It’s an iconic feminist film that shone a spotlight on sexism in the workplace – now a group of performing arts students are recreating the 1980s comedy ‘9 to 5’ for the stage.

Performing Arts students from the University of Sunderland are producing and performing their own high energy version of ‘9 to 5: The Musical’, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, who starred in the original film, alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

Four decades on and the messages still resonates today with the #metoo movement, as the story centres on the downtrodden working lives of three women, Violet, Judy, and Doralee. They all work at Consolidated Industries, which is presided over by the sexist, lecherous, and pompous, Franklin Hart. After Judy has an awful first day, Hart passes Violet over for another promotion, and Doralee finds out that Hart has been telling everyone they are having an affair, the three women unite in their hatred of Hart and attempt to bring about sweeping changes to their working environment.

The students’ production will be hosted by The Customs House in South Shields, as part of the second and third year students’ course which allows them to get involved in educational and professional opportunities within an arts venue, working alongside schedulers, box office staff, technicians and performers, developing their skills in marketing, design and communication with venues.

Sarah Raich, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer teaching across Dance and Performing Arts, explained: “We chose ‘9 to 5’ as it is such an iconic film and the music and lyrics are fantastic, it’s also currently showing in London’s Savoy Theatre. We have a high number of female students on the course this year, which fitted in perfectly as this production calls for a mostly female cast. There are also the clear links on the theme of the production linking in with the #metoo movement, so it’s very topical.”

She added: “All of our students are so excited to be performing.

They have also taken on production roles from sourcing costumes or props and sets to organising their independent rehearsals, as well as marketing and publicity.”

“This will be the third year we have done this as part of our musical theatre modules, which have been hugely popular and we’re delighted to be working with the Customs House this year, they have always been hugely supportive of our university.

“It is a wonderful and unique opportunity to perform before a live audience and I’m sure the experience will inspire these students on to greater things.”

The university has worked in partnership with the Customs House on a number of projects over the years.

The show will be performed on Wednesday, February 27 at 7pm,
and Thursday February 28, at 2pm and 7pm.

The tickets are £8 for students (plus a £2.50 booking fee if purchased online).

The booking fee doesn’t apply if tickets are bought at the Customs House Box Office.

To find out more about Performance Arts programmes at the University of Sunderland, visit here