Just days ahead of the musical production opening in the town, the men behind the project met Mayor Coun Pauline Markham to underline the saga’s local credentials.
Andy Platt and Max Reid went to the mayor’s parlour at the town hall to talk Coun Markham through their ambitious plans.
The pair have spent 15 years bringing the story of blind 17th century genius Nicholas Saunderson to the professional stage - and Andy twice gave up his job as a teacher to pursue the goal.
Now the musical No Horizon - telling the tale of Thurlstone-born Saunderson - takes a bow at The Civic next week.
Coun Markham admitted she was not aware of Saunderson before being contacted by Andy and Max. “I had never heard of him,” she said. “But I read up and was more and more amazed by what I found.”
With no eyes, before Braille, with no qualifications and coming from the then rural backwater of Thurlstone, against all the odds Saunderson became the Stephen Hawking of his age - Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.
He became celebrated across Europe and was sought out by royalty. He had learned to read by tracing the inscriptions on gravestones in Penistone’s churchyard.
“I was astonished by how he learned to read,” said Coun Markham. “And to then go on and achieve what he did is incredible.
“It is important for people to learn about individuals such as Saunderson. He was inspirational.
“I think it will go down well and resonate with people. This was a proper Barnsley lad who had a tough start and went on to hit the heights.”
Max, his wife Helen, and Andy - who all live in Penistone - have worked on the production together. Their big dream now is to take the show to the West End.
“We want to give Saunderson a national profile,” said Andy, 57, and a former head at Springvale school in Penistone. “We want to put him on the map and make the connection with Barnsley.
“No Horizon is a story of inspiration and aspiration. Saunderson’s achievement simply shouldn’t have happened, yet it did. He refused to accept the limitations he had to deal with.”
The lead role of Nicholas is to be played by Adam Martyn, a graduate of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool institute of Performing Arts in Liverpool and himself visually-impaired.
* No Horizon opens at The Civic on Thursday and also plays there on Friday and Saturday. It will tour until April 15.