College makes history

Students at a Staffordshire college are set to become the first college in the UK to stage the West End and Broadway classic, The Phantom of the Opera.

Stoke on Trent College is the first college to receive the prestigious rights to present the world-renowned musical, which will now take place at their Burslem campus from June 10th.

Running for 10 nights, the college production will include hits from the show, which is famously composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, including Music of the Night, Somehow wishing you were here again and Phantom of the Opera. More than 250 of the college’s performing arts students, theatre production students, art and design students, as well as media students are involved in the show.

The Phantom of the Opera is a classic love story inspired by the 1910 horror novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux. In 1986 it was premiered by Andrew Lloyd Webber in London’s West End with lyrics by Charles Hart and additions from Richard Stilgoe. Its central plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius.

In January 2006 Phantom of the Opera overtook Cats as the longest-running musical on Broadway. By 2011 it had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities in 27 countries, and continues to play in both London and New York.

In 2013 the rights to perform “Phantom” were released to non-professional groups.

Simon Wain, Production Arts Lecturer and Production Manager for the Show at Stoke on Trent College, said: “The students have worked incredibly hard to ensure this production plays homage to this classic musical which is known around the world.

“The leaners have been designing and constructing the set over two terms and rehearsals for the show began during the Easter break, so already the students have put in hours of work to ensure this is spectacular.

“We were over the moon to be given permission to stage the show and are very excited to be the first college in the UK to stage the production. It will be a very special show for us all.”

The performance will take place at the Theatre within in the college’s media and performing arts building, situated on the Burslem Campus, off Moorlands Road.

Robin Chapman, who will play The Phantom in the show, said: “I’m really excited to be given the chance to play such an iconic character and hope I can live up to the demands of the part.”

Jessica Brereton, who will play Christine Daaé opposite Robin on alternate nights, said: “The Phantom of the Opera is such a well-known musical that it has been daunting to take on such a special part, but it’s also very exciting at the same time.”

The Phantom of the Opera will open on Tuesday, June 10th to Saturday, June 14th and Tuesday, June 17th to Saturday June 21st at 7pm.

Tickets for the production can be purchased by contacting 01782 603138 or email gjohn1sc@stokecoll.ac.uk.

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