Croydon actors taking to the stage to play the Rent

CODA, the Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association, one of the oldest amateur dramatics groups in the borough, in association with Stage Left Dramatics, is bringing the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize–winning musical, Rent to Sutton’s Secombe Theatre next month.

RentBased on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème, Rent is a rock musical with book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

Rent, opens October 9 and runs through October 12 at the Secombe Theatre in Sutton, with performances at 7.30pm, and a matinee on Saturday October 12 at 2.30pm.

Artistic director and Stage Left co-founder Michael Trakas has assembled some of the most talented and up-and-coming performers in the area. “Through its powerful rock score, Rent explores the lives of a community of young artists who choose to celebrate life while coping with disease and social poverty,” Trakas said.

“In conjunction with HIV charities and other groups in the area, we hope to promote understanding and the need for community members and local community officials to raise awareness of this disease. As reported recently, Sutton has one of the highest rates of people living with HIV in the UK and the community needs to stand up and take notice. We feel Rent will facilitate this through a positive artistic medium.”

This is Stage Left’s first show in Britain. Founded in Columbus, Ohio, in 1998, Stage Left is comprised of fully trained amateur performers, and the group has now reformed in the UK.

“Despite its gritty setting, Rent offers a universal message of hope, love and survival – a message we hope to give to everyone that has been affected by HIV/AIDS throughout the Sutton area and beyond,” said Sasha Cherry, the executive producer.

  • Tickets are on sale now, priced at £15 (£13 for concessions) at or by calling 020 8770 6990.

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