West End movers and shakers head for Ribble Valley to recruit stars of the future...
Ribchester singer song-writer Rick Guard is bringing the West End to the Ribble Valley to recruit wannabe stars for his new musical.
And the first night performance of Stop the Train, now the subject of a TV documentary, will be shown at Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre next summer – in front of a who’s who of London’s entertainment movers and shakers.
“It would mean the world to me for an unknown from Lancashire to achieve their dream of acting, singing or dancing on the West End stage – and this is their big chance,” said Guard.
“Instead of going to Manchester or London, we’ve decided to hold the auditions in Lancashire and invest our time in the local community.
“There’s a tremendous pool of talent in Lancashire and I’m convinced we can find the right people for the right parts.
“The musical has been five years in the making and it is a tremendously exciting challenge.”
He added: “If you believe it is in you, come and show us at the auditions, because this could be a chance in a lifetime.
“We want to find the next West End star – in Lancashire.”
Guard, a contemporary jazz singer, composed and performed The Truth About Love for the film of the same name, starring Dougray Scott, and landed a giant hit with his debut single Stop it, I Like It.
The former Leyland Runshaw College student also played for the Queen and worked with Lionel Richie on his world tour.
Guard added: “We have investors and agents from London coming up for the Clitheroe premiere and we’ve had advice from Richard Jay Alexander, the original producer of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon on Broadway.
“I went to Miami to meet Richard and when he told me that he thought the show contained some of the best new songs he’d heard in theatre in the last 20 years, it’s been difficult not to get excited.
“The plan is to tour the play after Clitheroe and then to take it to London’s West End.”
Directed by Owen Phillips, and produced by Clitheroe-based Ribcaged Productions, Stop the Train is a dark comedy, the tale of passengers on a busy commuter train, who meet a mysterious stranger who changes their lives.
“The idea came from my daily commute, Brighton to London, when every day hundreds of people would get on the train, and nobody would utter a word.
“They’d hide behind a newspaper or look at their mobile phone for an hour.
“They were the same folk who I’d see every day and I thought, ‘I know you, but I don’t know anything about you.’
“There was no human interaction, but every single person on that train would have their own hopes, secrets and problems, and the play explores that.”
Guard, who has co-written Stop the Train with Phil Rice, added: “We are not trying to mock anybody at the audition, we’ll just be honest and give that person the chance to shine.”
If you are aged 17 to 70, can sing, act or dance then see www.stopthetrainmusicalcom to arrange an audition or phone 07527 780 454.
The auditions are expected to be held at the Grand Theatre from February 24-28.