West End dream for North Walsham High School teacher from Wells

A performing arts teacher has written a musical with a difference which she hopes to take to London's West End.

Elizabeth Dark, of Wells, wrote and choreographed Angelis - a production set in Northern Ireland during 1275 - which features amateur and semi-professional musical theatre performers from Norfolk.

Ms Dark, originally from Melbourne, Australia, moved to Wells in 2008, after meeting her partner Robert Smith, Wells harbour master, in 2006.

She has taught performing arts for the past 20 years and is currently a teacher at North Walsham High School.

Ms Dark spent a year researching the history for Angelis, started writing the musical in July 2010 and rehearsals started in October last year.

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She said: 'The cast is brilliant, they are really talented with gorgeous voices. I'm quite confident this could go to London, everyone who has heard it is quite impressed.

'It is very different to anything else. There is no Medieval musical out there that knocks your socks off.'

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Ms Dark added that the production, which includes adult themes, was strong, hopeful and powerful and contains an 'eclectic mix' of music including Celtic, folk, rock and Latin.

'It is about being human. It is very deep but there are also comic moments,' she said.

BBC presenter David Whiteley is the narrator and Ms Dark plays the older version of the main role, Osana. Rowan Perrow, 14, of Norwich, plays the younger Osana.

Miss Perrow, a Hewett School pupil, said: 'I've been interested in musicals all my life. Angelis is brilliant. I'm really looking forward to the performance and what happens afterwards.'

Angelis is being performed for one night only at the Dragon Hall, Norwich, on January 22, but all 120 tickets have sold out.

It features a cast of 15, aged between 11 and 60, 15 songs and will be filmed in Norwich to be shown to London producers.

The musical is part of Ms Dark's final project for her year-long course in song writing, which she undertook at the London Song Company, in Clapham.

At the start of the production Osana is 12-years-old and it follows her life, during which she runs away from an arranged marriage and lives in a Cistercian monastery where she becomes pregnant. The shows ends with her committing suicide in her early 30s.

Ms Dark was inspired to set the show in Northern Ireland after a trip to Galway in 2006, where she visited old churches.

She said she wrote the musical to take place in 1275 because by going back 1,000 years it allowed the audience to have an objective view on what is happening in the world today.

For more information about the show visit www.angelismusical.com

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