If you thought that working with puppets was difficult, as we did in Avenue Q in June, try working with a pig!
Coming up in November is the wonderful "Betty Blue Eyes", a play with music set in 1947 and based on Alan Bennett's hilariously funny screenplay for the film "A Private Function".
Belts are being tightened and the country’s long-suffering citizens are being told by the government that there will be fair shares for all in return for surviving Austerity Britain. Meanwhile local officials feather their own nests by taking far more than their own fair share. Having won the war Britain seems to have lost the peace, and the country is staggering under the burden of acute rationing, unemployment and the coldest winter for decades. The only bright spark on the horizon is the impending marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
Betty, an adorable pig, is being illegally reared to ensure the local dignitaries can celebrate the Royal Wedding with a lavish banquet while the local population make do with Spam. The result is an utterly British musical - suitable for all the family - with a deliciously infectious, toe-tapping, retro contemporary score full of eccentric characters, and of course, our star, Betty the pig.
Little Theatre Company Patrons
Did you know that you can become a Patron for just £10 per annum? In return your name will appear in all our theatre programmes and you receive priority booking on tickets. You will also receive two free tickets for our bi-annual Patrons' Evening entertainment. The next one, on 9th and 10th March 2018, promises to be a particularly special event.
Local businesses can also become corporate patrons for just £25 a year. In return, they receive the same benefits as private patrons, plus a logo advert in all our show programmes and publicity online through the Corporate Patrons page of our website:
This year's LTC wedding took place this summer when the dapper Alex Gill married the lovely Caitlin Pritchard. It is a true thespian romance: they have been a couple since they appeared together on the Brewhouse stage back in 2006 in the LTC's 'The Happiest Days of Your Life'. Fingers crossed that their happiest days are still to come, particularly when a Baby Gill appears on the scene in a few weeks' time.
We're looking forward to welcoming another LTC baby to the family. Jodie Whitehead and husband Steve are expecting their first child later this month. We just hope that he/she can act, sing and dance as well as Mum!
Report from a Film Set
'Dead End’ is a short zombie action film by Sam Pearson and Liam Atton, with special effects makeup by Emily Von Woolf. The Film stars Nina Ball, Ollie Last, Wil Pearson and Tom Pritchard as survivors in the apocalypse, whose camp is set upon by a horde of vicious zombies. The film also features Mike Mear, Rob Tunley and Jackie & Mark Pearson, also from LTC. Survivors and Zombies are all searching for a serum which will, hopefully, save the world.
Mike Mear (pictured), who didn't need much persuading to take the part of Zombie, reports:
"Three lots of night filming have already taken place in a small copse, littered with old machinery, tyres, fencing etc. at a farm in Eggington. The production team were most grateful to the farmer and workers for allowing them to use the land. One of the farm people took part along with Geoffrey, the sheep!
After arriving on site, a small ‘camp’ was set up and all equipment checked over: this was the ‘Green Room’ also used for make-up, canteen and Dressing Room.
Liam and Sam had worked on a ‘storyboard’ and took the actors through the evening’s shoot which included blood and gore, shootings, Zombies, Spademan, escapes, violent deaths, flesh eating, etc. There was great camaraderie in the team as they were multi-tasking as lighting and sound engineers, clapperboard men, Zombies, survivors and hunters. Liam and Sam were highly professional, using ingenious ideas for props, mainly involving human parts."
A further shoot is planned for September, and anyone interested in volunteering to play a zombie should please send an email to Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org. They would love to have as many people there as possible!
A teaser trailer is available on YouTube via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_pCiHWnGGc
When the film is finished, Liam and Sam are looking to host a premiere at the Brewhouse, and talk to the QUAD in Derby about getting it screened.
We have just heard that Jack Dent has won first prize in the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians Stage Magician of the Year. Well done Jack - a fantastic achievement!
Former LTC Youth member Sophie Towns is currently "having the time of her life" aboard the Silversea 6* cruise liner 'Silver Shadow'. (Google it - it's the height of luxury, carrying 302 crew and 382 passengers.) She's on board from August to December, cruising around North West Canada and Alaska, then down to South East Asia and on to Australia and New Zealand.
As you might imagine, Sophie has to sing for her supper, performing every other night in four different shows: "Mind the Gap" (includes The Beatles, The Who, Dusty Springfield); "Musica Maestro" (includes Les Mis, Phantom, French and Italian Opera); "Don't Stop The Music" (Disco Inferno, Dreamgirls, Jackson 5); and "Amore" (Jersey Boys, Seasons of Love, Rent)
As well as sailing the seas, Sophie has been on lots of tours and has been whale- and bear-watching, zip lining, mountain climbing and kayaking around the Alaskan islands.
Bill and Elaine Pritchard are sleeping in cardboard boxes at Burton's Pirelli Stadium for one night in November - so that others don't have to.
They will be raising funds for the Burton YMCA and have just set up a brand new fundraising page at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Pritchards If you can make a small donation - or just share it on your own social media feeds, they would be very grateful.
Elaine said: "Bill took part in last year's sleepout and I'm joining him this year and hoping we can make a small contribution to the £35,000 the YMCA hopes to raise to fund its vital work in our community. If anyone else wants to join us, you can sign-up online at http://www.burtonymca.org/sleep-out. To find out more about what the YMCA does, you can watch this wonderful promotional film, made by Little Theatre's own Tilley Bancroft:https://youtu.be/jQhd3FCPpVs
Many congratulations to Ed Robinson and his girlfriend Georgia who both graduated with first class honours degrees from the Royal Northern College of Music. Ed is staying on in Manchester to do a Masters degree.
There must be something about the LTC which helps create successful entrepreneurs - or is it that the LTC attracts them? Tilley Bancroft is the third LTC member in as many years to be selected as one of the hundred small businesses for the Guardian's "Small Business Saturday" #SmallBiz100. Given that there are 5 million small businesses in the UK, that's a pretty impressive strike rate.
Tilley launched Red Door Studios in 2007 & leads a team producing a wide & varied collection of film, animation & media projects. She's been animating for television series, advertising campaigns, education & theatre for 10 years. Her awards include a D&AD Yellow Pencil, a Royal Television Society award & two British Animation Awards (BAAs), and she's also been nominated for a second Royal Television Society award.
Small Business Saturday is in its 5th year and celebrates all things small business and encourages people to shop local. Tilley joined Burton Small Business 4 years ago, the local team who champion the campaign in Burton, and has seen it grow year on year. It’s exciting to see the range of small businesses there are in the area, not only retail but also service providers.
Burton Small Business has lots planned for this year. Keep an eye out on September the 20th, the day Tilley will be promoted by the campaign all over social media. Their annual Small Business Conference, organised with the support of Marston’s Brewery, will be on 11th October – more info available from www.burtonsmallbusiness.co.uk.
This year Small Business Saturday is being held on Saturday December 2nd. Tilley will be out with both the Burton Small Business and the Red Door Studios team taking the huge blue, furry, two-man operated puppet, Buckie, to visit as many local small businesses as they can! Join them on that day for lots of fun, PR, selfies and to SHOP LOCAL!
Following a very successful summer term, which ended with a red carpet and awards evening in July, Heather Gallagher’s StageScreen drama school for under-18s is gearing up for a new term. Heather had so many requests from parents who were looking for a class for their younger children, and so is launching a new 'Starlets' class for 4-6-year-olds. It will be a fun 45-minute class from 9am to 9.45am each Saturday during term time. Older StageScreen students are taught in three age groups: six-nine-year-olds; 10-13-year-olds and 14-18-year-olds. Each age group rotates between rooms to spend one hour each week on acting, film and musical theatre. All classes take place at The Burton Albion Community Hub, Casey Lane, Burton-on-Trent, DE14 2ER.
The new term starts on Saturday September 16th which is also an Open Day for youngsters interested in a taster session. Places are FREE but must be booked in advance at https://opendaystagescreen.eventbrite.co.uk. For aspiring starlets the session runs from 9-9.45 and this is followed by the 3 hour session for older students.
Heather also offers one-to-one singing lessons as a member of Anne Leatherland’s Vocal Intuition School in Burton. The new term is already underway and she has just 3 after school places remaining. 90% of her students undertaking the London College of Music Musical Theatre Exams in the summer gained a distinction. You can contact her at Heather@vocalintuition.co.uk
Congratulations to Harley Pantall and boyfriend Jonathan who are engaged to be married after he popped the question in a candle-lit room on the top of the Rockefeller Building, New York. They're not in any rush to arrange the ceremony - maybe 2020? - as they've been going out together for nearly 11 years already! Harley is going back to Uni this month to do a PGCE to teach Geography in secondary schools. (They are pictured in Central Park, New York City, in March 2017, the day before the proposal.)
We hope you can make it to Wil Pearson's next concert on Saturday 16th September at the National Brewery Centre. He will be singing with the Hot House Big Band raising money to record a new CD together. Wil will be spending the next year doing a music internship with Hot House Music Schools.
Call 01283 532880 for tickets.
Congratulations to 14 year old LTC Youth Member Roberto Storey who has successfully auditioned for 'PETER PAN' to be performed at Derby Theatre this Christmas. He was one of 18 children - three groups of six - to be cast out of some 150 who auditioned.
This summer Roberto spent a two week residential with the Youth Music Theatre UK and is pictured here in their show 'Children of the New Forest'. The production was assessed by Trinity College London who awarded it a certificate in Music Theatre in Production at Grade 8 - distinction, scoring 93 points out of 100.
You can also catch Roberto in our production of 'Betty Blue Eyes' in November.
Coming up in 2018
LTC Youth are delighted to be presenting one of the finest musicals ever written, Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" at Easter.
Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize, "South Pacific" weaves together tales of romance, duty, and valour to bring you a funny, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking Broadway musical.
Nellie, a spirited nurse from Arkansas, falls in love with Emile, a French plantation owner. At the same time, U.S. Lieutenant Cable falls for a beautiful island native named Liat. On this island of paradise, can true love survive cultural prejudices and the threat of war? The show runs from Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th April 2018.
From June 12th to 16th we will be performing the hilarious comedy "One Man, Two Guvnors".
Set in sleazy Brighton in the 1960s, the play is a glorious celebration of British comedy featuring a unique, laugh-out-loud mix of satire, songs, slapstick and glittering one-liners.
This internationally acclaimed smash-hit has been seen by over one million people worldwide.
Francis Henshall, fired from his skiffle band, becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe. But Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her own dead brother – who’s been killed by her boyfriend, Stanley Stubbers.
Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a job with one Stanley Stubbers – but, to prevent discovery, he must keep his two guvnors apart. Simple.
Our November show, running from the 27th November until 1st December, will be the wonderful "Into the Woods" by Stephen Sondheim.
Fairytales come to life in the most unlikely of places.
This classic, award-winning musical brings together well-known fairy tale characters, but ‘Happily Ever After’ turns out to be far from the end of the story.
Whilst all the elements are there – a golden slipper, corn-yellow hair, a milky-white cow, a blood-red cloak, magic beans and, of course, the curse of a witch – the familiar find themselves in very unfamiliar circumstances.
Prepare for a musical full of wit and intelligence that is far more than ‘Once upon a time…’
Featuring the timeless songs 'Children Will Listen' and 'No-one Is Alone', this Tony Award-winning musical was recently made into a successful Disney feature film starring Meryl Streep, James Corden and Johnny Depp.
Are you male, aged 15-19,
and interested in drama and acting?
The Little Theatre Company is currently looking for young men interested in joining our chorus for the next LTC Youth production of 'South Pacific' which we will be staging between 3rd and 7th April 2018.
For more information, please contact us with details of any previous experience at:
Little Theatre Company, 377 Rosliston Road, Stapenhill,
Burton on Trent, DE15 9RJ
Telephone: 01283 542446
Some of you will remember Adele Bates, who appeared in 'Little Women', 'A Christmas Carol' and - alongside her real-life brother Adam - in 'The Railway Children'. Adele now lives in Brighton and sends the following news:
After eight successful years of Versatile Soprano-ing full time I wanted to do something different, something I've always wanted to do: I trained to be a full time Secondary School teacher. I knew it wouldn't be forever, but I wanted to have this experience in my life. I have spent the last three years doing just that, as an English Teacher in a mainstream comprehensive school. I have absolutely loved teaching teenagers, the challenges are fun, they are inspiring and hilarious. I found my niches: running the Amnesty International Club and becoming the Lead Co-ordinator on Equality and Diversity - Oh and leading several theatrical assemblies.
Having spent so long being self-employed the challenges of being in a strict system with 18 bosses was never going to be for me permanently. So this Easter, after packing off my year 11s, I left to become freelance once more. I am now thrilled to be leading a very mixed Spiderman-type existence: By day I can be found tutoring and teaching English and Public Speaking, in addition to leading training for teachers on Equality and Diversity in the classroom...
Geoff Thompson writes: It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Betty Gibbs on the 29th August in a phone call from her son Tim. In her time Betty had been a student, member of staff and a governor of the former Burton School of Speech and Drama. There are a number of our LTC members and patrons who still fondly recall those days.
Just some of the many memorable performances which Betty gave on the stage of the old “Little Theatre” in shows such as “Lock Up Your Daughters” , “Oliver” and in particular “The Killing of Sister George” with her long time friend the late Barbara Hicken, spring immediately to my mind.
As well as performing, Betty directed and also taught and produced with the Repertory group and Youth Theatre. Shows included “Half a Sixpence”, “Mother Goose”, “The Happiest Days of Your Life” and “The Doctor and the Devils” and items performed in the U.S.A as part of the schools America `76 Tour.
Betty placed the highest expectations of commitment on herself and demanded the same from others. She cared deeply about theatre, had firmly held opinions and was unremitting in her support of those willing to work hard to develop their talents and experience.
I once introduced Betty on stage as “someone with all the charm and dignity of a chip pan fire”. Hopefully those who remember her will laugh as much as she did then at that remark and recall the affinity we all shared together as part of the Drama School. Betty was hilarious, infuriating, forthright, resolute, generous, staunch and gifted. I was honoured to count her as my friend for over 50 years.
Footnote from Peter Clemson: I have spoken to Tim Gibbs who tells me Betty’s funeral is to be held at Bretby Crematorium on Friday 22nd September at 10.45 am. I know he would appreciate it if Betty’s theatrical past was well represented at the funeral.
Also, quite unexpectedly, Tim is asking that any donations in lieu of family flowers be given to Little Theatre Company – a gesture which I personally found very touching. We will, with Tim’s approval, mark this generosity at one of our future productions.
The photos below show Betty performing in 'The Killing of Sister George' in 1972. She is pictured on the left in the final photo, and in two other photos.
It's Goodbye but hopefully only Au Revoir...
...to some of our LTC Youth members as they head off to Uni.
Katie Ireland will be studing Biomedical Science at Sheffield, Ollie Last is doing Real Estate Management at Sheffield Hallam, and Dom White is off to DeMontfort Leicester to do Performing Arts. Good luck all!
LTC Patron Robin Waite, along with LTC member and daughter Fiona, helped break the world record this July for the most hot air balloons to ascend at the same time: 456 to be precise, from an aerodrome near Metz in Eastern France. You might just spot their balloon - called Honey Bee - near the bottom, just right of centre. It's yellow with diagonal blue stripes. Robin also took part in the world record-breaking cross Channel flight in April when he piloted one of 82 balloons which took off from Kent and (happily) all made it across to France.
And finally, we were really rather chuffed to find that the Amateur Theatre Journal 'Sardines' had somehow picked up articles about the successes of some of our LTC Youth members, past and present, from our last newsletter, and printed them in a one page colour spread in their August-October 2017 edition.
The introduction to the article reads:
"Burton-on-Trent's Little Theatre Company is a shining example to other amateur societies of how to promote the importance of developing a strong youth group. In its recent newsletter, (which every society should be producing and distributing for free on a regular basis as well as encouraging their members to sign up and receive it) the Staffordshire group updated its membership of the ongoing successes of five former members of its highly acclaimed youth theatre who are all enjoying their respective achievements and successes towards realising their professional goals."
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