NORMAN Fowler and Andrew Bunney's musical play A Hunger will be staged by St George's Parish and School at the National Centre for Early Music, York, on June 27 and 28.

The play was first performed at Joseph Rowntree Theatre in 2000 to mark the 150th anniversary of St George’s Church, when 60 children from St George's RC Primary School formed the cast. Fowler, who also performs under the name Steve Cassidy, was the head teacher at the time.

"Our new production includes children from the school, as well as adults from the parish of St George," he says.

Written by Fowler with music by Bunney and Fowler, A Hunger follows the lives of a family fleeing the famine that devastated the lives of many in Ireland after the failure of the potato crop.

They escape to England, only to be met with hostility after arriving outside the York city walls, but eventually they are helped by Maria and James Tuke.

"The story tells of the early days of the church when a foundation stone was laid close to the ruins of the ancient church of St George," says Norman. "From the rubble of this church rose a new church designed by Joseph Hansom, designer of the Hansom cab.

"St George’s School was established at the same time to provide education for the poor of the parish, many of whom lived in the over-crowded slums of Walmgate.

"The community that grew in this area survived trial and tribulation. Faced with poverty, hostility and disease, they kept their faith, hope and charity.This play celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over adversity."

Fowler, who was head teacher at St George’s School for 17 years, has directed this new production. His cast includes Canon Alan Sheridan, priest at St George’s Church.

Tickets for next week's 7.30pm performances are available from the school on 01904 552440.