Press Release provided by the production.

A brand new musical on climate change will open in Hastings this month at the Kino-Teatr, featuring an impressive cast of local talent.

Script writer Sally Holloway says she wanted to write a “feel-good” musical about climate change that inspires rather than scares. “We want people to go out of the theatre happy and galvanised.” She got the idea for the plot when she was listening to Greta Thunberg on the radio and imagined what it would be like if she lived in Hastings, and her Dad ran a big polluting company and her mum was a shopaholic. “Imagine the rows!” she says.

The roles of mother and daughter are being played by real mother and daughter team: Eastbourne-based singer Chloe Thompson and her mum, Joanna Roffey. Joanna said “We have been singing together since Chloe was in a baby bath!”. This is not the first time they have been on stage together. They both appeared in Oliver at the Assembly Hall theatre, Tunbridge Wells, back in 2009, but this is the first time they will have played mother and daughter in a production.

“We hope our real life relationship will bring a warmth and a depth to our performances”, says Chloe, 21, who is a graduate of both the Italia Conti Academy and Stage Coach where she had main roles in a number of productions including Grease, Aladdin and Hairspray.

The pair are thrilled to be working with award-winning director Dominique Gerrard. Dominique moved to Hastings just over two years ago and is stunned by the range of talent on offer here. She has worked with a host of new writing talent for theatre, including Sweet Productions and Emily Carding, whose play “Quintessence” (directed by Gerrard) recently won the FringeReview Outstanding Theatre Award. She was attracted to this show because she has always believed in the power of theatre to create value by moving and inspiring audiences. She said, “Climate change is the issue of our age.”

She is also keen to point out that “the music is wonderful.” The show has 16 songs; a range of ballads, rock, blues, calypso, soul and of course a couple of big anthems that will hopefully make the audience go out humming. They were all written by Hastings-based musicians Rob Hill and Peter O’Donnell.

Rob used to be a marketing man who commuted to London on the 6.30am train until he was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in 2014. He always wrote songs in his spare time but says that he can now take his songwriting seriously. He got the idea for a musical about climate change after reading about the local youth strike protests. He says he was moved by the passion of young people giving up their time to protest because they are so scared about their future. One of the songs is even called Youth Strike and takes their slogans as its lyrics. “So, in a way, the kids are my co-writers,” he laughed.

His actual co-writer is St Leonards based musician, Peter O’Donnell. “He takes raw cuts of my songs and sends them back sounding like polished radio hits. It’s amazing,” Rob says. It’s not surprising Peter has high standards – when he’s not writing and producing music he is the resident singer at The Ritz in London. Peter is currently working with the entire cast of seven, rehearsing their duets, trios and solos. “It’s a joy to do as they all sing like angels, it’s going to be a great musical,” he said.

Hastings and the surrounding area provides a huge pool of talent for him to work with. Oscar Smith from Battle Light Opera group is also delighted to be in the show. He plays a young scientist who seems to be on both sides at once. Alongside him is Kelcie Black from Polegate playing young, radical Emily, who wants to get arrested for the sake of the planet and also to annoy her sarcastic mother! Kelcie, at the age of 24 is a veteran of many musicals, including 9 To 5 and Rags, both performed at the London College of Music where she gained a first class degree in Musical Theatre.

The show includes accomplished actors Lisa Harmer Pope and Robin Hayter, who between them have a long list of acting credits on stage, screen and TV including EastEnders, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, The Gentle Touch, Grange Hill and Metrosexuality to name just a few. They first acted together over 20 years ago. “We have been chosen to add gravitas to the show, apparently,” laughs Lisa, from St Leonards, “I think that means we’re old!”.

The title song of the show is “A Billion Ways”, a poignant song about how we exploit the planet. Writer Rob Hill says, “We all know the consequences of climate breakdown because it is happening right now in front of our eyes but ‘A Billion Ways’ is also about the fact that there are a billion ways for us to put it back together again and it needs us all. Many people feel really scared and helpless in the face of such overwhelming news, but if we all come together, change can happen. Of course I’m hoping that there is definitive action by our governments too, but we all need to try and make sense of this in our lives and music brings us all together at this really critical time.”

A Billion Ways – The Musical About Climate Change is on at the Kino Teatr 43-49 Norman Rd, St Leonards-on-Sea TN38 0EG. Telephone 01424 457830.

Performances start at 7.30 pm on 14th, 15th and 16th November 2019. Book tickets directly from the theatre or from

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