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Banbury Cross Players

Banbury Cross Players
www.banburycrossplayers.org.uk

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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)
www.alicat.me

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AliCaT Children and Theatre - Enrolling for September

EVERY CHILD HAS A VOICE

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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RASA AUR DRAMA THEATRE

RASA AUR DRAMA THEATRE
www.rasaaurdrama.com

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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
www.wwdn.co.uk

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Be More Chill

Press release- Liverpool theatre company What We Did Next
presents the Broadway hit musical
BE MORE CHILL
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

www.kingsbridge-today.co.uk

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.

Summary

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.



Summary

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.



Summary

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!



Summary

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
TicketSource

Contact:
terry.rosoman@ticketsource.co.uk

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
www.shoutoutdrama.co.uk

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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 :)

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

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

Hello,

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
www.starbritestudios.co.uk

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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

info@starbritestudios.co.uk
Posted on 15/12/2017

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Starbrite Studios

Starbrite Studios
www.starbritestudios.co.uk

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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 http://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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Rhinegold

Rhinegold
www.rhinegold.co.uk

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.


THE SHORTLIST

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

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

NOTES FOR EDITORS

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

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about the awards, please contact Louise Greener, events manager, on
louise.greener@rhinegold.co.uk

HEADLINE SPONSORS

• Yamaha
• Classic FM

Posted on 02/11/2017

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Starbrite Studios

Starbrite Studios
www.starbritestudios.co.uk

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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 http://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
www.bencrockerpantomimes.com

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
www.bencrockerpantomimes.com
Ben Crocker


Posted on 07/04/2017

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The South Devon Players


www.southdevonplayers.com

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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


www.southdevonplayers.com

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Mordred

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

BOOK NOW!

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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