The Car Man
Last performed at the Royal Albert Hall in a spectacular re-imagined production for the Hall's 150th anniversary
The Car Man is loosely based on Bizet’s popular opera (Carmen) and has one of the most thrilling and instantly recognisable scores in New Adventures’ repertory, brilliantly arranged by Terry Davies.
The familiar 19th Century Spanish cigarette factory becomes a greasy garage-diner in 1960’s America where the dreams and passions of a small-town are shattered by the arrival of a handsome stranger. Fuelled by heat and desire, the inhabitants are driven into an unstoppable spiral of greed, lust, betrayal and revenge.
Lez Brotherston’s epic design, Chris Davey’s evocative lighting and Matthew Bourne’s vivid storytelling take in a wealth of cinematic references, creating a dangerous and uncompromising vision of small-town America.
The Car Man was first seen in 2000, winning the Evening Standard Award for “Musical Event of the Year”. A revival in 2007 proved a smash-hit in London and at venues accross the UK. In 2015, Zizi Strallen won the "Outstanding Female Dancer (Modern)" Award at the National Dance Awards. Since 1 March 2016 The Car Man has been shown in over 150 cinemas worldwide.
As part of the Royal Albert Hall's 150th anniversary celebrations, New Adventures brought a new staging of the multi-award winning production of The Car Man to the Royal Albert Hall's stage for the first time in 2022. This was the first time New Adventures performed a full production at this historic and iconic venue. The show was completely reimagined for the gladiatorial arena of the Royal Albert Hall, featuring an expanded company of 65 dancers and musicians, a live orchestra and epic new designs.
The Car Man contains scenes of a sexual nature, brief nudity, strobe lighting and gunshots. Age guidance 12+.
The History of the Show
World Premiere: 16 May 2000 at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth
After opening in Plymouth in May 2000, it played London’s historic Old Vic Theatre for an extended 19 week run from 4 September 2000 and was subsequently the winner of the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Musical Event. A UK and International Tour followed in 2001/02 and included Lisbon, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv (2 weeks), Saint Paul, MI (2 weeks), Los Angeles, CA (8 weeks), Berkeley, CA, and Tokyo Otsu Osaka Kobe.
Dubbed ‘an auto-erotic thriller’, the production was filmed in 2001 at Pinewood Studios (still available on DVD).
The show was revived in 2007 and played a smash hit UK Tour opening on 18 June that year at the Plymouth Theatre Royal. It was then revived again in 2015 for a limited 16 week UK tour. The tour opened at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley, on 14 April 2015, with a four week summer season at Sadler’s Wells from 14 July to 9 August 2015.
The show was filmed live at Sadler's Wells in August 2015 and, following screenings in cinemas worldwide throughout 2016, was released on DVD & Blu-ray in November 2017. In 2020, The Car Man had its broadcast premiere on Sky Arts and became available to purchase or rent digitally as part of New Adventures' Festival of Classics.
Photos & Videos
Awards & Reviews
EVENING STANDARD AWARD 2000
Winner of Musical Event of the Year
OLIVIER AWARDS 2000
Nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Dance
NATIONAL DANCE AWARDS 2015
Zizi Strallen won Outstanding Female Dancer (Modern) Award for her role as Lana
Learn & Explore
Cast and Creative Team interviews, inside the rehearsal room, photoshoots and more. Join us on our journey as we reimagine The Car Man for the Royal Albert Hall.
Matthew Bourne's Vision
We love a photoshoot here at New Adventures! Check out the final photography by Johan Persson on our social media platforms.