On the face of it, a musical based on the Hillsborough tragedy sounds like it could be in questionable taste.
The worst disaster in sporting history, the very word Hillsborough chills the blood, conjuring up those terrible images of a Saturday afternoon at the football that ended the lives of 96 innocent Liverpool fans.
Add to that the years of recriminations that followed, the anguish of the inquests, the official enquiry and prosecutions still to be heard, and it hardly seems the ideal subject for a theatre production.
Yet, if we put aside the unlawful killing verdict, and subsequent claims of manslaughter by gross negligence, misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice, at the heart of it all is a very human tragedy.
Fareham Musical Society Youth Theatre has not entered lightly into putting on its new musical play, Their Scarves Were Red.
It tells the story of two young football fans making their way to the fateful match between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest
It is based on a script and score created in the 1990s and was originally planned to be staged in Liverpool for the 10th anniversary. The idea was then scrapped because of the inquests being heard at the time.
The cast has been working in conjunction with the Justice For Hillsborough Campaign and proceeds from the show will go directly towards the campaign.
Director Stuart Frank said: ‘It is a sensitive subject and when I was first approached to do the show I initially had reservations. But after reading the script I have realised it is important to highlight this disaster for this generation and how such tragedies can leave repercussions for many years.’
Theatre is meant to be challenging and, if needs be, controversial.
It is a brave choice of subject matter, certainly, but the production should not be pre-judged and we wish the youth theatre team luck with their show.
We hope it will be well-received by audiences.