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TicketSource Ltd

TicketSource Ltd

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TicketSource Launch Social Distance Feature for Safer Events Post Lockdown

Press release: 8th June 2020

Cardiff-based online ticketing platform, TicketSource, has launched a new social distancing feature for seating plans to help event organisers and theatres deliver safer events post-coronavirus lockdown.

In what is thought to be a world-first for any ticketing platform, the new feature provides event organisers with the option to automatically block out the seats surrounding a customer's booking, ensuring audience members are kept at a safe distance from one another during a performance.

TicketSource Founder and CEO, Simon Wilsher, explains: "By introducing the social distancing feature to our platform, event organisers now have the ability to determine the number of adjacent seats to block out for each completed booking. The result is the creation of a socially distanced bubble around the ticket holder, providing them with additional reassurance during these uncertain times.

Event organisers, in particular the arts and theatres, are facing challenging times ahead if they are to deliver safe performances following the introduction of social distancing restrictions. Complementary features like this are welcomed by event organisers such as Sarah Gent from The Witham Hall Theatre:

"We closed our doors in March and we are still currently closed. To have a built-in feature would help us plan and explore how we can fit people safely into our space. Being able to get our events back up and running safely and prudently would make a huge difference to us financially. I think it’s a really positive move and really appreciate the response from TicketSource to help support venues get through this difficult time. We can’t wait to welcome people back for arts events.

Adam Nichols from The Maltings Theatre agrees: "We can’t do anything in the theatre until we’ve solved this social distancing problem, so the impact of a feature like this will be very significant. The more we can safely maximise our capacity whilst ensuring our customers feel safe and confident about booking, the more viable it is for us to be able to reopen the theatre sooner.

"We want to help our event organisers get back to business as quickly and safely as possible," said Simon, "Being able to react quickly to the changing climate is one way in which we can provide greater flexibility to our organisers and help ease the pressure of the situation.

To sign up for a TicketSource account www.ticketsource.co.uk/signup

Posted on 08/06/2020

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[ Music in Pune ]Native Music on Nukkad Cafe's Live sessions this week!

May 2020
Deepak Sinha

Nukkad Cafe is starting an online program, called as "Native Music". The program is an initiative to bring forward n...

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Posted on 25/05/2020

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April 2020
Deepak Sinha

Bengaluru based dancer and movement artist Pia Bungalow is offering these classes during lock down! Do check them ou...


Posted on 16/04/2020

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TicketSource Ltd

TicketSource Ltd

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TicketSource Up to date with event cancellation refunds

Press release: 29th March 2020

We want to send our thanks to all event organisers who have cooperated and followed our guidance on cancelling their events affected by the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We're pleased to confirm that we are up to date with refunds to customers of all events cancelled through the TicketSource dashboard.

If you have not yet notified us of your cancelled or postponed event then please take a moment to read the updated guidance below.


If you know now that your event has not, or will not be going ahead then we would urge you to cancel the event in your dashboard (via the Events > Cancel Event menu option).

Cancelling the event will trigger an email to all of your customers, providing them with clarity and reassurance in these uncertain times. It will also enable us to ensure that customers receive their ticket and booking fee refunds in a timely manner.


If you intend to postpone your event to a later date (but do not currently have a confirmed date for the event), we would ask that you modify your event name to include the word "POSTPONED" (via the Events > Modify Event menu option) You should also keep your customers informed of the postponement and rescheduled date (when available) by using our customer contact feature (via the Customers > Contact Customers menu option)If you need any assistance when cancelling or postponing your event then please get in touch with our customer service team at support@ticketsource.co.uk

As advised in our earlier email, the terms and conditions outlined in our Customer Purchase Policy oblige us to refund all customers of cancelled events, and customers of postponed events where they have indicated that they are not able to, or choose not to attend a rescheduled date. Unfortunately, we cannot release funds as customer donations under these circumstances.


If you are looking to raise funds for your organisation via donations, we would recommend you take a look at one of the many excellent online fundraising services available (conducting a web search for "fundraising services" will provide you with lots of options).

Thanks for your cooperation and understanding at this time.

The TicketSource team

To sign up for a TicketSource account www.ticketsource.co.uk/signup

Posted on 29/03/2020

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Champak Studio: An artist's nest in Mumbai!

Champak Studio Opening its doors to a whole new world of creative thinking, meaningful artistic expression and enticing talent, Champak Studio has arrived like a much needed refreshing breeze of fresh air in the busy city of endless dreams, Mumbai.

See the full article here www.rasaaurdrama.com

Posted on 21/03/2020

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Cressrelles - Our service to you during Coronavirus pandemic

Dear Friends,

We are so saddened to see all the drama Festivals and normal productions having to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. We know how much effort has gone in to them and how devastating this must be for you all. Naturally, we are glad to do our bit to help. Any societies who were planning to perform our plays but have had to cancel scheduled performances, we will be happy to either defer the licence to a date of your choosing or offer our usual refund terms.

If you would like to consider any of our plays for your next production, we are still offering free-for-approval-purposes pdfs of all our plays. Whilst I am still able to access the office, I can scan in any title you request. If I have to work from home, I will only be able to provide you with pdfs of those already available. That will still be a few hundred plays – plenty of reading material to keep you occupied over the next few weeks!

We would like to wish you all the very best, stay well, look out for those in greater need than yourself and keep the “ghost light” burning for the return of amateur theatre as soon as possible!


Download free copies of all our catalogues of plays and theatre textbooks from: http://www.cressrelles.co.uk

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cressrelles

Simon Smith - Cressrelles simon@cressrelles.co.uk
Cressrelles Publishing Company Limited

Posted on 20/03/2020

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TicketSource Ltd

TicketSource Ltd

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TicketSource waives fees for coronavirus event cancellations

Press release: 16th March 2020

TicketSource, the online ticketing platform, has suspended its handling fees for customer refunds resulting from events cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus concerns. All affected customers will be refunded the purchase price of their tickets including booking fee.

"We understand that having to cancel an event is an organiser's worst nightmare," explained Terry Rosoman, Head of Marketing. "But, if it has to happen, we want to make the process as straightforward as possible."

TicketSource anticipates difficult times ahead for event organisers if public gatherings are scaled back or cancelled to help contain the spread of the virus. To help ease the financial impact of cancellations, TicketSource is waiving its £1 refund handling fee per transaction until further notice.

“We exist to help strengthen communities through events,” said Rosoman, “and this is one way we can help communities to stay resilient.”

Event organisers are encouraged to contact TicketSource’s friendly and experienced customer support team by telephone, email or online chat for further advice and information.

and to sign up for a TicketSource account www.ticketsource.co.uk/signup

Posted on 16/03/2020

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One Lyric poetry on World Book Day at Gyaan Adab Centre!

March 2020
Deepak Sinha

March is the month of books with the World Book Day celebrated worldwide on the 5th of March this year! And All Publi...


Posted on 03/03/2020

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Qissa Kothi's latest production is a research into dialects and simple devised theatre!

March 2020
Deepak Sinha

Romeo Ravidas, a young farmer’s son, from the chamar community, loves riding his horse in his village Dumari, Bihar. ...

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Posted on 03/03/2020

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Photostory of Goshtarang and Junoon Theatre in an artistic collaboration in Mumbai!

March 2020
Deepak Sinha


Posted on 03/03/2020

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Celebrating the spirit of the legendary Krishna Sobti around Delhi!

March 2020
Shubha B

An author for whom the act of writing was nothing less than the act of engaging with history, with language…with life...


Posted on 03/03/2020

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TicketSource Ltd

TicketSource Ltd

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TicketSource Launches Community Prize

Press release: 11th February 2020

Community groups can win £1,000 for their next event in a new competition sponsored by TicketSource, the online ticketing platform.

“At TicketSource, we know how local events help communities come alive,” said Terry Rosoman, Head of Marketing. “We want to recognise and reward an event organiser who brings the greatest benefit to their community, and whose next event will be most enriched by the £1,000 prize.”

Organisers of events of all shapes and sizes are welcome to apply – from village hall cinema to Bonfire Night fireworks, events will be judged on the value they add to their community in relation to their size and scope.

The competition is open to registered charities and not-for-profit groups that have a current paid event listed through TicketSource or have organised paid events through TicketSource in the last two years.

Applications are open from Monday 2 March to Monday 30 March. All eligible events will go forward to an online public vote, which runs from Monday 6 April to Sunday 3 May. Entrants are welcome to encourage their supporters to vote and ensure their event makes the final shortlist of the ten most popular entries. A panel of judges from TicketSource will choose which event from the shortlist most deserves the £1,000 prize, and the winner will be announced on Monday 11 May.

TicketSource helps organisations to deliver events that bring communities together by providing a cost-effective and easy-to-use online ticketing platform with dedicated customer support.

More information on the TicketSource Community Fund can be found here: www.ticketsource.co.uk/community-event-fund

and to sign up for a TicketSource account www.ticketsource.co.uk/signup

Posted on 12/02/2020

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Banbury Cross Players

Banbury Cross Players

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Banbury Cross Players

If you have come across any of the publicity material for Banbury Cross Players’ forthcoming production of Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn and you’ve never heard of Nell Gwynn, you may well be wondering about the significance of the oranges. If you have heard of Nell Gwynn, you will be more than familiar with the legend that she was a fruit-seller in London in the 1660s and it was her … “oranges” … that caught the eye of that most Merry of Monarchs, Charles II. What you may not know is that she was one of the first women on the English stage. Her entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica gives an excellent clue to her character.

Nell Gwynn, original name Eleanor Gwynn, (born 1650, London, died 1687, London), English actress and mistress of Charles II, whose frank recklessness, generosity, invariable good temper, ready wit, infectious high spirits, and amazing indiscretions appealed irresistibly to a generation that welcomed in her the living antithesis of Puritanism.

She also, quite clearly, appealed to Charles II, becoming his mistress in 1669. On his deathbed Charles is purported to have said “Don’t let poor Nelly starve”. He also, quite clearly, appealed to her. She bore him two children and remained faithful to him until her death.

Jessica Swale’s exhilarating play is labelled “superbly funny … a wonderfully layered celebration of theatre”, and pays homage to this enticing individual. Director, Clare Lester, pays tribute to her cast and production team, highlighting the “great camaraderie” and the “interactive creativity” that has been evident during the rehearsal process.

So chase away your winter blues and grab yourself a ticket for this “deliciously bawdy” tale of the actress who bewitched the king.

Nell Gwynn opens at The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, OX16 5QE on 12th February 2020 and runs until 15th February 2020. Curtain up is 7.30pm.

Tickets are available from The Mill Box Office on 01295 279002 or online

Visit BCP's website for more details of this and other productions this season.

We look forward to seeing you!

Photographs © Jim Muller Photography

Posted on 20/02/2020

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Banbury Cross Players

Banbury Cross Players

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Banbury Cross Players

Click above to watch the "Nell Gwynn" cast in Rehearsal

There’s nothing quite like a rehearsal room on a chilly, damp Sunday afternoon in January … for lifting the spirits. At least that’s what I discovered as I joined the cast of BCP’s forthcoming production of Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn.

The play charts the rise of Restoration heroine Nell Gwynn from her roots in Coal Yard Alley to becoming Britain’s most celebrated actress – winning the heart of King Charles II along the way. Premiering in 2015 at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the play transferred to the West End in 2016 and won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. It is a bawdy, raucous and warm homage to a woman truly ahead of her time – one of the first female actresses on the stage.

As BCP’s cast gathered for the first time since their last pre-Christmas rehearsal, the camaraderie was evident. Not an easy thing to achieve with a cast of 19. Nell has certainly sparked the interest of Banbury’s acting fraternity. As the actors huddled around coffee mugs or grappled with rehearsal shoes, skirts and corsets, there was a great deal of banter. Something you might expect where members of the cast have known each other for a long time but this cast is made up of an exciting mix of experienced, young, BCP long-timers and complete newcomers.

The air of apprehension in the room was, I discovered, because the rehearsal was predominantly set aside for choreography. Led by the highly experienced Sharon Green, the afternoon was like watching a masterclass. The team were taken from zero to hero in a little under two hours. Coupled with an additional singing rehearsal from skilled Musical Director Kieron Galliard, the afternoon was certainly entertaining. The cast proved (to mangle one of the lyrics slightly) “they could dance and they could sing”.

Click the link in the video to see the cast in action. Licencing restrictions prevent sharing the music at this stage so if you’re curious what they sound like you’ll need to buy a ticket. And on that front, I’d just add that the Portuguese scene is hilarious - worth the price of the ticket itself!

Nell Gwynn opens at The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, OX16 5QE on 12th February 2020 and runs until 15th February 2020. Curtain up is 7.30pm.

Tickets are available from The Mill Box Office on 01295 279002 or online

Visit BCP's website for more details of this and other productions this season.

We look forward to seeing you!

Linda Shaw

Posted on 09/01/2020

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TicketSource Ltd

TicketSource Ltd

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TicketSource Reveal Exclusive Insights Into UK Theatre Trends

Press release: 2nd January 2020

Aladdin Takes Number One Spot For Most Performed Theatre Production

The online event ticketing platform, TicketSource, reveals that, for the second year running, Aladdin is the most performed theatre production in the UK, rising a massive 23% compared to the previous year. The most popular theatre production to attend however is Jesus Christ Superstar, with 202 tickets sold per performance.

The report which analyses over 1.5 million tickets transactions from 12,500 amateur and professional theatre performances sold in the last year highlights theatre industry trends such as:

• Most Performed Productions
• Most Popular Productions
• Most Performed Genre
• Top Referral Sources
• Average Ticket Price
• In-House v Online Bookings
• Seasonality

A key highlight of the report is the growing importance of event organisers using online methods to sell and promote their events, raising 3% to a total of 63% of ticket purchasers preferring to buy tickets online rather than in-house.

Online promotional methods such as Facebook also overtook more traditional methods to become the second most effective way of promoting events in the last year.

Terry Rosoman, Head of Marketing at TicketSource said that the report clearly shows that more event organisers are having to adapt to newer online technologies to increase awareness and ticket sales for their events.

“With the increasing amount of competition from other events, the report emphasises the importance of selling and promoting your event tickets online, which can be ready and available for purchase as soon as the event is live.”

Click here to view the full TicketSource UK Theatre Event Report 2019.

and to sign up for a TicketSource account www.ticketsource.co.uk/signup

Posted on 03/01/2020

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Natural Theatre School

Natural Theatre School

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The Natural Theatre Company

The Natural Theatre Company

The Natural Theatre Company Returns to Bristol For Its Fiftieth Birthday

The Natural Theatre Company, which was formed in Bath in 1970, is famed for its interactive pop-up comedy performances which take place all around the world. Last year they launched their Adult Theatre Skills Course in Bristol for the first time, and this Spring they are returning to the city after popular demand with not one, but two courses on offer.

The classes, which are suitable for participants of all abilities, offer an alternative to traditional performance techniques: students will be taught the Naturals’ famous trademark style of comedy acting, including improvisation skills, physical performance and street theatre. They will get the chance to wear costume from the company’s extensive collection and learn about classic theatre pieces from their 50-year history as a performance company.

After the huge success of their original Performance & Theatre Skills course, which is returning to the Southville Centre in January, the Natural Theatre Co. are launching their follow-on course Creating & Devising, which will be held at the Tobacco Factory Theatre’s Spielman Studio and is suitable for those who have acting experience and are looking to develop their skills.

“Amazing fun! A great theatre training foundation, great to meet new people and be allowed to just be me.” Adult Theatre School participant, Luke John Emmett

The evening classes are designed for anyone with an enthusiasm for performance, whether they would like to build self-confidence, have an interest in acting professionally, or want to start a new hobby and meet new people. Elle Roberts, Company Manager of the Natural Theatre Company, says:

“We started the Adult Theatre School with the aim of giving grown-ups a chance to have fun and de-stress after work in a supportive environment. We believe that having fun is just as important for adults as it is for children!”

The classes, which are taught by the Naturals’ professional actors, will take place every Monday night from 7:45pm – 9:45pm at the Southville Centre, and every Tuesday night from 8pm – 10pm at the Spielman Studio. There are also classes available at Natural Theatre HQ in Bath for adults and under 18’s.

Introduction to Performance & Theatre Skills
Cost: £95 for the 10-week term
Location: The Southville Centre, Beauley Road, Southville, Bristol BS3 1QG
Term Dates: Monday evenings from the 13th January – 23rd March (half-term break on the 17th February)

Creating & Devising Skills
Cost: £95 for the 10-week term
Location: The Spielman Studio, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Raleigh Road, Southville, Bristol BS3 1TF
Term Dates: Tuesday evenings from the 14th January – 24rd March (half-term break on the 18th February)

Posted on 18/12/2019

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Andy Hutchings

Survey for Performers

I'm a playwright based in Chester, currently working to improve my craft and continue developing as a writer. I'm currently doing a survey for performers in order get try and get a different perspective about what aspects of a role/production are desirable to performers. The questions are about what piques the interest of an am-dram or professional actor when they look at a potential script, and what turns them away from it.

The survey should take an individual 5-10 minutes to complete (depending how detailed their answers are), and is completely anonymous.

I would be very grateful to anyone that would help me spread the word and everyone that takes the time to fill in this survey.

The link to the survey is HERE

I intend to leave the survey open until 7th January 2020, and will have a write up of my results completed by the end of the month.

Posted on 18/12/2019

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The Kitchener-Waterloo Children's Drama Workshop

The Kitchener-Waterloo Children's Drama Workshop

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actOUT! - 3 Shows for its 25th Season

Disney’s 101 Dalmatians KIDS, – Based on the classic animated film, Disney's 101 Dalmatians KIDS is a fur-raising adventure featuring Cruella De Vil, Disney's most outrageous villain, and 101 of the most adorable heroes to set their paws onstage. With a high-spirited score and lovable characters, this stage adaptation is certain to charm and delight all audiences. ActOUT!’s production will run in April 2020 at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre, closing on April 3rd.

Pet owners, Roger and Anita, live happily in London with their Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita, stalwart dogs devoted to raising their puppies. Everything is quiet until Anita's former classmate, the monstrous Cruella De Vil, plots to steal the puppies for her new fur coat. The Dalmatians rally all the dogs of London for a daring rescue of the puppies from Cruella and her bumbling henchmen.

A spring show of the 2019-2020 season, actOUT!’s Disney’s 101 Dalmatians KIDS will feature performers ages 6-10 from Ayr, Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo under the direction of Amy Neufeld.

Disney’s 101 Dalmatians KIDS plays at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre (9 Princess St E, Waterloo, ON N2J 2H4) April 1-3, 2020; evening shows start at 6:30pm. Advance tickets are available at the website www.actoutkw.com or through www.ticketscene.ca. Large group bookings and queries tickets@actoutkw.com

Disney’s Frozen JR. – Frozen JR. is based on the 2018 Broadway musical, and brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life, onstage. The show features all of the memorable songs from the animated film, with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production. ActOUT!’s production will run in December at the Registry Theatre, closing on December 21st.

A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen JR. expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa.

When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen JR. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!

A December Musical of the 2019-2020 season, actOUT!’s production of Disney’s Frozen JR. will feature performers ages 10-17 from Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo under the direction of Anita V. Smith.

Disney’s Frozen Jr. plays at the Registry Theatre (122 Frederick St, Kitchener, ON N2H 2L9) December 18-21, 2019; evening shows start at 6:30pm. Advance tickets are available at the website www.actoutkw.com or through www.ticketscene.ca. Large group bookings and queries tickets@actoutkw.com

She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition – A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games. She Kills Monsters tells the story of high schooler Agnes Evans as she deals with the death of her younger sister, Tilly. ActOUT!’s production will run in February at the at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre, closing on February 22.

When Agnes stumbles upon Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, she finds herself catapulted into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was her sister’s refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ’90s pop culture, acclaimed playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

The actOUT! Advanced Actor production of the 2019-2020 season, actOUT!’s production of She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition will feature performers ages 13-17 from the Waterloo Region under the direction of Todd Vercoe.

She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition plays at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre (9 Princess St E, Waterloo, ON N2J 2H4) April 1-3, 2020; evening shows start at 6:30pm. Advance tickets are available at the website www.actoutkw.com or through www.ticketscene.ca. Large group bookings and queries tickets@actoutkw.com

Posted on 16/12/2019

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Banbury Cross Players

Banbury Cross Players

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Banbury Cross Players

The Thrill of Love - Rescheduled

In a slight case of deja vu (though not quite as deep as 1998, 2007 or 2012 this time) BCP are sad to announce the cancellation of their forthcoming production of Amanda Whittington’s The Thrill of Love due to flooding last week at The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury.

Following a meeting of BCP’s equivalent of the COBRA committee this weekend, the decision has been taken to reschedule the production to 25-28 November 2020.

If you have already booked a ticket (thank you!) The Mill will be in contact with you directly. If you are a BCP Gold Card Holder, you will still be able to use your vouchers for any of the forthcoming shows in our Season. If you have specifically purchased a BCP Gold Card for this production, you will be able to carry it forward to the rescheduled production in 2020. For any further queries, please email contactus@banburycrossplayers.org.uk.

Our regular Tuesday evening meetings will recommence at The Mill from 26th November.

Our thanks go to all who have come forward with offers of help during this week and to The Mill staff for their on-going clean-up work.

As a footnote, we are still on the lookout for a place to store two large items of scenery for the show so please get in touch if you think you may be able to assist.

We look forward to seeing you in February for Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn.

Visit BCP's website for more details of this and other productions this season.

Liz Riley

Posted on 19/11/2019

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TicketSource Ltd

TicketSource Ltd

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TicketSource have scoured the globe to reveal
the "Top Musical" in EVERY country of the world.

Using unique data gathered from Google Trends and Adwords*, we have found the top three most searched musical productions in every country*.

Hover over the countries in the World map to reveal the "Top Musical in that Country".

Top Musical by Continent

Splitting the top musicals by each continent, there is a clear worldwide divide between High School Musical, which is most popular in Asia, Africa and Europe, and The Lion King in the Americas, with Australia/Oceania bringing School of Rock into the top three.

Top Musical by US State

In the USA, international hit Wicked dominates the accolade of "Top Musical", with Shrek: The Musical and Chicago coming at number one in a few states each. Award-winning Menopause the Musical, somewhat surprisingly, pops up as the top musical in Nevada.

This Map Shows The Top Musical In EVERY World Country

Click on this map to go to the full article at www.ticketsource.us

The Top 100+ Musicals in the World

Using a unique index scoring system**, TicketSource has also predicted the 106 most searched for musical productions in the world, over the past 15 years.

Disney dominates the very top echelons, with first-place took up by Elton John's blockbuster The Lion King, with High School Musical coming in a close second, even though it's limited to junior performances. The legendary musical composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, sees his School of Rock production making up the top three.

Having been recorded in a whopping eight different languages, Notre-Dame de Paris is fourth on the list. Even though it failed to live up to the hype, particularly on the West End, it's clearly still popular amongst French speaking countries and Asia. The much-loved and well-travelled Cats completes the top five.

Despite its recent rise to world-wide popularity, Lin-Manual Miranda's phenomenon Hamilton doesn't have quite enough punch (at least yet) to break the top ten, coming in twelfth position behind musical stalwarts such as Wicked, Chicago, Les Misérables and Abba-inspired Mamma Mia!

You can find the "Top 20 Most Searched for Musicals" over the past 15 years in the league table graphic, with the full list of 106 underneath.

For more information https://www.ticketsource.us/blog/top-musicals-around-the-world

and to sign up for a TicketSource account www.ticketsource.co.uk/signup

Posted on 14/11/2019

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Banbury Cross Players

Banbury Cross Players

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Banbury Cross Players

Click above to watch the show trailer!


The Rehearsal Room is an odd kind of space. Chaos and concentration are happy bedfellows. For the actors it’s a safe space to develop their character whilst at the same time developing relationships with their fellow cast and crew members – people they will be very close to and rely upon heavily during show week. For the crew, it’s a military exercise requiring full concentration working through how the show will be managed, what needs to be where - and when - during the run. To be invited in is a particular privilege – one your roving reporter enjoyed recently to watch a rehearsal of BCP’s forthcoming production of Amanda Whittington’s The Thrill of Love.

The room at The Mill Arts Centre was replete with props and furniture, and the cast were rehearsing in (stylised black and white with the odd pop of colour) costume – something not always seen until closer to the show. It certainly added to the atmosphere. More of the atmosphere of this stylish production was added by the Sound Tech being on hand providing the multitude of repeating sound effects and under-cutting the action and dialogue with a sound track of emotive Billie Holliday songs.

By the end of the evening I was completely drawn in to the story that was unfolding. Each of the characters was being beautifully drawn before me. The stranger in the midst, Inspector Gale, with his dogged yet poetic determination to get to the truth; the excitable wannabe star, Vickie Martin; the hard-working, caring charwoman, Doris; Sylvia the hard-bitten grand-dame of Club-land with her effective staccato delivery, and finally the fragile yet aloof Ruth whose story this most definitely is.

All this just from the first act. I look forward to this production coming to the stage at The Mill Arts Centre and being enjoyed by a much wider audience than was room for in the rehearsal space. It really is a show “not to be missed”.

The Thrill of Love opens at The Mill Arts Centre on 20 November 2019, 7.30pm, and runs until 23 November 2019. Tickets are on sale now from The Mill Arts Centre Box Office on 01295 279002 or online.

A short Q & A session with director and cast follows the performance. A “behind the scenes” look at putting the production together and a chance to talk about the facts in the controversial and tragic case of Ruth Ellis.

Visit BCP's website for more details of this and other productions this season.

Posted on 11/11/2019

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10 questions with scriptwriter NEHA KARGETI on writing SUCHITRA KRISHNAMOORTI starring play EK HAAN!

August 24, 2019
Deepak Sinha

Panache Media has announced a new theatrical production titled Ek Haan starring seasoned actor and TV host Shekhar Suman and singer, actor, author Suchitra Krishnamoorti in the lead. The play is based on the story of the notorious life and times of the most influential writers of his time, Saadat Hasan Manto, showcasing the socio-political and emotional turmoil of the pre and post-independence era. RASA AUR DRAMA TIMES speaks to the writer in this interaction on writing the script for the MANTO play!

Q1.) Manto stories are so well known! Why should the audience listen and watch and watch MANTO stories again?

NEHA KARGETI: Manto’s work is a reflection of the soul of our society. It presents a clear picture of the world we are living in, without prejudice and bias, just like a mirror. Times change and so does the world, but the issues we are facing in today’s time are still the same: inequality, gender bias, religious hatred, hypocrisy, materialism, and division of the society based on prejudice, capital, power and religion. Manto’s stories touch the very nerve of the system we are a part of and provide a much-needed perspective. A perspective that is not only liberal and secular but also very human at the core! These stories are and will always be relevant. Manto’s voice needs to be heard..again and again..

Q2.) It seems that you have not adapted one single story of Manto, but many and with your understanding. Could you tell something on it! Which stories and maybe why!

NK: Manto’s writings have always been considered very serious and hard- hitting. This fact distracts us from the wide range and variety of his work. Randhir was sure, from the very beginning, of the three stories we have adapted. The objective was to include stories that are widely acclaimed and well known along with the ones that bring out a side to him that not many people are aware of. So, the main story (that is a blend of fact and fiction) brings out his personal ideologies and emotions, while the three sub-stories bring out three very different sides of his work: Toba Tek Singh explores the affect ‘partition of India’ had on people and the confusion and pain it caused, through the story of a mental patient in a Lahore asylum. Kali Shalwar explores the life and emotions of a prostitute, Sulatana, who has the same problems as any other woman or a man for that matter: financial difficulties, loneliness, love ,and betrayal. ‘Akal Dadh’ explores the monotonous life and arguments between a long-married couple that seems rather funny when you see it from an outer perspective. And finally, the climax (main story) reveals a side of him that is rather unknown.

Q3.) How long did it take to adapt the script?

NK: The first draft of the script took a few weeks of research and a few days of writing. However, it was a long process to reach the final draft from the first one, as ‘Ek Haan’ is not just an adaptation of Manto’s stories; its a fictional story starring Manto himself. So, everything that comes out of his mouth had to match Manto’s sensibilities. That was the biggest challenge. The script kept evolving as I kept getting more and more familiar with Manto. In fact, I did a final round of re-writing after the actors came on board.

Q4.) What are somethings writers could keep in mind during adapting/translating a work of literature? As the writer, Jerry Pinto once put it " Translation is like taking a ship loaded with salt across the sea, which is constantly eroding! Take as much as you can ." Any thoughts?

NK: The most important thing while adapting someone’s work is to first understand the very soul of it. A lot is lost in translation when you are actually ‘translating’. But when you are adapting something, you can always borrow the soul and use your own body and your own fresh perspective to present it to the world. Try to row a boat in a freshwater river rather than sailing a ship in the sea.

Q5.) So, Did one of you write the script separately and then put it together. Or together you sat and completed the script in one year!

NK:We wrote it separately and I then put it together after receiving Neeraj’s invaluable inputs through Randhir. In fact, I only got a chance to meet Neeraj on the day of our preview (first) show!

Q6.) Can both of you speak about your writing experience in more detail for Rasa Aur Drama Times readers?

NK: It was a wonderful and overwhelming experience. In fact, more than anything else, its been a great learning experience for me. I think it is very important for writers to read and understand other writers and their work. Thanks to Randhir, I got an opportunity to write a play on one of the most legendary writers the world has ever seen. While reading and researching Manto’s work and life, I feel I got one step closer to the ultimate craft of writing and the art of storytelling.

Q7.) What are the sources that you generally use while researching a literary script?

NK: The biggest source is Manto’s collection of short stories. Through his stories, Manto has said almost everything that he felt and experienced. The rest of the information comes from his old interviews, the writings of his friend ‘Ismat Chughtai’ and of course, many online news articles!

Q8.) Any tips on scriptwriting?

NK: Every story is different and there are a hundred different ways to express the same story. Hence, as a writer its important to be clear about what you want to say, how you want to say it and how can you make it as effortless as possible. Know that less is more, avoid spoon-feeding and always aspire to create something new and original! It is also essential to keep in mind the medium one is writing for: Cinema, digital platform, television or theatre, as different mediums require a different approach to writing.

Q9.) What creative freedom remains for the actors after a script is closed and frozen. As writers does it interest you?

NK: Yes, I was very deeply involved in the rehearsals and the preparation the actors went through for this play. Shekhar Sir’s impeccable command on the language and excellent sensibility proved out to be the biggest asset for ‘Ek Haan’. He is a perfectionist who doesn’t allow any loose ends in a script or performance so it keeps you on your toes both as a writer and as an actor. He sticks to the script and is always interested in understanding the writer’s perspective. Thus, when he improvises, even a small gesture has a deep meaning and a huge impact. On the other hand, Suchitra mam’s high-spirited attitude, her deep understanding of various emotions and her melodious voice, breathed life into the entire play! Her improvisations, especially in ‘Kali Shalwar’ and ‘Akkal Dadh’, added just the required quirk.

Q10.) What is writing to you in two lines! Rasa Aur Drama Times would love to hear that!

-Writing, for me, is a way to connect with my inner self; for my inner self to connect with the world; and for the world to connect with the divine!

Posted on 24/08/2019

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Banbury Cross Players

Banbury Cross Players

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Banbury Charities benefit from Theatrical Success

Banbury Young Homelessness Project have received a surprise donation of £500 from local theatre company Banbury Cross Players as a result of a win at the Lighthorne Festival of One-Act Plays.
BCP have taken part in the Festival since its inception in 2013 and, this year, were overall winners with their production of Mike Bartlett’s Contractions. Mike Bartlett is a prolific, award-winning writer across many genres including Doctor Foster and King Charles III. Contractions started life as a radio play and was then transposed for stage. Director, Chrissie Garrett, says of the play “It’s a dystopian piece, taking the audience through a roller coaster of a ride. It asks what lengths people will go to in order to conform. It demonstrates how big business could take over your life and, ultimately, be responsible for all decisions you make. I was convinced the first time I read the play it would a winner. I am delighted to have finally taken top honours at Lighthorne for BCP”.
Director of the Festival, Rod Chaytor, says “Banbury Cross Players were the very first group to sign up to the idea of a Lighthorne Festival when we first began to canvass quality local theatre groups back in 2012, and we will always be grateful for that initial support. They are one of only three teams to have entered every year since its inception in 2013. It was an absolute delight to see them take the Trophy this year and with a production which merited it, one hundred percent. The two actors performed their roles brilliantly. It was a great show. We are thrilled BCP have been selected for the National Drama Festival Association’s British All-Winners Finals and will be there to support them.”
The Prize at the Lighthorne Festival is the largest in Amateur competition and is shared between the winning group and a charity of their choice. Director Chrissie Garrett says “I had no hesitation in choosing BYHP. Our decision to support this local charity was quickly and easily made as both director and actors have worked alongside the staff and young people that BYHP support. We are so impressed with the dedication and work of this local charity that we want to enable it to reach even more vulnerable local young people.”
As a pre-cursor to the performance at Lighthorne (and also the Oxford Drama Network Festival in Abingdon), the cast and crew went to Adderbury Library where they performed a preview. “The play was very well received” says Chrissie, “and the audience engaged in a question and answer session afterwards. This proved very useful for the cast who were able to refine their performances in readiness for the two festivals”. Profits from the Preview performance were donated to FOCAL (Friends of the Community of Adderbury Library).

Liz Wingrove, Chair of FOCAL said “Contractions was FANTASTIC. With around 30 guests watching the two female actors unravel their extremely dark story-line, we were all mesmerised, not knowing which way this extraordinary drama would play out! 45 minutes of suspense with the added bonus of being able to discuss with the cast and director what we had just witnessed. Brilliantly performed by the actors.”
This wasn’t quite the end of the story for BCP and their production of Contractions. As a result of the win at Lighthorne, they were invited to perform at the National Drama Festivals Association All-Winners Final on a much-larger professional stage at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking, Surrey in July. Competing alongside 14 other winning companies from Drama Festivals nationally, BCP were delighted to come home with The Sydney Fisher Trophy – chosen by the backstage crew for the company they most enjoyed working with - as well as The Amateur Theatre Trophy Adjudicator’s Award for cast members Nicola Dixon and Almira Brion. Adjudicator Jill Colby, a member of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators, said “They both had to be so different, but also a team, working off each other, which they did brilliantly. It was impossible to separate the two actors. It had to be a joint award.” The awards were collected onstage on Saturday July 20 2019 by the play’s technician, Robin Williams, from the hands of NDFA Patron and theatrical knight Sir Derek Jacobi.

“This has been a fabulous team production” says Director Chrissie Garrett. “I am so proud of what members of BCP have achieved. We are delighted to have been able to support the work of BYHP as well as Adderbury Library. We hope these contributions will help.”
You will have the chance to see this award-winning production at Banbury Cross Players’ Season Preview Event at The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury on 24 September 2019. The evening will also include presentations from the Directors of shows for what will be Banbury Cross Players 75th Anniversary Season.
For more details of Banbury Cross Players and what they are up to locally, see their website at www.banburycrossplayers.org.uk

Posted on 30/07/2019

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AliCaT (Children and Theatre)

AliCaT (Children and Theatre)

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AliCaT Children and Theatre - Enrolling for September


What is the AliCaT vision? . . .
• To provide an inclusive practice for all children to access a ‘complete theatre experience’
• To build on life skills such as communication and effective relationships
• To nurture and engage active participants in developing self-confidence, self-esteem and personal growth
• To promote unique and individual theatre companies for children

What is AliCaT all about? . . .
AliCaT Children and Theatre is an exciting and established performance based theatre company for children aged 2 to 16 years and was set up in 2009 to promote the fun of the theatre.
The focus is on building skills such as acting, voice, movement and dance but also on important personal attributes such as confidence and social skills. Each class is tailored to the individual needs of the children so emphasis is placed upon the process or journey of self-discovery. Classes involve a variety of fun and stimulating games, drama activities and RYE techniques (Research on Yoga in Education) They run in term time only and work towards an annual production (per class) that can be enjoyed by friends and family. We believe in quality rather than quantity so numbers are limited per class to enable all children to have a voice!
Our use of RYE techniques (Research on Yoga in Education) within warm up games and cool downs provides an ideal activity to balance self-control with physical challenges and compliments the skills required in performance by impacting richly on each child’s emotional intelligence!

How can children get involved? . . .
What classes are available? . . .
Kittens: Aged 2-3 years – 1.30-2.30 (Wed)
Pre School: Aged 3-4 years – 1.45–2.45 (Fri)
Foundation: Aged 4-7 years – 4.00-5.00 (Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri)
Junior: Aged 7-11 years – 5.15-6.45 (Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri)
Senior: Aged 11-16 years – 4.45-6.45 (Mon) & 7.00-9.00 (Tues)

Where is AliCaT? . . .
AliCaT is based in North Somerset in the Backwell Playhouse, both rehearsals and performances take place here. The Playhouse is signposted from the main road and there is ample parking. It benefits from extensive lighting and sound equipment, a large and accessible stage area and newly refurbished changing rooms. For parents wanting to stay on premises there is a foyer with facilities for refreshments and a monitor to watch rehearsals taking place. The Playhouse is the perfect backdrop for the AliCaT sessions as it not only provides a safe and friendly environment it also promotes a real theatre experience which is integral to the vision of the company.

Who is Ali? . . .
AliCaT was founded by Alison Milton-Riddiford (BA Hons) who has worked in early year’s education for over 25 years. The company is the product of her beliefs, philosophies and experiences of how children learn and develop as well rounded, healthy, confident human beings. Her academic studies on child development together with her professional practices basically underpin everything that AliCaT has to offer. Her personal skills and attributes stem from the world of dance and choreography and together with her love of the theatre and the belief in the power of the environment this provides the magical component to the whole AliCaT experience.

More about the Venue. . .
Backwell Playhouse is a charming, intimate theatre in the North Somerset, south of Bristol. It boasts a strong and talented inhouse theatre company and a thriving film club, as well as a stream of visiting companies and classes, all nestled within the heart of Backwell.
The Playhouse is a unique space, with 99 seats raking to an open and flexible performance area. The space has been used for plays, dance recitals, music performances, films and presentations. It's even hosted productions in the round! With full technical facilities, backstage amenities and bar & foyer area, Backwell Playhouse truly is an amazing theatre.

Further Information. . .
To find out more visit www.alicat.me
Telephone Ali: 0791 762 6388 or Susie: 0795 530 8228
Email: ali@alicat.me or susie@alicat.me

Posted on 26/07/2019

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Director Gurleen Judge on art, lighting and production of DEKHO MAGAR PYAAR SE! [ India]

June 24, 2019
Deepak Sinha

Theatre Director Gurleen Judge juggles between her roles as light technician, designer, director, writer and a teacher. Gurleen is a self-taught theatre wala and takes pride in it. She chats with Rasa Aur Drama about lights, casting, scripts, and gender in this email interview; just before her show of DEKHO MAGAR PYAAR SE at Gyaan Adab Centre, Pune! Gurleen has done lighting for plays like The Hunger Artist, Tennesse Williams The Two-Character Play, Dohri Zindagi, Atul Kumar's Khwaab Sa, Manav Kaul's Peele Scooterwala Aadmi and Chuhal!

Rasa Aur Drama: Light Design and direction across plays like The Hunger Artist , The Two-Character Play, Dohri Zindagi, Postcards from Bardoli, Peele Scooterwala Aadmi and Chuhal?
What's so exciting about the direction and light design. We kind of see some perspective there?
Gurleen Judge: Jennifer Tipton often says that ninety-nine and forty-four-hundredths of the audience do not pay any attention to the lighting, but one hundred percent is affected by it. Nothing can be truer. Theatre is a visual medium after all and lighting, the image and the movement / breath with which the light moves, defines and is in turn defined by the rhythm of the piece. Light design continues to hugely influence my ideas of making theatre in a very fundamental way.
Through directing I’m able to express my most urgent need to talk about whatever it is that is plaguing my mind at that time. I also write but a performance piece allows for more abstraction.

Q2. What kind of script interest you?

Gurleen Judge: Good scripts. With urgency and grit.

Q3. Do you like to train your actors or would you be happy to fit an actor to a role ? Could you tell us something about the acting and script translation to action with the wonderful Vikrant Dhote in Dekho Magar Pyaar Se?

Gurleen Judge: Training is part of the rehearsal process but I do look for certain qualities before I cast. These change as per each show and what I think is most needed keeping in mind the vision of the play. Vikrant had already worked out the idea for the piece. We were interested in developing it together with the audience in a way and we kept editing the script through shows too.

Q4. The city Pune has witnessed a play like Saggherr Loadhii's Hijra and now DEKHO MAGAR PYAAR SE?
Are playwrights and plays like Mahesh Dattani's Bravely Fought the Queen, On a Muggy Night in Mumbai , Do the needful , Dekho Magar Pyaar Se changing or affecting the dialogue around gender, identity and prejudiced-social-construct ?

Gurleen Judge: I think it’s impossible to gauge or estimate the consequences of a piece of art. It’s a subliminal process, even if one person, maybe even a decade from now, is affected by it, that is a ‘change’ for me. All I know is that I continue to be influenced by theatre - as an audience as well as when I’m making a play. My worldview has evolved from the theatre in a way. So yes I hope and believe in the possibilities of affecting status quo. However, I see it as part of a larger process, where the society is undergoing a change in general and one can’t really identify the starting point of that process.

Q5. How did the idea of the piece Dekho Magar Pyaar Se actually come to you?

Gurleen Judge: Vikrant has developed it over a few workshops and then through Gender Bender grant . I just hopped onto the wagon :-)

Q6. Could you talk about the four stories in the play?

Gurleen Judge: Lot has been written about the four stories so I won’t go in detail - but I think what interests me most about the piece is the journey it undertakes to investigate the contours of “masculinity” and “maleness” in this Alpha -Male patriarchal world. What it means for people inside this boundary, what it means for people at the edge and outside and how does one negotiate it in an every-day manner.

Q7. What extracts of the landmark 2009 judgment on section 377 by the High Court could you have referred in the play?

Gurleen Judge:

See the full interview here

Posted on 26/06/2019

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What We Did Next

What We Did Next

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Be More Chill

Press release- Liverpool theatre company What We Did Next
presents the Broadway hit musical
at The Hope Street Theatre

What if popularity came in a pill?

Liverpool theatre company WHAT WE DID NEXT will be performing the North West premiere of the critically acclaimed musical Be More Chill from 8-11 May at The Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool.

'If you fed DEAR EVAN HANSEN to the LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS plant you would get BE MORE CHILL.' The New Yorker.

The thrilling story of a teenage boy's quest to become popular and talk to the girl of his dreams with the help of a pill-sized supercomputer.
Be More Chill is the ‘little musical that could’. It started in a small theatre in New Jersey in 2015 and, thanks to an incredible fan following, opened on Broadway in 2019.
Liverpool theatre company, What We Did Next, has the unique opportunity to stage the musical at the same time as its Broadway run, meaning theatre fans in the North West don’t need to look further than Hope Street to see New York’s hottest new show.
And it was all thanks to Liverpool-based superfan, Jess Sutcliffe.

'I have loved this show ever since first listening to the soundtrack two years ago. I had never directed a musical before, but I knew I wanted to direct this show and bring it to Liverpool. Being a part of this company has helped bring all my ideas to fruition and it’s so incredible to see the show come to life. I can’t wait for audiences to see it!'
Jess Sutcliffe, Co-Director.

Jess is co-directing with Andrew Ab, who previously directed Rent and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change for What We Did Next.
'It's amazing to work on a show that has only been performed a handful of times around the world. We get to be really creative and put our own stamp on a show that’s going to get bigger and bigger. The music is so addictive and we feel incredibly privileged to be bringing this show to a Liverpool audience who will hopefully leave the theatre humming the tunes.' Andrew Ab, Co-Director.
For What We Did Next it’s an exciting opportunity to perform at The Hope Street Theatre for the first time and to add to its extensive musical theatre repertoire, which it has built up over the last ten years.
The company has previously delighted local audiences with their take on several modern and classic musicals such as ?Pippin, Bonnie & Clyde, Bat Boy, Carousel,? ?Rent, The Last 5
Years, Company and Into the Woods.
What We Did Next was founded during Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture Year in 2008, by a group of recent University of Liverpool graduates looking for an outlet for their creativity, while starting out in various careers in and around the city. A decade on, they are thriving as a company and very much a part and a product of Liverpool’s vibrant cultural scene.
The company defines itself as a team of ‘Professional Amateurs.’ Members include doctors, teachers, photographers and those who are training for a career on the stage, who come together to produce professional-standard theatre that otherwise may not be seen in the city.

Tickets for Be More Chill are £12-£15 (plus £1 booking fee) and are available from the Ticket
Quarter Box Office website here.
The Saturday 11th performance has already SOLD OUT so get tickets quick so you don’t miss out!

Notes to Editors
Be More Chill | 8-11 May 2019, 8pm | Hope Street Theatre | Tickets £12 and £15 (plus £1 booking fee)
Tickets available from Ticketquarter.
Box Office: 0344 800 0410

Amy Gormall (Producer)

Posted on 28/04/2019

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Copythorne Amateur Theatrical Society

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Press release- ‘Robin Hood and Babes in the Woods’

This Christmas Copythorne Amateur Theatrical Society are celebrating 50 years of Copythorne pantomimes with a production of ‘Robin Hood and Babes in the Woods’. In 1968 the local British Legion put on a panto to raise funds. It proved so popular that it became an annual event. In 1995 CATS was formed to continue the tradition when the Royal British Legion changed their fundraising rules. Over the years, hundreds of local people have been involved with the shows and thousands of pounds have been raised for charity.

This year’s show has been specially written to mark the occasion and includes all the characters you’d expect, plus quite a few that might surprise you, including some panto ghosts.

Robin Hood has returned from the Crusades to find that the people of Nottingham are in desperate need of help. The wicked Sheriff of Nottingham keeps taking their money in taxes and burning down their houses. Things get even worse when Prince John demands even more money and the Sheriff decides to get rid of his two young wards and marry Maid Marian so that he can get his hands on their lands.

Can Robin rescue the Babes and Marian and defeat the Sheriff? Maybe. With the help of his merry men (and women) and, of course, Nurse Nora, the dame, who knows everything there is to know about the soldiers in the castle, including the bungling Private Eye and Private Parts. A true village panto with plenty of songs, swash buckling and audience participation. The show also features dancers from the Jo Hyne School of Dance, who will bring some magic to Sherwood and a bit of Rock n Roll to Nottingham Castle.

Performances are: Saturday 24th November at 7.30
Sunday 25th November at 2.30
Saturday 1st December at 7.30
Sunday 2nd December at 2.30
At Copythorne Parish Hall, Pollards Moor Road, S040 2NZ
Tickets: Adults £8, under 16s £5, Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children) £22
Available from Bartley Post Office, Landford Stores and Bramshaw Village Stores or by phoning our box office 02380 813415

Posted on 16/09/2018

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Classic whodunnit? Comedy comes to South Hams

Author: by Sam Acourt - Kingsbridge & Salcombe Gazette


KATS have barely had time to lay down their Fiddle and park up Tevye’s milk cart before they launch headlong into their next production.
This local theatre group are definitely showing their versatility as they move from toe-tapping, high-energy musical to classic comedy whodunnit? After their much-acclaimed success with Fiddler on the Roof, the actors are now ensconced in a classic murder mystery. Was it Lady Dorothy, in the library with a dagger? Or the maid in the dressing room with a decanter of poisoned sherry? You will have to go along to the show to find out.
Murder in Play is a play within a play. When a third-rate repertory company decides to produce “Murder at Priorswell Manor” total chaos ensues. The actors are more interested in their own egos than the quality of the production. There is jealousy, rivalry and back-stabbing, not to mention an alcoholic in charge of a fire-arm and an off-stage affair. Simon Brett’s hilarious text and the numerous red herrings keep the audience guessing until the final moments of the play.

Murder in Play was commissioned for, and premiered at, the Cheltenham Festival of Literature in 1993. Playwright Simon Brett was awarded an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours ‘for services to literature’, and in 2014 received The CWA Diamond Dagger, one of the highest accolades in the crime writing world. His TV and radio credits also include No Commitments and After Henry and the wonderful Bill Nighy played the part of his detective, Charles Paris, in excellent adaptations of his novels by Jeremy Front on Radio 4.

At a time when local theatres and am-dram groups up and down the country are seeing lower numbers attending live shows, KATS are working very hard to reverse this national trend. One way of doing this is by positively encouraging new, young talent into the theatre. This production, for example, is directed by Beth Tucker a recent Drama Graduate from Aberystwyth University. For her directorial debut she is being supported and mentored by Mike Davies, an actor and director with many years of experience including his very successful production of KATS 2017 summer play, Entertaining Angels.

Live theatre is such a great experience for the whole family and priced at just £8 on Wednesday and Thursday and £9 on Friday and Saturday nights, you would be hard-pushed to find a better way to spend a September evening. This show is very suitable for anyone aged from 10 to 110.

Murder in Play is on at Malborough Village Hall, near Salcombe, from 19 to 22 September. Don’t be fooled by the village hall location, for show-week the venue is completely transformed into a fully functional theatre with 14 rows of tiered seating, a licensed bar and plenty of on-site car parking. Tickets are available from Kingsbridge Information Centre 01548 853195 and you can pay by card over the phone.

Follow KATS on Facebook to keep up to date with all our events www.facebook.com/KATSKingsbridgeDevon/ and catch up with us on our website kats-kingsbridge.co.uk

Posted on 06/09/2018

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How To Make A Backing Track Sound Like A Live Band

London Arrangements Ever since The Beatles started experimenting with multi-track recordings it’s been a mainstay of popular music with so many other artists following suit.
Whilst this makes for a great sounding recording, it’s near impossible to have so many musicians on stage at once if you try and recreate this in a live setting.
Using professional backing tracks can help you make the most out of your performance without costly overheads and the logistical nightmares involved with transporting a large ensemble.
Although often associated with amateur productions, high quality backing backing tracks are now breaking into the mainstream with artists such as Drake and Kanye West focusing entire tours without a backing band.
However, while playing direct from a backing track can often be enough for a performance, there are steps to take it to the next level and add texture, depth and an improved performance and experience for your audience.

Here are our top tips for making your backing track performance sound like a live band.

1. Add instruments, percussion & backing vocals

When you’re up performing in front of crowds, no matter how big or small, one of the key things that makes your performance, other than the sound, is whether or not you look the part.

Playing your mp3 backing track through your laptop or phone is fine, though it’s best to hide this equipment and replace it with authentic instruments, backing singers and percussion, to enhance the base music on the backing track and bring your performance to life.

Your audience will want to see you so make sure you’re standing confidently in the lights and to take it to the next level, dress up to give your audience that extra bit of authenticity.

Your clothing, makeup, hairstyle can say a lot about you and depending how you’d like to portray yourself on stage, can add a sense of showmanship, something that those in musical theatre will particularly be looking to achieve.

2. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

Moving on, if you’re to add instruments, percussion or backing vocals to your sound, you’ll want to make sure each of these external elements are coming in at the right time. We’ve all heard it before but timing is key.

Even if you’re not adding external factors to your performance, you’ll need to work on your vocals to suit peaks and troughs throughout the song. That, and don’t miss endings, anticipate tempo changes and practice to a metronome if needed.

The more you practice, the more chance of nailing your timings and creating a smooth-running yet thrilling performance.

3. Plan your set

Of course, once you’ve got a feel for the music, you should plan your set song by song. That way you’ll know what’s the running order of your set so your performance can run smoothly.

Your performance time will vary depending on your agreement with the venue, but as a general guide, try and plan your set as follows:

First song: Make it impactful and powerful but don’t play your biggest track too early
Second song: This can be your big hit or most attention grabbing song to get the audience on board
Third song: Switch up your tempo or instrumentation and provide a change of pace.
Fourth song: If you’re finding it hard to win the crowd, try a well known cover song.
Fifth song: A big crowd pleaser with a memorable, singalong hook or chorus to finish on a high point.

Once you’ve planned your set, it’s important to remember that although it’s known to you, it won’t be to your audience. And, as much as you’d like them to feel you’re giving a well-rehearsed, professional performance, you’ll also want to add some spontaneity.

Your audience are here to watch a show and in many cases, to see you. In order to give them a great performance, be yourself, engage with them, tell them personal anecdotes between songs and where applicable, make them laugh.

4. Mix your vocals perfectly

Learning how to mix your vocals perfectly can make a huge difference when it comes to a live performance and a large part of this stems from knowing your own vocal range and where to boost and cut certain frequencies:

200HZ - 500Hz - The main body of your vocals provides warmth but can become muddy if left untreated. If your vocals are too crisp, but seem lacking in depth boost your frequencies in this range, but if they seem messy try cutting out some of the lower frequencies.

1kHz - 3khz - This range contains the nasal sounding frequencies, so make sure to reduce the levels in this section to stop your vocals sounding pinched.

4kHz - Mastering this range is key for providing a great quality performance and standing out from other instruments. Boosting too much in this segment can result in harsh sounding vocals, but too little and you might get lost in the mix.

5kHz - 8kHz - Sibilance is the enemy of all vocalists. Those devastating ‘S’ sounds can be off putting for performers and audiences alike so rehearse well beforehand and ensure that you cut frequencies in this range to provide a better quality sound.

5. Mix the rest with the venue’s sound system in mind

London Arrangements When performing in smaller venues, performing with backing tracks with added effects such as reverb and delay can hinder your performance if the internal sound system isn’t suitably equipped to handle stereo tracks.

You can end up with a muddy performance where some of your instrumentation is lost, so do your research into the house sound systems and if in doubt use mono.

It’s important that you rehearse your planned set in this venue before the live performance - if possible. You should obtain feedback from people scattered from different aspects of the crowd.

Is is too loud for those at the front? What about those at the back? Is there booming sounds coming from either side or from the speakers?

Of course, backing tracks will require the use of speakers perhaps more so than you would with instruments. Your speakers are almost seen as your instruments. Make sure these are set up appropriately and with using our other four steps, you’ll create a stunning musical performance that sounds just like a live band.


A great performance will encourage audience participation, give excellent sound quality that’s authentic, regardless of using a professional backing track or not and offer showmanship and top entertainment.

Achieved from a well planned set, lots of rehearsals, thinking of your vocals and the environment you’re performing in and the additions of backing singers, instruments or percussion.

Nail each of these five elements and you’ll make your mp3 backing track sound great whilst allowing it to give you reliability and affordability.

To find out more why backing tracks are great for live performances, read more from us here.

Stephen Robinson, London Arrangements

London Arrangements specialises in the production of professional music backing tracks, ranging from stage and screen, swing and jazz, to classical and easy listening genres.

Posted on 01/09/2018

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Money Savings Tips For Amateur Performers

London Arrangements For anyone keen to get into musical theatre performing, it can be a daunting thought not only to stand in front of a big crowd on stage, but from a financial perspective too. Particularly when starting out, you’ll be faced with budget restraints which can limit your success as a performer, if not managed properly.

Here are 6 super easy money savings tips to help amateur performers make musical theatre affordable.

1. Use Multi-Skilled Musicians To Cut Down on Pay Whether you’re a musical theatre performer, actor or singer, you’ll often need a musician or band to help enhance your performance.

One of the most important ways to cut costs with your musician is to use talent who can offer multiple skills at once, so you want someone who can play more than just one instrument and play each well.

For instance, if you have a rhythm guitarist who can also fill in on backing vocals and the occasional bit of keyboards, you’ve essentially saved three salaries.

2. Opt for MP3 Backing Music

Opposite to having a musician play your musical pieces, using professional backing tracks is a great alternative that can provide the same effect of a live band and, in a lot of cases can be much more cost effective.

You’ll also find that they’re often a lot more reliable than an external musician who might not be as invested as the performance as yourself. If their parts are integral to your performance and you suffer from a no show, their absence could not only damage your act but also lead to wasted budget that could have been allocated elsewhere.

3. Dedicate Funds to Press Over Marketing

Of course, if you have more people coming to watch your shows, you get more ticket sales and inevitably more profit or budget to put towards the next production. Although it’s encouraged to keep enough budget back for some marketing of tickets and similar, it’s crucial to create positive relationships with press and spokespeople in the musical theatre community. But why?

The press is usually made up of influential individuals that have huge followings and a platform which they can use to talk about your performance. If you can get these people to watch your production, you can spur a conversation between their readers to improve awareness to your show and in effect have a similar effect to the marketing efforts, only on a larger scale.

This will help you to gain something back from your performance. Particularly if it’s a small production and you’re looking to make a living or extra income from musical theatre.
4. Get Savvy When Buying Props & Costumes

If you’ve been in musical theatre for a while, you’ll come to understand that props, costumes and set dressing can be extremely expensive. It’s important that you don’t pay more than you need, though particularly beginners may find it hard to know what price to pay.

Before going to a retailer and browsing through their many items, it’s best to do some preparation and research. Write up a list of what you need and look online for these products and get an idea of the prices they’re being sold at.

Tip: You can use Pricesearcher to find unbiased prices of millions of products being sold on the internet to ensure you get the best deal if you decide to buy online.

Buy From Charity Shops
A fantastic idea is to make copies of this list and take them to local charity shops and similar with your contact details. This way, when they receive new items in store, they can contact you first for you to view the product rather than putting it up for sale or worse, throwing it away in the trash - which unfortunately happens too often.

Alternatively, you can even transform your old bed sheets, curtains and similar into great costumes and props with very little cost. Even those with very basic sewing skills can create a some props or accessories and plus, wearing your own clothes on stage can be an extremely rewarding feeling. London Arrangements

5. Fundraise For Your Performance

One of the best ways to generate some budget for your performance is to host a local fundraising project a few months before the event. It’s important that this event is of value to those you’re targeting to make the most of the event.

Bake sales almost always go down a treat whether it’s in your works office, at a community dance or school, though if you’re looking to get rid of some old items try going to a carboot or similar.

6. Use Crowdfunding, GoFundMe or Similar

With social media becoming such a dominant aspect of many of our lives, sites like Crowdfunding, GoFundMe and similar have developed. They’re all pretty similar with the main aspect of the site allowing users to share their fundraiser online for people all around the world to donate through online card payments or apps like PayPal.

That makes generating some budget for your performance really easy and no longer limited to physical donations at one particular location. You can reach a wider audience and can also open the door to a community of people with similar interests wanting to help one another. It’s truly a beautiful concept.


It’s clear there are plenty of ways you can save money as an amateur performer. From sourcing your props and costumes from charity shops to selling homemade cakes.

Especially when it comes to fundraising for your performance or a musical theatre course, be creative and think outside the box and the opportunities will be endless. Now, it’s time to put your findings into practice.

If you’ve got any money saving tips you’d like to share, connect with us on Twitter and Facebook - we’d love to hear from you!

Stephen Robinson, London Arrangements

London Arrangements specialises in the production of professional music backing tracks, ranging from stage and screen, swing and jazz, to classical and easy listening genres.

Posted on 06/08/2018

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Backing Tracks Vs. A Live Band: Which Is Better?

London Arrangements Choosing whether to perform with a backing track over a live band can be difficult. Particularly in musical theatre performances, it’s deemed more difficult to generate an atmosphere and emotional connection with the audience when you’re lacking the raw sounds of real instruments on stage.

However, with technology advancing and the quality of mp3 backing tracks massively improving, could this be a money-saving way that performers should be opting for? Let’s take a look.

Why Choose Backing Tracks?

1. Heavy Style of Music

If your performance includes a heavy style of music (e.g. alt-rock, metal, pop) which incorporates lots of different instruments to add depth and texture to your songs, you’ll want to play to a backing track. This will help you perform your song so that it sounds like an actual pop, rock or metal record. Otherwise, your audience may find that it’s lacking something and hence can cause for a negative effect on their enjoyment.

When incorporating a live band to your stage, you should remember that sadly band members can be slightly flaky. Even if you choose to perform with a band, it’s vital that you have a backup version of their contribution to the song. Whether they turn up or not, you’ll be able to ensure viewers receive music that sounds how it’s supposed to sound.

2. Reduce Expenses

Regardless of the style of music, it’s common for performers to side against taking a live keyboardist or sampler to a performance and opt for a backing track instead. It reduces costs massively. Assuming the instrument can be recorded to a high sound quality, it shouldn’t affect the performance too much - if any - and hence can deliver a great show for the audience at a low cost.

Moving on, even though keyboards and other orchestral instrumentation isn’t normally easy to record and produce high quality backing tracks, artists can still get around this. By using live vocals or adding vocal harmonies where necessary, the band will be able to perform without sounding as though it’s lacking instrumentation. This is a great cost-saving alternative.

3. You Can (Usually) Depend On Backing Tracks

Plenty of band members will share anecdotes of times where they’ve sadly been let down by their own bandmates or by session musicians not showing up. One of the best ways to solve these issues is to use a backing track instead.

Other than human error in forgetting the track, it’s almost always reliable and as previously mentioned, doesn’t cost you a great deal. If you’ve already paid for a no-show band member, this can end up costing a lot for very little gain.

For musical theatre performers, they’ll know that delivering a high-quality show requires many bodies involved. There’s a need for people in different areas such as lighting, wardrobe, makeup and of course, sound. Keeping everyone in check can be hard and so, reducing the number of people involved, reduces the number of no-shows or people turning up late. Plus, it helps to keep costs low too.

Often paying someone to help with the smooth running of your performance can be more expensive than buying a backing track. Unless you’re lucky enough to obtain dedicated musicians and performers. London Arrangements

4. They Don’t Make Mistakes

Continuing with the thought that backing tracks are reliable, they never make mistakes. Other than a potential technical glitch during the performance, they play exactly how you want them to play and exactly how you’ve rehearsed. As a result, it means that you don’t have to worry that they may mess up chords, break a string or hit a bum note.

You can focus your attention on your singing or acting without thinking the band playing beside you on stage will affect the quality of your performance. This helps to keep everything professional and finely polished so that your audience can enjoy the performance they came for.

Why Choose A Live Band?

Looking at it from the other perspective, there are some cons to backing tracks which can be a put off for performers considering using them.

London Arrangements 1. Laid-Back Style of Music

In contrast to the those playing a heavy style of music, there’s those that play laid-back music. As it sounds, laid-back music involves much subtler sounds and consists of fewer, instruments. In the case of artists, they’ll often decide to perform an acoustic or stripped back version of their song, particularly if they’re playing at a small venue in front of a smaller crowd. Here, there’s potential for backing tracks to actually clutter their songs.

Keeping their performance simple with a single instrument, such as a guitar or piano, could give users more of a chance to connect with the performer on a deeper level, feeling as though they’ve seen an exclusive, unique version of your song.

For those in musical theatre, the same can apply. However, as theatre productions usually involve acting, unless a character is known to perform with an instrument, it’s best to stick to a backing track. This keeps the attention solely on the actor and allows them to focus on their lines and stage positioning. Sometimes adding an additional element like playing an instrument can be challenging, even for the best performers

2. Audio Errors

No matter how hard you try to make a performance run smoothly, even the most organised performers can experience technical issues with their backing tracks. Whether that’s the mp3 file itself corrupting, the equipment used to play it malfunctioning or the in-house PA experiencing issues. It’s always good to have backups, whether that’s multiple versions of your backing tracks, a tablet in case your laptop unexpectedly breaks or spare chargers.

Alternatively, you could look at bringing a single piece of equipment such as a guitar or keyboard to enable yourself to play acoustic in the worst case scenario. However, with technology continuing to advance and teams becoming more skilled to help refine these technical issues, this is becoming less likely to happen.

London Arrangements 3. You Can’t Be Spontaneous

Though being pre-recorded is great for ensuring the performance sounds professional and how you desired, it means that if you’d like to be spontaneous and play to your crowd’s emotions and feedback, you can’t.

This can be deemed as a dangerous game to play as most viewers will want to really “feel” your performance rather than just listening to what they do when playing the same music in their own time.

Though that’s a key point to note for artists, for theatre performers, the need for spontaneity isn’t really applicable. After all, actors are following a thought-out script. Even moments on stage that you may think are planned, aren’t. Funnily enough, if actors have to be spontaneous on stage, it means the performance isn’t running smoothly and hence, can be a performer’s worst nightmare.

4. Little Visual Impact

If you have fewer bodies on stage due to not needing a keyboardist and similar, you can end up reducing the visual impact of your performance. Sometimes having more bodies adds different dimensions to the stage, giving users from either side of the venue, people to focus on and look at.

Not only this, but some members on stage can give more energy in a performance and hence, if you take them out of the equation, you’re likely to reduce the quality of your show and hence the enjoyment for your viewers.

5. Musicians Miss Out on Work

This is probably one of the stronger cons to using backing tracks over a live band. For musicians, it can be a extremely disappointing to feel their skill of playing an instrument - which no doubt took years to master - is being replaced by an mp3 backing track. I believe that’s something most artists who using backing tracks when performing, can agree on.

However, in order to produce a backing track that sounds like the real instruments, musicians are required to give a live performance which is then recorded.

As a result, although this doesn’t open the doors for lots of amateur musicians, it means that in the future, if they can record their performances to a high quality, they’re likely to make money from either selling their backing tracks or from a live concert.

6. People Will Say You’re Doing ‘Karaoke’

Sometimes, no matter how good your performance is and how good it sounds, when using a backing track there’ll be people out there who can’t help but exclaim ‘it’s karaoke’. Sadly, that’s something that’s unavoidable.

However, that shouldn’t be a reason not to use backing tracks if you find them more reliable, affordable and that the majority of your audience still loves your performance. After all, there’s no pleasing everybody all of the time.


Of course there are pros and cons to using a backing track in a live performance likewise, there are to using a live band. Hopefully, you’ll now have a better idea of the benefits and downsides to each, to make a more informed decision.

Stephen Robinson, London Arrangements

London Arrangements specialises in the production of professional music backing tracks, ranging from stage and screen, swing and jazz, to classical and easy listening genres.

Posted on 07/07/2018

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How To Use Backing Tracks To Give A Great Performance

London Arrangements More often than not, musicians and actors believe that giving a great, engaging performance is only possible when using a live band and vocalists. However, the times are changing and many performers are captivating their audience through the use of their voice AND backing tracks.

Now, we’re not suggesting you forever ditch the drums, vintage guitars and so on but instead, don’t stress that your performance might not be first class if your keyboard player doesn’t show up. It will. This blog post will take you through the how-to’s for using professional backing tracks to give a great live performance.

#1 Understand Your Tracks

The big risk of using backing tracks is that it’s relying on technology rather than humans. If there was a mistake during the performance, a live band is more likely to recover and keep the performance running smoothly, whereas pre-recorded tracks cannot do this. So, how do you avoid messing up your set and using a professional backing track?

1. Understand how backing tracks are constructed to ensure you know what to expect when their played - that’s in a variety of environments.

2. Backing tracks with more ambient sounds are usually easier to work with.

3. Oppositely, backing tracks with distinct percussion, bass lines and other timed entrances will be a lot harder to work with - particularly for beginners.

4. It’s all about trial and error. Don’t hit the stage straight away. Giving a great performance takes time anyway, so don’t automatically assume using backing tracks will be easier but it’s not always the case.

#2 Engage With The Track

Just like you would an instrument, you must engage with the track in order to pour emotion into the performance and keep it real and “raw”. Listen to the instruments and vocals within the track and try to pick out the key sounds and harmonies that are most appealing to you. Focus on these in the performance and really think about the words you are saying during the piece. This way, you will really connect with not only the song but your audience to give them a great, engaging performance.

#3 Involve Your Audience
London Arrangements A good musician will be able to please their audience with their stunning voice and perhaps choreography. Yet, an excellent musician will not only “wow” them with this but will also make them feel like they are a part of the performance. This can be done using the below three key steps:

1. Know who’s listening. You must adopt an approach that will suit and relate to your audience if you want to become one of them. For example, if you’re performing to a small, country-like crowd, being friendly and approachable will be a great way for you to relate.

2. Know your show. It’s important that you thoroughly rehearse your performance so that you can focus your attention on the audience and their needs. Sometimes, having a few plan B’s can also help you make slight changes to the set in case things don’t go as you’d expect. If you know your set well, you can focus attentions to monitor your audience throughout your performance and respond to their actions accordingly.

3. Encourage participation during your pieces, in between or after. If you can get your audience to sing along with you during a song, go for it. By monitoring your crowd you can usually tell if they’re eager to sing along with you or not. If they aren’t, asking them an intriguing question or telling a hilarious anecdote can make you feel more human and personally connected to them.

#4 What Do You Want To Hear?

When you’re performing on stage in front of an audience, no matter how big or small the crowd is, it can be extremely daunting. In order to stun your listeners you’ll have to show you’re comfortable on stage which in turn will help you engage with them and get them involved - see above. But how do you become comfortable on stage when using backing tracks?

If you decide to perform without a live band, you shouldn’t then feel alone, lost or uncomfortable during your time on stage. To combat these thoughts, you should equip yourself with headphones, a wedge or monitor or a mixer that will allow you to hear everything you need to perform well.

    You might want to hear only click in your headphones and have the backing tracks in your wedge or monitor.

    Alternatively, you might feel more comfortable with both track and click in your headphones, or just the track.

    Finally, performers can also derive great success from running both click and track through a mixer placed nearby so that you can control each level in your headphones quickly and easily. - Tom Tom Magazine

#5 Hide The Laptop / MP3 Player

If you’re an avid gig or festival goer, you won’t be a stranger to seeing a laptop on stage during your favourite artists performance. Though, this isn’t something we suggest doing, particularly in musical theatre when ensuring the performance should be as engaging as possible.
London Arrangements Hide the laptop or device you’re using to play backing tracks. It can automatically improve the performance and create an illusion that the music is being played live.

A magician wouldn’t show you how he did his tricks, likewise, you don’t always want to show your audience how you’re creating such a great performance. Instead, you want them to watch in awe.

You may be thinking, that if you don’t have your laptop with you, how will you protect your performance if all things fail? That’s why practice makes perfect - trial your mix in different venues, big, small, long, tall and listen to the sound quality of the tracks. You can always get a trusted musician on stand-by incase errors crop up, though if you rehearse enough, you’re unlikely to come across major problems during the performance so stop stressing and enjoy!

#6 Know What Causes Problems
London Arrangements Just like a musician wouldn’t be able to belt out an amazing guitar solo the first time they play a guitar, you won’t be able to create an amazing performance using a backing track if you don’t understand the technology and gear behind it. This point is quite similar to point #1 but it’s important to stress that knowing your music is crucial to a successful show.

When you’re at a gig or show performing with backing tracks, you’re more than just a musician. Now, you’re also a tech wizard, moving from analog to digital and so, you’ll need to know what can be the cause of any audio problems, just like you would with your instruments. After all, you wouldn’t perform with an out of tune guitar, so why play with a backing track or piece of tech that’s set up incorrect?
As well as knowing what can cause problems on your backing tracks, it’s vital to understand the equipment that is actually playing the music, too. Sometimes the thing creating the poor audio is the machine itself that it’s played on. That, and things like the venue, poor wiring and so on.

Do your research before buying both your professional backing tracks and the machine or device you’ll use to play them. Both are key players in creating a great sounding performance without a live band or vocalists.

    Tip: Make sure the device you play your tracks with cannot receive texts, emails or notifications with sound.

#7 Opt For A Remix

Most musicians will know that not every other musician out there is as dedicated and great at time keeping as themselves. Sometimes, planning a performance with external pianists, drummers or similar can prove to difficult and lead to much disappointment.

However, if your performance demands a drummer but perhaps you don’t have a reliable musician to perform with, opt for a remix. Include more electronic aspects to funk up the song and give your listeners a slightly edgier show.

You don’t have to change much in the music in order to get it sounding great without your backing band. Sometimes, making too many changes can make the track sound too different, though experimenting with additional instruments and vocals can be a huge success!


To conclude, below is a revised list of how to use backing tracks to give a great performance:

1. Understand your tracks. That way if something was to go wrong such as the timing of the first song starting early or worse, late, you’re prepared for it and know how to correct it.

2. Engage with the track just like you would an instrument. This way you’re engaging with the instruments and vocals in the track, just like you would if they were happening live on stage.

3. Involve your audience by getting them to sing along. This way they’ll be less focused on the fact you don’t have a band playing your music and you’ll get more of a buzz from hearing them sing back your songs.

4. Knowing what you want to hear will help you monitor your performance and vocals as it happens. Using clicks in your headphones and the backing track in your wedge or monitor can help.

5. Don’t let the audience see your laptop. This will help the audience to keep their eyes on you so you’re performance feels more connected and personal for the crowd.

6. Understand what problems can arise from using backing tracks. If you know what might go wrong when you’re on stage using the backing track, you’ll be able to help counteract any issues to keep your performance running smoothly.

7. Remix your song by either stripping it down or adding more electronic elements to it. This can bring a new life to the song and interest the audience by surprising them with a unique version, rather than playing what they will expect.

Stephen Robinson, London Arrangements

London Arrangements specialises in the production of professional music backing tracks, ranging from stage and screen, swing and jazz, to classical and easy listening genres.

Posted on 14/06/2018

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St Luke's Church Players, Brislington, Bristol

Author: Jonathan Rowe ( Secretary , St Luke’s Church Players )

St Luke’s Church Players in Brislington , Bristol celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2018 with “Frankenstein The Pantomime” December 6th – 8th 7.30pm & 2.30pm Sat matinee. This is the 17th show I’ve written for the group since 1991 but only the third panto.

“Frankenstein The Pantomime” also marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel and there are links with Bath, Bristol & Brislington which are incorporated into the panto. Claire Clairmont ( 1798 – 1879) ( Mary Shelley’s step sister) was with her from the time the novel was begun in Switzerland in 1816 to it’s publication in 1818. Much of the novel was actually written in Bath in 1816 – 17, and Claire Clairmont herself was born in Brislington , then a North Somerset village. She never knew her real father or place of birth as it was not discovered until 2010! The panto contains all the traditional elements, ( “He’s behind you”, “Oh yes he is, Oh no he isn’t “etc) along with snippets from the novel, lines of poetry by Percy Shelley & Lord Byron and references to the iconic films “Frankenstein (1931) & “Bride of Frankenstein” ( 1935) directed by James Whale who also had Bristol connections!

Jonathan Rowe ( Secretary , St Luke’s Church Players ) - I am one of only 3 surviving founder members still active in the group.

Posted on 26/05/2018

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Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival Returns, Bigger & Better

Author: Terry Rosoman
Head of Marketing


The festival will see more than 40 performances across 10 venues in two weeks, bringing the Welsh capital to life.

The Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival returns for its third time at the end of May, it’s aim: to bring a different flavour of theatre to the city. Affordable ticket prices and performances across many alternative venues ensure that the festival is accessible as possible to the theatre-loving public.

The festival runs from 31st May to 16th June, showcasing an abundance of styles and genres. Unlike other festivals, fringe festivals are open to all performers, regardless of their style or professional or amateur status. The lack of restrictions invariably leads to an exciting, colourful variety of performance, that offers something for everyone.

The festival’s partnership manager, Isabelle Paige, said:

"We have no criteria for the kind of work that can be performed. Everything is welcome, and as organisers, we're keen that all the shows in the festival are treated equally. They're all so different and will appeal to individuals for different reasons.”

Held in many “non-traditional” theatre venues like The Little Man Coffee Shop and AJ’s Coffee House, the performances are a much more intimate affair, connecting you with the performance more than you would in a traditional theatre.

"We like the social aspect of watching a performance in a non-¬theatre venue and took inspiration from the Edinburgh Fringe, where pretty much every pub and coffee shop is transformed into a performance space. Bringing the audience closer to the action.”

So what can you expect from this year’s festival? As usual, a huge array of acts, from slapstick comedy in Bummer & Lazarus to a fusion of storytelling from Weeping Tudor in Everything Changes. With many tickets costing the same as a pint of beer, you can’t go wrong!

The festival organisers believe the festival should be as affordable as possible, so returning this year are the collection of fantastic free events and workshops for people to get involved. Afterall, who doesn't love a freebie! Free events include an introduction to stand-up comedy, a scriptwriting workshop from ScriptDawg, a TV Drama Development talk from the production company, BadWolf and many more.

Finally, new additions to this year’s lineup are the Fringe Presents and the Fringe Labs. The Fringe Presents strand offers a range of fully-polished shows, while Fringe Labs showcases a range of totally new shows before they go out to the public eye.

Event sponsor, TicketSource - the free online box office solution, will again be organising the coveted TicketSource Festival Favourite Award, awarded to the standout performance at the festival, as voted for by the audience members themselves and a panel of judges. It’s a great opportunity for audience members to have their say and give the performers the recognition they deserve.

TicketSource will also be premiering a brand new award, the festival’s first TicketSource Script Writing Award with a £100 cash prize! Open to everyone and anyone, the competition involves submitting a short script written around a chosen theme. The three best scripts selected by a professional judging panel will have the opportunity to have their scripts performed live at the festival’s closing party on the 23rd June at The Gate, Cardiff. The chosen winner will also be taking home the £100 cash prize. So wet your pens and get the creative juices flowing!

TicketSource’s Head of Marketing, Terry Rosoman said: "It’s an honour to be involved with the Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival again. Fringe festivals like this are a great way to showcase a diversity of theatre talent from across the country and productions that might not otherwise find a place in the city’s mainstream theatre venues."

The festival starts on 31st May and runs until the 16th June.

Full details and tickets for the 2018 festival programme can be found at www.cardifffringetheatrefestival.co.uk

Information on how to vote for the TicketSource Festival Favourite Award or enter the TicketSource Script Writing Award can be found at www.ticketsource.co.uk/blog/Cardiff-Fringe-Festival-Awards-2018

Posted on 22/05/2018

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Anything Goes for local Reverend who "misses the boat" as Bishop

Author: Norma Phillips
Secretary of
Teesside Musical Theatre Company

Contact: nphillips6@gmail.com

Reverend Peverell, Vicar of Great Ayton with Easby and Newton under Roseberry is taking part in our production of Anything Goes. He feels this is the only chance he will ever get to be a Bishop.
“Anything Goes” for local Reverend who “Misses the Boat” as Bishop

Teesside Musical Theatre Company were very pleased when Reverend Paul Peverell (fondly known locally as Rev Pev), Vicar of Great Ayton with Easby and Newton under Roseberry, accepted the invitation to take part in their production of “Anything Goes”, and he has admitted himself that this could be the nearest he ever gets to being a Bishop. Unfortunately, his role as Bishop Henry T. Dobson also means he will be arrested and physically dragged off the Cruise Liner S.S. American by the F.B.I. in the opening scenes (another new experience for Rev Pev). Let’s just hope that he abides by his own philosophy of not holding onto any grudges.

Rev Pev is not a stranger to “treading the boards” but is more likely to be seen as a pantomime dame, an indication that he is not your “run of the mill” Reverend. Anyone whose marriage in the parish of Great Ayton involved the Reverend’s bride and groom puppets would agree that the experience was truly unforgettable. Teesside Musical Theatre Company’s production of “Anything Goes” promises to be just as unforgettable with the Reverend as part of the cast.

Come and join in the fun and enjoy a wonderful evening of song and entertainment with this classic musical by Cole Porter including some of his most popular songs such as “It’s Delovely”, “I get a Kick out of you”, “Anything Goes”, “You’re the Top”, “Friendship” and “Blow Gabriel Blow”. Teesside Musical Theatre Company’s production of “Anything Goes” sets sail at Middlesbrough Theatre from Wednesday 25th April to Friday 27th April at 7.15pm, Saturday 28th April at 1.15pm and 6.15pm. Tickets cost £15 for adults (Eve) and £12 (Sat Mat), under 18’s £10 for every performance, and can be ordered from TMTC’s Ticket Secretaries on 01642 275970 and 01287 635259 or from the Theatre Box Office on 01642 81 51 81.

Anything Goes Anything Goes

Posted on 22/03/2018

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Shout Out Drama

Shout Out Drama

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Hoop Awards - Vote for Shout Out! - We're Finalists!!

I have some GREAT news, Shout Out! has been short listed for the new Hoop awards and we are so excited!

Shout Out! has been running weekly and holiday drama, crafts & other creative classes for families and children aged 1-10 years old. To date I have been lucky enough to meet and work with hundreds of amazing people, including you, who have shown me nothing but support,encouragement and love.

I feel honored and overwhelmed to have been nominated for this award as I know Hoop is a great tool for helping parents find classes and activities to do each day with their children- and there are SO many out there.
It also proves that all of the hard work that has gone into making Shout Out! accessible, affordable and fun, has been so worth it.

Shout Out! have made it into THREE categories;
- Best for Toddlers

- Best for Creative Fun

- Best for Mini performers

it would be amazing to win as the prize is an extensive marketing package which would be fantastic in helping me to reach even more families and children to offer fun, creative and affordable classes to.

Please follow this link to vote and feel free to add in any additional comments :)


I would love your support and you could even win 1 of 3x £100 vouchers Hoop are offering for your vote!

Thank you and I really appreciate all of your support :)

Hannah Ball

Posted on 08/03/2018

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Scherrikar Bell

Scherrikar Bell talks about how she Carved out her acting Career.

Tell us about your career. When did it start? How did you discover your talent?

My career as an actress began when I was 21! I randomly went to an open audition for the off west end play "Oh What a Lovely War!" I auditioned and got the role! It was so surreal as I was currently studying at University and never saw myself as an actress. But my mind set changed because of this role. I used the rehearsal process as my training ground, I learnt so much from the director Deidre Malynn and from the cast. It was on stage that I realised how powerful and satisfying comedy was to me. My character was a comedic soldier and nearly every other word I said was a gag and had the audience in stitches. I made it my mission to never forget that feeling and to fulfil my new dream as an actress.

Did you not feel an urge to act from a younger age?

Well I always loved watching movies as a child I grew up watching Die Hard, Rush Hour and Disney Movies on repeat! I loved the escapism effect it had on me. I would reeanact scenes with my siblings and cousins and perform it to our imaginary friends, we were way too shy to show it to our parents. It is only now that I am older I realise that I was 'acting' from a young age, but at the time it was just a way of having fun.

What is it that draws you to acting?

Many things. I love transforming my mind and body into the character I am portraying and love the feeling of telling a story. The best result is when I have resonated with the audience and they truly empathise with the story or my character.

How did your career unfold?

Well my second job was an independent comedy feature film called "Le fear 2". The majority of the film was improvised which was pretty cool and allowed me to be so free with my comedy again which was fab! After that I put a show-reel together and got an agent. This then opened more doors for me. Over the years I was cast in Eastenders, BBC Doctors and Netflix's Todd Margaret. All of these shows were great to work on. I was then cast in Bridget Jones's Baby movie which was awesome. And then led in two commercials one for HSBC and Soap and Glory Skincare.

Scherrikar Bell

Scherrikar Bell

What was a great moment for you as an actor?

Well my family seeing me on Eastenders was pretty cool because it was a hugely successful point in my career in their eyes. However, I personally thoroughly enjoyed being on the Star Wars VII set with Andy Serkis. It was a three day test shoot where I was cast as Maz Kanata who was finally played by Oscar Winner Lupita Nyongo. I got to really dig deep with this character and change my body, voice and mind. I got to work alongside Andy Serkis king of Mocap! and I got to work on the set of Star Wars. That moment in my life was just beyond fulfilling.

What are your future aspirations?

My goals for the future are to conquer American television. I would love to lead in a sci-fi TV series or comedy show.

Are you working on anything at the moment?

Right now you can see me modelling for the Soap and Glory Skincare and beauty commercial. And a few weeks ago I wrapped on a British Red Cross movie shot as a VR Immersive film.

What advice would you give to young and new actors?

I would say go and get some training whether it is for a few years or a few weeks! You will always benefit from having some training. Also remember it is a marathon not a race, take your time and keep at it. Also be the best you can be on set, in the audition room and in class you never know who is watching!

Posted on 25/02/2018

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NEWS RELEASE - Haunted Theatres LIVE
For immediate release: 15 January 2018
Media Relations: Carol Lee
Email: carol.lee.marketing@gmail.com
Twitter A/c: LuvC____ and @Hauntedtheatres

Haunted Theatres Live

An exciting brand-new play opens its doors for the first-time next month, in Stevenage.
The newly formed drama company, Unity Players of Hertfordshire presents, Haunted Theatres LIVE, as a guest production, at The Lytton Theatre in Vardon Road.
Written by Carol Lee-Brown, it is about a small independent paranormal investigation company, who have conducted several ‘LIVE TV’ broadcasts in Haunted Theatres, over the last few years. The theatre ‘owner’ has invited The Team, to conduct a paranormal investigation, to see if the tales of it being haunted, are in fact true. What happens during the LIVE broadcast, on and off screen, are all played out for the audience to see as and when it happens.
Carol said ‘I got the idea for the play, when I joined The Lytton Theatre, and was told by several people that it could possibly be haunted. Being interested in the paranormal world myself, the idea of writing a play about a LIVE TV broadcast and all the production side to it, when the cameras are not rolling, quickly came to me, and Haunted Theatres LIVE was born.’
She continued ‘With the Director Slava Budin-Jones, and the cast we personally ask to play the roles, the words of mine are truly lifted from the page and the characters are brought to life.’
Adding ‘It is a very technical play to produce, with videos being shown. It even has its own theme tune and title sequence. The play is more than just action on the stage, as soon as the audience walks through the doors, they are ‘IN’ the play.’
Proceeds from these performance dates will go towards The Lytton Theatre New Theatre Fund. Details of the project can be found on their web site www.lyttonplayers.co.uk
Haunted Theatres LIVE runs from Thursday 22nd February to Saturday 24th February, at The Lytton Theatre, Vardon Road, Stevenage, at 7.45pm each night.
Tickets can be bought online at hauntedtheatreslive.co.uk

Haunted Theatres Live

Actors and Character names:

William Thomas Roney – as THOMAS

Derek Blyth – as PETER

Louise Wiseman – as Jen

Posted on 23/01/2018

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Sky Blue Theatre Co

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The British Theatre Challenge 2017


The British Theatre Challenge 2017 was a great success, not only were 10 winning plays performed but 9 of those plays were given offers of publication and John Yarbrough's 'The Rose Red City' will now be made into a short film!

Playwrights should note submissions are now open for 2018 and for inspiration you can now find all previous years winning plays on our Youtube channel

Warm Regards,
John Mitton

Posted on 06/01/2018

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Starbrite Studios

Starbrite Studios

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Starbrite Studios Starbrite Studios
Exam Results 2017

The exam results are in and WOW WOW WOW! Team Starbrite we have done it again! 100% Pass rate with results ranging from 81-95% with an IDTA theatre nomination.

This is an incredible achievement and one we should all be extremely proud of. The Pass rate for an IDTA exam is 65% so team Starbrite you have excelled yourselves.

The IDTA exam system is such a wonderful accreditation for the students to get involved with. The exam events themselves are fun, friendly and where lots of memories are made but also the exam process gives each student a goal to work towards and allows them to achieve it boosting self-esteem. It also means that a performing arts studio who can offer these type of exams is fully qualified and being monitored by that organisation to keep delivering top quality work.

At Starbrite Studios getting involved within the exam process is optional but it means that parents can rest assured that they are bringing their students to a place where people care, deliver high quality lessons matched with an equal amount of vibrancy and fun.

Starbrite Studios offering the opportunity for students to get involved with exams means we are confirming quality in dance, drama and musical theatre.

The word exam doesn’t mean dull and at Starbrite Studios we don’t understand the meaning of the word.

I cannot wait to hand out the results this week in class.

Congratulations everyone,
Love Miss Emma and the Starbrite Crew xx


Posted on 15/12/2017

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Starbrite Studios

Starbrite Studios

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Starbrite Studios
Students November 2017

PRESS RELEASE 6th November 2017

Starbrite Studios are to have Beverley ‘singing loud for all to hear’ with their forthcoming production of Elf Jr. The Musical.

Beverley residents will embrace their inner ‘elf’ when Starbrite Studios School of Performing Arts students present their production of Elf Jr. The Musical, it was announced today by Emma Bailey-Hague, Creative Director and Principal of Starbrite Studios.

The show features 60 Starbrite students, aged between 3 and 16 years, and premieres on Sunday 3rd December 2017 at The Hayward Theatre in Beverley.

Emma Bailey-Hague says: “Elf Jr. The Musical is an uplifting musical about one boy’s quest to find his true identity. The story encourages each of us to approach each day with goodwill, wonder and cheer. From the first rehearsal, the students have worked together as a team to create this wonderful experience for our community to enjoy. We think they deserve a standing ovation for all their work.”

Starbrite Studios will present two showings of Elf Jr. The Musical on Sunday 3rd December 2017 at 2:30pm and 5:00pm at the theatre, which is located on Flemingate, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, HU17 0PW. There is already much excitement around it, so people are being encouraged to book their tickets early to avoid disappointment. Show and ticket booking details can be found by visiting the Starbrite Studios website at https://www.starbritestudios.co.uk/events/elfjrthemusical/.

The musical tells the story of a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is given the name Buddy and raised by elves in the North Pole. Buddy lives happily unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the naughty list, and his stepbrother doesn't even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of the holidays.

Elf Jr. The Musical is based on the 2003 New Line Cinema hit ‘Elf’ starring Will Ferrell, and features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer) and Chad Beguelin (Disney's Aladdin On Broadway, The Wedding Singer), a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone).

Notes to editor
* Starbrite Studios are Yorkshire's premier performing arts school, providing fun and inspiring tuition and training in the performing arts industries.
* Starbrite Studios has a 100% IDTA Exam success rate to date – 2017
* Starbrite Studios has a 94% Highest mark in most recent IDTA exam session - 2017
* Elf Jr. The Musical is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 Phone: 212-541-4684 Fax: 212-397-4684 www.MTIShows.com.
* Music Theatre International and Broadway Junior - Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting schools as well as amateur and professional theatres from around the world the rights to perform the largest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these shows to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 70,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.

Posted on 06/11/2017

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PRESS RELEASE Date: 31st October 2017

Finalists announced for 2018 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence

We are delighted to unveil the shortlist for the 2018 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence.

Alex Stevens, editor of Music Teacher magazine and chair of the awards judging panel, said:
‘This year’s awards showcase just how flexible and useful music can be, as well as highlighting the inspiring work of teachers up and down the country. From grime opera to CPR training, not to mention a range of initiatives aiming to widen access to a high-quality music education, the nominees provide a useful snapshot of our resilient cultural education sector.’

Created to celebrate excellence in music and performing arts education, the awards will be presented in 13 categories, from new products and resources to hubs, music departments and individual contributions to the sector.

The winners will be announced on 22 February 2018 at a gala ceremony taking place at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel, Mayfair.


Best Classical Music Education Initiative, sponsored by Classic FM
• NYO Inspire
• Welsh National Opera & CânSing Opera Resources
• ‘Wassail! Carols of Comfort and Joy’ (Alexander L’Estrange & United Learning)
• Monteverdi 450 Project (Bristol Plays Music & Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras)
• National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain

Best Digital/Technological Resource
• Minute of Listening (Bristol Plays Music)
• VIP Studio Sessions (Charanga Ltd)
• Soundtrap
• Dorico (Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH)
• Tido

Best Music Education Product, sponsored by Allianz Musical Insurance
• My World - I Love Music (Out of the Ark Music)
• GCSE Music Study Guides (Rhinegold Education)
• Being a Head of Music: A survival guide (by Patrick Gazard, Jane Werry & David Ashworth)
• The Saxophone: The Art and Science of Playing and Performing (by John Harle, published by Faber Music)
• Beginner Theory Series (BJB Music)

Best Musical Initiative
• Infinity Orchestra (Surrey Music Hub)
• It’s CPR! (Portsmouth Music Hub)
• Grown: A Grime Opera (Charanga Ltd & Essex Music Education Hub)
• Noise Solution
• Sing Up

Best Musical Theatre Education Resource, sponsored by Schools Printed Music Licence
• Matilda School Resources
• Broadway Junior Audition Materials (Josef Weinberger/Music Theatre International)
• The School Musicals Company Shows for Licence range
• Secondary School shows and production resources (The Musical Company)
• Wicked – Secondary Drama KS3 & 4 Resource

Best Print Resource, sponsored by Schools Printed Music Licence
• Five & Six Hands at One Piano (by Mike Cornick, published by Universal Edition)
• 4 Strings (by Liz Partridge, published by Boosey & Hawkes)
• Celtic Piano Series: Celebrating the beauty of Scotland (by Donald Thomson, published by EVC Publications)
• Five Note Philharmonic (by Sarah Watts, published by Kevin Mayhew)
• The Intermediate Pianist (by Heather Hammond & Karen Marshall, published by Faber Music)
• How to Teach Music: 100 Inspiring Ideas series (by David Wheway, Hilary Miles and Jonathan Barnes, Hanh Doan and David Guinane, Karen Marshall and Penny Stirling, published by Collins Music)

Best School Music Department, sponsored by the MMA
• Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, London
• The Belvedere Academy, Liverpool
• St. Christopher’s C.E. High School, Lancashire
• Rastrick High School, Calderdale
• The Premier Academy, Milton Keynes

Best SEND Resource
• The Improvise Approach (Carrie Lennard)
• The Short Guide to Accessible Music Education (Drake Music, Drake Music Scotland & Music Education Council)
• Open Orchestras (Open Up Music)
• OHMI Music Makers (One Handed Musical Instrument Trust)
• Relaxed Concert/Relaxed Prom (BBC National Orchestra of Wales)

Excellence in Primary/Early Years Music
• Little Notes
• M:Tech
• Singing Schools (The Voices Foundation & David Ross Education Trust)
• The Lullaby Concerts (Orchestra’s Live)
• Rocksteady Music School

Musicians’ Union Inspiration Award, sponsored by the Musicians’ Union
• Alison North, a music teacher at Lindley Junior School and director of Lindley Community Choir
• Rachael Clarke, Head of Performing Arts at Joseph Rowntree School, York
• Jo White, a community musician who increases the reach of music in healthcare through Rhythmix’s Wishing Well project
• Don Gillthorpe, Director of Music & Performing Arts at Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy
• David Barton, a private music tutor, accompanist and composer based in Lichfield

There is no shortlist for the Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by Incorporated Society of Musicians), the Music Education Council Major Award (sponsored by Music Education Council) or the Music Teacher Magazine Editor’s Award (sponsored by EVC Music Publications). Winners for these categories will be announced on the evening.


Tickets for the evening can be purchased from www.musicteacherawards.co.uk


The Music Teacher Awards for Excellence are organised by Rhinegold Media & Events Ltd in conjunction with Music & Drama Education Expo, and supported by Music Teacher magazine.

Rhinegold Media & Events Ltd has two operational divisions. The event portfolio consists of the Rhinegold LIVE recital series, Music & Drama Education Expo (Europe’s largest exhibition and professional development conference for music and drama education) and the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence. The media division is focused upon developing a range of digital products in partnership with its associate company, Rhinegold Publishing Ltd, one of the leading UK publishers for music and the performing arts.

Rhinegold Publishing produces specialist magazines for the music and performing arts industry including Classical Music, Opera Now, Music Teacher, International Piano, Choir & Organ and Teaching Drama, as well as a series of directories including the renowned Rhinegold British & International Music Yearbook.
www.rhinegoldmediaevents.co.uk · www.rhinegold.co.uk · Tel: 020 7333 1733


For more information about the awards, please contact Louise Greener, events manager, on


• Yamaha
• Classic FM

Posted on 02/11/2017

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Starbrite Studios

Starbrite Studios

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Starbrite Studios
Startbrite students using the recording studio

PRESS RELEASE Date: 31st October 2017

Local performing arts school opens a new recording and green screen studio

Starbrite Studios School of Performing Arts is excited to reveal its new recording and green screen studio at its purpose-built performing arts facility. It is not only making these amazing facilities available for its current students, but also for the local community to develop their vocal skills and practice their filmmaking techniques.

Starbrite Studios is based in Shiptonthorpe in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and provides specialist triple-threat training through dance, drama, and singing classes for people aged from 18 months to adults, and prepares them for a confident future in the performing arts industry.

The new facilities are part of Starbrite’s drive to support the local community and create greater links with it.

Emma Bailey-Hague, Creative Director and Principal at Starbrite Studios says: “It’s great that these amenities are available for the students and they have really helped develop their social skills and build a sense of community in the school. We are encouraging people to have time in the recording studio if they want to take their singing to a professional level because it not only allows people to become familiar with how their voice works but also provides the place to teach the correct singing technique to protect it from injury.

To develop the skills needed for triple-threat training, we suggest making use of all the resources available as listening back in the recording studio is a wonderful way for boosting self-confidence and feeling good about yourself, which forms an important part of being successful. Students also get to digitally record their voices using our professional equipment and receive copies of their progress.

Our green screen studio allows singers and performers to be photographed and filmed and then superimposed onto virtual backgrounds. This is a great visual tool which creates the perfect environment to help students build up a strong portfolio to demonstrate their dance, drama, and singing skills which they can use to strengthen their college auditions.

The drama class not only provides a fantastic opportunity for those who want a career on stage but also aids the development of articulation with the benefits of enhancing coordination.

We are already seeing a lot of interest in these facilities from people in the local community and encourage others to experience them for themselves.”

If you are interested in joining this fun and vibrant performing arts school, then find out more information by visiting the Starbrite Studios website at https://www.starbritestudios.co.uk/.

Notes to editor

* We are Yorkshire's premier performing arts studio, providing fun and inspiring tuition and training in the performing arts industries.
* 100% IDTA Exam success rate to date – 2017
* 94% Highest mark in most recent IDTA exam session - 2017

Posted on 31/10/2017

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Support Your Local Amateur Theatre Group

Author: Norma Phillips
Secretary of
Teesside Musical Theatre Company

Contact: nphillips6@gmail.com

We hope that Teesside Musical Theatre Company’s (TMTC) reputation will encourage audiences to buy tickets for the upcoming 2017 production of “Spamalot” being performed at Middlesbrough Theatre on 15-20 May 2017. “Spamalot” was aptly described by the Newcastle Evening Chronicle as “a pantomime for all seasons”, and our production promises to be spectacular and hilarious, appealing to everyone who wants to leave the theatre feeling thoroughly entertained. The only pain you will experience from this encounter with a “python” is the ache in your ribs from so much laughter.

TMTC were excited to secure the rights to “Spamalot” in 2014 to be the first North East Amateur Company to perform the show. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, tickets sales are likely to be adversely affected by the fact that many people may have already seen the show recently in the local area.

True to the “Spamalot” ethos, we are determined to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”, and rehearsals are progressing well. Our Committee and Members endeavour to be supportive of each other and work together to ensure the survival of local amateur theatre. Several members of Teesside Musical Theatre Youth Company are also part of the cast, giving them valuable experience in a full scale production and helping to secure the future of TMTC.

For “Spamalot” TMTC also have a Youtube page with amusing videos providing a taster of the production and showing how much fun the cast is having at rehearsals. Visit the page at www.youtube.com and subscribe to receive news of future videos.

We need the support of local audiences to come and join in the fun at Middlesbrough Theatre from 15-20 May 2017 by ordering tickets from our ticket secretaries, Jacquie Kelly (tel: 07712 485211) and Sue Bargewell (tel: 07806 786327) or from the Box Office on 01642 815181. Tickets cost £15 for adults and £10 for Under 14s.

Posted on 28/04/2017

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Ben Crocker Pantomimes

How to Make Great Custard Pies...

I’m often asked about the perfect mixture for custard pies…

So, here is the traditional method. It achieves brilliant results, but it does take a bit of work. The number one benefit is that it looks funnier, because the foam adheres so well to the face. The second benefit is that it won't run to mush in a matter of minutes - it's quite durable and even after a few hours can be re-whisked to a good consistency.

NB. A note of caution. A custard pie is usually to the face. You obviously need to be careful and make sure (as you would with any mixture) that your actors are not allergic to it.

So here goes:

You need one, old fashioned, Palmolive shaving stick.

Grate the stick with a cheese grater into a bucket.

Add a half pint of boiling water.

Mix into a tough paste. (Use an electric drill with a plasterer’s whisk fitment.)

Slowly add water and continue whisking (15 mins or so…)

Stop when you achieve the right consistency – and that’s it! (Oh, and have some cotton buds to hand – if the foam gets into your actor’s ears it will stay there until gently removed.)

A good custard pie routine is always a crowd pleaser. All my scripts have a degree of physical, slapstick comedy, but the ones with cooking routines and custard pies are - Ali Baba and Sleeping Beauty. Both versions of Cinderella and Mother Goose also involve a good degree of gloop... You can check them out, along with all my other titles at: www.bencrockerpantomimes.com/pantomime-scripts.php

As always, I’ll be happy to send you free reading copies.

Have a great Easter and all good wishes,

Ben Crocker

Posted on 07/04/2017

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The South Devon Players



Brixham theatre & film team, of local people, win national arts award

The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company are excited to announce that on the evening of March 19th, 2017 at an awards ceremony at the Sage conference centre in Newcastle, they were presented with the Epic Award for England. Laura Jay, one of the founders, and Michael Mirsadeghi, who is the head of editing, and cameraman of the Players current 6th Century Arthurian feature film Mordred, travelled to Newcastle to collect the award on behalf of the team, but as Laura feels it important to point out, this has been earned by efforts and collaborations of the entire team, not by any one person.

There is growing recognition in the media and in public policy of the importance of everyday participation in creativity. The Epic Awards shines a spotlight on the incredible achievements of these groups each year.
Winning groups are those that demonstrate the four Epic qualities – Engagement, Partnership, Innovation and Creativity.

Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture in the UK stated ""The fantastic work of the South Devon Players shows what can be achieved by the ingenuity and determination of arts groups."

This is wonderful recognition for a group which was founded by local Brixham performers, 11 years ago, on the proceeds of a carboot sale, and has grown into a vibrant theatre & film team, who perform newly researched historical shows around Devon, and whose film work is gaining recognition and awards abroad.
In addition the Players work hard to promote the skills of local creatives, with workshops and training, networking events, and involvement with other local organisations.

The award will stand next to the Torbay “Creativity In The Community” trophy won in 2010.

The group are currently in rehearsals for their summer stage show, a steampunk theatre production telling the story of the mysterious Victorian killer known as “Jack The Ripper” and also busy fund-raising for the final few days of filming their 6th Century Arthurian feature film, Mordred, the trailer for which is already selected for screening at international film festivals, in Hollywood, New York, Barcelona, as well as at Torbays very own English Riviera film festival. The crowdfund – as well as more information about the film, is at igg.me/at/Mordred2017b/x/12578926 all assistance in promoting the crowdfund and the project is much appreciated.

Posted on 22/03/2017

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The South Devon Players




Brixham theatre & film team, shortlisted for national arts award & semifinalists in Los Angeles Cinefest film festival - In one day!

Some days just keep on getting better and better.

The day started pretty normally, until an email arrived from Voluntary Arts England. We, that is, the South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company, are shortlisted for the Epic Awards 2017. This is a national award for creative organizations - voluntary, CIC, etc, who do work considered to be especially adventurous in their community. We are delighted and very proud that we are are one of 32 organizations around the UK who have made the shortlist.

Making the shortlist this year was especially down to our film production Mordred, which we have been working on, sometimes alongside other projects, for the past year.
If anyone would like to vote for us, for the Peoples Choice Award - the link is at www.voluntaryarts.org

This was exciting news. We had just told oursouth devon players members the great news, when another email pinged into the inbox. This one, was from Los Angeles Cinefest, a US based film festival, to tell us that the trailer for our film Mordred, has been selected as a semifinalist in that film festival. Alongside the other recent success of being selected as a finalist in the Thanksgiving IndieBOOST 2016 Competition, in which the trailer was given a rating of 9.5 out of 10, in terms of acting, cinematography, technical and creative aspects.

The team are running a crowdfund to raise funds for the final few scenes needed, which will be filmed in 2017.This will be launched on Friday Febuary 10th. (the link will be on our website www.southdevonplayers.com).

“I am what you made me become!” is the tagline of the film, spoken by Mordred.
Set in a heavily researched backdrop of early 6th Century Devon & Cornwall, and researched from many early Celtic sources, as well as later medieval texts, Mordred tells the tale of King Arthur’s illegitimate son, and how two equally honourable men were brought to war.
Once the majority of principal filming was completed, our main editor, Michael Mirsadeghi, put together the official film trailer with a haunting soundtrack created by German film composer Michael Klubertanz. The team decided to submit the trailer to several international film festivals during the autumn.
This production not only showcases very heavily researched Dark Ages history of Devon and Cornwall (the southwest peninsula of the UK) , linked to some of the very earliest and less known Arthurian legends, but also equally to showcase the amazing skills by local actors, filmmakers, and other production creatives. Since there are very few opportunities, we decided to make our own and that is how The South Devon Players Theatre and Film Company started, back in 2006. Now, years later, we have been able to branch into filmmaking, as well as theatre, reaching a much wider audience for our team.
Contrary to the usual glamourous medieval settings for many Arthurian adaptations, with knights in gleaming plate armour, and ladies in stunning court dresses; this is a very different production. Set in the early 6th Century, this drama is set within a very different landscape.
Following the departure of the Romans from Britain, the Southwest again became the Celtic kingdom of Dumnonia - what is now the southwestern peninsula of the UK comprising Devon & Cornwall. At this point in history, the Saxons were raiding along the coast, much as the Vikings did, centuries later. Set against this backdrop, Arthur and his warriors, fight to defend Dumnonia, against invasion.
The timeline for this film came originally from the entry for the year 537AD in the Annales Cambriae;
537 The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell: and there was plague in Britain and Ireland. “Medraut” was the name that in later legend, became Mordred. We went with the later name “Mordred” simply so that it would be more recognisable to modern audiences.

The Southwest is linked to a wide number of legends connected with King Arthur, and as we researched, we found yet more old stories, both of Mordred, and and of other, Mordred-like characters who almost never appear in modern adaptations of the legend. Piecing these together, against this dramatic, ever-changing landscape of the Dark Ages, and using peripheral history of the times – for example; as the Saxons began to expand their kingdom of Wessex, Cynric, who was the first king of Wessex, is also an important character in our drama – we created our own version of the legend, with a lot of the backdrop which would have existed in the time it is set.
After months of research, rehearsing and training, the cast are really excited to begin filming at last!

The group running it, The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company, from Brixham in South Devon, also founded by Laura Jay, has a proven track record over 10 years of producing historical theatre and film, working from the early days of raising £80 from a carboot sale and using the backroom of a pub for rehearsals.

large cast ranges from Julie Tetley playing Gitta; Morgan le Fay's maid and co-conspirator, and thirteen year old newcomer Reece Whitehouse playing King Arthur’s “legitimate” son, Duran, in their first ever major acting roles (in fact the first ever role for Reece), through our more experienced actors Rich Sandford who stars as Mordred, and Guillaume Rivaud, who plays King Arthur, right over to “Iron” Mike Mitchell, who, after holding 5 “Mr World” and 2 “Mr Universe” titles with the World Fitness Federation, went on to the world of acting and has appeared in films such as Gladiator, Braveheart, Skyfall, Apocalypse Z – and the TV soap Emmerdale.

The South Devon Players have an unusual raison d'etre; exemplified, in this project. The group, which started out as an amateur dramatics theatre group, specialising in historical and mythological drama, are a group of local career-orientated actors and creatives, who are unable, for various life reasons, or lack of resources, to move away to large entertainment hubs such as London, to make careers there.

It was considered very important to make sure that we were not making “just another King Arthur film”, and to find a unique adaptation. While novels have been written from Mordred's point of view, to our knowledge, this has never been transferred to film. That, coupled with spanning Devon and Cornwall, and delving into earlier and less known legends, has created an all new version of the legend.
Not that creating a production of this scale is easy. While grants were applied for, we found ourselves turned down by arts grants seeing this as a heritage project, and heritage grants seeing this as an arts projects, therefore cast and crew members are involved in a wide range of fundraising activities, ranging from small amounts from tombolas and face painting at fetes, and selling on ebay, through to a film/ scifi/ fantasy convention, grant applications, cabaret shows, ebook publications and more.
For costumes and props, It was also a case of keeping one eye on the history book and the other on what reclaimed fabrics and items can be remade, and adapted. We have to thank so many people who keep an eye out for second hand things that we can do this with.

This is an ambitious project, taking not just every ounce of creativity on screen, but also in the planning and logistics behind-the-scenes.

Posted on 08/02/2017

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Garden Suburb Theatre

An interview with Baker Street Irregulars director Mary Musker
Garden Suburb Theatre sent ace reporter Lavinia Quivers to interview the director of our upcoming show...!
Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars

An interview with the director, Mary Musker.

Just ten days to go till opening night - Tuesday 14 February... for six performances only


Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars What made you choose Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars?

I was looking for a play that would be family-friendly both in terms of casting and audience. The GST have had great fun and success in the past with adaptations of books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Railway Children, Treasure Island and Alice in Wonderland, for instance. So, I was looking around for another book adaptation and stumbled upon the idea of doing a Sherlock Holmes related play; the idea immediately appealed not least because of current popularity of the BBC Sherlock series. Following up that idea, I found an intriguing reference to a play version of the Baker Street Irregulars that had been performed in the US; further sleuthing got me Eric Coble's email address. I made contact and he sent me a copy of the play to read. The combination of good roles for teenagers and adults was immediately appealing and on a first reading we could see the theatrical possibilities.
Tell me more about the play.

It's an adaptation of a series of graphic novels about the Baker Street Irregulars written by two English guys, Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood. You can find out more about them here. So it's actually an adaptation of an adaptation! This origin in comics gave us lots of ideas about ways to stage the play and I hope you'll be able to spot lots of comic-book moments. The action takes place just after Sherlock and Moriarty have had a fight at the top of the Reichenbach falls and are both missing, presumed dead. Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
Who are the Baker Street Irregulars?

They are a gang of street children who appear in several of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels. They have all been helped by Sherlock in one way or another, and they are led by Wiggins who Sherlock paid a shilling a day to collect data.

They don't believe that Sherlock is dead and resolve to find him - but get diverted by another case.

So, is Sherlock Holmes not in the play at all?

I can't reveal that information! You'll have to come and see it to find out...

What have been the biggest challenges you've faced directing the show?

Wrangling a cast of 27! Also I've given the younger members of the cast an enormous amount to do - they all play several characters, make live sound effects, move furniture around - amongst other things - and never leave the stage. Plus I decided to stage the show on a traverse stage - with audience on both sides. Most if not all of the cast don't have experience on a stage like that and neither do I so that was pretty challenging, making sure that both sides of the audience get to see everything. Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
Why should we come and see the show?

It's a super-entertaining way of spending a couple of hours on a cold February evening. Fun for all the family from six to 106!

Posted on 06/02/2017

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