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Luke Disley (Tick Tick Boom at St Mary's Creative Space, Chester)

It's safe to say that Chester's theatre scene is packed - from regional tours that take place in the Storyhouse, to the exciting summer productions at the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre. Disley Theatrical Productions are no exception to the creative talent within Chester as they bring their production of Tick Tick Boom written by Jonathan Larson to St Mary's Creative Space in Chester this July. We took the opportunity to speak to Luke Disley, founder of Disley Theatrical Productions to tell us more about his exciting production of Tick Tick Boom.

Q) Where did your passion for theatre stem from?

The first show I ever saw was The Lion King on the West End. Anybody who has seen that particular show will understand what I mean when I say what a hugely inspiring experience that was. Ever since then I’ve got myself involved in any and every opportunity to be involved in the theatre.

Q) What inspired you to become a theatre producer?

Honestly? A lack of talent! Early on, it was my dream to be up on that stage, as a performer. When it became apparent I lacked the talent to do so, I set my sights on other ways to be involved. My ‘day job’ is as a management accountant so between my passion for Theatre and my affinity with numbers becoming a producer made most sense.

Q) What is the theatre scene like in Chester?

Absolutely brimming. We are so lucky to have such a wide range of production companies, both professional and amateur, producing everything from Shakespeare to Sondheim and so many varying performance styles appealing to a diverse set of audiences. We have a full-scale producing theatre, Storyhouse, in the city centre that hosts national tours and creates its own productions. Every 5 years Chester plays host to the Chester Mystery Plays, the telling of biblical stories by a fully community cast - currently playing and receiving rave 4 and 5 star reviews from the national press. Each summer, an outdoor theatre is erected in Chester’s Grosvenor Park which plays host to Storyhouse’s professional rep company. Not to mention so many wonderful amateur groups in the area; Tip Top Productions, Chester Operatic, Chester Little Theatre, Against the Grain, Ellesmere Port MTC, Knutsford MTC, D&S Productions to name but a few!

Q) What are the challenges that come with community theatre?

The main challenge is the same as the one the entire country faces - the cost of everything is going up! Unfortunately this has to be reflected in ticket prices and as a result of this, combined with many people struggling with the cost of living, we’re seeing audience numbers diminish across the board. I’ve been involved in producing theatre for over a decade now and all community theatre groups are struggling now more than ever in that period.

Q) What in particular stands out in Tick Tick Boom that inspired you to produce this show?

I’m a huge Jon Larson fan. We’ll never get to experience the full genius of the man since he sadly passed away at a very early age. I’ve been involved in 3 separate productions of RENT and seen many, many more. TTB has been on my list ever since I first heard it but the commercial appeal only increased after the 2021 Netflix film starring Andrew Garfield and directed by Lin Manuel Miranda – it’s still a niche musical to produce, and some people have called me mad (they’re probably right!), but potential audiences now have a greater awareness of the piece thanks to Netflix!

Q) What can audiences expect from your production of ‘Tick Tick Boom’?

Simon, the director and MD of this production, and I have worked together on dozens of shows over the years and we share a very naturalistic vision for Musical Theatre. It has to feel real or it doesn’t work. The audience should have an emotional connection to the characters and share in their successes and their failures, their joy and their plight. Specifics? We’re incredibly lucky to have such a talented cast, all ex-professional performers that will buy-in to our vision and lay it all out there for the audience to see. Expect West-End quality performances from cast and stunning band, top notch vocals, tight harmonies and even the odd line spoken by the band!

Q) What is the casting process like for your productions? Are the cast members all actors as their day jobs or are auditions open for all?

All casting is completed by open auditions. In truth, we had a bit of a struggle casting the final part for this show because we’re aiming to complete the full rehearsal and show process in just 2 weeks! Our next show will definitely be rehearsed in a more traditional community theatre style over a more relaxed 12 or so weeks with no daytime commitment during week days. The next show in the pipeline has a bigger cast so lots more opportunity for people to get involved!

To find out more information and to purchase tickets, you can follow the link here.


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