Brassed Off at Oldham Coliseum, September 2016
The start of September saw the band treading the boards at The Oldham Coliseum Theatre to star in Brassed Off. Based on a true story, Brassed Off is a funny and life-affirming tale of community spirit and triumph in the face of adversity. The play follows the troubles faced by a colliery brass band when their pit is closed. Music includes: William Tell Overture, Death or Glory, The Floral Dance, Danny Boy, Land of Hope and Glory, Florentiner March, and Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez.
After many band rehearsals, technical rehearsals, dress rehearsals and lots of hard work we opened the show on 7th September. Phil Goodwin used his musical expertise to show the actors how to look realistic when conducting or playing (although Gloria and Harry were already capable musicians). The band played a central role in the production opening both acts and also bringing the curtain down. Slick organisation was needed to manoeuvre an entire brass band around quietly back stage.
Scenes in the Grimley Band band room allowed for budding thespians to flex their acting muscles, and playing Danny Boy at Danny's bedside helped to create one of the most emotional moments of the play. The band had to march and play Slaidburn for the Saddleworth Whit Friday scene, which of course ends up being a drunkern shambles.......something I'm sure none of us have ever experienced before!!! The play culminates in the band playing William Tell Overture and winning the National Championships (something that we do have experience of....twice!)
The men of the band were all involved in the 'Ballot Scene' where they had to cast their votes for whether or not to accept redundancy. Catherine, Suzie and Jessica donned some questionable 90s coats to make numerous appearances on stage as women on the picket line......."the miners united will never be defeated!"
A special mention has to be made for James Atkins for his numerous solos, but especially for his beautiful rendition of Jerusalem.....it takes a lot of confidence and talent to stand alone on stage playing such an iconic tune, and he nailed it every time.
The band have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of appearing in Brassed Off and have now got a real taste for stardom......next stop the West End, Broadway and then Hollywood!
A note from the critics
'Musically splendid' - Manchester Theatre Awards
'A polished brass band performing live puts the shine on this revival' - The Stage
'The play is accompanied by a live brass band on stage, who in many ways are the star of the show...they were excellent' - Entertainment Focus