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Your chance to make New Wolsey’s Ipswich Town musical, Our Blue Heaven, a reality

PUBLISHED: 19:00 12 September 2017

The Blues lifting the trophy after beating Arsenal

The Blues lifting the trophy after beating Arsenal

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The New Wolsey Theatre is teaming up with Ipswich Town Football Club and its fans to stage a celebratory musical marking the 40th anniversary of the club’s FA Cup win. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to writer-director Peter Rowe about the ambitious project.

The FA Cup is lifted high as Ipswich fans flocked to the Cornhill to celebrate the victory.The FA Cup is lifted high as Ipswich fans flocked to the Cornhill to celebrate the victory.

The New Wolsey Theatre will be celebrating Ipswich Town’s legendary FA Cup win of 1978, with Our Blue Heaven – a major musical production timed to hit the stage on the 40th anniversary of The Super Blues historic win.

The anniversary play, written and directed by the New Wolsey’s artistic director Peter Rowe, will combine the memories of fans, who were there on the match-winning trail, with some of the hit songs of the day.

Our Blue Heaven, to be staged next May on the 40th anniversary of Ipswich Town’s historic FA Cup win, will be an extra production slotted in at the end of the spring season and the theatre have launched a crowd-funding campaign to help to make this ambitious production a reality.

Peter Rowe said that in order to meet the production costs involved in staging this sporting musical, the theatre will need to raise £45,000 in public sponsorship to cover a proportion of the costs needed to create the show.

Artistic director of the New Wolsey Theatre Pete Rowe  who will be writing and directing Our Blue Heaven to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ipswich Town's FA Cup win. Photo: Mike KwasniakArtistic director of the New Wolsey Theatre Pete Rowe who will be writing and directing Our Blue Heaven to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ipswich Town's FA Cup win. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

At the fundraising launch event held at the theatre on Tuesday evening, theatre patrons and local business owners were invited to view the ITFC sponsorship packages available via crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The theatre has created 12 levels of pledge packages, each named after a player and Manager Bobby Robson from the winning Wembley squad: Individuals can “feel good for a fiver” with a £5 donation for the Cooper package, or donate right up to the £10,000 for the ultimate package for any Ipswich Town fan, the Robson. Every package combines a unique level of gifts, some including premium tickets to the show, limited edition prints and specially selected, signed memorabilia from the 1978 team, donated by Ipswich Town Football Club.

Speaking at the launch, Peter Rowe said: “2018 will mark 40 years since Ipswich Town’s historic FA Cup victory - a moment when Ipswich united to celebrate success as the underdog became victorious. We are working to commemorate this anniversary by producing a brand new musical production, using the stories and memories of the people of Ipswich and Suffolk at the time. The production is planned to open at the theatre exactly 40 years on from the Wembley Final and will really be a show drawn from the local community, for the local community. This production can only happen with your support. Help us to re-light that fire and ignite the town in celebration again, 40 years on from Ipswich Town’s historic FA Cup victory!”

Speaking after the launch, Peter said that he had all ready started thinking about how he will put the show together. “I think the story at the heart of the play will probably centre round a family which will have at least one mad-keen Ipswich Town supporter.

“So the story will centre around how you could get hold of cup final tickets and all the various intricate, ingenious ways that people found to get themselves to Wembley. There are also some great stories about people who weren’t able to get their for various reasons, someone was in hospital giving birth and another person was stuck on a ship at sea.

Kissing the FA Cup in celebrationKissing the FA Cup in celebration

“Also the tales of the aftermath of the match, everyone flooding into the town for the team’s return will be part of it too. It will be a number of different stories which will be threaded together.

“As far as the music is concerned, our thinking is that we will create a soundscape using songs from that period and that year. So it won’t be a musical in the sense of having lots of bespoke numbers written for the show but, what it will have, is songs that people will have bought and heard on the radio at that time. So the music will provide a sense of place and time. There will also be plenty of songs and chants from the terraces.”

The Ipswich Town Supporters Club has co-ordinated the collection of the reminiscences, which will also be used as part of the ITFC heritage project, and by the East Anglian Daily Times for a commemorative publication.

Elizabeth Edwards, ITFC supporter liaison officer, has said: ‘Our Blue Heaven provides a chance for one of ITFC’s greatest achievements to be immortalised on stage. It is not just about what happened on the pitch, on the day of the final though - fans have provided their stories of the whole cup run, that wonderful four-month period of our lives when Town worked their way through to Wembley glory.’

The final whistle blows and Town players are embracing in celebrationThe final whistle blows and Town players are embracing in celebration

To pledge to back the project and make the production a reality visit www.ourblueheaven.co.uk and get updates on Facebook/OurBlueHeaven and on Twitter @OurBlueHeaven78

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