Norwich School’s sporty guys and dolls

A Norfolk school's forthcoming production of Guys and Dolls will be a rugged one.

A number of the cast – made up of students from Norwich School – will be more used to tackling each other than tackling songs and dances, as the school's rugby players swap the scrum for songs this month.

The musical runs at The Norwich Playhouse from November 16 to 19 and sees three rugby playing students in principal roles and a number in the chorus. A number of netball players and rowers are also among the cast.

'School productions should include as many students as possible and bring out hidden talents, like learning to dance,' said Francis McIvor, Norwich School's senior tutor, teacher of philosophy and Greek and director of the production.

'The students enjoy it enormously and engage with the emotional story and comic subplots.

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'It's a classic Broadway musical – great songs, a superb score and a plot that explores human emotions in a quite surprising way. We've got a talented cast and a band made up entirely of students at the school.'

The sporty leads have appeared in understudy and supporting roles in the school's previous shows, but most of the 'Crap Shooters' male chorus are making their stage debuts.

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And among their co-stars is a first team football player, National Schools rowing champion and a county netball player.

Ed Bartram, 16, who is in lower sixth form and plays for the men's third rugby team, plays the lead Sky Masterson.

Mr Bartram, from Common Road, East Tuddenham, said: 'Rugby and musical theatre share many key skills, such as teamwork, coordination and fitness. It is important for a cast to work together when rehearsing and performing, especially with regard to singing and dancing.'

Guys and Dolls follows the lives and loves of a group of missionaries, gamblers, showgirls and conmen in 1950s New York and features well known song and dance routines like Luck be a Lady and You're Rocking the Boat.

Aaron Murphy, 18, who is in upper sixth form and looking to go into medicine, plays for the men's first rugby team and fills the role of small time gambler Benny Southstreet.

Mr Murphy, from Earlham Road, Norwich, said: 'There are many parallels to be drawn between the musical and my rugby team: the commitment, the teamwork and a great sense of achievement.

'Although the stage for rugby and this production is very different, there is a sense of teamwork and commitment to each other which is identical.'

Tickets for the show are available on 01603 630000 or from

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