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The Legend of Wigan Casino Returns Home!
Tuesday 19th April, 2005

‘Once Upon A Time In Wigan’ a play celebrating the rise and fall of Wigan Casino – returns home this May. From Tuesday May 24th to Saturday 28th May the highly acclaimed sell-out show comes home to Wigan. Lowton Civic Hall has secured five dates for what critics have claimed is ‘a foot-tapping snapshot of a by gone era’ and have likened to ‘George Orwell meets Nick Hornby’.

This is a one-off opportunity to enjoy one of the most enthralling stories of musical times in the town of its birth. Blending rich humour, enthralling dance moves and a soundtrack of priceless soul classics, the show charts the birth of the all night rave and dance culture, the death of old industries and ultimately the demise of Wigan Casino itself.

“It has been a dream for all of us associated with ‘Once Upon A Time In Wigan’ to bring the story back to its roots,” enthuses director Paul Sadot. “Wigan Casino was the epicentre for all Northern Soul activity in the mid-seventies, now people will be able to experience the beauty of that magical era just a few miles away from its spiritual home.”

Premiered to great acclaim at Manchester’s Contact Theatre in 2003, ‘Once Upon A Time In Wigan’ has been nominated for various awards and has played to sell-out audiences as part of a major national tour. Appealing to music and drama fans alike, the play tells the story of Eugene and his mate Danny who find a reason to live (Wigan Casino) in an otherwise dismal existence. Eugene’s love of soul soon brings Maxine into his life and together they ride a roller coaster relationship that parallels the ups and downs of the infamous night-club.

Russ Winstanley, one of the Wigan Casino’s original soul DJs has hailed ‘Once Upon A Time’ as the finest show of its kind. “Anyone who wants to experience the real feeling of Wigan Casino has to come and see the show. Northern Soul is about people enjoying themselves; the Casino was a Mecca for soul lovers across the nation. The only way for people young and old to truly understand the joy of these special times is to see ‘Once Upon A Time In Wigan’.”

Brian Yates, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s Leisure Venues manager is thrilled to bring such a prestigious show to Wigan. “Wherever ‘Once Upon A Time In Wigan’ has travelled it has played to packed houses. I know Paul and his team are looking forward to performing in Wigan and we are proud to have them here. Lowton regularly holds it’s own Northern Soul nights (as does the Monaco Ballroom), so there is a still a strong soul tradition in the area. For those old enough to remember or young enough to wonder, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience Wigan Casino in all its glory.”

Tickets are priced at £12.50 and available now from the booking office on 01942 825677. The weekend performances are selling fast so people are being urged to book early. Saturday 28th May’s performance will be followed by a ‘soul night’ featuring DJs Russ Winstanley, Steve Whittle, Dave Evison and Alan King.


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