Leading West End performers including Ramin Karimloo, Hadley Fraser and Kerry Ellis are signed up to present shows on a brand new digital radio station dedicated to musical theatre.
Stage Door is a partnership between independent production company Wise Buddah – which is behind Terry Wogan’s BBC Radio 2 show – and agency Mothership Management, which represents an array of musical theatre talent.
The radio station will offer content 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be accessible online, via computers, tablets or smartphones.
Alongside Karimloo, Fraser and Ellis, other presenters lined up to present shows include Louise Dearman, Alex Gaumond, Mark Evans, Louise Bowden and Oliver Tompsett.
Wise Buddah head of content Simon Willis explained that the station is being developed to fill a perceived gap in the market for musical theatre fans.
“Last year, 13,992,773 people bought a West End theatre ticket, and millions more bought a soundtrack CD or download. We’re creating Stage Door to bridge the gap between listening to a CD and seeing a show, and catering for those fans who want to listen to their favourite songs throughout the year. It’ll offer great songs from the best shows and be presented by the leading men and women of the West End,” he said.
It has been estimated that the cost of running the station for its first year – including setting it up and marketing it – will be £145,000. To raise this, an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign has been launched to encourage musical fans to pledge money, with the station’s creators claiming this will enable fans to “have a voice in deciding what content they want to hear” and stop the station being dependent on investors who are looking for a return on their investment.
To encourage pledges there are a number of incentives, including singing lessons with one of the presenters and the chance to record a show for the station.
Mothership Management director Rebecca Sichel-Coates said: “We’ve had an overwhelming level of support already, from performers to producers to fans. We feel Stage Door can become the number one place for fans to listen to music and get closer to musical theatre, as presented by their favourite stars and people in the know.”
Gaumond, who will shortly take up the role of Miss Trunchbull in Matilda, said he was “looking forward to taking the world of musical theatre to a wider audience”.
The Indiegogo campaign runs for 60 days and it is hoped the station will launch in November. More information can be found on Stage Door’s website.