Mobsters rule as theatre becomes Chicago for Lancashire school production

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Rapid-fire custard-shooting splurge guns and mobster hats are the uniform of the moment for young thespians at Preston’s Archbishop Temple CE High School.

Thanks to the 100 or so youngsters from the Fulwood school, the “bad old days” of Chicago during the prohibition era is being reenacted – on the city’s premiere stage.

CENTRE STAGE: Some of the cast members from the Archbishop Temple CE School production of Bugsy Malone at the Charter Theatre in Preston

CENTRE STAGE: Some of the cast members from the Archbishop Temple CE School production of Bugsy Malone at the Charter Theatre in Preston

The school is putting on a production of Bugsy Malone and instead of performing in school for parents and relatives decided to take over the Charter Theatre at the Guild Hall and showcase the youngsters’ talents to the theatre-going public.

Cate Gardner, musical director said work started on the project during the summer term, with the lead role casts but the serious rehearsing started in earnest when school re-opened in September, offering the new starters a chance to join in the fun.

She said: “There are about 100 children in the cast right across the school from years seven to 11.”

Andrew Woolcock plays Bugsy with Ruth Buckley as Blousey Brown, Faye O’Connor is Tallulah whileFat Sam is portrayed by Charlie Donnelly.

Staff are also involved and the school band plays a major role in the event.

Cate said the school had decided to go the Charter, rather than stay at the St Vincent’s Road school for the two-night production, to give pupils a chance to experience a real life stage and also share their talents with a wider audience.

She added: “Most of the rehearsing has been done after school and everyone has put in a tremendous amount of effort.”

The production is being produced and directed by head of drama Donna Keller and choreographed by Heather Burns.

Tickets, which are on sale at the Charter Theatre as well as school, are offered at a flat rater of £7.

The show starts with a free performance for primary school children and opens to the public on Thursday October 16.