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Titanic the musical gets ready to set sail
11:20am Monday 22nd October 2012 in Freetime
THE great grandson of a cabinet maker who helped build the Titanic's grand staircase is preparing to perform in a musical version of the story of the ship.
John Smit, who plays bandmaster Wallace Hartley, is starring in the Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead Theatre Company’s production of Titanic: The Musical.
He is the great grandson of cabinet maker Reinerus Wilhelmus ("William") Smit, who moved to High Wycombe in 1914.
William helped build the Titanic’s iconic grand staircase, which was replicated in the 1997 film. Also Linda Lucas from Slough, who works in the wardrobe department, is distantly related to the vessel’s Quartermaster Robert Hitchens, who was at the ship’s wheel when it hit the iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic 100 years ago.
"My great-grandfather was actually given tickets to sail on the maiden voyage," explains John, "but, rumour has it that they turned them down because his wife was pregnant. Either that or he was just one lucky individual."
Titanic: The Musical follows the true stories of the passengers and crew who were aboard the ship when it sank killing more than 1,500 people, on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.
"It's really fantastic to hear all about connections the cast and crew have with the ship." says Mark Bolkonsky, director of the amateur production: "Hearing these stories really helps to focus in on the personal journey of those people affected by the sinking of the Titanic."
Titanic: The Musical will be performed at the Theatre Royal Windsor between October 30 and November 3. Tickets are available now on 01753 853 888 or from www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk