Chess is one of my favourite musicals! I directed it for Irving Stage Company (ISC) 10 years ago almost to the day. It became engraved on my heart, it touched my soul and I love every aspect of it! It has the most beautiful, exquisite clever musical score, written by the talented composers, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus.

The story and setting aptly poignant considering today’s political climate. The range of emotions felt, love, passion, ambition, betrayal and heartache have touched the hearts of many people! It is powerful, dramatic, colourful, thought provoking, with timely moments of comedy.

We (the ISC Committee) chose to present Chess again this year as 2019 is the 60th anniversary of the ISC and the 200th anniversary of the lovely and important Theatre Royal.

The five month journey to put this production on the stage started with 2 sing-throughs. As a director, I find the sing-throughs very valuable. It is always interesting to watch peoples facial expressions and body language as they listen to the score, some perhaps for the first time and join in the singing.

The sing-throughs were followed by 2 exciting auditions. This is a necessary but sometimes daunting experience for the potential cast! We were lucky and had an excellent turnout and choice. Some old faces (members and friends) and many new. Time after time I am amazed by the level of talent that we have in and around Bury St Edmunds. We were able to cast (a fairly sizeable cast) unanimously and speedily! Ironically, we now have our own ABBA group within the cast as both of our female leads are called Anna and 2 of our male leads, Ben!

Onto rehearsals…We have been rehearsing for about 10 weeks already, time has flown!! It is an extremely challenging show, everyone is working very hard and I think that it is safe to say that we are also having fun! So far, we are pleased with the progress made, (it will be interesting to see how much is remembered after the Christmas break!)

The orchestra has been selected by our brilliant MD Nicola Brazier and scores are “out” as they say, for practise. We know they will be awesome!

That’s it for now, be sure to book to come and watch.

Sian Couture

Director of Chess: The Musical (ISC)