Award-winning theatre company, Redditch Operatic Society, have just began to ‘whip crack away’ at rehearsals for their November production of Calamity Jane, which is being performed at Redditch Palace Theatre from 17 to 21 November.
The company are currently on the hunt for some leading men to audition for a number of roles, including the principal parts of Wild Bill Hickok (Bass), Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin (Baritone) and Francis Fryer (Tenor), plus, other spoken and choral parts are available.
The group rehearse on a Tuesday evening in Redditch Town Centre at Community House on Easemore Road (see map below). Auditions take place on Sunday 28 June. Anyone who is interested can contact Lisa Jane Lilwall or Pauline Elliker via Facebook. Alternatively, just come along to ROS’s rehearsal next Tuesday night (23 June) at 7:30pm.
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Time is running out for young performers to register their interest in an exciting new pop choir run by Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is launching a new venture and those interested in being part of the new choir need to register their interest by Wednesday 1 July.
Stafford Gatehouse Youth Choir (SGYC) will run on Wednesday nights from September through to December for a trial term. It is open to youngsters aged 16-21 with a passion for music. Previous experience is not essential.
The group will be lead by Musical Director Simon Allen. Simon Allen BMus (Hons) has been working as a pro musician for over 10 years, starting his career in Staffordshire before travelling the UK to work on contemporary music projects in genres such as Pop, Funk, Jazz and Musical Theatre. As a Hammond Organist (After Dark Fonksters) and Pianist Simon can be caught playing live around the country in various bands and currently works locally as the Musical Director of 'The Military Wives Choir Stafford' and 'The Rhythm Club Tap Dance Spectacular'.
Simon Allen says:
“Having worked with Stafford Gatehouse Youth Theatre earlier this year and being excited by the talent, I was keen to bring some more musical opportunities to the theatre and a Pop Choir seemed just the thing.
“Gone will be the idea of old fashioned choirs and in with an exciting brand of choir singing; the key is to have a blast and learn whilst creating an awesome sound! I have been chomping at the bit to bring this type of choir to Stafford and have a range of fantastic songs, some of which will be unique arrangements that we will learn, perform and blow people away with!
“The plan is to get everyone in the choir buzzing about singing out loud and creating a sound that will be a force to be beckoned with. It is my experience that singing in a choir can bring out the most shy of people, who ultimately learn to love performing music. We will be performing music from the charts, TV shows and whatever else inspires us! Bring on SGYC!”
Those interested in being part of SGYC need to register their interest by emailing their name, age, address, any musical background and the most recent song they downloaded to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Wednesday 1 July, with the subject 'SGYC'. Those under 18 will also need to include the details of their parent or guardian. After this date Stafford Gatehouse Theatre will contact all those who have registered with further information.
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre announced this week, the first phase of redevelopment to the building which is due to take place over the coming summer. Plans to further enhance customer experience will begin in the foyer and stalls bar areas.
The layout of the current stalls bar has been re-imagined to maximise the use of space and will create an exciting environment for customers. The plans will allow our potential 1200 theatregoers in one evening (a capacity that was reached in April at sell-out performances of The Bodyguard), to enjoy drinks and entertainment in a new, high quality setting. The ground floor level will be renamed The Encore Lounge and will also feature a small performance space for intimate theatre, to include comedy and live music which will take place during the daytime, pre show, during intervals and after the curtain comes down in the main auditorium.
Customers will also be able to take advantage of the new Lounge during the daytime and directly after work. This will be the first opportunity in many years for customers to enjoy additional hospitality at the Grand Theatre outside of performance times. The new bar will be part of the remodelled foyer and will benefit both staff and audience members in ensuring a more efficient environment for growing audience numbers.
With sell-out full houses at The Bodyguard and record-breaking visitor numbers for a play during the National Theatre’s The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time earlier this year, the Grand Theatre aims to expand the entire theatregoing experience to its growing audiences, offering not only top quality stage productions but becoming even more of an exciting destination for customers.
Chief Executive of the Grand Theatre, Adrian Jackson said:
“I am delighted that the Grand Theatre is going to be able to offer a new experience for our customers to enjoy that will be part of the extended cultural offering within the city centre.”
Chichester Festival Theatre's highly acclaimed and sell-out production of Guys and Dolls comes to Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre from Tuesday 24 November until Saturday 5 December 2015.
Chichester Festival Theatre continue their triumphant musical successes with this exuberant revival which follows Singin’ in the Rain, The Pajama Game and, most recently, Gypsy. Sophie Thompson and Jamie Parker will reprise their roles, with further casting to be announced.
Nathan Detroit is desperate: he needs money for an illegal dice game, and he needs it fast. Not to mention a 14-year engagement with nightclub singer Miss Adelaide (Sophie Thompson), whose patience is finally running out. Enter notorious gambler Sky Masterson (Jamie Parker), a guy who can never turn down a bet, and straight-laced missionary Sarah Brown, a doll with a heart of ice. Nathan’s wager is that Sky has to romance Sarah by taking her to Havana for dinner and in return he’ll provide a dozen ‘sinners’ for Sarah’s mission. Surely this is one bet Nathan absolutely can't lose?
A joyous and vibrant celebration of Prohibition-era New York, Guys and Dolls first premiered on Broadway in 1950 and captured the optimism and energy of post-World War Two America. This hugely popular and multi award-winning musical, based on the colourful stories by American journalist Damon Runyon renowned for his vivid fictional depictions of the gamblers, hustlers and nightclub singers of New York, features some of Broadway’s greatest musical numbers including My Time of Day, Luck be a Lady and the show-stopping Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat. Guys and Dolls is directed by Gordon Greenberg with choreography by Cuban dancer and former Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright whose credits include Chichester Festival Theatre’s Singin’ in the Rain.
The music and lyrics are by Frank Loesser, whose credits include How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and the song Baby, It's Cold Outside, with the book written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. Burrows' credits include How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Swerling's credits include the seminal film It's A Wonderful Life.
Tickets are now on sale to ATG Theatrecard holders and group bookers. Tickets go on General Sale on Friday 19 June at 10am. For more information visit www.atgtickets.com/birmingham.
DD Arts Birmingham are staging one of the most powerful plays in recent years, At Ease, a joint production with the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham. It tells the story of an extraordinary correspondence between Alex Rees, a convicted attempted murderer and ex-EastEnders actor Michael Cashman (now Lord Cashman), an intended target.
What is revealed is an almost unbelievable story of rags to riches to rags again, of abuse, torture, high living in the Household Cavalry, establishment cover-up, cruelty, humour and humanity.
At Ease is written by Birmingham based award-winning playwright Rod Dungate, a long-time friend of Cashman, who found the story unbelievably moving. Rees died after being diagnosed with cancer and Dungate set about interviewing Rees’s family and friends. After a one-off script-in-hand performance, in January 2015, comments ranged from ‘incredible story, really needs to be told’ to ‘the documentary makes it all the more real and moving’. Dungate has written a play that will resonate with every human being.
"What emerged was a story so extraordinary – sometimes shocking, sometimes heartbreakingly funny – that I decided to tell the tale as documentary theatre. Every word you hear is exactly as it was spoken or written by those in the story. It has never been more true that truth is stranger than fiction.”
Lord Cashman, a founder member of Stonewall and a life-long campaigner for LGBT rights, comments:
“The letters I received from Alex Rees are among the more extraordinary things in my life. Full of surprises, full of high-spots and lows, his personal journey to redemption will touch all hearts. More than this, the wit in his writing and his perceptions of human beings have much to teach us. Now, as the basis for this unique drama, it feels as if many circles are satisfyingly beginning to close.”
Dungate will also be directing the play with a cast of five actors, drawing from the best established and emerging talent from the West Midlands. Actors Alison Belbin and Denny Hodge are joined by Shannon Anthony, Jack Richardson and Carl Thornley, who are recent graduates from the Birmingham School of Acting.
With financial support from the Arts Council, the play will be premiered in June and is fully supported by Lord Michael Cashman.
Performances will take place at the Old Joint Stock Theatre Birmingham between 17 and 20 June 2015. For ticket information visit http://www.oldjointstock.co.uk/whats-on or call the Old Joint Stock Box Office on 0121 200 0946.
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The stage is set for a musical play to commemorate World War 1 at Birches Valley Concert Venue (see map below) this June, as Cannock Chase Arts Council presents Four Winters at War.
The fictional play, written by local writer Peter Sidgwick and local composer Jon Seymour, tells the story of the lives and loves of four soldiers, one British, two from New Zealand and one German prisoner of war, all of whom find themselves on the Chase and become romantically connected with nurses serving at the nearby military hospital on Brindley Heath on Cannock Chase between 1915 and 1918.
The show will be performed rain or shine as a 360 degree experience, with the audience seated picnic style on rugs and garden chairs, surrounded by a choir of over 100 singers, with four stages where the various scenes will take place.
Peter Sidgwick, Chairman of Cannock Chase Arts Council, said:
“With over fifty actors and a choir of over one hundred singers, the show promises to be a unique theatrical experience right in the heart of our beautiful Cannock Chase”.
Four Winters at War is being presented by Cannock Chase Arts Council, but will be very much a community event involving some 150 local amateur actors, musicians, singers, dancers, army cadets, school children and the Birmingham Pals (a WW1 re-enactment group) together with presentations from local photographers, painters, floral artists and tapestry makers.
The event is being supported by Cannock Chase District Council, WLCT, The Forestry Commission, Cannock Chase AONB, Brindley Heath Parish Council, The Friends of Cannock Chase, Festivals 360, Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Staffordshire Search and Rescue Team.
The main sponsor is Craig Watts Holdings who are proud to support the local community and celebrate the part played by Cannock Chase during World War One.
Four Winters At War plays on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June, 6pm – 9pm at Birches Valley Concert Venue.
Tickets are still available and are £10 per person. These can be purchased at the Prince of Wales Centre by booking online at boxoffice.wlct.org, by calling 01543 578762 or visiting the theatre at Church Street, Cannock.
John Boyne’s highly acclaimed and best-selling international novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas will visit Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre from Tues 16 – Sat 20 June as part of a major new UK tour. The show has already stopped off at Wolverhampton Grand, you can see LMT's review here. The book, which is a KS3 level school text for 11 - 14 year olds, has been adapted for stage by Angus Jackson.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is an emotive tale of an unlikely friendship between two innocent boys. Set during World War II, the story is seen through the eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and devastating consequences.
John Boyne’s 2006 novel has sold millions of copies around and has appeared on many bestseller lists including the New York Times where it reached number 1. It was made into a Miramax feature film which was released in 2008.
This play will be produced by The Children’s Touring Partnership, which is led by independent producer Fiery Angel, Chichester Festival Theatre and a consortium of major regional theatres. The Partnership have previously toured Goodnight Mister Tom (which won the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and Family) and Swallows and Amazons. There will be an extensive education programme attached to this production and there are additional matinee performances in all venues to accommodate school parties.
Edward Snape for the Children’s Touring Partnership commented:
"The Children's Touring Partnership aims to produce and tour innovative, ambitious and engaging large scale theatrical productions for children and families. After two years of development we are very excited by this new commission which will bring this extraordinary story to life on stage for the first time."
Chichester Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director, Jonathan Church said:
"Creating and supporting high quality work for young people is an important thread running through Chichester’s work, which is why we are proud to be part of the Children’s Touring Partnership. We’re delighted that The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas will receive its world premiere in our renewed Festival Theatre following its major refurbishment."
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas will visit the Belgrade Theatre from 16 to 20 June. Tickets are priced from £10 to £16.50 for adults and £10.25 & £12.75 for children. Family tickets are priced at £41 & £47. For more information and to book, call the Belgrade Box Office on 024 7655 3055 or visit www.belgrade.co.uk where tickets are cheaper.
To celebrate the 25th edition of the Stafford Festival Shakespeare, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is encouraging locals to share their Shakespeare selfies.
To mark the anniversary, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre will be giving away six pairs of tickets for the best selfie with a Shakespearian vibe. Stafford Festival Shakespeare will run from 25 June to 11 July, 2015. This year's performance, Much Ado About Nothing, will be staged at the historic Stafford Castle.
The Shakespeare selfies can show anything from a quiet night in with your favourite Bard play, to a girly evening of food, wine and hours spent swooning over Leonardo DiCaprio in the film, Romeo and Juliet. Selfies from previous years at the festival are also welcome, however unusual or comical they may be.
Festival goers can share their Shakespeare selfies on the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre’s Twitter page, @Staff_Gatehouse, or its Facebook page using #Shakespeare25. All selfies posted by 19 June stand a chance to win a pair of tickets to one of the UK's leading open air theatrical productions. The winners will be announced on 22 June on the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre Twitter page and blog and will be asked to contact the theatre to claim the prize.
"Almost everyone can relate to Shakespeare's plays in some way, even today, almost four centuries after they’ve been written. This year, we want to bring Shakespeare into the world of social media and digital by encouraging people to share their Shakesperean selfies," explains Emma Hogan, press and marketing officer of Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. "The Bard’s plays are not just meant for in-depth analysis or exams, they can be enjoyed anywhere and by anyone, especially nowadays, when thanks to social media, the whole world truly is a stage.”
The Stafford Festival Shakespeare has proven its popularity over the years with audiences of all ages. Pre-performance dining and picnics can be booked in advance and a selection of real ale, gin, wine and non-alcoholic drinks will be available on the premises."
Tickets for the festival can be purchased from the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre's box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting the theatre's website on www.staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk.
Opening last night, West Side Story plays at Sutton Arts Theatre until Saturday 20 June.
On Saturday 13 June, Solihull Chandos Choir can be found performing at The Bushell Hall, Solihull School. The choir will be performing Mozart Requiem and Vesperae Solennes de Confessore.
Mozart’s Requiem is a perennial favourite with performers and audiences alike. From the drama of the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) to the gentle lyricism of the Benedictus, a vast range of emotions is revealed.
The word 'Solemn' in the title of the Vesperae Solennes de Confessore refers to the importance of the service for which they were composed, not the music, which is anything but solemn.
Solihull Chandos Choir are delighted to welcome soloists; Sara Whichelow (soprano), who played Princess Ida in their concert performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta, Mitesh Khatri (tenor) who appeared in Puccini’s Messa di Gloria with the choir last year and Themba Mvula (bass) who last performed with the group in Messiah in 2013. The choir also welcomes Victoria Jess as their mezzo. Victoria is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, and made her professional debut with Birmingham Opera Company under the direction of Graham Vick in the world premiere of Jonathan Dove's Life is a Dream.
Tickets are just £15 and the concert takes place at The Bushell Hall, Solihull School (see map below) on Saturday 13 June at 7.30pm. For more information and to book tickets click here.
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