World premiere of homeless musical at Harrogate Theatre

Some of the cast of Busker the musical.

Some of the cast of Busker the musical.

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A world premiere takes place in Harrogate Theatre tonight, Wednesday.

Busker is a new musical about homelessness and will be presented on stage by local businessman turned playwright Keith Humphrey.

Before the curtain has even been raised, this new show with a conscience has been boosted by support from Harrogate Homeless Project.

It’s a welcome filip for Keith Humphrey who has been working tirelessly for nearly three years on the project which will be unveiled next Wednesday at Harrogate Theatre.

Keith said: “The pressure of putting on a musical is massive. It requires an enormous amount of hard work and upfront investment. There are literally hundreds of tasks.

“I have considered pulling the show on more than one occasion!”

After scoring a success with his debut musical Boiling Frog four years ago which ran at Harrogate Theatre and York Grand Opera House, inspiration for Busker came to Keith when a relationship broke down around the time of the credit crunch.

To his own surprise, he found himself having to leave the family home.

He said: “Suddenly the realisation of the possibility of losing everything became very real. It was a scary time. It made me think about how a set of circumstances could send anyone down the path to homelessness.

“You see a homeless person, you walk past and wonder ‘how did they get there, what’s their story?’

Packed with good humour and catchy songs as well as very human drama, the social message of Busker on stage has already impressed local charities working in the real world.

The plot of Busker follows the journey of Alek Rosa, your average boy from an ordinary family, who ends up living on the streets after a horrifying event.

Deputy chair of Harrogate Homeless Project John Harris said: “It’s great Busker is being performed at Harrogate Theatre. It will help raise the plight of the homeless which does exist here in Harrogate.”

Proceeds from the show will go towards the Yorkshire homeless charity Simon on the Streets which supports people who fall outside of help of other agencies.

Aissa Gallie of Simon the Streets said: “Keith’s new musical articulates the complexities of the issues surrounding rough sleeping and social exclusion. It challenges audiences to to look behind the person to learn their story.”

Earlier this year Keith joined the Simon on the Streets team himself to help on one of their Outreach visits in Leeds city centre.

The creative team behind Busker is recognised by many as the leading show production team in Yorkshire.

Louise Denison is Busker’s director and choreographer while Jim Lunt is musical director.

Busker the Musical runs at Harrogate Theatre until June 25.