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New play explores legacy of Isleworth rocker who inspired Ziggy Stardust

Isleworth the Rock and Roll Years is the third in a series of community plays about the area's rich history, created and produced by those living there

Vince Taylor on stage in Paris during the late 1950s(Image: Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Ziggy Stardust is one of the UK's most cherished creations, but did you know David Bowie 's glam rock alter-ego was inspired by a 50s rocker from Isleworth ?

Vince Taylor, who is probably best known for writing Brand New Cadillac, was reportedly credited by Bowie himself as the subject of his hit song Ziggy Stardust.

Taylor achieved minor celebrity in the late 50s and early 60s as the front man of the Playboys, and Bowie told how he had been obsessed by UFOs when the pair met during the mid-60s.

David Bowie performs his final concert as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon, London(Image: Express/Getty Images)

The artist, born Brian Holden in Isleworth 1939, became increasingly unpredictable on stage as he battled personal problems and fell into obscurity before dying in 1991, aged just 52.

His legacy is celebrated in a new drama about the history of Isleworth and its many characters.

READ MORE: When Ziggy played guitar one last time in Hammersmith

Play charts the end of austerity and the rise of the teenager

Isleworth the Rock and Roll Years is the third instalment of the Isleworth Community Plays, created and produced by people living and working in the west London suburb.

It recalls life in Isleworth during the 1950s, when Taylor briefly electrified the charts and British long distance cycling champion Eileen Sheridan , who still lives in the area, dominated the roads.

READ MORE: David Bowie Day to be held in Hounslow

The focus is not just on celebrities, however, with the drama chronicling the emergence of teen culture as Britain cast off the shackles of post-war austerity and new household appliances revolutionised life for many.

Rehearsals for the third in a series of Isleworth Community Plays

The musical, featuring 12 original songs, also explores life on the river during those years, the impact of conscription and the great success of the Festival of Britain.

Khobaib Abuelmeaza, who worked on the previous two plays, said the incredible spirit and friendship among those involved was different to that on any production he had known, and that shone through in the performances.

"These are real stories about real people who lived, and still live, in our little town of Isleworth," he added.

'Real stories about real people'

"I know that when the next Isleworth Community Play comes along it will be just as beautiful and brilliant as the last two."

The play is a promenade production, meaning the audience will walk around the space where the action takes place, though a limited number of seats will be available.

Around 100 people are involved in the latest production, either on stage or behind the scenes.

The first community play, Beautiful Dreamer, was performed in 2012 and was based on the 1930s childhood of lifelong Isleworth resident Eileen Woodbridge.

The second, entitled We Can Do It!, was produced in 2014 and featured a cast of 62 people. Set during World War II, it focused on those who remained in west London and lived through the Blitz.

* Isleworth the Rock and Roll Years is at Isleworth and Syon School, in Ridgeway Road, Isleworth, on March 16, 18 and 19, at 7.30pm each day, with an additional matinee performance on March 19 at 2pm.

For tickets, priced £8 (£6 concessions), visit www.goldengiving.com/event/icp, call 020 8758 9177 or email isleworthplay@gmail.com. They are also on sale at South Street Cafe, 2 Shrewsbury Walk, Isleworth.

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