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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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Cast Of Local People Gets Set To 'Star' In Community Musical
Rehearsals have begun in Staffordshire for the first ever community musical staged by the Lichfield Garrick theatre. More than 50 talented performers aged between eight and 69 from across the region turned up to audition for a role in The Hired Man, which will be playing at the Lichfield Garrick from Friday 29 July to Saturday 6 August.

The Hired Man
Rehearsals get underway for The Hired Man


It is the first time that a community cast has joined forces to create a large scale musical production with the Lichfield Garrick's professional team, led by Artistic Director Tim Ford and also including West End and Broadway musical director Angharad Sanders and set designer John Brooking. The community cast is made up of performers representing Lichfield, Walsall, Burntwood, Rugeley, Tamworth, Sutton Coldfield, Cannock, Stafford, Burton upon Trent, and even Derby and Birmingham.

The Hired Man
The Hired Man is set against the backdrop of the First World War


Set against the backdrop of the Cumbrian Lakes, The Hired Man follows the story of a young married couple and their struggle to carve a living from the land just as war is threatening to break out in Europe. It is based on the novel by writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg and brought to life by the beautiful music of award-winning composer Howard Goodall, whose other works include stage musicals such as Bend It Like Beckham and Love Story, and television scores including the themes for Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley, Mr Bean and QI.

The Hired Man
The community cast takes shape


Tim Ford, Lichfield Garrick's Artistic Director, said: "Lichfield and the surrounding area is renowned for its incredible talent and a vibrant theatre scene, so everyone at the Garrick is hugely excited to be collaborating with our local community to present our first show together. We are delighted to welcome both seasoned performers, as well as first-timers to the stage from across the county and beyond and can't wait for our audiences to come and support them."

"The themes in the musical also reflect Staffordshire's local history, its agricultural and coal mining traditions, as well as the impact of the First World War on the family and wider community. It's a beautiful production and a tear-jerker too, so bring a hankie!"

Lichfield Garrick Theatre
The Lichfield Garrick stages its first ever community play


Among those making up the community cast is 14-year-old Adam Pritchard and Ken Taylor, aged 65, whose grandfather served as a soldier in the First World War. It also includes a mother and daughter, and a father and son. Having successfully auditioned for the cast, the Lichfield Garrick is now looking for musicians and backstage volunteers from the local community to get involved in the production. This can be done by emailing education@lichfieldgarrick.com.

The Hired Man is being performed at the Lichfield Garrick from Friday 29 July to Saturday 6 August with a variety of evening and matinee performances. Tickets cost 15 or 12 for students, and can be booked online or by calling Lichfield Garrick's Box Office on 01543 412121.
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Why? See Community Theatre In Action With Cast Formed Of Local People
When: 29 July - 6 August 2016
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield WS13 6HR
Cost: 15 adults, 12 students
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