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Whistle Down the Wind - A Family Musical


Wed 9 Oct 2013, 7:30pm–9:30pm
Thu 10 Oct 2013, 7:30pm–9:30pm
Fri 11 Oct 2013, 7:30pm–9:30pm
Sat 12 Oct 2013, 2:00pm–4:00pm
Sat 12 Oct 2013, 7:30pm–9:30pm

Where: The Open Stage, 510 Hagley Ave, Christchurch

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Waged: $29.00
  • Unwaged: $25.00
  • Children - School Aged: $15.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: histenone

Whistle Down the Wind!

Dates: Thursday 3rd – Saturday 12th October at 7.30pm
Matinees: Saturday 5th & Saturday 12th at 2pm
Please note: No performances Sundays or Mondays
Venue: Hagley Open Stage, 510 Hagley Avenue, Christchurch
Waged: $29 Unwaged: $25 School Students $15
Bookings: 3384 699 or online:

Whistle Down the Wind revolves around the time and place where the word teenager was invented. Swallow, a 15 year-old-girl growing up in the fifties, discovers a mysterious man hiding out in a barn. When she asks who he is and the first words he utters are “Jesus Christ”, it’s as if all her prayers have been answered. Swallow and the town’s other children vow to protect the stranger from the world that waits outside – the townspeople who are determined to catch a fugitive hiding it their midst. As fantasy and reality collide, Swallow is torn between the two and begins to discover who she is and where she is going.

Whistle Down the Wind takes place in a small town just before Christmas 1959. Based on the novel by Mary Hayley Bell and subsequent Richard Attenborough-produced film, Whistle Down the Wind follows the fortunes of a fugitive caught between the prejudice of adults and the innocence of the young. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman’s combined talents as composer And lyricist respectively have retold the story for a modern audience losing none of the pathos and making it a family musical in the truest sense of the world with the same values without being moralistic.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s emotive score combines hauntingly beautiful love songs and explosive rock music with lyrics by acclaimed rock’n'roll songwriter Jim Steinman. The score contrasts the relentless influence of the modern world with the traditional values of the old days – something which the community at the heart of Whistle Down the Wind yearns to return to. The sensational score, travels through the rousing gospel opening of The Vaults of Heaven through pulsating rock songs such as Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts, via the lilting melody of the title track Whistle Down the Wind and the song which became a No 1 hit for Boyzone No Matter What.

Riccarton Players has presented an annual musical production since 1990 – all directed by Riccarton Players’ stalwart, Doug Clarke, whose mantra for these has remained firm – to stage popular modern musicals within the confines of a strict budget without diminishing their appeal – or their credibility.

“I believe a great musical is a musical regardless of 'trappery and trimmings', says Clarke. 'We strive for the ‘moon and back’ and are happy to land on the ‘Milky Way’; we are dedicated to the authors intent and we supplement and embellish it with lighting and simple staging to complete the package, keeping costs relative which in turn reflects on a realistic admission price”.

Choreographing the production is Annette Searle, who is also Associate Director, returning to work again with Doug (this will be their 19th show together). Annette is a graduate of the NZ School of Dance and has a Masters Degree in Performing Arts, and currently lectures at the University of Canterbury, where she has been doing research into Devising Theatre with Children.

Musical Director, Diane Coad, is also returning to work with Riccarton Players having made her MD debut with the society. 'Whistle Down The Wind' offers new challenges as she teaches actors the vocal score and complex harmonies, while embellishing it with her own mix of styles. Diane leads the cast on a journey which she says has been 'challenging and rewarding'; an accomplished musician herself, Diane has developed even more skills to fill the role of MD and tackles the task with relish.

We look forward to seeing you at this enchanting musical!

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