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Director returns to Lichfield ahead of London residency

Director Chris Rolls is heading to London – but not before he’s taken charge of a new performance at the Lichfield Garrick.

Former King Edward VI student Chris been awarded a prestigious residency to direct at London’s Trafalgar Studios this Autumn as part of an initiative by the Donmar Warehouse to showcase the work of graduates from its renowned trainee director programme.

Chris Rolls with actress Rachel Matthews and Amington Band members during rehearsals

Chris Rolls with actress Rachel Matthews and Amington Band members during rehearsals

But before he heads to the capital he’ll be overseeing the stage version of Brassed Off , a collaborative venture between the Lichfield Players and the Lichfield Garrick Rep Company.

And the 34-year-old – whose varied directing credits include Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Blurt Master Constable for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Truckstop which toured the UK and produced Best Actress in the Stage Awards 2007 –  can’t wait for his return to Lichfield.

He explained:

“Having been at King Edward VI School, it’s great to be back in Lichfield and to work on an exciting project like Brassed Off. As well as the combination of amateur and professional actors, 2008 National Brass Band Finalists Amington Band are going to be playing live on stage at every performance.

“The carefully interwoven blend of drama and music makes the storytelling incredibly powerful.   It’s going to be a real emotional journey – raw, fast-paced and really thrilling for people to see.”

Set 10 years after the miners’ strikes of 1984, Paul Allen’s adaptation of the screenplay Brassed Off follows the heart-tugging struggle of one colliery band’s fight to be recognised.

Grimley’s pit is set for closure, signifying the loss of the town’s lifeblood and the end of the road for the close-knit colliery band. Conductor Danny is determined to take the band to the National Championships and with the arrival of flugelhorn-playing Gloria, his dreams don’t seem quite so far-fetched.  But as pit politics test loyalties and friendships, can the band stick together in one last bid to make Danny and the local community proud?

The Lichfield Players, the Garrick Rep Company and Amington Band are performing Brassed Off at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre from April 13 to 17 with a Saturday matinee show. Ticket prices are £16.50 or £14.50. To book call the box office on 01543 412121.

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