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London theatre launches live music season

Live From Leicester Square will go off with a bang this summer as Macy Gray kickstarts its a new live music season at an intimate London, writes Paul Watson.

The intimate 400-capacity Leicester Square Theatre, located in the heart of the West End, will launch its brand new ‘Live From Leicester Square’ music season in July 2010 with three shows from Macy Gray. The theatre was re-opened in 2008 by owners Martin Witts and Leslie Ackland with a long and successful run of perfomances by Joan Rivers, and has played host to many of the top UK comedians including Michael McIntyre and Bill Bailey. Now the venue is spreading its wings and aims to bring in a number of top international artists from the music industry explains David Shepherd, who fronts its music programming and label development. “The shows will take place every Sunday and Monday, but we’re also prepared to dedicate a run of shows to higher profile acts,” says Shepherd. “For example, Macy Gray will do three shows in one week in July and Kid Creole will be doing something similar in August.” Shepherd has been encouraged by the positive reaction from the industry so far; he says that managers and agents have labelled it “the perfect venue” for showcases and for touring artists to perform one-off shows. The theatre is kitted out with a Roland M-400 V-Mixer at FOH position and the PA system is by Ecler: four UMA 112s and two UMA SB118s, all powered by three Ecler VE-DPA1000 amplifiers. Shepherd is in the process of expanding the system for more comprehensive productions. As well as bringing in the big names, unknown artists will also get their chance to shine; a regular open mic evening is likely to appear on the programme. Furthermore, Shepherd is in the process of setting up a Live From Leicester Square record label which he hopes will offer artists the facility to record shows to CD and DVD, either as separate products or as a hybrid. And it doesn’t stop there! An online TV channel could also be on the cards. “We’re in conversation with various record companies which will give us the distribution and marketing and sales muscle in the UK and around the world as well,” explains Shepherd. “The end game also is to find a TV company that would be interested in using the space and tapping into the concert series and looking at televising some of the shows as well.” Shepherd is currently in talks with Graham Gouldman of 10CC and Dionne Warwick is confirmed for a series of shows in 2011.