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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in Conversation with Michael Henry

Musician and actor Francesa Amewudah-Rivers is joined in conversation with vocalist, composer, educator and music director Michael Henry.

Michael Henry is a vocalist, composer, educator and music director. Born in London, He studied clarinet and composition at the Royal College of Music 1981-85. He began his professional singing career as a lead vocalist in R&B group Buddy Curtess and the Grasshoppers from 1985-'89, going on to perform full-time in a variety of groups including Flying Pickets, Shiva Nova, Errollyn Wallen's Ensemble X, The Tarantinos and 15-piece a cappella choir The Shout.

He has worked in a directorial capacity with theatres that include the National, Old Vic, Young Vic, Royal Court, Almeida, Leeds Playhouse, Royal and Derngate, Northampton and Shakespeare's Globe and as a vocal animateur on several BBC, community and schools projects. Backing vocal experiences include Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, George Michael, Robbie Williams, Chrissy Hynde, Billy Bragg, Jamelia, Michael Ball, The Pet Shop Boys, Cliff Richard, Dave McAlmont and Ian Shaw. He has also been the main or sole support act for Michael Jackson, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, Lisa Stansfield, Aswad, Edwin Starr and many more.

Classical vocal experiences include featured roles with Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt and Matrix Ensemble, plus appearances in televised operas by Mark Anthony Turnage, Orlando Gough, Jenni Roditi and Jocelyn Pook. Michael has also provided film and TV vocals for Pop Idols, X-Factor, Saturday Live with Ben Elton, The Tube with Jules Holland, Saturday Night Divas, 2006 Honda Choir, Star Wars (episode 1), Scrooge (Kelsey Grammar), Galavant (season 2) and Aladdin (2019).

Workshops, events and masterclasses in Utopia Theatre’s Creative Hub are for people of African origin aged 16 and above.

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