Ipswich: Controversial musical about London Road murders raises thousands for drug charity Iceni

IPSWICH: A controversial stage musical depicting the 2006 Ipswich murders has raised �25,000 for a drug rehabilitation organisation in the town.

Performed at the National Theatre, London Road received critical acclaim for its moving portrayal of a community pulling together as the events of winter 2006 unfolded.

London Road resident Steve Wright was jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell, and Annette Nicholls.

After each performance audiences donated cash to the Iceni Project – an Ipswich-based drugs rehabilitation charity set up in 1999.

Written by Alecky Blythe, the production, which finished its run on Saturday, used material from interviews with London Road residents as well as recovering drug addicts at the Iceni Project.

Iceni Project co-founder Brian Tobin said although the play attracted controversy it was a wonderful and interesting piece of theatre that in no way glorified the killings.

“Since 2006 there have been books and films that we have been asked to contribute towards,” he said.

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“We have declined on most occasions except where the subject would be dealt with sensitively.

“There is residual sadness about the murders in the town and no one wants constant reminders of those terrible times.”

Mr Tobin, who saw the musical twice, said the money raised would be spent on preventing young women and men becoming the prostitutes and drug addicts of tomorrow.

He said: “Much of the work of the Iceni Project is preventative.

“The amount raised is staggering and I think it says a lot about the play and how people were moved by the play to support Ipswich and the Iceni Project.”

Most of the performances of London Road were sell-outs and among those to have seen the play was film star Dustin Hoffman.

A spokesman for the National Theatre said: “We are very happy that audiences and critics responded so positively to London Road, hailing it as a ground-breaking piece of theatre, and glad that we were able to extend its run to accommodate the demand for tickets.

“It’s particularly gratifying that �25,000 has been raised through audience collections after every performance for the Iceni Project’s valuable work in Ipswich. We are exploring possible avenues for the production to have a future life, but there are currently no plans to take it to Ipswich or the West End.”

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