Rehearsals have begun in earnest for the upcoming premiere of ‘The Fountain: A Musical’ which opens in The Memorial Hall on November 25th.
Scripted by Roy Arbuckle, the new musical features exclusive fresh and exciting arrangements of songs Roy had originally recorded for his Songs of the Fountain CD in 2009, as well as new arrangements of some of his compositions.
Roy has collaborated in this musical journey with Tom Newman, producer of Tubular Bells and local singers Ruth McPhilips and Aisling Devine to develop all these new arrangements.
Set in the late 1960s the musical has, at its centre, a love story.
Robbie and Peggy are the young couple who meet at a bonfire up on Fountain Street on the eleventh night. He’s from the Fountain, she’s from Creggan. The Troubles then cast their shadow over the city, over the Fountain and over their relationship.
“But, “ Roy said: “I was determined not to make this a Troubles musical. Or to put it another way I was determined to find celebration even in the face of the Troubles.
“I wanted to show the humour and the strength of the people of the Fountain and of the city and I wanted to include songs that express that love of life.”
As rehearsals pick up pace, local choreographer Nadine Sweeney has been putting the dancers through their paces.
“What an opportunity!” Nadine said: “To be involved with an original musical that has dancing right at its core.
“Sometimes dance is like an add- on extra to a show. Here it is equally important as the songs and the script.”
Portadown born director Michael Nangle has worked with Roy before, back in the 1990s when, together with the late Sam Starrett, they put on the very successful ‘Home for Christmas’ at the YMCA at Drumhoe.
Like ‘Home for Christmas’ this too is a community production, intended first of all to honour the heritage and culture of the Fountain area. The musical also reaches out, especially through its main female characters, to the city as whole.”
‘The Fountain: A Musica’” has been supported by a range of funders including the Arts Council,the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, the Inner City Trust, the Apprentice Boys/Siege Museum and Derry City and Strabane District Council as well as good relations and peace building organisation,
Towards Understanding and Healing.
“The Fountain musical promotes in a very real way the notion of creating shared space. Rehearsals and performances are taking place in the Memorial Hall and there will be people back there for the first time since the dance-hall days of the 1960’s.
“There will be people there for the first time ever, including members of the cast. All this is for the good,” says Eamonn Baker on behalf of Towards Understanding and Healing. Tickets are available now through the Millennium Forum.