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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Musical charts maritime history
Rehearsals for the performance
BBC Points West viewers volunteered to play dockers
The final rehearsals are taking place for one of the most ambitious shows ever staged in Bristol.

"Up The Feeder, Down the Mouth and Back Again" is an open-air musical charting the history of the docks.

The production is being staged by Bristol Old Vic at the city's harbourside.

The cast includes a 1,000-tonne steamer and 30 BBC Points West viewers who volunteered to play dockers.


We had our first dress rehearsal last night and everything went very smoothly

Phil Gibby,
Bristol Old Vic

The show celebrates Bristol's maritime history and the people who helped create it.

It follows the huge success of the original "Up the Feeder, Down the 'Mouth", first seen at the Theatre Royal in 1997.

Written by A.C.H Smith, the 2001 version has been reworked to include the real-life stories of dockers, mariners and their families.

Mr Smith said the performance should thrill audiences.

'Into the unknown'

"I'm 100% excited and I'm another 100% nervous as we all are.

"On the whole, we do feel confident but we are going into the unknown, because not only are we going into an arena that has been invented for the purpose, but we are at the mercy of the weather."

Bristol docks
The production is set at the harbourside
There are 50 people taking part in the show - only nine of whom are professional actors.

They will be transported up and down the waterfront by steam trains.

Four old cranes, which have been specially restored for the production by Bristol Industrial Museum, will be loading and unloading.

The audience will sit undercover for the performances.

Phil Gibby from the Bristol Old Vic said: "We had our first dress rehearsal last night and everything went very smoothly."

The show runs for ten days and starts at 1930BST Thursday 28 June.

Half of the 14 performances have already sold out.

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