Mike Batt to debut new musical ‘Men Who March Away’ in the East End

Mike Batt will conduct the world premiere of his new musical ‘Men Who March Away’ in a costumed dramatic concert in the East End with Docklands Sinfonia at St Anne’s, Limehouse, on Friday 17 March 2017.

The epic love story, which crosses generations, is played out against the background of the beginning of the First World War through the Spanish Civil War to the outbreak of World War Two.

The musical follows the fortunes of Katherine Grayling, a high born young lady of the early 1900’s, her fiancée, army lieutenant George Denham, and his unlikely best friend, music hall comedian Billy Brown.

The show itself, though being performed for the first time on this occasion, was actually written by Batt in 1992 just after the closing of his show, ‘The Hunting Of The Snark’, at the Prince Edward Theatre.

The musical features some of Batt’s most loved and popular songs including ‘The Closest Thing to Crazy’ – made famous by Katie Melua – and ‘Market Day in Guernica’, which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

On this dramatic concert night, the audience will be treated to the entire score, accompanied by symphony orchestra and staged in ‘workshop’ fashion in full costume with a cast of top-class singers.

Docklands Sinfonia, of which Batt is a patron, is a young and pioneering symphony orchestra which has become a major cultural force in the Docklands. Since its formation in 2009 by conductor Spencer Down, the 70-strong orchestra has enjoyed incredible success including performances for The Queen at Buckingham Palace and with Grammy-award winner Imogen Heap at the Royal Albert Hall.

Mike Batt said: “Since I began working with this dynamic young orchestra a few years ago I have become enchanted by their energy, skill and “can-do” attitude. I now regularly use them on sessions with major artists. I am thrilled to debut ‘Men Who March Away’ with them. I know they will be brilliant”

Spencer Down, founder of Docklands Sinfonia, added: “We are immensely excited to be working once again with the legendary Mike Batt. It is a fantastic opportunity for our orchestra. The audience is in for a real treat with the world premiere of this fantastic new show.

“It is not often that the West End comes to the East End. We hope this will be the first of many musicals coming to the Docklands and shows that the East End is fast becoming a cultural force to be reckoned with.”

Men Who March Away plays at St Anne’s, Limehouse on Friday 17 March 2017