A Bolton performing arts school has partnered with two award-winning authors transforming their book into a play.

Stagecoach Performing Arts School based at Canon Slade School has partnered with Carl Wheatley and Simon Harthill, the authors of I’m Reggie Rockit to create a play from the award-winning book.

The play which is only being performed in-house for now will be performed by pupils of the arts school for parents, Carl and Simon.

And Carl hopes and believes it has the potential to go even further with other theatres hopefully picking it up.

Carl, 48, said: “Two years ago, myself and my best friend Simon first published 'I’m Reggie Rockit' and we wrote it during Covid, and we saw children were having a hard time and we wanted to do something together to help them.

Carl and Simon with pupils from the Stagecoach Performing Arts SchoolCarl and Simon with pupils from the Stagecoach Performing Arts School (Image: Carl Wheatley) “The concept of the book is just to be happy by being yourself, it centres around a boy who wanted to be a rock star, but it tells children that they can be what they want to be and enjoy it.

“When it was first published we went to The Lowry, and we found that children absolutely loved it because we found a bit of a niche as I had written a song for the book as well.

“People were going away singing the song and we were buzzing because we could see we were changing children’s lives, it was more than just a book.”

Kimberley Riley-Shipperbottom, Principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts said she loved the idea of adapting the book into a play.

She said: “Carl contacted me and said he had a book, and would we be interested in adapting it into a play or use it for material within our school and I said yes we would.

“Stagecoach is a performing arts school, but it is also primarily a confidence building school, that is what we do, we are creating courage for life, so this is something we wanted to take on.

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“The book really resonated with us and after meeting Carl and seeing that we could adapt the book.

"One of my teachers took the book and she has adapted the whole book and added some bits too to create it as a play form.

“Now our youngest children at the school between six and eight, are going to perform to parents and Carl and Simon on July 6.

“We are just really proud of them that they can take on this challenge as they have only had four weeks to do it and the adaptation is great and we are super excited.”

Carl, who lives in Heaton, said he is glad the book has reached new heights and can’t wait to see it go even further too.

He said: “As a collaboration I think it is perfect and I am made up that it is going to be performed.

Carl and Simon with pupilsCarl and Simon with pupils (Image: Carl Wheatley) “I  want it to go even further, and I want it to be made into a musical.

“I think it has potential to go even further with plays across the globe, especially at other Stagecoach Performing Arts schools.

“We have people reading the book all over, in America, Australia, India and more – all over the world and it is reaching children all over the globe, that is what I want Reggie Rock-It to do, I want it to be a household name and to teach children to follow their dreams.

“I am really excited to see the kids perform it, we visited them once whilst they were rehearsing, and they were really happy and me and Simon just knew we had done the right thing.”

Kim, 36, who lives in Darwen said: “The play is only happening this time within school, however once this is done it could then be taken onto little festivals, drama festivals or even other theatres.

“Carl and Simon can show it is a book but can also show that it is a play too.

“It absolutely has the potential to go further, because this has now been adapted and it fits the Stagecoach model that is something we can pass onto other Stagecoaches around the world.

“Having the ethos of be yourself is great for us because we want our pupils to be themselves.

“The book can get out to people, but this little play can get out to people too.”


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