A DRAMA group from Denmead is one of a select few to be permitted to perform Titanic on stage.
As 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the luxury liner, amateur dramatic groups across the country have wanted to stage the production.
Most were turned down.
But Denmead Operatic Society, based 23 miles from the Southampton port where Titanic set sail in 1912, was one of the chosen few.
It was an especially rewarding moment for William Donnelly, who will play Titanic captain EJ Smith in the performance, as one of his relatives died in the disaster.
Ian Clark, director of Denmead Operatic Society, which started in 1933, said: ‘Every group has to apply for performing rights to perform, and of course as this is the centenary of the sinking, Titanic was a very popular choice.
‘But only a few were ever going to receive a licence.
‘We are delighted to be one of them. We got in just in time – we were granted the rights just before a limit was imposed, and we are one of only very few groups within 150 miles of London which will now be allowed to perform the show.’
The production will be nothing like the screen version of Titanic which starred Kate Winslet.
It was written several months before the film and tells the story of the days when the ship began its maiden voyage out of Southampton amid a fanfare to the fateful moment it struck the iceberg.
It asks who was to blame for the disaster.
Mr Clark added: ‘It is a thought-provoking production which we think audiences will enjoy. It has moments of high drama, of course, as well as real humour.
‘We are hoping it will be a perfect memorial to the victims of the disaster.’
Mr Donnelly, from Gosport, learned only a few weeks ago that a cousin of his grandmother was lost when the ship sank on April 15, 1912.
‘It was quite a poignant moment when I learned that, as I had already started learning my lines as Captain Smith,’ he said.
The show takes place at the theatre at Park Community School, Leigh Park, from June 6 to 9. Tickets, which cost £9 on the opening night and £10 for other performances, are available from Anne Dent Smith on (01329) 310849.
The cast will perform short extracts on May 12 at St Mary’s Church, Alverstoke, on a night of Titanic memories. Tickets are £5 and are available from Mrs Dent Smith.