Current and former Stockport Grammar School pupils collaborated to give an outstanding production of new WWI musical ‘The Tree of War’. The production was co-written and directed by Old Stopfordian and emerging composer, Oliver Mills (2012), to commemorate 100 years since the First World War.
‘The Tree of War’, premiered at St. Nicholas’ Church in Manchester between 15th and 19th September and featured a 22-strong cast of singers and actors including many current and former pupils from Stockport Grammar School. Cast members included:
Alex Cosgriff (OS 2014) as Bert Trott
Sam Gilliatt (OS 2014) as Greville Harcourt
Maddie Corcoran (current pupil) as Anna Lakeman
Tom Fawcett (OS 2013) as Alf Barber
Alex Pollard (current pupil) as Davey Greybridge
Jamie Rahman (OS 2013) as Dougie McBride
Will Spence (OS 2014) as Harry Cooper
Georgia Curwen (current pupil) as Mavis Longsight / Ensemble
Hannah Goldsby (OS 2012) as Dorothy Appleton / Ensemble
Eilidh Pollard (OS 2015) as Vera Edgeley / Dancer / Ensemble
Emily Richardson (OS 2015) as Alice Turnbull / Ensemble
Alex Curwen (current pupil) as Tommy Longsight / Ensemble
Sam Holmes (OS 2011) as Musical Director
Hannah Clayton (OS 2015) – Music
Steve Dickie (OS 2012) – Music
Lorna Cole (OS 2012) – Assistant Producer
Amber Reece-Greenhalgh (OS 2015) – Prop Master / Rehearsal Stage Manager
Richard Almond (current pupil) – Lighting
Adam Musa (OS 2015) – Lighting
Jess Hadfield (OS 2012) – Tree Design
Kate Mitchell (OS 2012) – Tree Design
Joe Daniels (OS 2012) – Online Content and Sound
Jenny Muellenbach (OS 2015) – Costume Design
The musical is a tale of love, loss and hope that explores the lives of a group of South Manchester lads and lasses caught up in the trauma of the First World War and has received great reviews.
Chris Oatway of North West End writes:
Boasting a world premiere and commemorating the centenary of the Great War, Ollie Mills and Rachel Mann’s masterpiece is beautifully poignant, thought-provoking and utterly authentic.
Philip Caveney of Bouquets Brickbats Reviews gives the Tree of War “4 stars”.
Originally a one-act show performed to acclaim in 2014, the writers Oliver Mills (OS 2012) and Rachel Mann have reworked the show into a two-act West End style show.
Co-writer and director of the show Oliver Mills (OS 2012) told us:
The production is the culmination of a year and a half’s worth of writing and 6 months of production. The 22-strong cast of singers and actors contains a large number of current and former pupils from Stockport Grammar School, notably our two leading men Sam Gilliatt (OS 2014) and Alex Cosgriff (OS 2014) who also led the school production of Godspell in 2014.
Mrs Flint of Stockport Grammar School describes the production as “Brilliant. Absolutely stunning! It was incredible to see such representation from SGS and to see how our former pupils have progressed since leaving School. Amazing!”
The Tree of War is Oliver’s first project as a professional composer / musician having just graduated after studying music at The University of York. The piece was written to commemorate 100 years since the First World War and music from the show debuted at a successful preview concert at Manchester Cathedral in August 2015.