Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.
So begins the famous old children’s rhyme which is the inspiration for a musical by three business bosses which will hit Sussex next month.
Remember! Remember! charts the conspiracy which aimed to blow up the king, his court and the government in 1605. Guy Fawkes was discovered in a basement room surrounded by barrels of gunpowder just before the state opening of Parliament.
The events inspired the November 5 bonfires which are celebrated with particular vigour in Lewes. Now the town is to play host to the world premiere of the musical, which was written seven years ago by three men from Brighton.
Robert Starr, 39, who runs insurance and mortgage company Seico, Jaspar Kent, 40, an IT consultant and Robert Piatt, 38, who runs First Night music studio, created the show.
Mr Starr said: “We couldn’t work out why the idea hadn’t been done before.
“It is the only traditional story that has never stopped being celebrated.”
The show focuses on the chief conspirator, the Catholic Robert “Robin” Catesby and his growing hatred for the religious repression of Protestant King James I.
It ends with the hanging, drawing and quartering of Catesby’s co-conspirators.
The music is described as in a similar style to Les Miserables and combines period instruments, such as the harpsichord, with modern ones such as the slide guitar.
The idea drew interest from Broadway producers when scenes were showcased. But after the September 11 attacks on New York, the plans were shelved because the musical’s theme of terrorist bombing was thought unlikely to attract an audience.
Interest was still high enough for the public to buy 5,000 copies of a CD of songs from the show which was released two years ago.
The team decided to bring the musical to the stage for the first time after approaches from as far away as New Zealand. They chose to work with Lewes Operatic Society because of the town’s fame for its November 5 processions. Mr Starr said: “We decided it should only be staged by one company the first time.
“It is fitting that the first showing of the first show should be in Lewes. We didn’t know how it was going to come across but they have really done an incredible job.”
The 37-strong cast includes 15 members of Lewes’ bonfire societies.
Director Andy Freeman, who spent 13 years as chairman of Cliffe Bonfire Society, said: “Everyone’s very excited about the show. The opportunity to develop it for the stage in collaboration with this very talented trio of writers is a unique experience, albeit occasionally unnerving when they sit in on rehearsals. Gilbert and Sullivan or Rodgers and Hammerstein have never done that to us.”
Remember! Remember! is being performed at Lewes Town Hall from Wednesday, October 1, to Saturday, October 4. Tickets cost between £8 and £10, £6.50 concessions, and must be booked in advance. For more information and booking visit lewesoperatic.co.uk or call 01273 480127.