Singers prepare to tell warship’s tale in new way

PRODUCTION The new Mary Rose Museum being built
PRODUCTION The new Mary Rose Museum being built
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EVERYBODY knows the thrilling tale that is the life and downfall of the Mary Rose.

But choir singers of all ages are preparing for a world-first performance of the story in a way it has never been told before.

A choir of more than 400 people, from the age of seven to 70, will perform Ahoy! at this summer’s Portsmouth Festivities.

Ahoy! is the creation of young composer Alexander L’Estrange and it tells the story of the ill-fated warship through music.

Mr L’Estrange said: ‘What’s lovely is that Ahoy! really taps into our national maritime and musical heritage.

‘These songs deserve to be sung and where better for Ahoy! to set sail than here in Portsmouth.

‘I’m combining Tudor music from the era of Henry VIII, including the ever-popular Greensleeves, with sea shanties such as Drunken Sailor and folk songs.’

Comedy actor Hugh Dennis, who is famous for shows such as Mock the Week and Outnumbered, will be the presenter of the performances and will introduce the story of the Mary Rose.

Choirs from several schools in the area are due to take part, including St Jude’s, St George’s, Castle Primary, Portsmouth Grammar School and the Mary Rose School.

They will join forces with adults from the Portsmouth Festival Choir and the Portsmouth Grammar School Community Choir.

After Ahoy’s premiere it will be made available to schools for them to perform it themselves.

The performance will take place on June 24 at Portsmouth Guildhall – the only place in the city with a stage large enough to hold that many singers.

It has been specially commissioned for Portsmouth Festivities through sponsorship and grants from the Southern Co-operative and Arts Council England.

For more information about the production, or to buy tickets, visit portsmouthfestivities.co.uk.