Now it's Tom Paine the musical!

The life of the son of a Thetford corset maker might not sound the greatest of material for a hit London musical.But the story of one of Norfolk's most famous historical figures is set to be turned into song and dance next year to mark the bicentenary of the death of Thomas Paine.

The life of the son of a Thetford corset maker might not sound the greatest of material for a hit London musical.

But the story of one of Norfolk's most famous historical figures is set to be turned into song and dance next year to mark the bicentenary of the death of Thomas Paine.

Local supporters of the 18th century pamphleteer and revolutionary welcomed the news that the Thetford born and bred author was the subject of a new play at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

News that the London playhouse will be staging a production of A New World from September, featuring 20 songs about the Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Age of Reason writer, comes as officials in Thetford gear up for a series of events to celebrate the life of Tom Paine in 2009.


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John Weeks, coordinator of the Tom Paine 200 festival, said that the famous figure may not have been an obvious choice for a musical play, but the author did have a number of music connections.

“Thomas Paine had a very vivid and dramatic life, which lends itself well to dramatisation and a Les Miserables-style musical accompaniment. He did write one or two poems and one about General Wolfe was set to music in his own time. And there are a lot of folk tunes associated with the American revolution and the folk of this country reveal a lot about the man of the people,” he said.

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Writer Trevor Griffiths, who is set to give a lecture during Thomas Paine celebrations in Diss next year, is composing the script for the play at Shakespeare's Globe.

Mr Weeks said Thetford was planning its own theatrical production about the life of Tom Paine in October, but welcomed any project that raised the profile of the great man.

For more information, visit www.tompaine200.org.uk

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