Abbey Musical Society’s production of the Lionel Bart musical Blitz was a total sell-out at Forum 28 in Barrow in 1992.

The society had caused a national stir with its northern premier of the show which Bart had refused to release for amateur performances for several years.

To cope with the unprecedented demand for seats that the show had caused, the society eventually decided to put on an extra matinee at 2.15pm on the Saturday that week.

The show, which successfully captured the town’s heart, was set in London’s East End during the Second World War.

The performance included married couple Paulette and Gordon Woodhouse with the honour of playing the two principal characters, who were also sworn enemies.

Gordon played Alfred Locke, the cockney greengrocer, and also an air raid warden.

He said: “He’s a bit of an Alf Garnett character this one.

“He’s prejudiced and says dreadful things sometimes.”

Paulette plays the Jewish matriarch Mrs Blitztein, who runs a pickled herring stall and has brought up a large family single-handed.

Paulette said: “It’s a lovely role. It’s a sort of female Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, but the most unglamorous part I’ve ever played.

“I found a pair of old boots with zips up the front at Oxfam and I rehearsed in those and an old beret for weeks to help me get the feel of the part.”

Amateur dramatic societies from Galashiels, York, Hull, Newcastle and Bromley, Kent were among those who travelled to Barrow to view the production during the six-night run it enjoyed.

Musical director Noreen Steel said: “We’ve been told that it was mentioned at the NODA conference that the persistence of a society from Barrow got the show released for amateur performances.”

The show received tremendous praise for its acting, energy, and costume design.

The news that it was a sell-out performance made word of mouth spread through the town causing even more people to try and see it.