Saturday, September 18

Musical Theatre Returns to Cheshire

Mid Cheshire Musical Theatre Company are back! After a 2-year enforced absence from the stage due to Covid restrictions, Sunshine on Leith is set to become one of the first full scale musicals to be produced in Cheshire. North West End UK spoke to director Louise Colohan ahead of the show to discuss, amongst other things the challenges they have faced bringing theatre back to Cheshire.

You directed the last Mid Cheshire production of Evita which was an unbelievable two years ago. Are you glad to be back at the helm for Sunshine on Leith?

Mid Cheshire are a fantastic society and under the chairmanship of Sarah Sherwood are looking to putting on some really exciting productions. It is great to have some of the same creative team and crew return once again and we hope to be able to replicate the magic of that show. 

Sunshine on Leith is a relatively new production, for those not familiar with the story can you give us a brief synopsis?

Featuring the best songs from The Proclaimers, Sunshine on Leith is at its heart a story of love and family.

Following their involvement in a tragic incident whilst stationed in Afghanistan, friends Ally and Davy are discharged from the army and return to their homes and families in Scotland.

Ally is soon reunited with his girlfriend, Davy’s sister, Liz who wastes no time in setting up her brother with fellow nurse, Yvonne.

Meanwhile, Liz and Davy’s parents, Rab and Jean, are preparing for their 30th wedding anniversary party when a mysterious figure from the past threatens to disrupt the celebrations.

The boys struggle to readjust to civilian life and both soon realise that the path to true love in Leith is rarely an easy one.

Director Louise Colohan

What can audiences expect from one of the very first full (amateur) productions to be staged in Cheshire in two years?

Audiences should be prepared for an evening of high emotion. We have all missed the buzz of live theatre and I think the tears of joy and pain will be flowing from the moment the lights dim and the band begins to play.

How have Covid restrictions affected the audition and rehearsal process?

Covid caused a huge amount of disruption to the normal plans of operation. Auditions were held exclusively via video which was a challenge for both the actors and the selection panel.

Rehearsals have also had to be reorganised to allow for the initially restricted numbers. To cope with this, we rearranged the schedule to enable the principals to meet in small groups prior to the resumption of full cast rehearsals once government guidelines allowed. It has been challenging to say the least!

Have you found a change in the cast’s approach to rehearsals post lifting of restrictions?

Our first full rehearsal was extremely emotional. We have all been waiting for a long time for a return to our passion and I have been very pleased with the enthusiasm, patience and dedication our talented cast have shown.

Opening night is on the 22nd September, how do you think you will be feeling when the curtain falls on that first performance?

A mixture of exhaustion, relief and most of all pride.

If you could choose any production to direct in the future, what would it be?

It has always been a dream of mine to direct A Tale of Two Cities. For such an epic show it is rarely performed and I would love to be able to showcase it to a new audience.

You are returning to Mid Cheshire in Spring 2022 directing American Idiot at Northwich Plaza. Are you excited to be creating a show in such an iconic venue?

The venue itself is amazing. Every corner of the building resonates with echoes of its Art Deco heritage. To be able to contrast this with a cutting edge musical like American Idiot is an honour indeed and I would like to thank Mid Cheshire for giving me such an incredible opportunity.

If you could describe Sunshine on Leith in three words, what would they be?

Uplifting, emotional and Unmissable!

Sunshine on Leith plays at Northwich Memorial Court from the 22nd – 25th September at 7:30pm with a matinee performance at 2pm on the 25th. Tickets are available via https://tinyurl.com/4nm3232u

You can also find out more about Mid Cheshire Musical Theatre Company and how to take part in future productions by visiting https://midcheshiremusicals.org.uk/

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