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The Little Big Band at Netherhall

12th December 2017 at 7:00 pm14th December 2017 at 10:00 pm


Rehearsals at Netherhall have started for The Little Big Band, a brand new musical written by Cambridge playwright Craig Baxter and Netherhall music teacher and composer Dan Ecclestone.

The production has been written with current pupils in mind; with starring roles for dynamic young actors and orchestrations written to meet the musicians’ specific abilities.

Unlike other productions, the pupils are really able to make their mark on the production; the singers are changing the tunes, the cast are changing the script, and pupils who’ve never thought of themselves as musicians are playing in the band.

Craig Baxter & Dan Ecclestone’s musical developed from the idea of a comedy crime caper, blending the absurd twists and turns of an Ealing comedy with the street-smart style of an early Michael Caine-starring Cold War thriller.

The Little Big Band tells the story of Jonny, an undercover spy given the task of infiltrating a jazz band in order to access highly confidential state secrets. The story gradually builds to a frantic and blackly comic denouement with a cast of chefs, waiters, hipsters & beatniks, international double agents, diplomats & royalty!

Lee Parry – production director and head of drama:

“It’s such a breath of fresh air to have a production that brings together the talents of so many Netherhall pupils. We have seen a real shift in the numbers wanting to take part and those that have are really enjoying rehearsals. The pupils are delighted to have parts written for them and to also be able to suggest changes the script so they can really achieve a sense of ownership with their parts”.

Rumours of something new started drifting around the school earlier this year, and pupils pestered Lee Parry and Head of Music Emma Snow for details. Finally announced in the first week of the Autumn term, a vast number then turned up to audition and listened intently as Craig Baxter set the scene and Dan Ecclestone started playing the songs.

Craig Baxter, playwright:

“We are really excited that the school have embraced the musical with such fever and energy”

Dan Ecclestone, composer & lyricist:

“I have wanted to write a musical for many years, but being able to write parts for pupils that I know and I hoped would want to take part has been really rewarding. Everyone is working extremely hard and I think that the opening night is going to be really remarkable”.

The production runs from 12th to 14th December 2017, with tickets on sale from 1st December.

Editor’s notes:

Dan Ecclestone has taught music at Netherhall school since 2011. Prior to this he worked as a composer / arranger for film, tv and theatre. In his twenties he worked for the composer John Cameron and together they provided orchestrations for a number of West End and national touring productions including The Far Pavilions, Eon Productions’ La Cava, and The Evening Standard award-winning Spend! Spend! Spend! Since then he has produced original music for short films, sound design for corporate logos and advertising, string arrangements for the Universal Records label, and orchestral arrangements for BBCtv.  He has released three albums of original material and a fourth is due this January.

Craig Baxter is dad to one current and one former Netherhall pupil. Besides that, he’s a dramatist writing primarily for the stage but also for TV and radio. Most recently: Eight Days That Made Rome (Channel 5), Jigsaw Pieces (Hotbed Festival, Cambridge Junction), Lady Anna: All at Sea (Cambridge Arts Theatre, Bath Theatre Royal), Pictures of You (MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge Science Festival), The Man Who Walked Through Walls (Perse Girls), Somniloquy (Hotbed, Soho Theatre, Theatre503), Let Newton Be! (Faraday Institute, Cambridge, El Paso), Re:Design (Darwin Correspondence Project, Cambridge, Harvard, Madrid, Berlin, Istanbul), Like Confessing a Murder (BBC World Service), Hard Sell (Edinburgh, Edmonton) and Monogamy (Riverside Studies, BBC Radio 4).


12th December 2017 at 7:00 pm
14th December 2017 at 10:00 pm


Netherhall School
Queen Edith's Way
Cambridge, CB1 8NN
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Netherhall School and 6th Form Centre
01223 242931