The premiere of Pioneer: The Rotherham Musical was deemed a ‘huge success’ by the show’s production team following two sell-out evenings at the Magna Science & Adventure Centre.
The show – featuring over 200 local school children as well as an adult cast – was written by local drama teacher Karen Mulcahey, who used the show to help highlight some of the key moments in the town’s history and the contribution made by its people. The shows were the first time the musical had been performed.
More than 600 people attended the musical over two nights, with glowing feedback posted to the show’s Facebook page by enthusiastic audience members, including a parent who said:
“Fantastic, had a great evening and the children were fantastic. My elder son said they wished they did local history like that at comp as well as the wider based history that they are taught.”
The main event space within Magna was transformed into a dynamic interactive theatre, with the audience surrounding the stage on three sides, whilst a 12-piece orchestra and a brass band provided the musical backing for the performers. Both groups were conducted by the man responsible for composing the music, Dr Peter Birkby.
The shows were the culmination of months of effort by a huge team of people. Lead by Rotherham Music and director Karen Mulcahey - and with support from the Gillian Banks School of Dance - the participating schoolchildren helped to re-enact stories of Celtic, Roman, and Viking conquerors, market traders, city commuters, and even soldiers.
Strategic Lead of Rotherham Music Martyn Howells commented on the shows saying:
“A huge amount of effort went into bringing this show to life. It was by far the biggest project we’ve ever contemplated, but the audience response has made it all worthwhile. The comments we’ve received are exactly what we were hoping for, with people commenting on the quality of performances and production, whilst also noting the educational elements included within the story.”