Take a trip back to the 1970s with The Paperboy

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Take a nostalgic trip down memory lane when Youth Music Theatre (YMT) brings its brand new musical, set in 1970s Belfast, to the Lyric Theatre next month.

The Paperboy is a stage adaptation of the best-selling novel by Tony McAuley, and is based on Tony’s life growing up in Belfast at the height of the Troubles.

This brand new musical will star a cast of talented young performers from all over the UK, and features an original score from Belfast’s own troubadour, Duke Special.

Director of the show, Dean Johnston, who is passionate about bringing new musicals to the stage, said the coming of age tale is “full of heart” that will certainly spark memories for the local audience.

“The musical is based on the bestselling book by Tony McAuley, which is best described as his memoirs,” he said. “It is based on his upbringing in Belfast in the 70s.

“Tony starts his first paper round when he is 12 in the Shankill area so he is balancing that with going to secondary school, looking forward to the Bay City Rollers coming to town, and trying to get a date with the Sharon Burgess.

“It is about growing up and learning valuable life lessons against the backdrop of 70s Belfast. Tony refers to himself as the first pacifist paperboy because he doesn’t see things in black and white, or green and orange. It is about broadening his horizons and coming of age.”

Dean and Tony first talked about bringing the book to the stage five years ago so it is with great excitement that the team are now looking forward to casting the roles and beginning rehearsals, all of which is done over the course of just two weeks.

“One of the things that came from the national auditions is that the company we have is just full of amazing talent and potential,” continued Dean. “Everyone is going to bring something unique and interesting to the show.”

The music in Paperboy is written by Duke Special and when it came to deciding who should be involved, Dean said there was “only one man for the job.”

He continued: “Duke Special has been involved with YMT productions in the past, including Gulliver’s Travels. We wanted to create a sound that would bring to life the nostalgia of the 1970s but also be unique and tell the story and that is something we knew was a speciality of his.”

The Paperboy opens at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast on July 26 and runs until July 29. Tickets, priced £13, are on sale from the Box Office on 028 9038 1081 and online at lyrictheatre.co.uk.