Rugby Theatre's December production 'tinged with sadness' as long-standing member intended to direct it dies

Rugby Theatre is dedicating its December production of The Sound of Music to Helen Dulcamara - a much-loved member of the theatre who died earlier in November.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 10:36 am
Rugby Theatre. Photo: Google Streetview.

The Sound of Music has been chosen as the production to mark the theatre's 70th anniversary, and long standing member Helen Dulcamara was set to direct the milestone production.

Emma Bright, who will now direct the show, said: "“For the cast, creative team and the Rugby Theatre family as a whole, this show is tinged with sadness.

"Helen Dulcamara, a long-standing member of the theatre, was to direct this production and had chosen her ideal cast earlier in 2019.

"Sadly, Helen was diagnosed with lung cancer in July and died peacefully at home on 5 November.

“The adage ‘the show must go on’ never felt so real, but we knew that Helen would have had it no other way.

"We dedicate The Sound of Music to her.”

The Sound of musical stars the world-famous singing von Trapp family, their haphazard governess Maria and a thrilling escape from Nazi Austria.

Emma said: “This Rodgers and Hammerstein family favourite is inspired by the true story of the von Trapp family, which shows how love, honour, belief and determination can bring people together in the face of adversity.

“All the songs you love are there – The Sound of Music, My Favourite Things, The Lonely Goatherd and, of course, Do-Re-Mi – and there are also a couple you may not have heard as they weren’t in the film, but they are just as toe-tappingly good."

The musical tells the heart-warming story of headstrong nun-in-training Maria, who leaves her Austrian abbey to become governess for a widowed naval captain with seven children.

Maria brings a new love of life and music into their home – but all this is threatened by the imminent Nazi annexation of Austria.

Rugby Theatre’s first ever production, in December 1949, was a play called Fisherman’s Rest, written and directed by one of the theatre’s founding members Raymond Owen.

Since then the theatre has celebrated the decades with a special December show.

Emma added: “This is a firm family favourite that will get Christmas celebrations off to a great start.

“The wonderful cast bring this musical alive on stage and you really don’t want to miss it. A true celebration of our 70 years in Rugby.”

The Sound of Music opens on Friday December 6 and continues for a nine-performance run, including Sunday matinees, until December 15.

Tickets are available from the Rugby Theatre box office on 01788 541234, or the website,

Rugby Theatre's December production 'tinged with sadness' as long-standing member intended to direct it dies