Musical legend Tim Rice – who co-wrote Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber – throws support behind Inverness Musical Theatre after becoming the Highland group's honorary president
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A SMALL amateur dramatics group which rehearses in a Dalneigh scout hut has earned the unlikely endorsement of world-renowned Sir Tim Rice.
A chance conversation led to the legendary stage and film lyricist agreeing to become Inverness Musical Theatre’s (IMT) honorary president.
The company, previously known as Inverness Opera, has a membership of just 60-70 unpaid performers.
But they have built a strong reputation with rave reviews for spectacular shows at the city’s Eden Court, including Footloose, the Wizard of Oz, Guys and Dolls and Me and My Girl.
IMT — which celebrates its 95th anniversary later this year — is tiny when set against Sir Tim’s stellar success and relies purely on donations for its existence.
Sir Tim told the Courier: “I was delighted to accept. It isn’t the kind of role I can ever recall being asked to perform before.
“I would love to be a more proactive president, but that would be virtually impossible given that I live so far away.
“But I pass through Inverness once or twice a year and I’ll try to warn Inverness Musical Theatre when I’m coming, so I can drop by for shows or events.
“It will give me a good excuse to stop in Inverness, which I really like. Eden Court Theatre is a lovely venue.”
IMT secretary John Marr came up with the idea of approaching Sir Tim after learning of his love for the Highlands.
The 74-year-old owns a 33,000-acre estate at Dundonnell in Wester Ross. He has also attended Ross County football matches.
Mr Marr (55), a retired paramedic, described Sir Tim’s patronage as “an absolute honour” and now plans to invite him to the group’s Eden Court production of the Broadway classic Hello Dolly! in March.
“I was attending an operatic conference and got chatting to someone who knew Sir Tim,” Mr Marr recalled.
“With his Highland connection, it got me thinking. We invited him to our annual dinner and awards night but he got back to say he was away on a musical cruise.
“In all honesty, I didn’t think it would happen, but I emailed his PA and asked if he would be interested in being our honorary president.
“To my great surprise, he replied to say he would love to.
“We still really can’t get over it.”