Sam joins stars for role in Victoria Wood TV musical

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: 13-year-old Sam Burles has landed a role in a musical written and directed by Victoria Wood 13-year-old Sam Burles has landed a role in a musical written and directed by Victoria Wood

A teenage boy has landed a role in a new television musical written and directed by Victoria Wood.

Sam Burles, a pupil at Stagecoach in Keighley, will play a young chorister in Tubby And Enid, starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton.

The musical, a new adaptation of Bafta-winning Victoria Wood’s stage play That Day We Sang, was inspired by the real-life recording of Nymphs And Shepherds by the Manchester Children’s Choir in 1929.

The story is set 40 years later, at a reunion of the choir being filmed for a TV documentary. One of the former choir children is now a middle-aged insurance salesman, Tubby, living alone after his mother’s death. On hearing the choir’s record for the first time in 40 years, he sees the boy he once was – and the man he could be.

Also attending the reunion is Enid, immersed in her own comfort zone. When memories are stirred in them both, they realise they have a last chance for happiness.

The action interweaves with flashbacks to 1929, when a boy called Jimmy, living in a back-to-back in depression-hit Manchester, prepares for the recording.

Sam, 13, landed the role of Hewitt, another boy in the choir, after auditioning in front of Victoria Wood.

Matthew Zina, head of drama at Stagecoach Keighley, spotted the youngster’s potential. He said: “Sam is also in the Yorkshire School of Acting’s Agency, which I run. I sent him for an audition and he was given the role. It’s his first TV role, so he’s done really well. It’s going to be a big, high-profile production, with a strong cast.”

BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow said: “With a fantastic cast, and written and directed by the brilliant Victoria Wood, this promises to be a real treat for BBC2 viewers.”

Producer Paul Frift added: “Musicals for television are rare – to make a musical with Victoria Wood, Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball is pure heaven. Tubby And Enid is a beautiful, universal love story.”

Mr Zina also runs Yorkshire School of Acting drama classes at the New Bradford Playhouse in Little Germany on Wednesdays from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. For more information visit www.theyorkshireschoolofacting.co.uk.

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