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Stomp Celebrates 20th Birthday and enters 10th year in London West End

STOMP – the multi-award winning, international hit show – celebrates its 20th birthday this autumn (2011) with special events throughout London on Monday 14th November, culminating in a thrilling and unique performance of the show. For one night only, a number of high-profile comedian friends of STOMP will take part in a special routine, joining co-creator Luke Cresswell on stage to celebrate this milestone.

STOMP is also turning 10 in the West End – and to mark the occasion on November 14th there will be a series of special events at each of the venues it has played in London, before returning to its current home, The Ambassadors Theatre, for this 20th Birthday Gala Special. Names and further details to be announced.

STOMP photographer Steve McNicholas

Since its premiere at the Edinburgh Festival in 1991, Stomp has become a global phenomenon, showcasing a universal language of rhythm, theatre, comedy and dance that has resonated with audiences throughout the world. Eight performers use everything from Zippo lighters and plastic bags to bin lids and even the kitchen sink to hammer out an explosively feel-good rhythm.

STOMP has toured the globe almost continuously for 20 years, setting feet stamping, fingers drumming and adrenalin rushing for over 15 million people in 48 countries across 5 continents. It is currently playing in the UK, US, throughout Europe and South America.

From a single drum hanging around Luke Cresswell’s neck back in 1991, STOMP has taken on a life of its own. Creators and co-directors Cresswell and Steve McNicholas developed a pulsating, witty, utterly irresistible theatrical event that has become a worldwide phenomenon.

At its heart is a show that continues to evolve – inspired by the large-scale Las Vegas version, Stomp Out Loud, new music and choreography now join a fresh array of ordinarily mundane objects, onto which the cast work their musical magic. Huge ribbed tubes, previously used for recycling fluorescent lights, are themselves recycled into outsized Guiros, a Latin American percussion instrument, played by scraping the ridged sides with a stick. Stomp is fresher, faster and funnier than ever before.

Together they received an Oscar nomination for the film BROOMS, performing at the 1996 ceremony, and an Emmy nomination for the HBO special Stomp Out Loud. Their work in Imax films is extensive: they co-directed the award winning giant-screen films, Pulse: a Stomp Odyssey and Wild Ocean 3D as well as the Stomp inspired feature Vacuums. Cresswell has also received a special achievement award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project.

Luke and Steve created and composed the Lost and Found Orchestra, which explores found sound on an orchestral level. They recently purchased The Old Market in Brighton, which they have transformed into a thriving venue for the use of fellow artists and to support emerging local talent as a performance, workshop, recording and exhibition space, in the heart of Brighton and Hove’s Brunswick town.

Over the last 20 years, Stomp has garnered truly diverse recognition; from an Olivier Award and the headline-grabbing performance at the 1996 Oscars to the City of New York celebrating its 10th birthday at the Orpheum Theatre by renaming 2nd Avenue at 8th Street ‘Stomp Avenue’!  Now, in 2011, with an international community of performers totaling more than 100 over five companies, the ‘dustbin dance’ marks its new milestone in its characteristic show of joyous explosion!

Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas Biographies

LUKE CRESSWELL is a self-taught percussionist from Brighton, UK. His session work as a drummer and rhythm programmer includes Beats International, Bette Midler, Elvis Costello and Bryan Ferry. After working for several years as a street musician and performer, he first created STOMP in 1991. His work as a performer in Stomp includes the Oscars, the Emmys and Quincy Jonesʼ album, Qʼs Jook Joint. He has directed, with Steve McNicholas, several award-winning commercials and short films. He received an Oscar nomination for the film BROOMS, an Emmy nomination for STOMP OUT LOUD and co-directed the award winning giant-screen films, Pulse: a STOMP Odyssey and Wild Ocean 3D as well as the STOMP inspired feature VACUUMS. He has also received a special achievement award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. More recently he and Steve McNicholas have created Pandemonium, featuring the Lost and Found Orchestra, which explores the concepts behind STOMP at an orchestral level.

STEVE MCNICHOLAS, from Yorkshire in the UK, has worked as an actor, singer, musician, and writer with various theatrical and musical groups, starting out with the Bradford Theatre Group in 1973. Through the eighties he worked with Cliff Hanger, Covent Garden Community Theatre and Pookiesnackenburger. Despite also being an original member of the accapella group, the Flying Pickets and a final appearance in Mr. Bean, Steve no longer performs. He shares directorial credits with Luke Cresswell on STOMP based films and commercials and their new show, Pandemonium, featuring the Lost and Found Orchestra. With Luke, he composed the soundtrack to the Showtime movie, RIOT, and shares the Oscar and Emmy nominations for his work on BROOMS and STOMP OUT LOUD and co directed the award winning giant-screen films, Pulse: a STOMP Odyssey and Wild Ocean 3D. Luke and Steve are currently in production for two new 3D movies, THE LAST REEF and GREAT WHITE SHARK 3D.

Stomp History

Stomp, a unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, was created in Brighton, UK, in the summer of 1991. It was the result of a ten-year collaboration between its creators, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas.

They first worked together in 1981, as members of the street band Pookiesnackenburger and the theatre group Cliff Hanger. Together, these groups presented a series of street comedy musicals at the Edinburgh Festival throughout the early 80s. After two albums, a UK TV series and extensive touring throughout Europe, Pookiesnackenburger also produced the highly acclaimed ‘Bins’ commercial for Heineken lager.

The piece was originally written and choreographed by Luke as part of the band’s stage show; it proved to be the starting point for Stomp’s climactic dustbin dance.

In 1986, Luke and Steve created an eight-minute ‘percussive movie’ for Bette Midler’s HBO special Mondo Beyondo. Between 1987 and 1990, Luke staged, as Artistic and Musical Director, four large-scale outdoor events, including Beat the Clyde, which involved floating a drum orchestra on a pontoon in the centre of Glasgow; the largest of these events, the Heineken Hove Lagoon Show, involved a 120-piece drum orchestra featuring the Brighton Festival Chorus and a full orchestral string section.

In 1991, Steve and Luke first created Stomp, previewing at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre and premiering at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, where it became The Guardian’s Critics’ Choice and won The Daily Express Best of the Fringe Award.

Between 1991 and 1994, the original cast of Stomp played to capacity audiences around the world: from Hong Kong to Barcelona, from Dublin to Sydney. The touring culminated in a sell-out season at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre in January 94, where Stomp received an Olivier nomination for Best Entertainment and won Best Choreography in a West End Show.

An expanded version of Stomp, involving up to 30 cast members, was originally created for the Brighton Festival, UK, and was subsequently presented in Melbourne, Australia. It was most recently seen in September 95, open-air, at the Acropolis in Athens and at the Royal Festival Hall, London. This production broke all box office records, which had been established by Frank Sinatra in 1972.

Stomp began its run at the Orpheum Theatre in New York in February 1994 and quickly went on to win both an Obie and a Drama Desk Award for Most Unique Theatre Experience. By the summer of 1994, the first American cast was in place at the Orpheum, freeing the original cast for sell-out tours of North America and Japan.

In the summer of 1995, two more American productions were created for the sole purpose of US touring, which continues to this day. US casts have also debuted Stomp in Chile, Brazil and Korea. Meanwhile, a fifth Stomp company, also touring from the UK, was formed in 1997 and has consistently toured the world ever since. This company presented Stomp for the first time in Scandinavia and South Africa, and has been a regular visitor to Germany, Holland and France. Another Stomp production opened in San Francisco in May 2000, running for two and a half years.

The original cast of Stomp have recorded music for the Tank Girl movie soundtrack and appeared on the Quincy Jones album, Q’s Jook Joint. A soundtrack recorded by Steve and Luke for the Showtime movie Riot was released in the spring of 1997.

Stomp has also featured in a number of commercials, including Coca-Cola’s ‘Ice Pick’ and numerous spots for both Target stores in the US and Toyota in Japan. Stomp also created the Mr Frears’ Ears series of short films created for Nickelodeon, whilst Brooms, a 15-minute short based around the opening routine, was nominated for an Academy Award. Brooms was also selected for screening at Robert Redford’s Sundance Festival and for competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Stomp made a special appearance at the Academy Awards in March 96, with an original piece involving the live synchronization of classic film clips and onstage action, featuring 20 performers from all five productions.

In the summer of 1997, Steve and Luke created and directed Stomp Out Loud, a 45-minute television special for HBO, which combined stage material with new pieces created for TV. It was premiered in the USA in December 97 and subsequently received four Emmy nominations, for direction, sound mixing, multi-camera editing and art direction. 1998 saw the release of the Stomp Out Loud video and DVD around the world. Another unique blend of live action and film footage was created for the Emmy Awards, in which Stomp effectively performed with Spike Jones!

Stomp performed after midnight on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at US President Clinton’s millennium celebrations. During 2000, a Sesame Street special, ‘Let’s Make Music’, collaboration between Stomp and the Muppets, was released on TV and video in North America.

Luke and Steve began production of their IMAX movie Pulse: a Stomp Odyssey in Brazil during Carnival 2000 and completed it in the summer of 2002. Pulse takes the IMAX audience on a spectacular global journey, featuring performances from Kodo, Timbalada and Eva Yerbabuena. It was released to critical acclaim in New York in the autumn of 2002, and went on to win two major awards at the International Festival of La Géode in Paris.

In September 2002, Stomp finally entered London’s West End at the Vaudeville Theatre, and later that year Stomp performed as part of The Royal Variety Show for the second time.

2003 saw a new Stomp production open at the Stuart Street Theatre in Boston and a unique Dolby Digital trailer featuring Stomp performances debuted in cinemas across the globe.

In 2004, New York celebrated 10 years of continuous performances of Stomp at the Orpheum Theatre by renaming 2nd Avenue at 8th Street Stomp Avenue.

In addition to the European tour, in 2005 Stomp returned to Tokyo for three weeks and also toured to Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

In 2006, Stomp’s New York production passed its 5,000th performance mark. In the same year, Luke and Steve directed a public service announcement for television called Stomp Out Litter, which featured the cast ‘sweeping up’ at iconic locations in the five boroughs.

In addition, they were commissioned to create and produce The Lost and Found Orchestra, which takes the ideas behind Stomp to a symphonic level, in celebration of 40 years of the Brighton Festival. The LFO subsequently performed at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Sydney Festival early in 2007, was seen at the Royal Festival Hall in London at Christmas 2008 and the Theater Carré in February 2009.

In 2007, Stomp Out Loud opened in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino with an expanded cast and performed inside a new $28 million theatre, specifically created for the production. The West End entered its 6th consecutive year with a move from the Vaudeville to the Ambassadors Theatre, where it still resides.

In 2008, Stomp returned to its roots for a new DVD shoot at the Brighton Dome, bringing together a cast from all over the Stomp world. For the first time, the entire show has been captured in high definition sound and video.

2008 also saw Steve and Luke expand into new areas with the release of their IMAX 3D nature documentary Wild Ocean, with a symphonic mix of percussion and traditional orchestra in the soundtrack. In September of the same year, Wild Ocean won two awards at the Giant Screen Cinema Association for Best Sound and Best Original Score at their annual conference held in New York.
The Lost and Found Orchestra reunited in 2010 for a new show, PANDEMONIUM, which appeared in several US cities throughout the Autumn.

2011 sees the New York production of Stomp enter its eighteenth year, trouncing the Orpheum house record set by Little Shop of Horrors. It also enters its tenth year in the West End at the Ambassadors Theatre, whilst at the same time Steve and Luke continue with their 3D film work.

Ambassadors Theatre

Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Age Restrictions: No under 5s

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  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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