Rallying call to back new musical inspired by Chesterfield’s Crooked Spire

Producers of a new musical which is set during the building of Chesterfield’s iconic church spire are on the hunt for sponsorship.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 5:30 am
Updated Thursday, 5th August 2021, 7:14 am
Martin Coslett, co-writer of The Crooked Spire murder-mystery musical, with a model of St Mary's Church, Chesterfield, as it would have looked when the spire was first built. Ashgate Heritage Arts believes it is the only model which depicts the church with a straight spire.
Martin Coslett, co-writer of The Crooked Spire murder-mystery musical, with a model of St Mary's Church, Chesterfield, as it would have looked when the spire was first built. Ashgate Heritage Arts believes it is the only model which depicts the church with a straight spire.

The medieval murder-mystery is based on Chris Nickson’s novel The Crooked Spire.

Just a short years after a global pandemic, popularly known as the plague, ravaged the country, the spire is rising above St Mary’s and All Saints Parish Church in Chesterfield. The story tells how John Carpenter comes to Chesterfield to work on the new spire in 1360. He finds a friend in a young boy, Walter and falls head over heels for Katherine. But death and intrigue strike the construction site and John is suspected of murder. He is faced with a life and death struggle to clear his name and bring the guilty to justice.

Peter Gray, a director of Ashgate Heritage Arts, said: “We are going to assemble a company of 15 professional actors and musicians and recruit local choristers to put on the show at the Pomegranate. This story is perfect for Chesterfield. Our Crooked Spire is an icon for the town. What better way to mark our recovery from the Covid pandemic than to stage this family-friendly, life-affirming show?”

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Mary Hennessy, co-writer of The Crooked Spire murder-mystery musical.

Mary Hennessy, Martin Coslett and Peter Gray have written the musical. The director is Jake Smith, who has worked with the National Theatre, the Almeida Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and Hull Truck Theatre and on Sting’s musical The Last Ship. The musical director is Harry Style of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

A concert of the music from the show will be held at The Crooked Spire Church on the afternoon of October 16, 2021.

This will be followed by a full production of the musical at the Pomegranate Theatre in May 2022

The company attracted an Arts Council grant last year to make a 40-minute video of part of the story. This was streamed in December and shown at Buxton Festival Fringe this summer.

Peter Gray, co-writer of The Crooked Spire murder-mystery musical.

A second application to the Arts Council has been made, and gthe company is also looking to raise funds in the local community. Sponsorship is sought from individuals, organisations and companies.

All sponsors will be acknowledged on Ashgate Heritage Arts programme. If you are able to contribute £50 or more, the company will be happy for you to put a free advert in the programme.

Peter Gray added: "We are focussing on raising some of the budget for the concert in October - about £5,500 - from the community. The full production in May 2022 will require considerably more funds.”

For further information or to offer sponsorship, email: [email protected] or call 07739084478.

Jake Smith, who worked on Sting's musical The Lost Ship, will direct The Crooked Spire.

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Harry Style is musical director of The Crooked Spire.