Bognor Regis will become Berlin when students on the University of Chichester’s musical theatre programme bring Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret to the Regis Centre.
Brighton-based professional Ed Burnside has been brought in to direct the second-year
students on the musical theatre foundation course.
“I have connections with some of the staff that work at the university,” Ed said, “and I was asked to come in as a free-lance professional director and to choose a musical.
“I chose Cabaret. It is one of my absolute favourites. It is something that I have always wanted to direct and not had the opportunity to before. This is a fantastic chance to work with such a talented team.”
What makes it such a striking musical is the subject matter as much as anything else, Ed says - a dark and adult piece that explores the grimy underworld of Weimar Berlin, a world of risqué song and dance, corrupt politics and at its heart the story of Sally Bowles set against the dark backdrop of the rise of the Nazis.
“As a theatre person, I am more drawn to the darker themes in my work. I am not sure how good I would be at frothy and feel-good! This one is very dark and exciting, and I hope this production will bring out those elements.
“It’s a fantastic story. I love Isherwood’s writing, and everything combined for me to choose it.”
Working with the students is proving rewarding: “I try not to make concessions to the fact that they are students. I am in the very fortunate position that I am working with students of such high calibre. I thought I would have to make a lot of concessions, but to be honest, I am hardly having to at all. It’s just sometimes they might need a little bit more guidance.
“Obviously they are still in training. They are still students. But it is good because you are really aware of just how much they all want to do it.”
Just as well because it is a competitive world that lies ahead for them all.
“It’s 95 per cent unemployment. It’s a ridiculous figure. They are aware, but they are aware that it means that they have to strive to be as good as possible.”
Performances are Thursday, April 7–Saturday, April 9, 7.30pm (matinee Saturday, April 9, 2pm). Tickets available on 01243 861010 or online at www.regiscentre.co.uk.