BYT set to perform a brand new musical ... with bite

Elliott Douglas (Sunglasses and BYT t-shirt), Claudia Cawthorne and Ben Jacobs perform in The Watchers from tonight
Elliott Douglas (Sunglasses and BYT t-shirt), Claudia Cawthorne and Ben Jacobs perform in The Watchers from tonight

VAMPIRES, music, romance and the Yorkshire town of Whitby dominate Borders Youth Theatre’s latest production.

The Watchers will make its Scottish premiere at the Corn Exchange in Melrose tonight, until Saturday.

The play – written by directors Clare Prenton and Craig Adams – is also a first for BYT, being the inaugural musical theatre production in the company’s 22 year history.

The story revolves around Whitby, the setting for part of Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula novel, where for several years people have been disappearing without explanation.

As a result, The Watchers, a group of vigilantes, have been appointed to protect the people of the town.

But the arrival of a tourist named Dawn sees the truth begin to unravel.

Prenton said: “It was inspired by the current fashion for all things vampire post Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series and television programmes such as True Blood and Being Human.

“If you like romance and vampires, you will love it.”

Prenton has a broad experience as a director, from putting together open-air plays at Regent’s Park in London, to working with Wayne Sleep, Norman Pace, Tony Booth and Chloe Newsome on a series of Shakespeare works.

As well as being a director and composer, Adams is a talented performer, appearing in Joseph The Musical, which toured the country in 2006, and in the stage version of Mamma Mia!

His TV credits include Eastenders, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Casualty, and he makes the trip to the Borders after working with We Will Rock You and Les Miserables star Kerry Ellis.

Kat Gollock, BYT’s assistant production manager, added: “The staff at Borders Youth Theatre had been looking for the right opportunity to embark on musical theatre and with established directors Clare Prenton and Craig Adams on board it was the perfect time.

“It is the first time that Prenton and Adams, the writers of The Watchers, have worked with the company and it is a welcomed meeting of minds.

“As ever, the young people, with ages ranging from 11 to 19, have embarked on an intensive two-week rehearsal period, but the lessons and experiences that they will take away with them will be invaluable.

“By doing a musical theatre piece, Borders Youth Theatre are continuing on their mission to educate the young people in all aspects of theatre.

“The Watchers promises to be an educational and exciting project for the young people, as well as being a cracking show for the audience.”

Prenton told us: “I’m delighted that David Bisset, the chair of BYT, chose our piece. We were keen to develop the work with a youth theatre that had vision and the ability to produce high-quality work and BYT can do just that.

“It’s a departure for the youth theatre to produce a new musical, too, and very brave programming on their part, I think. The young people are loving it and so are we.”

Hertfordshire-based Craig said: “Melrose is beautiful and I’m loving working here in the Borders.”

To book tickets in advance go to www.thebooth.co.uk, and tickets will available at the door on the night.

Tickets are priced at £8 with concessions £6 or £25 for a family ticket. Performances take place tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Some scenes may frighten very young children.