Behind the Scenes ‘Robin Hood’ Photos

Here’s a lovely insight into the world of panto – our photographer Drew Tomons took these great behind the scenes and back stage photos.

‘Robin Hood’ runs until 31 December and has been getting fabulous reviews.

The Farnham Herald ‘…a fun, entertaining and delightful night out’

 Let’s Go With The Children 5 ***** ‘….go again, it was that good!’

 Muddy Stilettos ‘…a guaranteed festive fun night out.’

 WhatTheRedHeadSaid ‘The whole show is literally a laugh a minute!’



Thunder interview by Mick Wall

2nd October Camberley Theatre – SOLD OUT


Unplugged and Unscripted – An Intimate Evening with Danny & Luke


The story of Thunder is really the story of singer Danny Bowes and guitarist Luke Morley. Friends since they were 11 years old, they have dedicated their lives into making Thunder one of the most successful British rock groups of all time.

‘The 1990 Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington was the moment that crystallised it,” Luke recalls. “80,000 people, we started the first song and all the hands went up. I was like, bloody hell! The hairs are going up the back of my neck even thinking about it now. That gig changed our lives. I’ve never been nervous on a stage since. Never.”

This year sees the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Thunder album, Backstreet Symphony. Produced by Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor, it was an instant chart hit, yielding five Top 40 singles.

“One of the things Andy really did for us was what he called Attitude Adjustment,” laughs Luke. “Don’t turn it down. Turn it up. Don’t drink one wine when you can have five. Louder! Harder! Faster! More girls! He’d kind of had his wings clipped in Duran. So he was like us, really up for it now.”

When their second album, Laughing On Judgement Day, went straight into the UK charts at No. 2, Thunder looked set for global stardom. Wild man Guns N’ Roses singer W. Axl Rose said Thunder was his favourite band and personally helped them get a record deal in America.

“They were great fun days,” says Danny. “Touring with Aerosmith and Heart, then headlining our own shows all over Britain and Europe. We were all set to crack America when suddenly Nirvana and grunge changed everything.”

Although Thunder shared the same blues-rock roots as grunge stars like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden – “We have always been more of a T-shirts and jeans group than the hair metal acts of the 80s,” Luke points out – in America they were lumped in with suddenly out-of-fashion rock outfits like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard.

“It was hard to complain though as our British fans have always so loyal to us,” says Danny.

A further string of hit records followed in the 90s. Then out of the blue the band broke up. Why?

“We’d been together for 10 years at that point and the music biz had changed. Records weren’t selling as the Internet took over,” Danny explains. “No one has a divine right to be in a band forever.

“It was a bit hamster in the wheel,” says Luke. “We would go out every 18 months and do a tour, which would do well. But it felt like the doors were all closed when it came to our records. So we thought, okay, let’s stop then.”

Danny and Luke both did various solo projects. But then the classic rock market began to bloom as several rock giants like Kiss, Black Sabbath, and Queen began to reform and when an offer came a few years later for Thunder to do likewise it was the start of a major comeback.

Danny: “I went to the band, said here’s an offer, it’s arenas, what do you want to do? Are you washing your hair or what? And they all said, great, let’s do it.”

They had a big comeback hit with ‘I Love You More Than Rock N’ Roll’ and saw their 2015 album, Wonder Days, go Top 10.

“It was a great feeling,” says Danny, “best of all though was that we felt it was probably our best album ever. It was like coming full circle.”

That circle has been made complete in recent years with another Top Five album, Rip It Up, in 2017, and the release in September of their Greatest Hits, commemorating their 30th anniversary.

To mark the occasion, in October Danny and Luke undertake a 16-date UK tour titled Unplugged & Unscripted – in which they will perform acoustic versions of some of Thunder’s best-known songs and be interviewed onstage by the acclaimed music author and broadcaster Mick Wall.

“It’s going to be completely different every night,” Danny reveals. “A 90-minute show in two halves, with about half an hour’s music and an hour’s worth of chat. Plus answering whatever questions the audience want to ask. Followed by a meet-and-greet with the fans after the show.”

Luke: “It’s going to be great. Talking is not something we ever have a problem with. We’re really looking forward to it. The nice thing is that a lot of the songs do work really well with just an acoustic guitar.”

“And a vocal!” Danny laughs.

Thunder were rabble-rousers in their youth, but with both Danny and Luke now in their late-fifties, what’s life on the road like for them now?

Luke smiles. “Well, neither myself nor Danny has ever done a Class-A drug. The booze definitely, and the birds. I’m married now so not anymore. But back in the day, bloody hell! Yeah, course! That was the great thing about Thunder becoming successful. It was like, okay, I’m going to enjoy this for a while.

“These days, one’s stamina isn’t quite what it was, put it like that. But that’s okay. Back in the day, we’d have three pints and a couple of whiskies before we went on stage, then carry on drinking while we were onstage. Then afterwards start drinking properly. Now the first beer doesn’t touch my lips until we come off stage. It’s the same for all of us. Nobody drinks before we go on.”

As Danny points out, “With the march of time comes the realisation that if you continue to do things the way you did when you were young, you won’t be able to do them for much longer. Also, I’ve got to the stage where I’ve started to find it just really dull, drinking. I got to the stage where I thought: I’m even boring myself. You do enjoy it more if you do it less often.”

Are we still talking about drinking?

“I’m not sure,” laughs Luke. Are we?”

Vienna Festival Ballet: The Nutcracker – interview with Gill Mallek

On 10th October, we are delighted to welcome The Nutcracker, performed by the Vienna Festival Ballet.

Be swept away on a magical adventure in one of the most famous classical ballets of all time – The Nutcracker.

Set to Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous score, the traditional tale of The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara and her enchanted nutcracker doll. Their adventures see Clara and the Nutcracker combat the Mouse King, and join the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier on a wonderful journey through the glistening Land of Snow to a kingdom made entirely of sweets.


With its combination of enchanting choreography and unforgettable music, The Nutcracker promises to delight audiences of all ages with its festive setting and light-hearted story.

Clara jete

For tickets click here

We asked Gill Mallek, the Vienna Festival Ballet’s Marketing Manager a few questions.

You were a former pupil of Lorna Timms in Camberley – how important were those days for you and can you remember anything vital you learned?

Those days were so important, they instilled my love for ballet and dance, I adored my teacher Lorna Timms, and I passed my very first ballet exam with Honours at her school


Vienna Festival Balllet The Nutcraker Medina Theatre 16 12 16 Copyright Graham Reading Photography

How did you end up with the Vienna Festival Ballet?

I auditioned for Vienna Festival Ballet back in 1981, I was lucky to be accepted and have been there ever since

How many productions have you worked on and do you have any stand out favourites?

I danced in all the productions , as Corps de Ballet and later Soloist. My favourite roles are Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and Queen of the Wilis in Giselle.



Vienna Festival Balllet The Nutcraker Medina Theatre 16 12 16 Copyright Graham Reading Photography

When did you start to get more involved in the production of ballet rather than dancing?

After Peter and I got married and I had my children, so around 20 years ago



What is the best ballet you’ve ever seen and what made it so special?

 Giselle and Swan Lake are my favourite ballets. always very special to me, the music combined with the choreography never fails to thrill me 


Vienna Festival Balllet The Nutcraker Medina Theatre 16 12 16 Copyright Graham Reading Photography

Have you any advice for and young dancers?

You have to really like it,  you need lots of determination and you have to enjoy working hard.



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.


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.

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


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.


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

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.