ISSUE 10 • winter 2010
ME AND MY GIRL
Meet the backstage stars who make it all happen
We hear all about the young dance stars living a dream
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Welcome WINTER 2010
Welcome Contact us: The snow fell early in South Yorkshire this year, bringing a festive feel to the outdoors and whetting the anticipation for what promises to be a fine theatrical season over the next few months. In this edition we go behind the scenes at The Crucible theatre in Sheffield where the production team were putting the finishing touches to the classic musical Me and My Girl. We talk to one of the stars of the show and hear about the work that goes into the show. The production, which takes place in England in 1937, stars Daniel Crossley as Bill, Miriam Margolyes as the Duchess and Jemima Rooper as Sally. The show features classics such as The Sun Has Got His Hat On, Lambeth Walk and of course the title track Me and My Girl. Jemina tells us of her nerves at taking on an all-singing, alldancing number. But the stars aren’t just on the main stage, they are backstage also. So we talk to Dan Franklin, the production manager, without whom there would scarcely be a show at all, and to Sally Wells, the wardrobe manager who makes sure all the characters look the part and Claire Murray, the marketing and sales director, who spreads the word about the treats in store. And we speak also to the plucky dance troupe from the Jay Bee Theatre School in Barugh Green, Barnsley, who were thrilled to be offered the chance to take part in Dick Whittington and his Cat at the Lamproom Theatre this year. On top of that we have our usual events page, putting you in the picture about what you can see and do over the next few months, our readers’ survey, with the chance to win free travel on bus, rail and tram in South Yorkshire for one whole year! And we tell you how to get to see these great shows using public transport. We hope you enjoy your read!
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Happy reading! The Go! Team
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Tony Belshaw Becky Nevin & Darryl Clements Juliet Shaw Rebecca Sheppard Jack Eames
contents WINTER 2010
This issue... REGULARS 5 News
Our round-up of the latest public transport news in South Yorkshire.
8 What’s on
Find out what’s going on around the region this winter, and how to get there.
Enter our reader competition for your chance to win a great prize!
18 Reader survey
Give us your feedback and you’re in with a chance to win a year’s free travel on South Yorkshire’s public transport
FEATURES 10 Behind the scenes
The Crucible prepares for a musical extravaganza.
19 Last stop
A South Yorkshire dance school prepares for curtain up.
Look out for our expert travel tips for the best way to get around by Bus , Train or Tram . For further travel tips call Traveline on 01709 51 51 51 or visit travelsouthyorkshire.com 4
THE UK GOVERNMENT has announced that it is to continue with its predecessor’s intention to build high speed rail beyond London to the West Midlands, and eventually to both Manchester and Yorkshire. But crucially this high speed network is to be a Y-shaped one, which takes in South Yorkshire, rather than a reverse S-shaped network, which would have by-passed it. The Y-shaped network will see High Speed 2, the name given to the high speed line beyond London, run to Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, before branching into two forks just to the north, with one line heading to Manchester, and the other branching to the East Midlands and South Yorkshire and onto Leeds in West Yorkshire. The high speed track to Leeds will then link up with the existing East Coast Main Line just south of York. The high speed line will also free up capacity on the Midland Main Line from Sheffield to London and the East Coast Main Line from Edinburgh, through Doncaster, to London. Consultation on the plans is due to begin next year, but building work is not expected to begin until at least 2015. Good transport links are inextricably linked with economic growth and so a High Speed Rail link to Yorkshire will open up the county to greater economic opportunities. The country will effectively shrink, unlocking possibilities in a way that the arrival of rail back in the 19th Century or the building of the motorways in the 20th Century. As the Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond told the Conservative Conference in September, it means a businessman could leave his house in Leeds at 7.30am for a meeting in London at 9am. A report by consultancy Arups, commissioned by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, has already put the longterm benefits of a high-speed rail link serving Sheffield and Leeds city regions as high as £3 billion.That would mean around £34 million of additional business benefits each year and thousands of additional jobs too. David Brown, SYPTE Director General, said: “It is wonderful news that South and West Yorkshire are to be included in the extended high speed network beyond the capital. “We have been making our argument very strongly that the combined economies of South and West Yorkshire and the East Midlands make
South Yorkshire remains on track to join the High Speed Rail revolution. up a big part of the wealth generated in Engand so it is vital that they continue to be competitive in the decades to come. The high speed line through
South Yorkshire will ensure that we retain that competitiveness.”
£2.5m investment in double decker buses for Sheffield
Fifteen new double decker buses costing £2.5m have been launched by Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter to spearhead three new routes in Sheffield. These are the first double deckers
Stagecoach has used on a cross city route. The new vehicles are 79 (Ecclesfield – City Centre – Batemoor) 87 (High Green – City Centre – Lowedges; and the Supertram Link 2 (Malin Bridge – Stannington). Visit stagecoachbus.com for details
In safe hands with Travel South Yorkshire TRAVEL SOUTH YORKSHIRE’S latest safety campaign has seen a dramatic 21.9% reduction in the number of incidents of shelter damage in Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield. The campaign, which ran between April and June of this year, was carried out in conjunction with all five major football clubs in South Yorkshire and aimed to raise awareness of the improved security of public transport facilities in the region. A competition was run as part of the campaign, which
saw two football fans celebrating a different kind of victory after winning Sheffield United goodies. Joe McAssey and Stuart McKeith won a signed shirt and match tickets after supporting the campaign. Legendary former player and Blades Ambassador Tony Currie joined SYPTE’s Crime & Disorder Reduction Manager Daryll Broadhead to present the prizes. Daryll said: “Although incidents are very rare, TSY is committed to ensuring the safety of all passengers and staff, and
is working with South Yorkshire Police to combat any issues that may arise. “We are delighted that this campaign has seen a reduction in both anti-social behaviour and shelter damage across all four districts, and would like to thank all Sheffield United fans who have supported our ongoing aim to provide safe travel around the region.” Following the success of this campaign, TSY continues to reassure customers that their
safety is of the utmost importance by highlighting the number of CCTV cameras used in interchanges and on buses. As the dark nights draw in, these cameras reassuringly monitor activity 24/7 to keep passengers safe, and also aim to deter any would-be trouble makers. To report a public transport related crime please contact either Traveline on 01709 51 51 51 or South Yorkshire Police on 0114 2202020.
NEWS WINTER 2010 Better buses for Stocksbridge
FIRST has made changes to the bus network in Sheffield following a network review of passenger levels. This has seen a route change to the 11A Stannington - Sheffield City Centre (Evening and Sunday service) to include Deer Park Road
and Wood Lane following customer requests. The 11A route will start and finish at Angel Street in the City Centre. Services between Sheffield and Stocksbridge see the introduction of a new direct and limited stop X57 service, which helps speed up bus journeys by up to ten minutes. This revised
service network will ensure the majority of customers still benefit from a half-hour daytime service. Further details can be found by visitng firstgroup.com/southyorkshire or call Traveline on 01709 515151
Birthday buzz for FreeBee THE ROTHERHAM FREEBEE celebrated its first anniversary by smashing the passenger target set when it launched October 2009. The free bus service, which carries passengers around Rotherham town centre and to Parkgate, has been a resounding success, and is now carrying an average of up to 9,000 passengers every week. Market Research has shown that the FreeBee is leading to people shopping more in both the Town Centre and Parkgate, which is great news for Rotherham. David Young, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) Director of Customer Experience said: “We are delighted that the service has been such a big success in its first year. FreeBee offers a free and attractive service to local people, and provides good links to the town’s thriving markets, shops and events, as well as to
the complementary retail offer at Parkgate. It has made a really positive contribution to Rotherham and we hope it will continue to do so.” The service is funded by SYPTE and operated by Powells, who are both members of the Travel South Yorkshire partnership. The environmentally-friendly buses used were the first of their kind in the town. 86% of customers say they are very satisfied with the service, which runs every 12 minutes from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm. The service starts at stand C3 in Rotherham Interchange, runs a loop round the town (with a stop at the markets) and heads to Parkgate, before returning to the interchange. For more information on FreeBee, visit travelsouthyorkshire.com/ freebee or call Traveline on 01709 51 51 51
A festive treat for Sheffield travellers OLD SAINT NICK has been spreading Christmas cheer early this year as Sheffield City Council announce that festive bus services will be available throughout the holiday. Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) are bringing the people of Sheffield bus services on both Boxing Day and New Year’s Day after the success of services in recent years. On Boxing Day Stagecoach will operate buses between 9:30am and 6:30pm and this year there will be even more services on Boxing Day 45 buses compared with 34 last year.
Councillor Ian Auckland, Cabinet Member for Transport & Streetscene at Sheffield City Council said: “This will be the third year in a row that we have brought festive bus services to the people of Sheffield. It’s hard to remember that before then the city went fifteen years without any public transport over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. This year we have been able to extend the service even further again to make sure the people of Sheffield can get around the City over Christmas and New Year.” Sheffield will also be one of the very few cities in the United Kingdom where bus services run
on New Year’s Day. 45 Stagecoach buses (compared to 21 last year) will be running to routes across the city on New Year’s Day services between 9:30am and 6:30pm. The same services will be running on both Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and a maximum adult single bus fare of £1 will be charged on both days. Concessionary fares will continue to apply. For the first time Meadowhall shopping centre will be open on New Year’s Day. Councillor Auckland added: “Both football teams have fixtures on the festive bank holidays. United at home on Boxing Day and Wednesday on New
Year’s Day.” Supertram services will also be running on both Boxing Day and New Year’s Day to give even further travel opportunities in Sheffield. David Brown, SYPTE Director General, said: “The festive period is a time when people like to travel to see friends and family and we hope these services will provide them with a public transport option to make their journey. That way they can enjoy a glass of cheer when they arrive!” Full timetables are available online now. To find out more about travelling in and around Sheffield go to travelsouthyorkshire.com
Dec 2010-Feb 2011 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Rotherham Civic Theatre
Award winning Spillers Pantomimes introduces Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs live from the Civic Theatre in Rotherham. The performance features a largely professional cast including television personality Darren Day, Stephanie Dooley as Snow White and Lee Latchford Evans of pop group Steps. 3 December to 9 January, Civic Theatre, Rotherham. Tickets from £10. Call 01709 823621 or 823640 for more information. Bus all services to Rotherham Interchange - 5 mins walk to Civic Theatre. Train Rotherham Central (up to 3 per hour) - 10 mins walk.
Aladdin - Doncaster Civic Theatre
Doncaster Civic Theatre will play host to the mesmerising tale of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp brought to you in true pantomime style. With a guest appearance from the Sugar Puffs own Honey Monster (if that’s not enough I don’t know what is) and staring the hilarious Jimmy Cricket this should be as entertaining as it is bizarre. 16 Dec - 6 Jan, Doncaster Civic Theatre, Doncaster. Call 01302 831388 or visit drfc.co.uk for more details. Bus all services to Doncaster Interchange - 10 mins walk Train all services to Doncaster Station - 10 mins walk.
JLS at Motorpoint Arena
Pop heartthrobs JLS will be giving fans the opportunity to see them perform live from the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena as part of their successful ‘Arena Tour’. Boy band fanatics will no doubt be racing to see this one! 17 December, Sheffield Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield. Tickets £25.54 & £31.67. Visit motorpointarena.co.uk for more details. Bus service 69 runs every 20 mins Mon-Sat until 6pm; every hour evenings and Sundays. Tram Yellow route runs every 10min until 6pm, then every 20mins.
Swan Lake - Sheffield Lyceum
Tchaikovsky’s famous Swan Lake will be arriving at Sheffield’s Lyceum theatre courtesy of distinguished Russian Choreographer Victor SmirnovGolovanov and his Moscow City Ballet. For those of you closet fans whose experience of ballet is limited to Billy Elliot this is a must see. 11 - 15 January, Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield. Tickets from £16. Call 0114 256 55 67 or visit arenaticketshop.co.uk Bus all services to Sheffield city centre. Train all services to Sheffield Rail Station. Tram all routes (Castle Square).
The 66th English Open
The 66th English Open offers table tennis fans the chance to see the world’s stars compete in what players voted as the best competition in the world. Taking place at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, the English Open offers spectators the chance to witness competitors from over 50 nations battle for the various titles on offer. The Open has only taken place twice in the last decade and so this prestigious tournament is not to be passed up lightly. 26-30 January, English Institute of Sport, Sheffield. Visit eventsheffield.co.uk for more information. Bus service 69 runs every 20 mins Mon-Sat until 6pm; every hour evenings and Sundays. Tram Yellow route runs every 10min until 6pm, then every 20mins.
WHAT’s ON WINTER 2010 For further travel tips call Traveline on 01709 51 51 51 or visit travelsouthyorkshire.com
John Bishop - Doncaster Dome
The Dome at Doncaster Lakeside welcomes arguably the best young stand up in Britain in John Bishop. Star of numerous panel shows and television stand ups, Bishop is held in high esteem and is not to be missed. 28 January, The Dome, Doncaster. Tickets £20.00. Visit eventsheffield.co.uk for more information. Bus
services 25, 55, 57, 58, 91 & 99 run every 8 mins, Mon-Sat until 6pm, then every 30 mins.
More stand up is available at Barnsley Civic Assembly Room but this time in the form of vintage comedienne Jenny Éclair. Éclair has had huge success in the past and she will be hoping that her new material can re-ignite her illustrious career; this will no doubt be a show to remember. 4 January, Barnsley Civic Assembly Room, Barnsley. Tickets £18.50. Visit barnsleycivic.co.uk for more information Bus all services to Barnsley Interchange - 5 mins walk Train all services to Barnsley Station - 5 mins walk
The Saturdays - Sheffield City Hall
The Saturdays, currently the biggest girl group in the UK, are set to grace the City Hall, Sheffield. Anyone with teenage daughters will identify this as an ideal Christmas gift and given their recent success, tickets will be much sought after. The five stunners are expected to perform all tracks off their recent album ‘Headlines’ and will no doubt have the audience entranced with their energetic performance. 11 January, Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield. Tickets £24.00. Call 0114 256 55 67 or visit arenaticketshop.co.uk Bus all services to Sheffield city centre (Church Street/High Street) Tram all routes (City Hall).
Annie the Musical at Doncaster Dome
Annie the Musical is something which I am sure plenty of you will be interested in; even those of us who won’t admit it. The Doncaster Dome hosts the event and at the very least it promises to be entertainment which the entire family will enjoy. 16 January, The Doncaster Dome, Doncaster. Tickets £24.50. Visit allgigs.co.uk for more information. Bus
services 25, 55, 57, 58, 91 & 99 run every 8 mins, Mon-Sat until 6pm, then every 30 mins.
Jimmy Webb - Sheffield City Hall
The only artist ever to receive Grammy awards for music, lyrics and orchestration. Jimmy Webb wrote five top ten hits in a 20 month period in the late 1960’s. 9 February, Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield. Tickets £24.00. Call 0114 278 9789 or visit sheffieldcityhall.co.uk Bus all services to Sheffield city centre (Church Street/High Street) Tram all routes (City Hall).
Behind the scenes at the Crucible his Christmas, Sheffield Crucible stages its first musical since its £15 million redevelopment, which was completed in February 2010. Me & My Girl, starring veteran stage actor Daniel Crossley as Bill Snibson, Bafta award winning Harry Potter star Miriam Margolyes as the Duchess and popular stage and screen actor Jemima Rooper as Sally Smith, will open at the Crucible in December and run until the end of January. When the audience members take their seats for what is set to be a sell-out run of performances, the musical numbers will be performed to perfection by the cast ensemble, the costumes will be pressed and starched, and the whole production will be timed with military precision. And when the curtain goes up and the audience is transported to pre-war England for two hours charming musical escapism, they’ll be witnessing the culmination of more than 12 months of hard work. Go! had behind the scenes access to the people who make sure that the show will always go on and found out just what’s involved in bringing a large musical production to the stage.
I’m normally dealing with 15 different productions each at a different stage of planning Dan Franklin
FEATURE GRIN UP NORTH
Production manager Dan Franklin joined the Crucible as its production manager when the theatre reopened after its renovation in February 2010. His role sees him in charge of up to 15 shows at any one time, with planning for new shows starting well over a year in advance. Dan’s the man who keeps everything together, ensuring that the technical aspects of the show come together with the requirements of the director, designer and performers to create a memorable, sell-out show. Dan explains to Go! how he manages it all... “The main skill you need in my role is the ability to multi-task – you’ve got so many things in your mind that need to be dealt with. As well as working on multiple shows at a time, I’m working with a range of people: the creative team, the technicians and a whole lot of production people. With Me & My Girl, there’s a team of around 70 people involved including the cast, plus we have freelance help so there’s a lot of liaising to be done!” “I do tend to be pulled in different directions so need to be very organised, and make sure I schedule time to listen to all the different groups of people who need my input. Balancing the resources in a production like Me & My Girl is a major part of what I do, because we need to make sure that the budgets are spent in the best way possible to create the vision the director and 12
designer want for the production while making sure that it’s all feasible and practical.” To give you an idea of how long that takes, we’re currently discussing the concepts for next year’s Christmas show – so that’s well over a year in advance. By summer the vision will be more formalised and the practical aspects of set building and costume design can start to take shape, but there’s a huge amount of planning to do before we can get to that stage. When the director and choreographer start working with the cast in the rehearsal room, then we can really hone the set design and make sure it’s suitable for every aspect of the performance.” “Because we have shows on all year round, I’m normally dealing with 15 different productions, each at a different stage in planning. So we’re now gearing up for the first showing of Me & My Girl, and seeing it become the polished production it will be, but I’m also working with the other designers, directors and creative teams of the 14 other productions in planning. That’s where the multi-tasking comes in!” “The run up to Me & My Girl has gone pretty smoothly. At the moment, the set build is almost finished and is starting to be painted, wardrobe’s right in the thick of things with fittings and finishing touches, and it’s really starting to take shape. It’s a fantastic set, very, very large, and the whole production is very big for anything outside of the West End. Half the play’s set in
The main skill you need in my role is the ability to multi-task London and half in a country house, so we have two very large, amazing sets – and look out for a few tricks!” Luckily, with Me & My Girl we haven’t had any hairy moments, although I have been in charge of productions where we’ve done an audience preview and the show just hasn’t worked, and we’ve had to re-build sets overnight and re-write whole sections of a play with 24 hours to the opening night. But luckily, that’s what the previews are there for – I’d rather work through the night to make the changes rather than open a show I wasn’t happy with.” The most nerve-wracking moment for me is the technical rehearsal, where we put everything together for the first time: the sets, lighting, orchestra, the cast in all their costumes, and run through the whole performance. That’s when it all comes together for me, and ultimately that’s why I do this job; I love theatre, and to finally see more than 12 months of hard work culminate in a fantastic show makes all the late nights more than worth it.”
FEATURE behind the scenes Sally Wells
Wardrobe manager Sally Wells has been Crucible’s wardrobe manager for six years, and is in charge of producing costumes for the 23 cast members in Me & My Girl. With an average of around eight costumes each, that’s no easy task! Little wonder Sally and her department set to work on a production up to five months before the curtain goes up. Sally explains how the wardrobe department copes with the demands of a spectacular period production like Me & My Girl. “We’re always incredibly busy – especially right now, with such a huge production to cater for. We occasionally hire some of the costumes, and we do outsource some work to freelance costume makers, but the majority of the costumes and accessories such as wigs are done by the in-house team; we have a core team of six.” “When the production is decided, the director will choose a designer to create the whole look of the production, and then around four or five months before it’s due to open we’ll have meetings with the production department to discuss the structure of the set, the props and lighting and so on. I can then go away and come up with some designs and a budget and submit that to the production manager.”
“When the designs are approved we can start buying fabrics and researching the type of accessories we need to buy, but obviously we can’t actually start making any of the costumes until the cast members arrive for the first rehearsals around three months before the show starts. Then we can measure up. From the first day of rehearsal to the first technical performance – when the whole production is performed on stage with lighting, costumes and props – it’s a huge concentrated effort to make sure everything’s done on time.” “Me & My Girl is set in 1936 and obviously we wanted to be true to the period, so we make sure we only use fabrics that would have been available then, and we study the colour themes that were prevelant at the time. Because it’s a jolly musical piece set in summertime we’ve got a lovely bright pallet, with lots of golds and lilacs in satin fabric. Also it’s about the gentry of the time, so we were really able to go to town on the fabric to get that high society feeling, with lots of floral prints.” “Every day’s different, we’re always shopping for accessories, researching, accounting and making sure we’re within budget, then dealing with issues that come up during rehearsals – for example, the longer, fuller dresses not being practical for the more energetic dances.” “The week before a show we have lots of late
The week before a show we have lots of late nights - deadlines can’t be moved, so we just have to make sure we meet them nights – deadlines can’t be moved, so we just have to make sure we meet them! And we might suddenly be told we need to create an extra costume at the last minute, or they may look completely different on stage to the way they looked in the fitting room and just not work. We have to be prepared for anything, and make sure that the finished products are the best they can possibly be.” “But when we see that first performance with all the components in place it’s such a satisfying feeling to know that all our hard work has resulted in such an amazing production. And when the audience is in, and the curtain goes up, we know then that we can sit back and enjoy the show.”
FEATURE BEHIND THE SCENES
Marketing and sales director While nails are being hammered into sets and seams being sewn into costumes, the marketing team is working hard to make sure that when the curtain goes up the seats will be filled with an eager audience. Claire Murray has been marketing and sales director with Sheffield Theatres for just over a year, and along with her seven colleagues in marketing and nine in the box office, she whips up the publicity that will ensure the theatre-going public buy the tickets that turn the hard work behind the scenes into a successful production. Claire tells Go! how she and her team ensure that theatres are filled with an appreciative audience. “We started talking about Me & My Girl back in March. I get involved with productions very early into the planning stages because we need to work out how we’re going to present the show and put out the first lot of information. We start by reading the script and discussing the tone of the piece, and our in-house artistic director is invaluable in giving us a theme to work from. The director for each show is also chosen very early in the planning stages, so we can all get together and come up with the concept we want to promote.” “The first publicity material was issued in May; 14
When the cast is finalised around four months before the production the process evolves a lot more quickly, and we can start issuing cast photographs and really develop the theme.” “The promotion for Me & My Girl was made a little easier for us in that the audience were telling us what the first musical was going to be. The challenge is finding something we know they’ll love!” “But as well we have to produce something that would excite us as an organisation. We want to really wow people with the production, whether it’s the visual aspect or the power of the writing. We’re constantly thinking about the people who come to our theatres and working out what we can offer that will both challenge and excite them and us.” “Me & My Girl has a huge creative team around 70 people including the cast – and we need to make sure that everyone feels part of the creative process. My team in marketing and at the box office need to be able to really get the feel of the show across to the audience through the promotional material and in conversations with people calling the box office, so it’s very much a case of everyone working very closely together to present an accurate image of what we’re doing.” “We do get a lot of feedback from our audiences, the overwhelming majority of it very positive, but it’s a fact of life that not everyone can like everything and as long as
we’re happy that we gave a fair representation of our production, then we can stand by it and be proud of what we’ve done. I’d rather people were passionate about a show one way or another, rather than just leave the theatre feeling indifferent. We use the feedback we get from audiences to constantly tweak our campaigns, we’d never just decide on something six months in advance and stick to it rigidly regardless. If we’d done a big piece of marketing that didn’t generate the response we expected then we’d sit down with the box office team and ask them what people were feeding back to them; our audiences will call and discuss shows with us, and we really appreciate that and do respond to it. We have gone to quite extreme lengths to promote shows in the past – I have been known to don a Postman Pat or Noddy costume in the past! For Me & My Girl, the cast appeared at the Christmas lights switch-on in Sheffield, so we really looked forward to that – we got to dress up in the wonderful costumes and hand out leaflets and stickers in the crowds. We do love working with the cast of our shows, and Me & My Girl in particular has been a wonderful show to promote because the cast have been so forthcoming in giving interviews and talking to people. Miriam Margolyes has loved going out and reading to children, and because she has the Harry Potter connection that’s made
a very positive impact and got a lot of people interested. Although we’re still right in the thick of promotion for Me & My Girl, we’re already looking at what we’re doing for next year – in fact, I’m planning for shows in 2012! Next year will be particularly busy for us as it’s our 40th anniversary, so we’ve got some very special shows planned. In the meantime, we’ve got the press night for Me & My Girl to look forward to. That’s the first milestone we’re working towards, so it’s our big night. We’ll have seen the production before a couple of times, but press night is special for us. We sit and watch it with them, gauge the reactions, and then we can start to relax. And yes, I can confirm that we will definitely have a little celebration after the show!”
Jemima Rooper Leading lady
No matter how much work goes on behind the scenes, it’s the stars of the show that make it what it is and Me & My Girl has a star-studded cast of veteran actors from stage and screen. Leading lady Jemima Rooper, who plays Sally Smith, has been acting since she was just 12. Now 30, she has as many TV roles to her name, including
George in family favourite the Famous Five, Nicki in the critically acclaimed teen drama As If and, more recently, Amanda Price in ITV’s prime-time costume drama Lost in Austen. No stranger to theatre, Jemima has appeared in several leading roles. Me & My Girl will be her first musical performance, and she confided in Go! about her nerves in taking on such an energetic role. “I’d heard about Me & My Girl, and remember it being on in London when I was really young and seeing the posters on buses, but I didn’t know the story of the show or any of the music. When I read the script I howled with laughter all the way through, then listened to the soundtrack and realised that I knew some of the songs, and that’s when I decided I really wanted to do it. The audition was one of the scariest things I’ve had to do in my career. I had to sing and dance, neither of which I’ve done in public for about 15 years. Then I had to read again for the producers, it was all very intense. Luckily Anna McMahon, the director, was absolutely lovely. I was praying that I would get the part and she made me feel likeI’d done a really good job, but you never know what the outcome will be – luckily, it was the right one! I auditioned back in July, so it’s a long process. I found out I’d got the part in August, and then had a couple of very nerve-wracking months where I had to show off my very rusty dancing
I read the script and howled all the way through skills in front of a very talented cast. I’m not a trained dancer and didn’t go to drama school or anything, I just did tap lessons when I was much younger, so to perform in front of such a hugely talented group of people was terrifying. I’ve done a few tap lessons since I’ve been in Sheffield just to brush up on a few basic things, so that’s helped too. My boyfriend’s been to see me and we’ve wandered round Sheffield and explored it all – it’s a great city. I do miss my cats though! Me & My Girl is quite a long run – two months altogether – and I’ll be living in Sheffield for the whole of it, but I do get a couple of days off at Christmas so I can go home and spend it with my family. It’s much more civilised than some runs can be, when you just can’t arrange anything else because there’s so little time between shows. Obviously with Me & My Girl there’s all the singing and dancing to rehearse too, which is completely new to me but so much fun. And then I’ve got the audience to think about! I keep having a recurring dream where it’s the opening night and the music starts and I don’t move or open my mouth and everyone’s just staring at me, waiting for me to do something. When you get to the stage where the production’s starting to come together, and you’re watching the cast do full numbers in rehearsals, and you see your costumes it’s just wonderful. The first time Sally, the wardrobe manager, showed me what I’d be wearing I got goosebumps – the dresses are just amazing. You really appreciate just how much work is going on to pull everything together. I’m really excited to be doing Me & My Girl. It’s a real physical challenge for me, and it’s a challenge in that it’s a completely different genre of work for me. But it’s a show that will hopefully entertain people and make them smile. With the way things have been lately, people deserve a bit of cheering up and hopefully Me & My Girl will do just that. It’s certainly made me happy.”
11, 11a, 12, 14, 17, 17a, 81, 82, 45, 46, 46a, 69, 505, A1, 51, 51a, 20, 20a, 73, 83, 97, 98, 72, 75, 76, 88, 5, 22, 10, 25, 25a, 43, 56, M20, 4, 6, 6a, 30, 52, X30, 32, 41, 42, 44, 44a, 49, 120, 123, 181, 252, 253, 285, 293 and the FreeBee service. Train all services to Sheffield Rail Station and then a five minute walk. Tram Castle Square tram stop and then a two minute walk.
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2. When did work begin on the production?
3. How far have incidents fallen as a result of TSY’s safety campaign?
1. What part is Jemima Rooper playing in Me and My Girl?
4. Which dance school is involved in Dick Whittington at Barnsley’s Lamproom Theatre? 5. How many children take lessons at the school? The answers to these questions are in the magazine somewhere - get them right and you could win:
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LAST STOP DANCE AWAY
dance away Their tender years belie a determination to bask in the limelight. We talk to the dance stars of tomorrow
anto season is in full swing, and for hundreds of years children across the UK have enjoyed the garish, largerthan-life productions so synonymous with the Christmas season. With audience participation a major part of the pantomime experience, most of us will remember the joys of joining in with the cast, shouting “Oh no he isn’t” and “He’s behind you!” with childish glee. For some lucky children, though, the participation amounts to much more than an audience retort to the pantomime villain. Joining the soap stars for their annual foray into the magic of pantomime performance are the supporting chorus of children; the young dancers who bring such innocent delight to the show.
And these dancers aren’t stage-school professionals; the majority of productions invite local dance schools and their pupils to take part in their shows. Dancers from Jay Bee Theatre School in Barugh Green, Barnsley, have been appearing alongside stars of the stage and screen in panto at Barnsley’s Lamproom Theatre for ten years, and it’s an accolade all the 130 children taking lessons at the school hope to achieve. This year, 26 of the girls were thrilled to be offered roles in Dick Whittington and His Cat and the chance to entertain families throughout the Christmas season. Julie Burgin is the school’s principal. She explains: “All the children absolutely love the school’s involvement with the Lamproom’s pantomime. Every year when we hold the
auditions there’s a huge amount of excitement throughout the school, and it’s all very friendly rivalry over who’ll get the roles. Unfortunately they can’t all take part, but we do have two teams of children who split the shows between them, so we’re able to offer roles to at least 20 of them.” Work starts on the panto in September, when Lamproom’s theatre manager Phil Shepperd briefs Julie on the production and they discuss routines and the number of dancers they’ll need. “From that, I’ll work on the choreography, and then together Phil and I will hold auditions with the girls, from the junior group who are aged seven to 11 through to the senior girls who are aged between 12 and 19” says Julie. When the lucky cast has been assembled rehearsals start in earnest but Julie is careful to WINTER 2010
LAST STOP DANCE AWAY ensure that the girls’ welfare is considered first and foremost. “They all love taking part, but we are extremely careful to make sure that they don’t work too hard,” she explains. “We rehearse three times a week for about six weeks before the production starts, and then there are 46 performances of the show itself, usually two perfomances a day.” To make sure the very strict rules regarding children performing in public and the hours they can work are observed Julie chooses two groups of girls, with each group alternating daily to ensure the girls get plenty of rest between shows. “We are incredibly disciplined when it comes to what we expect of the children,” says Julie. “Of course, they absolutely love taking part and if they had their way they’d do every single show! But we’re very thorough about making sure the children are incredibly well looked after. “We register every performance with the council in Barnsley and ensure that children don’t arrive or leave any earlier or later than they’re supposed to, and that all the chaperones who work with them are CRB checked. It’s something we take incredibly seriously, because the main focus for the children should be that they are having fun, not going home exhausted after a performance.” The intimacy of the Lamproom provides an ideal setting for children taking part in the performance to experience the buzz of live theatre. “You really get a fantastic atmosphere in the Lamproom,” says Julie. “It’s an amazing venue, and the children in the show and the children in the audience gain a huge amount of pleasure from every performance. There’s always a lot of audience participation in pantomime, and having that experience in such a wonderful venue gives the children an amazing experience that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.” Dick Whittington and His Cat runs at Barnsley’s Lamproom Theatre from Saturday December 11 and until January 2. Tickets are £12 for adults, £11 for concessions, £40 for a family and £10 for groups of 10 or more. Call 01226 200 075 to book. The Jay Bee Theatre School is based in Claycliffe Business Park, Cannon Way, Barugh Green Road, Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
92, 92a, 93, 93a, 95, 95a, 96, 96a. all services to Barnsley Rail Station.
Julie Burgin surrounded by her young stars
Under 18s travel to panto for free with Barnsley mi card Under 18s can travel to the panto, get around town to do their Christmas shopping and take advantage of all the leisure on offer around Barnlsey this Christmas with completely free travel on public transport. mi card allows under 18s to travel free around Barnsley, so anyone planning to take a trip to the Lamproom from within the borough can do so without the journey costing a single penny. And as well as giving free travel on public transport, the mi card entitles the holder to free swimming at Barnsley Premier Leisure swimming pools and can also be used
as a library card, giving under 18s the freedom and independence to enjoy their leisure time at no cost to them or their parents. Anyone under the age of 18 and resident in the Barnsley borough can apply for a mi card. You can pick up application forms from school or your local library. Card holders can travel for free between 9am and 9pm Monday to Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday. So there’s no excuse to miss out on the Christmas pantomime fun – grab your mates and your mi card and enjoy the show! The Lamproom Theatre in Barnsley is at Westgate.
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