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Brassed Off writer speaks ahead of Wolverhampton show

By Doug Wootton | Entertainment | Published:

The writer behind the Grand Theatre’s first in-house production in 40 years has revealed his delight with the play now coming to Wolverhampton.

Brassed Off, the British classic film about a pit village and its band which refused to die, was adapted for the stage 16 years ago by Paul Allen.

Mr Allen, originally from Canterbury, started out as a journalist in Sheffield where he covered the controversial opening of the Crucible Theatre in 1971.

He started covering theatre, before writing plays for both radio and theatre and was proud to write Brassed Off in 1998 when it transferred to the National Theatre.

Now aged 75, he said: "I'm a very bad ex-trombonist – my ear wasn't good enough. I'd been quite heavily in 1997 when I came with the idea and the Crucible Theatre desperately needed something which would help balance the books.

"I found myself saying before I'd even seen the film as I'd heard good reviews and I like brass bands and brass music generally.

"For me it's a tragic story in many ways, but because those in it deal with it humour, it become a funny story too – it appealed to be hugely to do it."

The production has proved to be hugely popular and has continually toured across the UK and it's latest adaptation which will feature a community cast from Wolverhampton.

He added: "The key adaptation for this production was the use of community cast in this production which enhances scenes – you can have a real picket-line for example.

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"Involving the community in such a way is very appropriate as it's the whole show is about community.

"Over the years I've written about 12 plays, but this is the one I always follow around. It's very real and still resonates with both the actors and audience.

"I go back to Grimethorpe when I can and they have had a series of government's which have failed them in many ways and I guess some of that would be true in Wolverhampton which has been through a lot of the same industrial closures and unemployment – having lots of coffee bars doesn't really sort it.

"I'd like people to go out feeling how good humanity can be. I'd like there to be a thousand lumps in the throat for people coming home."

Brassed Off shows at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from August 23 until September 2.

Tickets start from £15.50 and can be bought from the box office in-person, online via grandtheatre.co.uk or by calling 01902 429 212.

Doug Wootton

By Doug Wootton
Wolverhampton Reporter - @_DougWootton

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