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Youth Voices' Brief Encounter at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Last month, singers from OMF's Youth Voices choir enjoyed a visit to the Royal Exchange Theatre to catch RET's latest musical production of Brief Encounter by Noël Coward.



Led by OMF Tutor and musical theatre specialist, Alice Needham, and OMF pianist Juanjo Blázquez, Youth Voices is aimed at young singers aged 12-16 with a particular focus on popular styles and musical theatre. With the help of our friends at the Royal Exchange Theatre, who provided 12 free tickets to Brief Encounter for our young musicians to attend, Alice and Juanjo accompanied 10 OMF singers to see Brief Encounter in January - for most of the young people, this was their first time in a professional theatre! Brief Encounter is the story of star-crossed lovers Laura and Alec, who meet at a busy railway station and fall wildly in love - finding themselves in a bittersweet love affair and torn by their existing marriages. Based on the iconic film by Nöel Coward and set in the round of the Royal Exchange Theatre, this new production included classic show tunes and a live jazz band alongside a glittering cast of musical theatre performers. Our OMF musicians had plenty to say about the show:  

  • "Brief Encounter was so good. I absolutely loved it at the end one of the characters even waved at me I was at the very top so I think it was at me ahahah it was so organised loved it!"

  • "I found visiting the theatre was really fun. It was definitely odd with the type of theatre it was because it was like old theatres but it only made it better. The people who was there also probably contributed to the positive feeling of it but even if they weren’t there it was still just a breathtaking experience. The choice of play was also amazing. The songs are really good too and the atmosphere around it with the set design pulled it all together. One of the best things too was the plot of it, the story was engaging , interesting and easy to follow without being predictable. I didn’t even mind the open ending because it felt thematically fitting" 

  • "The highlight of it was probably the fact that the songs perfectly fit the tone and were all amazing. There wasn’t a single song that didn’t feel forced in for run time and there wasn’t a single time that I found myself bored or wishing for anything different. In the short of it I bloody loved it"


We are grateful to our funders Scops Arts Trust and the Nöel Coward Foundation for their generous support of this essential choir and the musical opportunities it provides. It seems particularly fitting that Youth Voices, supported by the Nöel Coward Foundation, had the opportunity to explore the music of this British icon at our local and much loved Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester this year. A special thank you to the Royal Exchange Theatre for helping to make this happen - we can't wait to come again!

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