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Preview: The Incident at Stockton ARC

Stockton man brings Asian school children on a trip to Teesside

Hong Kong and Shanghai Youth Theatre Project
The Incident
Stockton ARC
Friday 1st July 2016

A Stockton-born man is returning to his hometown this week and is bringing a group of talented schoolchildren from across South East Asia with him, and plans to show them the delights of Teesside, before they perform in a brand new play at ARC which was written and composed by the Stocktonian himself.

Gary Sanderson, who is originally from Fairfield and went to Grangefield Grammar School, has worked in international schools in various cities in South East Asia for the past 23 years, mainly working as a music teacher and more recently, as a composer and musical director based in Shanghai.

The brand new play, which is called The Incident, was entirely written by Gary and features his own original musical score which will be performed live by the New Shanghai Orchestra.

Gary decided to write the play and composed his own original score after being disappointed with the music in various recent West End shows which he believed lacked something special.

He said: “After seeing various West Endproductions and being thrilled with the quality of acting and writing, I was disappointed that the music just didn’t grab me in the same way.

“I’ve always had a great interest in musical theatre and wanted to create a brand new play that not only gave the talented children who I work the chance to shine on an international stage, but a play that had catchy, memorable music that people would love. For me, it’s just as much about the music than the script.”

Gary worked alongside director Katherine Kam and co-director Nicole Tong to find over 30 young children from countries across South East Asia such as China and Hong Kong who auditioned for parts after showing star quality in their own school productions. The children now form the Hong Kong and Shanghai Youth Theatre Project and are visiting Teesside for the first time after Gary suggested a trip to his hometown would be the perfect place for the children to learn about new theatre and the arts in general.

He continued “I think Teesside is an excellent place for these young students to learn about theatre and the arts. Whilst in Teesside, I plan to take them to the Georgian Theatre for a visit, and I’d like to take them to a show at ARC before they grace the stage themselves.

“Having lived around the world for almost 25 years I can honestly say that Teesside is a very good area for promoting new work. There are plenty of artists and writers in the area and I feel that local people like to see other locals giving things a go and doing something positive. This is a fantastic opportunity for these youngsters who have worked incredibly hard to put on a good show, they are so excited to come to Stockton so I’d love to see the people of Teesside turn out to support them!”

The Incident follows two gangs of rival school kids, who live, laugh and fight their way through life living amongst a 1940s British bombsite. All is fair in love and war, until Nick kicks the ball through the headmaster’s window. As the gangs join together to save him from what seems to be an ugly situation, they unexpectedly come up against sinister forces of evil.

The play will be performed at ARC this Friday 1 July at 7.30pm and tickets cost £8.50 and can be booked by calling 01642 525199 or by visiting


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