The Belgrade Theatre is thrilled to announce that Charley ‘Aitch’ Bembridge, founding member of The Selecter will join the cast of Bob Eaton’s 2 Tone musical Three Minute Heroes this October. The former Selecter drummer and 2 Tone pioneer will join up-and-coming cast members Joseph Eaton-Kent, Conor Nolan, Sheldon Green, Elizah Jackson and Sarah Workman live on the B2 stage as drummer to the production’s live ska band which also features Joey Hickman on Keyboard/Trombone, Dan McIntyre on Guitar and Michael Searl on Bass.
Due to popular demand, an extra performance of Three Minute Heroes will take place on Monday 20 October at 7.30pm. Demand for tickets is likely to be high so customers are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.
Originally from Jamaica, Charley ‘Aitch’ Bembridge first came to England in 1962 and settled in Gloucester, where he went to school with Lynval Golding from The Specials. Along with Lynval, he came to Coventry in 1976 and met up with various musicians including Jerry Dammers, Ray King, Pauline Black and Neol Davis.
As a founder member of the band Hard Drop 22, Aitch went on to achieve international acclaim with The Selecter in 1979 when Pauline Black and Neol Davis joined, topping the charts with such classic hits as On My Radio, Three Minute Hero and Missing Words.
After The Selecter broke up, Aitch worked with the Coventry Youth Justice Service from 1985 as a Youth worker. In 1992 he joined up again with Lynval along with Horace Panter, Roddy Radiation and Neville Staple to form The Specials MK2 and recorded three albums with them. Since The Selecter, Aitch has gone on to play alongside iconic artists such as David Bowie, Green Day, Kid Rock, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Susie Quattro, The Banshees and Bob Geldof. Aitch can currently be found performing as part of hit reggae tribute band, UB42.
Written and Directed by former Belgrade Artistic Director and committed 2 Tone fan Bob Eaton, Three Minute Heroes famously played to sell-out audiences during its original premiere at the Belgrade in 2000. Overwhelming public demand saw the production return to the Belgrade Main Stage for a second successful run in the following year.
Telling the story of 2 Tone through the lives of five Coventry teenagers and the racial tensions that engulfed the city at that time, Three Minute Heroes is a funny, feel-good and, at times, thought-provoking tribute to the city that inspired a musical revolution. Featuring a soundtrack of songs which made stars of The Specials and The Selecter, this much-loved musical features a talented cast of actor-musicians playing a selection of foot-stomping favourites from the era including Gangsters, Do Nothing, On My Radio, Missing Words, A Message to You, Rudy, Ghost Town, Free Nelson Mandela and Three Minute Hero.
Writer/Director Bob Eaton said: ‘I’m delighted to be bringing Three Minute Heroes back to the Belgrade Theatre for 2014, this time on the B2 stage. As a writer, I’ve always been fascinating by local stories, stories which mean something to a particular town or city. The story of 2 Tone is written into Coventry’s DNA and Three Minute Heroes was my way of celebrating and reflecting upon that legacy. When the show was first conceived back in 2000, I was lucky enough to have the support of many of the original stars of the 2 Tone movement including Pauline Black, Neol Davies, Horace Panter and Rankin Roger who got involved in workshops and came up with some really great ideas on moving the show forward. Fourteen years on and here we are, bringing the story of 2 Tone to a whole new generation of fans. For this production, I’m fortunate to be working with a fantastic group of local, young actor-musicians. There’s a whole new generation of teenagers who are really into Ska and it was important to me that the production reflect that legacy. It was an exciting project back in 2000 and I think this time around, it’s going to be even more exciting!’
Design is by Patrick Connellan whose previous credits include the Belgrade’s critically-acclaimed production of One Night In November. Lighting design is by Chris Ellis with Musical Supervision by Tayo Akinbode.
Tickets for Three Minute Heroes are available now from the box office on 024 7655 3055 priced from £9 - £21.25 or via www.belgrade.co.uk where cheaper tickets are available.