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The University of Southampton

Olympic-inspired musical tells against all the odds story

Published: 2 July 2010

A new musical which tells the extraordinary story of a young black woman who served on a war ship during the Napoleonic War, is being performed at the Nuffield Theatre next week.

Billy Bow, which is a collaboration between the Nuffield Theatre, the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University, is a new musical for the Creative Campus Initiative (CCI). The CCI is a partnership of 13 higher education institutions in the South East, including the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University, delivering an exciting programme of cultural events and artworks in response to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

This new musical by Dr Andrew Fisher, from the University of Southampton, and naval historian Dr Ian Friel will see four professional actors working with 15 students from the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University.

Billy Bow is based on the true story of a young black woman and her heroism, survival and enduring strength after she enlists with the Royal Navy in 1812 and serves in the foretop of a man of war ship during the Napoleonic War.

Dr Andrew Fisher, Head of Jazz, Pop and Media Music at the University of Southampton, who wrote the music and co-wrote lyrics for the performance adds: “The story of Billy Bow mirrors the Olympic values of an individual searching for meaning and identity by taking on some unusual and tough personal challenges, which involve struggle, sacrifice and fierce determination in pursuit of a personal goal.”

Workshop performances take place from Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 July at 7.30pm in the Nuffield Studio. Tickets are £5 and they can be booked by calling 023 8067 1771.

Notes for editors

  • Billy Bow is being directed by Tim Ford and being produced by the Nuffield Theatre.
  • The Creative Campus Initiative is a consortium of 13 universities in the South East. It aims to open up the cultural resources of South East campuses and provide wider access to world leading, practice-based research in the creative and performing arts. The initiative will showcase inspirational cultural events in response to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, connecting the arts and sports in novel ways. Innovative partnerships with schools and communities will take the value of education and the arts beyond the campus.

    The project is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England and is an initiative of the HE Cultural Forum whose members include Arts Council England, Higher Education South East and MLA.
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