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Haverhill drama group Centre Stage Company gets back into the musical habit with Sister Act





The first non-youth musical production in more than four years by Haverhill’s award-winning Centre Stage Company is to hit the stage in just over a week’s time.

The drama group’s production of the musical comedy Sister Act – based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg – will be staged at Haverhill Arts Centre from May 21 to 25.

The company has not performed a musical since The Wizard of Oz in October 2019, after which Covid intervened in its plans for further productions, although it’s youth section has put on musicals in the past two years, notably the award-winning Bugsy Malone in 2022.

The 'nuns' in rehearsal for the Centre Stage Company's musical comedy Sister Act, together with David Hart, who plays the Monsignor Contributed picture
The 'nuns' in rehearsal for the Centre Stage Company's musical comedy Sister Act, together with David Hart, who plays the Monsignor Contributed picture

Sister Act tells the story of singer Deloris Van Cartier, who witnesses a murder by her gangster boyfriend Curtis and is subsequently placed in protective custody in a convent, where she uses her disco moves and singing skills to inspire its choir.

The cast of 25, of which about 20 are playing nuns, is being directed by a relative veteran of Centre Stage, both in terms of performance and directing, Cian Harriss.

He said: “I had my first musical direction, of Bugsy Malone, a few years ago and I’ve done a couple of pantos, but this is my first musical direction (with an adult cast).

Curtis, right, and his trio of thugs in Sister Act.Contributed picture
Curtis, right, and his trio of thugs in Sister Act.Contributed picture

“We have been rehearsing for four months and we have still got people laughing at the lines, because they are so funny.”

The songs are entirely different to those in the film, explained Cian.

“They are really great,” he said. “It’s got a massive mix of disco but also Latin mass and it’s a typical Broadway mismatch of two different genres.

“It just turns into a massive get up and dance moment at the end. It gets people on their toes and gets them moving, which what we want.

Cian Harriss, right, pictured playing Warner in a production of Legally Blonde, is directing Sister Act. Picture: Steve Woodhouse
Cian Harriss, right, pictured playing Warner in a production of Legally Blonde, is directing Sister Act. Picture: Steve Woodhouse

“We had or first full run through rehearsal on Sunday and it went really well.”

Three of the four principal cast are all appearing in their first Centre Stage show, with the one exception among them being Graeme Johnston, who plays Curtis.

Deloris will be portrayed by Em Robshaw, Mother Superior by Victoria Carey and Sweaty Eddie by James Jefferies.

Tickets for Sister Act are available from Haverhill Arts Centre on 01440 714140 or haverhillartscentre.co.uk.