Play returning to shine light on life of Bolton soap tycoon after sell-out run

Sunlight on the Moors will return to Bolton Little Theatre in August

Sunlight on the Moors will return to Bolton Little Theatre in August

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , entertainment reporter

AN original play about Bolton-born soap tycoon Lord Leverhulme is returning to the stage after its world premiere sell-out run.

Sunlight on the Moors will be performed at Bolton Little Theatre (BLT), Hanover Street, from August 6 to 9.

The play, by Walkden writer Kevan Ogden, was first staged in May and scooped three awards at the Greater Manchester Drama Federation's (GMDF) Full Length Play Festival earlier this month.

Director Peter Scofield admits he was nervous about how Kevan’s script would translate to the stage but is delighted with its success and recent plaudits.

He is now looking forward to giving people a second chance to see it and says it is exciting and unique to have original writing about a Bolton man staged in a Bolton theatre.

Peter, who won the GMDF award for Best Director for the play, said: “It was more than sold out.
“There were waiting lists and lots of disappointed people who couldn’t get tickets.

“It made sense to bring it back.

“It was really exciting, a great challenge because you have no benchmark.

“With a new piece of writing, especially with a piece like Sunlight, there’s a mix of styles and it’s a very original piece of writing.

“Tickets have been on sale almost since the end of last season and they are half sold.

“If you want to see it, get down and get your tickets.”

A warm and witty mixture of fact and fiction, it explores family tensions, the legacy of World War One, the paradox behind philanthropic industrialisation and the nature of art itself.

When Kevan sent a draft of the first act to the theatre, Peter said he did not have high hopes but was pleasantly surprised.

He said: “My initial reaction was it’s going to be a turgid, unplayable piece of pseudo historical drama.

“I had very low expectations. Then I read it and started to appreciate the different styles and what I thought was a genuinely warm and witty script.

“From that point onwards, I encouraged him to write the second act.

“It was a really exciting venture all round, from beginning to end.”

It will be performed with the same cast, including Mike Jeffries as Lord Leverhulme, Daniel Clynes as Eric, John O'Connell as Augustus John and Jennifer Lee as Dorelia.

One of the great businessmen and entrepreneurs of the Victorian age, Lord Leverhulme brought tremendous energy and creativity to the manufacture and marketing of his Sunlight Soap.

He used his wealth to support a variety of charitable causes, was a great believer in education and created a village with materially decent conditions for people working at his Sunlight Soap factory in Wirral.

Peter said: “I think people are proud of Boltonians and he is one of the greatest ever to emerge from the town.

“The introduction of an old age pension was basically down to him.

“Women’s pensions in their own right which he put into place at Port Sunlight.

“I think there’s a legacy of warm feeling.”

Sunlight on the Moors will be at Bolton Little Theatre (BLT), Hanover Street, from August 6 to 9 at 7.30pm. Phone 01204 334400 or 01204 524469 for tickets.

Comments (3)

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4:28pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Chrome1 says...

Peter Scofield, he's a cracking director. Good luck Pete. Good luck. M
Peter Scofield, he's a cracking director. Good luck Pete. Good luck. M Chrome1
  • Score: 1

7:46pm Thu 17 Jul 14

boltonnut says...

I remember going to Burnden Park in the 50s & 60s and smelling the fragrance of soap wafting across the pitch.An opposing fan said something to a Bolton fan to the tune of Bolton Wanderers stink.The Bolton fan punched him on the nose then asked could he still smell the stink.I loved the smell from the soap factory,it smelled like Camay and all we could afford at home was lye soap,it stung like bloody hell when it went in your eyes.
I remember going to Burnden Park in the 50s & 60s and smelling the fragrance of soap wafting across the pitch.An opposing fan said something to a Bolton fan to the tune of Bolton Wanderers stink.The Bolton fan punched him on the nose then asked could he still smell the stink.I loved the smell from the soap factory,it smelled like Camay and all we could afford at home was lye soap,it stung like bloody hell when it went in your eyes. boltonnut
  • Score: 2

9:16am Fri 18 Jul 14

Ernagy2 says...

Pity there can't be plays put on at Liverpool castle, or even at Queens park's little arena.
Pity there can't be plays put on at Liverpool castle, or even at Queens park's little arena. Ernagy2
  • Score: 0

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