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Stone theatre veterans at the helm for classic production

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: March 22, 2014

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ONE OF the most popular and enduring musicals of all time will be recreated with two Stone theatre veterans pulling the strings.

The sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein features classic songs including Do Re Mi, Climb Every Mountain, and The Lonely Goatherd, a song which will include the memorable puppet sequence.

The string marionettes have been specially made for the Stoke Youth Musical Theatre Company production by David Leech.

Born and raised in Stone and a former pupil of Alleyne’s High School David has been involved with puppets and puppet theatre since he received his first puppet at the age of nine from Purton’s Toy Shop in Stone.

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After a lifelong career in puppetry during which he has produced and presented shows in theatres and for television in the UK, Canada, Spain and the USA, David is nowadays responsible for the design and production of all new Pelham Puppets, available all over the world.

The show is directed by Paul Deakin and will feature the very cream of young talent in this first local youth production for many years.

Stone-based Paul returns to his roots for this production, describing his excitement at being commissioned to direct the show as “feeling like coming home to where it all started”

Having played a number of roles as a young performer with SYMTC, he is well qualified to do so.

As a child Paul was also an active member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. He graduated from the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts (LIPA) in 2000 and is now involved with numerous local and national theatre companies. He has particularly close links with the Reveal Theatre Company in Stoke-on-Trent and also works as a freelance theatre practitioner in several local schools.

A versatile and experienced actor, Paul has played a wide variety of roles in the theatre, in film and on the radio. He is an accomplished director of both stage and film and has also written plays and documentaries.

The Sound of Music tells the story of a young postulant (Maria) who is too high-spirited for the religious life and is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval captain. She captures the heart of the stern captain and they get married. On returning from their honeymoon they discover that Austria has been invaded by the Nazis, who demand the captain's immediate service in their navy.

The family's narrow escape over the mountains to Switzerland on the eve of World War II is one of the most thrilling and inspirational finales ever presented in the musical theatre.

Other local members of the company include Patrick Bell from Stone as Uncle Max Detweiler and Emma Sanders from Yarnfield as Baroness Elsa Schraeder.

Playing Maria, the role made famous by Julie Andrews, is 18-year-old Jordan Hazrati, who started dancing at the age of two and began singing and acting soon after. She performed in several local productions before joining the Newcastle-based Academy for Theatre Arts, graduating in 2013. Jordan joined SYMTC soon after and first appeared in last year’s youth premiere of Evita.

The Sound of Music takes to the stage at the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley for five nights from next Tuesday at 7.15 pm. There is a 2.15pm matinee on Saturday, March 29.

Tickets can be reserved online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/stokeyouth or by calling the ticket hotline on 07854 878987.

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