Burnley ‘Les Miserables’ with West End stars cancelled

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A unique show, that will see Burnley schoolchildren share the stage with top West End stars, has been dramatically halted.

News that the production of the smash hit musical and film Les Miserables cannot go ahead this year came in the same week that auditions were due to take place.

The production was all set to be staged at the Mechanics Theatre in November but plans were halted after Todmorden Amateur Operatic Society, which is putting on the same show in early December, lodged a complaint on the grounds that its ticket sales would be affected.

The complaint was made to Josef Weinberger Ltd in London,a licensing agent for musicals, plays and operas. Opera singer Sean Ruane, the leading light behind the production, said the news came as a real blow.

He said: “The complaint was upheld on the grounds that the ticket sales for the Todmorden production may be affected as the two are so close together in terms of time.

“It is a blow but we have to turn a negative into a positive. This gives us more time to build up the support for the production and make it even bigger and better than we first planned.’’

The show will now take place in the autumn next year and will see teenagers from Thomas Whitham Sixth Form and all of Burnley’s high schools work with industry professionals from the world of opera and the West End.

Sean, a former St Theodore’s pupil who is an international tenor, set up a company called CHANT to allow youngsters access to and guidance from industry professionals.

Other organisations on board with the Les Miserables project include Burnley Council, Burnley Bondholders and VEDAS Recruitment.