Dance Teacher based in London. After graduating from Middlesex University, with a BA Hons in Dance, her career began working as an Associate Choreographer across numerous genres within the community dance and dance theatre sector. These opportunities gave her the platform to freely create movement and to explore work from different angles. Since then, Aimee has gone on to create work for various productions in theatre and television.

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