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A DREAM ACROSS THE OCEAN, A New British Musical to Make Premiere at Ashcroft Theatre, 8/11 -8/12


A DREAM ACROSS THE OCEAN is a musical that celebrates the faith and determination of the West Indian Pentecostal community who were part of the Windrush generation that came to Britain during the 1940's 50's and 60's. It will get its world premiere at The Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 August, 2012.

Directed by Ray Shell, A DREAM ACROSS THE OCEAN, tells the story of Winston Morgan, who leaves the Caribbean in the 1960's and travels to London in search of a better life for his family. It follows his struggles as he endeavours to settle in the mother country: his lonely early years without Annie, the love of his life. It also tells of his enduring friendship with Patrick Mulligan, an Irishman who shares the rooming house that accepts them both when no one else would, and how his faith and determination helps him to create a new life in a cold, strange land.

A DREAM ACROSS THE OCEAN features a live band and music that was endemic to the era in which it is set: from British gospel to ska: following the gamut through reggae, calypso and soul music.

Cast and more creatives to be announced.

The Windrush Generation: On June 22, 1948, the SS Empire Windrush first docked at Tilbury in Essex. Its arrival marked an important moment in the history of modern England. The steamship had stopped in Jamaica to pick up some of the thousands of servicemen who had been recruited to serve in the armed forces during the second world war. They were joined on their life-changing Atlantic voyage by some 500 other Caribbean men and women keen to visit England. Over the years "the Windrush generation" and their families - 500,000 migrants - have become integral to our society.

Ray Shell's credits as a director include ZIP: A Streetdance Musical, The Tulip Wars and three sold-out Charles Dickens Christmas shows at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in London the Black Designers Fashion Show at The Royal Alert Hall and The Mango Lick Poetry Jam at The Royal Festival Hall. As an actor, Ray has been a permanent fixture in the West End for 20 years, starring in some of the biggest musicals, from Starlight Express, Ain't Misbehavin', Jesus Christ Superstar, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber to the original productions of Little Willies Jr's Resurrection, Miss Saigon, Children of Eden, Dancing in the Streets and Gone With the Wind. He created the role of 'Nomax', in the original National Theatre workshop production of 5 Guys Named Mo. Ray is the author of the critically and internationally acclaimed novel Iced, which is soon to be a major motion picture which he will also direct.

Churchboyz! (producers), founded in 2006, is the only UK gospel group that pays tribute to music that spiritually and emotionally, sustained the first generation of West Indian migrants that arrived in Britain on the Empire Windrush. Those immigrants not only worked hard in Britain's labour-starved industries, but they also established one of black Britain's greatest institutions: the black Pentecostal Church. Churchboyz! perform modern renditions and interpretations of the very songs and choruses that were very popular with these early settlers, giving us reggae-infused versions of songs like Draw Back The Curtains of Memories Now and Then, Press Along Saints, Hallelujah Anyhow and Fire, Fire, Fire, as well as their own compositions.

A DREAM ACROSS THE OCEAN is a story of triumph over adversity and an experience not to be missed.

The Ashcroft Theatre, Fairfield Halls, Croydon, CR9 1DG. Saturday 11 August and Sunday 12 August at 7.30pm, Tickets £20.00, Group discounts available. Box Office: 020 8688 9291.

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