A WAR-themed musical, created by three former Oswestry pupils, is set to feature on stage at a popular West Midlands venue after a successful debut earlier this year.

Poppyfields is a musical put together by the trio of Graham Burgess, John Howard and Paul Martin; three former Oswestry Boys High School students.

The group spent nine years working on the musical which focuses on a love story during the First World War.

After it was well-received by audiences across eight showing at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury, Oswestry-based Dreamworks Productions wanted to take the musical further, and will be showing it on stage at Crescent Theatre in Birmingham next month.

The success of the musical has exceeded the expectations of the writers, with Graham insisting they never imagined it being so well-received.

“We were all great friends during school, and we sang in various bands together,” said Graham.

“That was through till about 10 years ago, and we all thought ‘well what are we going to do now?’, so we thought let’s write a musical.

“None of us had any experience of it, but John ran a drama school in Shrewsbury.

“We sat down and decided to write the musical from scratch, so it’s all completely original; it took us nine years to get everything in place after overcoming various obstacles along the way.

“At times it seemed surmountable and others insurmountable, but we just kept going with it.

“We put it on stage at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury – there were eight performances and each of them received standing ovations from the crowd and the feedback was fantastic.

“Dreamworks productions were very pleased with it, so it’s going to Birmingham.

“It will be performed by a virtually new cast; all of the actors when it was performed in Shrewsbury were amateurs with a little bit of professional involvement.

“We’ll be hoping it can fly a little bit further from there onwards now.”

The idea for the musical was originally raised by John, who decided to approach Graham and Paul with the idea of working on the project as a group.

Nine years later, it seems their efforts have been more than worthwhile.

It will be shown between Thursday, November 7 and Sunday, November 10 in the lead up to Remembrance Day.

Graham feels that the already emotional musical will be even more thought-provoking because of the timing.

He added: “It’s a love story, with the second part of the musical set in the trenches, focusing on the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

“With it going on stage just before the anniversary of the end of the war, it makes it even more poignant.

“The music is a very respectful tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War.

“There will be a lot of ex-military people going to attend when it’s shown.”

Graham and the writers are aware their production could still fly further too, with the potential for it to reach stages in London if it impresses during its showings in Birmingham.

He said: “When John was running a stage school, it became the main focus of his interests [to put together a musical].

“So he decided it would be a good thing to do as a group.

“We thought it would be beneficial to do it as a collaboration so we could bounce ideas off one another.

“We never expected it to get to this stage at all, it’s beyond our dreams already, it’s marvellous.

“Some people will be attending it to see if they are interested in taking the play even further to London and elsewhere.

“It’s going to be very emotional seeing it in another big venue. It will be quite something.

“It’s something I never thought I’d be doing.”

The music from the production can be found on Spotify.

For any more information about Poppyfields, or to find tickets for the showings, visit www.poppyfieldsthemusical.co.uk