AN AWARD-winning drama company in Christchurch have received a letter of good luck for their forthcoming production of Cats from none other than the musical’s composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Highcliffe Charity Players have received a personal message from the world-famous impresario, who sent “good wishes” for their upcoming production and hoped they “have a wonderful time” performing it.

In his letter to HCP’s cast, crew and musicians, Sir Andrew recalls a fond memory of the book on which his musical is based.

He wrote: “My first memory of TS Elliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ is of my mother reading the poems at bedtime when I was six. I loved those poems and I often would read them again. They invariably made me happy.”

Highcliffe Charity Players are an amateur dramatic company that was set up 50 years ago to raise money for a local ballet school and, since then, they have grown from strength to strength.

HCP Chairman Georgina Smith said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have received such an encouraging and heart-warming message from Lord Lloyd Webber.

“We are currently hard at it in rehearsals and it’s been a great boost for the cast and production team. We are all so excited to be performing this iconic musical, just purrfect!”

Cats, one of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, received its world premiere in London where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances.

It has since been performed in over 30 countries, translated into 15 languages and seen by more than 73 million people worldwide.

The popular musical, which premiered on Broadway on May 11 1981, has been made into musical fantasy film, starring the likes of James Corden, Idris Elba and Taylor Swift, which will be released in the UK on December 20 this year.

The company will be hosting six performances, including a Thursday and Saturday matinee, between Wednesday October 30 and Saturday November 2 at the Regent Centre in Christchurch. Tickets are £16 with concessions at £15.

Highcliffe Charity Players are also due to perform Cinderella in January.

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