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Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 12:05 UK
Musical of Southampton's Titanic crew stories

RMS Titanic
RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton in April 1912.

A trio of Southampton singer-songwriters have written a musical show based on the city's connections with the Titanic.

Written by Jeff Henry, Brian Hooper and Barry Wake, Look Out! tells the story of Fred Fleet - the sailor who was on lookout duty when the ill-fated liner struck the iceberg in the north Atlantic in 1912.

Jeff Henry explained: "We were very aware there has been lots written about Titanic in terms of films and music - but there was nothing coming from the Southampton point of view.

"The vast majority of the crew came from Southampton and most went down with the ship. We wanted a tribute to them and to make sure their story is told."

The new show uses songs, narration and local newspaper headlines of the time to tell one of the most famous maritime stories of the 20th century.

White Star Line-Up

The project started a year ago following another musical collaboration which had included a song about the Titanic.

It had a profound effect on the community - that's something we want to get across
Jeff Henry, singer-songwriter

Performing under the name of White Star Line-Up, the three have teamed up with other musicians and singers.

The show receives its premiere performance in the run up to the 98th anniversary of the disaster.

Jeff admitted that putting such a famous, but tragic, event to music was "quite a challenge".

"There are a lot of downers in the story - 1,500 people died, but there are a few 'up songs' - sea shanties painting a picture of what Southampton was like in 1912."

The White Star Line Up
The White Star Line Up is named after the Titanic's shipping line

The songs include Pull Away Girls, sung by women who took over the rowing in the lifeboats, pulling away from the stricken ship.

Tears of the Angel, is Fred Fleet's reflection on the tragic events in the north Atlantic, surrounded by Southampton's Titanic memorials.

Bringing history to life

Jeff said that researching the historic detail of the Titanic was a new experience to him as a songwriter.

"Coming from the Northam area and looking at the list of crew and their addresses - I thought 'I lived in that road'. A lot of the orphans went to Deanery School and Northam School which was the school I went to.

"It was history and I hadn't known anyone involved, but I lived in that area and it brought a few things to life."

With the loss of so many lives, the impact was sorely felt in the city for decades afterwards.

Southampton street
Single streets in Southampton lost up to 10 men in the disaster

Of the crew, 724 lived within the Southampton area - only 175 returned home to their friends and families.

Many households lost their only breadwinner and many had to rely on handouts from the Titanic Relief Fund which was set up after the disaster for the benefit of widows and orphans.

Jeff explained: "It had a profound effect on the community - that's something we want to get across."

Centenary commemorations

The team will further improve the show in time for the 99th anniversary next year, they plan to take the show into schools, and produce a CD, before the international commemorations for the 100th anniversary in 2012.

Jeff said: "We've been working quite hard on it - we're pleased with it. We want it to be right as it's a story that's important to us all.

"Southampton has the unique distinction of providing the crew of Titanic - we've got a unique story to tell and hopefully it'll add to the memorial events.

LOOK OUT!- Saturday, 10 April 2010 at 2000 BST in St Michaels Church, Bugle Street, Southampton. Tickets are £6 - available from the Southampton Tourist Information Centre in Civic Centre Road.




SEE ALSO
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Last Titanic survivor dies at 97
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