by Michael Berriman
More than 200 residents from Gipton area of Leeds are set to star in a new musical at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Gipton the Musical is written and directed by former Chumbawumba member Boff Whalley, 54, and has been commissioned by Space2, a local arts charity in Leeds.
Boff said: “We started having workshops were people talked about the community and its history and then we threw all of the ideas into a play.
“The support from the community has been great. It has got to the point where they will be 150 people on stage at the same time so it is all a bit mad.”
The cast, made up of both young and old, includes 102 primary school children and 75 young dancers.
Emma Tregidden, Creative Director of Space2, said: “We really wanted this musical to be produced by the people of Gipton, for the people of Gipton.
“This has been a great opportunity for local people to learn new skills – we have been running workshops to help residents train as performers, designers, writers and technicians to make this musical happen.
“They have been researching local history and significant events on the Gipton estate, writing dialogue and songs, designing costumes on a budget, recycling local materials into sets, learning about lighting and sound, planning the marketing, rehearsing and performing.”
Steve Hart, 59, plays the part of Declan:
He said: “I have lived on the estate all of my life and I was born in Gipton.
“I have done a bit of amateur dramatics in my time and I have been to a few rehearsals but this is the best I have been to.
“It is going to be a great show.”
The performance is at the West Yorkshire Playhouse is on Saturday 18 July.
Tickets are £5 and the musical is suitable for anyone above the age of seven.
For booking information contact the West Yorkshire Playhouse box office on 0113 213 7700.