Relating to something that happened 100 years ago isn’t easy but The Dreamers, a brand new musical production based on the true story of a First World War hero, will help audiences do just that when it arrives at London’s St James Theatre from 30 June to 11 July.
In words and music by James Beeny and Gina Georgio, The Dreamers brings a fresh approach to the little known story of Captain David ‘Reggie’ Salomons from Kent, who led his men to the battlefields of Gallipoli in 1915.
With the six-piece contemporary band ‘Virgin Soldiers’, a cast of 20 young men and women, and onscreen narration from Amanda Redman, Christopher Beeny and Tim Rice, this is a unique piece of theatre.
The Dreamers combines heart-rending music and lyrics with factual narration, allowing the audience to see the Great War through the eyes of the soldiers and the families that they left behind.
Just 40 minutes from the coast of Gallipoli, the men of Third Field Company were involved in a tragic accident when their ship, HMS Hythe, was struck by another vessel and sank within ten minutes.
In an act of selfless valour Reggie, their beloved leader, sacrificed his own life. His last words were: “I will not leave the ship until I see my men saved.”
Had the men set off a day later, they would have been included in the War Cabinet’s decision to stop sending troops to Gallipoli and 156 young men may have survived.
This original production brought audiences of all ages to their feet and moved many to tears when it premiered at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, in October 2014. The Dreamers will have its London premiere at St James Theatre.
It was Dee Kirkwood who produced the show at Tunbridge Wells and is doing so again at the St James Theatre through her company Runner Bean Ltd.
Lady Lucy French, director of development at St James Theatre, said: “This is exactly what the centenary should be about, young people engaging, getting involved, playing their part. This music captures the essence of commemoration across the generations.”