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Ben Poole

Ben Poole

Ben Poole is a Lincoln businessman, actor and director. He founded the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company for local actors and has been responsible for productions including Jesus Christ Superstar and Jekyll and Hyde at Lincoln Cathedral

“What show are you doing next? When is it? Where is it? Can I be involved this time?”

These are the questions I get asked every day, and I love it. What I love most is saying “yes” to the latter. Yes, you can get involved and we want you to get involved!

Since the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company’s sell-out performances of the Hunchback of Notre Dame at Lincoln Cathedral earlier in the year, we are once again to getting ready to wow audiences by hopefully creating something unique and truly spectacular. Some of you might have attended our other productions of Jekyll & Hyde, Jesus Christ Superstar and Oliver! and feel now’s the time to take part instead of watching!

This time, we are working with Lincoln Castle to stage, within the Castle grounds, the incredible classic musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The performances are to take place in the July 2024 but it will be our biggest and most ambitious production so far so we are starting to prepare now!

We are beginning the casting process, not just for Fiddler on the Roof but also for future projects. We are holding a “Getting to Know You Day” on November 13 for anyone interested in auditioning for a principal or featured role, and we have already discovered some great, new talent at our workshop on November 6. Working with actors new and old is a very exciting part of the reward for producing the shows.

Let me be clear, you do not have to come to the “Getting to Know You Day” to be a part of the show, please just register your interest to attend our launch on November 17 at the link provided at the bottom of this article. We’d love you to join us at 7pm at The Salthouse on Free School Lane for the launch meeting and first rehearsal of some of the amazing songs from the musical.

The Starring Lincoln Theatre Company production of Hunchback of Notre Dame| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

As you hopefully know there is no barrier to participation in Starring Lincoln shows, if you want in, you’re in! All we ask is that you are committed to attending regular rehearsals as required and that you are available for the ‘get-in week’ and two weeks of performances in July 2024.

Taking part in a show is a big commitment of time, energy and talent but it rewards the participants with joy, purpose and achievement!

We know that theatre provides memorable, creative and social experiences above any other cultural or sporting activity. It’s beneficial just watching but these experiences are amplified significantly through participation.

The Cathedral was transformed into the streets of London in the 2019 production of Oliver! Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is a timeless, universally joyous and moving story of tradition, change, family, resilience and the triumph of the human spirit. Some of you may know its iconic music, and that it’s a show with a lot of dancing! Set in pre-revolutionary Russia it follows the story of the lives of the villagers of Anatevka, focusing on three sisters who are breaking with tradition by marrying for love!

The story culminates in the villagers being forced from their homes and made refugees by the tyrannical Tsar. Before that, we share their stories of love, of weddings, of drinking, of ritual and a fantastical dream sequence!

Sadly, since the musical was written there hasn’t been a time when the story hasn’t been reflected in contemporary news, and it is still so keenly relevant today. Join us in reminding ourselves of the better side of human nature, bringing a community together to create a powerful work of art, through incredible dancing, singing and acting under the summer skies over Lincoln Castle.

We are keen to engage with anyone who is being hosted here in Lincolnshire, having been forced to leave their homeland, and if anyone can help facilitate this we would be very grateful. Please email [email protected].

So in summary, if you wish to be considered for principal, featured and more challenging small ensemble work then please select the “Getting to Know You Event” from the link, as well as the launch event.

We love dancers! So, If you want to specialise in dancing please register for the “Dance Workshop” using the same link, as well as the launch event and “Getting to Know You Days”, if you wish to do all three!

We also want to see people who are interested in joining our production team, to help with wardrobe, props, sound etc. So please register for the launch event.

There will be a lot of exciting, devised work made to create a world for our audience to walk into and be swept away.

My promise to those thinking about participating is that it will be one of the best things you’ll ever do!

Details of auditions, dates and venues can be found following the link here.

You can also contact us by email: [email protected]

Ben Poole is a Lincoln businessman, actor and director. He founded the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company for local actors and has been responsible for productions including Jesus Christ Superstar and Jekyll and Hyde at Lincoln Cathedral

If you haven’t yet got your tickets for the biggest theatre event of the summer, then fear not. The team behind Oliver! at Lincoln Cathedral have made more seats available so more people get the chance to experience what is sure to be a spectacular show.

As the director of Oliver! I am prepared to be rather bold and take, what I guess would be described in sporting circles, as ‘the flack’, ‘the stick’, ‘the pelters’ when I tell you that when you arrive at the Cathedral next month to watch Oliver! you’re in for a really special experience.

After previous sell-out runs of Jekyll and Hide and Jesus Christ Superstar, it was time to up the ante. The cast of Oliver! I’m sure would validate my bolshiness. Leo Tolstoy said that If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content. I’m never content.

There are many ways in which Oliver! is different to previous shows. Not least because it is staged in the round.

The audience surrounds the stage on every side to create a truly intimate experience. Wherever you may find yourself, you are immersed in the performance itself, in every single scene.

I love to see people’s faces when I show them pictures of how the stage will look, the lighting, the props, the ensemble and of course the audience. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard the words “Oh! Oh wow!”

Behind the scenes with the cast in Lincoln Cathedral. Photo: Richard Hall

The cast and crew have also been rehearsing at Lincoln Carlton Academy. Photo: Richard Hall

Rheanna Trueman as Nancy during a Lincoln Cathedral rehearsal. Photo: Richard Hall

One of the young stars playing Oliver. Photo: Richard Hall

Another young Oliver in the show. Photo: Richard Hall

Oliver in the iconic workhouse scene. “I want some more”. Photo: Richard Hall

Now, I can write and keep writing about the stage, the lights, the incredible live orchestra, and the amazing setting of the cathedral nave, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. But I’ll stop. We have been working tirelessly as actors to create something memorable and unique.

If the audience is to be immersed in the workhouse, in Fagin’s den, in the Three Cripples pub, then it is the actors who will achieve this. A great actor says honesty isn’t enough for me. That becomes very boring. If you can convince people what you’re doing is real and it’s also bigger than life – that’s exciting.

Food Glorious Food! Photo: Richard Hall

Working with some fantastic talent, and working them extremely hard by the way, has afforded us this. We want make it bigger than life and take you away somewhere else. And I know one thing for sure, you’re going to have a wonderful time!

We have more seats in the cathedral than ever before, and the way in which Oliver! is staged means you’ll have a much enhanced view of the performance. There are no bad seats!

If you’re coming by yourself or with a friend, please do go through the website. If you are coming with the family or in a larger group we’d recommend you either call the cathedral or visit the cathedral shop. They will help you sit with each other and enjoy the show with your party.

Fun, laughter and gin in the Three Cripples pub. Photo: Richard Hall

Fun, laughter and gin in the Three Cripples pub. Photo: Richard Hall

The simple fact is these new tickets will sell out, so heed our advice and get them as quickly as you can!

You may be able to see from the pictures in this article the hard work, the tough grind, and in some instances the quite literal back breaking effort, our actors are putting in to create an amazing show. But importantly, you will also see the immense joy. We all know we are part of something very special indeed.

Frances Duke will be playing Widow Corney and Mrs Bedwin. Photo: Richard Hall

Emily Norton as Nancy. Photo: Richard Hall

Many of you I’m sure have seen good and bad theatre, perhaps this might be your first experience of a show. In my time I have seen many a wonderful and many a poor performance, and if honest a whole lot in-between. But every now and again, I see something I cherish, I’m grateful for being there and I’m not quite the same afterward. Just occasionally something else occurs and an audience is transported in ways we did not expect.

We aim to do this for you, we want to transport you to Victorian England, and release you back out on to the streets of Lincoln with a few things to consider.

Watch your pockets! See you there!

Tickets and more information on the Cathedral website here. 

Oliver! runs at Lincoln Cathedral from August 5 to August 16 (excluding Sundays) from 6.45pm.