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Welcome to our March 2017 newsletter.
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Little Theatre Company
Newsletter
March 2017

 
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The Laftas 2016
LTC's four 2016 productions were celebrated in January at the annual (ever-so-slightly-tongue-in-cheek) Lafta Awards. LTC's Youth production of Phantom of the Opera swept the board, with Best Actor, Best Actress, best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards going to Jack Hawkins, Emmie Doyle, Olly Last and Katie Ireland respectively, with the Technical Award and Member of the Year going to Musical Director Katie Hailstone. The production picked up a number of other awards, but Spamalot was able to boast two awards for Mark Pearson - Best Actor: Comedy and Accent of the Year - while to everyone's delight - Villain of the Year went to the Killer Rabbit (expertly supported by Olivia Robinson).

Our 2017 Programme

 
We are really excited about our upcoming LTC Youth production of Les Miserables which runs from Tuesday April 18 to Saturday April 22 at 7.30pm each night, with matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm. There are only a few tickets left now so please call The Brewhouse on 01283 508100 for late availability.

Rehearsals have now started for our June show - Avenue Q - a musical comedy show for adults featuring innovative puppets which will give our actors a great opportunity to develop their skills. It's been described as Sesame Street for grown-ups. One of the longest running musicals on Broadway, Avenue Q won the TONY “Triple Crown” for Best MusicalBest Score and Best Book, and has been called 'a laugh-out-loud musical' that tells the story of a recent college graduate named Princeton who is trying to find his direction in life.

The show, which contains adult themes, has been described as '...the catchiest tunes musical comedy has to offer', '...impossible not to fall in love with' and 'it's amazing what you can get away with if you're fuzzy and cute'.

Performances run from June 27 to July 1 at 7.30pm with a 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday.
 

Our November 2017 production 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 with a deliciously infectious, toe-tapping, retro contemporary score. full of eccentric characters, and of course, our star, Betty the pig.

The show runs from 13-18th November with a matinee on the Saturday.

We're Looking for New Members

The Little Theatre Company is currently looking for new adult members (18+) interested in working with us onstage or backstage – or both. Backstage roles include assisting the Stage Manager and actors with scenery, costumes and props, continuity (prompt), lighting and sound.  All new members will be asked to take on a backstage role for their first performance to enable them to get an understanding of what we do, how we work as a team and what will be expected from them as a group member.  No previous experience is necessary but a positive, proactive attitude and willingness to work as a team will be beneficial.  Successful applicants will be invited to an audition.

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  
E-mail: info@little-theatre.co.uk
Introducing StageScreen
 
Heather Gallagher has played many lead roles in LTC productions, including Chris in Calendar Girls; Mari Hoff in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice;  Emma Carew in Jekyll and Hyde;  and Miss Berta in Acorn Antiques.

She is delighted to announce the launch of a new Saturday school in Burton for six to 18-year-olds who want to learn about drama and comedy acting, musical theatre and film.

StageScreen will open for business on Saturday, April 22, at the Burton Albion Community Hub, Grange Street, Burton. It will offer training in a combination of performance skills not currently available in the area. Youngsters and their families are being invited to an open day at the Grange Street venue on Saturday, April 8. (This event is free but you must book in advance.)

They will get the chance to enjoy some free taster classes and find out more. StageScreen will meet every Saturday in term time and experienced teachers will take three age groups of pupils through an hour of drama and comedy acting, an hour of musical theatre and an hour of exploring film production and performance skills.

Heather, a qualified singer, actor and dancer, said: "What makes this school different from anything else currently on offer in the Burton area is the combination of skills that youngsters will learn.

"The aim is to deliver professional-standard training for stage and screen. It will be ideal for youngsters interested in making a career in the performing arts, but we will help pupils develop life and social skills that will give them confidence and enrich their lives even if they don't choose to perform professionally."

Heather studied acting at Birmingham School of Acting, KTV Actors Studio, London, and most recently with The Actors TV Workshop in Nottingham. She has worked as a solo cabaret artiste and has performed locally and nationally, including at The Savoy Theatre with the original London cast of Legally Blonde, as part of the BBC1 TV programme Tonight's The Night with John Barrowman.

She also played Prince Charming in a professional UK tour of Sleeping Beauty. In recent years Heather has taught singing to students of all ages and experience, in studios in Burton and Ashby.

Her specialism is musical theatre and her students have achieved impressive results in singing examinations and competitive vocal festivals. In 2016, Heather completed a BSc (Hons) majoring in psychological studies and mental health. Under Heather's leadership, Tilley Bancroft, of Red Door Studios, will lead the film and TV specialism; actor and director Sam Thorogood will teach drama and comedy and singer and actress Megan Daniels will lead musical theatre classes.

To find out more about the school, log on to the website at www.stagescreen.co.uk or email for information at info@stagescreen.co.uk. Book a place at the April 8 open day by going to stagescreenopenday.eventbrite.co.uk
Wil Pearson's Letter from America
 
Wil, who will play Enjolras in LTC Youth's April production of Les Miserables, is a highly talented musician and vocalist. Here is his report on a trip of a lifetime to the USA:
 
"Back in December, I was lucky enough to take part in a musical tour of America with the Hot House Screaming Kicks Big Band. Starting off in New York, we had the opportunity to meet and be taught by some world class jazz musicians. We then got to perform at the Bonafide club where I was singing the classic Sinatra numbers. We were also able to go sightseeing, and went up the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Centre, went ice skating, and visited Central Park. After spending New Year's Eve watching the amazing band at the famous Birdland Jazz Club, we jetted off to New Orleans the next morning. New Orleans is probably my favourite place on earth, with its constant buzz, live music at every street corner and alligator burgers! We attended workshops at the University of New Orleans which were run by the legendary Cindy Scott and Brian Seeger. That night, we got the chance to watch and perform with Charmaine Neville and her band which was truly amazing. The final stage of the tour was at the Jazz Education Network, where we were the only representatives from the UK. All the hot house bands performed at this conference and I had a solo piano and vocals slot. Finally, completely exhausted, we flew back England after what was definitely the best 10 days of my life!!"

Below you can see Wil performing at the Jazz Education Network in New Orleans.
Joyce Burton M.B.E.
 
We are very sad to report the passing of one of the great figures of the local arts scene, Joyce Burton M.B.E., who sadly passed away this month aged 92.
 
Joyce, an LTC patron and supporter, had so many strings to her bow that it is hard to know where to begin.
 
A long-time member of Burton Operatic Society (and active campaigner in acquiring their Ferry Street headquarters), founder member of the Mellow Dramatics, student of the Burton School of Speech and Drama (which is where our paths first crossed) and, of course, chairman and director of the New Era Light Opera Group which Joyce ran successfully for almost 20 years staging two shows a year at the Brewhouse.
 Perhaps her greatest achievement, though, was through her work at the Burton Festival of Music and Drama which ran from 1969 until the late 1990s annually at the Town Hall. Joyce was definitely the brains behind the success of the Festival and, aside from making it one of the most anticipated events on the National Festival calendar, she was instrumental (pardon the pun) in bringing together many of the leading lights of the local arts scene and forging experiences which none of us will ever forget. Easter at the Town Hall always meant the Festival and catching up with friends.
 
After the Festival finally finished, Joyce was awarded the M.B.E. for her services to the arts in Burton and the Festival, in particular.
 
We should not forget, either, that it was thanks to Joyce Burton that we now enjoy the scenery facility that we have at our unit in Derby Road. Joyce led all the negotiations, made it very easy for me to sign up to and did all the hard graft with the Consolidated Charity of Burton upon Trent.
 
I am sure her greatest gift to LTC (apart from the Unit!) is that she was the person who brought together Peter, John, Katie and Elaine – be careful what you wish for!
 
God bless you, Joyce, you were a formidable woman and giant of the arts in Burton and District – none of us should ever forget that.

Peter Clemson
Ed's Operatic Career - Latest!
I have a family connection with the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and so it is a special pleasure to see one of their productions, especially when it features one of our LTC family – Ed Robinson – who is studying there. I saw him in the chorus of The Merry Widow in December 2014, which was wonderful, and returned last December to see him play one of the leads in Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne. The part of Bobinet, a Parisian dandy, tested both Ed’s vocal and comedic acting abilities and he excelled in both. Everything about the show was superb, from the set and costumes, to the orchestra, acting, choreography and, of course, the vocals. You can catch Ed again at the RNCM in March playing Valens in Handel’s Theodora, or somewhat closer to home at a recital of European Opera, Operetta and Oratorio at the Brewhouse, Burton-upon-Trent at 12 noon on Saturday 18th March - see details below. Ed and Georgia's last recital was simply brilliant - it would be shame to miss this one!

Bethan Waite
An Update on Some of Our Former LTC Youth Members
Having performed in the critically acclaimed Annie Get Your Gun in Sheffield, Josh Andrews is now in rehearsal for 42nd Street with Grammy Award winner Sheena Easton, which opens on March 20th at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Sophie Towns had a brilliant time at Christmas playing Wendy in Peter Pan at the Forum in Barrow. She got to fly - which was brilliant - but singing Mariah Carey's 'All I want for Christmas...' at 10am got ever so slightly wearing!
Fresh from playing Prince Herbert in the LTC's Spamalot, Jack Hawkins is to play another gay hero, Tick, in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert with South Manchester AOS in April, and Count Carl Magnus in a Manchester University production of A Little Night Music in March.
Fiona Waite, working part time at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, had the pleasure of refusing Cameron Macintosh entry to the theatre to watch his own production of Mary Poppins as he had arrived late!
Thank You Elaine
Finally a very heartfelt thank you and au revoir to Elaine Pritchard who has had to step down from the LTC after many years due to so many other commitments. She has graced the Brewhouse stage on many occasions, perhaps most notably as Ruth in Calendar Girls, but has also worked tirelessly behind the scenes in many capacities, including Newsletter Editor. Her skills and expertise make her a very hard act to follow and we wish her every success and happiness in the future.

Thank you for your support for Little Theatre Company.

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