Duo team up to pen new musical

Former Our Lady's High pupil Paul Higgins
Former Our Lady's High pupil Paul Higgins

Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross and Wishaw-born actor Paul Higgins have teamed up to write a brand new musical.

Telling the story of a newly-formed community choir in Pather Community Centre, The Choir plays at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow from this Saturday (October 24) to Saturday, November 14.

The Choir is a funny, gritty but ultimately heart-warming musical play about a group of strangers who come together, not always willingly, to sing in a community choir.

Week by week, the disparate group, from a Tory councillor to an Iraqi immigrant, learn a little more about each other, and themselves, as each member shares a favourite song to be learnt by all.

With choirs never more popular thanks to films such as Pitch Perfect and TV shows Glee and Gareth Malone’s Military Wives and The Naked Choir projects on the BBC, The Choir celebrates the friendships, community and solidarity that can come from joining with others in song.

Graham Pointer, arts development officer at Culture NL and leader of The Summerlee Singers, said: “As a valuable activity of our community arts programme, choral singing enhances wellbeing from several aspects.

“A feel good factor from engaging with your breathing, your voice, and from hormones released as a result.

“As well as the joy of singing in a group in which there is no judgement or prejudice, just plenty of smiles and harmony. At the end of each session our hearts beat as one.”

The Choir features brand new music written by Ricky Ross.

He said: I’m really enjoying creating music for the stage and discovering new ways to tell people’s stories through song.

“The Choir is a musical play with a big heart about music’s power to bring people together which is something I find really compelling.

“It will be great to hear my songs performed on stage in the iconic Citizens Theatre.’

The script is written by former Our Lady’s High pupil Paul Higgins, who had his first experiences as an actor in youth theatre at Cumbernauld and while at school.

Paul is best known for his TV roles in Utopia and The Thick of It, with his debut work as a playwright, Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us, presented at the Traverse Theatre by the National Theatre of Scotland in 2008.

He said: “I’m thrilled to be presenting my first musical play at the Citizens Theatre.

“Knowing the play would receive its premiere at the Citizens, it was important to me that we create a down-to-earth story with characters worthy of my hometown of Wishaw, where it’s set, as well as a piece of theatre that’s going to be an enjoyable night out.

“It’s been great collaborating with Ricky on this project too; he has composed some beautiful, uplifting songs that really capture the spirit of the story.”

This new production is directed by Citizens Theatre’s artistic director Dominic Hill and is co-produced with Ambassador Theatre Group, the UK’s largest live-theatre company and managers of Glasgow’s King’s Theatre and Theatre Royal.

ATG have worked with the Citizens Theatre to develop this new musical play from its earliest stages and supported Dominic to create this major new piece of Scottish writing drawing on the rich creative talent in the west of Scotland.

Tickets for The Choir are on sale now priced from 50p-£20.50 and available online or by calling the box office on 0141 429 0022.

Previews are on October 24, 27 and 28 at 7.30pm, with matinees on November 4, 7 and 14 at 2.30pm and November 11 at 1.45pm.

There will be a lunch event on November 14 at noon, a British Sign Language performance on November 13 at 7.30pm and a captioned performance on November 14 at 2.30pm.

All other performances take place at 7.30pm with a post show talk on November 3.

If you are inspired by The Choir to get involved in community groups visit the Culture NL arts page.