More than 50 local people are set to star in a new community production at the Lichfield Garrick.
The Hired Man will see a cast made up of performers aged eight to 69 from across the region bring the musical to life on the stage.
Set against the backdrop of the Cumbrian Lakes, the show follows the story of a young married couple and their struggle to carve a living from the land, just as the traditional rhythms of country life are swept away by the gathering storm of war in Europe.
One of the lead roles will be played by 14-year-old Erasmus Darwin Academy student Adam Pritchard.
He said: “I’m really excited about being able to perform at The Lichfield Garrick and getting to know everyone in the show.
“I’d love a future career in the performing arts, so I’m really looking forward to be working with the professional team at the theatre and learn as much as I can from them during the process.”
Joining him will be 65-year-old Ken Taylor from Alrewas.
“I felt drawn to the story of The Hired Man as my grandfather served as a soldier in the First World War and went through similar tragedies and life experience as the characters in the story,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve been in a production of this scale and I’m really excited about performing.”
The community cast also features generations of performers from the same family, including a father and son.
Mother and daughter, Tracy and Martha Shepherd, aged 52 and 12, from Darwin Park in Lichfield, are in a show together for the first time.
“I wanted to get back on stage for ages and loved the idea of the show being a real community event that everyone could get involved with,” Tracy said. “It’s also, a great excuse to join my daughter on stage.”
The community production was the brainchild of the Lichfield Garrick’s artistic director Tim Ford.
He has been joined by West End and Broadway musical director Angharad Sanders and set designer John Brooking for the show.
Tim 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’re 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, our 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!”
The Lichfield Garrick is now looking for musicians and backstage volunteers from the local community to get involved in the production. For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hired Man will be at the Garrick from July 29 to August 6. Tickets cost £15 or £12 for students, and can be booked online or by calling the box office on 01543 412121.