Dr Barnardo, the musical

DR BARNARDO, the founder of the most famous children s charity, is about to burst into song. His story is brought to the stage in a Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, The Likes of Us, by Ilford Operatic and Dramatic Society this weekend. The lead role

DR BARNARDO, the founder of the most famous children's charity, is about to burst into song.

His story is brought to the stage in a Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, The Likes of Us, by Ilford Operatic and Dramatic Society this weekend.

The lead role is played by Spencer Mills, 35, a former West Hatch High School student who has always lived in and around Chigwell.

He has been with IODS for eight months and this is his second show with the society.


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He says: "Having the opportunity to play any lead role is always a joy, particularly when the show has been written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, an opportunity not normally afforded to amateurs.

"It will be gratifying to play such an important local hero, Barnardo and to tell his story, in the very village that he lived."

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Did he research the man he is to play?

"I learned about Dr Thomas John Barnardo and the children's homes which Barnardo's used to run when I was at school, but a little research was in order to refresh my memory of the key details and facts and to find out about what Barnardo's does now as the organisation has evolved.

"A performer must always ask themselves who, what, when, where,why and how to fully understand a character or situation."

Thomas Barnardo came to London in 1866 and was horrrified to find children sleeping in the streets and forced to beg for food.

The following year he set up the Ragged School and starting helping the abused, vulnerable, forgotten and neglected children of east london.

By the time he died in 1905, the charity he founded ran 96 homes caring for more than 8,500 children.

Barnardo's vision today is that the lives of all children and young people should be free from poverty, abuse and discrimination.

The charity, based in Tanners Lane, believes in the abused, the vulnerable, the forgotten and the neglected and pledges to support them, stand up for them and bring out the best in each and every child.

The Likes of Us will be performed on Saturday at Barnardo's Church, Tanners Lane, Barkingside, and on Sunday at the Kenneth More Theatre, Oakfield Road, Ilford. Both shows start at 7.30pm.

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