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Frankie Goes To Bollywood To Transfer To Southbank Centre

Rifco Theatre Company in partnership with Watford Palace Theatre and HOME Manchester are over the moon to announce that Frankie Goes to Bollywood, Rifco’s most spectacular and ambitious musical to date, is to transfer to The Southbank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The showstopper music which has just opened for its world premiere for a three-week run at Watford Palace Theatre will go on to a 10-day run at HOME Manchester, followed by a national tour which will culminate in the three-week Southbank run.

Conceived by Artistic Director of Rifco, Pravesh Kumar MBE, ‘Frankie Goes to Bollywood’ is a spectacular all-singing-all-dancing tale of heroes and villains, with all the costumes and the spectacle of a Bollywood feature film. It tells the tale of being British in Bollywood and explores what it takes to get to the top.

Frankie never wanted to be a star, all she’s ever really wanted is a close and loving family – but after a chance encounter with an up-and-coming director, she finds herself transported to Bollywood, cast in a movie and thrust into the limelight. Might the Bollywood world provide her with the family and community she has always dreamed of?

Suddenly Frankie is immersed in the world of fame and fortune but as she climbs the sparkling staircase of stardom, each step makes her question about what she is willing to do, or be subjected to, for success.

Drawing inspiration from both traditional Bollywood music and the best of Western musical theatre, the music for Frankie Goes To Bollywood is a carefully integrated hybrid – designed to appeal to lovers of the Bollywood genre and also lovers of a good old West End extravaganza.

Bollywood as an industry generates over £2 billion a year, and globally the films have an audience of 1.3 billion. In the UK a successful Bollywood film can be expected to take as much as £4 million – so it’s little wonder that the glamorous lure of Bollywood stardom appeals to many British-South Asian young people. Frankie Goes To Bollywood is inspired by the true stories of Brits in Bollywood.

Alongside a couple of very well-known British-born faces in Bollywood including Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt, there are also dozens more male and female actors born in Britain who have established successful careers. Frankie Goes To Bollywood was inspired by many of their stories, by Pravesh’s own experience of being a Brit in Bollywood, and by what he observed regarding British-born women’s experience in the industry.

Pravesh Kumar, MBE (Writer/Director) says “Frankie is a multi-layered piece of theatre. It offers a sumptuous British spin on the glorious stories of Bollywood; a breathtakingly colourful journey of romance, sweeping songs and vibrant dance juxtaposed with an exploration of the darker undercurrent within the culture. This is a celebration of everything glorious and spectacular about Bollywood and Indian culture while highlighting less positive experiences women face. I wanted to highlight this issue because it’s men’s responsibility to shine a light on sexism and to call it out whenever and wherever they see it. I hope this show is a catalyst.

Rifco Theatre has a long tradition of working to celebrate and reflect contemporary British Asian experiences, culture, and society. Pravesh’s own experience working for a decade in Bollywood, and his extensive work looking at the British South Asian experience in UK theatre and film, play a fundamental role in the development of Rifco’s productions and subject matter focusing on untold stories and under-represented voices.

Pravesh continues “Frankie Goes to Bollywood is both an ode and a call to action. An ode to the films we grew up with – movies that brought us laughter and tears and belting our lungs out in the shower. It’s also a nudge to interrogate the culture we’ve grown up with, and come together to make it better, brighter, and ask important questions about the deeply ingrained sexism.”

“We have been blown away by responses to the show – the pre-sales for our opening venue have been phenomenal to the point where Frankie has almost outsold presales for any other performance at Watford Palace Theatre. We are so excited to come to Southbank and continue meeting what is clearly pent-up demand for authentic South Asian theatre in the UK.”

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