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Musical set to transport theatre audiences back to 19th century Cumbria

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 April 2019

Artistic director at the Queen's Theatre and director of The Hired Man Douglas Rintoul. Picture: Mark Sepple

Artistic director at the Queen's Theatre and director of The Hired Man Douglas Rintoul. Picture: Mark Sepple

Mark Sepple

“It’s a show for the people. It’s about the voices you haven’t heard from that time and their stories.”

Lauryn Redding and Oliver Hembrough from The Hired Man. Picture: Mark SeppleLauryn Redding and Oliver Hembrough from The Hired Man. Picture: Mark Sepple

These are the words of 31-year-old actress Lauryn Redding who will be starring in the production of The Hired Man at the Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch, later this month.

“I think it’ll be something that the audience can relate to because it’s about people from the working class”, she said.

“Even though it might be set over 100 years ago, the themes of working hard and struggles are still the same as today.

“If you love a good cry - as well as a few laughs and upbeat songs - then you’ll love this.”

Actress Lauryn Redding will be starring in The Hired Man. Picture: Mark SeppleActress Lauryn Redding will be starring in The Hired Man. Picture: Mark Sepple

Based on the novel written by Melvyn Bragg, the Hornchurch community venue, in partnership will the Hull Truck Theatre and Oldham Coliseum Theatre, will be bringing The Hired Man to life.

Set in Cumbria 1898, the show is in a time where whippet racing, hiring fairs, hunting and drunken antics collide.

The story focuses on married couple John and Emily from their late teens to their early 40s and how they try their best to survive by simply living off the land.

But their world is about to change forever as they face a new century troubled by the beginnings of the First World War.

Lauryn Redding and Oliver Hembrough from The Hired Man. Picture: Mark SeppleLauryn Redding and Oliver Hembrough from The Hired Man. Picture: Mark Sepple

Lauryn said: “Emily is a feisty character and it’s said in the show that she’s ‘got the devil in here’ which sums her up.

“She goes through a lot in her life so it’s good to be able to play a woman throughout those challenging periods and in a sense see how she grows and deals with everything.”

“At the moment there is a lot of change happening in the world with Brexit and a lot of uncertainty which comes with it which I can imagine is what these people would have felt.

“I love working on something that I care about and know it’s really important to keep the memory of the wars and what happened alive for future generations.

Queen's Theatre. Picture: Tim AndersonQueen's Theatre. Picture: Tim Anderson

“If we don’t continue to remember and honour their memories then one day we could be in danger of it all happening again.”

At the age of 18, Lauryn moved to London to go to drama school and has been performing up and down the country for the past 10 years, taking on roles in productions such as Educating Rita, where she played Rita, Twelfth Night, Oliver Twist, Horrible Histories as well as a small part in Eastenders.

She said: “People think I’m mad because I don’t know what I’m doing from month to month but I love it like that.

“I like doing a variety: plays, singing, I play instruments.

Actress Lauryn Redding will be starring in The Hired Man. Picture: Mark SeppleActress Lauryn Redding will be starring in The Hired Man. Picture: Mark Sepple

“That’s what keeps it interesting, doing something different all the time so I’m very lucky to be able to do that around the country.

“I haven’t performed in Hornchurch before so that’s exciting.”

The musical also features a superb score of foot stomping songs and soaring choruses by Howard Goodall, the award-winning composer of West End hits like Bend It Like Beckham and Love Story, and will be directed by the theatre’s very own artistic director Douglas Rintoul.

Lauryn added: “It’s a really heartfelt show that will get you thinking and at some points make you cry with it’s gorgeous music - it will tug at your heart strings.

Artistic director at the Queen's Theatre and director of The Hired Man Douglas Rintoul. Picture: Mark SeppleArtistic director at the Queen's Theatre and director of The Hired Man Douglas Rintoul. Picture: Mark Sepple

“But there are happier and funny moments in it as well and I think people are going to enjoy it.

“It’s a fantastic show so I can’t wait to get started and come down to Hornchurch!”

The Hired Man will be performed at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, from Saturday, April 27, to Saturday, May 18.

For any more information about the show or details on how to purchase tickets, visit queens-theatre.co.uk

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