A group of University of Chichester students will be raising money for 4Sight Vision Support, a charity which helps people with sight loss, with their production of the Barry Manilow musical Copacabana at Bognor Regis’ Alexandra Theatre from Thursday to Saturday, March 7-9.
The musical, backed by other fundraising activities, is a collaboration between the university’s musical theatre students and undergraduates on its charity development degree.
Bethany Stanley, who is part of the ensemble in the show, said 4Sight was a great charity to put on a musical for.
The students and the charity have been working together on the project since last September.
“We have been working alongside them, and it really helps on our part, learning what the charity does and how it works.”
Copacabana seemed the perfect musical for their plans.
“It has got quite a large cast which means we can be really inclusive, and it is a good family show.
“We figured that it would attract a wider audience, perhaps especially people wanting to go out for the night in Bognor, and we also felt that the musical would suit the area’s demographic.
“The show consists of Barry Manilow’s hits such as Sweet Heaven, Just Arrived and, of course, Copacabana.
“It follows an aspiring writer Stephen whose imagination takes us to New York in the 40s where we meet an ambitious singer Lola Lamar. We follow the love story of Lola and Tony.
“The musical is going to involve students on the musical theatre and charity development students and other musical theatre courses at the university giving them the opportunity to perform and be involved with community fundraising for people across West Sussex.
“We have been working on it since September. We had our auditions in mid to late-September, and we started the rehearsals in October.
“It has only been on Mondays and we had a couple of weeks off over Christmas, but it has been going well.
“I think there are 23 in the cast, mostly second-years and a few third-years, and I think it is about five people back stage.
“There are a few of us that are being examined on the rehearsal process and on the fund-raising part of it all.
“I am doing musical theatre and charity development. I am on the joint course, and I am really enjoying it,” says Bethany, who is originally from Reading.
“Last year was quite difficult because we were learning about charity work and learnt all sorts of terms that were new to us and how to write proposals.
“Now in the second year it is all a question of putting all the stuff that we learnt in the first year into practice. It has been pretty helpful.
“Next year we will have our dissertations to do and I think we get to work with charities as well, but I don’t really know.”
4Sight Vision Support provides support, advice and training to improve the quality of life for people who are visually impaired.
A spokesman said: “Our service users are at the heart of everything we do, and we aim to help them, understand their sight condition, retain their independence, maintain and improve their quality of life and participate fully in their community whilst having a voice.”
Copacabana will be at the Alexandra Theatre, Bognor Regis, on March 7, 8 and 9. Tickets from the Regis Centre on http://alexandratheatre.co.uk or by phone on 01243 861010.