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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Youth Theatre

Basingstoke

Basingstoke Youth Theatre (Haymarket)
Central Studio Youth Theatre

Newbury and Thatcham

Mime and Physical Theatre Academy (not on this page)
Newbury YoungStars
Newbury Youth Theatre
SLY Theatre (Shining Lights)
Teenage Dramas
Watermill Youth Theatre and Young Company

Out of town

Abdabs Youth Theatre at Witney
Hungerford Young Performers, Children's Theatre and Youth Theatre
Whippersnapper at Wantage
WOAPA – West Oxfordshire Academy of Performing Arts at Witney
Young Sinodun Players at Wallingford (not on this page)

Oxford

The Musical Youth Company of Oxford
Oxford Playhouse
Oxford Youth Theatre (Pegasus)

Reading

Masquerade Youth Theatre (not on this page)
Progress Theatre student group and youth group (not on this page)
Starmaker
Woodley Theatre youth group (not on this page)

Basingstoke Youth Theatre (Haymarket)

For young people aged 14-19 in Hampshire, meeting on Thursday evenings. Entry is by audition only. For information on joining and attending Youth Theatre Productions please contact the Haymarket on 01256 355844.

Central Studio Youth Theatre (Basingstoke)

There are junior youth theatre groups for two age ranges - 8 to 11 and 12 to 15. The Bite Size group is for the 8 to 11 year olds and meets from 5:30 to 7:00 on Tuesdays. The older groups are for 12 to 15 years and run from 6:30 to 8:00 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The senior group is a project-based group that works through an intensive rehearsal period to produce musicals and plays. This group is aimed at 16 years +.

For more information, phone Central Studio on 01256 417511.

Newbury YoungStars

Last production

Camp Rock: The Musical, 23rd to 25th March 2017
Pack up your duffel bags, grab your guitars, and get ready to rock at Camp Rock: The Musical! Now you can have a great summer adventure in March. Join Mitchie, Shane, Nate, Jason, Tess, Caitlyn, Dana and the gang for an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza! Camp Rock: The Musical combines your favourite songs and characters you love from the Disney Channel Original Movies Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final jam into one funny, heartfelt and exciting theatrical experience. A Newbury YoungStars production.

Where

Arlington Arts Centre.

Box Office

01635 244246.

Review of Fame Jr

17th to 19th March 2016.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Remember our name...

Talented Newbury YoungStars graduate with flying colours

Newbury YoungStars: Fame Jr, at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, from Thursday, March 17, to Saturday, March 19

Newbury YoungStars’ production of Fame Jr at Arlington Arts was a hugely enjoyable show, set in 1980, when a group of students were hoping for a place in New York's High School for the Performing Arts.

If they were successful, they would have a gruelling four years of studying dance, music and acting, as well as pursuing the academic rigours that the board demands.

The show opened with the authoritative Miss Sherman (Hannah Day) informing the whole company that they need to study hard and they enthusiastically sang the song Hard Work, with some particularly good harmonies.

We met the dance teacher Ms Bell (Jasmine Danbury) and the dance ensemble, as well as Miss Sheinkopf (Anna Colston), the music teacher, and her students. All of these youngsters performed with rigour.

In acting class we met teacher Miss Myers (Ellie Winchester) and Nick Plazza – an excellent stand-out performance by the talented Josh Hogan.

Nick was passionate about drama and Wants To Make Magic and confessed to Serena (Poppy Bowness) about his previous acting career, but wanted to keep it a secret.

She was in love with Nick but he wanted to concentrate on his acting.

In dance class, the streetwise hip hop dancer Tyrone (Alex Smith) was finding the ballet lessons difficult and was also falling behind with his homework. His pairing with the clever student Iris (Josephine Winchester) caused further tension.

Jade Caulfield, dressed in black leather, splendidly played the troubled, self-assured Carmen, who was desperate to audition for a part in West Side Story. She also wanted to be in the band that Schlomo ran. Luke Diprose perfectly captured the character of the doubting Schlomo.

Carmen had written new lyrics for a song and persuaded Schlomo to give her a chance, although their relationship was doomed to fail and she left the school, with disastrous consequences.

There was much sympathy for Mabel (Beth Kingston) who loved food and couldn't stop eating but needed to lose weight. Riley Seamons brought a touch of humour as the fun guy Joe Vegas.

The finale Bring On Tomorrow was powerful and the show ended with a rousing rendition of the theme song Fame.

The live band, under the direction of Michael Evans, was spot-on and director Scott Taylor created a fluid production that enabled both individuals and the ensemble to shine, bringing out the very best from his young cast.

Congratulations are due to all for a fun, entertaining evening.

ROBIN STRAPP

Previous productions

Fame, 17th to 19th March 2016
Beauty and the Beast, 12th to 14th March 2015
The Music Man Jr, 14th to 16th March 2013. See the review in the Archive.
Alice in Wonderland, 15th to 17th March 2012. See the review in the Archive.
Oklahoma!, 17th to 19th March 2011. See the review in the Archive.
Annie Junior, 4th to 6th March 2010. See the review in the Archive.
A Load of Rubbish, 23rd to 25th July 2009. See the review in the Archive.
Tin Pan Ali, 1st to 2nd August 2008. See the review in the Archive.
Return to the Forbidden Planet, 26th to 28th July 2007. See the review in the Archive.
A Medley of Modern Musicals, 26th to 27th January 2007
The Dracula Spectacula, 3rd to 5th August 2006 - see the review in the Archive.
10th Anniversary Concert, 13th to 14th January 2006
Summer Holiday, 28th to 30th July 2005
The Vackees, 22nd to 24th July 2004 - see the review in the Archive.
Bugsy Malone, 24th to 26th July 2003 - see the review in the Archive.
Smike, 25th to 27th July 2002 - see the review in the Archive.
Christmas show 2001
- see the review here.
Return to the Forbidden Planet, 26th to 28th July 2001.

Who

Newbury YoungStars is the youth section of Newbury Operatic Society. YoungStars rehearse on Monday evenings during term time between 7pm and 9pm. Contact Chairman Sarah Scott-Cound on 01635 841216 or 07771 522375 or email .

Newbury Youth Theatre

Next production

The Glorious Invention of Emmanuel Stork, 29th July, 19:00
On a remote island in a sea nobody visits, near a land where nobody lives, Emmanuel Stork feels like the only child on earth... So he sets about building a glorious invention to listen to the world outside. Told with boisterous fun and larger than life characters, this tale of wonder and exploration will be a delight for the whole family. This is a preview performance, before the play tours to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Where

Corn Exchange, Newbury.

Box Office

01635 522733.

Previous productions

Fairies and Dragons of the Desolate Plain, 23rd July 2016 and at the Edinburgh Fringe.
In 1917, against the bloody backdrop of the Great War, two girls proved that Fairies played at the bottom of their garden. Troops carried images of the Piper of Dreams and enduring tales of Angels and other magical folk feature in many letters and stories from the front. Newbury Youth Theatre’s latest devised production explores these themes through the eyes of young people and inspired by songs and stories from the worlds of fairyland and war. See the review below.

Cautionary Tales, 25th July 2015 and at the Edinburgh Fringe.
See the reviews in the Archive.

The Bee Man of Orn, 26th July 2014 and at the Edinburgh Fringe.
See the review in the Archive.

The Curious Case of the Ugglie Wump and Other Mysterious Monsters, 27th July 2013 and at the Edinburgh fringe.
See the review in the Archive.

Just So Stories, 28th July 2012 and at the Edinburgh fringe.
See the review in the Archive.

The Portrait, 30th July 2011
See the review in the Archive.

From Newbury With Love, 9th to 12th March 2011
Newbury Youth Theatre took part in the premiere of this play presented by RedCape Theatre.

Cautionary Tales, 31st July 2010
See the review in the Archive.

The Lost Letters of Mr Corrigan, 1st August 2009, then at the Edinburgh Fringe, and back in Newbury on 18th December
A lonely clerk sits at his desk, surrounded by towering piles of the letters and parcels that never arrived. Through him each sender’s hopes and wishes find life and, just occasionally, their intended recipient. Newbury Youth Theatre return with a newly devised production, incorporating their critically acclaimed ensemble storytelling with live music, dark comedy and physical theatre. Now back in Newbury with a special one-off performance, based on the original but with all new, stories inspired by Christmas.
The Lost Letters of Mr Corrigan at the Edinburgh Fringe has won an Editors' Award from the ThreeWeeks review web site. The commendation includes: "We've noticed in recent years that the output of our second winners, Newbury Youth Theatre, has been of a particularly high quality, not least with this year's 5/5 show The Lost Letters Of Mr Corrigan. To be able to achieve such quality with each new generation of young people is particularly noteworthy, and makes Newbury Youth Theatre a definite winner of one of our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards."

The Wind Tamer, 26th July 2008
See the review in the Archive.

Just So, 21st July 2007
See the review in the Archive.

Hope Springs, 17th July 2006
See the review in the Archive.

Pieces of Us, 21st May 2006
See the review in the Archive.

Skellig, 23rd July 2005
See the review in the Archive.

Rainbow's Ending, 19th July 2004
See the review in the Archive.

The Control Experiment, 25th to 26th July 2003
Imagine living in a kaleidoscope where sounds, images and thoughts are constantly shifting, where you're given drugs similar to cocaine to control your behaviour, but not to cure. Such is the world of children suffering from Attention Deficiency Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

Robbie Williams... Who's He? 2nd to 3rd August 2002
See the review in the Archive.

Dear Kitty, 26th to 27th July 2001.
See the reviews in the Archive.

About us

At the Corn Exchange, NYT has two groups, for 9-14 and 14-20 year olds. For more information, call Robin Strapp at the Corn Exchange on 01635 582666 or visit our web site at www.newburyyouththeatre.co.uk.

Newbury Youth Theatre was founded in December 1983 and aims to provide local young people the opportunity to develop their theatrical skills and interests and explore the arts in general and learn more about themselves. There are no auditions or restrictions on membership apart from a commitment from the members to support the group, have energy, enthusiasm and a love of theatre. Above all it's fun!

Review of Fairies and Dragons of the Desolate Plain

23rd July 2016 and at the Edinburgh Fringe from 8th to 13th August.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

NYT prepare to take Fringe by storm

Youth theatre previews powerful new play that considers the motivations for war

Newbury Youth Theatre: Fairies and Dragons of the Desolate Plain, at the Corn Exchange, Newbury on Saturday, July 23

This year Newbury Youth Theatre have departed from their more usual format of working up a devised production for the Edinburgh Fringe, instead performing a new play written by their co-director Tony Trigwell-Jones.

The cast, aged 14 to 17, relished their most challenging production yet, set during the First World War. The beautifully-written and thought-provoking script tackles major themes with humour and poignancy, in a production rich with magical and supernatural allusion. The idea stems from the 'Cottingley Fairies', fake black-and-white photographs of fairies produced by two Edwardian girls, which fooled many, Conan Doyle among them.

Directed by Tony and Amy Trigwell-Jones, and produced by Robin Strapp, the play centres on letters written home from the Western Front by Captain Peter Lawrenson to his daughters, Mabel and Anna. Protecting them from the reality of the slaughter, he talks of the war as battles fought between ogres, elves and sprites, likening the building of trenches to a worm writhing and tunnelling its way through the earth, and the German enemy to a baleful dragon. The war is made sense of in magical terms, the carnage tamed and neutralised.

The play shifts through time and place, from the Great War battlefields to war-time London. On a train journey, the sisters debate with members of the Ealing Youth Choir how to stop the war. With hopeful innocence, the youngsters believe that good will prevail over evil, but begin to realise that adults and governments are not always right.

Woven into the production are plaintive songs sung to flute accompaniment: There Used to be Fairies in Germany, and the evocative Great War popular song There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding. There's very effective use of puppetry and the shadow projections of childhood, and telling physicality, the cast conjuring a 350-year-old ash tree with their bodies and benches; nature's permanent witness amid the chaos of war.

We are invited to believe in another realm, a fairy world, to which Mabel is carried off in search of her captured father: "Trust me, I'm a fairy," her abductor says. In a clever court scene, the youngsters debate the certainties of science against a nebulous spirit world. Theatrically the fairy world and the real world work in parallel, throwing up binary oppositions: consciousness and the subconscious, faith and rationality fate and self- determination.

The play considers motivations for war, the meaning of patriotism, how war narratives are politically constructed, and how far populations question their leaders: issues, post-Chilcot, never more pertinent.

Does Mabel sacrifice herself to an existence in an alternative, magical world with no linear timescale to allow her father his freedom, or does she die in a London bombing raid?

Does Capt Lawrenson return home to Anna, or does she only will it? Ultimately, do we only see what we want to see?

LIN WILKINSON

SLY Theatre

Last production

Frankenstein, 15th April 2012 at the Coronation Hall, Burrell Road, Compton RG20 6NP

Review of SLY Theatre - Frankenstein

15th April 2012.

Review from Jane Alexander.

SLY Theatre: Frankenstein, at the Coronation Hall, Compton on 15th April

The original Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is told as a series of letters within letters - a series of flashbacks starting and ending in the Arctic, where a sea captain tells of an encounter with the two principal characters. SLY Theatre’s new stage adaptation remains faithful to the original and the stunning set captured both the bleakness of the Arctic and the scribblings of a tormented genius. The entire story is enacted on the deck of the stranded ship with sails and crates covered with sketches and notes representing pages from notebooks and letters.

The ensemble cast was generally superb, with everyone playing more than one character. Whilst this was initially confusing, the strength of performances and clarity of the story telling soon eradicated any concerns. Elliott Laker’s Victor Frankenstein was the model of the fiery intellectual who will stop at nothing to achieve knowledge; Chris Billingham as the Creature was compelling, especially as he became more competent in English and could express his deep-seated ambivalence about his creator; Holly Lucas’ Elizabeth was thoughtful and complex and her Walton (the ship's captain) suitably commanding. Jessica Holmes brought some much needed comic relief with her unpleasant landlady Frau Brach in stark contrast to her other character: the ill-fated Justine Moritz. Scarlett Smallbone had a commanding presence as Victor’s tutor Waldman and brought a real warmth to Mrs Moritz the Frankensteins' Housekeeper and mother of the murdered Justine.

The story was told at pace, and whilst this captured the impending inevitability of the unfurling tragedy, it would have benefitted from an occasional slowing of tempo to give the audience time to take stock.

This show was not about monsters and mad scientists: it was a thoughtful and faithful adaptation of an important book.

JANE ALEXANDER

About SLY Theatre (Shining Lights)

Shining Lights Youth Theatre, known as SLY Theatre was formed in 1999 to develop the performance skills of young people through workshops that feed into a production. Our aim is to create an environment where young people feel comfortable and learn through positive experiences, pushing the boundaries of youth theatre and always aiming to cover new and interesting ground. SLY Theatre is a self-funded, voluntary organisation dependent on a small, dedicated team of individuals and ex-members who have a passion for the arts. The company is run by Pete Watt (Artistic Director) and Melanie Rosier-Watt (Company Manager).

Previous productions

Kes, 28th to 29th June 2011 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Disconnected 2011, 9th April 2011
A Christmas Carol, 21st to 22nd December 2010 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Blood Wedding, 27th to 28th July 2010 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Mountain Language, 12th to 13th April 2010 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
The Ash Girl, 22nd to 23rd December 2009 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Hotel, 8th August 2009, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Medea, 21st to 22nd July 2009 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Beauty and the Beast, 20th to 21st January 2009, at New Greenham Arts
The Roses of Eyam, 14th to 15th July 2008, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
The Coming of the Kings, 17th and 19th December 2007
Grimm Tales, 23rd to 24th April 2007, at New Greenham Arts
Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 22nd to 23rd February 2005, at New Greenham Arts
In the Shadow of the Cross, 7th April 2004 at St Nicolas' Church. See the review in the Archive.
Arabian Nights, 12th to 13th December 2003, at New Greenham Arts. See the review and pictures in the Archive.
Cabaret, 12th to 14th June 2003, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Salome, 24th to 25 January 2003, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
4:48 Psychosis
, 2nd September 2002, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Alcestis
, 19th March 2002 at New Greenham Arts
Woyzeck
, 14th June 2001 at Kennet School. See the review in the Archive.
This is a Chair
, 23rd November 2000 at Newbury Corn Exchange. See the review in the Archive.
Equus, 23rd to 24th July 2000. See the review in the Archive.
Alcestis, 19th March 2002.

Teenage Dramas

The Newbury Weekly News previewed this new group:

Lauraine Leigh began teaching drama in Newbury 12 years ago and after a period living in London, has returned to the town. She now works as a dramatherapist and part-time consultant, services which schools in East London and Slough buy in, including from Behaviour Support Services, mainly working with children who are in trouble at school often because they have difficult behaviour. This includes children with or without special needs, some who have suffered bereavement, some who've got into fights, some who've bullied or been bullied, and kids who lack self-esteem.

She's looking to start up an after-school ad hoc teenagers' group called 'Teenage Dramas' after Christmas, based in the Carnegie Room, at Newbury library, which she says "is a nice space, a safe atmosphere".

Using circles, drama games, freezeframes, role-play and role-reversal, the sessions will be aimed at raising self-esteem, to help any young people feel comfortable and confident in themselves, their ideas and their creativity.

Lauraine assures potential participants that "You don't have to be able to act. This isn't about making you feel nervous, it's about helping you feel strong. We'll use your ideas to make up stories: happy ones, sad ones, stories where people get hurt or bullied, and stories which we can laugh at."

"It's about being together and accepting each other, she explains, "and most importantly, it's about having fun together."

"We work with two important boundaries: you can say 'pass' and no put-downs". She maintains adolescence is a time of 'special needs'. The group is for any teenager of the right age.

Lauraine will also be using her skills as a dramatherapist in a separate support group for parents and carers of children and teenagers by bringing metaphor, drama and story as a tool for working with feelings.

To find out more about her sessions, ring Lauraine on (01635) 45011.

The Watermill Youth Theatre / Young Company

Next production

Our Town, 8th to 11th November
“We all know that something is eternal.And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars ... everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.” Thornton Wilder, Our Town.
The Young Company present Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer prize winning play, a story about celebrating the glories of everyday existence.

Review of Ubu Roi

9th to 12th November 2016.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

A riotous absurdity

Watermill Young Company's spirited Ubu Roi

Watermill Young Company: Ubu Roi, at The Watermill, Bagnor, from Wednesday, November 9, to Saturday, November 12

Alfred Jarry's satirical, surreal play Ubu Roi was first performed in Paris in 1896 and closed on its opening performance when the audience rioted.

The Watermill Young Company brought this parody of Macbeth bang up to date in this fast-paced exuberant production splendidly directed by Seamus Allen.

It's a tale of a power politics, genocide, greed and sexual exploitation, told with more than a nod to the likes of Monty Python and The Goon Show, with a modern and outlandish sense of the absurd.

The young cast (far too many to mention all) performed with energy and enthusiasm, playing multiple characters with ease on Libby Todd's multi-coloured geometric inventive set.

The plot is epic in nature. Stan Dooley was outstanding as the swaggering hyperactive Pa Ubu, plotting to kill the King of Poland, Vencelas (Albie Embleton), encouraged by Ma Ubu, impressively played by Olivia Snell, in ensuring his bloody ascent to power.

Ma Ubu persuades him to share his ill-gotten wealth with the populous in order that he can then ensure he gets his taxes.

He rounds up the nobles, the bankers and the judges and sends them to his dungeon and ultimate death and now controls the land.

However, his dynasty does not run smoothly as he has to fight the Russians under Tsar Alexis (Sebastian Rocco) and King Vencelas' son Billykins (Michael Seath) who is seeking revenge for his father's death.

Meanwhile, Big Bad Bernie (Niall Madden-Blain) protects Ma Ubu when her husband goes to war and she secretly tries to find the Polish buried treasure.

Rory Robertson-Shaw was Captain Dogpile, who initially supports Ubu but changes sides and joins the army to defeat Ubu who, during the battle, finds shelter in a cave but is attacked by a bear in a hilarious scene.

Pantoesque fun, such as throwing a huge cannonball in the battle scene, and many smaller balls as weapons, had the audience laughing and enjoying the ensuing chaos.

This ambitious production was fully embraced by the spirited cast, who performed with zest and total commitment – and the audience loved it.

ROBIN STRAPP

Who

The youth theatre meets on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings. The group devises its own work and works with the professional production team to produce main house youth theatre shows.

There are three groups, for 6-11, 11-15 and 16 to early 20s. For more information, contact Ade Morris on 01635 45834.

Previous productions

Ann Veronica, 29th March to 1st April 2017
Ubu Roi, 9th to 12th November 2016
The Railway Children, 6th to 9th April 2016. See the review in the archive.
Gormenghast, 11th to 14th November 2015. See the review in the archive.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, 25th to 28th March 2015
Twelfth Night, 12th to 15th November 2014. See the review in the archive.
Life Lessons, 26th to 29th March 2014. See the review in the archive.
You Can't Take It With You, 13th to 16th November 2013. See the review in the archive.
David Copperfield, 27th to 30th March 2013. See the review in the archive.
The Government Inspector, 14th to 17th November 2012. See the review in the archive.
Writers' Block, 28th to 31st March 2012. See the review in the archive.
The Clodly Light Opera and Drama Society, 9th to 12th November 2011. See the review in the archive.
The Girl Who Never Forgot, 30th March to 2nd April 2011. See the review in the archive.
Bullets and Beetroot Lips
, 17th to 20th November 2010. See the review in the archive.
The Three Musketeers, 7th to 10th April 2010. See the review in the archive.
Lay Your Sleeping Head, 18th to 21st November 2009. See the review in the archive.
Around the World in 80 Days, 6th to 10th May 2009. See the review in the archive.
The Sirens' Call, 19th to 22nd November 2008
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 21st to 24th May 2008. See the review in the archive.
¡Donkey Hoo-Ha!
, 30th May to 2nd June 2007. See the review in the archive.
Mary Kelly's Bed, 1st to 4th November 2006. See the review in the archive.
The Gilded Lilies
, 26th to 29th October 2005. See the review in the archive.
The Odyssey, 4th to 7th May 2005. See the review in the archive.
Hope Springs, 14th to 17th July 2004. See the review in the archive.
Wallride
, 29th October to 1st November 2003. See the review in the archive.
Accelerate, 9th to 12th July 2003. See the review in the archive.
Landmines and Chewing Gum
, 20th to 23rd November 2002. See the review in the archive.
Fen
, 6th to 9th February 2002. See the review in the archive.
Walk in the Shadow, 25th to 28th July 2001. See the review in the archive.
Dragon's Teeth
, 22nd to 25th November 2000. See the review in the archive.

Abdabs Youth Theatre at Witney

Just outside our area (north west of Oxford); their web site is www.abdabs-yt.co.uk.

Hungerford Young Performers, Children's Theatre and Youth Theatre

The Community of Hungerford, who stage an annual musical (the Town Show) each year, have three groups for young people. The Hungerford Young Performers (ages 6 to 8 years), The Hungerford Children's Theatre (ages 9 to 13 years) and The Hungerford Youth Theatre (ages 14 to 21 years). All these groups meet in the John O' Gaunt Youth & Community Centre.

New members are always welcome. More information can be obtained from our website www.hungerfordtheatrecompany.co.uk  or by e-mailing our membership secretary:

Last production

Madagascar A Musical Adventure Jr, 10th to 11th June 2017
A Children's Theatre production.

Review of Madagascar

10th to 11th June 2017.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

They really moved it, moved it

Hungerford's young actors really smash the Madagascar musical

Community of Hungerford Theatre Company Children's Theatre: Madagascar A Musical Adventure Jr, at Herongate, Hungerford, on Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11

This show, presented by the Children's Theatre, the junior branch of the Community of Hungerford Theatre Company, was based on the popular series of animated films, shown in cinemas a few years ago.

It presented a cast of around 30 young actors and, although no choreographer was listed in the programme, it seems safe to assume that the choreography was worked out by director Hoffi Munt with input, no doubt, from her assistants, Roushka Westall and Jane Munt. Certainly quite a bit of carefully arranged movement around the stage was needed and indeed achieved, with some scenes having around 28 young actors on stage at the same time.

The main characters – Alex the lion (Eleanor White), zebra Marty (Martha Gayer), Gloria the hippo (Honor Patterson) and giraffe Melman (Tayisha Flower) – did well as a quartet of zoo animals who find themselves caged on an ocean liner and, after taking over the ship, end up in Madagascar.

Seven youngsters played the parts of the lemurs, all decked out with suitable black-rimmed eyes and joining in the dancing and stage movement with obvious enjoyment.

Bella Schofield had fun with the part of King Julien, hamming it up and doing the jokes with Maurice, played heartily by Barney Bennyworth as her sidekick.

There was plenty of singing, dancing, acting and – an extra bonus – a series of exercises featuring handstands and complete somersaults.

The line-ups on stage, the set pieces involving much movement in a certain direction and the discipline of all the actors was most impressive.

It comes back to that uncredited choreography, but whoever was responsible for that did very well indeed.

Most likely, as previously suggested, it was a group effort.

Although uncredited in the programme, Madagascar was written by Kevin Del Aguila, with music by Joel Someillan and George Noriega.

From the volatile singing of Move It, to the enthusiastic well-drilled dancing, and not forgetting an authentic-looking penguin shuffle, this was a well-produced and lively show.

DEREK ANSELL

Previous productions

Children's Theatre: Wind in the Willows, 13th to 14th June 2014
Young Performers: The Princess and the Pauper, 12th and 14th June 2014
Young Performers: Charlie and the Beanstalk, 28th April 2012
Youth Theatre: James and the Giant Peach, 26th to 27th April 2012
Children’s Theatre: The Dracula Rock Show, 10th July 2010
Youth Theatre: The Cleaners, 10th to 11th June 2010
Young Performers: Grimm Tales, 20th March 2010
Young Performers: The Fate of King Minos, 28th March 2009
Children’s Theatre: Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs, 5th July 2008
Young Performers: Beowulf, 29th March 2008
Children’s Theatre: Romeo and Juliet the Musical, 7th July 2007
Youth Theatre: Two Short Socks, 6th July 2007
Young Performers: Tattybogle, 17th March 2007
Young Performers: The Selfish Giant, July 2006
Children's Theatre: Scheherazade, Tales of Arabian Nights, July 2006
Children's Theatre: Alice, 2005
Youth Theatre: Ritual For Dolls, 8th July 2005
Youth Theatre: The Gut Girls, 6th to 7th June 2005
Young Performers: The Piper, Easter 2005
Children's Theatre: Cinderella, 2004
Young Performers: Hoodwinked, July 2004
Youth Theatre: Daisy Pulls It Off, 22nd to 23rd July 2004
Children's Theatre: Card Play, 19th to 20th July 2004
Youth Theatre: Once a Catholic, 8th and 9th July 2003
Young Performers: Whoops -a- Daisy Angel, 16th December 2002
Children's Theatre: The Spell of Sleeping Beauty 12-13 July 2002
Youth Theatre: You Me and Mrs Jones 12-13 July 2002.

Whippersnapper

Whippersnapper is a Wantage based youth theatre company whose aim is to give teenagers with a love of theatre the opportunity to involve themselves in the nitty-gritty of putting on plays in as professional a way as possible. The organiser of this group is Margaret Bateman, 01235 762992.

Next production

A Tale of Two Cities, 4th to 6th November, 19:30, at Lains Barn, Wantage
A Domino Players production.
By Charles Dickens, adapted by Matthew Francis. Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, it depicts the plight of the French peasantry under the oppression of the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and a number of unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period (hence the work's title). It follows the lives of several protagonists through these events, most notably Charles Darnay, a French once-aristocrat who falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution despite his virtuous nature, and Sydney Carton, a dissipated British barrister who endeavours to redeem his ill-spent life out of love for Darnay's wife, Lucie Manette. Tickets £8 and £7 concessions.

Previous productions

The Accrington Pals, 21st June 2009, at Blue Boar Barn, Newbury Street, Wantage
By Peter Whelan. A funny, moving account of life (and death) in the First World War.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, 21st June 2008, at Wantage Civic Hall
On Midsummer Night, 21st June, the company will bring its ingenuity and exuberance to Wantage Civic Hall for a one off performance of (what else?) A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. The space will be transformed by youthful sleight of hand into a woodland glade peopled by trouble making fairies, confused lovers and an ambitious, if less than skilful, troupe of village thespians.

The Musical Youth Company of Oxford

We produce and perform high quality shows and concerts that entertain audiences throughout Oxfordshire and beyond, organise summer camps, social events, music and theatre workshops and run our very own "Oscars" event.

We currently rehearse from 19:00 to 21:30 Wednesdays at Cherwell School, and on most Mondays at Marston United Reformed Church.

Our web site is at www.myco.org.uk.

Oxford Playhouse

For details of youth events, see the Oxford Playhouse web site.

Oxford Youth Theatre (Pegasus)

Oxford Youth Theatre is open to anyone between the ages of 10 to 25. Membership costs £20 per year and there are no auditions. Make sure you're on the mailing list to receive details of projects by contacting Yasmin Sidhwa, Louise Barrett or calling 01865 792209. Also see the web site at www.pegasustheatre.org.uk.

Starmaker

Last production

Annie, 12th to 16th October 2004, at the Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell
Based on the cartoon strip Little Orphan Annie it was translated into a musical by Martin Charnin. The musical Annie tells a Depression-era rags-to-riches story of an eleven-year-old orphan who yearns to escape from the orphanage run by the mean-spirited Miss Hannigan. When Daddy Warbucks decides to adopt Annie, her dream comes true! Songs include Tomorrow, We'd Like To Thank You, Little Girls, I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here, Easy Street, You Won't Be An Orphan For Long, You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile and Annie. A musical treat for the whole family.

Previous productions

Once a Catholic, 22nd to 26th June 2004, at Studio Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell

Songs from the Musicals - Act Two, 8th May 2004, at Bearwood Theatre, Winnersh
Pirates of Penzance (Broadway version), 2nd to 6th March 2004, at the Wilde Theatre, Bracknell.

See our web site at starmakeruk.org. We are totally dedicated to the Youth Theatre Scene and not an "attachment" to an Adult Society. We have had a large number of members go onto various performing arts colleges all over the country and subsequently onto some major shows / films / TV etc. Our most famous "graduate" was Kate Winslett.

The main rehearsals are in Reading in the Avenue School not far from Madejski Stadium (Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays). The various Schools (Easter, Summer, SPACE) are held all over the Reading area. The major (and some Minor) performances are at the Wilde Theatre at
Bracknell.

Over the past 15 years, Starmaker have staged over 60 productions at venues including: The Hexagon, Reading; The Wilde Theatre, Bracknell; Kenton Theatre, Henley-On-Thames; Corn Exchange, Newbury; The Fulcrum, Slough; Magnet Leisure Centre, Maidenhead; Shinfield Theatre, Reading; and The Desborough Suite, Maidenhead.

WOAPA – West Oxfordshire Academy of Performing Arts

WOAPA is a part-time Theatre School for children aged 4–16 years which operates at evenings and weekends during the standard academic term. Providing quality tuition in the three disciplines of Singing, Dance and Drama, our class sizes are deliberately kept small to ensure that each child receives the individual attention they deserve. Our classes are led by experienced and enthusiastic tutors whose skills in working with young people enable our students to develop at their own pace, and encourage them to reach their true potential. With no entry auditions or previous experience required, whether your child dreams of a career in performing arts or simply wants to make new friends, WOAPA will boost your child’s confidence… and they’ll have loads of fun!

Each week, students attend three, 1-hour sessions of drama, singing and dance. We promote a positive environment - where students have fun as they celebrate their individuality and achievements. Working as part of a team, students are encouraged to be creative and value the experience of working closely with others towards a common goal. Skills are developed and refined, enabling students to become multi-disciplined, all-round performers.

For our young performers (aged 4-6) all three elements of singing, dance and drama are combined in a weekly, 1-hour, fun-packed session. We offer the opportunity for your child to stretch their imagination and nurture their social skills including communication and concentration.

Watch as your child develops…

  • Increased confidence
  • Growing self-esteem
  • An expanding imagination
  • Creativity
  • Co-ordination

AND a whole new set of friends!

Reports, Awards and Exams

In order to share our students’ progress we arrange informal performances for families. Parents also receive written reports at regular intervals. WOAPA provides its own internal awards for achievement in class. For those students wishing to undertake more formal assessments, exams are arranged for both LAMDA and Arts Awards.

Added benefits

Students and parents have exclusive access to a members'-only area on our website, listing details of auditions, theatre trips, special events, and more!

If you’re looking for drama activities for kids in the Witney area, WOAPA – West Oxfordshire Academy of Performing Arts is for you!

Take a look at our website – www.woapa.co.uk