A Hill of beings ready to sing

PUBLISHED: 19:01 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:11 11 August 2010

WHEN it comes to filling the stage, the Queen s Theatre is going to take some beating. The forthcoming Community Play has a cast of biblical proportions and tells the story of a young lad called Harry, who comes from the Hill . Confused, well all will be

WHEN it comes to filling the stage, the Queen's Theatre is going to take some beating.

The forthcoming Community Play has a cast of biblical proportions and tells the story of a young lad called Harry, who comes from the 'Hill'.

Confused, well all will be revealed at the theatre in early August.

The huge cast, with ages ranging from six to 84, take to the stage for five performances in late July and the first weekend of August, and takes the number of big cast community plays at the Billet Lane theatre well into double figures.

Penned by local playwright, Kath Sayer, it is called Harry from the Hill and brings into the realms of theatre, the anniversary of the large housing estate area just east of Romford.

Directed by Marcia Carr with music written by Carol Sloman, the Queen's Musical Director, and under the baton of two of the professional company's formidable talents, Jane Milligan and Wendy Parkin, the theatre carries on the tradition of big musical numbers wrapped round local events.

More than 100 hopefuls turned up for the auditions a couple of weeks ago with the final choice revealed on Sunday from which more than 80 of all ages were chosen.

Without giving too much away, the story is of young Harry searching for his roots and leaving the comfort zone of a west London upbringing, to enter the unfamiliar zone of Harold Hill.

Set to music and song, the ending even surprised the cast as they read through the script.

Over the past two years, a regular company of players have been attending active workshops in theatrical skills and a lot of the members of the group feature in this production.

Foremost among them is Mike McFarland from Dagenham, who took the lead role in the last play, Off To Oz held two years ago.

He said: "This is perhaps one of the most enjoyable things you can do with your spare time.

"Not only are rehearsals and workshops more like a social gathering, but you feel you have achieved something, particularly standing on the stage of a professional theatre playing to a packed house."

Many youngsters from the borough and surrounding areas have been accepted for the fun roles of 'Hill' children, with quite a few fresh from Marcia Carr's hugely successful Barking Youth Theatre production of The Adventures of Poverty Bay at the Broadway Theatre in February.

The tradition of community plays is now set in stone at the Queen's as the theatre is handed over to the community for five performances that finish on August 2.

Another happy tradition also repeated each year is the performances usually sell out so early, booking is essential.

Tickets are now available costing £10 and £7 (concessions) are now available by calling the box office on 01708 443333 for the five performances from Wednesday, July 30 to Saturday August 2 which included a matinee starting at 3pm.

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