Musical at The Millgate

SADDLEWORTH PLAYERS are bursting into song with their first musical production for 13 years next month. 

The Players last performed a musical – Gigi – in 2000 but have decided to end the drought with Half in Earnest, a musical version of Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of being Earnest.

Written in 1958 by Vivian Ellis, the show was last performed in the area by Crompton Stage Society (Playhouse 2) in the 1970s but will be brought back to life at the Millgate Arts Centre in Delph.

Said Saddleworth Players press officer Ken Wright: “The Players thought it was long overdue to do another musical.

“The dialogue is very true to the book – handbag, Victoria Station and all that – and the music is ‘catchy’ and splendid with clever lyrics and great entertainment.”

The cast mirrors that of the play, with Lady Bracknell in the safe hands of Anne Wright; Gwendolen (her daughter) played by Rachel Harrison and Cecily by Helen Dawson.

The two suitors, Algernon and Jack, are played by Chesney Talbot and Mike McCaw, who are both members of popular fundraising group, Musical Friends.

The cause of all the trouble, Miss Prism, is Margaret Thompson while Brent Andrews is the Rev Chasuble and the butlers are Ian Crickett and Stephen Hendren.

The ‘art nouveau’ set is by Sally McKee and ladies’ costumes are being made in-house, with award-winning Nita Bennett as director, Peter Wakefield as musical director and choreographer Kay Lilley.

And the music by Ellis – who also wrote ‘Spread a Little Happiness’ from ‘Mr Cinders’ and Paul Temple theme music ‘Coronation Scot’ – offers a delightful journey back to the 1950s.

Audiences can also enjoy a brand new range of dairy ice creams at all the Players’ productions, available in a mouth-watering choice of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint choc chip, mango and passionfruit, banana and toffee, and honeycomb.

Half in Earnest runs from June 1 to 8 (excluding Monday) .Tickets £7.50 (£4.50 students) and public booking starts on Tuesday, May 21. Booking details on 01457 874644 or website:

And one lucky reader can win two gift vouchers (equivalent to two tickets) to be exchanged for entry to Saddleworth Players’ performance of Half in Ernest.

For a chance of winning, simply answer this question: Where will Saddleworth Players perform Half in Ernest?

Email your answer, with full name, address and daytime telephone number, to or write to: Ticket Competition, Saddleworth Independent, Wharmton Tower, Oldham Road, Grasscroft, Oldham, OL4 4HL.

The first correct entry drawn from the bag after the closing date of Friday, May 24 will win the prize.


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