From the West End stage to heading up the exciting entertainment programme at Cirencester's Ingleside House, SoGlos speaks to Stuart Matthew Price about what's coming up at the boutique hotel, what audiences can expect from a night at Ingleside and how he plans to grow the entertainment venue's offering over the coming years.
Stuart, you're the man behind Entertainment at Ingleside – what can guests expect when they visit?
Entertainment at Ingleside (or EAI for short) is the latest addition to the ever-expanding site on Beeches Road in Cirencester. After the success of the Barn Theatre, the critically acclaimed food at Téatro and the luxurious boutique stays at Ingleside House, we wanted to create a new type of entertainment venue that offers something different for a more intimate evening.
Guests can expect a full evening of delicious food curated and prepared by our chefs at Téatro as well as high quality entertainment sourced from around the country. Once the starters are served at 7pm, the evening flows seamlessly from course to course, peppered with entertainment along the way until the bar closes. It really is a full evening of quality unlike anything else in the Cotswolds.
What do you look for when putting your programme together for Entertainment at Ingleside?
It is my intention, along with the wonderful management team at Ingleside House, to bring the very best artists and acts to Ingleside. When I begin programming for the year, I always try to find a good variety of genres to present.
In the past we have had incredible tribute acts like ABBA Revival; the hugely successful Frankie’s Guys — who have a full scripted show based on Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; jazz and blues star Tom Seals and his band; as well as original shows created by my wife Heather and I.
In these early growing years (we are heading into our third year in 2024), my goal has been to programme recognisable acts and artists, with tribute acts being a prime example, that can attract and build an audience for our new venue as well as offer the highest quality possible. Audience feedback and word of mouth is so important to me, especially when opening a new business venture — and we’re delighted that our audiences are growing more and more, resulting in sold out or limited availability tickets across the board.
Moving forward, I will continue to create a diverse programme of events, and hopefully from 2025, will look to introduce comedy nights, ‘in conversation with’ evenings as well as introduce new talent across as many genres as possible.
You have a background in musical
theatre – tell us a bit about that.
I trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London and graduated in 2007. Yes, I feel old now! I was fortunate enough to graduate and go straight into PARADE at the Donmar Warehouse. From there I have appeared in many productions throughout the West End, UK and Europe in shows such as Rocky Horror Show, the original West End company of Shrek The Musical, the UK Premiere of Marvin Hamlisch’s Sweet Smell of Success, Regent Park Open Air Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of The Sound of Music and many more.
Alongside performing, I am also a composer and lyricist for musical theatre. One of my shows, Before After, will have its UK Premiere at the Southwark Playhouse in February 2024 and my other show Imaginary is licensed with Theatrical Rights Worldwide and continues to get performed globally. You can probably tell that musical theatre has been my driving passion my entire life and career!
Does your background in musical theatre influence the entertainment you choose for Ingleside?
The most refreshing part about my role with EAI is that it’s not related to musical theatre at all (although, my wife and I do perform the occasional musical theatre evening ourselves at the venue). I have produced theatre concerts, shows and UK tours alongside my onstage career before, so that knowledge has helped shape the business model, but EAI is really a new challenge for me which I have been enjoying thoroughly.
I would love to bring more musical theatre artists to perform at the venue, but that isn’t my focus at the moment. The good thing is, with all the entertainment, there is always an element of theatricality which I can relate to and embrace every time we have an event. Every detail matters, just like when putting on a musical or production. I have always believed that the customer and audience experience begin from the moment you visit our event listing and purchase a ticket and therefore I continue to improve the experience we offer and refine our practices to the best that I am able to.
Have you had any famous faces at the hotel?
We definitely have, but you’ll have to visit to find out who!
What has been your favourite performance at Entertainment at Ingleside so far?
It’s very hard for me to single an event or performance out. To be honest, I love them all!
However, when I get to sing alongside my wife with our Ingleside Band, there’s nothing better. I love live music; I love my wife and I love sharing wonderful songs with an audience.
Are there many opportunities for local artists to perform at Ingleside?
This is something I would be very happy to explore further in the coming seasons. We are trying to build something special and unique for the community of Cirencester and surrounding areas, so if there’s a way to include the talent of these areas too, I would very much like to do so.
As 2024 is currently programmed, it would be 2025 at the earliest when I can start exploring some of these options, but I am definitely open to it.
If there are any local artists that would like to reach out, I would love to hear from them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have any exciting shows coming up in the next few months?
2024 kicks off with a fantastic show that pays tribute to Michael Bublé. That takes place on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February 2024 and tickets are available now.
As for the rest of the year, as a small teaser, we have the fantastic Fleetwood Bac coming in March; Beatles Complete, the resident Beatles tribute band at The Cavern Club, will be joining us in July; and we will also be welcoming back the sell-out show of ABBA Revival. The most exciting thing is, we have a returning act building a brand-new show specifically for us at Ingleside: The FlyBoys Christmas Spectacular, which will close our season and year. The full season and programme will be announced and on sale shortly. All information can be found via the Ingleside House and Barn Theatre websites.
We cannot wait to share what we’ve got lined up and I personally want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has supported us and visited one of our previous events so far — and I look forward to meeting every person that walks through our doors for our thrilling 2024 season.