New play based on a true Burton story is next StageScreen production

Our students will begin work on a new play when term starts on September 11.

The Godmother will allow them to develop skills in drama, comedy and musical theatre. It will also show them a new side of local history.

The play is closely based on the true story of Lily Thomas. She was a widowed mother-of-one from Burton who decided to organise support for local men taken prisoner during World War One. It has been written by local writer Elaine Pritchard. She first heard about Lily from local historian Malcolm Goode and knew it was a story she wanted to bring to life on stage.

Capturing the imaginations of local people

Principal Heather Gallagher said: “This going to be something very special indeed for our students this year!”

Over the summer, Elaine, Heather and StageScreen tutors Jack, Megan and Tilley read through the play in the inspiring surroundings of The Trinity, George Street, Burton. This is also where the students will perform the play on December 9 and 10.

An interior shot of The Trinity, Burton Three people stand in the former pulpit of The Trinity

Elaine said: “I’m already being asked when tickets will go on sale. I’m delighted that Lily’s story is already capturing the imagination of local people.”

Details of how to buy tickets will be available during the autumn on this website as well as on Lily’s own Facebook and Twitter channels.

Lily’s actions saved many lives

The play includes songs that were popular between 1914-1918 as well as a new music hall-style song.  Elaine explained: “Lily and a band of loyal volunteer helpers organised and despatched 25,750 parcels of food, clothes and medicines to Burton prisoners in Germany during the four years of the war. So I’ve written the lyrics for a new song that celebrates the array of essentials and treats that she collected and put into these parcels.

“She faced criticism and a tidal wave of red tape – but she persevered. Raising money was hard and there were many times when funds were almost exhausted. But Lily never gave up. Her faith in what she was doing was justified when many returning soldiers swore that she had saved their lives.”

Following in Lily’s footsteps

Lily Thomas of Burton

Today, the Trinity is a popular entertainment and wedding venue and a small business hub. Originally, it was the George Street United Methodist Church. Trustees from the church were staunch supporters of Lily’s fund for Burton prisoners of war. Lily herself attended a thanksgiving service at the church in December 1918.

Heather said: “We will literally be stepping in Lily’s footsteps when we perform the play at The Trinity.”

StageScreen students will be auditioning for parts in the show during September. There are still opportunities for new students to join us. Parents can use this form to request a free morning’s trial session.

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