Naked opera stars have a ball

This sight was just too much for basketball coaches Dean Fraser ( front, left) and Sean Percival, of University Sports Sunderland when the came to teach basketball skills to ( left to right) Matthew Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Brian Jordan, Graham Smith, Leon Gill and Jack Coates.
This sight was just too much for basketball coaches Dean Fraser ( front, left) and Sean Percival, of University Sports Sunderland when the came to teach basketball skills to ( left to right) Matthew Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Brian Jordan, Graham Smith, Leon Gill and Jack Coates.
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ACTORS have been getting their kit off for an undress rehearsal of their latest production.

Sunderland Amateur Operatic Society is gearing up to stage The Full Monty and has enlisted the help of Sunderland Basketball Team to help with their ball control.

The actors are in the midst of rehearsals for the show – a hit film in 1997 in which unemployed men form a striptease act – which will be staged at the Sunderland Empire in January.

Production manager Peter Oliver said: “The show is based on the American musical which is a bit different to the film. In it there’s a scene in which the guys are told that being able to dance is like being able to play basketball.

“In the show there’s a scene where they look like they’re bouncing basketballs even though there aren’t any on stage.

“So to help the actors move as though they are playing basketball we asked the Sunderland Basketball Team for help. They were great at showing the actors some moves that basketball player Michael Jordan uses, as he is referenced in the film.”

An appeal in the Echo helped the society to find the cast members for the show but they still need some help to make sure the production goes with a swing.

Peter said: “Rehearsals are going really well, but we are hoping to find a male stripper who could help to choreograph the stripping scenes.”

It’s hoped that staging The Full Monty will help to ease the society’s financial problems which could ultimately lead to closure.

Peter said: “The society has been going for well over 100 years and it would be such a shame if it were to fold.

“We made a loss of £14,000 from our last couple of shows and it would be great to be able to raise that through this show and pay our creditors off.”

The society, which was founded in 1893, today has about 90 members who meet at the Deptford and Millfield Community Centre.

They have staged a range of musicals over the years and annually hold a show at the Sunderland Empire.

l The Full Monty will be staged at the Sunderland Empire from January 24-28. Tickets are £16. Tel. 0844 871 3022.

l Any male strippers willing to help choreograph the show can contact Peter on 07855453387.

Twitter: @sunechokaty