International Productions - World Class Entertainment
Theatre Productions Ltd have the perfect portfolio of cabaret
and production shows for any Hotel, Cruise Ship, Holiday
Centre, or Corporate event. Any show can be tailored
specifically to our clients needs, providing a first class
production for any occasion.
over 50 years experience in the entertainment industry, at the
very highest level, our professional team will ensure the very
best in costumes, choreography, and attention to detail.
Theatre Productions Ltd are also the number one nostalgia
theatre show producers in the UK. With four superb theatre
shows, each containing material from 'Music Hall' through to
the 1970's, performed by world class singers and the stunning
'Memory Lane' dancers. Each decade is beautifully costumed,
and choreographed to make each show a perfect trip down memory
Digger talks to Colin Francis at Timeless Theatre Productions
about what makes their shows so special.
Francis and Marie Adele
Morning David. How are you young man?
I was just in the middle of the blog for the past month,
because we've been on the road and it's just one of those jobs
that takes forever.
I know. There are just so many different things to remember
to do these days - blog, Twitter, Facebook and the website, of
I suppose it pays in the long run.
It does because we get customers, and also theatre managers, who
read us as well and it's amazing how you get real loyalty as a
result. It was for that reason that we were told to do it in
the first place.
And it's free.
Aha. And because the theatre managers know us so well, it does
build a real loyalty to us. They say to other companies
"Oh no, we can't take your show. Colin and Marie come
Nothing wrong with that if you're on the receiving end of the
loyalty. (Both laugh) Please tell us a bit about your and
The highlights... we both started as solo singers. I started out
doing the normal clubs and then progressed to the holiday centres
and so on.
Are you still doing it?
How are your pipes these days?
Not bad actually, for a fifty year old, but I wouldn't like to
go back to doing that sort of solo stuff.
Marie started out in a trio and then she did well on
Opportunity Knocks on her own and ended up doing places like
Caesar's Palace in the West End and working with big names
like Shirley Bassey and Cliff Richard.
So she's the one with al the glory. Then Marie decided to go
on ships. And she was on the ships for about twelve years. The last
five of them we kind of did together.
What ships were these?
Probably all the major cruise lines - Royal Caribbean,
Celebrity, Fred Olsen and so on. We then came back home after
the five years on the ships looking for something to do. We
fell into the production of shows as well as being in them.
It's a bit of a natural progression, like a footballer
becomes a manager?
Yes. It kind of was although it started out by accident, as
initially we were with another couple and just doing Music
Hall - Flanagan and Alan and all of that sort of stuff. Then we
had a difference of opinion, because we wanted to stretch
the Music Hall concept to more variety and go to the fifties,
the sixties and seventies and they didn't.
Because you're quite young to be doing Music Hall stuff if you
don't mind me saying?
Yes, and the couple we were with were slightly older than
us and they wanted to stay there. We wanted to diversify, so we
went out on our own six years ago.
What is the inspiration for your shows? The scope and
variety is impressive when you look at your website. I thought
"There's a lot of shows." And then there's another
We knew from doing the Music Hall shows that the people
that came to see the shows liked the idea of the variety and
so many things happening. So you'd do Flanagan and Alan and
The Charleston and the Can-Can and all this variety that
people enjoyed. We just felt that people who were going to
watch it were not as old as to just remember the Music Hall. Nostalgia
to them was the fifties and Rock and Roll, the
sixties and Flower Power and to a certain extent the seventies
Is it a moving target in that slowly your audience is, as
it were, moving forward as time goes by?
We're finding at the moment that it's not. If people were saying to us "Can you do some eighties stuff or nineties
stuff?" But we don't get asked that and maybe it's us as
well because my musical interest stopped at the end of the seventies. I'm not into eighties and nineties music so maybe
we're a little bit selfish on that front. Maybe if enough
people asked us to do some Queen or Duran Duran or whatever
then, yes, we'd have to look at it.
You could always have other performers doing that.
Oh yes, but we have enough costumes and so on so we could actually
do it. I just think that the need for our theatre audience who come to our
shows - I don't think we actually need
to do that to keep the shows alive at the moment.
What is it that makes nostalgia, retro and heritage so
popular and seemingly even more so these days? When I started this in 2001 it wasn't anywhere near as big as it is today.
Maybe it's the music industry as it is now which has
changed so much from back in the day. People like Jordan can
become pop stars and have a song in the charts when technically
she's got no musical skills at all.
But wasn't that the case in the olden days too where you'd
get people who were comedians or TV characters or whatever
doing novelty records?
That's right they would, but possibly the difference is
that they'd done their trade as something else. And so Benny
Hill with Ernie
the fastest milkman in the west or Clive Dunne's Grandad or
Dick Emery, these were all household names because they had a
Yes, that's true.
And so they ventured off into the music business.
Bernard Cribbins and Peter Sellers too, famously.
That's a good point actually Colin, they'd already served
their time and were established. What has Jordan ever done
apart from have a programme on TV about what she's doing which
doesn't seem to amount to very much. (Both laugh) What
gives you most pleasure about what you are doing?
Oh gosh! There's so many things. Obviously live theatre is
Is it still like a drug when you get the applause and the
Yes, you just can't help it and I'm sure everybody who's
ever been on stage will say exactly the same. Even if you're
not feeling very well or whatever, but as soon as there's a
live audience in front of you then all of that's behind you
and you do what you've been trained to do. And I think because
it's our business and we've started it from nothing, then
the fact that people still want to come and see us. For
example, I've just been talking to a theatre manager in Dudley,
where we've planned to do two shows next season instead of one,
and he's telling us that advanced ticket sales are exceptionally
good. That fills you with a warm feeling and
you can't help but get pleasure from that.
Well done you.
Yes, there's a recession out there and a lot of other
shows have been cancelled in comparison with two years ago and
we're still playing to the same kind of audiences that we were
playing to two years ago.
The numbers are up slightly.
How are you managing that?
If only I knew! I would bottle it.
I suppose it must be that you've got the formula right and
are doing exactly what people want?
I'd like to think it was. Plus the one advantage we've got
is that we never do the same show twice. Memory Lane, the show
just finished touring now, toured two years ago but we
changed a lot of the content of it. So that people who saw the
show two years ago wouldn't see the same show this season just
gone. We put new material in, new costumes in and we spent an absolute
fortune on costumes, new choreography and new
solo songs for the solo singers. So that the show gets a completely
different feel to it to what it was two years ago. I
think, six years down the line, people know what and who we
are and are aware
that they'll never see the same show twice. Yes, there'll be
one or two bits of it that they will be familiar with but it
does change. That does help.
There's an argument for saying that some people might
actually want the familiarity and to see what they are
expecting and what they know.
Yes. I think there is enough of that in the shows so that people are familiar with the songs.
Also, these days, Facebook, as well, means
that a lot of people feel that they know you. We go around and
the customers get a chance to meet Marie and I and Jenny the
singer - we sell a charity fundraising programme as we go
round on the tour. They get to know us and they feel like they
actually know us. I do a lot of talking to the audience during
the shows, in between the numbers, and they feel as if they know
me and the other singers. There's that sort of friendliness
and they're coming to an environment where they know everybody
and it's not like a show where they don't know what to expect.
When they spend £10 or £12 on a ticket they are more comfortable
when they know it's Colin, Marie, Jenny and co.
Do you ever get time to relax, Colin? it sounds as though
if you're not coming up with ideas then you're getting future productions sorted out or having to book the shows in and do
the rehearsals and then actually touring! When do you get a
chance to take a break?
We don't. (Both laugh)
When's the last time you had a holiday?
We do insist on having a break and when we go on holiday we
really do. We don't take any notebooks and pens...
No mobile or laptop?
Maybe the computer.
No, you should ban that too! (Colin laughs) I've taken my
laptop before and it just draws you back into working and
It's funny but the reason I take the computer is because, as
you know, I'm into my online poker. I very rarely look at emails
because we've got Joanne in the office and we can very safely
office to Joanne for a week.
Somebody should put parental controls on your computer so
you can't check emails but can only go into the poker sites.
(Both laugh) I was going to ask what sort of feedback do you
get from audiences and theatres but I think you have probably
already answered that. It sounds as though it's very
It is and I, touch wood when I say this because the theatre
world isn't a pretty place at the moment in terms of
recession. So, the fact that our numbers this season are
exactly what I projected, no better, no worse.
I've been to a number of shows in the last year, nostalgia
shows, tribute shows, original bands and I've noticed that
most of them were half full. The only one that was full up
like yours was another variety-style nostalgia show. Maybe people are harking back to variety.
If I could find the real reason why it would be great.
We've done research but you can't put your finger on it. You
think you're flying and then there'll be a theatre that doesn't
sell anywhere near as much as you expected it to. But then
the next time you go back, it does.
We have some large groups, for example. At one location we
have an over fifties keep fit group that buy 100 tickets as
soon as they go on sale. Now, if that lady decides to stop
organising these parties, maybe for no other reason than she's
on holiday when the show is happening, then our show is 100
down before we even start. You sort of rely on business like
that and it's nothing to do with what we've done or not done.
Sometimes there's a momentum and when people see that a
show is starting to book up then they want a piece of the
Yes, that's right.
Is The Internet very important to you these days?
It is important from the point of view of being with the
times. I don't know that at each venue it helps with selling a
lot of tickets online. Most are the old-fashioned way, in
person or by phone or post. But having that presence there is
And The Net will become more important to you as your customer
Can you please tell us about some of the future plans and
ideas for your shows? Will it be the same sort of mix?
I think the system that we've got at the theatres will just continue
until our audience says that it shouldn't. We've got
the four shows. We've got Memory Lane, A Timeless Collection,
All Our Yesterdays and Rolling Back The Years. All of them are
Music Hall to the seventies but every one of them's got
totally different content and we rotate them over a two year
period, Spring and Autumn.
They're good names for the shows.
We were lucky with the names. Timeless Collection used to be
known as Memories Are Made Of This but, on a whim, we decided
to change the name of it one season. It didn't make any difference
and we probably sold as many tickets as we would have done
with the original title. I think those shows will continue until
the audiences decide not to turn up anymore. The other thing
we're trying to do at the moment is to get our show into other
areas, such as a showcase for some cruise work having already
had one of our shows on a Norwegian cruise ship. We need to branch
out just to safeguard ourselves, I think. And we've got the
possibility of doing a Christmas show - a couple of theatres
have asked us if we'd look at doing those. And maybe we can
get our shows into some new venues, like big hotels and that
sort of thing.
Hopefully I can come and see a show and meet you.
I hope so. The success of the meet and greet at the shows is
incredible. We have started selling CDs at venues and we were
a bit wary whether that age group would want to buy CDs - but
they do. We also find with our charity fundraising programme
that we sell an awful lot more if we do a meet and greet and
it's a great chance for the audience to get to know the cast,
the dancers and the singers.
Digger: Thanks Colin for letting us know about your shows and
I wish you continued success with them.
International Productions is one of the largest show producers
in the UK. Now an internationally acclaimed company
specializing in show production, and supplying the very best
in entertainment worldwide.
by Colin Francis and Marie Adele, who together have more than
50 years professional experience, performing and producing
shows all over the world.
Some of our breathtaking spectacular shows:
Timeless Collection. 'Music Hall' through to 1970's
Night of Musicals.
Lane. Featuring songs from 'Music Hall, 1950's, 1960's,
Twist Again. An excellent evenings entertainment, based on
all the favourite songs from the 50s & 60's.
Back the Years. Another great show based on the same theme
as 'Memory Lane, and 'A Timeless Collection'. This time
adding some of the greatest songs from some of the
blockbuster Movies and Musicals. Grease, Singing In The
Rain and The Sound Of Music, to name but a few.
Las Vegas. This show pays tribute to stars such as Tom
Jones, Shirley Bassey, and includes the amazing 'Las
Rouge. A brilliant song and dance spectacular.
Acts and Tribute Production Shows currently available
include ABBA, Elvis, Take That, Il Divo, and many more.
P O Box 235
Chester le Street
Telephone +44 (0) 191 3702718