WEST Yorkshire composer and performer Paul Dale Vickers takes a walk on the Wilde side in his new musical De Profundis at the Great Yorkshire Fringe in York on Wednesday and Thursday.

Winner of The New Musical Project at fringe director Martin Witts's Leicester Square Theatre, the show will be staged at 7pm in The Gillygate Shed, at The Gillygate pub in where else but Gillygate.

De Profundis, featuring Paul's music and lyrics, is based on Irish playwright Oscar Wilde's letter to his young lover, Bosie, written in his prison cell in Reading jail in 1897.

York Press:

Paul Dale Vickers: "I realised that it had potential as a sung-through piece of theatre"

“I have no doubt that in this letter in which I have to write of your life and of mine, of the past and of the future, of sweet things changed to bitterness and of bitter things that may be turned into joy, there will be much that will wound your vanity to the quick,” Wilde wrote in a 50,000-word letter, whose title translates from Latin as "from the depths".

Paul, who lives in Wakefield, first read Wilde's words of love, loss and freedom at drama school more than 20 years ago. "I was immediately drawn to the obvious sense of drama within the letter,” he says. “I created a short ‘non-musical’ version and then left it. When I came back to it, many years later, I realised that it had potential as a sung-through piece of theatre.

"I was always fascinated by Wilde’s ability to forgive, his intense love for Bosie and how he used writing as a form of therapy. At the beginning of the letter he is full of anger; he then agonises over Bosie’s nature and how he could have been complicit in Wilde’s downfall; then, towards the end of the letter he offers staggeringly profound observations on the nature of forgiveness and, as he puts it, ‘the meaning of Sorrow and its beauty’."

For Paul's musical version, he let the rhythm of the words dictate the shape of the music and allowed the sentiment to drive the chords and melodies. "Much of the lyrical content is taken directly from the letter, with some invention required to tie ideas together," he says.

York Press:

Paul Dale Vickers: "The piece is essentially an elaborate soliloquy"

"De Profundis is a piece of musical theatre in the conventional sense; however, I am experimenting with form in terms of structure as the piece is essentially an elaborate soliloquy.”

Paul emerged as the inaugural winner of the Leicester Square Theatre’s The New Musical Project, which was set up to to discover and nurture a new British musical that showed great writing talent.

On offer was a process of mentoring and rehearsals that would lead to a fully staged show for the winner in the London theatre's Lounge. More than 100 musicals were received and considered. Six projects were chosen as finalists and showcases were produced and directed by Stuart Saint and Katie Pesskin, involving 27 actors, 18 panellists, 180 hours of rehearsal and six public readings.

Tickets for Wednesday and Thursday's performances of Paul's one-act, one-man musical can be booked at greatyorkshirefringe.com