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New Wolsey creates musical memories of FA Cup win with Our Blue Heaven

PUBLISHED: 07:42 23 December 2017

New Wolsey THeatre is looking for a community company to perform alongside professionals in Our Blue Heaven, a musical celebration of Ipswich Town's FA Cup win in May 1978. Photo: New Wolsey

New Wolsey THeatre is looking for a community company to perform alongside professionals in Our Blue Heaven, a musical celebration of Ipswich Town's FA Cup win in May 1978. Photo: New Wolsey

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The New Wolsey Theatre has announced its spring season featuring Our Blue Heaven, its musical celebration of Ipswich Town’s FA Cup win. Arts editor Andrew Clarke talks to artistic director Peter Rowe about his need for a community company.

New Wolsey's artistic director Peter Rowe is seeking to create a community company to perform alongside professionals in his musical Our Blue Heaven about Ipswich Town's FA Cup win. Photo: New WolseyNew Wolsey's artistic director Peter Rowe is seeking to create a community company to perform alongside professionals in his musical Our Blue Heaven about Ipswich Town's FA Cup win. Photo: New Wolsey

The celebration of Ipswich Town’s FA Cup win forms the focis of the New Wolsey Theatre’s Spring season for 2018. Our Blue Heaven, a brand new musical, marks the 40th anniversary of Ipswich Town’s victory over Arsenal.

The season will also feature a new production of the thriller Rope, a classic play by Patrick Hamilton, and a new co-production with Ramps on the Moon with Our Country’s Good, but, it will be the premiere of Our Blue Heaven which will claim the most attention.

Opening on the anniversary weekend, the large-scale musical featuring New Wolsey actor-musicians and a community chorus, will run from Friday May 4 to Saturday May 26.

Writer and the New Wolsey’s artistic director Peter Rowe said that pre-production starts now with a call out to local people who would like to appear on stage as part of the action.

Sir Ronald Harwood's comic-drama part of the New Wolsey's spring season. Photo: New WolseySir Ronald Harwood's comic-drama part of the New Wolsey's spring season. Photo: New Wolsey

He said: “We are looking for a group of young men aged 17- 26 to be part of this exciting new musical. It’s a chance to be part of a tailor-made programme of training and rehearsals leading to the chance to perform alongside the professional company at The New Wolsey Theatre.”

He said the story is built around the journey of Ipswich Town FC through the rounds of the FA Cup in early 1978 to their triumph at Wembley.

“With a hasty wedding, a first birth and missing tickets to contend with, the big question is: ‘will our mad-keen Ipswich fans make it to the Final? Can the Town navigate the frozen pitch at Bristol Rovers, the rioting Millwall supporters at the Den, dodgy refereeing at Villa Park and make it all the way to Wembley?’

“The show has been created from the real, heart-warming memories of the fans themselves, and will be accompanied by a live soundtrack of chart hits from ‘78, but we need help from some aspiring actors, dancers and footballers to join Bobby and his Blue Army on this nostalgic trip down Wembley Way.”

The thriller Rope is part of the New Wolsey's spring season. Photo: New WolseyThe thriller Rope is part of the New Wolsey's spring season. Photo: New Wolsey

“We are looking to recruit a community company to create sections of the show. Each football sequence will be choreographed to a track from 1978 played live onstage by our house band – in a stylized way not involving a ball!

“Members of this ensemble will need to be good movers but don’t need to be either football or dance trained. There will be a series of training workshops through February and March towards a more intensive rehearsal period in April and performances in May.

“If you are interested in taking part in this one-off event please sign up for one of the taster workshops and see what’s involved. Experience isn’t essential; we need young men who are committed, enthusiastic and are excited at the prospect of being on stage in this celebratory production.”

To learn more about the project, the commitment required and rehearsal schedule, email info@wolseytheatre.co.uk to register your interest and come along to a taster session on: Tuesday January 9,16 or 23 at 8pm at DanceEast, Jerwood DanceHouse, Foundry Ln, Ipswich IP4 1DW.

Next year will also see the New Wolsey Theatre collaborating again with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch to produce Patrick Hamilton’s Rope, running from March 7-17.

Based on a 1920’s real life case, this dark classic was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1948 and remains to this day one of the most tightly coiled of thrillers.

Nottingham Playhouse Theatre will produce the third Ramps on the Moon touring production, Our Country’s Good which will arrive in Ipswich from March 28 to April 7.

Both a comedy and powerful drama, Our Country’s Good tells the extraordinary true story of a group of convicts and a young officer who rehearse and perform a play – Australia’s first theatrical production. With opposition from the officers and a leading lady who may be hanged, the odds are stacked against them.

Other productions in the spring season include a bold revival of Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire. Stanley Kowalski’s entire way of life is threatened by the arrival of his anxious, seductive and fiercely clever sister-in-law Blanche.

The New Wolsey Theatre and fingersmiths co-produce John Godber’s award-winning comedy Up ‘n’ Under. The Wheatsheaf Arms amateur rugby league team have never won a game. They don’t have enough players and they have no kit. Can Arthur, our hero, coach them to beat the mighty Cobblers Arms in the cup final? The production will be given a fingersmiths’ spin featuring a cast of Deaf and hearing actors using British Sign Language and spoken English.

Cheltenham Everyman Theatre will tour Quartet – a charming tale of four ageing opera singers. This brand-new revival of the bitter-sweet comedy from Oscar-winning writer Sir Ronald Harwood will be directed by the New Wolsey Theatre’s Peter Rowe.

Tickets are now on sale. Call 01473 295900 or book online at www.wolseytheatre.co.uk

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