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25th Jun, 2022

Talented young performers to bring nineteenth century classic to life

TALENTED local performers will bring the West End interpretation of a nineteenth century classic to life for a series of summer shows in Warwickshire.

Rugby College students’ production of Tess of the d’Urbervilles is to take place at the college’s The Platform Theatre at 7pm on Thursday (June 23) and Friday (June 24).

Ollie Wheeler, a final year Performing and Production Arts student, has a personal investment in Thomas Hardy’s classic tale, having performed and sang in the musical version’s official run at Theatre Royal Winchester in 2017 and in London’s West End in 2018.

Ollie said: “Being on stage in the West End was an amazing and surreal experience for me that I’ll never forget. It’s a real privilege to now be a part of another run of the show, this time with my fellow college students.

“I set my heart on returning to the show that’s given me so much after finding out about the opportunity on my course to put forward a musical to perform for my Final Major Production (FMP). I started preparations last summer by contacting Jon Bromwich, Executive Producer at British Youth Musical Theatre (BYMT) to ask permission to put on the show.

“It’s important when putting on any show that you have the rights to reproduce something, and thankfully BYMT, director Gerry Flanagan and songwriter Pippa Cleary allowed me to go ahead and kindly provided me with the full script, backing tracks and lyrics. I can’t thank them all enough.

“We’re now pulling out all the stops to make the show a success and showcase the breadth of acting talent at Rugby College. We can’t wait to get started.”

As part of the selection process, final year students put forward a musical of their choice for their FMP. Out of five proposals submitted, Ollie’s pitch for Tess of the D’Urbervilles was chosen by tutors and students.

Hayley Glover, Lecturer and Course Leader at Rugby College, said: “This is a huge project for the final year students because it’s a graded aspect of their course. They’re responsible for every aspect of putting the production together from directing, choreographing, sound and lighting, costume and set design, promotion as well as rehearsing tirelessly to perform in the show itself.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished product, and I’m sure the students are going to put on a fantastic show.”

Email hglover@wcg.ac.uk for tickets, priced at £7.50 for adults and £5 for children, OAPs and students.

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