Renowned Artiste Joins Forces with Richmond School to Produce Possible West End Hit.
A renowned artiste, whose peers include Dame Judi Dench and Alan Ayckbourn, is joining forces with budding performers to produce what could become a West End hit. Casting has begun for Freya, an original musical by Yorkshire Dales poet and artist Piers Browne, who is collaborating with Richmond School and Sixth Form College drama teacher and director Amy Southworth Gedye. The curtain will rise on July 19th, 20th and 21st on the love story, which has the potential to rival classics, such as Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, on the West End stage. The Creative Arts department is currently auditioning around 50 students from Years 7 to 13 for parts in the production, an ode to Wensleydale, that was published as a book in 1994. Piers began writing the music in 1995 but it was a chance meeting with Amy, who was visiting his Wensleydale studio to buy art, that led to the making of what will be a world premiere. Freya charts the ethereal antics of a spirit, a young girl due to be sacrificed by Druids to ensure the growth of spring crops. At the fateful hour, lightning strikes, killing the prophets and transforming their staff into a rowan tree that Freya inhabits. Fast forward to the 1930s and a farmer’s son called Will sits beneath the tree, falling asleep only to dream of Freya. But he is then sent to war where he is injured, losing his memory until he returns to the tree where he recalls his true love. The 90-minute performance will feature 15 songs, already scored, with the staging, including projection and physical scenery, showcasing Piers’ popular artwork. “We have been talking about it for about a year now; it is so exciting and will be the most amazing experience for all the students,” said Amy. “It is Piers’ artistic vision with me contributing from a writing point of view and with the direction. “Joseph started out as a school production and made it all the way to the West End. I believe Freya has the same potential.” Piers, who is a former patron of a theatre in York with Alan Ayckbourn and Dame Judi Dench, added: “I am really excited about the prospect of this story finally seeing the light of day. Meeting Amy, who has a passion for trees, was definitely a case of serendipity.”