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Dress Circle

Opera house invests in rubbish for CATS

A £400,000 operation is under way to transform the Blackpool Opera House into a spectacular Cats playground.

The first stage in the mammoth preparation for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical in the resort has been to remove carefully the valuable organ pipes connected to the theatre's Wurlitzer organ to facilitate one of the show's special features - a Star Trap. The device catapults one of the principal Cats up through the stage floor several feet into the air.

The Opera House orchestra pit will also disappear before the May 25 opening - allowing a stage extension to bring the cast closer to the audience. The walls and ceiling of the Opera House will be covered with black serge and dotted with a total of 29 miles of fibre optics.

Production manager Nick Harris, whose job it is to orchestrate the set construction, said his team had brought up almost all the fibre optics in Britain for the operation. "Our difficulty is the sheer scale of the Opera House", said Nick. "We have built Cats sets all around the world and in most cases items from earlier productions have been readily adapted to suit new venues.

"In Blackpool, however, most of the special features have had to be specifically designed and tailored to meet the Opera House's unique requirements".

When complete the set will look like a well organised rubbish dump - a bargain at only £400,000!

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Copyright © 2002 M. Kniestedt. All rights reserved.