The Arts Centre Telford to perform Jekyll and Hyde this weekend

A suspended laboratory and state-of-the-art video technology will help bring two of the theatre’s most compelling characters to life as Shropshire performers take to the stage this weekend.

A professional 14-piece band has also been brought in for the production of Jekyll and Hyde by The Arts Centre Telford (TACT).

The company has pulled out all the stops to ensure the sweeping gothic musical stuns the audience when it opens at Oakengates Theatre on July 15 for a two-night run.

The ambitious staging has also helped the school to buck the national trend by attracting a large proportion of older teenage boys to the musical theatre offering.

“We are particularly excited about this show as our team have worked relentlessly over the last few months to secure the most sophisticated equipment for this production,” said Ross Doodson, producer and musical director of TACT.

“This is a show with several strong themes running through it and we knew it would appeal to some of our older performers. They are a talented bunch but of course want to get their teeth into something that stretches those talents and this is it.

“I can honestly say they have lived up to the challenge and the work they are producing is second to none. This production will certainly keep our audience gripped throughout.”

A cast of 40 will appear featuring performers aged from 12 to 19 years of age.

The crew will be using a combination of physical scenery and virtual scenery to create onstage environments using a large theatrical projector.

To add to the tension Jekyll’s lab will also be suspended above the performers while 16 radio microphones will be in use at all times throughout the two nights.

“This is ambitious given the resources and time available to a community company such as ours but we are also trying to push the boundaries to produce theatre right here in Shropshire that rivals that of the bigger theatres including the West End,” added Ross.

“We believe that if our cast commit to putting on a show like this and work hard at rehearsals then they should have all the support needed to help them produce what is a professional show.

“We demand high standards from them which I think has helped us to retain a significant number of older members who take their theatre very seriously. We have both adult actors and younger performers on stage and they are really learning from each other.”

Ross said he was also delighted to confirm that two of the company’s performers who had secured places at the Arts Education School in London would be appearing in the show.

Ben Pierce, who takes on the role of Jekyll, and Will Young, who will be playing Utterson, are off to the top London stage school in September.

Tickets are available from £13.50 and available from the Oakengates Theatre Box Office on 01952 382382.