Day three at sea across the Atlantic Ocean, Ponta Delgada to Antigua, we arrive in Antigua on Wednesday morning.
There is something special about an ocean crossing; you really feel you are on a voyage rather than just a cruise.
Today I will tell you about our Headliners Theatre Company; this is our resident cast of professional singers and dancers who on Arcadia this cruise will perform no less than ten production shows. ‘Headliners’ perform on six of our seven P&O Cruises ships and are our ‘in-house’ production company, that means we employ all the singers and dancers, and creative teams that put all the shows together - that is directors, choreographers, assistant choreographers, script writers, set designers, costume designers, and lighting and sound programmers. P&O Cruises also own the sets, costumes, props and music for the shows. At the head of this complex creative operation is P&O Cruises Production Show Manager Steve Bee. Steve is based at the company offices in Southampton but spends a great deal of his time at our rehearsal studio near the Oval Cricket Ground in South London.
We currently have thirteen Headliners Theatre Company cast members on Arcadia; they joined the ship on 18 July and finish their contract next year on 23 June. Prior to joining Arcadia in July they were rehearsing in London for a month where they initially learnt eight shows, since then they have added a further two and on this cruise three more are being rehearsed and will be performed!!!
This cruise is what we call a ‘rehearsal cruise’, we have one of our Headliners Theatre Company Choreographers on board for this cruise, Becky Norris, and she is here to teach the cast the three new shows. Supporting her are two wardrobe ladies, Katie Griffin and Rachel Caulfield. We also have one of our shore side based Headliners Theatre Company production team on board, Ali Hill. Ali is here to assist our Arcadia Production team in making sure the three new shows' sets, sound and lighting are up to the standard our passengers have come to expect from our on board production shows.
The hard work is still then not over for this cast, a Christmas Show, ‘Jingle All the Way’ will be rehearsed and performed next cruise, and then on Arcadia’s Christmas Cruise.
You may be wondering why we require so many production shows, it is because on January 5 2011 Arcadia does a 82 night World Cruise and having 14 shows obviously benefits the entertaining planning on this very long voyage. In fact during the Arcadia World Cruise a further four shows will be added so this cast will be able to perform 18 different productions for our passengers on this voyage. Not only will these 18 productions be used on the World Cruise but also on the 72 night Arcadia Grand Alaskan Voyage 2011 which departs Southampton on 12 April 2011.
The below shots were taken in the 736 seat Palladium Theatre of the Headliners Theatre Company cast rehearsing one of the new shows ‘going up’ this cruise ‘Cry of the Celts’.
Being a cast member for the Headliners is jolly hard work, they all have to be very focused and prepared to keep learning new lyrics for shows and rehearsing different demanding dance numbers. It is challenging, but as you can imagine highly satisfying - to be able to learn and perform 18 different shows is quite unique in the entertainment industry.
The cast love to perform for our passengers, it really is as simple as that!
The Headliners Theatre Company, what a glamorous good looking cast!!