Historical musical penned in Wigan set for stage debut

The Iceni royal family from the new musical written in the borough
The Iceni royal family from the new musical written in the borough

A homegrown musical about the dramatic life of an ancient warrior queen is almost ready to be premiered on a stage in the borough.

Boudicca: First Britannia Queen, penned by writer Wayne Reedman and musician Paul Nicholson, will have its first performance at The Way Theatre in Atherton next month.

Wayne Reedman, creator of Boudicca: First Britannia Queen

Wayne Reedman, creator of Boudicca: First Britannia Queen

The duo will achieve a long-held ambition of seeing their work telling the tale of the Iceni tribal leader who defied the mighty Roman empire actually put on the boards, with the performance acting as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.

Preparations have been intensive over the past few weeks with the cast rehearsing the songs and the team also making extensive use of technology with actors being filmed using green screens who will then be seen as the backdrop to the action on the stage.

Wayne, from Leigh, said: “It’s been an unbelievable experience to see it coming together and an absolute pleasure.

“The singing and harmonies have really come together and the whole show is really moving forward.

A poster for Boudicca: First Britannia Queen

A poster for Boudicca: First Britannia Queen

“I’ve invited the great and the good to the premiere to celebrate the achievement of getting it done and the achievements of all the volunteers.”

Boudicca was finished more than five years ago but its journey to the stage began in earnest at the start of this year following a meeting with Wigan Music Service.

Waves of auditions took place in spring before the cast has been put through its paces in recent weeks.

The production will be a celebration of talent from the borough, with singers who have performed in pubs, working men’s clubs and cabaret settings all getting the chance to try out musical theatre.

Groups getting involved include Leigh Film Society, whose committee member Rob Tongeman is overseeing the video projections and dance rehab group Fallen Angels, while the

Saturday youth group The Soapbox has contributed assistant director Verity Dow and a number of young singers to the production.

Rehearsals have taken place at The Turnpike Centre and the production also got a boost with a recent visit from the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival team.

The production will take place in the theatre which is part of Victoria Mills in Atherton and was opened by a not-for-profit group including popular local actor Will Travis, who owns acting school A Will and A Way.

Boudicca: First Britannia Queen will have its premiere at The Way Theatre in Atherton on Sunday July 7 at 7.30pm. Tickets are now available, priced £6.50, on the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival website.