WATCH: Titanic sets sail for anniversary dates in Southampton

Matthew McDonaldMatthew McDonald
Matthew McDonald
Titanic The Musical heads to Southampton to coincide with the 111th anniversary of the doomed ship sinking after hitting an iceberg in the final hours of April 14 1912.

The show will be at the Mayflower Theatre from April 11-15, telling the tale of the tragic fate of the so-called “unsinkable ship”.

Chichester-born Matthew McDonald is delighted to return to the show as Charles Clarke. A few years ago, he was in the ensemble and understudied a number of characters when Titanic The Musical was last in Southampton: “I have risen through the Titanic ranks. I'm playing a second-class passenger who is an aspiring journalist going to America to start a new life with his fiancée. They are to be married when they get to New York but she is a first-class passenger and quite a lot of the conflict comes from the fact that Charles feels that he is not good enough for her. The class system was so rife back then. She feels that they're going to America to a new world and who cares about the class system. Her feeling is that she is in love and nothing else matters and that she's got all that she wants but Charles really feels that class system.

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“For me what makes the show so special is that it has got such a company vibe to the whole thing. It really feels like an ensemble piece. Everybody gets their own moment and apart from maybe four people everyone doubles up as other characters. And the great thing is that everybody knows the story and knows what happens but the way it's written you almost forget that in Act One. You're witnessing all these stories of hope and love and dreams and all these people going to new lives and you get caught up in them all. There is such a vast array of characters that you're bound to find one that you relate to.”

Matthew was born in Chichester: “We lived in Yapton for a couple of years and we have lived in Pagham pretty much ever since. I did drama at school and I did my first musical when I was 17 or 18. I did We Will Rock You when I was at Bognor Regis Community College as it was then called. I had a fun time. I was always a bit of a joker and I just thought well if I can make people laugh for a living then that's great. I did some shows at the Alexandra Theatre with BROS.

"I did Mac and Mabel and The Full Monty and I did Footloose with a different company. And then I went to drama school. I went to Mountview. I’d never done any training before and a friend of mine sent me some info. I was working as a salesman but I was part of the opening ceremony for the Olympics. I did that and I got back to my desk and I thought that I should be doing something in the performing line because I had had such a great time. I applied to Chichester University and I went there for a year but while I was there I was thinking I really want to try and push myself further and that I should try to break into the London scene. I just did one year at Chichester and then I got into Mountview.”

The show comes with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone (Woman of the Year and 1776) who have collectively won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, an Olivier Award and three Tony awards.