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First for Felixstowe theatre company

PUBLISHED: 21:00 20 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:41 03 March 2010

A FELIXSTOWE theatre company is set for a first for the town - by having an interpreter for the deaf on stage.

Never before has the Spa Pavilion tried such an experiment, but everyone is confident it will work and be successful and could even become standard practice for many future shows at the venue.

A FELIXSTOWE theatre company is set for a first for the town – by having an interpreter for the deaf on stage.

Never before has the Spa Pavilion tried such an experiment, but everyone is confident it will work and be successful and could even become standard practice for many future shows at the venue.

Stage Door Theatre Company will be having its production of musical classic Half a Sixpence "signed" for the deaf.

Interpreter Ivan Osborne will stand at the right-hand side of the stage on the night of November 1 to unfold the story, characters' lines and lyrics of songs in sign language.

The theatre company's publicity officer Nigel Lungley said the sign language interpreter would be unobtrusive and most people would not notice him.

"Ivan Osborne does this at theatres all around the country and is exceptionally skilled in his interpretation work," he said.

"Because they are not able to hear the show, musical theatre is something which has so often been inaccessible to deaf people, and we are keen to do something about that.

"We hope it will enhance their enjoyment of the performance and give them a clear understanding of this wonderful show."

Half a Sixpence, which is sponsored by The Evening Star, is being presented at from Wednesday October 31 to Saturday November 3 at 7.30pm nightly. There will also be a matinee on the Saturday at 2.30pm.

The show – based on the novel Kipps by HG Wells – was first performed in London in 1963, and four years later its star Tommy Steele was chosen to take his leading role as Arthur Kipps into the movies.

The film, directed by George Sidney and with Julia Foster as Ann, was a great success and the musical – book by Beverly Cross and music and lyrics by David Heneker – has remained popular ever since.

Set in London and Kent, it tells the story of Arthur Kipps, his romance and how the story develops when he is left an inheritance.

Songs include Flash Bang Wallop, If I Had Money To Burn, A Proper Gentleman, It Its Gonna Rain, and The Party's On The House.

Stage Door has a policy of encouraging young talent and Kipps is played by Darren Scriven, from Woodbridge, who is just 18, and his leading lady Ann by 15-year-old Rachel Foskett, from Ipswich.

Anita Lord, professional dancer and artistic director of Stage Door, said: "Rachel and Darren, despite their young years, have risen to the challenge and produce performances and songs which belie their tender years.

"Make no mistake this is a full scale production with professional scenery, costumes and musicians. In accordance with the ethos of the company we believe in encouraging young talent and they shine. The public will love them."

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