Composer is returning to Devizes

Children from First Stages with patron Peter Polycarpou

Simon May

First published in News

DEVIZES-born composer Simon May will return to Devizes later this year to support a production of a musical he wrote 40 years ago.

Mr May, most famous for writing the theme tunes for EastEnders, Howards’ Way and other TV dramas, co-wrote the musical Smike with Roger Holman in 1971.

He said he is looking forward to coming back to his home town to support an updated production by local youth musical theatre group First Stages, founded and run by Carole Berry.

Mr May said: “I was delighted to receive a phone call from Carole when she told me that she and her team had decided to produce Smike in May.

“The performances will take place in the Corn Exchange, where I performed last year in the Devizes Carnival charity concert together with my good friend Bruce Hopkins.”

Mrs Berry said: “Simon has booked time out of his busy schedule to meet the cast and rehearse with the group, who are very excited at the prospect.

“Devizes schools have been keen to involve themselves with the show and have this unique and exciting opportunity to meet the composer and work with other schools in one big community experience.”

Mr May also attended Dauntsey’s School, one of the schools joining in with the production, and will be visiting his old school to meet the choir that will be taking part in the show.

Smike, based on Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, will be performed at the Corn Exchange, Devizes, from May 10 to 12. It is a first major production for First Stages at the Corn Exchange, although the show was performed in the 1970s at Devizes School.

It is being directed by Mrs Berry with a professional production team guided by First Stages’ patron, West End star and director Peter Polycarpou, who has just finished a run at the National Theatre in The Magistrate and will be coming to Devizes to work with the cast of Smike for First Stages in February.

Local references have been written into the script with the blessing of Simon May – Dotheboys Hall is now located in Devizes rather than in Yorkshire.

Tickets will be on sale soon from Devizes Books, or can be reserved online now at www.firststages.org.uk More information on the show can be found at www.smikethemusical.com

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