When Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus watched people at the musical MAMMA MIA! having such a good time, getting into party mood by the end of the show, he thought to himself, “What if this could continue somewhere else?” The obvious place would be in a typical Greek taverna.
Björn, director Roine Söderlundh and writer Calle Norlén came up with new characters and a new story, using some of the songs from the musical, but mostly other ABBA songs, and thus MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY was born. Opening on 20 January 2016 in Stockholm, where it’s still running, it has been a huge sell-out success, and now Björn wants to bring the party to London.
Björn Ulvaeus and producer Ingrid Sutej are therefore in the process of applying for planning permission to build a temporary venue in London’s Waterloo area, where they can recreate a taverna with a courtyard, olive trees, a fountain and lots of bougainvillea – just like the ones on the island of Skopelos, where the film was shot. Björn and Ingrid, along with their architects Haworth Tompkins, are working with the local community to make sure they create something that is acceptable to them as well as to Lambeth Council.
“The South Bank is the perfect place for MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY. The building could be used for other activities as well, outside Party hours, so we hope it would be an asset for the whole community.”
Local social enterprise Coin Street Community Builders has been approached about a currently undeveloped site adjacent to the Coin Street neighbourhood centre on Stamford Street, London SE1. The plan will be to create a wonderfully exotic Greek taverna, where the audience will be served great Mediterranean food and entertained by a cast of actors and musicians, who will transport them to the Greek island paradise.
“MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY is an exciting temporary use for a currently undeveloped site of ours. The permanent use for the site will be Phase 2 of our neighbourhood centre. But until we’re ready to move forward with that, we believe this to be a creative and interesting use. We anticipate working with the creators to use the space for community activities at times when it is not open to the public, says deputy group director of Coin Street Community Builders, Alison Pinner.