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Getting the party started with fun in the car park at Merry Hill

Summer plans may be looking a little different this year, but it’s time to get the party started from the comfort and safety of your car.

Merry Hill Shopping Centre will host Car Park Party, the UK’s only live touring event and a socially distanced and safe entertainment experience.

The outdoor ‘drive-in’ event will bring together world renowned brands in comedy, karaoke and theatre. Each day will hold a different fun-filled experience, showcasing Car Park Comedy, Car Park Karaoke and Car Park Theatre.

The shows will take place on the main car park at The Waterfront at intu Merry Hill, spanning across two days on Thursday July 23 and Friday July 24.

A traffic management system will be in place and all vehicles will be parked two metres apart. Food and beverages will be available to buy and takeaway, adhering to Government guidelines on social distancing and safety. Accessible toilet facilities will be provided with social distancing health and safety management and sanitation measures in place.

On the Thursday evening the entertainment begins with a spectacular sing-along concert from the Massaoke Band, bringing two performances with A Night at the Musicals and Back to the Eighties. Families are in for a treat during the daytime on the Friday when Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain brings live theatre to the car park, whilst Friday evening will feature some of the UK’s top comedic talent, supplied by the world-famous Comedy Store.

car park shows

There will be limited tickets for each show priced at £35 per car for comedy and karaoke and £30 per car for theatre (£2.50 booking fee applies). Tickets are available at www.carparkparty.com

Rachael Jackson, general manager at intu Merry Hill said: “We’re delighted to be hosting Car Park Party. It’s a unique opportunity for our visitors to get out and experience live entertainment. We’ve been pleased to welcome more people back to intu Merry Hill as brands have re-opened and with these events we’re looking forward to spreading even more joy. We’re doing everything we can to make our centre a safe place to visit and will be following the latest official guidelines to deliver a safe event.”

Car Park Karaoke is planned for July 23 at 6pm and 8.30pm. The idea is simple – a brilliant live band play the greatest anthems of all time with giant screens projecting lyrics, reinventing the car sing-along so all the family can join in. The Massaoke Band bring the party wherever they play; they’ve had thousands singing along with them at shows including Glastonbury and Latitude Festivals, the Rugby World Cup and Fringe Festivals around the world, establishing The Massaoke Band as one of the most exhilarating live acts around.

On July 24, it will be the turn of Horrible Histories Live On Stage from 2.30pm. Since 2005 the Birmingham Stage Company has produced eighteen different Horrible shows, performing to over three million people in the UK, including the longest running children’s show in West End history, with its record-breaking series Barmy Britain. Horrible Histories live on stage has also become a worldwide phenomenon, performing in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Qatar, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, New Zealand and Australia, where it performed in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.

Neal Foster, from Birmingham Stage Company, said: “It’s simple. We’re taking over the car park. People will drive up, get nicely positioned and see one of the few live theatrical shows in the country. It’s a big stage and a big screen to make visibility easy. It’s one of the shows that we normally do in the West End. We’re hoping there’s 300 cars.

“The people behind it are the Coalition Agency, a very big talent agency. They found me on Linked In and phoned me one night. They wanted to do a car park party with karaoke for bigger crowds. This is a great opportunity for us.

“We’re in the same position as everyone at the moment. We’ve had no income since the middle of March and have a lot of expenditure going out. We can get through to the end of the year, then we’d have to borrow to stay afloat. I’ve never had to borrow in 28 years. We’re a big industry but not a single person can tell you when or how we will re-open. Theatre is facing being wiped off the face of the land. It is truly cataclysmic.

“I know the Government are talking about it and have all sorts of possibilities but for us, as a company, we’ve not been eligible for anything other than furlough, which runs out in October. By then, a lot of industries will be on their feet, theatre will be on its knees. If they remove furlough then, there will be hundreds and hundreds of closures on November 1.”

Mr Foster said it would be a chance for people to forget about their troubles and have fun. “It will be a great event that’s exciting and unique and people will have a lot of fun. Effectively, we are doing seven performances when we’d be doing 700 performances this year. It’s a drop in the ocean, but it’s a fun drop.

“The show is exactly as it is in the West End, almost nothing has changed. It’s a very compact show, We’ve done lots of outdoor shows. before in places like The Tower of London or the Hyde Park Festival. We’re used to playing outside, so the show is the same. It’s just the audience are in cars. We have a lot of topical jokes that make it very funny. It’s tailored to the car park. We’ve brought Richard III to the show because he was, of course, discovered in a car park.” in Leicester.”

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