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Once Upon A Mattress

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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Princess and the Pea fairytale with a brand newish look
One of Hans Christian Andersen's best known and popular fairytales is given an exciting new make-over as the Lichfield Garrick theatre in Staffordshire stages its latest community musicals. Following on from the success of the theatre's two previous community musicals, The Hired Man and The Dreaming, the Garrick is now proud to present its third such production, entitled Once Upon A Mattress. If theatre-goers thought they knew the story of Hans Christian Andersen's famous fairytale, The Princess and the Pea, they are likely to be in for a big surprise when Once Upon A Mattress takes to the stage at the end of July.

Once Upon A Mattress
Once Upon A Mattress is Lichfield Garrick's latest community musical

Twelve princesses have tried to win the hand of Prince Dauntless in marriage, but each has failed a rigorous and almost impossible test of their true royalty set by his mother, the Queen. Desperate to marry his Lady lover, Sir Harry finds princess number 13, Winnifred, whose test involves sleeping on a pea. Will Winnifred pass the test? With a 1920's glitz and glamour twist, and backed by a wonderful musical score, Once Upon A Mattress promises to be a hilarious, romantic, raucous and rollicking spin on the classic tale of royal courtship and comeuppance! The production will involve a cast of 50 performers, including a teenage Lichfield actress who has prepared for her role in an unusual way.

Rebecca Mills
Teenage actress Rebecca Mills in rehearsal. Credit Pamela Raith Photography

Rebecca Mills, aged 17, will be taking on the leading role of Princess Winnifred in Once Upon A Mattress following an unusual preparation. Together with a group of volunteers from the Birmingham Diocese, she recently returned from a week-long trip to Lourdes in France to help those less able to reach the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, one of the most famous sites of pilgrimage in the world. Rebecca who is currently studying for her A Levels, said: "We had the opportunity to take pilgrims out to the torchlight procession; this was a beautiful and moving experience in which we heard the rosary spoken in the different languages of the people staying in Lourdes that week. It was an absolute inspiration and we loved getting to know the pilgrims and after speaking to one of them, I found out that she also lived in Lichfield." The experience has allowed Rebecca to build up her confidence ahead of her starring role in the Garrick's forthcoming community musical. "Going and helping the pilgrims at Lourdes has definitely made me more confident in myself, my performing and my faith. I took part in last year's community musical (The Dreaming) and absolutely loved it! It was a brilliant experience that furthered my passion for performing. This year is my last opportunity to join in with the show before focusing on my studies," added Rebecca.

Lichfield Garrick
The Lichfield Garrick theatre

Once Upon a Mattress can be seen at the Lichfield Garrick from Monday 30 July to Saturday 4 August. Tickets start from 13.50 and can be purchased from the theatre's box office on 01543 412121 or online at
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Why? A Modern-ish Take On Classic Fairy Tale
When: 30 July to 4 August
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield WS13 6HR
Cost: Tickets from £13.50
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by Tony Collins on 03/08/2018
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