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MARCH 2011




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amateurstagemar11 FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to our first NODA inclusive issue of Amateur Stage. I hope that you like the larger format and extra news and information that comes from our agreement to publish NODA’s regional news in the magazine. Doubling the size of the magazine is not without its challenges. Over the next few months we will be ironing out some of the glitches in the process to bring you an even better magazine. In the meantime, I would really appreciate your feedback. Please let me know what you think be it good, bad or indifferent. The one good thing that comes from this collaboration is that Amateur Stage now reaches the majority of the UK amateur theatre population. You have in your hands a forum that can get your message out to other groups and hopefully provide a much needed resource for groups nationwide. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Julia Rymer and Dee McIlroy who were brave enough to step up first with their regional news. I appreciate your efforts. Enjoy! Doug



SPOTLIGHT We profile Godalming Theatre Group


WEST END REVIEWS Mark Ludmon reviews the latest West End offerings.




We profile this year’s offerings.


THE MUSICAL PRODUCED SEDOS talk about Kiss Of the Spiderwoman The Musical


LITTLE THEATRE GUILD NEWS Mike Shipley brings us the latest news from the LTG.


FIRST NIGHT INSURANCE Robert Israel discusses the latest insurance issues.


NODA WALES & IRELAND News and Show Reports from NODA Wales & Ireland


NODA EAST News from NODA East.


JOSEF WEINBERGER Weinberger’s discuss their latest offerings for amateur groups.


KNOW YOUR RIGHTS We talk to Tamara von Werthern from Nick Hern Books


PLAYSCRIPT REVIEWS David Muncaster reviews the latest playscripts


THE LAST WORD Doris returns!!



CREDITS Published monthly by Amateur Stage Limited ISSN 00026867 Suite 404 Albany House, 324 Regent Street, London W1B 3HH P: 0203 0062845 Editor - Douglas Mayo : SUBSCRIBE NOW UK Rates - 1 Year £24. 2 Years £40 Subscribe online or by sending a cheque to the address shown above. DEADLINE APRIL ISSUE : 15TH MARCH 2011 All rights reserved throughout the world. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written consent of Amateur Stage. The views and opinions expressed by the contributors to this magazine may not necessarily represent the views of Amateur Stage. (c) 2011 Amatuer Stage Limited

Cover: NODA Summer School

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overture national news * events * products * competitions * stuff


Only those blessed with an extraordinary ability and love of language qualify for the Putnam County Spelling Bee. But there can only be one winner and with a place in the national final at stake, emotions run high, hopes are quashed and dreams are broken. Dust off your dictionary and prepare yourselves for the spelling challenge of a lifetime in William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s hilarious Tony Award-winning musical. This riotous musical comedy is guaranteed to have you cachinnating (use it in a sentence, request a definition?). Featuring Steve Pemberton, this extraordinary little musical was a huge OffBroadway hit before being presented around the world. Now it’s London’s turn. If you are a fan of quirky little musicals, this one is for you. Be quick though, this one has sell out written all over it. Feb 11 - April 2. Donmar Warehouse, London


Sky Blue Theatre are looking for adult actors with good singing voices to perform a new musical, Pollyanna. This new show, based on the popular, classic novel by Eleanor Porter will enthrall the whole family. With libretto by Frances Bartram and music by Geoff Page, We are looking to cast several leading parts of all ages and chorus members are wanted too. We will be taking this up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from the 19th-26th August and then presenting it at the Cambridge Corn Exchange from the 9th-11th September. Rehearsals will not be starting until the weekend of 23rd July then three weekend rehearsals with previews on the 13th and 14thAugust. As rehearsals are mainly in the holiday season we do realise that not everyone can attend all the rehearsals. This is a great opportunity to have a wonderful week of theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe which is an unforgettable experience and then to perform in the largest venue in Cambridge the Corn Exchange. For full details and to arrange and audition please get in touch with Frances on 01223 529491 or email :-

Please submit your news articles and high resolution images to


We are offering one lucky reader the chance to win £100 worth of Theatre Tokens. Treat your mum (or yourself!) this Mother’s Day to a larger than life experience with Theatre Tokens. Theatre Tokens are the magical gift of theatre giving you the choice of the many exciting shows available from over 240 different theatres nationwide, including all of London’s West End. Theatre Tokens can be used to see plays, musicals, comedies, opera and dance. With no expiry date these unique gift vouchers give you the choice of what, when and where to exchange them, giving you the flexibility, because everyone’s different. The Theatre Tokens are despatched to anywhere in the UK in an attractive envelope and presentation wallet which lists all the information you need to enjoy them including participating theatres. If you’re not lucky enough to win you can buy Theatre Tokens online from www., Tokenline on 0844 887 7878, on the high street from selected branches of WHSmith and Waterstone’s, and participating theatres. Theatre Tokens is the UK theatre industry’s national gift voucher scheme administered by The Society of London Theatre, created to encourage UK theatre going. Any profits generated are invested into promoting UK theatre. Treat someone to a truly magical gift and an unforgettable experience. To Win tokens tell us in 25 words or less what show your mum would love to see on Mothers Day and why? Entries to by March 17th. Terms and conditions: 1. The winner will be picked at random from entries received. 2. Only one entry permitted per household. 3. Entrants must be 18 or over. 4. No cash alternative will be offered. 5. Standard Theatre Tokens terms and conditions apply. 6. The promoter takes no responsibility for entries lost in the post or not received by the closing date. 7. Winner’s details can be obtained by writing to the promoter. Promoter: West End Theatre Managers Ltd, 32 Rose Street, London WC2E 9ET. | 5

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MORE ABOUT RSC OPEN STAGES Many companies, like the one to which I belong, will be applying to be part of this exciting venture and looking forward to co-operating with and learning from the professional theatre. Others may have decided that they can’t move their established plans or even, like a well-known Bristol company have only recently completed a Shakespearethemed season! The RSC, bearing such factors in mind, have extended their deadline for applications to the end of this month. There is, however, a further way to take part. The AETF has been actively involved with this project from the initial conference at Stratford and whereas our 2011 Festival season is now under way - look at our website uk as the first results come in - which will culminate at the English Final in Harrogate on June 4th; on that day we will officially launch the RSC Open Stages Shakespeare Competition. This will be run in tandem with our 2012 AETF Festival until the finals when we will run an AETF English Final and an RSC Open Stages English Final. Entries for this will be through our preliminary rounds at their varied entry dates and you can ‘read all about it’ on our web site or contact any preliminary round organiser. Entries will have to comply with our usual time restrictions but the main difference between this and the rest of the Open Stages project is that entries must contain Shakespeare’s words! We have Shakespeare fanatics in our midst and his plots (which were not original) are not enough! There is a great deal of enthusiasm amongst us - and the prospect of the winners performing at Stratford is a very edible carrot. Ann Aplin


The Broughton Players are pleased to welcome entrants into their 19th One Act Play Festival. The Festival is held at the Preston Playhouse Market St West, a beautiful little theatre right in the heart of the city and will run from the W.C 20th June till Saturday 25th June. The theatre caters for many amateur groups, is run on a purely voluntary basis and patrons have the added bonus of free parking. The festival encourages new directing, writing and performing and its competitive but very friendly ethos draws groups from all over the Northwest. The end of the evening sees performers and playgoers adjourning to the well stocked bar. If you wish to enter the festival details are available from Adrienne Hurley 01772 700562 or email



At a time when local councils seem to be slashing funding to all manner of projects due to austerity measures, this little gem caught our eye. It has been reported that the first professional pantomime at the new Hertford Theatre fell way short of financial expectations – and made a loss of £35,000. East Herts Council had set aside a budget of more than £88,000 for the in-house Cinderella production, which ended earlier this month. The council had expected to make a loss on the first year of this venture of about £8,000 but hope to make significant profits over the course of the ten year project. Council leader Cllr Tony Jackson (Con, Datchworth and Aston) said: “My business sense tells me these things take time to crank up. It’s a new venture. I think the critical question to ask is, is it a gap we can close in the future or, if not, is it right that we subsidise it? It might be right to subsidise certain things – that’s the nature of provincial theatres like this.” Meanwhile, the amateur Aladdin pantomime performed by Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society (HD&OS) at the same venue in The Wash is thought to have made a profit. The group’s pantomime committee had feared it would suffer because of the professional show. One has to wonder why the local council felt the need to set itself up in competition with an established local group in the first place. Surely local governments role is to look after local amenities and services, not to try to compete with local community groups who are already catering to the marketplace!!


A Wirral theatre company has made it onto the shortlist for the amateur theatre world’s top regional awards. Hand in Hand Productions’ The Importance of Being Earnest has been nominated in three categories of the 2011 NODA North West Amateur Theatre Awards. Jill Breckon (Lady Bracknell) is on the shortlist for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, while Michael Hetherington (Jack Worthington) is nominated for Best Actor in a New Drama. The play was produced in association with H&T Productions. Award winners will be revealed in May. Bev Clark, who also recieved a nomation for Artistic Direction said: “The competition is stiff but we are flattered to be in there.” Hand in Hand’s new play Fight for Justice, based on the story of Derek Bentley, is now in rehearsals. The company will perform at the Leverhulme Drama Festival at the Gladstone Theatre in April.

Can you put a price on a good idea? A moment of brilliance that lifts you above the fray, one that carries you beyond the hum-drum and past the solemnity of mediocrity. Sadly, you can. An idea, on its own, without a framework or platform from which to operate, carries with it many problems; hours of listless toil – all in a battle to gain the inertia required to turn your idea into a success story worthy of your own creative guile. Fortunately for you, there’s now a much easier and direct way to spread the word of your idea to others. eFunder is a forum for creatives to showcase their talents in an environment where ingenuity and talent are appreciated and crucially, rewarded. If you’re struggling to release your first record, get sufficient backing for your charitable cause or trying to create a one-off niche event that has thus far failed to gain momentum, then eFunder is the place to breathe fresh life back into your project. Think E-Bay with projects rather than products, a place for you or your organisation to pitch their idea to a wider audience of potential investors. eFunder is a simple concept; a market-place that allows for the creation of projects by Charities, Schools, Artists and creatives whilst granting those with money to give a shopping experience. The result is a fluid exchange of ideas and support in an environment that will fuel creativity and giving. There’s no too big or too small at eFunder, whatever your idea, providing it’s legal and ethical, we’ll provide you and your supporters with a flexible platform tailored to your needs. This is advertising, but with you as Don Draper, here you are in control of the copy – be smart, be incisive; don’t waste this opportunity to have your voice heard. Whatever your endeavour, should you wish to see it reach fruition or help it progress from drawing board to reality then go to eFunder: Think it, Fund it.


Newpoint Players from Newry are now the Association of Ulster Drama Festivals One-Act champions following the Finals which took place at Ballymoney Town Hall on Saturday 29th January 2011. , adjudicated by Paul Fowler G.O.D.A. They won the title with ‘I can’t Stand Up For Falling Down’ by Richard Cameron. The play was directed by Paul McParland and featured Danielle Slevin, Denise Taylor and Helen Cooper. This gripping production had already received plaudits from various festivals, in the north and south of Ireland, and they now go forward to the British finals, which will take place in Swindon on 1st and 2nd July.


I have some news about Irene Rostron - she is out of hospital and recovering well from her stroke. She has most of her faculties intact, except for balance, which means that she has to move around the house with a zimmer for security. Of course she is taking things carefully for the moment; not seeing the wealth of theatre currently on offer in Manchester alone must be really annoying her!! Mike Shipley


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A talented playwright, described as a “leading light in all aspects of amateur theatre”, has died aged 70. James Chinn, known to his friends as Jimmie, was an active contributor to the world of drama in the community, producing a number of plays for the Teddington Theatre Club. His play, the Garden Party, written alongside Hazel Wyld, was the premier production for the new Hampton Hill Playhouse when it opened in 1999. TV and radio director Martin Jenkins said: “He was a brilliant writer with a unique ability to look deep into all of his characters, his plays demonstrating his strong commitment, and I shall treasure the memories of working with his wonderfully imaginative words.” Mr Chinn lived in Gordon Road, on the Whitton and Hounslow border, with his partner Peter Slater, who he met in 1972. He worked as a writer for television programmes, including Emmerdale, and radio shows during the 1980s, but his true love was for the stage. His greatest success came in 1992 when his play Straight and Narrow opened in London’s West End. Mr Slater said: “He was a leading light in all aspects of amateur theatre – inspired, joyous and creative. Jimmie was a rarity. A one off.” Mr Chinn died following a long illness on January 29.


The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) have announced plans for the revitalisation of the Olivier Awards, theatre’s most prestigious prize. Winners will receive their awards at the Olivier Awards 2011 Ceremony on Sunday 13 March 2011 in a star-studded show on the stage of London’s historic Theatre Royal Drury Lane with the BBC Concert Orchestra under the Musical Direction of David Charles Abell. Distinguished guests from London’s arts and cultural scene will join winners and celebrities at the red carpet evening. A new broadcast partnership with the BBC was also announced, bringing the Olivier Awards to audiences across the country. There will be live coverage on BBC Television of the red carpet and a full results and reaction programme after the ceremony presented by Jane Hill and Arts Editor Will Gompertz. Radio 2 will broadcast direct from the theatre in a special programme presented by Michael Ball, from 5.30-9.30pm, with live coverage of the event ceremony and all performances from the stage plus red carpet interviews with attending stars from Jodie Prenger, and for the first time viewers can watch the proceedings live on television via the BBC Red Button. This year also sees the return of the Radio 2 Audience Award, renamed as the BBC Radio 2 Olivier Audience Award, in which members of the public are able to vote for their favourite long-running production from a shortlist of 18 shows. Elaine Paige, star of stage and screen, and presenter of Radio 2’s musical theatre show, will present the Award at the ceremony with the cast from last year’s winning show Wicked. Nica Burns, President of the Society of London Theatre, said: “We are delighted to announce the outstandingly talented list of nominees for the Olivier Awards 2011 with MasterCard. The breadth, range and standard of productions and performers reflect London’s status as the theatre capital of the world.” Among the nominations for the Olivier Awards 2011 with MasterCard announced today are: •Best Actress: Tracie Bennett for End of the Rainbow, Nancy Carroll for After the Dance, Tamsin Greig for The Little Dog Laughed and Sophie Thompson for Clybourne Park. •Best Actor: Roger Allam for Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Derek Jacobi for King Lear, Rory Kinnear for Hamlet, Mark Rylance for La Bête and David Suchet for All My Sons. •Best New Musical: Fela!, Legally Blonde – The Musical, Love Never Dies and Love Story •Best Director: Dominic Cooke for Clybourne Park, Howard Davies for The White Guard, Michael Grandage for King Lear and Thea Sharrock for After the Dance. •Mastercard Best New Play: Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter, Sucker Punch by Roy Williams, The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane, Tribes by Nina Raine. •Best Actress in a Musical: Sierra Boggess for Love Never Dies, Elena Roger for Passion, Sheridan Smith for Legally Blonde – The Musical and Emma Williams for Love Story. •Best Actor in a Musical: Alex Gaumond for Legally Blonde – The Musical, Ramin Karimloo for Love Never Dies, Sahr Ngaujah for Fela! and Michael Xavier for Love Story. •Best New Opera Production: English National Opera and Young Vic’s Elegy for Young Lovers at the Young Vic; De Nederlandse Opera, English National Opera and Complicité’s A Dog’s Heart at the London Coliseum; Royal Opera, Vienna State Opera, San Francisco Opera, the Liceu, Barcelona and Opéra Bastille’s Adriana Lecouvreur at the Royal Opera House; OperaUpClose and Soho Theatre’s La Bohème at Soho Theatre. •Best New Dance Production: Mambo 3XX1 by Danza Contemporanea de Cuba choreographed by George Cespedes at Sadler’s Wells; Babel (Words) by Eastman vzw and Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet at Sadler’s Wells and Cinderella by New Adventures choreographed by Matthew Bourne at Sadler’s Wells. The Olivier Awards 2011 with MasterCard Theatre Royal Drury Lane London WC2 Sunday 13 March 5 pm


York Musical Theatre Company presents

Slipper and the Rose

The real story of Cinderella Directed by Paul Laidlaw

12 -16 April

Family ticket £45 (Upper Circle) Tickets £5 - £18 Box Ofce 01904 623568 | 7

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Spotlight on



odalming Theatre Group was founded in 1964 by the late Desmond Holt. At that time is was known as The Youth Centre Theatre Group. The productions became grander and the “youth” got older, and so eventually the group was renamed Godalming Theatre Group (GTG). Nearly fifty years later, GTG is known for producing some of the finest community theatre in Surrey with the season built around a major Spring musical, an Autumn play and a Christmas show or pantomime. The group is managed by experienced volunteers, who aim for professional standards and invest in challenging and adventurous productions. These are staged at the Ben Travers Theatre, Charterhouse School, Godalming. Last year GTG won yet another NODA award for excellence for its production of Titanic the Musical which achieved 98% box office, a level of ticket sales which is always the aim for this ambitious and hard working Group. Jack Phillips the radio operator who stayed at his post and tragically drowned on the original voyage, hailed from Godalming so the local interest was intense. GTG’s home at the Ben Travers Theatre is a versatile venue allowing various stagings. Indeed South Pacific a few years ago was staged in the thrust and many tons of sand was added to create a real live Pacific Island! On that occasion the actor and actress who played the lovers Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque fell in love for real during the rehearsals and married each other honeymooning in the South Pacific! GTG has an active youth section for 12 – 21 year olds many of whom go on to professional training. The Group supports members who do this through Desmond Holt Memorial Trust bursaries raised at annual concerts when those who have received financial support return and perform each year in the concerts to help the next generation of performers. In fact GTG’s next production in April is Annie Get Your Gun which will star professional actor Nick Wyschna, one of the past recipients of the bursary, who has recently returned from the International tour of Mamma Mia, now taking on the role of Frank Butler. Other professional, past members return regularly to teach the Youth Group. This autumn GTG are producing Grand Hotel and moving the production out of the normal theatre location to Charterhouse’s Hall, a beautiful oak panelled venue, to replicate the grandeur of 1920’s Berlin in an idyllic location. Auditions will take place in June for this exciting venture. Life has not all been a bed of roses for GTG – some years ago a hired set collapsed during a performance of Blitz depositing the actor playing Alfie Locke onto the stage from some 14ft –luckily his fall was broken by a market stall and the performance went on with most of the audience thinking it was all part of the show! More recently the unprecedented snow storms of January 2010 caused their production of The Wizard of Oz to close mid performance halfway through the run and it was unable to reopen due to the theatre being cut off by snow. Thanks to the support and understanding and support of their audiences GTG returned this Christmas with Aladdin which avoided the blizzards and was a great success with all ages. GTG Chairman, Keith Thomas says “As its half century approaches GTG is busier

and more active than ever. Despite more and more drama groups being created in the area and a more transient acting population, thanks to a stalwart group of dedicated and committed members GTG continues to thrive in an ever more competitive market. Every show is meticulously budgeted to the last penny and every cast member is expected to get out and publicise the shows. This plus a hugely supportive audience base from Godalming and further afield who support every show means that GTG is able to bring our audiences the highest quality and variety of theatre and the up and coming junior members mean our future is secure. If you want proof just come and see Annie get Your Gun 12th – 16th April which is being co-directed by one of the founder members from 1964 David Dray and features six members of the current youth group the youngest, Kieran Masters being just eleven years old and already a veteran performer as this is his third production with GTG.” If you would like to, come and see Annie get Your Gun, audition for Grand Hotel or get involved in anyway front or backstage then visit and find out even more about Godalming Theatre Group. Extra information: Box Office/information : 01483 425556 PR/Marketing:


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National Theatre

Theatre director Peter Hall is famous for his love of Shakespeare and his unwillingness to edit it for a modern production. “It is impossible to cut a word of Twelfth Night”, he said in the foreword to a 1960 edition, championing even its obscure Elizabethan jokes. In his new production at the Cottesloe – the smallest of the National’s theatres – he takes a traditional approach, keeping the obscure lines and dressing the cast in 16th-century costumes. This is a solid production, mixing lively comedy with an air of melancholy. Anthony Ward’s minimalist set brings the inside outside, with a zig-zag of decorated panelled screens representing a treefilled garden and an overhanging canopy that shifts and unfurls from scene to scene. The simplicity of it is undermined by a somewhat random line of tiny toy-like houses at the back of the stage to represent the town. The director’s daughter, Rebecca Hall, is a serious and sombre Viola, lacking the feistiness usually associated with the character, while her love interest Orsino is played by Marton Csokas like a parody of a languid 19th-century aesthete. It comes to life with the comedy, thanks to the trio of Charles Edwards as Andrew Aguecheek, Simon Callow as Toby Belch and Finty Williams as Maria. They bring longed-for hilarity, shot through with cruelty and sadness, epitomiaed by Aguecheek’s plaintive, “I was adored once too.” Simon Paisley Day perfectly captures the comedy of Malvolio’s narcissism while eliciting our sympathy at the excessive cruelty he suffers. At the end, David Ryall’s gloomy Feste tries to drum up a singalong to Shakespeare’s song, The Wind and the Rain, but it is at odds with the problematic pairings and the darkness of the comedy that has come before.

Accompanied by live music piped through from a six-piece band in another room, the cast includes some wonderful performances, from Katie Brayben’s “dumb” stewardess to Cassidy Janson as crazy Amy. Also notable are Laura Main, Adam Venus, Matthew White, Steven Serlin, Leigh McDonald and Julia J Nagle, but it is probably wrong to single out individual performances as this is a superb ensemble that makes this a highly memorable Company.

ORDINARY DAYS Trafalgar Studios

Ordinary Days may be a small musical in a small theatre space, but it packs the sort of punch you’d expect from a bigger musical. The show is written by US newcomer Adam Gwon and features a cast of four comprising Daniel Boys, Julie Atherton, Alexia Khadime and Lee William-Davis. When Deb loses her graduate thesis notes a chain of events begins which turns the ordinary days of four New Yorkers into something extraordinary. Ordinary Days is a through sung one act musical which left me wanting more. The songs interweave the four characters together with great flair and humour. With a simple yet effective set and a three piece band, the show bubbles along, never losing the audiences attention for a minute. The shows pivotal moment comes with Julie Atherton singing I’ll Be Here. This number left very few dry eyes on the night I attended with it’s unexpected twist and high emotion. When this review is printed there will be a few days in which you can catch Ordinary Days, but make a point of seeing it if you can. There’s no doubt that Adam Gwon is a name to keep an eye out for. (Reviewed by Douglas Mayo)


Twelfth Night

Mark Ludmon looks at the latest West End offerings.

Company Southwark Playhouse

Company was one of Stephen Sondheim’s first musicals but, at the time, not one that was well received. Critics were unimpressed by the almost plotless story of New York bachelor Robert musing on his relationships and friends on his 35th birthday. Since then, it has been recognised as a genre-changing moment in theatre history and is now regularly produced by professionals and amateurs. Joe Fredericks’ fantastic new production at Southwark Playhouse updates the story from its original location in 1970 to the modern day, opening with a radio DJ playing a track by Rihanna. Happily, we are with Sondheim for the rest of the show, with a talented cast bringing out every morsel of melody and irony in the book and lyrics. And, despite the opening and closing scenes locating it in 2011, we still have Siobhan McCarthy’s drunken Joanne paying tribute to the “ladies who lunch” while smoking in a New York nightclub. The dark brick-walled space of Southwark Playhouse, underneath the railway near London Bridge station, emphasises the almost nightmare qualities of the dream-like piece, with Robert’s friends emerging out of the darkness to surround him or look down on him. Rupert Young is an impish and sometimes childlike Robert, teasing out an emotional depth to the character who mainly exists as a foil to the five different couples.

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1 1 0 2 S L O O H C S R E M M


Summer will be here before we know it… so this is the ideal time to start planning your holiday activities. Why not find an exciting Summer School to develop your skills and expand on your existing talents? Russell Hawkins looks at the options available. Planning to go to Drama School? Serious about a career in the industry? Want to meet like-minded people? Want to develop your people skills and boast your confidence? These are all good reasons why a short summer programme may be ideal for you. There is a vast array of courses out there to enrol on (in both performance and technical theatre), whatever your age, experience level or interest. So whether you are looking to experience something new, brush up on your existing skills or simply have fun… you will definitely find a course suited to your needs and ability in this Summer School low-down. If you are looking at going to Drama School in the future, then a Summer School is a perfect way to get a sneak preview of the experience and to make sure it is for you. Maybe you want to sample a specific area of study or get help on your audition technique – these courses allow you to work alongside experienced theatre practitioners and course tutors in some of the country’s leading Performing Arts Schools. Maybe you are an experienced performer already but want to brush up on a particular skill such as Acting for Camera or playing Shakespeare. Or maybe you just enjoy performing and want to have fun… There is the ideal Summer Course for you, your skill level and your needs. We hope that this round-up summary is a useful tool to help you decide on the right programme for you… Amateur Stage wishes you an enjoyable, fun-filled and creative Summer!


ARTS EDUCATIONAL Arts Educational, Chiswick has for the last 90 years taught and developed some of the worlds leading performing artists across all disciplines. Now you can experience life in one of the UK’s leading Drama Schools. For adults their renowned Musical Theatre Department runs a successful taster course. During this week you will take part in acting, singing and dancing classes, and rehearse for a performance you will give at the end of the week. Another highlight is West End Week focusing on Song and Dance, learning repertoire from West End shows. For children, they also offer an array of courses in various disciplines to both educate and entertain.

ACADEMY OF THE SCIENCE OF ACTING AND DIRECTING Founded in 1991 and based in Archway, London. With roots in the Stanislavski system and a mission to create a coherent, working method for actors and directors, the Academy has rapidly established itself as a centre of excellence. Their courses offer a thorough and complete grounding for a profession in acting and directing for theatre, film, television & radio. The two-week International course, which is held over July and August, is the perfect opportunity to find out what acting and directing training is all about. As well as having a lot of fun on the course you will be taught the key subjects of drama school education and be given the opportunity to go on a trip to the theatre. In addition to the Science of Acting you will be taught Stage Combat, Dance, Voice and Acrobatics.


The Actor Works is based in Wapping, Epping. Their taster course is an excellent introduction to those opting with the idea of progressing to a drama school. For those both hard-working and good-natured, this experience is designed to give prospective students an idea of what the school offers, as well as what will be expected of them. The course is also regarded as an alternative to a regular audition, in that at the end of the three days, places on their various courses beginning in September may be offered. Over the three days, students will attend classes covering various disciplines including movement, voice, text study, acting and a basic introduction to the ideas of Spolin. All classes will be taught by different members of the faculty.

Bird College is located in Sidcup, Kent. Founded by Doreen Bird 60 years ago, Bird College is an acknowledged centre of excellence for dance and theatre performance. Their short summer courses are suitable for anyone who wishes to develop their interest in dance and theatre performance, and particularly for those who might be considering full time training. The courses are taught by members of our highly regarded faculty together with West End artists and international choreographers. The classes range from an International Summer School for those wanting to experience life at this leading performing arts college, to a specialist Classical and Contemporary Course specifically designed for those with a particular passion for these dance genres, concentrating on both technique and a selection of repertoire.



ALRA based in South London run a unique project called ‘Yellow Academy’. Held annually in July, this week long course is aimed at young British East Asians aged 16 to 30. Audition Workshops at ALRA South (London) and ALRA North (Wigan, Greater Manchester) in May as places are limited to 16. The intense drama training week culminates in a showcase on Friday evening. Yellow Academy aims to find a new generation of British East Asians, and the course promises to uncover the secrets of how to get into this industry, and provide a taste of what it really takes to be a successful professional actor. Free tuition and accommodation will be provided to those invited.

Located in Birmingham City Centre, the Birmingham School of Acting offers courses for both adults and children. Their popular Adult Summer School is an intensive fortnight for actors and non-actors with an emphasis on hard work mixed with enjoyment. The course explores the technical skills of voice (spoken and sung), movement (physical action and characterisation) and text study (contemporary and classical), as well as specialist areas such as improvisation and stage combat. Their children’s Jesters Courses are led by specialists in young people’s drama and they are guaranteed to give you a fabulous summer, whether you want your child to make new friends and gain


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ONSTAGE extra confidence, learn specific skills or want to gain an insight into the profession! Drawing on stories from around the world, students will create new sagas and present their own legends as they understand and practice performance skills. No previous experience is required, just the desire to learn and have fun!


performance through original musicals. The course run at the Exmouth Pavilion over 5 days for children aged 8 to 12. No experience is necessary - just lots of enthusiasm and energy! Working on a specially written musical, the participants are encouraged to develop their skills in acting, singing and dancing. The School culminates in a fully costumed performance with sound and lights at The Pavilion, where family and friends are encouraged to attend.

ACTiv8 is the youth theatre group of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for 7 to 18 year olds. ACTiv8 students are provided with a creative, supportive and playful environment in which to develop their skills. The Theatre Skills Weeks will focus on creating a strong and supportive company dynamic, in which all can flourish. Students will learn the skills and crafts of an actor, whilst also having fun! Their Adult Intensive week-long courses in professional acting are designed to sharpen and broaden your techniques and improve your basic tools of acting. Morning sessions concentrate on basic acting skills, and afternoons will work on play texts. Teaching staff are drawn from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and professional actors. These courses are suitable for those aged 17 and above, who have some prior acting experience, and/ or those wishing to pursue their interest in the acting profession.

GSA has an international reputation for the high quality of its training and has been running Summer Schools for the last 20 years. The Summer School is now based at GSA’s brand new HQ at Stag Hill, Guildford and is widely recognised as one of the most popular and inspiring available for those wishing to gain further skills and for those who want to discover whether to go on to full-time training. The Summer School is led by Gerry Tebbutt, Head of Performance, and students have the opportunity to work with some staff from the full-time faculty. These courses, which are offered at a reasonable cost, provide a stimulating refresher course or an introduction to basic theatre training for people of all ages with a wide range of theatre interests and backgrounds.



The DAW annual Summer School is held in August, at the University of Wales in Newport, and is the focus of their training programme. Experience an intensive week of theatrical learning, with like-minded people, and led by some of the country’s leading theatrical practitioners. Content is relevant to the amateur theatre community, but challenges existing habits and nurtures new approaches, techniques and practices. This year sees an exciting new partnership with the RSC.

Guildhall located in The Barbican, London offer two summer school courses, both allowing the participant to experience three weeks of stimulating and inspiring training in acting. Both courses include class work or workshops with many of the School’s core staff including Patsy Rodenburg (Head of Voice), Martin Connor (Head of Acting Studies) and Danny McGrath (Senior Movement Tutor). Students work as an ensemble in groups of not more than eighteen. Theatre visits are also included in the fees, and the course concludes with a work-in-progress presentation.




The summer course held at the Drama Studio, Ealing is designed as an introduction for students who may be interested in theatre as an eventual career, or simply wish to enjoy themselves learning more about the world of drama. It gives you a first insight into the acting industry as well as your own strengths and weaknesses. It also gives you an indication of what you might expect from a full-time training programme. The course also includes theatre visits as well as lectures and seminars from visiting directors, actors and teachers. All Summer Course students take part in a production, rehearsing throughout the four weeks for a performance on the final day. You learn the skills to create a character and a strong performance, in the same rehearsal process as used by professional actor. At the end of the course you will receive the Drama Studio London Summer Acting Diploma and a one-to-one tutorial with the Principal to discuss your professional potential and development.

Making the decision to train for the world’s hardest profession is not one to make quickly. Choosing the right course to train for your future is vital- the Italia Conti Boot Camp is ideal to give you a taste of and prepare you for embarking on professional drama training. Over an intensive week of workshops and classes, you are provided with taster sessions for the classes you can expect on a drama school course, from vocal technique to physical skills, work with you on your audition pieces, and how to ace (or at least survive!) what can be seen as an intimidating audition process – including group improvisation, sight reading and mock interviews. Run from their Clapham North site, the working day will be rounded off with trips to performances, Q and A sessions with past and present students, who will give you an honest and practical perspective on life as a drama student.



EduStage was set up to teach young people the skills involved in musical theatre

Laine Theatre Arts is located in Epsom, Surrey. Take the opportunity to experience | 11

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One of the UK’s most innovative acting schools, East 15 has been training actors for nearly 50 years. The School was born from the work of Joan Littlewood’s world famous Theatre Workshop and developed by Margaret Bury. It has produced successful actors, producers, directors and theatre technicians from across the world. East 15 summer courses are aimed at student actors (aged 17 and upwards), teachers and experienced amateurs and professionals who wish to extend their talents and explore new ways of approaching characterisation using the methodology of the School’s full-time programmes. Younger people may be interested in attending one of East 15’s Youth Theatre Workshops. University credits are available for all courses. life as a performing arts student at this international centre for excellence in performing arts. The Dance Course encompasses Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Contemporary Dance. Applicants are required to be working at Intermediate Foundation level or higher in one of these disciplines. The Musical Theatre Course encompasses Singing, Drama, Performance Technique and Jazz Dance. No previous experience is necessary to apply for this course. Both courses integrate to produce an end-of-course production which takes place in our Studio Theatre on the final Saturday of each week.

LONDON DRAMA SCHOOL Located in North West London, the London Drama School offers three detailed acting courses. All courses include: Voice and Movement, Audition Technique, Acting Skills and Singing, but then focus on an individual skill – Improvisation, Comedy or Screen Acting. Students are taught by actors, directors, dancers, and singers who are currently working in the business and, therefore, get a true impression of what being an actor is really like!

MIDDLESEX UNIVERISTY Whether you want to learn a new skill, gain university credit or simply study for enjoyment, join us at Middlesex University Summer School this July where we are offering an exciting short course entitled ‘Playwriting for London.’ This innovative programme will allow you to explore a variety of spaces at which new drama plays are performed in London and to write a drama text with a specific theatre space in mind. You will find yourself exploring the ways in which contemporary playwrights have exploited the potential of diverse London theatre spaces. Playwriting workshops and seminars will run in conjunction with theatre visits. Seminars will explore the histories and artistic policies of the venues visited. The trips are designed to illustrate the wide variety of textual choices available to playwrights , as well as the variety of spaces in London at which plays are produced. Workshops will develop your own dramatic scenes from conception to revised draft. Based at Trent Park in north London, you will enjoy space and natural beauty unparalleled at any other London university. Set amongst a picturesque landscape of lakes, woods and country walks, Trent Park is a vibrant, lively and inspiring place to study. An historic mansion is the focus of the campus. Applications received before 18 May will be eligible for an early payment discount of £30 on the course fee. For more information contact the Summer School on 020 8411 5782 or see

MOUNTVIEW ACADEMY OF THEATRE ARTS The popular summer programme at Mountview offers a diverse range of short courses for both children and adults alike - a great opportunity to experience life in one of the UK’s leading Drama Schools. There two-week intensive adult courses in Acting and Musical Theatre provide intense training for those age 17+, focusing on techniques employed by the professional actor and used in full-time drama training. There is always a big demand for the one-week courses for children. These fun-filled weeks help develop new techniques, confidence and group interpersonal skills. Mountview also offers an exciting Lighting and Technology Course, from which you will gain an idea of the lighting design process initial design to full rig.

NODA SUMMER SCHOOL The NODA Summer School is being held this year at the University of Warwick. It offers a unique experience, following the latest trends in professional theatre and providing unrivalled training. Offering a wide variety of courses and a mix of disciplines; technical, directing and performing all in one school and providing a great opportunity for you to spend time learning with like-minded students in a supportive and inspiring atmosphere. The NODA Summer School offers fantastic value for money in a friendly, informal and fun environment. At the end of the week, there is an informal sharing of work and an ‘after show’ event on Friday evening which should not be missed! Every year, NODA welcomes new, as well as returning students, and offers a stimulating, challenging and fun-filled week. A holiday with added value!

PINEAPPLE ARTS Located in the famous Pineapple Dance Studios, Covent Garden, Pineapple Arts is providing Summer Courses in Musical Theatre and Street Dance for young people aged 9 to 18+. Come to the heart of dance in London and be taught by industry professionals currently appearing in West End shows. Pineapple Arts offer first class training that is different to any other Musical Theatre summer school, every class taught on this week long course, consist of repertoire from popular shows past and present all taught by the performers themselves! At the Street Dance School you will learn the various elements of breaking, locking, popping, house, lyrical and commercial street dance leading up to a performance for friends and family at the end of the week.

PREMIER YOUTH THEATRE Based at The Elgiva Theatre, Chesham, Premier Youth Theatre’s U Can’t Stop Believing


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One internationally respected School, two campuses, twelve exciting Summer Courses Quotes from past students posted on Casting Call Pro: “This was an excellent course and I learned a lot from the whole experience” “I highly recommend this course. I found it most useful in furthering my knowledge and skill in Jacobean theatre” “I really enjoyed this course! The Tutor’s were so helpful, knowledgeable and frank and this course really gave me the extra confidence I needed. I also still use the audition piece I worked on with them there! It was a really great environment to get a taste of drama school and I couldn’t recommend it more”

From Acting to Technical Theatre, Shakespeare to Stage Combat… A whole host of one, two and three week courses at one of the U.K’s leading acting schools – in Loughton and Southend. Call 020 8508 5983 for a brochure or visit University of Essex

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East 15 Acting School is part of the University of Essex and is a member of the Conference of Drama Schools

21/02/2011 10:17:57

ONSTAGE is a unique opportunity for a group of children to develop their talents and gain the confidence and self belief to perform in front of an audience. This two week long workshop that culminates in a series of professional standard performances, aimed at providing the participants with a framework to explore their talents, and showcase their abilities. Loosely based on the massive hit television show Glee, the show is a perfect vehicle for allowing children to experiment with theatre, music and dance in a friendly environment and work up to a level of achievement previously unattainable. The final days of the fortnight are given over to a production period, allowing children to experience the atmosphere of working inside a professional theatre.


ROSE BRUFORD COLLEGE The renowned Rose Bruford College is located in Sidcup, Kent. Their two week intensive Summer School aims to help students develop their natural acting skills with classes in movement, voice and general acting. It is suitable for those with some acting experience wishing to improve or extend their skills and also to those with limited experience who want to explore the work of the actor. The focus will be on two plays – one classical and one contemporary – each week culminates in a performance in front of an invited audience.

ROYAL SCOTTISH ACADEMY OF MUSIC & DRAMA Founded in 1847, the RSAMD is based in Glasgow. Scotland’s national conservatoire of music, drama and dance offers access to its spaces, staff and curriculum to share an inspiring range of highly specialised summer schools - a wide range to suit all creative tastes. Courses are designed and led by Academy staff members, lecturers, professors and International Fellows, who teach our undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and can give you a taste of what full-time study is like. These short courses are ideally for those who are considering studying at the Academy, in Scotland, or in the UK; are thinking about a career in the performing or production arts; or are simply looking for a fantastic creative learning experience.

SATURDAY ACTING ACADEMY The Saturday Acting Academy in Kentish Town, London will once again be offering an intensive Summer School, giving you an insight into the UK’s best Drama Schools and Theatres. Teachers from RADA and Guildhall and Director’s from the RSC and the Royal National Theatre come together to teach at The Saturday Acting Academy. This valuable week long course covers voice, movement, singing technique and a forum with the Head of Casting from the RSC. A valuable week not to be missed!

SYLIVA YOUNG THEATRE SCHOOL Under the supervision of Sylvia Young OBE, the Holiday School offers a number of sessions in varying styles in either ‘Musical Theatre ‘ or ‘Theatre Skills’. These courses


Photo: Mark Dean

g ow n N oki 011 Boor 2 f

Summer schools 2011 July/August 2011 • Musical Theatre • Intensive Acting • Intensive Singing • Intensive Dance • Acting for Camera

are ideal for both those with some experience or those entirely new to theatre. The ‘Theatre Skills’ course offers a fun filled busy five days to anyone aged 8-18 years and offers a combined course of theatre skills; Drama/Audition Technique - Singing & Microphone Technique - Street Dance - Basic Circus Skills. The ‘Musical Theatre’ option offers a truly hectic week of rehearsals in preparation for a studio style workshop performance on Saturday which parents are invited. This course is open to anyone aged 10-18 years. Students are grouped according to age and will present excerpts from musicals.

• Directing Musicals • Audition Techniques • Youth Theatre • Staging Posts • Teen Factor

For an application form/further details contact:Guildford School of Acting

Stag Hill Campus, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH UK Tel: (01483) 684052 Fax: (01483) 684070 Email: Web:

This year’s Theatretrain Academy will be held in Ipswich, Suffolk. The week includes general classes in Drama, Dance and Singing as well as specialist workshops in Song Writing, Costume Making, Stage Make-up, Set Design, and Technical Control in fact everything to cover putting together a successful performance. Pupils also work on a production shown at the end of the week.

WESTEND STAGE The West End Stage Summer School has its base at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama at the Barbican Centre in central London. Classes are grouped according to age and experience and usually are made up of about 17 students, and taught by West End professionals. The Summer School reaches its climax when on the final Sunday the pupils take to the West End stage to perform the work and skills they have learnt during the week. An audience of parents, friends and industry professionals will witness the students’ West End debut in the Showcase Performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre. All pupils are also taken during the week to a major West End show and usually have an opportunity to meet and question the cast afterwards!

YOUNG FILM ACADEMY Based in St. John’s Wood, London, the Young Film Academy’s courses focus on the dynamic, hands-on approach to filmmaking - getting out there and DOING it! Their hugely popular the hugely popular Four-Day Film School offers a hands-on overview of the filmmaking process. There’s even a premiere for the cast and crew - plus admiring friends and family. A comprehensive introduction to filmmaking, these courses have proved to be the launch pad for many young talents.

YOUTH MUSIC THEATRE UK Youth Music Theatre UK’s Summer Skills Courses are a perfect way for young people to improve their existing skills or if they want to try out music theatre for the first time. These residential courses are taking place in universities and boarding schools in cities around the UK. Lots of young people find that a Summer Skills course is an ideal way to learn how YMT works and prepare for the following year’s audition.





020 8411 5782




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check website

16 to 30


ACADEMY OF LIVE & RECORDED ARTS Tel: 020 8870 6475 Yellow Academy

18 - 24 July

ARTS EDUCATIONAL Tel: 020 8987 6666 Musical Theatre School 1

18 - 22 July

10am - 5pm



Musical Theatre School 2

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Actor’s School

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



West End Week

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Audition Technique - Musical Theatre

1 - 5 August

10am - 5pm



Audition Technique - Acting

1 - 4 August

10am - 5pm



Once Upon a Time…

25 - 29 July

10am - 1pm

4 to 6


Create a Musical in a Week

25 - 29 July

9.30am - 4.30pm

7 to 13


Create a Musical in a Week

1 - 5 August

9.30am - 4.30pm

7 to 13


Create a Play in a Week

1 - 5 August

9.30am - 4.30pm

7 to 13


Youth Actor’s School

1 - 5 August

9.30am - 4.30pm

12 to 16


Youth Musical Theatre School

25 - 29 July

9.30am - 4.30pm

12 to 16


Musical Theatre Company

25 July - 5 August

9.30am - 4.30pm

10 to 16


Dance Combination Week

25 - 29 July

9.30am - 4.30pm

7 to 13


ACADEMY OF THE SCIENCE OF ACTING & DIRECTING Tel: 020 7272 0027 International Summer School

25 July - 5 August

10am - 5.30pm



August Workshop

8 - 19 August

8.45am - 5.30pm



BRISTOL OLD VIC THEATRE SCHOOL Tel: 0117 973 3535 ACTiv8 Summer Week 1

1 - 5 August

10am - 4pm

Sch Yrs 3 to 6


ACTiv8 Summer Week 2

8 - 12 August

10am - 4pm

Sch Yrs 7 to 10


ACTiv8 Summer Week 3

15 - 19 August

10am - 4pm

Sch Yrs 11 to 13


Classical Acting Short Course

18 - 22 July

10am - 6pm



Modern Acting Short Course 1

5 - 9 September

10am - 6pm



Modern Acting Short Course 2

12 - 16 September

10am - 6pm



Check website



DRAMA ASSOCIATION OF WALES Tel: 029 2045 2200 Summer School

13 - 19 August

EAST 15 DRAMA SCHOOL Tel: 020 8508 5983 Introduction to Acting 1

19 - 23 July

10am - 5pm



Introduction to Acting 2

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Introduction to Acting 3

1 - 5 August

10am - 5pm



Introduction to Acting 3 Week Course

19 July - 5 August

10am - 5pm



Introduction to Acting for International Students

19 - 23 July

10am - 5pm



Acting Shakespeare

25 July - 5 August

10am - 5pm



Acting for Singers

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Audition Technique 1

19 - 23 July

10am - 5pm



Audition Technique 2

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Audition Technique 3

1 - 5 August

10am - 5pm



Devised & Collaborative Theatre

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Introduction to Acting on Camera

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Introduction to Technical theatre

19 - 23 July

10am - 5pm



Stage Combat

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Stage Combat

1 - 5 August

10am - 5pm



Theatre Directing

19 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Audition Technique - Intense Weekend

23 - 24 July

10am - 5pm



Physical Theatre

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Youth Theatre - ‘Fun’ (one week)

Starting 8, 15 or 22 August

10am - 3.30pm

8 to 10


Youth Theatre - ‘Discovery’ (one week)

Starting 8, 15 or 22 August

10am - 5pm

11 to 13


Youth Theatre - ‘Challenge’ (one week)

Starting 8, 15 or 22 August

10am - 5pm

14 to 16


summer schools


GUILDFORD SCHOOL OF ACTING Tel: 01483 684052 Youth Theatre

27 July - 6 August

10am - 3.30pm

10 to 14


Musical Theatre

25 July - 6 August

10am - 5.30pm



Acting for the Camera

25 - 29 July

10am - 5.30pm



Intensive Acting

25 - 29 July

10am - 5.30pm



Intensive Acting (Advanced)

1 - 5 August

10am - 5.30pm



Intensive Singing

1 - 5 August

10am - 5.30pm



Intensive Dance

8 - 12 August

10am - 5.30pm



Audition Techniques 1

1 - 5 August

10am - 5.30pm



Audition Techniques 2

8 - 12 August

10am - 5.30pm


£360.00 | 15

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summer schools

ONSTAGE Staging Posts

25 July - 6 August

10am - 5.30pm



Teen Factor

25 - 29 July

10am - 5.30pm

15 and 16


GUILDHALL SCHOOL OF MUSIC & DRAMA Tel: 020 7628 2571 Acting in Shakespeare & Contemporary Theatre

18 July - 5 August

9am - 5pm



Acting in Musical Theatre

18 July - 5 August

9am - 5pm



LONDON DRAMA SCHOOL Tel: 020 8830 4992 Acting & Improvisation

27 June - 15 July

10am - 6pm



Acting & Comedy

18 July - 5 August

10am - 6pm



Acting & Screen Acting

8 - 26 August

10am - 6pm



1.30pm - 4.30pm



MIDDLESEX UNIVERITY Tel: 020 8411 5555 Playwriting for London

11 - 22 July


8 - 19 August

10am - 5pm



Musical Theatre

25 July - 5 August

10am - 5pm



Audition Technique - Acting

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Audition Technique - Musical Theatre

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm



Lighting Design & Technology

1 - 5 August

10am - 5pm




1 - 5 August

10am - 4pm

8 to 16


Musical Theatre

8 - 12 August

10am - 4pm

12 to16


check website



NODA SUMMER SCHOOL Tel: 01733 865790 Royal Shakespeare Company - Mini Break Course 30 July - 1 August Musical Theatre in Performance - Movie Musicals

30 July - 6 August

check website



Musical Theatre in Rehearsal - Sondheim

30 July - 6 August

check website



Singing for Modern Musical Theatre

30 July - 6 August

check website



Acting Skills

30 July - 6 August

check website



Physical Theatre

30 July - 6 August

check website



Twentieth Century American Theatre

30 July - 6 August

check website



Directing Youth Theatre

30 July - 6 August

check website



Directing a Musical

30 July - 6 August

check website



Musical Directors

30 July - 6 August

check website



Stage Make-Up

30 July - 6 August

check website



Stage Sound

30 July - 6 August

check website



Stage Lighting

30 July - 6 August

check website



Writing for the Stage

30 July - 6 August

check website



9am - 6pm



ROSE BRUFORD COLLEGE Tel: 020 8308 2600 Summer School

18 - 29 July

ROYAL SCOTTISH ACADEMY OF MUSIC & DRAMA Tel: 0141 332 4101 Modern Ballet

1 - 5 August

10am to 4pm

13 to 17


Devising Theatre

1 - 5 August

9am to 5pm



Acting - Shakespeare & Greek Theatre

1 - 12 August

9am to 5pm



Acting - Ibsen & Chekhov

15 - 16 August

9am - 5pm



Musical Theatre - Beginner or Intermediate

15 - 20 August

9am - 5pm



Acting for Camera

15 - 26 August

9am - 5pm



Dramaworks: Sailing Boat

4 - 8 July

10am - 3pm

5 to 7


Dramaworks: Time Machine

11 - 15 July

10am - 5pm

8 to 9


Dramaworks: Front Page

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm

10 to 11


Dramaworks: We need You, Because you are a Teenager

18 - 22 July

10am - 5pm

12 to 14


Make a Film in a Week

11 - 15 July

10am - 5pm

15 to 17


Sountrack to Yor Life - Music & Devised Theatre

18 - 22 July

10am - 5pm

15 to 17


New Writing

25 - 29 July

10am - 5pm

15 to 17


9am - 6pm



SATURDAY ACTING ACADEMY Tel: 07500 878300 Summer School

18 - 22 July

SYLVIA YOUNG THEATRE SCHOOL Tel: 020 7402 0673 Musical Theatre Course 1

1 - 6 August

10am - 4.30pm

10 to 18


Musical Theatre Course 2

8 - 13 August

10am - 4.30pm

10 to 18


Theatre Skills Course 1

25 - 29 July

10.15am - 4pm

8 to 18


Theatre Skills Course 2

15 - 19 August

10.15am - 4pm

8 to 18


check website

6 to 18


THEATRETRAIN Tel: 01327 300498 National Summer Academy 2011

8 - 14 August

WESTEND STAGE Tel: 020 7836 7947

summerschools.indd 8

Westend Summer School

8 - 14 August

10am - 5pm

8 to 21


Westend Summer School

16 - 21 August

10am - 5pm

8 to 21


Westend Summer School

22 - 28 August

10am - 5pm

8 to 21


21/02/2011 15:20:25

Musicals from the Stagescripts catalogue ... new titles ... new challenges ... new rewards ...

The haunting image of Heathcliffe searching the moors for the ghost of his beloved Cathy is surely one of the enduringly passionate scenes in English literature. This adaptation has been recognised by the Brontë Society as marking the first time that the true spirit of this masterpiece has been captured in music. Heathcliffe enters the House On The Hill, and the wild boy falls for Cathy, but attracts nothing but hatred from Hindley, her brother. “… A dark, brooding score; fiery and dramatic as the subject …”

Winner : Best Book & Lyrics Greater Manchester Drama Festival, 2009

In 17th Century Lancashire two young lovers from different classes, backgrounds and worlds are thrust together in a melting pot of politics and suspicion. The King, his court and his henchman (the Witchfinder) take up against the innocent Catholic residents of Pendle who they ‘suspect’ are witches. A powerful story with dominant characters and soaring themes, tracing the heart-rending events and their consequences, and painting a picture of life and of loss, of love and of hope.

“... a wonderful night's entertainment, one which I didn't want to end ...” The story told in Pride And Prejudice of the Bennet family, centred as it is on the relationship between the proud aristocrat Fitzwilliam Darcy and the high-spirited Elizabeth Bennet, is one of the most most popular novels of all time and has had a far-reaching influence on all romantic fiction right up to the present day. This musical disappoints neither Austen fans nor theatre audiences. “... a plethora of glorious melodies ... captures the mood of the book ...” A colourful, fun and inventive adaptation of Swift's satirical novel bringing out the deeper side of Gulliver's character set to stunning music. The Lilliputians (tiny people) and the Brobdingnadians (huge people) are well known to most, but the musical also covers two not so well known parts of the original book : the lands of Laputa (the flying island) and Houyhnhnm (the land of intelligent horses). Whilst this musical is enjoyable in its spectacle to children, it is most definitely a musical for all ages. “A musical journey into the soul of a person who has had his view of life challenged, in his search for a perfect way to live.” The high energy Australian musical theatre version. Essgee Entertainment has thoroughly updated this Victorian operetta into a piece of musical theatre allowing today's theatregoer a fresh look at this classic, and it forms one third of the Australian G&S trilogy. All the original songs are included though, and despite the 'pop feel' of many of the chorus numbers the most beautiful solos are untouched. The end product is true to the spirit of Gilbert and Sullivan, but much more accessible for a modern audience. Includes a superb eight minute ‘Megamix’ finale!

“… an absolute hoot from beginning to end …” A musical with a large chorus and 22 named parts, the majority of which are for women aged from 25 to 50 to over 70. A therapy clinic for celebrities, down on its luck with no celebrities and no staff, is forced to take in a bunch of old folks as their Home has become uninhabitable. A mystery celebrity phones to check in, and it's all hands to the pumps to try and convince her and her entourage that the place is well run and managed; when in fact it's the old folk who are gearing up to administer their own bizarre range of alternative therapies.

“A fabulous cross between Celebrity Fit Club and Dad’s Army” Stagescripts Ltd Lantern House 84 Littlehaven Lane Horsham, West Sussex RH12 4JB

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21/02/2011 13:35:11


E H T F KISS O N A M O SPIDERW Of The der & Ebb’s Kiss an K of n tio uc d found out!! t their recent pro allenges as they ch s nt SEDOS talk abou se re p at ’s a musical th Spiderwoman. It


Relatively few have heard the tale of Argentinean prison cellmates; Valetin, a revolutionary, and Molina, a gay window dresser. This is the foundation for the story of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” – a story which was beautifully told in Manuel Puig’s 1976 novel, ‘El Beso de la Mujer Arana’ and went on to inspire play, a film and a musical. In its various incarnations, “Kiss of the Spider Woman” has won many awards and accolades. The film won Best Actor for William Hurt at the Oscars and the BAFTAs; whilst the musical won 6 Tony’s, including Best Musical and Best Original Score for the writers Kander and Ebb (most famous for ‘Cabaret’). The original London production also won the London Evening Standard Drama Award for Best Musical. So, when Sedos decided to put the musical on in November last year, we were well aware of the weight of responsibility that came with doing justice to a story with such legacy. “Kiss of the Spider Woman”, is rarely performed and tricky to license; so Sedos saw this as a great opportunity to prove why we are consistently referred to as London’s premier amateur theatre society.


“Kiss of the Spider Woman” is a powerful multi-dimensional story, exploring the complex relationship between two very different men. Luis Alberto Molina, in prison for corrupting a minor, escapes the horrors of prison life by recalling his favourite movie sequences, all featuring his screen goddess, Aurora. But there is one role she plays that terrifies him - the Spider Woman, whose kiss brings death. She continually stalks the prison in Molina’s psyche, weaving her web ever closer. The show opens as a new man is brought into Molina’s cell - Valentin Arregui Paz, a Marxist revolutionary. Valentin has been tortured for information, so Molina cares for him and tells him of Aurora. Initially, Valentin is reluctant to listen to Molina’s tales, but as the show goes on he is drawn into their refuge. We learn that Valentin has a girlfriend name Marta who appears in various songs, as the audience get an insight into Valentin’s thoughts and dreams. We also discover that Molina found love before prison in a waiter named Gabriel, and has a mother on the

outside who is ill and requires help. The head of the prison, known only as “The Warden” makes life hell for both prisoners and, through the course of the show, poisons both of them. Will the Warden break Valentin and discover the secrets he’s hiding? Will Molina find freedom and help is mother? It’s a heartbreaking ending that has audiences at the edge of their seat.


Casting the show was always going to be a challenge with such a male-heavy show. The creative team were adamant that they wanted good actors who could sing; and so extended the initial rehearsal schedule to ensure they found the right caliber of performers. The relationship between Molina and Valentin had to be perfect, requiring numerous recalls. Casting Aurora was also a feat. Regardless that there are only three female leads in the show, they are all complex; and Aurora requires an excellent character actress (having to play 4 different ‘roles’), strong dance and a potent singing voice as well as that elusive ‘something’ - so whoever got the part truly had to be a triple threat for the show to be a success.


As the entire cast and crew were also working full time jobs, it was important to be as effective as possible with the rehearsal time available. Early rehearsals were generally twice a week, one for singing and one for actors or dancers and this started to include weekends as we got closer to opening night. One trick that has helped Sedos in recent years has been videoing rehearsals and putting these videos on websites like YouTube. This was particularly useful for the dancers in the production, who could refer to the video in their free time to recap the dance steps and movements. There was also a great dynamic in that the show had two co-directors, and each focused on a different part of the show. One on vision and staging, the other on

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ONSTAGE characterization; the latter of which was always going to be a tricky in ensuring that the cast portrayed how prisoners in this time and place would have been feeling. You may know the history - on March 24 1976, in a well-planned coup, the Argentine armed forces overthrew the existing government and a three-man military junta took charge and began a ruthless campaign against the liberal counterculture. People suspected of favouring the rebellion were kidnapped on the streets and never seen again. Conditions in the prisons were unthinkable. Prisoners were not allowed to lie on their beds during the day, and the strain of this sometimes caused paralysis or atrophy of the legs. The prisons would play sad songs by Julio Iglesias to deepen prisoners’ depression. In one rehearsal, actors literally stood in a confined cell space for 40 minutes improvising. It doesn’t seem very long, but got very claustrophobic very quickly and elements of the improvisation were then incorporated into the actual performance.

Many of the prisoner’s costumes were able to be sourced from Sedos’ already existing costume store, with the cast being very helpful in suitably “dirtying” their own outfits. On the night of the dress rehearsal the stage got cleaned by the cast rolling around on it, which aided an authentic “prison” look. We adhered to the period for the remaining cast characters, finding outfits that had a seventies feel. However the challenge came about on how to create Aurora’s many and varied outfits on a limited budget. Existing costumes from our store were adapted as well as entire outfits created from scratch. The most problematical of these was how to create a “bird of paradise” outfit from a corset and feather boas. After a weekend of brain-storming, pinning, hand-sewing and sequinning, the two costumiers produced incredible results. To ensure that Aurora really was a “star”, and looked suitable, the ‘Kiss’ team were able to get sponsorship from Illamasqua make-up artists who in return for some space in the programme sent a professional to provide and apply Aurora’s make-up each night.


On working with the two directors, David Walker-Smith, who played Molina said: “At first working with two Directors was pretty daunting; I was worried it would be confusing. But together they worked as a total unit. Dawn inspired and worked very deeply on the characterization whilst Roger was the visionary and had great eye for the detail. As Molina said...”I loved it!””

Sedos perform many of their shows at the Bridewell and as such know the space inside and out and recently, Sedos announced that we are to be the Resident Theatre Company. The great and challenging thing about the Bridewell Theatre is the stages depth. It was important we could create both the feeling of closeness and a movie style dance space.

Musically, the score for “Kiss of the Spider Woman” presents its own challenges with some particularly close and challenging harmonies to conquer in songs like “Morphine Tango”. The musical director, David Griffiths, had strong aspirations for both the vocals and the role the band would play in the show too, and planned for an ambitious 15 strong orchestra.

One of the distinguishing features of the set was that it featured 4 sets of moveable prison bars. These not only served to create cells when needed, but were used to dramatic effect in transitions, choreography and to create different spaces. The bars gave depth and dynamic to the space and in addition a looming upstage walkway gave the Spiderwoman and Warden somewhere to ‘prowl’. It enabled the team could create all the various locations and movie worlds that Molina fantasies about without it being over complicated. Simple, but effective.

Andrew Overin, who played Valentin, said of David: “This was the third time I’d worked with David Griffiths. One of the things I admire about him as a Musical Director is that he not only has the skill to lead an orchestra which is relatively large for an amateur production but he really understands how to work with singers and actors, providing coaching, support and the preparation needed to bring out their best performance.”


Kiss of the Spider Woman was a dichotomy of costume requirements. On the one hand the prisoners were a bedraggled, grubby bunch who had been holed up and mistreated for years, on the other there was Aurora and her multitude of glamorous characters. Having clear direction and input from the Production Team was invaluable throughout the process, and ensured a unified vision of the overall look and feel of the show.

The set was built offsite and moved into the Bridewell on a Sunday, giving the cast an opportunity to have a run through in the space on the Sunday and a tech on the Monday before the show opening for its Tuesday – Sunday run.


Sound at the Bridewell can be a headache for some sound people. However, we had the wonderful sound team of StuSound who could balance a beautiful sounding orchestral band, which had soft string and reed sounds, to the marimba and percussion section of songs like the Act One close, ‘Give Me Love’. They also contended with 17 mic’ed actors. It was a tough job, but Sedos always knew Stuart and his team would rise to the | 19

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ONSTAGE occasion. Opening night was amazing considering the short amount of time to move into the Bridewell. It made a black box sound like the West End.


Sedos set up a marketing subcommittee at the start of 2010 and someone from the committee is allocated to each show which really helps ensure the show gets a great campaign, but that it links in with all other Sedos activity (Sedos put on 10 shows in 2010!) – so it was promoted at all Sedos shows that were around the same time. Artist and cast member Anthony Newell produced the original artwork for the flyer. Flyers were then available at the theatre, given to the cast for friends and dropped off at pubs and shops near the theatre — and the front was also emailed to the cast to forward and sent out with the press release. Professional theatre photographer Nick Chronnell took photos at an early rehearsal and also the dress, and these were used to promote the show through our website ( and facebook page (facebook. com/sedostheatre). Indeed, much of Sedos’ marketing now takes place online, with daily facebook updates and we used the phrase “What was your favourite kiss?” to start debate and “You’ve never had a kiss like this” to create intrigue. We also used email marketing, as well as asking other amateur theatre companies to promote the show. Finally, we featured Kiss three times in the Grapevine, the quarterly Sedos members’ e-magazine. In June, we announced the cast, in September we had a Q&A with the creative team and in November there was a “did you know” style feature. We met our original sales aim for Kiss, which was to sell 600 tickets out of 780 available. Three nights sold out, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night’s gala night, for which tickets cost an extra £5 including a glass of fizz and programme, plus a late bar.


Sedos never shy away from putting on controversial or underperformed material, and ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ certainly fit the bill. It was a tough ride, but Sedos were delighted that with so many mountains to climb they were able to pull off a production that the creative team and cast were proud of. Sedos’ next two shows are much more known than “Kiss of the Spider Woman”. From 8-12 March they are performing Romeo and Juliet and from 6-16 April, West Side Story. You may think it an odd choice to put these two shows on so close together, but Sedos always committed to challenging expectations and are hoping to show how you can tell a similar story in two very different ways – an exploration of love! Society: Sedos Dates of production: 23-27 November 2010 Venue: The Bridewell Theatre, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8EQ. Website: Kiss Of the Spiderwoman is licensed in the UK by Samuel French Ltd

Forthcoming SEDOS Productions Romeo and Juliet - 8-12 March West Side Story - 6-16 April Push Up - 19-23 July Assassins - 9-13 August PLAY TBA - 27 September-1 October Wilde in the City - September / October TBA Fewer Emergencies - 27 November A Little Night Music - 23 November-3 December

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LTGnews > LTGnews > LTGnews > LTGnew Michael Shipley looks at what’s been going on recently around the country. The major news at the start of the year was clearly the Government announcement that the laws covering Children in Performance (with particular reference to amateur activity) were to be comprehensively reviewed.

Government commits to overhauling outdated child performance laws All LTG Theatres were in early January emailed with the full text of the Government Press Release, together with full details of how to take advantage of the “Body of Persons Exemption” which the Guild has been advocating for some years now. Here follows, for the general reader, extracts from the Press Release of 30.12.10: “The Government is calling on local authorities and amateur groups to give children every opportunity to perform in local shows. Burdensome licensing laws are preventing some amateur groups from involving children in their productions, which is creating a postcode lottery of opportunities for children to get on the stage. The Government is today reminding amateur groups that they don’t need to apply for individual licences for every child for every performance. Instead the local authority can issue an approval to cover all performances for all children, as appropriate to the needs of the amateur group. New guidance published today makes this clearer and will free up local authorities and amateur groups from unnecessary form filling. This comes as the Government commits to updating the 40 year old child performance laws, helped by an Advisory Group including amateur theatre groups, production companies, broadcasters, children’s charities and child psychologists. They will look at whether the amateur sector can be removed from licensing laws altogether in the future. Sir Ian McKellen, Patron of the Little Theatre Guild, said: “As Patron of the Little Theatre Guild I am delighted that the Children’s Minister is to facilitate a working group to consider future arrangements, within amateur theatre, to safeguard youngsters. Any additional burden on amateur companies would be regrettable, as existing provisions can be improved and the sort of rules, necessary within the professional theatre, would inhibit the Guild’s honourable and long-standing tradition to introduce children to theatre, within a safe and enjoyable environment.” Eddie Redfern, Chairman of the Little Theatre Guild (LTG) said: “I have long championed the need for clarity of the existing rules so that local authorities are able to interpret them in a uniform way. The current arrangements deter many amateur theatre companies from putting on plays with children in them, because they see an onerous burden of compliance. Member theatres of the LTG are also concerned that many theatrical societies do not even know the regulations exist and see no enforcement of the rules on those societies.” The Advisory Group will build on the recommendations of Sarah Thane’s independent review of child performance earlier this year and will look to strike the right balance between giving children every opportunity to perform, protecting editorial independence, and keeping children safe. Over the next few months the Government is setting up working groups to address the major issues that were highlighted in the Thane report, that need further consideration. These include: *Consider removing the

amateur sector from law, led by Ian Hart of the National Network and Eddie Redfern of the Little Theatre Guild – looking at whether alternative safeguards to protect children should be put in place instead of licences for the amateur sector. Sarah Thane, former chair of the Royal Television Society and former advisor to Ofcom said: “It’s good that key stakeholders will be closely involved in shaping the necessary reforms to the system of licensing child performance. Our shared goal is for children to be free to experience and enjoy performing with proper regard for their welfare.” The government will consult in 2011 on proposals for changing the law. All members of the Advisory Group will be invited to take part in one of the working groups. Some important points:1. The new laws will relate to England only. The Government will discuss the implementation implications with the Devolved Administrations. 2. Recommendations from the Thane Review that will be considered by the Advisory Group and the Government include: • modernising the licensing system so it is a quicker process and more consistent across the country – so production companies don’t feel they can only recruit from certain areas of the country • greater flexibility and more guidance on working hours • improving the quality of education for child performers • improving the chaperone role, recognising its important safeguarding responsibility. 3. The current child performance laws were drawn up when there were only three TV channels. The regulations predate the creation of Ofcom and take no account of child protection and children’s safeguarding legislation passed in the last four decades. 4. The Advisory Group will include the following people and organisations: Sarah Thane, former chair of the Royal Television Society and former advisor to Ofcom; Eddie Redfern, Little Theatre Guild; National Operatic and Dramatic Association, and several others.” The Notes on Approval of a Body of Persons – guidance for local authorities and amateur groups should now be read and acted upon by those who are still using children in their productions and want to regularize their arrangements with their Local Authorities, especially to ease the burdens of compliance. As our patron Sir Ian McKellen commented in his preface to the recently published LTG Year Book, “This was a victory for common sense and for the Guild’s combined strength. So, end-of-year shows, where children abound, can continue safely and joyously as

ever (providing of course they are licensed and have the appropriate number of chaperones). Nor is the vital work of Youth Theatre groups to be impeded. I am relieved that the latest generation of youngsters can still explore the fun and the satisfaction of putting on plays.” The other main event to start the New Year off with enthusiasm was the delayed but still very welcome announcement of the RSC OPEN STAGES PROJECT The following was emailed to all LTG Theatres on 2 December by Tom Williams, Liaison Officer for the Guild: “Attached is the RSC Open Stages Press Release and full information can be found on openstages The project will run from February 2011 to December 2012 and all LTG Theatres are urged to take part. An application form can be downloaded from the Website. I have been liaising with RSC on this project and there are three bonuses available to LTG Theatres. 1. You will note that there are just 8 ‘partner’ theatres covering the UK. It has been agreed that LTG Theatres can, through me, make a pitch for being a showcase theatre, presenting work from several groups (LTG or not). 2. You may also or separately make a pitch to host and organise a Shakespeare workshop open to members of all groups within your area. 3. If you operate ‘outreach’ work in your local community and would be interested in attending an ‘outreach’ workshop at Stratford, let me know the type of outreach you undertake. RSC would be keen to include outreach work by amateur theatres as part of Open Stages. This is a very exciting project that the National Committee hopes all members will grasp with enthusiasm. Any questions or response, please come to me, Tom Williams on I think the project should be enthusiastically supported and we should gain what we can from it. A reminder that it is not necessary to have a fullyfledged project to hand. Ian Wainwright, for the RSC recognises that many groups will not yet have decided programmes for 2011/2012. STOP PRESS: The deadline for registering an interest has been extended to 31st March 2011. QUESTORS THEATRE, Ealing has already joined wholeheartedly into this project, as the following report from Anne Gilmour explains: At The Questors our Artistic Director, Mark Fitzgerald, felt that the Open Stages project was just what we’d been looking for to celebrate the Olympic Year and has set a goal of making The Questors an outstanding company for Shakespeare. To achieve that we are planning an exciting programme of actors’ training

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news > LTGnews > LTGnews > LTGnews > events with the aim of creating an ensemble of actors who are comfortable working with Shakespearean text. The project will culminate in a Shakespeare Festival in March 2012 where we will stage two Shakespeare plays (Othello and Romeo and Juliet) using a single ensemble company of actors. Over three weeks these will be performed in repertory alongside a third Shakespearethemed play using a separate cast. Like the RSC’s aim for Open Stages, we see the project’s long-term benefit to The Questors as one that will ‘leave a significant legacy’. Every UK amateur theatre group is invited to make a ‘pitch’ for inclusion in Open Stages by completing the easily downloaded form on the RSC website before the end of March. Once accepted, their work may be ‘badged’ with the RSC Open Stages logo, added to the Open Stages website and their group will have access to high quality training and advice. Ian Wainwright of the RSC is coordinating Open Stages and says that the Shakespeare Festival planned by The Questors is ‘a textbook example of the sort of project we are looking for’. As well as preparing our own entry to Open Stages, The Questors is delighted to be acting as the RSC’s London partner theatre for the project. All London entries to Open Stages will be invited to attend a Skills Exchange Workshop weekend from Saturday 30th April to Monday 2nd May 2011, which will be run at The Questors by RSC professionals. Then in April 2012 The Questors will host the London regional Open Stages showcase. So get on and submit your entries for Open Stages and look out for more information about events taking place at the Open Stages partner theatre for your region.

The LTG continues to grow Although several theatres resigned over the past year or so, this has been offset by new recruits in all three regions. Three new members are The Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich; Brighton Little Theatre; and The Barony Players of Bo’ness, Edinburgh. Meanwhile, last year’s decision to create small regional HUBS to promote local co-operation is making progress. The decision came out of last summer’s Relationship Meetings, when those attending expressed a wish to attend small, local meetings to discuss matters of common interest. Progress has been very encouraging so far – 14 out of the 17 HUBS have already fixed preliminary meetings, and the other 3 are only waiting for confirmation of suitable dates. The list (as at 1.2.2011) is as follows: 22nd January – Lewes Little Theatre (Hub 15) 29th January – Royalty Theatre, Sunderland (2) - Station Theatre, Hayling Island (13) 30th January – Questors Theatre, Ealing (14) 5th February – Bolton Little Theatre (4) - Barn Theatre, Welwyn (11) 12th February – Carlisle Green Room Theatre (1) - Rugby Theatre (8) - Bromley Little Theatre (16) 13th February – Market Theatre, Ledbury (10) 19th February – Doncaster Little Theatre (7) - Sutton Arts Theatre (9) 26th February – Bingley Little Theatre (3) - Playhouse, Whitstable (15) The progress and success of these meetings will be followed with eager interest. There are so many ways that members can learn and benefit from such meetings.

News from around the country Each week it is a pleasure for me to receive Newsletters and Brochures from LTG member theatres, keeping me in touch with what is going on, and enabling me to prepare the Guild’s Quarterly Newsletter. Here are a few interesting items: According to the archives, in May 2011 LEICESTER DRAMA SOCIETY will be celebrating its 1,000th

production with Thornton Wilder’s classic Our Town. “This is your theatre and your chance to celebrate what a wonderful facility we have and how much we enjoy being members of the society.” The first play performed by the Drama Society was The Silver Box by John Galsworthy – I wonder when this was last performed! NEW VENTURE THEATRE, Brighton have now been granted a licence to perform once again in their main upstairs theatre, closed in 2005 because of failure to comply with fire regulations. It is intended to make the space a flexible one while retaining the proscenium arch in principle. With movable seating and differing levels it is hoped to create an exciting performance area. A new fund raising campaign to achieve this was started at the Christmas Party, with over £2,000 being raised on the night! An exclusive fund raising gala is being promoted in April. STOCKPORT GARRICK and CHADS THEATRE held their 4th Joint Weekend in early November – a packed programme, informative and interactive, exploring the challenges of interpreting, presenting and delivering a wide range of texts. The programme reads like a miniature Guild conference, with perhaps the highlight being the Saturday evening entertainment entitled “Sex, Satire and Scandal”! The events were split between both theatres from Friday evening to Sunday luncheon. One doesn’t often read about LTG member theatres taking their productions to other member theatres (more’s the pity!), but in November CRITERION THEATRE, Coventry took their production of Stephen McDonald’s Not About Heroes to TALISMAN THEATRE, Kenilworth for a Saturday night performance in the Studio. At NOMAD THEATRE, East Horsley the bad weather in early December forced the theatre to cancel two scheduled productions “as access to Horsley has been at least hazardous if not impossible for rehearsals as well as performances”. LEWES LITTLE THEATRE also had to cancel two performances because of the snow. THE MILLER CENTRE THEATRE cancelled one performance, and only 9 audience members turned up the next night!

Making money from old books! It is not uncommon to see an untidy bookshelf full of second hand books in theatre lobbies, often with an honesty box, but are they really making any significant contribution to theatre funds? Well, they are at Carlisle Green Room Theatre, as this recent report from Diana Martin in the Newsletter makes clear: “I am happy and proud to report that the books made £495.08 for the club during the last financial year. (Where the 8p came from I know not!) Of course not one penny of this would be possible without the continued support of my generous book donors. I get a regular supply of very good quality books. Any I can’t use go to a book seller on Wigton market and he gives me a donation for them. The very few that are no good to sell still go off to be pulped and then re-made into paper – so literally no contribution is wasted. Internet sales also contribute to the tally. Lately I sold a book to Australia.”

overtaken Ayckbourn for the first time in quite a few years! And by quite a margin! Here is the poll – Number Of Productions 31: William Shakespeare 23: Alan Ayckbourn 17: Willy Russell 15: John Godber 14: Alan Bennett 12: Martin McDonagh 10: Richard Harris, Noel Coward 9: Neil Simon, Agatha Christie 8: Anton Chekhov, Ray Cooney, Terry Johnson, Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Peter Shaffer, Mike Leigh. These figures have been compiled from the returns from 100 member theatres of the Guild. In total they presented 839 productions, to audiences of at least 602,199 people. Not every theatre provided membership details, but from the 60% that did, it showed that the average membership was 360. A smaller group provided financial information, 45%, from which an average turnover of £91,800 was calculated. On a humorous note, the most popular pantomime presented was Dick Whittington, which presumably reflected the national concern about making a pile in the City of London! A regular contributor to the Guild’s Newsletter is Martin Bowley QC, a former Chairman of both the Guild and Questors Theatre. He recently wrote: “That Silly Poll - In the November Newsletter Michael Shipley described The Stage’s recent poll of its readers to find ‘the greatest theatre actor of all time’ as a ‘pointless exercise’. He was far too polite. I would call it spectacularly silly. Michael reminded us that it is almost impossible to compare the living with the dead, and that the paper’s short list of 10 possibilities completely ignored the cinema. Not even the editor of The Stage could claim to provide an informed critique of the work of Richard Burbage, David Garrick, Edmund Kean or Henry Irving. But how on earth could he omit from his

Top of the Pops 2010 Culled from the returns for the LTG Year Book for last season comes this list of favourites, plays and authors. Plays performed: No clear favourite emerged last season, but a happy mixture of the popular, the small cast and the big spectaculars enlivened the choice available to our audiences! The most popular were A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Abigail’s Party, Blood Brothers, The Pillowman, Outside Edge, See How They Run, The Graduate, Amadeus, Gaslight, Romeo and Juliet, Art, A Christmas Carol, Steel Magnolias, The Memory of Water, We Happy Few, Dick Barton-Special Agent, Blithe Spirit, Humble Boy, Improbable Fiction, ‘Allo ‘Allo, The Wind in the Willows Popular Authors: The interesting surprise here is that Shakespeare has


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LTGnews > LTGnews > LTGnews > LTGnew list Edith Evans, Sybil Thorndike, Peggy Ashcroft, Michael Redgrave, Richard Burton and Alec Guinness – to name but a few. And how can anyone under the age of 50 – or even 60 – have any way of judging the theatre work of Olivier – whose last stage performance was in The Party in 1973 – or Gielgud – whose only performance after 1977 had been in The Best of Friends in 1988 – or Schofield – who in the last 20 years of his life only appeared in Heartbreak House in 1992 and John Gabriel Borkman in 1996 – or Redgrave – whose last major stage performance was in A Voyage Round My Father in 1972 – or Ashcroft – who last appeared on stage as the Countess in All’s Well that Ends Well in 1981. They were all great actors of the twentieth century. All were born in the early years of that century – Gielgud in 1904, Ashcroft and Olivier in 1907, Redgrave in 1908. Richardson was born in 1902, Guinness in 1914, Schofield in 1922. And Sybil Thorndike was born in 1882, and Edith Evans in 1888. Except for Schofield all had demonstrated their greatness before the Second World War in careers which ranged for the most part from the early thirties to the mid seventies. Except for Thorndike I was fortunate enough to see them all in their prime. But then I’m only 74!” And is anyone really interested in who won the poll? The Guild continues to offer to its members advice and guidance on various topics of interest and current importance. These take the form of ‘Grey Papers’, the most recent of which have been on the topics of Fire Risk Assessment and Copyright Problems. In addition papers have been sent out on PAT Testing and Computerised Box Office Systems which will have been discussed at the HUB meetings, to find out whether local co-operation can save costs and improve efficiency. On publicity generally, the following piece appeared in the last Newsletter: Some bullet points for publicity/marketing: • Send production details to local magazines which contain listings, like parish magazines, LA publications etc. • Link in with local Arts Festivals to widen your contacts and possibly attract some funding • Make sure that you are on your local website • Keep in touch with local secondary schools direct • Cover ALL your local papers with press releases • Use Local Radio and feed it with stories, however ‘trivial’

• Link up with other local societies, to reciprocate with mutual promotion of future productions • Inform national websites and newspaper listings • Use your email base for regular reminders to members, patrons etc. • Build up and use your database of customers to employ targeting measures – “know your customers/ audience base” and employ CRM facilities • Use Facebook, Twitter etc. to catch the younger end of the market • Make sure your brochures, & flyers/posters are well distributed by a dedicated team area by area • Make your Newsletter a good informative read, and ensure that it gets distributed widely • Make sure that your newsletters and programmes promote your future productions strongly • Strive to improve the visual image of your publicity, and make more use of photographs • Regularly improve and update your own website • Make contact if possible with an experienced Marketing Manager, and get some fresh ideas! Professional opinion would appear to be that no theatre these days can expect to play to more than 60% capacity, but that of course depends on the size of the theatre! LTG theatres on the whole need to play to much higher averages on a regular basis if they are to survive and thrive. Which makes the work of the publicity and marketing teams even more vital. (Thanks to Nomad Theatre’s Newsletter and to Phil Lunt for prompting and enlarging this little piece) The Guild continues to maintain strong links with IATA (The International Amateur Theatre Association) and its English branch ITE, International Theatre Exchange. The following news of a new play might be of interest to Youth Theatre groups: The White Stone by Helle Bærskog Hauger, translated by Line Hauger This written play is based on the performance devised and created by the young people in the theatre DRAKOMIR, in Ribe, Denmark. The play has 12 characters – 8 girls and 4 boys aged between 8 and 15. Simply staged in a room with a table or chest on which sits the white stone, the play is set on an island where the young people will spend the night. A storm blows up and events take a dark turn… Helle Hauger is the Chairman of the Committee for Children and Youth of the international group AITA/IATA

and has been working with young people for many years. She invites young people to perform the play without any payment or perhaps to use the play as a basis for one of their own devising. But in return she would love to know what young people think about the play. If you drop me an email, I will email you a copy of the play along with contact details for Helle. Anne Gilmour – Within the Guild we continue to be enormously grateful to our Patron Sir Ian McKellen, whose support whenever his busy work schedule permits is highly valued, and indeed inspirational whenever he visits a member theatre. In October he managed to attend the Southern Region Conference at the Kelvin Studio, Bristol, and in January visited both Royalty Theatre, Sunderland and City Theatre, Durham. His support for the ‘campaign’ against the “Vetting & Barring” scheme last year was clearly very beneficial, as the outcome covered above clearly demonstrated. Of course, this commitment to amateur theatre benefits not just the Guild, but amateur theatre all over the country. His high profile ensures that the media at least now gives amateur work respectful coverage. For the Year Book he wrote: “The Bristol Southern Region weekend meeting climaxed with a daring production of Edward Bond’s The Sea by the Kelvin Players celebrating their 80th anniversary. Although more popular playwrights are the staple of most member theatres, it’s the lesser known plays and new ones which can give a season its focal point. Of course, encouraging audiences to relish the unknown is a constant problem but elsewhere, beyond Ayckbourn, there is an exciting world to be explored. This was amply demonstrated at the Central Region AGM when Dolman Theatre, Newport were able to stage 4 one-act plays in celebration of the Ryder Cop. Bravo.” Finally, the Guild is making arrangements for its Annual Conference and AGM, this year at People’s Theatre, Newcastle over the weekend of 25th/27th March 2011. People’s Theatre this year is celebrating its Centenary, and a busy programme of events will be taking place, around a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


The new interactive Amateur Stage community is now online! With our new website you can:* Establish your own personal profile; * Establish a group page for your theatre company, special interest or company. * Post photographs and video from your productions; * Write blogs about items of interest; * Post details about your productions and invite friends to attend; * Read previous issues or research past articles of interest; * Chat online to friends using our chat service. * Subscribe to the magazine online and purchase past issues; * Buy tickets to West End plays and musicals and greatly reduced prices; * Join our Facebook group; * Join our email mailing list to receive latest news, special offers and compeition details each month. 24 |

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Don’t Let Accidents Become A Liability Robert Israel ACII talks about insurance updates relating to amateur theatre.

Last week I had a couple of days off because I wasn’t very well and I ended up watching afternoon television. It is a long time since I have watched afternoon television, in fact I think Bonanza was on! I found the adverts absolutely astonishing – “Have you had an accident at work?” “Have you fallen over?” It seemed that every single advert was directed at people who might have had an accident of some description. From my perspective, it is very interesting because we only normally see the letters when they come in from solicitors who have been appointed by their clients to pursue an action against our client for damages following injury. Most of the claims are under the heading of either Employers’ Liability or Public Liability claims, but of course there is also the added area of Motor Insurance and it is in this particular field at the moment that there is a lot of publicity and press comment. Over the last few years, a cottage industry has grown up, to such an extent that Insurers are having to set up specific departments to control and counter the number of claims that are being reported. Let me make it perfectly clear at this point that, should an individual be injured as a result of either somebody else’s negligence or their employer’s negligence, or in a motor accident then I have absolutely no problem whatsoever in them seeking recompense and being paid by the responsible Insurer. What I do have a big problem with is the claims that, shall we say, are not as straightforward as they may first appear. “Staged Accidents” is the new expression. I understand that it works in the following way. Car A has one driver and 3 passengers. Car B also has one driver and 3 passengers. The drivers of Cars A and B are “friends”. Car A pulls up abruptly and Car B goes into the back of Car A. From the Insurers’ perspective, the first they know about the accident is obviously when it is reported but, following the report, in come 7 Personal Injury claims (4 in Car A and 3 in Car B – the driver of Car B can’t on this particular occasion claim because he is the one who has caused the accident and he can’t sue himself). It is very difficult for the Insurer to prove that it is a staged accident and they could well have to pay out of the 7 injury claims.

what I would say is that you must make sure that your Indemnity Limits are adequate for the current day. I still see amateur societies who, when they come to us for a quotation, ask for Public Liability cover of £1,000,000 and our position is that we will not quote on that basis as we feel it is wholly inadequate. At the moment our minimum level is £2,000,000, with the option to increase to £5,000,000, and I would suspect that in the not too distant future £5,000,000 will become the base level of cover. The reason I say this twofold: a) because claims costs are rising (with a little help from afternoon adverts); and b) because the Indemnity Limit you choose must be adequate to cover all claims from the same incident. It is this particular point that you need to understand clearly. As an example, if an actor has a tray of drinks in his hand and unfortunately he slips on stage and the entire tray full of glasses flies into the audience and injures 8 people then that is one incident. The fact that there are 8 claims is irrelevant. In this particular case, you have to be sure that your overall Indemnity Limit is adequate to cover all the claims. Your Indemnity Limit is not per claimant, it is per incident. Unfortunately, during times of recession, we always see an increase in the number of claims and I would suspect that, over the next couple of years, this pattern will be followed. Therefore, my feeling is the Liability Insurance premiums will start to rise. I would hope that they will not rise as steeply as Motor Insurance rates are currently rising (I would suspect that when your Motor Insurance renewal comes in you could be looking at an increase of anything from 5-25%). It is sad to report that a friend of mine, having just returned from working abroad for the last 5 years, when asked the question “how has the country changed since you have been away?” replied by saying how litigious he thought the country had become. A sad reflection on our society, or just progress!

On a similar vein, there has been a lot of publicity recently about a coach which had an accident and, at the time of the accident I believe there were not that many people on the coach but, by the time word had spread, the coach was suddenly full! Another type of incident is where Car A stops abruptly and the innocent driver behind goes into the back of Car A, which of course is full of passengers. As far as Liability Claims are concerned, accidents in the workplace do, of course, happen. I have to say that the number of accidents that we see on stage and in the auditorium are few and far between. However, they do occur, which is of course why you buy the insurance in the first place. The problem is the cost, because Injury Costs are rising and therefore Insurers’ premiums will also have to keep pace. The situation is better than it has been in the past because cases are being settled much quicker than they used to be. I am pleased to say that, in this country, accidents do still happen. What I mean by this is that sometimes somebody can be injured and there has not been any negligence on behalf of anyone else, i.e. it was an accident. In this particular case, if there is nobody to “blame” then the individual will not be successful in a claim because, in this country, a successful claim under an Employers’ or Public Liability Policy will only be accepted in the event that a company or individual can be proven to have been legally liable under the strict Law of Negligence. I am not an expert in US Law, but I do know that the US do have slightly different rules which makes it more likely for someone to be blamed. But that slight difference in law between the USA and the UK comes at a significant price. Just as a rule of thumb, US Liability premiums are very approximately ten times what they are in the UK and even then the likelihood is that the amount of cover provided will be less in monetary terms than what is provided in this country. Just as an example, we have a theatrical production about to start a very short tour of the US and, in this country, their standard Liability Insurance Indemnity Limit is £5,000,000. When we approached our US Brokers to obtain a US Liability quotation, they indicated that their base cover was $1,000,000 (approximately £600,000) and the premium was significantly more than our clients were paying here. It leads to the question who is right? That is a very difficult question to answer, but | 25

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21/02/2011 10:35:34

A Message From Tony Gibbs Although the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) was established in 1899, and is now the biggest representative body for amateur theatre in the UK with around 2,500 society members and a similar number of individual members, there is more of need than ever before for the Association to stay in touch with members - as well as non-members - in order to best understand, and serve, the needs of the amateur theatre sector. As a registered charity. NODA does not generate profits for shareholders. On the contrary, the income from subscriptions and trading activities is ploughed back, year after year, into a range of products and services, designed to support amateurs in the enjoyment of their hobby. Unfortunately, life these days is increasingly complicated, and amateur theatre is a rare hobby in that it also relies on a committee running a society, to run that society in a business-like manner in order to succeed. Theatre hire, payments to rights holders, scenery and costume suppliers, and specialists such as directors, MD’s and musicians, all add to the need for amateur theatre societies to be able to balance the demands of running a small business whilst still continuing to enjoy taking part in a rewarding hobby. NODA is often called upon by its members to

provide advice and guidance, and sometimes to help resolve problems. The Association also tries to be pro-active by developing and offering services and products that will support the needs of society committee members, as well as those individual members of a society who are either on stage or part of the technical crew. Running training courses and workshops, and providing access to a legal helpline, celebratory medals, and insurance schemes, are just some of the ways in which NODA works day in, day out, for the benefit of its members. However, NODA also wants to get better at trying to anticipate what services and products will best support societies and their members in the years ahead, and this of course relies on good all-round communication. Many NODA members regularly attend conferences and meetings, and make comments and suggestions by email or through the NODA website ( This new publishing relationship between NODA and Amateur Stage magazine provides a further way for NODA to celebrate what is being achieved in the amateur theatre sector, and is another method for members and non-members to find out what NODA plans to do in the future, as well as offering the readers of Amateur Stage a way of getting in touch with NODA to help influence the Association’s future plans.

Reach for the stars Youth Academy

All of involved in the preparations for Amateur Stage and NODA working together on this new joint venture are keen to ensure that what is talked about in the NODA regional pages is a reflection of amateur theatre around the UK. Equally, this is now a new way for readers who do not know much about NODA to find out more, as well as tell us what is and is not important to you. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing, which is a successful amateur theatre sector which will continue to thrive in the years ahead. To contact Tony Gibbs, who is the Chief Executive of NODA, email

NODA Youth Academy for 12 - 17 year olds For full details visit: or telephone:

01733 865 790 12 - 16 April 2011 Oakham School Rutland



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FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to Amateur Stage! These are exciting times for the performing arts in all the Noda Regions and Amateur Stage is bringing you the latest news. I am sure you will enjoy reading about the Wales & Ireland Region and all our societies. Now you will be pleased to hear that the reports of your productions are included in this publication! This will not happen without you, so please send your news to me for the next edition in July 2011 by the 1st June 2011. Email to with the heading NODA WALES & IRELAND Make sure your society is part of it! . Dee Mc Ilroy Regional Editor & Noda Regional Representative

COUNCILLOR’S NOTES I am sure you will enjoy the format of your new Regional Magazine. The show reports which some of you could not access when they were only online are now back in print. The Regional Magazine will appear in this glossy magazine three times a year so the Regional News will be more up to date. Our Region will appear in March, July and November each year. Please let me have your thoughts on this exciting venture. If you have any newsy items which you would like to share with other members please send them to our Regional Editor by the end of May. If possible we would like photographs of shows to go with the reports. You could give them to your Regional Rep. when they visit your production Before the next issue we will be holding our Regional weekend. This will be held in the 3 Counties Hotel, Hereford on 11th & 12th June where for many years we held so many happy weekends together. I do hope you will make every effort to be with us this year. Full details and booking forms will be sent to you in April I was disappointed this year to receive only two applications for Summer School bursaries. I had four to award this year. If you have youngsters in your Society why not persuade them to go to the NODA Youth Academy. This is for 12 to 17year olds and is taking place this year in the Oakham School. Details are to be found elsewhere in this magazine. The National Conference will be held this year in Durham and I hope some of you will make the journey North in September. We have two Societies this year who are celebrating their Centenery. Congratulations to Abergavenny Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society and Neath Amateur Operatic Society. I look forward to being part of their celebrations. Best wishes to all of you in your forthcoming productions. Connie and I hope to see some of you during the next few months.


Mr Derek Grattidge Tel: 02920 705684 email


Mrs Lyn Emmerson DISTRICT 1 & Medals and Badges Secretary Tel: 01492 870205 email Mrs Sheelagh Hobart DISTRICT 2 Tel: 02891 852760 Mobile 07729 814961 email Mr Andrew Moseley DISTRICT 3 Tel: 01495 301421 email Mr Frank Wooles DISTRICT 4 Tel: 02920 512604 email Mr Brian Sullivan DISTRICT 5 & Advertisement Co-ordinator Tel: 01792 202376 email Mr Brian Slate DISTRICT 6 Tel: 01267 242965 email Mrs Dee Mc Ilroy DISTRICT 7 & Regional Editor Tel: 01873 855311 Mobile 07964 625092 email Claire Barnett Noda Youth Adviser Tel: 07968 762401 Email Mr Ian Hogg Regional Treasurer & Membership Secretary Tel: 01686 650955 email Mrs Jackie Titley Regional Secretary Tel: 01686 650955 email


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Daniel Gammond, Kelsey Griffiths, Gabrielle Creavey, Claire Barnett

Claire Barnett, NODA Youth Advisor - South Wales gets feedback from attendees at last years NODA Youth Academy


he NODA Youth Academy will take place this year at Oakham School, Rutland from the 12th – 16th April 2011. Last year three young people from Wales took part in the Junior Musical Theatre course, undertaking tuition in Music, choreography and drama. Here are some of the Young Peoples views on last years academy;

For more information about the Youth Academy or to pass on some fabulous stories of the Young People in Wales & Ireland please contact me. Claire

“I attended the NODA youth academy for the first time last year. It was most definitely one of the best experiences of my life! I had such a great time and everyone was so lovely. I learnt a lot of skills that I will use in the future such as how to breathe properly when singing etc. Although, I must admit at the beginning of the week I was dreading the dance lessons, I thought they were going to be to hard to follow and everyone would pick it up a lot quicker than me, but we worked at a pace that was good for everyone and by the end of the week the dance was my favourite lesson! All of the tutors/chaperones were so lovely and that made it so much easier to enjoy! Everybody had a friend, even if they didn’t know anyone to start with. I would recommend the NODA youth academy to anyone and am definitely coming back this year!|”Kelsey Griffiths said. Gabrielle Creavey was enthusiastic “It was my first experience at doing anything such as noda, and as I pulled through the gates at Oakham School I was very nervous. By the end of the week I can honestly say that I came out a different person! I not only learnt valuable acting singing and dancing skills but I also learnt how to be more confident with myself. Since I left the noda youth academy, I have not been able to get it off my mind. I have already started to look forward to hopefully doing it again next year. Talking to all of the friends I made, watching videos of the dance we performed and looking at all of the photos from this year, has been a constant reminder of how much fun I had and how much I miss my time at NODA youth academy”.


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100 years of



t all began way back in 1911 when several well respected members of Abergavenny’s community came together to form Abergavenny Amateur Operatic Society and perform their first production ‘The Nautical Knot’ at the Borough Theatre. This show was staged with the express intention of raising funds for the local Victoria Cottage Hospital and Dispensary – this being before the advent of the NHS. With a vast amount of local musical talent and under the musical direction of the local church organist of the time Mr WH Carr, the show is reported in great detail in Abergavenny’s local newspaper The Chronicle, as being a resounding success with many standing ovations throughout. This then marked the start of a long and proud history. The Society has produced a musical every year since, with the exceptions of 1915 – 1918 & 1941 – 1946, and since 1981 at least two shows a year. In 1961 the society changed its name to Abergavenny Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society as it was decided to perform plays as well as musicals. In 1983 a separate Junior section was formed with their first show ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ being performed in 1984. There has been great diversity of musical productions, from the evergreen Gilbert & Sullivan Operettas, and shows by Franz Lehar and Rodgers & Hammerstein with more unusual productions such as San Toy, Les Cloches de Corneville and Katinka to this year’s show ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ by Stephen Sondheim. Much of the history of the Society has been catalogued and this year to mark our Centenary a book has been produced, ‘One Hundred Years of Abergavenny Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society’. Within its pages there are lots of photographs from shows including one from that first ever production and much interesting reading. Reproduced is a balance sheet from 1919 showing ticket sales of £166 2s 3d with expenses including costume hire of £22 6s 6d, band & conductor’s fees £46 8s 6d and NODA Subscription of £1 11s 6d – somewhat different from today’s costs! Also noted in the book is a past member from the 1950’s, Alexander Grabner who under his nom de plume Alexander Cordell wrote the famous ‘Rape of the Fair Country’. Another member who has gone on to find fame is Oliver Thornton. Oliver joined our Junior section in 1990 and performed in several shows for the Society before studying at the Mountview College in London and securing roles in Starlight Express, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and most recently winning acclaim as Adam/Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Several of our recent Juniors are currently studying at drama school or are applying to, so there could well be other famous AAODS members on the West End stage in the future and we already have one who is making a name for himself on the small screen. Our celebrations for the year begin with a blessing and concert on 27th February ‘A Celebration of AAODS Past by AAODS Present’ in St Mary’s Church, where the Society’s first musical director was organist. As many past members as we have been able to contact have been invited and it is hoped to re-establish old friendships.

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We have had a commemorative bench made and flower bed planted in Linda Vista gardens where there is a flagstone laid showing the inauguration of AAODS, thus ensuring there is a permanent memento of the Society for all residents to enjoy. Our local museum is also showing a display of memorabilia through the years. As mentioned before the show we have chosen for the Senior section is Stephen Sondheim’s ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ a show not previously performed by us. We are very fortunate to have the services of Ken Caswell as Director and Ross Leadbeater as Musical Director. Ken began directing in 1986 and since then has directed productions of plays and musicals all over the world. His work includes productions of Sweeney Todd, Fiddler On The Roof, Oliver! And La Traviata. As an Associate Director for Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, Ken has directed seventeen productions of Les Misérables worldwide. He directed our 2010 production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and his expertise and way of working raised our standards tremendously. His direction will assure that we bring out all the humour in this musical farce. Ross was previously our musical director in 2008 but left when the choir of which he is a member ‘Only Men Aloud’ won the BBC Last Choir Standing competition. He has toured and recorded with them but was able to fit us into his busy schedule this year and is also directing the Church concert. ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ will be performed at the Borough Theatre 9th to 14th May and is assured to be a laugh a minute. For our members we are holding a Masquerade Ball on June 4th and tickets have already sold out! It is certain to be a great evening to celebrate our history & toast our future. On September 10th we return to the Borough Theatre with a ‘one off’ concert – a retrospective of past shows and it is hoped we will have guest performances. In November our Junior section will perform the highly enjoyable ‘The Wizard of Oz’. This section of the Society is a very committed and talented group of young people whose membership changes constantly as they move away, but somehow they still maintain a very high standard of production. In 2009 they were awarded the accolade of ‘Best Junior Production’ in the Wales & Northern Ireland NODA Region for their 2008 production of ‘Les Miserables (Schools Edition). Since then they have performed ‘Moby Dick the Musical’ and ‘Beauty & the Beast’ completely different genres but performed with equal aplomb. No doubt ‘The Wizard of Oz’ will receive standing ovations as have their last shows. We are indebted to the band of volunteers, stage crew, front of house, ticket sellers, wardrobe personnel etc who continue to support us off stage as without them no show would be possible. Their hard work is often unseen, but is very much appreciated by us. And so we look to the future. We are most fortunate to have talented people continuing to join our Society in both Junior and Senior sections, and I feel assured that AAODS will still be performing to appreciative audiences for many, many more years to come. Jill Murray Chairman, AAODS

WALES & IRELAND 21/02/2011 10:41:55




Last year I directed a production of Fiddler On The Roof with Abergavenny Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society. This was the first occasion I had directed an amateur group in many years after working with amongs others the likes of Sir Cameron Mackintosh and professional theatre practitioners such as Sir Trevor Nunn and Hollywood film director Sam Mendes. Working with an amateur group is, of course a very different experience. The amateur performer is arriving at evening rehearsals after a long day at work and is expecting some kind of relaxation and social contact as well as experiencing the joy of discovering how musical theatre works. On the whole AAODS works well. Yes sure they could concentrate a little more during rehearsals and also be more reliable in their general attendance but there is no doubting their enthusiasm .Amateur Musical Theatre groups are







facing difficult times these days. The shows with large chorus opportunities that were once so popular are no longer being written and now societies have to adapt themselves to a more modern approach and try some of the brilliant writing of our current modern composers. It was with this in mind that I suggested AAODS should try Sondheims “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum� for their centenary celebrations. This kind of comedy farce provides opportunities for the comedians in the company as well as the singers. At the moment we are working our way through the complicated blocking and discovering Sondheims brilliant music and lyrics. There is still a long way to go but with a good dose of commitment and concentration the society will be able to give their paying audience a great evening of musical theatre paving the way for the next hundred years. Ken Caswell










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WALES & IRELAND 21/02/2011 10:42:24


he premiere of the “The Musikall Lorna Doone” was a great success. I am very grateful to NMTC for its willingness to take the risk of staging a brand new show. Such a vote of confidence engendered a great sense of excitement and achievement in the company. This was something no-one else had done – it was special – it was ‘ours’ - and each role was being ‘created’ by each principal in a very real way – to use the jargon correctly, for once. The company grew together over the five months of rehearsals, and we had the lowest rate of absence ever! So – four months on, how do I feel about “Lorna Doone”? My personal hands on involvement is now over. I am delighted with the way it was performed and the reception I received. I am excited by the prospect of other groups staging it in the not to distant future – but unsure how to ‘launch’ it for further staging. (Come on NODA – time for some advice and writers’ workshops maybe?!) As with all first performances, changes are need and I have already begun ‘tweaking’ the lib here and there – red pen in hand! - all the while thinking - “Next time I’ll know not to …...................”. I am very determined that there WILL be a next time. I deliberately constructed L.D. to be performed with minimal use of scenery and costume changes, to allow the action to be continuous, and also to allow for more versatility when handing it over to other groups to stage. I feel this worked well and ties in with the more recent approach to theatrical staging in general. Small combo ensembles also seem to be the way to go for further musical arrangements – allowing for small companies to afford to perform works as they are written. Three or four instruments plus piano/keyboard and percussion allows a variety of textures whilst not costing the earth, So, yes, all you would be writers and composers – give it a go; and yes, all you companies – be brave – try something new. It may not be easy and you will need to remain flexible and non-flappable, but my goodness it’s worth it! Kat Bond


Afterthoughts of the premiere of the “ The Musikall Lorna Doone” premiered by NMTC – October 2010, Theatre Hafren, Newtown, Powys. WALES & IRELAND

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Jackie Titley

Jackie was one of the Founder members of Newtown Musical Theatre Company, or Newtown and District Churches Amateur Operatic Society as it was in known back in 1982. She is still an active member of the company today. Over the years Jackie has taken on many roles in varied productions from G&S to compilation shows, musicals and was thrilled to be part of our very own world premier, Lorna Doone. Some other favourite characters she has portrayed over the years include Mrs. Molloy in Hello Dolly, Czipra in Gipsy Baron, Lady Blanche in Princess Ida and is very much looking forward to playing her next challenging role – a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz!, very versatile. During this time she has held several positions within the NMTC committee, 16yrs of those as Chairman of the company. She helps with directing, choreography and costumes, a real all rounder who appreciates all aspects of staging a show. During her time as Chairperson she was keen to encourage and develop the potential of the company so that it became accessible to all, ensuring that everyone had the opportunity to perform. She was keen to encourage young performers to fulfill their talent on stage. It is a testament to her that so many young actors are treading the boards today within the company. Jackie runs a family home for people with learning difficulties who all enjoy attending the shows, helping with props, painting and helping with the mail shots, and singing along. Jackie is happily married to Ian Hogg, Treasurer for the NODA Wales and Ireland region and an active member of NMTC. Jackie is an active member of NODA, thoroughly enjoys the NODA conferences and currently holds the position of secretary for the same region. Jackie is looking forward to the company’s next production, The Wizard of Oz in March/ April and hopes all of the company enjoy their journey over the rainbow.

AAODS AWARDS Jill Murray(Chairman AAODS) presented Laura Sydney with the AAODS Shield for Best Performer for her portrayal of Belle in the Junior performance of Beauty and the Beast. Jill Murray (AAODS Chairman) presented Tom Mogford with the AAODS Shield for Best Performer for his portrayal of Lumiere in the Junior performance of Beauty and the Beast This is the second year running Tom has received this award.

THEY’RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD!!!! Newtown MTC are busy rehearsing their production of the timeless classic The Wizard Of Oz. The cast includes: Dorothy Gale - Josephine Bowen / Katy Collins, Toto - Bertie, Aunt Em / Glinda - Adele Hopkins, Uncle Henry / Guard - Les Skilton, Zeke / Cowardly Lion John Bowen, Hickory / Tinman - Gareth McMurdo, Hunk / Scarecrow - Andrew Bond, Miss Gultch / Wicked Witch - Bev Southall, Prof Marvel / Wizard - Mike Clarke. Directors : Kat Bond / Chris Clarke. Musical Director : Sarah Astley Davies (The wife)March 30 – 1st April. 7.30pm, Theatre Hafren, Newtown, Powys April 2nd. 2.30pm and 7.30pm Tickets £11, conc. £10. Family Ticket £38



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LONG SERVICE AWARDS Well done to all who have received Awards during the last few months. Particularly good to see Gold and Diamond Bars presented. Please keep the applications for Awards coming, which mark a fitting momentum for hard work and loyalty to Amateur Theatre in the Region. If you have any queries regarding these awards please do not hesitate to contact me. Lyn Emmerson (Medals & Badges Secretary)

10 YEAR BADGE Mr Ivor Probert - Blaenau Gwent Young Stars * Mrs Sharon Probert - Blaenau Gwent Young Stars Mrs Kathryn Cotton - Blaenau Gwent Young Stars * Mrs Sarah Morris - Cowbridge Amateur Operatic Society Mr Kyle Tovey - Ebbw Vale & District O & D Society * Mrs Angel Griffiths - Rhyl & District M T C Mrs Jane Crinnigan - Rhyl & District M T C * Mrs Lisa Tudball - Rhyl & District M T C Mrs Anne Burgan - Rhyl & District M T C

15 YEAR BADGE Mr Gareth Webb - Blaenau Gwent Young Stars * Mr Craig James - Blaenau Gwent Young Stars Mrs Carol Webb - Blaenau Gwent Young Stars * Mrs Lynette Watkins - Blaenau Gwent Young Stars Miss Helen Millard - Blaenau Gwent Young Stars * Mrs Lynda Maddy - Ebbw Vale & District O & D Society Miss Rebecca Bull - Ebbw Vale & District O & D Society * Mr Craig James - Ebbw Vale & District O & D Society Miss Sharon Williams - Ebbw Vale & District O & D Society * Mrs Joane Ewins - Ebbw Vale & District O & D Society Mrs Marian Griffiths - Llandudno Musical Productions * Miss Siobhan McGivern - Newry Musical Society Mr William MacLennan - Newry Musical Society * Mrs Sharon Davies - S T C Musical Society Mrs Joan Davis - S T C Musical Society

20 YEAR BADGE Mrs Edel Loughran - Newry Musical Society * Mrs Karen McMurdo - Newtown Musical Theatre Company


Mrs Susan Bickle - Maesteg Amateur Operatic Society * Mrs Lisa Kathryn Howells - Maesteg Amateur Operatic Society Mr Colin W R Wear - Melyncrythan Amateur O S * Mr Jim McGuigan - Newry Musical Society

30 YEAR SILVER BAR Mr Ken Williams - Briton Ferry Musical Theatre Company * Mr Nigel Watkins - Briton Ferry Musical Theatre Company Mr David A Goddard - Briton Ferry Little Theatre * Mr Geoff Skelhorn - Civic Hall Amateur Players (Conwy) Mrs Sian Edwards - Ebbw Vale & District O & D Society * Mrs Christine Price - Ebbw Vale & District O & D Society Mrs Elsa Ferris - Londonderry Musical Society * Mr Ian Geraint Jones - Maesteg Amateur Operatic Society Mrs Jean Morgan - Melyncrythan Amateur O S * Mr Brendan Fegan - Newry Musical Society Mrs Elsie Morris - Rhyl & District M T C * Mrs Anne Rimmer - Rhyl & District M T C Mrs Shirley Williams - Rhyl & District M T C

35 YEAR SILVER BAR Mr Gladys McCague - Newry Muslcal Society * Ms Catherine Farrell - Newry Musical Society Mrs Majella Johnston - Newry Musical Society

40 YEAR SILVER BAR Mrs Angela Mary Rogers - Abertillery Amateur D & M Society * Mr William Donald Pugh - Briton Ferry Little Theatre Mrs Marjorie Crowe - Ebbw Vale & District O & D Society * Mr Ray Emmerson - Llandudno Musical Productions Mr John Cookson - Newry Musical Society * Mr Mike Clarke - Newtown Musical Theatre Company

45 YEAR SILVER BAR Mr David A Sylvester - Briton Ferry Musical Theatre Company * Mr William J Howells - Melyncrythan Amateur O S Mrs Susan Roberts - Rhyl & District M T C

50 YEAR GOLD BAR Mrs Daphne Henley - Abertillery Amateur D & M Society * Mr Peter White - Briton Ferry Musical Theatre Company Mrs Leah Sylvester - Briton Ferry Musical Theatre Company * Mrs Joan Long - Llandudno Musical Productions

60 YEAR DIAMOND BAR Mrs Carole Ann Hanford - Melyncrythan Amateur O S


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ho would have envisaged that when a small band of enthusiasts set out to form an operatic society in the town of Neath in 1911 that it would be flourishing a hundred years later. In 1911 three men, namely Matthew Davies, Tom Dummer and Evan Lewis went to see a performance of ‘Princess Ida’ by Swansea Amateur Operatic Society and as a result of this visit the seed was sown to start a society in Neath. Matthew Davies was a well known musician who conducted a male voice party and he discussed this new venture with his choristers. There was an enthusiastic response and consequently a meeting was held at Gnoll Road chapel schoolroom and Neath Amateur Operatic Society was formed in November 1911. Matthew Davies was appointed Musical Director and in 1912 the society staged ‘The Mikado’ at Vints Hippodrome [now the site of the General Post Office]. Ninety one years later in 2003 the society performed ‘The Hot Mikado’ at the Gwyn Hall. A slightly different production! In November 1913 ‘The Gondoliers’ was staged and the Mid Glamorgan Herald stated in its press release “These talented amateurs made their debut last year with so much success that it made them ambitious. Three months ago they commenced practise on this old operatic masterpiece and this week they have triumphed.” Fortunately for us the press have continued to give us favourable support. Activities were suspended during the Great War of 1914-1918 but 1919 saw a performance of ‘The Yeomen of the Guard’. Gilbert and Sullivan shows continued to be staged at the Gwyn Hall until 1926 when ‘Ruddigore’ was performed at the larger and more comfortable Gnoll Hall. In 1927 the society entered the world of musical comedy with ‘The Country Girl’ and in the same year ‘Katinka’ was staged for the first time. In 1932 it’s production of ‘The Desert Song’ brought one of the society’s outstanding successes. ‘The Maid of the Mountain’ in 1938 was the last show to be staged before the outbreak of the second world war in 1939. The society resumed activities in 1945 performing ‘Katinka’ in 1946. Hundreds of people failed to gain admission with queues all around the main streets. How wonderful it would be if this was the case today. In 1949 the society staged one of it’s most ambitious productions, Jerome Kern’s ‘Showboat’. Once again the press was full of praises for the society – “The standard of production by Neath Amateur Operatic Society becomes higher with each consecutive production. This week’s show must surpass any of the society’s previous efforts and enhance its already firm reputation for providing some of the best entertainment of its type in the area, if not indeed the principality.” ‘Showboat’ was again performed in 1975 and delighted people with its beautiful melodies. It was fitting that a Neath society should perform ‘The Lisbon Story’ with music by Harry Parr Davies – Neath’s own composer and in 1950 they held the Welsh premiere with the composer himself making a visit. Over the years the society has prided itself on staging shows newly released for amateur production. As soon as ‘The Dancing Years’ by Ivor Novello was made available the society made it their choice for its November 1953 production. 1956 saw the first excursion into the American musical with ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ proving to be a box office success. After fifty years of waiting ‘The Merry Widow’ was released for amateur production and in 1959 the society was delighted to be among the first in Wales to stage it. In 1960 Neath Amateur Operatic Society’s first Rodgers and Hammerstein show was a wonderful production of ‘The King and I’. The public’s response to this show was overwhelming in its praise as it was in the 1972 production. After a long run on the London stage ‘My Fair Lady’ was released for amateur production and the society was granted permission to stage it as their 1968 production. It proved to be an outstanding success and that with the 1970 production of ‘The Sound of Music’ enthralled the capacity audiences. The society went from strength to strength with productions that included ‘Oliver’, ‘Mame’, ’Irene’, ‘Funny Girl’, Fiddler on the Roof’,’ La Belle Helene’, ‘Hello Dolly’ and ‘South Pacific.’ The Old Mechanic’s Institute had been the society’s headquarters since 1959 but it became obvious that the society needed to move to larger headquarters and in 1983 The Celtic Press Building was purchased. This building was transformed by society members into an excellent place for rehearsing, the construction and storing of scenery and costumes and also for social activities. In 1988 the Broadway version of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ was staged. Many loyal Gilbert and Sullivan fans were dubious about this new version but to everyone’s delight their fears were unfounded and it proved to yet another box office ‘hit’. Over the years


the society has ventured to stage a variety of shows. Productions have become more and more ambitious, not only for the performers but also for the hard working backstage crew. Imagination, time and a great deal of thought and hard work has gone into the making of scenery and ‘props’, designing and implementing lighting plots, organizing costumes, sound etc. Without their dedication the staging of the society’s shows would be impossible. Who will forget the transformation of the Gwyn Hall stage into a chess board for the staging of the musical ‘Chess’. Special effects have always added to the visual impact of musicals and none more so than in the productions of ‘Sweeney Todd’, ‘Scrooge’ and the Welsh premiere of ‘Titanic’ the musical in 2004. As in all musicals, dancing is a vital ingredient. Many thought that it would be impossible to stage the social dance from ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ on the Gwyn Hall stage. However, the twenty young leads who took part in this wonderful show proved to the public how talented and dedicated they were as they did in ‘dancing’ shows such as ‘42nd Street’, George M’, the Welsh premiere of ‘Meet me in St Louis’, ‘Crazy for You’, ‘Gentlemen prefer Blondes’ and ‘Copacabana’ to name but a few. ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in 2003 was the society’s first venture into the musicals of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber- a production that delighted audiences and In 2006 rock enthusiasts were delighted when the society staged the Welsh premiere of the Rock opera ‘Tommy’. The Society’s Youth Group was formed in 2000 and over the years as the membership has gone from strength to strength they have staged a number of highly successful performances as well as being involved in the society’s productions and pantomimes. The success of the youth group must surely auger well for the future of the society. The Gwyn Hall, the society’s home for many years was closed for refurbishment and after a lengthy period of waiting for the building work to be completed disaster struck. The hall was demolished by fire and the people of Neath were devastated. The society now had to turn to our neighbouring town Port Talbot and the Princess Royal Theatre who were so accommodating. However, it proved difficult for many of our loyal Neath audience to support us, mainly due to transportation difficulties. Two of our greatest successes in the Princess Royal Theatre were the youth group productions of Les Miserables and Billy Elliott. Since the closure of the Gwyn Hall the society has held many a successful evening in Neath – whether it be our Carol Services, Ivor Novello concert, a concert performance of ‘The Merry Widow’ and most recently the society staged ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ and the youth group ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ at the Canolfan Nidum, Neath Port Talbot College. Over the years the society has been actively involved in the community with the Round Table Carnival, charity concerts, school fetes, fashion shows, coffee evenings etc. Our centenary year 2011 is set to be an exciting and extremely busy year. The society is holding a number of functions to celebrate the hundred years of Neath Amateur Operatic Society. One of the highlights will be in May when a ‘Spring Celebration’ concert will be held at Margam Orangery. The society’s guest soloist will be West End and Broadway star John Owen Jones. A celebratory lunch will be held at The Towers Hotel on May 1st and hopefully will be attended by many past and present members. Our youth group will be staging a centenary concert at St Catherine’s Church but the culmination of this exciting year will be Neath Amateur Operatic Society’s performance of the musical ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in November 2011. Since its inception the society has performed a variety of shows and many have contributed to its success. It would be impossible to name all those involved over the years. The enthusiasm of its members and the continual support of the people of Neath and district has made the society and institution. We are indebted to the hard work of our members, musical directors, directors, accompanists and stage crew, without whom this success would not have been possible. Friendships have been formed and marriages taken place when people meet through a mutual interest. Hopefully ‘Neath Amateurs’ will continue to flourish for the next hundred years and more! “Things past belong to memory alone. Things future are the property of hope.”.


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Show Publicity and




The Byfleet Players



Robin Hood

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THURSDAY 6th January, 2011 at 7.30 p.m.




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BROUGHTON AMATEUR DRAMATIC GROUP (BADG) ROBIN HOOD and the BABES IN THE WOOD February 2011 Director: Justyn Jones Musical Directors: Lauren Faulkner & Justyn Jones Choreographer: Rachel Harrison The Company brought a modern twist to this age-old tale of good triumphant over evil to life. Peter Salmon as Sherriff of Nottingham immediately confronted the audience with his evil intentions from the start but Spirit of the Greenwood, Terri Dunn, was both articulate and polished, dashing all the Sherriff’s evil plans. Jasmine Roberts and Samantha Hett as hero and heroin, Robin Hood and Maid Marian respectively, were well cast with the remainder of Hood’s Gang, Will Scarlett – Melanie Williams, Little John – Katie Deyes and Callum Dean -Friar Tuck competently accomplishing their tasks. Peter Burke was perfectly cast as Nurse Nora taking every opportunity to extract the comedy element of the script and interacting with the receptive audience. Jon Johnston portrayed the downtrodden Herman the Henchman, whilst Amy Keown and Chris Mapp charecterised The Babes, Janet and John. Chorus members were well rehearsed and reacted to each situation. I particularly enjoyed the Disney Characters in Act 1 and the spectacular Ghosts and Skeletons number in the Dungeon Scene in Act 2. Backcloths were well designed with costumes, even though quite modern, and lighting adding to the production. On the downside, I felt the Band was rather too loud at times with soloists tending to compete rather than being accompanied, however, it did not mar the performance which delighted the audience. Thank you so much for your invitation and generous hospitality.

CHILDREN OF BENLLECH PANTOMIME GROUP DICK WHITTINGTON January 2011 Director: Sue Coomber Musical Director: Eunice Parry Choreographers: Debbie Jones Olive Knight Always a warm welcome from this Company, and the warmth seems to overflow in their production. Kara Pritchard gave an outstanding portrayal as King Rat, leading her group of Ratlings as the forces of evil against the good Fairy Bowbelle, Sacha Jones. Emily Slater was a natural Alice Fitzwarren and gave Megan Pritchard the opportunity to shine in the title role as Dick Whittington. Suzanne Bleakley fully justyfied her casting as Sarah whilst her sister Jaimee Bleakley and Sacha Jones brought out the comedy aspect as Spade & Shovel, later doubling up as Leak & Mustapha. There were many other minor roles well presented. The well rehearsed chorus and group of dancers carried out their tasks competently and approached each musical number with confidence Once again the sets and costumes were superbly designed, and credit must go to the enitre production and backstage team for their efforts in presenting yet again another successful and enjoyable evening’s entertainment. Thank you all once again.

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LLANDUDNO YOUTH MUSIC THEATRE AN EVENING OF MUSICAL MADNESS AND MORE Community Centre, Craigydon Llandudno. January 2011 Directors: Ian Wilson Margaret Jones Moya Seaman Musical Director: Phillip Jones A corniucopia of talent oozed from this programme of entertainment. Consisting of solos, duets, and full company arrangements, the group included some very interesting items. The Company as a whole has a say in what is to be included in the programme which involves each member of the Group. Love to mention each performer but alas space prevents. Act 1 commenced with ‘A New World’. The ever popular pop group ‘Madness’ secured a place in the repetoire with the group’s interpretation of ‘Our House’ and three of the Company, dancer, drums and saxophonist brought us a very poigniant Baker Street written by the late Gerry Rafferty. Solos in the first Act included ‘Till there was You’ from The Music Man and a Monologue from Blood Brothers. The First half concluded with a selection from Les Miserables culminating with ‘Master of the House’ directed by Craig Whiteley. In the Ayer was a dance routine expertly choreographed by Gail Astle opened Act 2 with a short Sparkleshark drama performed by three of the members following. Solos included ‘Popular’ ‘Lost in the Darkness’ and ‘Someone Like You’. ‘Spamalot was featured by the Company and the programme ended with ‘Electricity’ and ‘Once We Were Kings’ from their very successful Billy Elliot. Thank you all so much and every good wish for ‘The Wiz’ in July 2011

STARLIGHT PLAYERS PANTO AT THE O.K. CORRAL Criccieth, January 2011 Director: Karen Dolan-Smith Choreography Kate Parry & Paula Carr Starlight served up a real change to the traditional pantomime to with this western style panto. One was immediately transported to the mid-west where the Sherriff of Small Holding villainously portrayed by John Roberts undertook get his hands on valuable land owned by Winnie Pegg. New avenue for Paul Dunn as the dame Winnie Pegg, who made the most of his lucrative role. There were many well-known characters in this piece, rather too many to mention individually– Kate Parry as Diamond Lil whose saloon saw much of the action. Tom Parry and Alana Price as Clint Westwood and Calamity Jane respectivefully were of course the hero and heroin. I must mention Lightning, the pantomime horse – excellently played by Hannah Dolan-Smith and Peter Margetts. The musical numbers were well thought out, choreographed and performed with the support of the Gaynor Owen Dancers the Can Can being a hightlight. Polished contribution from the enthusiastic Junior Chorus- Spydrs - . Costumes were of the period and eye-catching backcloths designed and constructed by Peter Weston made such a terrific difference to the production as a whole. A familiar phrase during the performance was ‘A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do’ and this certainly applied, as everyone did what they had to do and did it very well. Thank you Starlight and Congratulations to all.

WREXHAM MUSICAL THEATRE SOCIETY FLYING FEATHERS Wrexham Riverside Studio, January 2011 Director/Producer: Stanley Crabtree When entering a theatre with open stage one’s first impression is the set, Peter Nunn and the crew did a wonderful job constructing the design by Lizz Daly. The play, a farce, wordy and very funny.

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Sarah Potterton – Lesley Nunn and brother Henry – Jerry Fletcher arrives at dead brother Bernard’s farm to ‘sort things out’. They are met by Mrs Winthrop – Jackie Ashworth the Housekeeper. Before long we meet Polly – Carys Scott, Debbie- Ellie de Bolla, Jackie – Jayne McCubbin and Sally – Nia Scott, running about the house scantilly dressed. During the action we encounter the ‘Rev.’ Roger Featherstone – Stanley Crabtree, Mr Tunnicliffe – Peter Nunn, a Solicitor who arrives on a horse, the window cleaner – Shawn Edwards and ‘dead’ brother Bernard ?? The plot twists and turns until we reach an uncertain solution. The players in this piece were a mix of experienced thespians, and youngsters who were perhaps not so experienced, but all the cast gave excellent performances and can take great credit for keeping a small but very appreciative audience totally absorbed throughout the evening. Special mention to Jackie Ashworth and Jerry Fletcher for their efforts, and setting the pace of the play which never flagged. Congratulations to Director/Producer for a very professional presentation and to all backstage personnel for their contribution. There was one person however who was surplus to requirements on the night – Anne Piper (Prompt) Thank you Wrexham for lovely evening and also for your generous hospitality.

DISTRICT TWO Sheelagh Hobart

Enniskillen Light Operatic CAROUSEL Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, December 2010 Directors – Barbara Johnston & Helen Scott Choreographer – Jennifer Rooney Chorus Director – Irene Kernohan Orchestral Director – Donald Swain The Carousel Waltz Prologue introduced the fairground theme well and colourful characters, cyc gobo and a clever “live” carousel created a great atmosphere.

Emma Flanagan and Rebecca Cullen opened well as the two girls , Julie and Carrie - their singing and characterisations were delightfully contrasting. Troy Morgan, as Billy Bigelow, delivered his demanding soliliquy in fine voice. The awkward pomposity of Mr Snow was well portrayed by Vincent Ryan and Rosie Lendrum was suitably brash as Mrs Mullin. I have never heard “You’ll never walk alone” sung better than by Jayne Haslett as Nettie Fowler. Martin Donnelly as the Starkeeper /Dr Seldon and John McCrea as the Heavenly Friend added ethereal gravitas and Neil McGandy delivered Jigger’s comedy well – his evil side less believable. Smaller roles and chorus gave good support. The Snow children and urchins were delightful - I particularly enjoyed the beach ballet. Joanne Burleigh (Louise) danced beautifully with excellent support from Paul Donaghey (Carnival Barker). Barbara and Helen produced a tight show and the orchestra was well controlled. Lighting was a bit erratic - however, the ballet was atmospherically lit. With good cyc gobos, the simple set was pleasing but changes were slow. Costumes were colourful.

Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Ballywillan Drama Group Riverside Theatre, Coleraine. January 2011 Director – Brian Logan Musical Director – Eric Boyd Choreographer – Sharon Wilson Ballywillan DG programme detailed 20 months of planning, promising a theatrical feast. Without flying facilities the well planned set turned and adapted to each scene with ease and costumes from Utopia were colourful and appropriate. The complex and creative lighting, designed and operated by director Brian Logan added magical effect and sound quality was excellent throughout, aided by good diction from the cast. Fiona Flynn was a charming Belle with David McClarty playing eccentric father Maurice with sympathy. Gaston was played with panache by Ben Crawford with comic sidekick Lefou energetically portrayed by Colin McClarty. Gaston’s “groupies” – Una Culkin, Laura Fisher and Evie Ferguson were …… very silly girls! In the castle, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Babette and Madame de la Grand Bouche (David Ferguson, Harry Stinson, Ashling Reynolds & Olive Hemphill) effectively fulfilled their varied roles with accents to match, as did Helen Wilkinson as an excellent Mrs Potts and Aiden McGinley as the ‘Chip’ of the night. Sinister asylum owner D’Arque (Paul Loan) and chorus (all named parts) gave enthusiastic vocal and dancing support. Alan McClarty’s Beast was a tour de force. His believable appearance and demeanour, even the growl in his breath, was sustained throughout. He and Belle interacted very well and they sang beautifully together and solo. MD Eric Boyd and his 12-piece orchestra made a pleasing and supportive sound. Brian Logan’s production and Sharon Wilson’s choreography were seamless. A theatrical feast indeed. Well done!

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complete an impressive staging of this bittersweet musical drama. And what about the hysterical ladies? They went home well pleased – and the WI will never seem the same.

St Peter’s Players Sleeping Beauty St Peter’s Hall, Cardiff. January, 2011 Producer: Peter Cooksley, Kevin O’Brien Musical Director: Ged Cunliffe Choreography: Lisa Murphy

Orbit Theatre The Full Monty New Theatre, Cardiff. October 2010 Director: Simon Wilshire Musical Director: Rob Thorne Jnr Choreography: Tracey Coleman With lust in their eyes sedate matrons and sensible young ladies became a screaming mob at the prospect of a Full Monty. Unemployed best friends, Jerry and Dave, were superbly played by James Randell (Jerry, battling to come to terms with a broken marriage), and Phil Bond, insecure as Dave. Touching, funny and moving performances. An endearing performance by Dan Collier-Roberts, as the fey Malcolm, richly comic but never over-played, who finds comfort in friendship with Ethan, played with gentle warmth by Mark Johncock. Uriel Walker as Harold, the once feared factory boss, was revealed to be a gentle man. Andre Paul Spring stopped the show with a terrific performance of the number Big Black Man, and an amazing performance as Noah, aka Horse. A hard to better line-up of guys – all believable characters of depth and sincerity. But the ladies were in no way overshadowed; a hard-edged performance by Hannah Todd, as Jerry’s estranged wife Pam; Tracey Coleman as Georgie (wife of chubby Dave); Linda Coombes (costly as Harold’s wife Vicki) and the acerbic has-been Jeanette, played by scene-stealing Carole Screen. Supporting roles added lustre to an already formidable casting. Simon Wilshire’s fine, well-considered and constructed production had the backing of a first class band under the musical director Rob Thorne Jnr, to

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Community theatre at its best in a no-frill production with the emphasis on laughter all the way. Tremendous fun and all credit to the production team of Cooksley and O’Brien. Peter Cooksley also played Tickles, the jester, and specialised in corny gags, silliness and a great repartee with the audience – and smart-alec hecklers beware. Kevin O’Brien was a flirtatious Dame Ammonia, dumpy, frumpy and very funny. More good comedy from Joanne O’Brien, as the imperious Queen Semolina, and Andrew Morris, nicely diffident as King Cedric, with a dithering Stephen Hyde, as Fusspot the chancellor. Talented Imogen Andrews was the prettiest and sweetest voiced good fairy you could wish for, doing battle with Liz Woods, fearfully evil as wicked Carabosse. A charming, attractive sleeping beauty Aurora (Lauren King), a dashing Prince Valient) Paul Woods), with good support playing by Jade King and Matthew Fisher, as Shout and Bawl, completed a sound cast. Bags of energy from a very young, hard working company, and impressive in interesting routines by choreographer Lisa Murphy. Truly a smut-free, family pantomime. Congratulations.

Bill Board Ensemble Sleeping Beauty Memorial Town Hall, Barry. December 2010 Producer: Jon Mason Coombs, Charlotte Brown Musical Director: Emma Arscott Choreography: Nicola Boyd-Anderson A wow factor Sleeping Beauty, spectacular and charming, in a well devised and polished production by Jon Mason Coombs, who also played dame with a colourful, exuberant performance as Nurse Nanny Tango, aided and abetted in slick comedy by flutteringly funny Tony Burnell, as Muddles.

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The evil fairy Maleficent (Lisa Taylor), chilled to please but was thwarted in her wicked intent by three delightful good fairies, Fauna, Flora and Merryweather, played by Natasha Jones, Lauren Gee and Lisa Perry. Lovely Princess Aurora captivated handsome Prince Phillip, in well sung and played roles by Laura Currie and Mike Bennett. The lovely Nicola Boyd-Anderson troupe brought the magic of the dance to an eclectic mix of precise and polished routines. Supporting roles were sound and secure and the company looked and sounded good with the junior section well integrated and stealing scenes and hearts. A lovely pantomime.

LLANDAFF MUSICAL SOCIETY H.M.S. PINAFORE OR “THE LASS WHO LOVED A SAILOR” Weston Studio Theatre WMC. November 2010 Director Derek Grattidge Musical Director Les Collins Accompanist Ann Owen One of the most popular Savoy operas H.M.S. Pinafore came to the Weston Studio Theatre of the Wales Millenium Centre Cardiff in November, A traditional sound production, with a wealth of excellent principals in fine voice and a disciplined chorus brought to the stage everything devotees of G & S enjoy. From the slick sailor’s opening chorus of “We Sail the Ocean Blue” and the arrival of the very proper Sisters, Cousins and Aunts to the Finale “O Joy! O Rapture” Gilbert & Sullivan would have been proud of this experienced company who carried off all the original touches with aplomb. Foremost in South Wales, the golden voiced John Sadler as Captain Corcoran, and Rob Reynolds as The Rt. Honourable Sir Joseph Porter gave fine performances and both brought some splendid humour to their superb roles! With the voice of an angel, Angela Brown, was demure and charming as Josephine, with excellent performances from Neil Davies as Dick Deadeye, Angela Sadler as Little Buttercup and Jonathan Edwards as Ralph Rackstraw. Leanne Algeo gave a spirited performance of Hebe. Congratulations Director Derek Grattidge, and Musical Director Les Collins, giving a sprightly backing to the tuneful score, all the cast and team involved in this firm favourite with so many amateur societies. Report by Dee Mc Ilroy on behalf of Frank Wooles

DISTRICT FIVE Brian Sullivan

Tony Rano and Janet Jones had a great time as the Emperor and Empress. The youngsters of the chorus were well disciplined and sang with great gusto. A highlight of the show was the magic carpet sequence which looked stunning and everyone involved themselves the various moments of participation with complete abandon. Congratulations to Aled Hopton on his first panto, I am sure that many more will follow.

Neath AOS Jekyll and Hyde Nidum Theatre, Neath Director; Davron Hicks Musical Director; Richard John For their latest production, Neath A.O.S. returned to Neath to the Nidum Theatre at Neath College. This proved to be a wise choice; this small theatre was admirably suited to their production of Jekyll and Hyde. The intimate nature of the venue suited the atmosphere of the production and the absence of the orchestra from the auditorium brought the production closer to the audience and helped the mood of the show. The orchestra were in fact housed in a room further down the corridor and the sound was conveyed to the audience and the cast via CCTV and it all worked so wonderfully well. The musical content of the show was well controlled by Musical Director Richard John. The production by Davron Hicks was well thought out and contained some excellent moments. I particularly liked his use of two chairs which were placed with their backs to the audience. The simple basic set worked well and did not distract from the often intense drama of the piece. The simple choreography was ideal for this show and did not tax the company. The dual role of Jekyll and Hyde was played by Mark Johncock. His playing of Jekyll was beautifully understated which allowed his transformation to Hyde to achieve maximum affect. He was well supported by Matthew Hampson as John Utterson his friend; this was a sincere and totally believable performance. Zoe George as the fiancée Emma Carew looked and moved right and in period. She sang and acted with exceptional talent. Congratulations to Grace Williams, who at short notice undertook the demanding role of Lucy Harris, a ‘lady of the night’. This was a floorless performance, Grace showed good stage presence and demonstrated great control by this talented actress. The Board of Governors of the Hospital Committee, led by Howard Phillips as Sir Danbers Carew, were well played and gave their individual roles the right degree of pomposity and the entire company played with great commitment. Many thanks to Chairman Huw Jones and Barbara Shufflebothom of the committee for their warm welcome and hospitality. I look forward to your centenary production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and the return to your rootsthe refurbished Gwyn Hall.

Port Talbot and District AOS Youth Theatre Bugsy Malone Director/Choreographer – Emily Roberts Musical Director – Geraint John

Glantawe Theatre Company Aladdin Welfare Hall Ystradgynlais Reviewed On 27th January 2011 Director: Paul Shannon Musical Director & Writer: Aled Hopton This production was a true community production in all aspects. The panto was conceived and written by young Aled Hopton and contained much to be remembered, particularly the chocolate bar routine. This colourful and lively production by Paul Shannon featured a large cast of locals who received great support form the community. Leading the company was the very personable Jay Curtis who relished every moment as Wishee Washee. Edwina Davies brought vast experience to the role of Widow Twankey complete with an intriguing Scottish accent!!!! The romantic pairing of Leah Dalton and Sarah Phillips as Aladdin and his Princess was strong and they were well supported by Russell Rees as the evil Abanaza, complete with an impressive Genie from Sam Whyley. Heidi James and Becci Thomas were the locally based comic policemen and

This production not only boasted a young company but also a very young production team. The 36 young people taking part in this production obviously enjoyed every minute of every performance and bubbled with excitement. Every single member immersed themselves in the show. The pace of the show was brisk but was interrupted by many scene changes. This was not the fault of the company but due to the fact that the show is very episodic. Leading the fun was 13 year old Daniel Gammond as Fat Sam. He dominated the proceedings but his strong vocal delivery could have a marked affect on his vocal chords. This was a part very popular with the audience, and he milked every moment. Well done! Josh Shawe in the title role as Bugsy Malone played with an easy charm and was well partnered by Eleanor Williams as Blowsey Brown. I was very impressed by the performance of Aled Williams as Dandy Dan. His delivery of lines was well modulated and his performance was effortless. His is a talent to be nurtured for the future. Musical Director, the young Geraint John, controlled his band of excellent players with a sure hand and with a maturity beyond his years. Congratulations to all involved in this production and especially to the stage

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crew who worked continuously throughout the evening. Many thanks to Secretary Leighton Joseph for the warm welcome and generous hospitality.

Maesteg Amateur Operatic Society Disney’s Beauty & the Beast Director: Sarah Thomas Musical Director: Susan Heffey Choreographer: Susan Bickle Sheer magic came to the Llynfi Valley when Maesteg Operatic Society took on the challenge of staging “Beauty and the Beast”. It was not just a “touch” of magic but magic by the bucket load! This was a production of many magical moments but the greatest was created by the stage crew who made the minute stage a vision of spaciousness. The society made the wise decision to hire the costumes from the UK tour of the show and this proved to be the icing on the cake. The direction of the show was tight and it moved along at a steady pace and was peppered with some creative performances. Adam Lewis made an impressive Beast and even extracted sympathy from the children in the audience, who were spellbound by the whole show. The role of Belle was played by identical twins Mari and Lowri Izzard, a director’s dream, and it was impossible to spot when they changed over. Both girls were a delight and their singing charmed everyone. Richard De Los Reyes was a charismatic and delightful Lumiere with a smile that would melt the hardest critic. Mike Jones as Cogsworth the clock gave great support and had some good moments. Claire Lee Evans was a warm and maternal Mrs Potts using her lovely singing voice to great effect. The role of Chip was played by Joseph Cornish and Dylan Morgan. On the night I attended Dylan Morgan proved to be a very chirpy chip and a hit with the audience. The partnering of Nicky Phillips as Gaston and Alan Flay as Lefou was inspired, both actors creating well defined characters and revelling in the playing of these roles. Their performances individually and together were excellent and of the highest order. My congratulations to Director Sarah Thomas and Musical Director Susan Heffe on welding the entire company into such a solid unit. My thanks to Lisa Howells, Chair Person and Carys Williams, Secretary for their warm welcome and I look forward to returning in the near future. Trivial Pursuit Director – Pat Evans This was a play with which I am very familiar and have seen on countless occasions, but I must admit this was the funniest version I have ever seen. The production by Pat Evans moved along at a great pace and was full of clever, inventive business which added greatly to the fun. The solid set worked well and particularly the patio doors which provided one of the funniest moments in the play. In fact I was still laughing 3 days later! The central role of Teddy (an actor’s dream of a part) was played with perfect understanding by Peter ‘Patsy’ Radmore. He did not miss a trick all nigh. A real tour de force of a performance! Paul A. Morgan as Derek perfectly captured the boring personality of this character, with an accent having the required drone in it. Sharon James as Joyce caught the mood of the alcoholic and her attempt at doing her make up in the reflection of the patio door was a wonderful piece of comic theatre which will remain with me for a very long time. Both Paul and Sharon had the difficult task of being drunk on stage, and both need to be very careful of not tipping towards Music Hall comedy. In these roles you tread a very delicate line, which they did well for most of the time. I very much liked the portrayal of Pearl, by Tracey Porch-Bradley. This was a fine performance of great detail and understanding. Every member of this cast played to a very high standard and the audience loved them all. It is so good to see that the art of drama still continues in some areas. A novel touch during the evening was when we were all invited to play a game of bingo! It was sheer fun, and the caller was a real star and could have stepped directly out of a Frank Vickery play.

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Many thanks to Ross Jones for his warm welcome and kind hospitality.

Musicality Academy of Performing Arts West Side Story Director/Choreographer: Amanda Murphy Musical Director: Kerry Rogers Director –Vocals: Eleri Thomas Due to a heavy work schedule I was unable to attend a performance of this show, but I was fortunate enough to attend the dress rehearsal. This company was brave enough to take on this show, considered to be one of the most difficult of its genre, and pulled it off in spectacular style. The young, vibrant society grabbed the bull by its horns and delivered with style. The difficult and demanding choreography was given great attack and impressed. It was a vocally solid company and everyone taking part obviously enjoyed the challenge. Rhiannon Herridge was a delightful Maria, acting with great conviction and singing excellently. Partnering her was Benn Williams as Tony, a performance which clearly showed that he was “different” to the others in the gang. He sang well and reached his top notes with consummate ease. Great support came from Declan Stuart, an impressive looking Bernardo, Michael-Rae Formston, Adam Phillips and Geraint Morgan as members of the Jets. The performance that caught my eye was that of Daniel Powell whose acting impressed and who had clearly observed and worked on his character. This was a well detailed performance. Both gangs of boys worked well and created the right tensions for their scenes. A highlight was the delivery of “Gee, Officer Krupke”, injected with delicious humour!!!!! Shannon Giles gave a spirited delivery of the role of “Anybody’s”. Bethan Williams worked well as Anita but the role would have benefited from more Latin fire and passion. An extremely strong performance as “Doc” from Jackie Thomas gave weight to the story and the chorus of girls worked and moved well, partnering the boys with great skill to provide an exciting night of theatre. The simple set worked effectively and was enhanced with excellent lighting effects. The various levels of scaffolding were used to dramatic effect and the tableaux were stunning. Director Amanda Murphy clearly knew what she wanted to achieve and did just that. She gave us a thrilling and exciting production. Musical Director Kerry Rogers brought the best out of everyone but because the theatre did not have a purpose built orchestra pit had to battle to hold the sound back. Congratulations to this enterprising society on proving that what was considered as an impossibility turned out to be one of the most exciting and thrilling of productions.


The Llangain Players. Calamity Jane The Panto. Neuadd Llangain Hall. January 2011 Director. Anna Yeatman Musical Director. John Dayman. Choreography. Anna Yeatman, Llinos McCarthey. The first pantomime of 2011, my annual visit to a very welcoming society at the nearby village of Llangain. Calamity Jane the panto, what was I expecting to see? This Calamity was Calamity with a difference, no Doris Day character at all instead Calamity turned out to be the “Dame” ably played with great humour , timing and sincerity by Dave Martin.

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Other characters adding to the laughter and merriment were Simon Weaver (Chief Talking Bull), Phil Thomas (Old Timer), Joe Martin (el Gwapo), John Herriot (Julio) Angharad Chapman (Angelina ) and Glenda McClavy (Joile). The loud mouthed Baddie was played expertly by William Jones (Geronimo). Other supporting roles included The Milky Bar Kid, Pocahontas, Clint Westwood, The Sheriff, Candy Bar, Delores and Manuela were well cast and added to the enjoyment of the evening. As usual the Llangain Ballet group performed with their usual finesse, well done. The scenery was well designed and colourful made by members of the society, the costumes were very colourful, especially some Worn by Calamity. Congratulations to the production team and all other members of the society for bringing this new production to fruition. Thanks for a very enjoyable and memorable evening.

Under the baton of the Musical Director cast and company were in fine form. With a colourful and extensive wardrobe and a well made set this show was a delight to dazzle the eye.. A lush and lavish production well done everyone, you deserved your standing ovation.


Saundersfoot Footlights Sleeping Beauty. Regency Hall, Saundersfoot. November / December 2010 Director Helen Wright. Musical Director Eileen Thomas. Choreography Hulda Wright. The first pantomime of the season. As usual the scenery was very eye catching, the costumes very colourful and the cast from the very youngest to the oldest played their respective roles with great humour and confidence. Audience participation was encouraged - no demanded. Roger Leese starred in the role of Dottie Dettol, nurse to Princess Rose played very charmingly by Lucinda Perrett. The Prince played by Astrid Bowen played the part with confidence, the duets of the Prince and Princess enabled them to blend their voices very well when singing their musical numbers.. Additional humour and slapstick was provided by Fetch (Steve Butler) and Carry (Alison Franklin). The Postal sketch was very well done. Hulda Wright playing Muddles had great personality and had the audience shouting at her every time she came on stage. The Good fairy Lilac ( Andrea Thomas) added colour and charm, the exact opposite to Bad Witch Hazel (Hiliary Robinson) who was greeted on each appearance with the traditional boos and jeers. Other supporting roles were played by Graham Thomas (King) and Iris Morris (Queen) . The chorus of villagers, fairies, fireflys and minions supported the main cast with some well rehearsed singing and dancing. Congratulations to all involved, both front of house and backstage .An excellent production . Thanks for the invitation and warmth of your welcome. See you soon.

Llanelli Musical Players. Disney`s Beauty and the Beast Theatre Elli Llanelli. December 2010 Director Keira Spencer, Musical Director Luke Spencer.

ABERGAVENNY AMATEUR OPERATIC & DRAMATIC SOCIETY JUNIORS BEAUTY AND THE BEAST The Borough Theatre, Abergavenny. November 2010 Producer/Choreographer Jaci Brickley-Clark Musical Director Sarah Fowler Conductor Brian Weir. Accompanist Jack Pinkett This famous Disney classic was brought to the Borough Theatre Abergavenny in November by AAODS Juniors, who with the support of their dedicated production team excelled again, and gave a stunning performance worthy of the standing ovation they received. These young people put everything into their performances, working as a team to their credit, in this technically demanding magical production with the romantic storyline. In the lead role Laura Sidney, one to watch as Belle was outstanding, her stage presence and her crystal clear voice lifted every scene and she worked so well with rich voiced John Sowerby, a strong performance as The Beast who made this role his own, they lived their believable poignant scenes, well timed and very moving. Joe Tulloch in fine voice as Gaston gave an energised showstopper performance, and Tom Mogford brought class to his amazing interpretation of Lumiere. Henry Wheatley as Lefou and Jack Wheatley as Cogsworth, worked effectively together. Rachel Neil as Mrs Potts, Laura Turp as Babette and Molly Brickley Clark as Wardrobe and cutest Amy Price as Chip, all convincingly delivered humour, humility, and advice in order to break the spell. Showstopper scene ‘Be My Guest’ was outstanding. With tight direction, superb musical direction, innovative slick choreography, effectively well lit varying scenery levels used to advantage, realistic technical effects and a brilliant cast, this production deserves the accolades. Well done and congratulations AAODS Juniors on another successful show thank you for your kind hospitality, all the best for your 2011 production!

A full house at Theatre Elli for this recently released Disney spectacular. An outstanding performance by Leanne Stock as Belle, beautifully sung with warmth and a sparkle that filled the stage. Persuing Belle that arrogant man Gaston, a great performance from Peter Johns with Jack Plummer scoring well in knockabout comedy as has manservant Lefou. Caught up in the magic spell were enchanted characters with more comic inventions by Gareth Howell Evans as Lumiere and Ashley Eynon- Davies as Cogsworth an impressive duo with great timing and characters. A colourful performance by Sian Lodwick as Mrs Potts and young Aaron Rees as Chip, with Anita Appleton splendid as Madame de la Grande Bouche and Francesca Goodridge as French maid Babette. Phil Jones made a fearsome Beast, beautifully singing the role. He eventually became the handsome Prince winning the heart of the lovely Belle. Other important cameo roles were well cast and added to the splendour of this musical extravaganza. This bright attractive production by director Kiera Spencer ensured the show kept away from the fine line to becoming a pantomime. The entire company lived the show on stage with bags of energy and obvious enjoyment in well rehearsed production numbers and dances.

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CWMBRAN ALLSTARZ FORTY WINKS FOR BEAUTY Woodland Club Cwmbran. January 2011 Production Team: Nigel Levi Joyce Levi & Tracy Cawkwell Cwmbran Allstarz a newly formed group presented a one night mini pantomime at the Woodland Club Cwmbran in January to a supportive audience of family and friends. These young people enjoy performing together and they all showed great enthusiasm for getting over any nerves and for first time on stage for many, they gave their best, learnt their lines, and all enjoyed themselves and showed their new found confidence and stage energy. Pop music with flashing lights started the evening in front of the curtain, a tad too long, Dancers could have created interest. James Powell Jenkins, was relaxed and friendly as Dame Dolly narrating the plot, his easy presence ideal for the part. This mini panto had well thought out scenes, watch pace and pauses. Kaylene Cawkwell was lovely and stood out as Beauty the Princess with excellent stage presence and a lovely strong singing voice and she was well supported by a confident clear voiced Kayleigh Mc Ansh as the Prince. Ashleigh Evans made a cute Baby Bear, what a star! We all like the Baddy and Shannon Watkins as Maude the Wicked Fairy was excellent, and also Franki Craig as Chav the Princess rescuer on the surprise mini JCB given realistic sound by Steve Baker. All other members of the cast did well, enjoying the exciting experience! Keep your interest in performing, thank you for your welcome and every success to you and your Production Team for the next venture, keep up the good work!

CHRISTCHURCH MUSIC SOCIETY JACK AND THE BEANSTALK Christchurch Hall. January 2011 Co-Directors Andrew Griffiths Jan Parfitt Musical Director Liz Mc Ansh We definitely knew we were in for a great night with this Andrew Griffiths pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, and his specially written brand of ideas and humour, oh yes we were, and Andrew gave his deep voice to The Giant!! Not without drama a cast member hospitalised, but a happy pantomime ending. The night I attended an M4 car crash meant a half empty theatre, start delayed. No problem, audience arrived, energised cast full of life and bounced on to the stage for a sparkling start. Some great characters in this panto and Gareth Spreadbury as Dame Trott was the most natural Dame, it was a pleasure to see the fun interaction with all the characters on stage. Every character was well played including a feisty Kate Summers as Jack and her pretty Princess Ceri Middleton as Aurora, Peter Routly (BillyTrott) and Martyn Brown as Fleshcreep the evil one. Dave Williams, Con and Leanne Clark, Scam the two wicked traffic wardens soon made the sparklingly good Fairy Cupcake (Angela Everett) bad, and Mike Bobbit (King) and Sepehr Nowrouz (Chamberlain) both gave good performances. Abbey Waters worked well with her tricky to manoeuvre costume as the golden Harp and the children screamed with laughter at the antics of Buttercup (Alice Baines & Bethan Rogers) and Egbert Goose (Deb Clarke) with the bright and lively Chorus. Well done all the Production team and cast, what is created on stage is amazing. Thank you for a spectacular evening of fabulous fun, a super start to the New Year!

NEWPORT OPERATIC SOCIETY HOT MIKADO The Dolman Theatre, Newport. December 2010 Producer Chris Edmunds Musical Director Cathy Robbins Choreographer Sharon Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald performed well by skilled dancers. A well produced production by Chris Edmunds and a score, smooth as silk by the orchestra under Cathy Robbins baton Adrian Beven wrung out the tongue in cheek humour very well as Nanki Poo and Antony Beard suitably haughty as Pooh Bah with important diction clarity. Wesley Maddocks played a good Pish Tush. Creative performances were given by all this talented cast. John Weldon gave a very skilful characterisation as Ko Ko, his timing, and mannerisms perfect. Eloise Rossiter golden voiced Yum Yum, Carolyn Jolliffe, Pitti Sing, and Frances Watkins as Peep Bo an effective trio in the poignant wedding scene A female Mikado and a possible first was given style by Sharon Fitzgerald as she made this a showstopper role. Playing The Mikado she commanded the stage had a great sense of fun and loved gore, as ever!! Louise Haycock as Katisha gave a strong performance. Simple set by Peter Higgins and team well lit by Lisa Aston worked very well and colour co ordinated costumes/wigs were a visual feast Congratulations production team, and all the cas.t Your 90th Anniversary production Hot Mikado was a worthy tribute!

NEWPORT PANTOMIME SOCIETY JACK AND THE BEANSTALK The Dolman Theatre. Newport. December 2010 Producer Ann Allan Musical Director Gareth Rawle- Jones Choreographer Vanessa Clark Newport Pantomime Society, and a pantomime that had everything. Who does not like this pantomime with the fantastic giant? It is so popular and the children love to be scared as he booms out Fee Fi Fo Fum!! Kerry Morgan had us all laughing as Aggie Afterall in her overall and Leon Yemm was hilarious as Dame Dot Pot of the outrageous costumes. Scarlett Josham as a lovely Princess Kate charmed and interacted well and talented Rosie Mark a lovely dancer as sparkling Fairy Lights lit up the stage. Fabulous dance routines with the well rehearsed Chorus and children, all little super stars, and the amazing boy at the front!! The Vanessa Clark School of Dance excelled. A swift pace and good musical choice made sure the evening went with a swing. The principals gave good natural performances Gerald Needs as Secretary Darling, Lee James as the dastardly Swamp Heap we loved to boo, Nick Brimble as Billy Pot, and Chris Powell, King Ping. This Giant, deepest voiced Blunderbore (Andy Murphy) actually walked, tell me how you did it, well done Technical team, and a sight to see as he leaned sleeping as Lee Rose Walsh very well played as Jack and friends hid under the dresser ! Cliff hanger excitement of the youngsters in the theatre! A super, glittering Finale with a happy cast. Well done Ann Allan Producer and Gareth Rawle-Jones MD and your special Choreographer Vanessa Clark and all involved. It is worth all the hard work to stage a Christmas pantomime there is nothing like it!

STC MUSICAL SOCIETY DOUBLE STANDARDS The Dolman Theatre. Newport. November 2010 Director Sharon Davies. Musical Director Marc Williams Choreographer Julie Williams Choreographer for Kaleidoscope : Philippa Jones STC’s winter review is eagerly awaited by their loyal Newport audience and is never disappointed by this multi talented society. Once again Peter Hourahine shone as MC, bringing his renowned humour which made the theatre light up with laughter. His rendition with Dianne Hayes of a touching ‘Do You Love Me’ from Fiddler on the Roof, was excellent, a future production for STC.

Newport audiences were given a treat in December when this society wowed them with their 90th Anniversary production Hot Mikado A brilliant crisply choreographed opening, had great visual impact, precise moves with an oriental feel, although the cast were deliciously diverse! Swiftly paced scenes, full of innovative characters that constantly surprised, and an enthusiastic chorus, interspersed with sizzling choreography by Sharon

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The lovely voice of Diane Pring delighted with “My Name is Mimi” from the Puccini opera La Boheme. Marie and Yvonne gave us an Ivor Novello classic and Daphne a rousing “Keep the Home Fires Burning” From the James Bond film “Live and Let Die” featured star performer Marc Williams. Richard Poynter in a class of his own with “ If I Loved You” from Carousel. Then a great sing- a- long War Years an evening for their members to shine and they certainly did! A surprise item brought the house down as the one and only Patrick Martin wondered if it was “Never Too Late to Fall in Love” from The Boyfriend with lovely Amanda, a great duo number!! High octane Kaleidoscope dancers energised dance routines, with a fabulous Mein Herr from Cabaret. A touching tribute of some of the favourite shows of the wonderful Bella Mason, a stalwart of STC and her unforgettable performances. The young STC star performers gave us “One More Sleep” performers who make the future secure. Congratulations Director Sharon Davies, Musical Director Marc Williams, Choreographer Julie Williams and cast. Thank you for your warm welcome, all the best for State Fair in May!

YOUNG VENTURE PLAYERS JUST SO THE MUSICAL The Dolman Theatre, Newport. January 2011 Director Gordon Collins Musical Director Cathy Robbins Choreographer Kath Morgan Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories have fascinated so many, to create a lively musical adventure from this famous book for youth to perform is inspired and Stiles and Drew of Honk fame have triumphed. Each youngster takes an individual part in a family of animals, a unique and rewarding experience. A realistic opening attic scene with Dave Constant, as Eldest Magician, reminiscing of his love of his book of Just So stories, with his Mum as they prepare to move home. This fine actor gave a spellbinding performance, appearing effortless and an excellent performance cameo given by Deb Postle as Mum, his perfect support.

An inspired scene, youngsters given an animal box, and the reacting youngsters so involved, the expertise of Dave Constant controlling the action as the story evolves and the animals find a character. Every youngster on stage focused. The tales are full of humour as we witness how Christopher Harris well played as the Elephant’s Child goes with his friends searching for spots, a trunk and a skin to the Limpopo River, confront the Crab and return all to just so again. A marvellous performance by Abigail Rabbitt of the Kolokolo Bird, full of character! Fabulous team work by the Zebras, Giraffes, Wildebeests and Wallabies. Every animal on stage was very well played and interpreted including James Price, Jaguar Luke Hereford, Leopard Ben Horton, Kangaroo, Charlie Ingles, Parsee and Jordan Bowen as a very hip Rhino. Energised creative choreography for swift and pacy rhythms of this terrific score, fascinating to watch Congratulations on an excellent production with fantastic staging and lighting, well done Director Gordon Collins MD Cathy Robbins Choreographer Kath Morgan and all the cast and team and thank you for an amazing adventure!

Performance • Technical • Acting • Directing • Dance • Musical Directors

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21/02/2011 14:05:01

FROM THE EDITOR Were all in this together…… that’s you our Eastern readers and now, with the new joint publishing venture between NODA and Amateur Stage magazine, comes the opportunity to share across the wider constituency in the world of amateur dramatics – yes a stage! Eastern region will have a national showcase in Amateur Stage magazine, three times a year beginning with this edition (see Councillors Chat for more detail). By subscribing to Amateur Stage we can all read about developments in other NODA regions and have an opportunity to read, learn and share news, views and pictures across the country, and bring the benefits of NODA membership to others. So it’s up to you – what you do can become national news, or perhaps ‘what will you do’ to be in Amateur Stage! NODA Eastern region is a flagship in this innovative period which began with the move from the Eastern News to Theatre Talk East and now Amateur Stage. It can only be a major step for the amateur dramatics community in bringing NODA to the attention of all us likeminded people. This is our part, of our ‘bigger society’ – a bigger voice, a more informed perspective and a wider audience, on what we enjoy and do in theatre’s to school hall’s, small or large

societies. This is a view of the future of Amateur Theatre - make sure your society and its’ members are represented – come on get in touch with me, you know you want to and I would love to see YOU in the next Eastern edition (and of course NODA members can still read your reviews on line by logging on to the NODA website). See you next edition! Julia


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Another first it seems for NODA East again being a starter in the quest to find our way through the problem of providing a good quality news channel at an affordable price. Three editions of Theatre Talk East have each shown a steady improvement in style and content. However, if one is honest it must be admitted than the number of readers remains small, amongst a circulation of some 500 copies per issue to 132 Individual Members and to 288 Societies with a total membership of several thousand. Now we have the opportunity to expand both in quality and circulation in our combined venture with Amateur Stage. This is a monthly magazine and in every issue will have its centre section devoted to NODA Regional News and articles. Each Region will have the opportunity to include copy, with colour pictures, three times a year in a Magazine which will be in full colour and of approx A4 size, the first edition of which is the one you are now reading. In the case of East show reports will continue to be published on the East web site. The circulation for this restyled magazine will be in the order of thousands, and will include news of the Amateur Theatre movement that exists outside the NODA membership. NODA members will receive a free copy of those issues in which their Region is featured, arrangements are under consideration for provision of extra copies. Theatre Business, the successful National magazine will also be on line, probably from March onwards. And so, change continues, as we search not just for the best, but also the most cost effective way of continuing NODA support for Amateur Theatre.

may say, since this method has been permitted since the 1960’s, but up to now with only a small minority of Local Authorities having used it. There will be more news to follow, but you may take it that NODA is taking a full part in the negotiations that are taking place

More News on Children in Performance You will wish to know that the work of revising the legislation covering the use of Children in Performance is proceeding at a good pace. Though radical change may be some way off it is likely that a paper will be issued to local Authorities in the Spring pressing them to use the Body of Persons procedure to permit the children in a show to take part. This will do away with the necessity to obtain individual Licences for each Child and save much paper work and thus time. A small step you

With my good wishes.

Regional Representatives I am pleased to welcome Don Mckay as the prospective Regional Rep. for District 1 who will be taking over fully from Michael Williamson in January. Formal election will be made at the Regional AGM on May 7th to be held at the Belfry Hotel Cambourne. Don has long experience of Amateur Theatre and as I write, in January, he will be doing wonders with Pantomime in his home town of St. Neots. Many thanks are due to Michael for his remarkable efforts in expanding and encouraging Amateur Theatre in his Districts, and he will still be around to act as Regional Rep Substitute at times. I am pleased to say that only very recently that a possible replacement for Marion Giddings has emerged and I shall be pleased, as no doubt will District 7 Societies, if this tentative offer comes to fruition. Finally May I wish you well with your spring productions now in rehearsal and I hope to see many of you at Cambourne to the AGM and to the presentation of Awards for 2010 productions.

John Warburton

EAST 21/02/2011 14:05:15

REGIONAL COMMITTEE Councillor John Warburton 28 Grantley Close, Copford, Colchester, Essex C06 1 YP 01206210488 ,

Regional Representatives District 1 Don Mckay 5, Wren Walk Eynesbury, St Neots PE19 2GE 07875 114975 District 2 Enid Cooper 24 Brooklands Road, Riseley, Bedford. MK441EE 01234 708432 District 3 Nova Horley 7 Wilbury Drive, Dunstable LU54SY 01582604344 District 4N Jim Farr 7 Jermyn Road, Kings Lynn PE30 4AD 01553 772038 james. District 4S John Seaman Sydney House, 28 High Street, Wilburton, Ely, Cambs CB6 3RB 01353 772038 Assisted by Wallace Wareham c/o Kings Theatre 16. Fitzroy Street Newmarket CB8 0JW 07704 496950 District 5 Susan DuPont 11 Eastwood Mews, Constitution Hill, Old Catton, Norwich, Norfolk NR6 7RP 01603416638

District 6 Terry Rymer Harbourage Cottage, 17 Commodore Road, Oulton Broad, Suffolk NR32 3NE 01502531121 District 7 No Regional Rep. yet appointed. Please contact neighbouring Rep. or John Warburton, as above District 8 Stewart Adkins Durward House, Back Lane, Wickham Bishops Witham, Essex CM8 3LU 01261891143 District 9 Vicki Avery, 11 Copthorne Avenue, Broxbourne, Herts. EN10 7RA 01992441441

Membership Secretary Catherine Dixey 6 Stockton Close, Hadleigh, Ipswich, Suffolk IP7 5SH 01473824341 Awards Secretary & Web Manager June Forway 80 Hill Rise, St. Ives, Huntingdon, Cambs PE27 6HR 01480300409 Magazine Editor Julia Rymer Harbourage Cottage, 17 Commodore Road, Oulton Broad, Suffolk NR32 3NE 01502531121 Youth Adviser Zelda Rolfe 37 School Lane, Sprowston, Norwich NR7 8TG 01603 408017

District 10 Tessa Davies 4, Woodberry Close, Leigh-on-Sea Essex SS9 4QT 01702 528719 District 11 Ann Platten 9 Gloucester Way, Sudbury, Suffolk C010 1 LW 01787374069 District 12 Pamela White 8 Grinstead Gardens, Needham Market, Suffolk IP6 8EU 01449 721467 Treasurer Jim Farr 7 Jermyn Road, Kings Lynn PE30 4AD 01553 772038 james.

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Lavender Hill Mob Theatre Co. The


en years ago there was a brave lady with an idea which throughout time has progressed into a vision. I have never known anyone with such a passion and desire to achieve what she does with children and adults alike.

Due to illness Les Miles moved to Norfolk after training and working with vulnerable adults and children at the chicken shed in North London. Whilst recuperating she saw an opportunity to start a drama club. Not just a drama club, a drama club which she thought would make a difference to youngsters in the community. Little did she know that 2001 was the start of an incredible journey…… Just like any amateur dramatic group, all the members had an aim to put on a successful show/ performance without ‘messing up’. But this seemed very far away to them as they were convinced they were not capable of learning their lines, doing rehearsals and finally perform to an audience. Relatively easy for most. But Lavender Hill is different. These youngsters have to be taught movement and direction in a special way, not like everyday people. Lines have to be re-written in such a way that the young actors can understand and speak without problem. Les weaves a special magic and it is truly amazing how a show comes together as good as any professional performance. With 15 members and as Artistic Director, Les started by holding workshops in a local hall, and then small shows. The Lavender Hill Mob Drama Club was formed. Gradually they outgrew the hall and found new premises to rent. Membership increased, but red tape, rules and regulations were also in rapid progression, therefore a Committee was formed with trusted people. From performing in village and town halls to performing in the local theatre, the club moved on. ‘Onwards and upwards’ seemed to be the motto. Nothing was going to deter them. The thriving

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Drama Club matured into a Theatre Company. In 2002 LHMTC gained an amazingly talented Music Director, Tim Rock – I would go so far as to say he is Norfolk’s own Lord Lloyd Webber! Together - Music Director and Artistic Director - they make an impressive team! Together they have written over 100 original songs and 20 shows and pantos. There was now another vision. They needed their own theatre for the youngsters and community, with disabled access in all areas to use as their own and to be supported with plans to invite local schools, organisations, etc. to be involved too. There have been ups and downs along this journey of ten years, but the Lavender Hill carried on regardless. From age 4, it offers opportunities for youngsters to act, sing, dance or just watch, regardless of capability or disability. The intergenerational group interact together with each other including the ones who have disabilities. Some problems are not noticeable. Some members are bullied, some have low esteem, others are lacking in confidence. But three nights a week they can come together to do workshops, rehearsals, dance, sing and learn all about theatre. Everyone is given equal opportunities regardless of ability. They work as a team, utilising the strengths and weaknesses to create a positive effect. Everybody is encouraged to develop new or existing skills and no-one does anything they do not wish to. They gain confidence and learn to feel safe and secure with themselves and with others. They all take part – they are all stars! Everyone involved in the team give their services voluntarily. Funds and grants are applied for and the group is self-funding by attending fetes, putting on shows, carol singing in residential homes, and receiving donations. However, our heads are only just kept above water.

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Many of the youngsters would be lost without LHMTC. It is their focus in life. They make friends, utilize skills which they do not realise they have until the power of theatre opens up a whole new world, and interact with others. There are no auditions for parts as everyone takes part. They are all given support and encouragement in order to achieve what they do. They have even applied for their own funding and received funds to purchase a much needed minibus. They also received funds to produce a professional CD of songs over the last four years which included a collection of solos, duets and group songs which are absolutely amazing. They all never believed they could do it! Plans are already in line for another plus a Christmas Special ready for issue later in the year! Patrons have joined us along the way, we have become a registered charity, Les and Tim have been awarded the Mayor’s Award for Voluntary Services to the Community, plus the group have achieved a GOLD STANDARD group award, under the category of ‘Volunteering and helping others’ in the Opportunity Awards hosted by the Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk. The actor Warwick Davis and his family have seen the group in action at one of our Pantomimes and we were delighted to have Warwick attend a workshop: Park House, the childhood home of the late Princess Diana has invited us to do shows with some more in the pipeline for 2011: MP Henry Bellingham and his family are in regular contact with us and have seen the youngsters in action on a few occasions: and at the end of 2010 instead of our normal traditional Christmas Party, thanks to some very generous people and organisations, we took every member to the Chicken Shed Theatre in North London to see their Christmas Show which totally took everyone’s breath away as we saw exactly what we were achieving within our own group only on a much larger scale!

come and gone, moving on and into the world. We hope that by being a part of Lavender Hill, they will take what they have learned with them on their own journeys. We hope that the Lavender Hill Mob Theatre Company will still continue to make a difference for at least another ten years. This journey which started in 2001 needs to progress as the area obviously needs such an organisation which is so useful to the community - but their much loved theatre is now going to be used as a cinema for 90% of each year. The theatre lighting and equipment which is a necessity for shows, has been removed so it can be transformed into a new modern cinema. Shows will now cost a fortune to do. Lavender Hill has plans for the year ahead, with anniversary celebrations: special shows at Park House, Sandringham; an Anniversary show; sponsorships; biking from Hunstanton to Paris in a day; a Children in Need evening, Quiz Nights and much more. Without planning ahead, we would not be able to sustain the youngsters. So we now have the beginning of another journey, another ten years, we just need desperately to find a way to find our own premises - our own theatre where everyone is welcome and where we can continue to make a difference. Sandra Hohol Publicity Officer/Vice Chairman THE LAVENDER HILL MOB THEATRE COMPANY Reg.Charity 1134490

None of this could have been achieved without the loyalty and dedication of the close knit team behind Lavender Hill, especially Les and Tim. Their dedication is literally phenomenal. Tim shares his partner’s passion for teaching the youngsters and together they overcome any obstacles which are thrown at them, as they believe in what they do so strongly. In return, the group believes in them. Maybe that is why they have long-standing members and why the group has lasted so long. There are so many, many stories and memories which we hold within our hearts that have happened over the last ten years including the loss to a dear friend and chaperone whose children were in Lavender Hill too. So there have been highs and lows, good times and bad times. Children have

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he Norfolk Youth Music Theatre is one of Norfolk’s success stories. Started in 1995 by Adrian Connell, it is in its 17th season and auditioning for its 43rd production. It performs at The Norwich Playhouse, Norwich Maddermarket theatre; King’s Lynn Corn Exchange and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has a string of outstanding reviews, Edinburgh Festival stars and NODA awards to its credit. (3 Best Musicals and 2 Best Productions Awards). Its programme for this season is impressive – Les Miserables at the Playhouse in April, The Card and Nunsense at the Edinburgh Festival in August, both being restaged at the Maddermarket in November and Sondheim’s’ Sweeney Todd booked for the Playhouse in April 2012. Adrian Connell is often asked, ‘how did this all come about’? This article printed in the N.O.D.A. National News in 1996 explains… Company looking forward to promising future THIS year The Norfolk Youth Music Theatre celebrated its first birthday after a hectic and very successful year. Although only a year old the company has firmly established its name in Norfolk and is already recognised as a company dedicated to high standards of performance with a professional approach to productions. But this has not happened over night. It is the brainchild of Artistic Director, Adrian Connell, and many hours of hard work from Adrian and his team. Several years ago, he was driving back from London with a group of children who had been taking part in some national auditions. Everyone was a bit dejected and he knew that they were probably not going to be successful, yet all of those children had taken lead parts in school productions and were very talented! It was just a passing thought then, that what was needed in Norfolk was a theatre company that these children, and dozens of other talented kids, could be part of. Why bother auditioning for other companies when we could have our own? Some two years later he decided to put his ideas into practice. When creating a new theatre company, the first thing you need is money. Adrian began by writing to every trust fund in England — and some abroad — but initially, help was much closer to home. The local Cromer and Sheringham Operatic Society set the ball rolling with a £500 grant, and the Norwich and

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Peterborough Building Society followed it with another £1,000. The second element needed is the infra-structure of a company — an office with the usual office materials, including a telephone, rehearsal rooms, a good rehearsal pianist, musical director, choreographer, various chaperones, drivers, a treasurer, a secretary, wardrobe, not forgetting a venue to play in. The third element is a cast — and on 10 April 1995 The North Norfolk Youth Music Theatre was launched. Posters were despatched to local schools and displayed in all the local towns. There were numerous press articles. Over 250 children wrote in asking for more information and these children came from all over Norfolk, not just the North Norfolk area that the group was recruiting from. It was decided to quickly change the name to The Norfolk Youth Music Theatre and about 150 young people were auditioned for the first production of Once upon a War by Denise Coffey and Richard Taylor. Despite the costs, Adrian had decided to put the group on Norfolk’s most prestigious amateur stage — The Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich, with costumes and sets supplied by the National Youth Music Theatre. The reviews were enthusiastic. “Adrian Connell has brilliantly melded these youngsters into a most convincing unit... it was difficult to believe that the large cast were aged only between 11 and 19” and “an impressive debut by this young company”. The company went straight into a Spring production of The Ragged Child at the UEA Drama Studio Theatre, Norwich, again to excellent reviews, “... a riveting production . .. slick and ever moving . . . outstanding performances”. The Norfolk Youth Music Theatre had arrived! Over the last year some 300 children have written to the company and about 250 auditioned. They have now recruited an experienced production team, a committed management team, and have a thriving ‘Friends of The Norfolk Youth Music Theatre’ group. Through extensive advertising — flyers, posters, dozens of radio and newspaper articles and TV coverage — public awareness and audiences are growing and, despite sizeable production costs, they made a profit on the year. Not bad for a bunch of kids performing unknown works. This November the group is staging Whistle Down The Wind, adapted for

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the stage by Russell Labey and Richard Taylor, and Adrian Connell has every confidence that his youngsters will continue to build on their impressive debut year. So what’s happened since those first tentative steps? Well Adrian Connell still directs and runs the company. And since those early days some seventeen years ago, the company has gone through many changes and seen many cast members and helpers come and go. The relationship with the Maddermarket Theatre has thrived and the group still perform there today. In 1999 the company was invited to perform at the Norwich Playhouse and continues to do so with an annual show and for many years the company toured around Norfolk with open-air shows. The company has continued to promote unknown works and to involve professional directors whenever it was possible and affordable. Jeremy James-Taylor from the National Youth Music Theatre, Hiawyn Oram the author of Vackees, Richard Taylor the composer, National Youth Director, Wendy Cooke, Rosemary Bianchi the Oxford Playhouse set designer and Bob Tomson Director of Blood Brothers and Brian Spence the composer of Picnic at Hanging Rock, have all been involved with the group. Throughout the 10 last years the company has continued to develop. It now owns two large props and scenery stores and has around 1000 costumes at a store in Diss. The shows have become larger and more complex. CABARET, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD, & INTO THE WOODS and Schoenberg’s LES MISÉRABLES are all recent productions. They have also started to perform further afield at the Corn Exchange theatre in King’s Lynn and the Edinburgh Festival. In 1999, 2008 and 2009 the group won Noda, BEST PRODUCTION AWARDS for the Eastern District 5. Hundreds of young people have passed through the company over the past 15 years - many have gone on to professional careers in the music theatre world. Sam Claflin who is shortly to star in the ITV drama Any Human Heart and in Pirates of the Caribbean 4 took the part of Endrolas, the student leader in NYMT’s 2004 production and David Thaxton (Sweeney Todd), has been playing Enjolras in the West End for some years. The Company is known nationally and receives many requests for advice and help and although not the original intention, Norfolk is now one of the few counties that can boast of having a county music-drama company for teenagers. So the new question Adrian Connell often gets asked is, “how much longer?” “Ask me again in 2015” is the reply.

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t’s the Panto silly season and why, oh why, does every drama society, large or small, seem to have a closet script writing genius in their ranks! Okay, it saves on the script royalties as such but is this the best reason for placing your next show in the hands of a complete amateur? Would you consider your spring show being written or compiled by this wannabe? Would you trust the reputation of your society to the whims of last years rear end of the pantomime cow newby? Of course not. Do you stop and consider the implications, the costs, the production of scenes and the need for some specialist scenery that does not quite fit the bill? The need to pay performing rights on selected songs – and who selects them? STOP, THINK! Your audiences are going to pay good money and deserve the same standard of material and performance as a carefully considered spring or autumn show. First things first: Recorded music (or in some cases no musical accompaniment) is a real let down unless the sound technician is on the ball. Advertise for a keyboard player MD and include it in your budget. Check out the cost of making the set, time and materials and look at huge costs of standard sets, you may be surprised - good cloths can be hired for as little as £25. What experience does your script writing genius have? Can the dialogue be made to fit the style of the cast available to you? Can local satire be sensitively interwoven into the storyline without offence or committing slander? E.g. “Have you seen my cat recently? No, but I did think Mr Bull the Butcher’s chipolatas had a distinct taste of pussy!!” (a genuine line from a home made panto!) Most first timers ‘new scripts’ will benefit from an airing and can only be judged by audience reaction. Almost certainly it will be too long with protracted plots and too many songs from characters with questionable ability. An honest appraisal from members at a read & sing through or a script workshop is essential with the inclusion of technical members. Don’t be stubborn – the masterpiece can usually be improved and shaped to a realistic length that won’t get your audience fidgeting. I have had the pleasure to attend some real homespun gems, carefully crafted for the locals (and some real gooffers ). It is a fact that audiences are influenced by the last show and need to be treated with respect. The panto shouldn’t be seen solely as a cash cow to fund the rest of the year’s programme.

TEN RULES FOR PANTO Do have: • A strong introduction of good v evil • Plenty of audience interaction. Give permission for boos and hisses • One character to identify with ‘kids’ • A dame character able to do a ‘stand-up’ slot • A ‘love’ interest preferable between unlikely suitors • A rags to riches plot with happy ending • Two comedy characters capable of slapstick and comedic timing • A good quality panto animal • Colourful costumes and imaginative set and a speciality scene if possible • Live music (even if it costs with MD) Do Not: • Make the plot too complex • Use very young children just for the sake of it • Assume the audience are stupid (these are your usual supporters) • Ignore the adults in the audience • Invite kids on to stage unless professionally managed • Ignore attention to detail • Have a ‘song-sheet’ without words! • Use recorded karaoke • Give songs to actors who cannot sing • Exceed two and a half hours in total Happy Panto season! Terry Rymer NODA rep district 6 (and longstanding pantomime author, performer and director) (Terry’s personal view? What’s yours…. Write in to the ed!)

Of course, it is just possible that the ‘rear end of the cow’ may have come up with a real masterpiece – an inspired Tim Rice or Ron Morley or Peter Denyer may be lurking in the wings, if not there are NODA Panto Scripts which can be read in advance at no cost. Sometimes it is easier to adapt a tried and tested script. However, if your script really does stand up to scrutiny, why not submit it for publication, making sure it is original and not just an amalgam of ‘bits from panto’s over the years – old jokes are ok but originality is key! Finally, don’t forget to attend to the detail - lack of attention to detail or an overall poor production can damage a reputation not enhance it. So here are my personal Do’s and Don’t’s…….

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ovember 15th saw another milestone for the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Society – it was the day that they took the keys to their new rehearsal premises – Douro Place Chapel. As many societies will know, being a “peripatetic” Society is not easy. Finding space for rehearsals is not easy these days with fewer halls available, greater demand and higher rental prices. The NNOS found itself using as many as five different venues to rehearse it’s annual production. This has meant having the ensure that all members are aware of the following week’s venues and lugging props and costumes to and from each. Not easy for such a large society. We also had the problem of storage of props and costumes. This was formerly overcome with the generosity of our members but meant that our props and costumes were spread across the county in garages and spare bedrooms. For many years finding and buying it’s own premises has been a key priority of the NNOS with a working party set up 6 years ago with the specific task of researching, seeking and eventually buying a place that we could call home. Initial feasibility studies showed that , with careful planning and budgeting, the Society could afford the running costs of a reasonably sized home and so our journey began. We thought originally that we would need somewhere with about 6000 square feet of space to give us sufficient space for two studios – one large enough to layout the stage and wings of the Theatre Royal, Norwich -, storage space, a committee room and kitchen. We also wanted parking for as many cars as we could get and the whole lot had to be within Norwich City boundaries. Little did we realise that this wish list was a little over ambitious. With only £50,000 pledged from our reserves our search for the freehold on premises soon showed that we would need somewhere in the region of £300,000 to get all that we wished for but even if we had this sort of finance finding a pace that met our criteria proved almost impossible. We looked at redundant churches and discounted them for varying reasons and our focus eventually led us to industrial units on the outskirts of the City. Whilst there were several available we discovered that a unit in a designated “Employment area” was unlikely to get the necessary planning required for our eventual use and we were

thwarted on this count. Other properties that would have been suitable were snapped up by developers and a redundant church that we unsuccessfully bid for at auction in 2009 has since been demolished and 6 houses now stand in it’s place. New Chairman, David Pulling, was disappointed at this failure was almost resigned to a further 6 years of searching when Douro Place Chapel came onto the market in August 2010. Douro Place Chapel was, at that time, still used as a church – non denominational and with dwindling congregation. After an initial viewing by David and the “Premises sub committee” it was agreed that we would share our discovery with the whole Committee and, within the week it was unanimously agreed that this was the place for us. Of our original list of requirements only the issue of parking wasn’t covered but there was plenty of on street parking locally to compensate. We approached the agent with an initial offer and found ourselves in a bidding war with a counter offer. With limited funding we needed support to ensure that we could buy the freehold and, with generous donations from some of the Committee we were able to secure the deal. Our conditional offer relied on the local City Council granting change of use from place of worship to “Sui generis”, a catch all for premises that didn’t fit into other categories. We were fortunate that, although the Chapel is in a residential area of Norwich, there were no objections from the local residents and change of use was granted with restrictions on hours of use and the provision of storage inside the building for 6 bicycles ! We moved in on 15th November and are currently rehearsing for our production of “Fiddler on the Roof” which goes up at the Theatre Royal, Norwich on January 24th 2011. Whilst we still have to put a dance floor down and make one or two small changes, we have found that all the benefits we sought have been met. A whole new set of challenges now face the Committee but we already feel “at home” and our members all appreciate the benefits of “The Chapel”. For further information on this subject please contact the Society through the website or alternatively through Chairman Mr David Pulling, West Wing, Horsford Hall, Church St, Horsford, Norwich. NR10 3DB. Tel: 01603 891494.

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CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME? As a Regional Representative, it would be impossible not to be aware of the difficult financial issues that have been facing most societies over the past few years. Venues have regularly increased their charges and, sadly, there is now evidence that, during the current climate of cut backs, audiences may continue to diminish. Support from most Local Authorities has reduced not only from the point of view of available grants for the arts, but also by the reduction of arts related posts and services. All of this is very discouraging and any society could be forgiven for reducing any charitable work being undertaken in favour of a more cautious approach to expenditure. However, one does not have to look very far to be aware that charitable fund raising of a significant kind is not only continuing in most areas but is actually increasing with commendable success. Activity ranges from the use of income from front of house sales and raffles to specific performances dedicated to particular causes or the support of individual charities. The list is endless and deserves to be celebrated. Within my own District almost every society can lay claim to a regular charitable profile and there is no suggestion that this should be restricted. Every year, in the autumn, the Centre Players of St Ives present a cabaret of a very high standard for a range of different causes. Last year at ‘Variety is the Spice of Life’, they raised approximately £2,600 which was split between Headway Cambridgeshire and the Broad Leas Centre in St Ives. Similarly, just before Christmas, the Wellworth Players presented ‘A Christmas Carol’ in Holywell Church which raised approximately £500 for Jimmy’s Night Shelter in Cambridge. I am fully aware that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the full list for the Region would be very extensive. Nobody asks for any thanks or recognition and everybody joins in with enthusiasm. As we all move into yet another challenging year I am confident that all this good work will proceed in a quiet but very effective way. I would like to take this opportunity of saluting all these unsung heroes together with the profound hope that the work and achievement will continue for many years to come. Michael G Williamson Regional Representative : District 1


The inaugural competition held at Garboldisham produced 19 entries a figure well above the national average. The panel of judges had a tough task in reading scripts on a wide variety of subjects but, in the end, the winning play was an unanimous choice. There was a tie for 3rd place so there will be 4 plays performed in Garboldisham on the 17th and 18th of June and Hethersett on the 2nd of July this year. Neither of the ladies, who penned the plays that were adjudged joint third, had ever written a play previously. The full results are shown below : 1st When Rob Met Artie Richard Crawley (Old Buckenham) 2nd Chocolate Box Drama Tony Vale (Wymondham)

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(joint) 3rd The Death of Summer Gretel Hallett (Dereham) Priorities Barbara Nicola (Watton) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED A Holiday Romance James Warden (Loddon)

“What shall we do’ she whispers ‘Who were you and I?” Annie Blunt (Garboldisham) A big thank you to NODA for their supporting of the competition. A particular thanks to judges, John Warburton, James Farr and Susan Dupont. Unfortunately the atrocious weather prevented John and James from attending but thankfully Susan was able to make it, despite having to drive through a blizzard.

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S L L E B E H T , S L L E B E TH N R O B S I A STAR It was with some trepidation that I ventured into the wild and windy wastes of deepest Suffolk ( or was it Norfolk?) In search of a group, an offshoot of one of my regular societies, who were performing a newly reconstituted and updated version of that well known tale of ‘Quasimodo’. After some tedious searching I opted to follow a rather large procession of cars traversing what appeared to me, to be a country track ! However I needn’t have worried ...word had obviously spread and all paths led to the rather grand, nay magnificent, and totally isolated, once parish Church of St Marys Redgrave; now decommissioned and dependant on private funding see detail at . What a setting for this iconic tale, a real church adding even more gravitas to the story and indeed to the overall presentation of the piece. Written and adapted by the ubiquitas local thespian and member of Mere Players Diss, Stephen Humphress, who also had a minor part. His collaberation with West End MD Andy Rapps who wrote the evocative music score has produced a wonderful new take on the story we all find so fascinating. Suffice to say all actors rose to the occasion as Quasimodo took us on his emotional journey and gave a performance to remember but one especially stood out; Eva

Mason , a young lady of just 17 years who played the tragic Esmerelda with style belying her tender years, she complemented this with a haunting singing voice which literally sent tingles down the spine. I am tempted to say ‘a star is born’ and certianly we should watch her progress with interest! This was something a little bit special and the whole show was in itself a spectacle. No doubt a challenge for the Technical team but well worth the effort. This ‘new show’ deserves to be offered for general release and who knows where it might lead. A tremendously entertaining evening with brilliant singing and acting of the highest order from principals and well drilled chorus alike. It will be some time before I see anything quite like it I am sure. (Get it published Steve!). Quasimodo - St Mary’s Redgrave Heritage Trust (Diss Mere Players) Director: Felicity Humphress Terry Rymer (NODA Rep Eastern Region 6)

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Can a Society founded in 1954 to sing works born out of the Victorian era survive in 21st Century Great Yarmouth? When the Society was founded the worlds of entertainment and leisure were very different. Television had broken into mass audiences with the Coronation only the year before. Many of the entertainments we now consider essential were not even on the horizon – Great Yarmouth was also a very different place culturally. A Society, dedicated solely to enjoying the music of Gilbert and Sullivan, could grow quickly, gaining a large membership and enthusiastic audiences. At this stage the performances were in concert rather than costume productions. It was not until the early 1970’s that costume productions became the norm. The original emphasis was on the enjoyment of the music itself rather than the visual spectacle of the full stage production. The costume productions continued in a number of venues around Yarmouth, including the Royalty Theatre and the Wellington Pier. As the suitable venues diminished the St. George’s Theatre became the preferred (only) option. Then, whilst the 2007 production of Patience was being prepared, the St. George’s Theatre closed – before it fell down of it’s own accord – and is still in the process of refurbishment. This had a major impact on the Society. It resulted in a loss of members whose interests were only in costume production and in being on stage. Getting through a brief flirtation with the idea of closing the Society permanently, the group has carried on with a core of loyal members performing in concert. Programmes have included selections from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas with some other related pieces adding to the richness of the G&S canon. The underlying assumption that when St. George’s re-opens the Society will seek to perform there is being questioned. It would undoubtedly lead to the return of some members, but whether it is possible, affordable, sustainable, or even desirable, to return to the pattern of the 1980’s and 1990’s is debateable. The Society is exploring the potential to re-invent the performance of Gilbert & Sullivan for the 21st Century in Great Yarmouth. We want to maintain the emphasis on the enjoyment of the music itself – both demanding and rewarding if it is to be sung well. We have a prestigious Musical Director in Peter Murray. Peter has wide professional experience, including a brief spell with the D’Oyly Carte, and can polish and extend the quality of performances. We also have some, yet to be revealed, ideas for small-scale productions that are flexible enough to be performed in a range of venues, and are lively enough to draw in both new performers and new audiences. We want G&S to be fun. It is very much a matter of ‘Watch this space’. Brett Butler


Rehearsals were interupted in their final stages for Beccles based, Waveney Light Opera Group’s autumn show when Terry Rymer, NODA rep for District 6 made a surprise visit to the groups classic Broadway musical ‘Guys and Dolls’. Waveney Light Opera Group’s recent trend of staging more contemporary shows such as “Return to the Forbidden Planet” won them the inaugural NODA Eastern Region Technical Achievement Award. On behalf of the group, director John Cushing was extremely pleased to accept the award and says the show was another huge success for WLOG. Pictures attached show the group enjoying their last production of Guys and Dolls.

Great Yarmouth G & S

Top: Adelaide (Helen Roscoe) and the Hot Box Dancers. Above: Sky Masterson (Ian Cook) rolls the dice to win the girl. Photos: John Gallagher


Great Yarmouth G & S

Ann Platten

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Ann recently was awarded the 50 year long servce medal and certificate. Ann is a past Chairman of the Society and Resident Musical Director and before moving to Sudbury spent 25 years with Colchester Operatic Society. A founder member of Sudbury Musicals Society in 1984(formerly Sudbury Light Operatic Society) Ann has also completed 26 years with this group. Musical Director of St John’s Methodist Church Choir in Sudbury ,and also MD for “The Music Makers.”another local group. Still in touch with so many friends through music all over the country,Ann enjoys the lasting friendship through music and NODA.

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CHARLOTTE TURNER A longstanding member of Mundesley Players sadly lost her battle against cancer. Charlotte was a fine character actress and inspirational director to the Youth Group.


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Friends and colleagues were shocked and distressed to learn that the missing body in the Thames boating tragedy that took place on January 2nd was that of Dr Rex Walford. The 76 year old geographer had been a passenger on a rowing boat which capsized and, at the time of writing, the police have now announced that they have called off the search for his body. Dr Walford had been Head of Cambridge University’s Department of Education and a Fellow of Wolfson College. Rex was also keenly interested in amateur theatricals and, over the years, had successfully directed many productions for Swavesey Radsoc and societies in the Cambridge area. He was also a very competent and respected adjudicator for the Cambridge Drama Festival. He was always enthusiastic and totally committed to these activities and inspired many to follow in his footsteps. He was an excellent Director and a generous friend. Our thoughts are with his wife, Wendy and his family and friends at this very sad time.

DAVID SANDERS David was a well known figure in the local amdram world. His commanding presence and voice was enjoyed by many as he shared his love of Gilbert and Sullivan. David performed many G & S roles, along with his wife Gwen in productions with Great Yarmouth G & S, Sheringham Savoyards, East Norfolk OS, and also with the Cromer & Sheringham ODS and Cliftonville Singers.

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Doctor Doolittle Dearly Beloved

H T I W W O H S T X E N R U O Y N PLA R E G R E B N I E W F E S JO Do you think about something that suits the membership profile group? Do you find a show that is a tried and tested box office winner? Do you go for the artistic versus the commercial option? Do you only consider the latest releases? We regularly add shows and plays to our licensing portfolio and we have some new releases, both big and small, to tempt the adventurous.

cast separately. Who can talk to the animals? Doctor Dolittle… that’s who! A classic tale of kindness to animals and animal kindnesses trots, crawls and flies onto the stage in a big Broadway-sized family show. All of Hugh Lofting’s characters are brought magically and spectacularly to life in this movie-turned-stage musical. The story of the boy who never grew up is now a musical by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, with a book by Willis Hall. J. M. Barrie’s famous play Peter Pan and the magical Neverland with its amazing inhabitants (who can forget Tinkerbell, Captain Hook Mr and Mrs Darling, the Crocodile and, of course, the eponymous hero) are brought to life in this wonderful new musical. A great show for a large cast and the perfect show for the whole family!




An eagerly awaited release within the amateur musical community is Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. Some people may well know Verdi’s very popular opera with the same title, but this show is a contemporary take on a classic tale of the love between an enslaved Nubian princess and an Egyptian soldier. A great show for a large ensemble, it has three fabulous principal roles, those of Aida, Radames and Amneris. With popular songs such as Written in the Stars, Elaborate Lives and My Strongest Suit this show is sure to please performers and audiences alike. Written by two relative newcomers to the music theatre world, Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary’s Jet Set Go! is a hilarious new musical in which Nicola and her in-flight cabin crew sing up the aisles and tap-dance down Broadway on a trip to New York that you’ll never forget! The Daily Telegraph called it a “Delightful, inventive and witty new musical about 24 hours in the ordinary working life of a transatlantic airline cabin crew; sex, romance, optimism and jaded cynicism are thrown together into a bitchy, campy but essentially tender-hearted cocktail.” A musical about the “female change”? Can it be true? Well, yes it can! Hot Flush, by Julie Benson and Ollie Ashmore, tells the story of four women (Myra, Sylvia, Helen and Jessica) who are all at different stages of their lives and the relationships therein. The male roles in this show would be a great vehicle for a versatile actor who could feasibly play ALL of the men in each of the women’s lives! They roles could, of course, also be

For groups that choose to go down the traditional route, there are just so many classic shows from which to choose. These shows have become classic for a reason, and many of them because they were made into iconic films. In most cases, however, the stage shows vary slightly from the film version. The shows listed below are all genuine crowd pleasers When thinking classic musicals, two names stand out – Rodgers and Hammerstein. Their first collaboration, Oklahoma!, contains an abundance of songs including Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, The Surrey With The Fringe On Top, I Cain’t Say No, People Will Say We’re In Love and, of course, Oklahoma. It is by no means a sugary sweet musical; it makes us stop and think about how we (should and do) behave towards others. Based on Ferenc Molnár’s powerful play, Liliom, Carousel is the most operatic of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Right from the beginning of the show (that starts with the extraordinary Carousel Waltz) you just know you’re in for a theatrical (and musical) treat. As well as being a long-time favourite with audiences and performing groups, Carousel is a show that makes us think about the darker side of human nature and how we can redeem ourselves. Regarded by Rodgers and Hammerstein as the favourite of their own shows, Time magazine voted it the greatest musical of the twentieth century.

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Death Of A Salesman


One Night In November

Opening in 1964, Fiddler on the Roof was the first Broadway show to surpass more than 3,000 performances. It has been made all the more famous because of the release of the 1971 movie version starring Topol, who was still playing the lead role of Tevye in stage productions the world over until 2009! Based on Tevye and his Daughters (Tevye the Milkman and Other Tales) by Sholem Aleichem, the story tells of Tevye, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences of Tsarist Russia encroach upon their everyday lives. Late last year, the musical world lost both Joseph Stein and Jerry Bock just a couple of months apart. It is fitting that their legacy lives on through such a popular musical. Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical version of New York City, Guys and Dolls is an oddball romantic comedy - considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy-soars with the spirit of Broadway as it introduces us to a cast of vivid characters who have become legends in the canon: Sarah Brown, the upright but uptight mission doll, out to reform the evildoers of Times Square; Sky Masterson, the slick, high-rolling gambler who woos her on a bet and ends up falling in love; Adelaide, the chronically ill nightclub performer whose condition is brought on by the fact she’s been engaged to the same man for 14 years and Nathan Detroit, her devoted fiancé, desperate as ever to find a spot for his infamous floating crap game. And finally, after a long period of being restricted, we’re delighted to announce that The Sound of Music will be available for performance by schools and amateur societies once more from 1st January 2012 onwards. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s final collaboration, this show has become one of the most famous and most performed musicals ever. Moreover, the motion picture version remains the most popular movie musical of all time. So, apply for your performing licence now …

NEW RELEASES FROM JOSEF WEINBERGER PLAYS The 2011-12 season release is an exciting lot indeed. Highlights include Jill Hyem’s delightful comedy We’ll Always Have Paris, Simon Brett’s poignant study of ageing in A Healthy Grave, Jane Thornton’s Britain in-bloom comedy Say it With Flowers, Brian Stewart’s Cold War farce Castro’s Beard, Ron Aldridge’s romantic comedy That’s Love and Alistair McGowan’s deftly funny debut play Timing. Also available is a new supernatural thriller Sleep No More, from the writing team of David Gillespie and Colin Wakefield, who are co-authors many of the Josef Weinberger Pantomimes. After revivals at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, we’re pleased to announce the release of Alan Pollock’s moving drama One Night in November, exploring the effects of the Coventry Blitz on members of one family. From the 2010 Edinburgh Festival comes Brian Parks’ sparkling Imperial Fizz. We are also pleased to announce the availability of two very powerful new adaptations of the works of Charles Dickens, Tim Baker’s Great Expectations and a new version of A Christmas Carol from Stephen Sharkey. Two new comic releases from the ever-popular Peter Gordon are The Reunion and Slim Chance, a short play for eight women set in a slimming club that will hold particular appeal for festivals. We are very pleased to announce the representation of plays by the American comedywriting team of Jessie Hope, Nicholas Jones and Jamie Wooten. Their outrageous comedies Christmas Belles, Dearly Beloved, The Dixie Swim Club, The Hallelujah Girls and ‘Til Beth Us Do Part are now available for amateur performance in the UK.


Imperial Fizz

Four classic Arthur Miller titles are available in all-new acting versions - All My Sons, The Crucible, Death of a Salesman and A View From the Bridge. Other recent titles include Hypothermia by Vanessa Brooks, while Robert Farquhar’s Dead Heavy Fantastic (currently playing at the Everyman in Liverpool), Ron Aldridge’s My Dog’s Got No Nose and Matthew Barber’s Enchanted April are scheduled for future release.

PANTOMIMES AVAILABLE FROM JOSEF WEINBERGER PLAYS In addition to the wide variety of musicals and seasonal plays such as Gordon Steel’s A Kick in the Baubles, Peter Whelan and Bill Alexander’s version of the Nativity, Daniel Wain’s backstage peek at a pantomime in distress Look Behind You and Stephen Sharkey’s adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Josef Weinberger offers a range of pantomimes - some traditional in style and content and others offering more contemporary interpretations of classic favourites. Colin Wakefield and Kate Edgar’s pantomimes have been professionally staged around the UK alongside productions by non-professional societies and they are gaining in popularity with each passing year. They are written for mixed casts (typically between eight and eleven performers), with flexible chorus numbers and ample opportunities to include children. Their latest adaptation of Pinocchio joins Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Mother Goose, Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, The Sleeping Beauty and The Snow Queen as another traditional holiday entertainment containing all the elements for a successful production. Each show has music written by Kate Edgar and is scored for three musicians or a single piano/keyboard. Peter Webster’s four very popular pantomimes are full of spectacle and comedy. Each has been written leaving the choice of music to the director. While traditional in their ingredients, Peter’s pantomimes cover stories and subjects that make a change from the normal fare, including Babes in the Wood, Dick Turpin, Peter Panto and his latest, The Pied Piper. Josef Weinberger is also pleased to offer the collection of pantomimes co-written by Chris Denys and Chris Harris (the grandest Pantomime Dame of them all), each premiering at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre with many transferring triumphantly to the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre. They feature all the fun and enjoyment you would expect from traditional pantomimes and can be performed as simply or elaborately as resources allow. Each pantomime comes with detailed notes on props, sets and lighting designs and music suggestions to assist producers and directors with their production plans. Denys and Harris’ titles include the classic tales of Aladdin, Babes in the Wood, Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Jack in the Beanstalk and Mother Goose, with a principal cast between 7-9 and flexible chorus allowing roles for youth groups and children. Josef Weinberger licenses show from the Music Theatre International and R & H Theatricals catalogues, as well as licensing shows from its own catalogue and operetta from the Glocken Verlag catalogue, along with an extensive list of plays and pantomimes. For more information about our catalogues and licensing, please visit our website: | 61


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What were the stand-out successes in 2010? We were very pleased that we published Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris at the Royal Court, which has already won Best New Play at the Evening Standard Awards and Critics’ Circle Awards, and has just transferred to the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End and been nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Play. It is enjoying a similar success to Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth, which has just now been released for amateur performing rights. We also published really useful books about producing and going to drama school, and autobiographies by Simon Callow, Mike Bradwell and Timothy West. Is there anything exciting we can look forward to in 2011? We have just started publishing a really rather nice blog (www.nickhernbooks., which is an exciting development, and features a lot of interesting articles and interviews with our writers, so this is the place to go for your NHB news and content in 2011! If you’re feeling really adventurous you can even join us on Twitter: And while we’re embracing the technological future, I would also like to tell you that more and more of our writers are now setting up Facebook pages for amateur groups, where they can share information and pictures of their show, as well as give each other advice on staging etc. Please ask me if a group exists for the play you’re involved in and I’ll point you in the right direction. You license a lot of plays. How significant is the amateur sector for NHB? Very important. We specialise in looking after the amateur sector, so it forms a major part of what we do. We are a little bit like a smaller sister to Samuel French’s in this regard, except people come to us to find something a bit more challenging and contemporary. It’s really lovely how much positive feedback we get on our selection of plays and the personal service we always try to uphold.

Know Your Rights TAMARA VON WERTHERN NICK HERN BOOKS Amateur Stage spoke to Tamara von Werthern, Performing Rights Manager at Nick Hern Books. What does your role as Performing Rights Manager entail? The job is very varied; I deal with enquiries about plays from amateur theatre companies, negotiate with the professional agents to get performing rights released, and of course, issue licences. We try to be very responsive, and I am always glad to help people find their ideal play, so if someone writes in saying they’re looking for a play with a large cast of women, but minimal staging requirements, for instance, I will send them a list of detailed suggestions. We also send out up to three titles on approval, because we know it’s impossible to make a decision before you’ve actually read the play! I also write and distribute our Guide to Plays for Plays for Performance, which is a free publication which comes as a folder with separate sheets on different plays we license. Every quarter a supplement is emailed out to our mailing list to update the folder with the latest releases. Sometimes I even get to do interviews like this one! Tell us a bit about Nick Hern Books’s publishing philosophy? Well, it’s hard to put this into just a few words! We publish all the plays we license as well, and we are always looking for distinctive plays by exciting playwrights. But we also very much have our eye on the long haul, as putting a play into print means that it will have a life which can continue for many years after the initial production. Kindertransport by Diane Samuels (first published in 1993) is now a prescribed text for GCSE English, and frequently performed by amateur companies around the country. Many more of our plays enjoy phenomenal successes on the amateur market and in schools for long after the professional premiere. We also publish books about the theatre: really hands-on, practical guides, which can be a great help when you’re actually in the middle of a directing/acting/writing project. So, to sum it up, we try to publish the best plays of the past (check out our Drama Classics list!) and the present, as well as clear and concise practical books written by theatre practitioners to help our readers to get the plays on stage as smoothly as possible. What is the most exciting aspect of your position? I do enjoy the direct contact with our customers, many of which come back year after year, and I feel I know them fairly well by now. I also really enjoy reading plays we’re considering for publication and discussing their suitability for the amateur circuit. When one of these plays ends up being published, it’s really exciting to send out publicity about it and see who’s showing an interest in staging it. How many new scripts does NHB publish each year? We publish about sixty new titles each year, about fifty of which are normally plays; the rest are books about theatre.

If a group is interested in obtaining a licence to perform a show – how should they proceed? If you want to apply for a licence, there are only four things I need to know: name of venue, number and dates of performances, correspondence address and the name of your company or school. If the play is available, I will send you an invoice, and then, as soon as that’s paid, a licence. You can fill in a form on our website, or email or phone me directly with this information. You can even pay by credit card straight away to speed everything up. Are there any top tips you can give to make the process easier? Not really – it’s so easy already! I would recommend anybody who is interested in finding out more about our plays to sign up to the Guide, and also to make use of our approval copies (up to three copies are sent out with an approval invoice for thirty days, after which they have to either be bought, or returned to us in mint condition). And then, as soon as you’ve found the play that’s right for you, just follow the steps above! What are the major mistakes groups make when applying for a licence for one of NHB’s plays? Probably applying too late for their licence. We need six weeks to process a licence, and ideally the payment should be with us at least four weeks before the first performance. A lot of groups get so caught up with other things they only remember applying for a licence at the last minute. This is also very risky, as some of our plays get restricted because of professional revivals, and there is nothing worse than having to tell someone they can’t perform a show they’ve already rehearsed and made the costumes for! So please: the first step should be to find out availability. Email me! Are there any interesting new works being made available to amateurs this year? I have already mentioned Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, which is causing quite a stir at the moment, with a lot of interest. Another play which I think will be doing phenomenally well on the amateur circuit is Lilies on the Land, devised by a company called the Lions part, based on the experiences of the girls who joined the Land Army during World War Two. It is currently touring the UK, but has now been officially released for amateur performance after 1 July 2011. It has an all-female cast of at least four, which can be extended to as many as twenty roles. We’ve also just published two really lovely Jane Austen adaptations, Sense and Sensibility (4f 4m, doubling) and Persuasion (3f 3m, doubling), both adapted by Mark Healy, which are available now. We’ve heard a lot about music piracy – does the same thing happen with scripts? Is this a major issue with groups performing plays and not purchasing the scripts? It is a condition of our licence that you buy a cast set of scripts (you don’t have to buy them from us, though if you do we’ll give you a discount), so I would hope we’re pretty much on top of that. As with any form of piracy, it can still happen despite the regulations, but we hope that most of our customers understand that playwrights make their living from script sales as well as royalties, and by not buying the scripts, you are stealing from exactly that writer whom you admire enough to put on their play. And with the discount we offer on cast sets, there’s really no reason to photocopy! Email Tamara at, to join the NHB mailing list, receive the Guide to Plays for Performance, or apply for a licence to any NHB play. Visit for more information.

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CAST 7M 8F Lucy Kirkwood excels in strong imagery. Even her description of the set is powerful: an angry barbed wire fence – we know exactly what she means. Bloody Wimmin is about the legacy of the Greenham Common protests and as the action begins it is




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David Muncaster reviews the latest playscript offerings.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Lucy Kirkwood Nick Hern Books ISBN NO: 9781848421578 CAST: 3M 3F

Lucy Kirkwood is one of the most exciting new playwrights around and someone, I am sure, about whom we will be hearing a lot more in years to come. The writer of It Felt Empty When The Heart Went At First, But It’s Alright Now and the stunning Bloody Wimmin now uses her considerable talent to bring us a fairy tale. Our story is narrated by the Man in Pink and his assistant, Cecile. They are both fairies: who better to tell us a fairy tale? The Man in Pink shows us a single rose: ‘nothing but a soft fist of petals and scent’ that has been stolen from the palace of The Beast, and so our story begins. A handsome prince is turned into a beast by a jealous fairy who was laughed at when she said she intended to marry him. She was told that she was so ugly no one would marry her so she cast a spell on the prince to turn him into a monster. He would remain in this state until someone fell in love with him regardless of his ugliness; something the fairy is convinced would never happen. To assist in the telling of the tale the Man in Pink produces an elaborate contraption called The Thoughtsnatcher. This is a machine that, when applied to a person’s head, turns their thoughts into words we can all hear. The use of this machine on members of the audience will bring much amusement and delight to the victims and their parents.

The Thoughtsnatcher is first applied to Father. Weak, freezing and starving he cannot resist feasting on the Beast’s supper but when he spots the rose he knows he must have it to take home to Beauty. He is caught in the act of stealing it. The Beast tells him he may keep the rose to give to his daughter but, in return, she must come to the palace for dinner. She does, and after dinner stays on to live at the palace. The Beast is kind and, courtesy of a magic dumb waiter, Beauty can have anything she wants but, of course, she does not love him. Before we get our happy ending there is a twist. The Man in Pink has had a telegram from the management of the theatre telling him that, as fairy tales are old fashioned, tonight’s performance will be the last. We nearly get an ending very different from what we were expecting but eventually love conquers all, though we do get an inventive twist when the curtains open for the last time. This play is contemporary without resorting to the usual device of shoe horning in references to modern culture. Societies looking for a small cast play that flows along beautifully and delights children and adults alike will not go far wrong with Lucy Kirkwood’s Beauty and the Beast.



Colin and Ray are brothers. Out of work, out of food and down to their last cigarettes. Clarence is a retired teacher who takes a shine to the lads, inviting them back to his cottage for an evening of booze and conversation. At first, the brothers’ intention is to rob him: he has a caravan out back and they have a tow bar on the car but they soon realise that Clarence is so lonely he is likely to allow them to stay on and take advantage of him for a while. That is worth more to the brothers that the price of a knocked off caravan. Set in Wicklow, south of Dublin, Big Ole Piece of Cake is a play that explores missed opportunities and what might have been. Clarence always wanted a son but, after two girls, his wife refused to have any more children, blaming his drinking for creating an environment unsuitable for children. He may not deserve our sympathy but the line “All my life I’ve wanted a son. And here I am now with two of them.” will tug at the heart strings knowing, as we do, the brothers intentions toward their host. Eventually Clarence learns that the brothers are homeless, apparently through no fault of their own, so he agrees to let them stay in the caravan until they sort themselves out. However, as the drink flows, things start to disintegrate. Clarence learns the real reason why the brothers are homeless and reveals the truth about his own behaviour towards his wife. As matters become violent, Clarence suffers a heart attack and the brothers have blown the best chance they have had in years. Big Ole Piece of Cake is a very well written play with pace, excitement and plenty of drama.

Kneehigh Theatre was established in Cornwall in 1980 and tours throughout the UK. Hansel and Gretel premièred at the Bristol Old Vic in 2010 and is credited as being a collaboration between Carl Grose and Kneehigh Theatre. Our story begins as a pair of rabbits appear on stage to introduce us to the twins Hansel and Gretel. A cute beginning, but then there is the sound of a rabbit snare going off and moments later Mother appears to announce that it is to be rabbit pie for dinner, holding aloft the main ingredient for all to see. As Father teaches Hansel to chop wood, Mother teaches Gretel to skin the rabbit and we know that we are in for a fairytale with a large dollop of grim reality thrown in. As the search for food becomes ever more desperate, the twins are forced to make a decision. Do they eat their last slice of bread or use it to leave a trail home? After a bit of a slow start, things pick up in act two when we get to the witch’s house and there is some delicious silliness from the character, Birdy. A note in the script at this point indicates that the part was tailored to match the actor’s nationality and it is true that the whole script reads rather like a souvenir of the Kneehigh production rather than something to inspire a director to mount their own version of the show. An interesting read but not something I expect to see on many amateur stages.

Sean McLoughlin Nick Hern Books ISBN NO: 9781848421400 CAST: 3M

Carl Grose Oberon Books ISBN NO: 9781849430579 CAST: 4M 3F


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LINGUA FRANCA Peter Nichols Samuel French ISBN NO: 9780573112287 CAST: 3M 4F

Turn to the Show Diary in Amateur Stage Magazine and there is a good chance that someone, somewhere, will be performing Privates on Parade, Peter Nichols nineteen-seventies musical farce that was a huge stage success and a slightly less successful film. In Lingua Franca the playwright has taken one of the main characters from his earlier work, Steve Flowers, and transported him to nineteen-fifties Florence where he is attempting to teach English in a rather chaotic language school. As the play commences Steve is teaching his first class and struggling to keep them under control. He loses his patience and insults his students: a mild insult by English standards but his class is horrified. They refuse to be taught by him any more and Steve is told he no longer required. But the Italian manager doesn’t sack him. He is likable and, though there are plenty of English teachers looking for jobs, he gets another chance. This is partly due to fellow Brit, Peggy, who takes Steve under her wing, though he is more interested in Heidi, a newcomer from Munich. The play is described as ‘sexually charged’ and this comes not only from the characters on the stage but also from unseen budding Gina Lollobrigidas in the classroom. Time and again Steve is warned about his conduct but in the end it is not him that oversteps the mark. Tension comes from Heidi’s deep seated prejudice against Jews and she clashes with the anit-fascist manager and Russian Jew, Irene: but Steve is blinded by lust, ignoring the smitten Peggy in favour of the playful Heidi. Lingua Franca is an intelligent play. The classroom scenes provide plenty of humour and the staff room represents the cosmopolitan disorder of post war Europe. This is Peter Nichols first play in a decade and is a fine addition to his catalogue.




(No, nothing to do with the game show!) Imagine it - you and your wife-to-be are struggling to open your bed and breakfast. The B&B inspector is due any moment. So it is for Phil and Jane. Except the imminent inspector is Phil’s ex-wife Felicity, and there never was any love lost between the two women. And there’s a rumour that Felicity’s latest beau used to be a Chippendale - not good when your first guests - two matronly women - are also due to arrive. And the place is almost - but not quite - finished, the rising wind threatening to blow the roof off the barn. The stage is set for misunderstandings, jealousy, women at war and even a burglary. That all-pervading scent of the farmyard doesn’t help either.


Each and every year, the members of the national sales team of JW Roberts Ltd. meet in a hotel for their sales conference. And each and every year they continue their “liaisons” with other members of the sales team. Afterwards they will go back to their everyday lives, but this weekend they’re out to enjoy each other. Peter and Eve have conveniently-opposite rooms in the hotel, but just about anything that can prevent their continued relationship actually does prevent it, including fire alarms, falls, difficult hotel staff, visiting bosses, lost keys, two pairs of handcuffs and a surprise visit from Peter’s wife.


Andrew Hawcroft Spotlight Publications ISBN NO: 9781907307164 CAST: Variable Cast Andrew Hawcroft’s pantomime is quite faithful to the traditional story of Peter Pan but, as is customary, has plenty of contemporary references to make it relevant to a young audience. Songs are not included but their nature, and when they should be sung, are included in the script. To begin with I found the script rather lacking in humour and, when it did come, it could have parents cringing: little ditties about words that rhyme with bucket, for example. However, once we get going, there is plenty to make the audience chuckle, the dialogue between Nana and Captain Hook being the highlight. Pantomimes are an ideal opportunity for societies to consider work by less well known authors, but it is a competitive market and this script, despite one or two nice moments, lacks anything to make it stand out from the crowd.


Jane Thornton Josef Weinberger ISBN NO: 9780856763076 CAST: 2M 3F Jane Thornton is perhaps best known as the co-author of Shakers with her husband John Godber, but she also has an impressive number of plays, and television and radio scripts to her name. Say it with Flowers premièred at the Hull Truck theatre in 2009 and is about a subject dear to most amateur dramatic companies. An amateur dramatic company! As the play begins we are on the patio of a comfortable suburban house. Richard, Vera and Mavis are celebrating the success of their latest production, congratulating themselves on the split from the ‘awful’ Park Lane Players and already looking forward to the next

And not forgetting the very popular favourite


All is dull and peaceful at Squire Grange. Lady Amelia searches for new ideas for her latest mystery novel as Sir Malcolm sleeps off the excesses of another idle day. Family friend Freddy is persuaded to try and think of new ideas. Meanwhile the hapless Vic Tim arrives and is promptly dispatched by an unknown assailant. Everyone tries really hard to discover the murderer, but not in time to prevent the Producer being murdered. And someone else. This hilarious farce steadfastly refuses to take itself (or anything else) seriously. Free evaluation copies on request. Visit our for details of these and the rest of Ian Hornby’s 36 published plays.

Contact tel: 01925 485605 Or write to Ian at 2 Hereford Close, Warrington, Cheshire WA1 4HR | 65

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BACKSTAGE production. Meanwhile Stan, Mavis’ husband, is pottering around in his shed and greenhouse happily staying out of the celebration. The next day Vera is in for a shock when she rings to book the church hall for the next show and is told that they are no longer wanted. With nowhere to perform they need to find another outlet for their creative talents and they decide to enter the Village in Bloom competition. The play is rather slow to get going and, though there is humour it seems a little out of place; as though the author has gone back and inserted the funny lines at a later date. The personalities of the characters never really come through and, as a result, I never really cared what happened to them. Conflict comes from Stan snubbing the others’ attempts at gardening, to the extent of destroying their efforts, though he does eventually, and quite literally, push the boat out to help them. Say it with Flowers is a long play: one hundred and twenty one pages is a lot by today’s standards, and I fear that there just isn’t enough going on to keep an audience interested.

THE EX FACTOR Ian Hornby New Theatre Publications ISBN NO: 9781840947052 CAST: 3M 4F

Ian Hornby has been writing am dram friendly comedies and thrillers for more than twenty years and through New Theatre Publications, an organisation he helped found, his extensive catalogue is available for perusal. The Ex Factor is a recent and worthwhile addition to this prolific writer’s portfolio. Phil and his wife, Jane, run a smallholding but are hoping to use their farm house as a Bed and Breakfast establishment. As the play begins they are mid argument, the subject being Fliss, Phil’s ex-wife. It seems that she and her new partner are coming to stay and this is not something that fills Jane with joy. In factshe blames Fliss for the fact that they are in such dire straits: so short of cash that she is worried that they are not able to furnish the place to a standard required to obtain a Bed and Breakfast certificate. Then Phil drops a bombshell. The inspector who will be doing the assessment is: his ex-wife, Fliss! Fliss and her partner arrive, as do Margaret and Anne who had not been expected until the following day. Add in a rustic farmhand and some rather strong potato wine and we are on our farcical way. The Ex Factor is the sort of play where the audience works out what is going on long before the characters on the stage and the fun is waiting for the penny to drop. The chasing around the room and running in and out of doors is written with confidence and the plot has plenty of twists to keep an audience happy. It can be a challenge to entice the public away from their televisions to watch live theatre but, with writers like Ian Hornby supplying our market, it is good to know that Britain’s got talent.

THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING Fiona Evans Nick Hern Books ISBN NO: 9781842421493 CAST: 1M 2F

Eddie is a former barrow boy turned millionaire entrepreneur who lives in his Cheshire manor house with his ex-Beauty Queen wife and their confident teenage daughter. The three of them have returned from a charity auction where Eddie has just paid £7000 for a large signed photograph of Kerry Katona, much to his daughter’s disgust. At just fifteen, Ruby is already familiar with the way the world works and she doesn’t entirely approve, but she does have a generally good relationship with her father; one that he can afford to fund. This is a special weekend. Eddie has taken some days off work, turned off his mobile and has even had the old wedding video transferred to DVD. He announces that they are all going on holiday the very next day, the dog has gone into kennels and he wants to have a nice family evening playing Monopoly. Pam, Eddie’s wife, is worried. What is it all for? What is going on? Eddie’s behaviour becomes ever more erratic and, when Ruby jokes that someone is prowling around the yard, he goes ballistic. As the first act draws to a close the audience is left in no doubt that something has gone seriously wrong in Eddie’s life. Act Two and everything is much calmer, but the relative peace does nothing to disguise the horror that we just know is bubbling away under the surface. Eddie is continually being caught out as he tells lie upon lie and it gradually dawns on us that the threat to the family does not come from outside the house, but within. The use of CCTV in this play helps give it the impression of a TV drama, unsurprising as the author writes extensively for television, but The Price of Everything is an entertaining thriller that provides a very strong part for a talented junior.

Plays for review should be submitted to: Amateur Stage Limited Suite 404 Albany House, 324 Regent Street, London W1B 3HH Whilst all efforts will be made to review scripts received the publisher cannot guarrantee reviews. We regret that scripts cannot be returned.


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21/02/2011 16:00:04

New one act plays from

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M4 F2 Five young idealists decide to form a new political party. Their headquarters: a garden shed. “... by turns hilarious and incisive, poignant and tragic. Don’t miss this ...” — Time Out. £8.95


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by Anthony Horowitz M4 F2 A group of young people are rehearsing The Importance of Being Earnest, but it soon becomes apparent that their surroundings are not normal. £5.00

by David Foxton F9 M6, 5-7 M or F A mysterious sealed room is the subject of this play which spans two time periods, offering a number of good female roles. £5.00


by Rob Messik M1 F1 This tense two-hander sees a pregnant woman attempting to leave her obsessive husband, with a shocking twist at the end. £5.00

French’s Theatre Bookshop 52 Fitzroy Street • London • W1T 5JR 0207 255 4300

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21/02/2011 11:00:21




their eyes r uits) to r un

few new rec a h it (w n r tu ames re gs. Our panto d script offerin to n a P s r a e of this y

Richard Bond

What am I looking for? A script which closely follows the well-known story. Use of both plain dialogue and rhyming couplets, together with the traditional pantomime elements of ‘Good versus Evil’, familiar pantomime business, a transformation scene and a strong dame character. Music in suitable style, not modern songs or songs suggested from other musical shows. There is a wealth of non-royalty music waiting to be used with tunes and sometimes words that are perfect for pantomime; it’s just a case of looking! A good pantomime can introduce a child to the theatre for life and therefore they deserve the best. The Sleeping Beauty – a pantomime by Ben Crocker Cast: 4/5M, 7/8W plus Chorus. Written in the traditional style, with a ‘catty’ twist, this should prove to be a popular choice. It was good to see the stage directions had the ‘evil’ characters enter from the left and there are rhyming couplets for the immortal Fairies Peaceful and Carabosse - which helps set them apart from the other characters - essential rules of pantomime! I liked the character’s names and the comedy ‘business’ was excellent as this continued throughout, without losing the storyline. This was especially good for business between the Dame and Billy. Also, the strange duo of Carabosse and Spindleshanks her cat worked well. Using the alphabet names for Aurora was fun – perhaps there’s an opportunity here to let the audience provide the names? Making the sword available for the great, great, grandson of the original prince was a clever slant on the link with the original prince and the one hundred year curse. I wasn’t sure about the zombies, but I am sure the children will like them! Music is suggested or left for the director’s discretion my choice would be for less known, non royalty pieces with new lyrics. Worthy of note is that comedy and humour is suitable for a family audience of all ages. This is a pantomime, which will enjoyed by cast and audience alike and one that I would recommend both as a Dame and Director.

Robinson Crusoe – a pantomime by Pat Jones and Brian Travers Cast: 14/15M, 3/4W plus Chorus. On Yum Yum Island lies buried treasure and this follows Robinson Crusoe’s adventure as he journeys to find it with dim brother, over-protective mother (Dame), assorted pirates and others in tow! Traditionally, pantomime doesn’t date because it is written in such a way that topical names, places and jokes can be inserted. Also, political correctness generally ‘goes by the board’ but in this case, the opening scene of cannibals dancing around their cooking pot was not the cheerful pantomime opening I expected. This, together with their dialogue would certainly not go down well in an inner city production. The script, because of this, seemed very dated. This was a pity because the pirate theme, with the duo of hopeless henchman Plankton and Guppy and the Australian parrot Sheila worked well. Dialogue was between the Dame & Kevin was good. Suggested music included that from musicals and a Disney film! Sorry, but this script would not be my choice in its current form.

over some

Russell Grant

THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN by Stephen Duckham The tradition of having just a few pantomime titles is one so stuck in the British panto-going public consciousness that for any new works, no matter how intelligently written, to break through is difficult. From Aladdin to Cinderella to Snow White there are attractive favourites and then a second tier of not so box-office, amongst them Goldilocks, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast and for them to break through into the ‘top ten’ is not easy. Some shows like Peter Pan have the added problem of flying in and out and are more plays than panto lacking big characters like the Dame, But I liked the unusual subject of THE PIED PIPER and Duckham’s interpretation of it because it gives the company producing it the usual characters: goodie, baddie, witch, fairy (although the writer is at pains to describe her as ‘not fairy type’) principle girl, dame and so on and the cluster of kids required to fill the stage a chance to be rats and ratlings, so all good. The script is jolly and bright but my biggest problem was the location: being in Hamelin. It’s not the fact it’s Germany, it’s the fact that it doesn’t allow enough chance for local gags to work – well not in this script: they would have to be introduced much more. I would have the Annual Festival become a Town Twinning (Food) Festival between Hamelin and say Rhyl (if I was staging at the Pavilion!). More knockabout by introducing lots of sausages from Hamelin and say Lobscouse from Rhyl (or if it was London pie and mash, Blackpool black puddings … well you get my drift). Rats are attracted to food, so running off with the mayor of Rhyl’s sausage that’s just been presented to him could produce a volley of Carry On British humour laughs. Plus I can see sponsorship coming from local companies if say in Lancashire it was Holland’s Pies or Yorkshire, Aunt Bessie – you get my drift. There are opportunities of bringing in local pop stars and politicians (I loved the mention of James Galway, whom I’ve worked with many times and the reference is an obvious one with his flute and pipes BUT how many audiences would know him and therefore understand the ref?). Suddenly the Dame mentions Leicester which is incongruous as it sits in the middle of a panto where no other British place name is mentioned, PLUS as a big cheesy name couldn’t we make more of the mouse loving cheese? But I am being picky – I think this has great potential and playing around with the content just a little to introduce the local element, and if Stephen would perhaps consider my Town Twinning idea I believe this might not break through into the top ten of pantos because of the title but I am sure if I saw his name attached to any of the big titles I would be interested in staging it. Especially here in Snowdonia ideal for mountain and mountaineering gags! So, this Pied Piper should drop the Hamelin and be shortened to THE PIED PIPER and introduce or give the chance for local jokes and gags which is hard at the moment with a script that is Germany-bound. Even though in this day and age the younger generation may never have heard of the Pied Piper poem, a new trend could be set with the social fact that we are never more than five feet from a rat – true, false or fairy tale? Most councils are looking for their very own Pied Piper and here it is! Potentially great fun, an interesting new panto title and a chance to experiment without losing the panto-going audience. Ideal for the amateur company who wants to break out of the usual conveyor belt of pantomime subjects and go for something that will find a role for all and everyone in the community.

68 |

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21/02/2011 15:38:36


Paul Woods

Review of ‘Treasure Island’ by Alan Frayn Everybody loves pirates and so a pantomime full of them is almost guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser! Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ is a well known and well crafted tale that is ripe for the panto treatment. Alan Frayn’s version remains true enough to the source to make the story familiar whilst including all the ingredients essential to a good panto. Naturally the author has had to take some liberties with the characters (I don’t recall a ‘Dame’ in the Stevenson original!) but the important ones, such as ‘Long John Silver’, Jim and the Squire, are all there, very well drawn and true to the genre. The dialogue throughout the script is snappy and smart. There is some very impressive word play in the Dame’s early exchanges and an excellent running joke throughout about the size of her ample posterior! There is also a good amount of innuendo for the Dame to use. Personal tastes differ between societies but, in my experience, the adults in the audience love having something to laugh at that flies straight over the children’s heads. Audience interaction is very important in any panto and this script has ample occurrences of this. I particularly liked the page of sguuested ‘ad-libs’ for the Dame to use when getting the kids up on stage. The settings required by this script are flexible enough to suit most societies, as are the casting requirements, with plenty of opportunity for gender mixing – an important consideration for a lot of societies when choosing a panto. I also liked the range of song suggestions by the author. Some scripts can be too prescriptive and others give no suggestions at all but the author has obviously given this a lot of thought and clubs choosing to perform this panto will find that very helpful. Overall I found this to be a charming, well written and amusing script that ticks all the boxes for a successful panto. If you’re in the market for a particularly pleasing piratical panto then you need look no further than this offering from the prolific Alan Frayn.

Review of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ by Ben Crocker I had not previously read any of Ben Crocker’s work but, as I am very familiar with his father’s output, I had high expectations of this script. A number of panto versions of Beauty and the Beast have been written and the basic story is relatively simple and well known. One of the pitfalls facing any new version is managing the expectations of an audience whose most vivid impression of the story is based on the Disney film and stage show. In this respect I think Ben Crocker has struck a very good balance by including elements that will strike a chord with the ‘Disney generation’ whilst introducing new, and completely different, characters such as ‘Felix’ the talking French poodle and ‘Jacques’, Beauty’s brother. ‘Felix’ is a wonderful character and a real scene stealer. Using him as a narrator is a stroke of genius and the scene where he voices over the Dame’s journey through the wood is a wonderful set piece and an early highlight of the script. That scene also has the Dame (Beauty’s Mother) disguised as man so we have the wonderful comic potential of a man playing a woman playing a man! A very original concept that I have never come across in any other panto script. The character of the Beast is obviously integral to the story and the scenes between him and Beauty are very well written, really highlighting the schizophrenic nature of the character. Overall I quite enjoyed the script but would have some misgivings about recommending it to my club. There is not a great deal of chorus work specified in the script and what there is seems, at times, a little forced. Also, whilst appreciating that the Dame is not a central character, after the early scenes her role is somewhat peripheral and unsatisfying. That is very much a personal feeling but I am writing this as a Dame of 30 years standing! Notwithstanding those slight criticisms, this script is well worth a look and has plenty of potential for amateur societies. | 69

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21/02/2011 15:38:48


Mark Oldknow

John Hicks

There can be few pleasures greater than watching an audience of children hurling themselves into the madness of pantomime. Even the most hardened cynic cannot deny the importance of this so oft introduction to theatre. The key, for me, is that a pantomime should contain enough ingredients to engage the entire family. Splat, giveaway, audience participation for the young and just the right level of postcard humour for the adults. Whatever the story, and goodness knows there are enough I was once involved in a production of Flash Gordon the Panto! - the narrative needs to be clear and good must prevail over evil. Topical gags and cultural references should abound to give the audience a sense of “now” regardless of period; and the forces of anarchy, Dame and Silly Boy, should be given sufficient material to wander off piste as the will or circumstance presents itself. STEPHEN DUCKHAM’S PINOCCHIO provides much of this, and whilst the script, to my mind, is a little lacking in gags, there is plenty to keep the more restless members of the house occupied. There is much to like in this script. The Blue Fairy advising other panto fairies by mobile phone is a nice touch; but I do hanker for some verse (call me old fashioned). Stromboli, our villain, and his alterego in the shape of a vent doll is a nice touch; but underused in my opinion. The opening scene outside Geppetto’s shop introduces us to the “Fruity Tooty” machine - water and fruit in one end, sweets from the other, and an immediate opportunity to get the audience warmed into the lunacy. The introduction of Mama Macaroni in a fight over some sausages with a dog sets her up nicely; but her opening monologue doesn’t quite deliver. There is plenty to keep the design and technical departments busy. 15 scenes and 12 venues in 45 pages will need an inventive design and stage management team. Some scenes, the boat scene with Geppetto and Mama Macaroni prior to their ingestion by the whale, are a little underwritten and do smack of something to allow a set-change to happen rather than adding to the story. And whilst it is always useful to have some filler to keep the momentum of the performance going they either need to be strong on narrative or on madness (slapstick) or on audience involvement (songsheet). This is a technically challenging show. The requirement for Pinocchio’s nose to get longer in action (at the end into a weapon to defeat Stromboli) and for he and Lampwick to grow donkey ears, props and wardrobe are going to have to be on the ball. Cheap effects are all part of the pantoland experience; but in the right place. And whilst the principal list is quite small at only nine characters, there is plenty to keep the chorus busy as townspeople, pirates, puppets and toys - a lot of frockage! The narrative is well constructed and should communicate effortlessly with the audience. The positioning of music/songs is, on the whole, fine; but the script lacks descriptors of the type of song or purpose of the song. Whilst for many directors this would not be a problem, many is not all. There is a danger that the songs will appear to be wedged into the show without some guidance from the writer. All that being said/written - delete as applicable - this is a solid script. And whilst I may hanker for splat (I probably ate too many mud pies as a child) it is a show which will work; and entertain. Under an experienced director it should sparkle, under a novice be sound. But above all there is plenty for everyone, from performers to technicians to spectators. Definitely worth a read if looking for next Christmas’ offering.

ALADDIN BY JOE GRAHAM (J. GARNETT-MILLER) This script is packed from end to end with quick fire jokes and quips, it is extremely well written and is done is such a way that it would be quite an easy script to learn for nearly all of the characters. I feel that Mr Graham has taken great care in picking his characters so that they all blend in very nicely with each other. I love Ping & Pong. The story flows at a good pace, right the way through from the beginning. I often find that when I read scripts there are usually one or two places that tend to lose my interest, where the writer struggles a little to keep the tempo going but this one kept me wanting to find out what happens next. Although this is an old favourite, the script is anything but old. It is well up to date with references cleverly scattered throughout. There are plenty of chances to put in local references, personal pieces and a good amount of audience participation. If I were to find any negatives about it I would have to mention the number of Scenes which may well be a problem for smaller theatre groups who perhaps don’t have the ability to put on so many scenes. Having said that, with some forethought and a pencil, I’m sure some simple scene alterations could be devised and made to work quite well. In conclusion I thoroughly enjoyed this Pantomime script and am seriously thinking about it for my own theatre club for next year.

SLEEPING BEAUTY BY CLAIRE SCOTT (SPOTLIGHT PUBLICATIONS) Having read this script I find that it doesn’t really have enough originality to it for my taste, it is very much like most other copies of Sleeping Beauty I have read and directed. I agree that taking a classic favourite such as Sleeping Beauty and trying to rewrite it in ones own way is never a very easy task, but to give it an up to date twist is always very important. To add some delicious new characters as well as the main ones is always a good idea in my view. I like the audience to go out afterwards thinking ‘well that was a bit different’ and wondering if they’d ever seen the real Sleeping Beauty before. I feel that the writer has given the characters very short lines throughout in the main, which I believe are more difficult to learn than reasonable length speeches. The script does appear to be a little on the short side but having said that, there are lots of songs (21) in the play which of course will lengthen it quite considerably. Personally I like to keep to about 14 musical numbers in a pantomime, but that is personal choice of course. Another thing I wonder about are the number of scenes that have been written in, 17 would, in my experience seem a little high for a great many smaller theatre clubs to cope with. I do like the rhyming dialogue of the fairies throughout the play, It is cleverly written with a good amount of humour, although many opportunities for more laughter I feel have been missed. On the whole I did enjoy reading the script and feel it would be more suitable perhaps for a school production.

MARK OLDKNOW has been responsible for about a dozen pantos in the past decade and a half. He has written several of those pantomimes including Aladdin, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. His dame, taken on more than a few outings, belongs to the Les Dawson tradition, he blames his thyroid - we the pies. Although a professional director, his work with amateur and youth companies in Buckinghamshire is wide. In 2004 he got The Young Theatre (at Beconsfield) to the AETF final with ball Boys. They won and went on to represent England in the British final, which they also won - the first youth group ever to do so. He has been responsible for over 40 professional productions, mainly Shakespeare and a score of youth theatre productions; most notably Peter pan with a cast of 200, done in 2 weeks. He is available for birthdays and bar-mitzvahs....


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21/02/2011 22:49:38


Geoff Legan DAME: Hello, Hello, Hello, Boys and Girls, Mums and Dads, Grannies and Granddads. My name is Sara the Cook/Baroness Hardup/Widow Twankey/Dame Trot/Nurse Coughdrop* (*delete where applicable) and I’m here to tell you all about some lovely festive offerings for your delight and delectation for your forthcoming pantomime season. First cab off the rank is CINDERELLA BY PAUL REAKES (Pub. Samuel French), set of course during the Baroque (ba-roak) period...and of course, if it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it...!!! That appalling pun (for which no apologies) is appropriate to my review as Mr Reakes has taken the well known story of the rags to riches princess and...well...”fixed” it...! By that, I mean he has written a “play” version of the tale, which is sometimes more akin to a Whitehall farce than a panto though it does allow for the casting . In addition to our usual motley crew we get an Evil Duke (of Verruca) and his dumb but dastardly sidekicks (Brokers Men types); a bossy Baroness (which would be fabulous played in drag); an Igor style gaoler and an Idiot nephew. The plot feels at times as convoluted as a Danny Kaye movie and I occasionally had to re-read some of the plot devices as they deviated away from the norm. Prince gets knocked out and loses his memory so becomes “Buttons”, while the real Buttons is locked in a dungeon. Idiot nephew (a Dandini of sorts) becomes “Prince”...still following...? Buttons escapes from dungeon, with the help of comely serving wench and they dash off to rescue the real prince and expose the fake prince and thwart the evil Duke... somewhere in there is a little of the usual fayre but it all seems strangely sidelined by the new plot devices imposed on top. A simple scene like the Sisters locking Cinders in the closet for example becomes an all out “doors open and shut” farce with characters leaping from closet to fireplace and back again with a speed that would out-Rix Brian or out-Cooney Ray. Clever and, sometimes, witty though all this is I do feel that it may be all a bit beyond you average school party of pop filled kiddies on a wet Wednesday in Widnes. Plotting and word play are at times superb but its a big ask I think to veer so far away from the usual plot and characters and expect an audience to come with you. I would also say that during the run-around farce there is no one directing the audience to tell or not too tell who is hiding where (“you won’t say anything will you boys and girls type thing”) and the scene continues to rely heavily on audience initiative which is possibly a dangerous thing to do. My only other comment is that I would have liked at least some indication of the styling of each of the songs, if only as a guideline to use or replace instead of just solo, duet, company number. Finally, and on a congratulatory note, well done on the difficult task of Immortal Rhyme Writing which scans beautifully and all in the pentameter. With JACK AND THE BEANSTALK BY DANIEL BELL (Pub. Spotlight Publications) we are on much more traditional territory with the panto story I think is the most difficult to “pull off” in the non-professional theatre as it relies, of course, on several high quality “props” namely a cow, a giant and any number of believable immortal items like geese that lay golden eggs and singing harps etc. For the sake of ease (and probably cost) this script dispenses with the latter and just goes for the essential cow and giant. A nice opening scene at a “Potter-esque” University of Wands...or “Fairy School” where our Immortal Heroine is late for class and thinks she has lost out on her allocation of a Hero or Heroine to “look after”...luckily for her, and us, she is given the family Trott and their faithful cow. So with a wave of her Leek (yes...Leek..?) we are transported to the Village of Honeyville by our first time fairy. Unfortunately, I think that this fairy scholar has been skipping a few classes, primarily, her “speaking in rhyme” classes as she really struggles with the metre and scan. To be fair to her, our baddy in waiting “Fleshcreep” must have skipped the same classes at Evil University as his attempts are just as bad. That said there is a lot to recommend this panto, mainly because it sticks to the traditions... Fairy enters stage right, Fleshcreep enters stage left...etc. It’s also lovely to see an old faithful “Maths Gag” (more of these clever verbal patter routines, is my plea to all panto scriptwriters), a classic milking routine, “busy bee” and a “ghost gag” though with these last two I would question performing them back to back in one scene as this probably lessens the impact of each rather than slotting one in earlier perhaps. Joy of Joys, a slosh scene. I, for one, mourn the passing of these staple “variety turn” routines, No one smashes a good plate these days(sometimes even the pro’s shy away) so it’s great that this script has an adaptation of the good old Norman Wisdom wallpapering scene. It takes a lot to set up, it takes a lot of rehearsal and staging and takes an awful lot of clearing up after but I really do believe that the effort pays off I loved, also, the little touches like the giant baby growing routine, though I’m not sure about “ironing the baby”, surely a less gruesome method of keeping him/her warm could be found(and I know I shouldn’t call you Shirley...hahaha...!) I hope that anyone who tackles this lovely little script can afford to go all out on the giant as this can be a let down with productions of “Jack” mantra is if you can’t afford it well then it’s probably best not doing this panto, and the same would go for a quality cow outfit which needs two stage aware dancers, so she can be a real scene stealer with both comedy and pathos. One final point on both of these scripts is that they still suggest the use of a “principal boy”. Now, having banged on above about my love of the tradition (if always with a modern twist) I genuinely feel that contemporary audiences have issues with the “girl/girl” scenes, and I’ve not seen a truly believable principal boy for a long time.



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21/02/2011 16:52:18

SHOWdiary>>SHOWdiary>>SHOWdiary>>SHOWdia 39 Steps, The

26 - 28 May 2011 Cosmopolitan Players The Carriageworks Leeds, West Yorkshire 01132 243801

42nd Street

05 - 09 April 2011 Essex Police Musical Society Essex Police Headquarters Chelmsford, Essex 07867 851355 06 - 16 April 2011 Darlington Operatic Society Darlington Civic Theatre Darlington, Durham 01325 244659

Calamity Jane


12 - 16 April 2011 Godalming Theatre Group Ben Travers Theatre Godalming, Surrey 01483 719097

13 - 16 April 2011 Dartford Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society Orchard Theatre Dartford, Kent 01322 527165


Anything Goes

04 - 07 May 2011 New Earswick Musical Society The Joseph Rowntree Theatre York, Yorkshire 01904 768182

09 - 10 April 2011 Llandudno Musical Productions Venue Cymru Llandudno, Conwy 01492 872000

10 - 14 May 2011 Harrow Light Opera Company Watersmeet Theatre Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire 01923 711063


18 - 21 May 2011 Old Fallings Players AOS Moreton School Wolverhampton, West Midlands 01785 712537

Annie Get Your Gun

12 - 16 April 2011 Driffield Musical Theatre Driffield School, North Hall Driffield, East Yorkshire 01377 253149

11 - 16 April 2011 Linlithgow AMP Linlithgow Academy Theatre Linlithgow, West Lothian 01506 512342

21 - 23 April 2011 Harlequins Musical Drama Society Millfield Community Centre Peterborough, 07974 235295

30 April - 07 May 2011 Portrush Music Society The Riverside Theatre Coleraine, Londonderry 02870 323232

05 - 07 May 2011 Battle Light Opera Group Memorial Hall Battle, East Sussex 01424 211140

63rd Annual Play Festival

12 - 14 May 2011 Aldridge Musical Comedy Society Prince of Wales Theatre Cannock, Staffordshire 01543 480626

08 - 13 May 2011 Skegness Playgoers The Embassy Theatre Skegness, Lincolnshire 08456 740505

84 Charing Cross Road

05 - 09 April 2011 John Lewis Partnership Dramatic Society George Bernard Shaw Theatre RADA, London 020 7908 4800

Acorn Antiques

09 - 14 May 2011 Mossley AODS George Lawton Centre Mossley, Ashton Under Lyne 01457 870 875 18 - 21 May 2011 Spot On Musical Theatre Moldgreen United Reformed Church Huddersfield, West Yorkshire 01484 305421 31 May - 04 June 2011 CADDAM Musicals Lowther Pavilion Lytham St Annes, Lancashire 01253 658666

All Shook Up

12 - 16 April 2011 Selsig Amateur Operatic Society Park and Dare Theatre Treorchy, Rhondda Cnon Taff 01443 438053 26 - 30 April 2011 Waveney Light Opera Group Public Hall Beccles, Suffolk 01502 712329


13 - 16 April 2011 VAMPS The Priory Centre St Neots, Cambridgeshire 07866 224769 14 - 16 April 2011 Wootton Bassett Light Operatic Society Memorial Hall Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire 01793 613963 18 - 21 May 2011 Henfield Theatre Company Henfield Hall Henfield, West Sussex 01273 492204

13 - 16 April 2011 Ipswich Operatic & Dramatic Society Regent Theatre Ipswich, Suffolk 01473 433100

18 - 28 May 2011 Louth Playgoers Society Riverhead Theatre Louth, Lincolnshire 01507600350


12 - 16 April 2011 Parish Players Parish Hall Tockington Bristol, South Gloucestershire 01454 613482

19 - 21 May 2011 Basildon Operatic Society The Towngate Theatre Basildon, Essex 01245 222267

13 - 16 April 2011 Selsey AC & Operatic Society Manhood Community College Selsey, West Sussex

Bad Girls The Musical

Carrie’s War

29 April - 07 May 2011 Shinfield Players Theatre Shinfield Players Theatre Reading, Berkshire 01189 758880

Below Stairs

17 - 21 May 2011 Mytholmroyd St Michaels Amateurs St Michael’s Parish Hall Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire 01422 886831

Boogie Nights 11 - 16 April 2011 Hyde Musical Society The Festival Theatre Hyde , Cheshire 0161 301 2253

25 - 28 May 2011 Southampton Musical Society Theatre Royal Winchester Winchester, Hampshire 07525 371253


19 - 21 May 2011 Southminster Operatic & Choral Society St Peter’s High School Burnham on Crouch, Essex 01621 740787

Browning Version, The 07 - 14 May 2011 Bolton Little Theatre Bolton Manchester, 01204 334 400


13 - 16 April 2011 North Staffordshire Amateur Operatic Society Thistley Hough High School Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire 01782 336129 03 - 07 May 2011 Keswick Amateur Operatic Society Theatre by the Lake Keswick, Cumbria 01768 774411

02 - 07 May 2011 Keighley Playhouse Keighley Playhouse Keighley, West Yorkshire 08451 267859

Cat’s Moew, The

11 - 16 May 2011 Upstage Theatre Company The Cornerhouse Community Arts Centre Surbiton, Surrey 0208 390 9113

Cemetery Club, The 13 - 16 April 2011 Stage Door Theatre Company Windmill Theatre Littlehampton, West Sussex 01903 722224

Charley’s Aunt

11 - 16 April 2011 Tynemouth Priory Theatre Tynemouth Priory Theatre North Shields, Tyne and Wear 0191 292 9292

Cloud Bursting

09 May 2011 Easy Street Theatre Company Crucible Theatre Sheffield, South Yorkshire 07788 594133

Come On Jeeves

18 - 21 May 2011 Quarndon Amateur Dramatic Society Quarndon Village Hall Quarndon, Derbyshire 01332 840007


13 - 16 April 2011 Harlow Theatre Co Victoria Hall Theatre Old Harlow, Essex 01279 420062

06 - 08 May 2011 The Regis Players Felpham Village Hall Felpham, West Sussex 01243 584843

05 - 09 April 2011 Zodiac Amateur Operatic Society The Brindley Theatre Runcorn, Cheshire 0151 907 8360

17 - 21 May 2011 Nomad Theatre Nomad Theatre East Horley, Surrey 01483 284747

Crazy For You

06 - 09 April 2011 Devizes Musical Theatre Dauntsey’s School West Lavington, Wiltshire 01380 725965

Diary of Anne Frank, The 04 - 07 May 2011 Woodford Community Players Woodford Community Centre Woodford, Stockport 0161 439 7535

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast 12 - 16 April 2011 Bury St Edmunds Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk 01284 769505 30 April - 07 May 2011 Huddersfield Light Opera Company The Lawrence Batley Theatre Huddersfield, West Yorkshire 01484 430528 02 - 07 May 2011 Christchurch Theatre Club Loughborough Town Hall Loughborough, Leicestershire 01509 231914 17 - 21 May 2011 Brownhills & Bloxwich Musical Theatre Co The Lichfield Garrick Lichfield, Staffordshire 01785 715368

Edge of Darkness, The 14 - 16 April 2011 Portishead Players Somerset Hall Portishead 01275 843169

Fallen Angels

14 - 21 May 2011 Wilmslow Green Room Society Green Room Theatre Wilmslow, Cheshire 01625 540933


07 - 09 April 2011 Murton & East Musical Durham Theatre Group East Durham College Peterlee, County Durham 0191 526 2532 10 - 21 May 2011 Hinckley Concordia Operatic Society Concordia Theatre Hinckley, Leicestershire 07855 746520


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21/02/2011 11:08:56

Wdiary>>SHOWdiary>>SHOWdiary>>SHOWdiary>> Fiddler on the Roof

12 - 16 April 2011 Leamington & Warwick Musical Society Royal Spa Theatre Leamington Spa, Warwickshire 01926 334418 12 - 16 April 2011 Studley Operatic Society The Palace Theatre Redditch, Worcestershire 01527 525699 12 - 16 April 2011 Lewes Operatic Society Lewes Town Hall Lewes, East Sussex 01273 480127 13 - 16 April 2011 COS Musical Theatre Hawth Theatre Crawley, West Sussex 01293 553636


31 May - 04 June 2011 Scarborough & District Light Opera Society YMCA Theatre Scarborough, North Yorkshire 01723 506750

Full Monty, The

11 - 16 April 2011 West End Operatic Society The Journal Tyne Theatre Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear 0191 262 2342 25 - 28 May 2011 The Hastleons White Rock Theatre Hastings, East Sussex 01424 462288


12 - 16 April 2011 Oxted Operatic Society Barn Theatre Oxted, Surrey 01883 712241


05 - 09 April 2011 Willenhall Operatic Society Dormston Mill Theatre Dudley, West Midlands 01902 607355 19 - 23 April 2011 Falkirk Operatic Society Town Hall Falkirk, Stirlingshire 01324 636663

Gondoliers, The

11 - 14 May 2011 Salisbury Amateur Operatic Society The City Hall Malthouse Lane Salisbury, Wiltshire 01722 434434

Guys and Dolls

12 - 16 April 2011 Blackwood Musical Theatre Society Miners Institute Blackwood, Gwent 01495 227206

16 - 21 May 2011 Cirencester Operatic Society The Barn Theatre Cirencester, Gloucestershire 01285 657110

13 - 16 April 2011 Blackpool Operatic Players The Grand Theatre Blackpool, Lancashire 01253 700912

24 - 28 May 2011 Crowthorne Musical Players Wilde Theatre South Hill Park Bracknell, Berkshire 01344 762380

18 - 23 April 2011 Ripley & Alfreton Musical Theatre Company Alfreton Grange Arts College Alfreton, Derbyshire 01773 745082

Gym & Tonic

26 - 30 April 2011 Bath Operatic & Dramatic Society Theatre Royal Bath 01225 425509

Gypsy Baron, The

03 - 07 May 2011 Port Talbot & District Amateur Operatic Soc The Princess Royal Theatre Port Talbot, Neath 01639 896228

04 - 09 April 2011 Swanage Musical Theatre Company Mowlem Theatre Swanage, Dorset 01929 422229

04 - 07 May 2011 West Kirby Light Opera Society Floral Pavilion Theatre New Brighton, Wirral 0151 666 0000

12 - 16 April 2011 TAB Operatic Society Civic Hall Brierley Hill, West Midlands 07722 417962

10 - 14 May 2011 Whitby Area Musical Theatre Company Pavilion Theatre Whitby, North Yorkshire 01947 604855

18 - 23 April 2011 Louth Playgoers Society Riverhead Theatre Louth, Lincolnshire 01507600350

07 - 09 April 2011 Chipping Norton Amateur Operatic Society The Theatre Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire 01608 642350

Half A Sixpence 06 - 09 April 2011 Curtain Up Youth Theatre Maesteg Town Hall Maesteg, Bridgend 01656 732855 12 - 16 April 2011 Rutland Musical Theatre Uppingham Theatre Uppingham, Rutland 01572 822702 13 - 16 April 2011 HEOS Musical Theatre Questors Theatre Ealing, Middlesex 0208 567 4075

Bournemouth Little Theatre Club - Cider With Rosie | 73

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21/02/2011 11:09:19


PADOS - Sherlock Holmes & The Mystery Of Mallen Hall Half A Sixpence

22 - 30 April 2011 Sidmouth Arts Club Operatic Society Manor Pavilion Sidmouth, Devon 01395 5152749 10 - 14 May 2011 East Berkshire Operatic Society Wilde Theatre Bracknell, Berkshire 08454 505301

Hello, Dolly!

12 - 16 April 2011 Ruislip Operatic Society Winston Churchill Theatre Ruislip, Middlesex 07905 932366 12 - 16 April 2011 Worcester Operatic & Dramatic Society Swan Theatre Worcester, Worcestershire 01905 423809 10 - 14 May 2011 Solihull Theatre Company Solihull Arts Complex Solihull, West Midlands 0121 704 6962

12 - 16 April 2011 Rose Hill Musical Society Guidhall Theatre Derby, Derbyshire 01159 258717

13 - 16 April 2011 Rochdale Phoenix Opera Society Heywood Civic Centre Heywood, Lancashire 01706 842785

26 - 30 April 2011 Tunbridge Wells Operatic & Dramatic Society Assembly Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells, Kent 01732 355363

HMS Pinafore & The Zoo

09 - 14 May 2011 Bromsgrove Operatic Society Artrix Arts Centre Bromsgrove, Worcestershire 01527 871426

10 - 14 May 2011 Herne Bay Operatic Society The Gulbenkian Theatre Canterbury, Kent 01227 769075

Iolanthe - In Concert

17 - 21 May 2011 Poole & Parkstone Productions Lighthouse Poole, Dorset 07947 061839

12 - 16 April 2011 Dore Gilbert & Sillivan Society The Unversity of Sheffield Drama Studio Sheffield, South Yorkshire 01142 680773

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying 18 - 20 May 2011 Briton Ferry Musical Theatre Company Community Hall Briton Ferry, Neath 01639 768819

I RemeMber You

14 - 16 April 2011 Curtain Up Amateur Dramatic Society Memorial Hall Freshwater, Isle of Wight 01983 752956

High Society

Importance of Being Earnest, The

HMS Pinafore


24 - 30 April 2011 Dumfries Musical Theatre Company The Brigend Theatre Dumfries 01387 253383

06 - 09 April 2011 SIMADS St Ivo Ventre St Ives, Cambridgeshire 01480 300409

18 - 21 May 2011 The Oxted Players The Barn Theatre Oxted , Surrey 01883 724852

11 - 16 April 2011 Tenbury Amateur Operatic Society The Regal Theatre Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire 07837 381537

23 April 2011 S & J Productions The Victoria Hall Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire 01477 500443

Jack the Ripper 04 - 07 May 2011 Loughton Operatic Society Lopping Hall Loughton, Essex 01992 575502

10 - 14 May 2011 Larbert Amateur Operatic Society Dobbie Hall Larbert, Stirlingshire 01324 626140

Jesus Christ Superstar

04 - 09 April 2011 Glastonbury & Street Musical Comedy Soc Strode Theatre Street, Somerset 01458 441442 05 - 09 April 2011 Bristol Amateur Operatic Society The Victoria Rooms Bristol, Bristol 01179 622588

King and I, The

12 - 16 April 2011 Haywards Heath Operatic Society Clair Hall Haywards Heath, West Sussex 01444 455440 03 - 07 May 2011 Hartlepool Stage Society Town Hall Theatre Hartlepool, Cleveland 01429 890000

Kiss Me Kate

26 May - 04 June 2011 Hartley Arts Group Victoria Hall Hartley Wintney, Hampshire 07956 412826 06 - 09 April 2011 Nomad Theatre in assoc. w/ Bookham Light Opera Nomad Theatre East Horley, Surrey 01483 284747


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21/02/2011 11:09:33

Wdiary>>SHOWdiary>>SHOWdiary>>SHOWdiary>> Knutsford Little Theate International One Act Play Festival

Little Night Music, A

Me and My Girl

La Cage Aux Folles

Little Shop of Horrors

09 - 14 May 2011 Kinver Light Operatic Society Edgecliff High School Theatre Kinver, South Staffordshire 01384 836963

01 - 09 April 2011 Knutsford Little Theatre Knutsford, Cheshire

09 - 14 May 2011 Walmsley Church A O D S Walmsley Parish Hall Theatre Bolton, Greater Manchester 01204 305812

11 - 16 April 2011 Teesside Musical Theatre Company Middlesbrough Theatre Middlesbrough, Cleveland 01642 815181

04 - 09 April 2011 Coleshill Operatic Society Solihull Arts Complex Solihull, West Midlands 0121 603 9781

31 May - 04 June 2011 Eastbourne Operatic & Dramatic Society Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne, East Sussex 01323 412000

12 - 14 May 2011 Rayleigh A O & D S Mill Arts and Events Centre Rayleigh, Essex 01268 771751


Mack and Mabel

12 - 16 April 2011 Telford & District Light Operatic Players Oakengates Theatre @ The Place Telford, Shropshire 01952 382382

10 - 14 May 2011 Lyme Regis Operatic Society The Marine Theatre Lyme Regis, Dorset 01297 443382 30 May - 04 June 2011 Saundersfoot Footlights Amateur Music Theatre The Regency Hall Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire 01834 813128

19 - 23 April 2011 Dalziel High School FPA Easter Egg Club Clyde Valley High School Wishaw, North Lanarkshire 01698 322867

05 - 09 April 2011 Maidenhead Musical Comedy Society Desborough Suite Town Hall Maidenhead, Berkshire 01628 624798

Les Miserables (School Edition)

19 - 23 April 2011 March & District AOS Neale-Wade Community College March, Cambridgeshire 01354 692 048

07 - 09 April 2011 Halifax Thespians Halifax Playhouse Halifax, West Yorkshire 01422 365998

Magic Flute, The

Mikado, The

19 - 23 April 2011 Norfolk Youth Music Theatre Norwich Playhouse, Norwich, Norfolk 01603 612580

Likely Lads, The

23 - 28 May 2011 Tynemouth Priory Theatre North Shields, Tyne and Wear 0191 292 9292

01 - 02 April 2011 Opera Integra St John’s Church London 0208 579 4143

Men Of The World

30 March - 02 April 2011 Chinnor Musical Theatre Chinnor Village Hall Chinnor, Oxon 07983 666314

11 - 16 April 2011 Boston Operatic Blackfriars Arts Centre Boston, Lincolnshire 01205 363108 03 - 07 May 2011 Eastbourne G & S Society Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne, East Sussex 01323 41200 10 - 14 May 2011 Ramsgate Operatic Society Granville Theatre Ramsgate, Kent 01843 591750

Music Man, The

07 - 10 April 2011 Kingsbury Amateur Operatic Society KAOS Theatre, Kingsbury, Middlesex 08450 204240

My Blessed Uncle 13 - 16 April 2011 Tiverton Dramatic Society The New Hall, Tiverton, Devon 01884 259734

My Boy Jack

10 - 14 May 2011 Halifax Thespians Halifax Playhouse Halifax, West Yorkshire 01422 365998

My Fair Lady

20 - 23 April 2011 Kings Lynn Operatic & Dramatic Society Kings Lynn Corn Exchange Kings Lynn, Norfolk 01553 764864

AAODS - Fiddler On The Roof | 75

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SHOWdiary>>SHOWdiary>>SHOWdiary>>SHOWdia MY FAIR LADY

24 - 28 May 2011 Chester Operatic Society William Aston Hall Theatre Wrexham, North Wales 01978 293293 30 May - 04 June 2011 Beeston Musical Theatre Group Duchess Theatre Long Eaton, Derbyshire 01159 280980

Of Mice and Men

26 - 28 May 2011 Bonkers Theatrical The Masque Theatre Kettering, Northamptonshire 07857 186005


06 - 09 April 2011 Sounds Musical Theatre Company The Davenport Playhouse Plymouth, Devon 01752 510934 17 - 21 May 2011 Haverhill & District Operatic Society Haverhill Arts Cerntre Haverhill, Suffolk 01440 714140 25 - 28 May 2011 Petersfield Theatre Group Festival Hall Petersfield, Hampshire 01730 893328


05 - 10 April 2011 Whitley Bay Operatic Society Playhouse Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear 08452 772771 12 - 16 April 2011 The Western Opera Players Redgrave Theatre Bristol, Bristol 07800 886891 18 - 23 April 2011 Crediton Operatic & Dramatic Society Queen Elizabeth Community College Crediton, Devon 01363 777968 10 - 14 May 2011 West Bromwich Operatic Society Grand Theatre Wolverhampton, West Midlands 0121 550 3667

18 - 21 May 2011 The Elizabethans Amateur Operatic Society Town Hall Ossett, West Yorkshire 01924 263618

03 - 07 May 2011 Stafford & District Operatic Society The Gatehouse Theatre Stafford, Staffordshire 01785 222834

18 - 21 May 2011 Richmond Operatic Society The Georgian Theatre Royal Richmond, North Yorkshire 01748 825252

03 - 07 May 2011 Lancaster Amateur Dramatic & Operatic Soc Grand Theatre Lancaster, Lancashire 01524 64695

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Plazza Suite

20 - 23 April 2011 Giffnock Theatre Players Eastwood Park Theatre Giffnock, East Renfrewshire 0141 577 4970

One For The Road 04 - 09 April 2011 Wheatsheaf Players Co-Operative Theatre Wyken, Coventry 024 7645 6179

Our House

19 - 23 April 2011 Northavon Youth Theatre Company Armstrong Hall Thornbury, South Gloucestershire 01454 884154

Out Of Order

01 - 09 April 2011 Haxey Amateur Dramatic Society Haxey Memorial Hall Doncaster, South Yorkshire 01427 754294

Pajama Game, The

18 - 21 May 2011 Maidenhead Operatic Society Norden Farm Centre for the Arts Maidenhead, Berkshire 01628 671589

Pirates Of Penzance, The 26 - 30 April 2011 Scarborough Musical Theatre Company YMCA Theatre Scarborough, North Yorkshire 01723 506750 26 - 30 April 2011 The Cotswold Savoyards Everyman Theatre Cheltenham, Gloucestershire 01242 572573

11 - 14 May 2011 Marsden Parish Church AODS Parochial Hall Marsden, West Yorkshire 01484 845311

Prepare to Meet Thy Tomb 07 - 09 April 2011 Avenue Theatre Sittingbourne, Kent 01795 471140

Producers, The 26 - 30 April 2011 Bristol St. Mary’s Players Redgrave Theatre Bristol, Bristol 01179 652303 17 - 21 May 2011 Brassneck Theatre Yeadon Town Hall Yeadon, West Yorkshire 01132 505011

Pyjama Game, The

03 - 07 May 2011 Woking Amateur Operatic Society Rhoda Mcgaw Theatre Peacocks Centre, Woking 01483 725779


12 - 16 April 2011 The ESNA Players Loughborough Town Hall Loughborough, Leicestershire 07989 787888


12 - 14 May 2011 Tenterden O & D S Tenterden Town Hall Tenterden, Kent 01580 241966

Rodgers and Hammerstein Concert, The 25 - 28 May 2011 Blackpool & Fylde Light Opera Company Lowther Pavilion Lytham St Annes, Lancashire 01253 658666

Scarlett Pimpernell, The 18 - 21 May 2011 Milton Musical Society Regent Centre New Milton, Hampshire 01202 499199

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers 12 - 16 April 2011 Long Eaton Operatic Society May Hall Trent College Long Eaton, Derbyshire 01332 874352

31 May - 04 June 2011 Sutton Coldfield Musical Theatre Company Lichfield Garrick Lichfield, Staffordshire 01543 412121

Shell Seekers, The

05 - 09 April 2011 The Wellingborough Technical Players The Castle Studio Wellingborough, Northamptonshire 01933 270007

Singin’ In The Rain

04 - 07 May 2011 Broxbourne Theatre Company Broxbourne Civic Theatre Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire 01992 441946 18 - 21 May 2011 Wimbledon Light Opera Society London Oratory School Theatre Fulham, London 0208 679 2492

Slipper and the Rose, The 12 - 16 April 2011 York Musical Theatre Company York Theatre Royal York, Yorkshire 01904 623568

Snake in the Grass 23 - 26 April 2011 Brookdale Theatre Bramhall, Cheshire 0161 439 0505

Iver Heath Drama Club - Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs


diarymar11.indd 8

21/02/2011 11:10:16


Ballywillan Drama Group Disney’s Beauty & the Beast Something’s Afoot 19 - 21 May 2011 The Little Theatre Donnington Telford, Shropshire 01952 407959

Sorcerer, The

10 - 14 May 2011 The Three Towns Operatic Society St Joseph’s Hall Leigh, Lancashire 01942 883722 19 - 20 May 2011 Haverfordwest Operatic Society Torch Theatre Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire 01646 695267

South Pacific

05 - 09 April 2011 Ashton-Under-Lyne Operatic Society Oldham Coliseum Oldham, Greater Manchester 0161 456 6560

St Trinians

Sweet Charity

When The Lights Go On Again

Tempest, The

04 - 07 May 2011 Wembley Operatic Society Winston Churchill Theatre Ruislip, Middlesex 07983 103444

12 - 16 April 2011 Garforth Musical Society The Miners Welfare Hall Garforth, West Yorkshire 01132 863534

29 - 30 April 2011 Guildford Opera The Electric Theatre Guidlford, Surrey 01483 444789

Three Harold Pinter Plays 14 - 16 April 2011 Lion & Unicorn Players The Studio, Petersfield, Hampshire 01730 821491


05 - 14 May 2011 Chelmsford Theatre Workshop The Old Court Theatre Chelmsford, Essex 01245 606505

18 - 21 May 2011 HDOS Young Idea Hertford Theatre Hertford, Herts 01992 531 500

Under Milk Wood

State Fair

24 - 28 May 2011 STC Musical Society Dolman Theatre, Newport , Gwent 07854 848749

06 - 14 May 2011 Lane End Players Lane End Village Hall High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire 07706 426320

Sweeney Todd

Wedding Singer, The

30 May - 04 June 2011 Arran Music & Drama Club Brodick Village Hall Brodick, North Ayrshire 01770 601225

19 - 21 May 2011 West Chiltington Dramatic Society West Chiltington Village Hall West Chiltington, West Sussex 01798 815122

04 - 07 May 2011 Corby Amateur Theatre Society The Core Theatre Corby, Northamptonshire 01536 470470

12 - 16 April 2011 Garforth Musical Society The Miners Welfare Hall Garforth, West Yorkshire 01132 863534

Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, The

17 - 21 May 2011 Abertillery Amateur Dramatic & Musical Soc Metropole Theatre Abertillery, Gwent 01495 322510

Whistle Down the Wind 11 - 16 April 2011 Chelmsford Young Generation Amateur Musical Society The Cramphorn Theatre Chelmsford, Essex 01245 606505

12 - 16 April 2011 Forest Players Freshfield Hall Forest Row, East Sussex 01342 323 640

Woodseats Goes to the Movies 25 - 28 May 2011 Woodseats Musical Theatre Company Dronfield Civic Hall Dronfield, Derbyshire 01246 290499


Wizard of Oz, The 10 - 14 May 2011 Garstang Theatre Group Arts Theatre Garstang, Lancashire 01995 603551


31 May - 04 June 2011 Ariel Theatre Co The Hawth, Crawley, Sussex 01293 553636

Wizard of Oz, The (RSC Version)

24 - 28 May 2011 Melody Makers Benllech Community Hall Benllech, Anglesey 01248 853263

05 - 07 May 2011 Retford & District Amateur Operatic Society Majestic Theatre Retford, Nottinghamshire 01777 706866 P: 01273 481004 | 77

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21/02/2011 15:07:43

the last word


Wisteria Cottage Garrick Lane

My dear ones! I’m back and in fine fettle, whatever that may be. The Torquay ozone did me the world of good and it was a pleasure (mostly) to have one’s food appear at 7pm on the dot. I say, mostly, because when I stayed here before, the landlady saw me with the bible of play titles and concluded that I was learning French. I saw no benefit in explaining to someone who thought that an Ayckbourn was another word for pain in the neck – though come to think of it she could have a point. Perhaps I should have explained, because she persisted in scattering phrases such as ‘silver plate’ and murky bucket’, as she served what she called my ‘day journey’. And one day, she journeyed too far and presented me with a plate of snails!! I was forced to plead vegetarian, well my dears, it might have been frogs’ legs next. My researches though, gave scant inspiration for a new production. I note that lovely Mr Amateur S saved me the embarrassment of a blank page and spoke of the current scarcity of mtageoney in our amateur world. Well, I have to say, money is not a problem to the players of Campton Royal, what cannot be begged, borrowed or permanently acquired, we do without. My real problem is scarcity of actors. How can I possibly mount a quality production with my current pool, or should that be quagmire, of talent? To remind you, I have, at a pinch, three men. Jeff, who learns his lines and only falls over the furniture when he removes his bi-focals. Then there is the Reverend Wilson, who will not take part in anything even vaguely non-Christian and, in a small part only, Darren, who is happier with a hammer than a Hamlet. Then the ladies..... Vera, who, if you remember, thought The Cherry Orchard was a book on gardening, Kath who is, well, Kath, Marjorie who has the grace of Dumbo and Nikki, who will disappear at the drop of a hat to work at some warehouse in London. So, dear friends, anyone know a play with one male lead, no bad language, very little furniture and three sedentary parts for women? I am at my wits end. Yours in desperation,

Doris Richardson-Hall PS. Mr Amateur Stage did not mention the exorbitant price of sherry.


doris.indd 2

21/02/2011 12:43:54

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21/02/2011 13:25:28

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New York 800.463.8990 Los Angeles 800.222.2867 21/02/2011 13:28:15

Amateur Stage Magazine March 2011  

Monthly magazine for amateur theatre enthusiasts.

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Monthly magazine for amateur theatre enthusiasts.