Camberley Theatre Associated Play to Appear At Edinburgh Festival

An original drama previewed and produced in association with Camberley Theatre is to appear at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August.

‘Songs for a New World’ is a brand new adaptation of the Jason Robert Brown song cycle.

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Revel in the wonderful music of Jason Robert Brown (Parade, 13, The Last Five Years), with this fully staged ensemble production of ‘Songs for a New World’. Featuring ten characters, this highly creative adaptation interweaves the stories of a group of migrants in 1948 as they travel by boat from Europe to New York City. Presenting ten of the songs from the cycle including ‘I’d Give It All For You’, ‘I’m Not Afraid’, ‘Steam Train’ and ‘Christmas Lullaby’. The songs are evocative, moving and powerful and draw on pop, jazz and gospel influences that examine life, love and the choices that we make. It’s about one moment.

Following previews in Camberley in April, returning Fringe Director, Alison Lawrence (The Last Five Years, 2015, Edinburgh Fringe Sell-Out show) has produced this innovative new version which has been more than two years in development. Simply Theatre are delighted to be bringing this fantastic new show to the Fringe, in association with Camberley Theatre.

Andy Edmeads, the manager at Camberley Theatre says,

‘I am really excited to be supporting Simply Theatre with this production which in turn marks Camberley Theatre’s first foray into the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Simply Theatre have consistently delivered high quality productions in the local area for over 10 years and have given lots of performing opportunities for local performers – some of whom have trained and work professionally alongside those who do it very much as a hobby.

The show was really well received when it was performed at Camberley Theatre in April and I look forward to supporting them at the Fringe in August!’

A full professional band will accompany performances, 5th-10th August at Space / Surgeons Hall, Edinburgh.

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Beyond The Barricade Interview

Beyond The Barricade comes to Camberley Theatre on Saturday 1 June.

Tickets here.

Interview with Andy Reiss from Beyond The Barricade

Andy

How did Beyond the Barricade come about and what should audiences expect from the show?

The original concept came about when David and I were performers in Les Miserables. I saw the potential of creating a concert version of some of the most popular songs from the musical theatre genre. I wanted to make sure the songs were true to the original versions, so that the audience could invest in sitting and listening to a concert version, but be completely immersed in the storytelling of each particular song. The added bonus of having 4 principal performers from Les Miserables meant that we could also without doubt show the pedigree of the performers. We take our audience on a journey through some of the greatest stage musicals, including Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, Blood Brothers, The Lion King, Hamilton, and of course Les Miserables.

What roles did you play in Les Mis?

My primary roles were the Factory Foreman and Combeferre, but I was very fortunate to perform Enjolras in Dublin and Edinburgh on many occasions, and also played Valjean in Edinburgh.

 

What first triggered your love of music, and at what age?

I was always surrounded by music from an early age with my parents and grandparents being involved in Hednesford Salvation Army brass band, and by the age of 5 I had learnt how to read and play music. I think that definitely gave me a good grounding in music for my future. I played in a few bands during my later teenage years, but I always loved performing in the local musical theatre societies too

 

So did you start working in musical theatre as soon as you left school?

I didn’t actually. I went to university and studied economics with child care law, and worked within that field for a number of years. However most of my spare time was given over to performing on stage. I then attended an open audition for the first production of Les Miserables outside the West End, just because I wanted to give it a go – and was very surprised when they offered me a contract! I thought it would just be 12 months work and I would go back to my day job. I never dreamed I would end up touring with the show in Manchester, Dublin and Edinburgh, and then transferring to the West End. It was also a great privilege to return to Les Mis, as the Resident Director for the first National Tour.

Katy

With such a wide variety of musicals would you say this is a show for Musical Theatre fans or would you say there is something for everyone?

We get terrific feedback after the shows. We have a lot of people saying that we have introduced them to new shows. We have just introduced Hamilton into our concert, so our audiences can also have a sprinkling of more modern musicals too. Beyond the Barricade can travel further afield to where the big touring shows don’t reach. People tell us that we have persuaded them to go and see more theatre which is great. It is the same with Les Misérables, amazingly even though it has been going for over thirty years, we still get people writing saying that we have introduced them to the music of this phenomenal show.

 

Beyond the Barricade obviously takes up a lot of your time, do you have time to do anything else?

Beyond the Barricade runs throughout the year except from mid July until the end of August. At that time, I usually work at Malvern Theatres and I direct their summer show. We’ve done Les Misérables of course, and also shows like Jesus Christ Superstar and Oliver. I also occasionally go to theatre groups and run masterclasses on Musical Theatre. It all keeps me very busy!

 

To tour with the same show for so many years is very impressive, do you perform nationwide?

We go all over the UK and recently we have also performed in Manila Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. In Europe we have performed in Denmark, Spain and Malta, and also on the Cunard liners.

 

Doesn’t constant touring get tiring?

Yes a little, you can do a show and then have a three and a half hour drive home so it can be exhausting but it never gets boring The buzz of live performance soon wakes you up! At no time do I ever take anything for granted, and the only reason the show is still in existence is because people are willing to come out to see us. Each and every member of Beyond the Barricade never loses sight of that.

 

What is your career highlight to date?

That’s a tough one, as the business has been kind to me. Being picked to perform as part of a worldwide cast of Les Miserables performers to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show was pretty major. The show pulled together the original company plus casts from the worldwide productions and performing alongside everyone at the Royal Albert Hall was very special. I am also proud that Beyond the Barricade was able to stage a concert at the Royal Albert Hall to mark its very own 10th anniversary.

 

Who is your greatest influence?

It’s difficult for me to name one great influence as I have been fortunate to have people spur me on at crucial times. My music teacher at Kingsmead, Alan Williams, was an amazing teacher, and then Jean Brown, a director well known in drama circles across Cannock Chase, gave me loads of opportunities before Ken Caswell, who was the Director of Les Mis, took a chance on me, as I had no formal training. Away from theatre, the raw power of the late, great Freddie Mercury was a great influence.

 

Have you ever been star struck or met your heroes?

I’m not sure it was being star struck – more like being amazed at the stature of the man – and that was David Hasselhoff! During my time as Director of Les Mis, he flew in to London to audition for the part of Valjean while we were rehearsing for the national tour, but he didn’t get it! I guess seeing the original Valjean – Colm Wilkinson – rehearsing for the 10th anniversary concert was also a wow moment.

 

What would be your advice for anyone looking for a career in the industry?

I believe hard work and respect go a long way. Of course there are moments you need that little piece of luck, but I can testify to having a productive career without any formal training. So I guess – never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.

 

Why do you think classic musicals have stayed so popular over the years?

I think the success behind classic musicals like Les Mis, Blood Brothers, West Side Story – the list is endless – is that they are in themselves great stories. They have characters that the audience can relate to easily. The musical scores were written to complement the wonderful stories, so the two together just make a great recipe for success.

Jonathan Rockefeller on The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

Following seasons in London and New York, one of the most iconic characters in children’s literature will wiggle his way to Camberley this June, when The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show plays at Camberley Theatre on 15th and 16th as part of a UK Tour celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the book.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show features a menagerie of 75 enchanting puppets during a magical 60-minute show that faithfully adapts four of Eric Carle’s best loved books for the stage: Brown Bear, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

VHC Full Cast

Jonathan Rockefeller is the creator and director of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, and here he talks about the process of adapting Eric Carle’s iconic story and illustrations for the stage.

 The book celebrates its 50th birthday this year and remains as popular as ever. What do you think are the reasons for its enduring appeal?

 “It’s pretty hard to believe that a little picture book could have such enduring appeal – until you pick it up and read it! Eric Carle’s bright, bold pictures are works of art, and nobody can resist playing with the holes in this book. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is not just a book, it’s what Eric describes as a toy book or book toy – something that is meant to be played with even before you learn how to read.”

The Very Lonely Firefly

 

The story is as much loved by parents as it is by children. Why do you think that is?

 “I think everyone has a positive memory of this book. It’s usually the first book you are given as a child,or give to your own child; and on first glance the pictures are enticing. But I think it endears itself with parents because it’s a deceptively simple book that enables children to associate words with everyday objects, and in turn helps teach children to read and communicate. Not to mention it’s a great story that brings joy and lots of laughter – especially the big, fat caterpillar.”

 

How did The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show come about?

“In 2012 I had a crazy idea that these wonderful, simple picture books that the entire world grew up on would make a great visual show. And so I sat down with my sketchbook and began. Getting Eric Carle on board is a whole other story…”

10 Little Rubber Ducks (4)

How did you and the creative team approach translating Eric Carle’s iconic illustrations for the 3D world of theatre?

“It was a challenge to translate these books because all of Eric Carle’s iconic illustrations are flat and seen from one angle, so we had to imagine what it was like to see the same object from all angles. The second challenge we had was each animal needed to move as seamlessly as it would in the real world. The colours were the third challenge to get exactly right too – bringing his painted tissue paper collage to life on a large scale. It took a lot of trial and error and revising scale, building patterns, and adapting our techniques – using industrial fabrics from construction sites instead of paper, and broomsticks as paintbrushes.”

Has Eric Carle been able to see the show?

“It was a long journey to bring the show to the stage, and took the collaborative work of my team and Eric’s team to ensure everything was perfect when compared to Eric’s illustrations. Eric has been so complimentary throughout the journey – he’s so witty and charming. Eric wasn’t able to see the show’s debut in Australia, but he came to the New York premiere with all his family, friends and his editor of many years. Aside from the excited children sitting around the group, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. Although everyone had been part of the journey, finally seeing Eric’s life work have a life of its own was moving for everyone. It was truly special.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is a great first introduction to theatre for young children. Why do you think this is?

“Eric Carle’s work has delighted young readers for generations. For so many children it is almost a right of passage to be introduced to reading from this book – and it is the perfect introduction to the theatre with 75 incredible puppets coming to life in front of their eyes!”

Why should families come and see the show?

“I asked a four-year coming out of the show why people should come and see it. He told me “It was the best-est most amazing, incredible show he had ever seen in his entire life, and I can not wait to see it again”. Coming from a four year old that’s the highest possible praise and why we do this show.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show plays at Camberley Theatre on as part of a UK Tour celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the book. For more information and tickets visit http://www.camberleytheatre.co.uk

Lee Ridley AKA Lost Voice Guy Interview

Following the unprecedented success of his appearance on the final of Britain’s Got Talent 2018, BBC New Comedy Award winner and star and writer of BBC Radio 4’s comedy series, Ability, Lee Ridley (aka Lost Voice Guy) is setting out on a tour of the UK.

He comes to Camberley Theatre on Friday 22 March and you can get your tickets here.

Lee Ridley (aka Lost Voice Guy)

 Interviewed By Brian Donaldson

In the summer of 2018, Lee Ridley was already a popular figure on the comedy circuit. But when he scooped the crown of Britain’s Got Talent in June, Lost Voice Guy suddenly became a name everyone was shouting about. Winning a TV talent contest can take an act onto a whole new level of fame with doors opening more readily than they might have done before. As he takes to the nation’s stages with a touring show entitled I’m Only In It For The Parking, the County Durham-born Lee found that this was no more truer than in his case.

 

“The main reason I decided to audition for Britain’s Got Talent was obviously to meet Ant and Dec,” he half-jests. “But I also did it because I thought it would help me develop as a performer. Of course, I never expected to win it. In fact, I had to cancel my summer holiday because it clashed with the final. It was definitely worth it though. I think the look on my face when I won said it all. Winning the show has changed my life in so many ways. As a comedian, I’m busier than I ever was before. One of the best things to happen since I won is that people are engaging with me a lot more than they would have in the past. For the first time they seem comfortable talking to a disabled person. I’m used to being stared at for negative reasons so it’s nice to be stared at for positive reasons for a change.”

Lost Voice Guy - Tour photo by steve ullathorne

While Lee has plenty to say about those who have bigoted opinions about disabled people, he’s just as tough on those who are either patronising or overly keen to elevate the disabled into saints simply for being able to achieve something. And all of it is done in the most non-Geordie accent you can imagine, all plummy, middle England and computerised, with the voiceless Lee communicating through an iPad app. But why did he pick that particular voice to express his comedy with?

“To be honest, I didn’t have much choice. The app I use to speak only had a limited number of voices to choose from, and my particular voice was the best of a bad bunch. I’m quite used to sounding like a posh version of RoboCop now though, and I think the posh accent makes my jokes even funnier. I’ve sounded like this for most of my life now, so I do think of it as being my own voice. I think I’d feel weird if I had to change it now.”

Having started performing comedy in 2012, Lee won the BBC Radio New Comedy Award in 2014 and has created hour-long shows for the Edinburgh Fringe such as Disability For Dunces, Inspiration Porn and Laughter Is The Worst Medicine. He’s also co-written and starred in Ability, a Radio 4 sitcom about a man with cerebral palsy who moves out of his parents’ home, and penned a book which shares the title of this new touring show.

But with all that success on his CV already, where does he see his career going now? “I honestly don’t have any big ambitions. When I first started stand-up comedy, I just thought I’d try it for a bit of fun. I never expected to be this successful in my wildest dreams. So, I’m just taking it all as it comes and seeing what might happen next. I’m enjoying the ride and that’s the most important thing.”

Being on tour is something of a ride for any comedian, but for Lee, that adventure has extra obstacles and barriers inherently built into it. However, he is determined to make the most of these opportunities. “I think the best thing about being on tour is getting to see some really lovely places that maybe I wouldn’t have ever visited otherwise, and then getting to meet people from all different walks of life. I’ve got a lot of fans based all over the place so it’s nice to be able to get to meet them. One of the worst things is definitely being away from home. I quite like my home comforts such as my bed and being able to sit in my pants and watch television all day. So I miss that when I’m away.”

Audiences, of course, come in all different shapes and sizes, and life on the road wouldn’t be the same without some odd incidents occurring along the way. “You would be surprised at how many people come up to me after gigs and ask if I really can’t speak. Because, of course, it would totally be acceptable to pretend to be disabled for a laugh. I can safely say that I have never been able to talk. I have lived in Newcastle all my life, but for some reason I still haven’t picked up the accent. However, if you are trying to place my accent, it’s from PC World.”

Scope Ambassador Lee Ridley - with Clare Balding

Truth plays a major part in Lee’s comedy and he is often calling out politicians as well as the general public for their negative or dishonest approach to disability. The upside is that he’s rarely short of stories and anecdotes. One instance where he was ordered by a train inspector to give up his disabled seat for someone else inspired his episode on the Sky Arts Comedy Shorts series last year. “I think most of my comedy comes from my real-life experiences. On the one hand, that’s quite frightening because some of it is unbelievably ridiculous. But on the other hand, it gives me some great material. I’d be silly not to use these experiences, and if I didn’t laugh about it then I’d most definitely cry!” As the nation is about to find out, it’s not just Lee who’s laughing when his Lost Voice Guy airs his opinions.

 

 

“Here Come The Girls” INTERVIEW

Dianne Buswell and Amy Dowden have established themselves on the hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing and Chloe Hewitt also joins the cast of pro girls to make it the first Girls tour.

For tickets for the show at Camberley Theatre on Friday 5th April click here.

We are very excited to be hosting Here Come The Girls, the all new show that brings an exciting mix of individual performances and group numbers with their supporting dance partners. The show will have a mix of Ballroom and Latin routines and has been choreographed by Patrick Helm, this show promises to be a fresh and innovative with amazing routines to dazzle and wow you. Patrick will also perform on the show with Dianne!

contact

 

How did your dancing career start?

Dianne: I began dancing at the age of five in Perth, Australia. I went on to compete from an early age representing Western Australia in National and International Ballroom and Latin events. I found success in Australian TV show “So You Think You Can Dance” at the age of 18.

Amy: I started dancing at the age of eight at my local dance school Shappelles in Caerphilly along with my twin sister. I soon joined the school’s formation team and immediately fell in love with the world of dance. I studied ballroom, Latin, freestyle, ballet and contemporary but my dream was to be a top competitor on the open Latin and ballroom competition circuit.

Chloe: My dance training began at the tender age of seven when I joined Pritchards Dance and Fitness Academy in Burleydam. I went on to win many dance titles but my proudest achievement was winning the World Championships at Blackpool Winter Gardens in 2015. I first appeared on TV on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2013 when I got through to the live semi-finals.

When did you join Strictly Come Dancing?

Dianne: I joined in 2017 as Strictly’s new professional dancer. My first celebrity partner was the Reverend Richard Coles who I sadly bowed out of the 2017 competition with during week three.

Amy: I was invited to become one of the professional dancers in 2017, partnering comedian Brian Conley. In this first year on the show I won the “Children in Need Strictly Special” with Mark Curry and danced in the Christmas special with Colin Jackson.

Chloe: In 2016 I joined the cast becoming the youngest ever professional to join the show at the age of 20 years old. My Strictly career has seen me dance in the 2016 Christmas Special with Gethin Jones and partnering the incredible Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyinganya for the 2017 “Children in Need” show.

Which celebrity dance partner has made you laugh the most?

Dianne: I’d say Joe because I was with him the longest but for the short amount of time I danced with the Reverend Richard Cole he made me laugh a lot so I’d have to say these two made me laugh equally.

Do you get nervous before you go on stage?

Chloe: I think it’s very natural to feel nervous due to all the adrenaline but I feel more excited than anxious. Competing makes me more nervous than performing but I try to channel the nerves into excitement instead of running and hiding.

 How does it make you feel being Strictly’s first Welsh professional dancer?

Amy: Incredibly proud. I’ve always been proud of my Welsh roots.