Audiences at a packed West Yorkshire Playhouse gave a standing ovation to a brand new all singing, all dancing community musical commissioned by arts charity Space2.
Professional artists have been working for nearly a year alongside residents of Seacroft in Leeds to gather stories and write the words and music for ‘Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seacroft’.
The show featured 160 children and adults from the area and Musical Director Boff Whalley and Director Jane Morland were delighted that it was led by the residents of Seacroft:
“It was very much a case of celebrating something that’s been written by the people for the people,” said Jane.
“There was massive collaboration with different groups and individuals to come up with the words for all the songs in the show, including references to the Barnbow girls, who worked in the ammunitions factory, and the Leeds
Pals,” added Boff.
The musical tells the story of a young man called Harry who sets off to visit the seaside, but catches the wrong bus and ends up in Seacroft by mistake.
His trip turns magical when the clock strikes 12 and Mary the Fairy appears to introduce him to various mythical characters from the area.
Headteacher Chris Dyson, whose Parklands Primary pupils took part in the show, said: “Thank you so much for treating me to the greatest show I have seen outside London.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the quality that was on that stage. You brought a tear to mine and many people’s eyes.”
Space2, which engages with communities from across the East and North East of Leeds on a number of health and well-being projects, has also been training local residents as performers, designers, writers and technicians.
The project was funded by the People’s Health Lottery, Arts Council.