North-east theatre company returns to stage after eight-year gap

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A NORTH-east amateur dramatic society, renowned for staging challenging and gutsy performances, will return to the Aberdeen stage after an extended hiatus with an eight-time Tony award winning rock musical.

Harlequin Productions is set to return to the stage in March with a production of Spring Awakening - a new rock musical adaptation of the controversial 1891 text by German playwright Frank Wedekind.

Set upon the backdrop of a strict and unforgiving late 19th century German society, the musical confronts the issues of awakening sexuality in teenage years and the frustrations of a group of youths who are trying to find their way in life, often in opposition to what their parents and teachers tell them.

The timeless themes of troubled adolescence are given a further contemporary twist with original rock songs that are interspersed throughout the two-act show to replace Wedekind’s series of monologues.

A local cast of 16 performers has been assembled to perform the musical, which has enjoyed successful runs in Broadway and the West End since its inaugural American production in 2006. With the rights of the show now available to amateur groups, Harlequin’s production is North-east Scotland’s premier performance.

This production marks a resurgent entry the theatre company, originally formed in 1995 for young performers to tackle challenging shows not typically performed by other companies.

Harlequin was a regular feature on the Aberdeen stage for nearly 10 years until various work and personal commitments saw the core team disband. However after an eight-year gap, the company has been reinstated by Stuart Mearns, an original member of Harlequin and co-director of the Aberdeen Academy of Performing Arts.  

Stuart said: “I’m so excited to be able to reintroduce Harlequin to Aberdeen through this incredible production. There’s so much energy and enthusiasm for the show amongst the cast and the North-east theatrical community and we just can’t wait to get on the stage to showcase our hard work.”

He added: “While the original text is over 100 years old, I think the messages Spring Awakening tells are still so important today.

“It’s a fearless piece that has challenged all of us in rehearsals just like I’m sure it will challenge audiences. It’s going to be a real experience!”

Harlequin Productions will perform Spring Awakening – A New Musical - from March 16 to 19 at the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen. All performances begin at 7pm.

Tickets are £11 from Aberdeen Box Office (www.boxofficeaberdeen.com / 01224 641122).

For ages 13+. Contains strong language and adult themes.