#WorldTheatreDay Pt. 5 Kate Noviss

Kate Noviss (Marketing Manager)

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As a child the minute we  convinced my dad that we didn’t want to see panto at Christmas but preferred visiting London’s West End was the same time I realised the magic of escaping into the bright lights of a story brought to life on stage.

From Chess, Me and My Girl, Starlight Express, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and 42nd Street at one point there wasn’t a musical on in London I hadn’t dragged my family to see.

Once I moved out of the family home rather disappointingly the cost of theatre tickets rested with me! Now whilst there are a number of shows on in London at any given time that I haven’t seen these days I indulge my love of theatre in a different way.

After having my own children and feeling like I needed something for myself (and as the realisation that I wasn’t an undiscovered Ruthie Henshall finally sunk in) I took a magical first brave step into a local amateur dramatics group.

Crazy For You (EBOS – East Berkshire Operatic Society)

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Having never had any sort of training it was certainly a baptism of fire! Auditions were jaw clenchingly terrifying as a newbie and I’ve learnt an entire new language. Never more embarassed than not knowing the call ‘Act One Beginners’ actually means ‘if you are meant to be onstage as the curtain opens get yourself to the stage now!’

Crazy For You (EBOS – East Berkshire Operatic Society)

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I’ve met a whole new group of people whilst treading the boards – ever patient every time I say ‘what’s position 2 again?’;  challenged myself like never before (tap dancing in formation when I didn’t know my wings from my paddle steps… to be honest still not sure that I do!) and felt the supreme magic of a spot light on your face and just realised a secret ambition to be mic’d up for a show!! (to me this is as close to ‘fame’ as I will ever get!).

Chess (EBOS – East Berkshire Operatic Society)

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I’ve shared the drama of props in the wrong place on the stage, missed cues followed by some ad lib, the joy of finalling nailing waltzing in a circle, principle cast members with their backs to an audience intent on making you laugh, costume fails and people falling off the stage into the orchestra pit.

The Wizard of Oz (EBOS – East Berkshire Operatic Society)

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I still love going to see a show but I now almost prefer being in one!

(Photos all courtesy of My World My Eyes)

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#WorldTheatreDay Pt. 4 Nick Duncan

Nick Duncan (Senior Theatre Technician)

How long have you worked within theatre? 2 years

Why did you choose theatre as a career? The vast variety of shows that I could be involved in and a passion for lighting them steered me into theatre. Been able to work with so many different people and all over the country gives good social and networking abilities.

What’s the best thing you’ve worked on at Camberley Theatre – why was it so good? The best shows I have worked on would be Camberley Theatre’s pantos this is not only because it is a chance for us all to use our creative skills but also to create friendships and professional relationships due to it being in the theatre for 5 weeks.

Here’s Nick helping one of the ‘Peter Pan’ cast learn to fly!

 

Panto BTS Flying 2nd Oct 18

What’s the last thing you saw outside of Camberley Theatre? Kinky Boots in London

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#WorldTheatreDay pt.3 Andy Edmeads

Andy Edmeads (Venue Manager)

How long have you worked within theatre?

I started working professionally as an actor when I was 12 and started working in venues when I was 24. I’ve been at Camberley Theatre since December 2014 and a couple of roles later, I’m now Venue Manager.

Why did you choose theatre as a career?

Since I was Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Junior School, theatre is all I’ve ever wanted to do. Having worked as an actor for about 10 years before moving into theatre marketing and management, I love the people you meet and the variety of the work. No two days are ever the same!

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Do  you ever get a chance to go to see shows not connected with work?

Yes all the time! Having met lots of wonderful people at University who have gone on to work in the industry as well and people connected with productions I’ve worked on I’m always able to go and see a range of shows. It’s always good to see shows at other venues to get ideas and inspiration.

What’s the best thing you’ve worked on at Camberley Theatre – why was it so good?

I’m always very excited and proud of our in-house pantomimes. They’ve got better and better in recent years and I love the team of people who work on the show and it’s a great time of year for all of the staff here to get involved with.

The excitement of breaking all sales records with Peter Pan in December is a definite highlight for me!

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What’s the last thing you saw outside of Camberley Theatre?

I saw a new production of A Streetcar Named Desire at Nuffield Theatre Southampton on Saturday. It’s my favourite play and it was a really neat, updated version. It’s a brand new venue too so was great to get some ideas for our refurb in the summer!

 Favourite ever piece of theatre, either that you’ve seen or wished you’d seen.

I think Moulin Rouge Secret Cinema has to be up there. I’m loving the trend for immersive and interactive theatre and I think we’ll see more and more of this sort of theatre. They really created the right atmosphere and world of the play and you forgot all about life outside – I could have seen it again and again!

 

#WorldTheatreDay pt. 2 Jo Bartlett

Today is #WorldTheatreDay. We have been asking members of the Camberley Theatre team for their thoughts and memories on theatre.

Jo Bartlett (Marketing)

How long have you worked within theatre?

2 ½ years here but I have worked within culture and the arts for over 25 years!

What’s the best thing you’ve worked on at Camberley Theatre – why was it so good?

Trainspotting here a few weeks ago. Workwise it was a challenge attempting to get a new audience to Camberley Theatre, but so worthwhile! I went to see one of the performances and it was a very raw theatrical production, it felt great to have a show here that is also on at the Edinburgh Festival!

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What’s the last thing you saw outside of Camberley Theatre?

Young Marx at The Bridge in London just before Christmas – staring Rory Kinnear. A fantastic set and play. The Bridge Theatre is an amazing new theatre in London. I love taking my children to see great theatre, I really hope the memories will stay with them for ever.

 

Favourite ever piece of theatre , either that you’ve seen or wished you’d seen.

I’ve been lucky enough to see some wonderful productions. I saw Alan Rickman and later Daniel Day Lewis as Hamlet, I also saw Rory Kinnear as Hamlet in 2010. I like to buy programmes and when I get home, hide them in amongst my books. The idea being that one of us will stumble upon them in years to come and get a lovely memory out of the blue. The trouble is, I couldn’t find some of the programmes I was looking for today to scan for this! Oh well, here’s  Alan Rickman at The Riverside in Hammersmith at least.

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Enron’ blew my mind in 2010. Directed by Rupert Goold and starring Samuel West, it was the first piece of modern theatre I had seen involving so many styles. It left me breathless.

Enron

For me though, ‘Jerusalem’ written by Jez Butterworth and staring Mark Rylance was the best thing I’ve ever seen. Mark Rylance was out of this world. The whole play was completely captivating.

 

Jerusalem

I’m a huge fan of Jez Butterworth and when tickets went on sale to see ‘The Ferryman’ at The Royal Court last year I stayed on the phone for two hours to secure my tickets! It sold out that morning and has now transferred to the West End. It’s written by Jez Butterworth and stars Paddy Constantine – it had me in tears when they played The Undertones full blast through the sound system. I went with my family – it was a lovely sunny day last May. We went for a drink on the Kings Road afterwards and the cast all walked past so we stopped and congratulated them. It was a fabulous, life affirming moment!

Ferryman

 

#WorldTheatreDay pt. 1 Zoe Stanton

Today is #WorldTheatreDay. We have been asking members of the Camberley Theatre team for their thoughts and memories on theatre.

Zoe Stanton (Front of House Officer)

How long have you worked within theatre?

 I started working as a casual Front of House assistant 2 years ago, then became a full-time Front of House Officer 6 months later.

 Why did you choose theatre as a career?

The theatre has always been a second home to me, I’ve performed in many amateur productions from a young age and now love working at a theatre as my job!

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(Me as Tracy Turnblad with her mum Edna in my college’s production of ‘Hairspray’.)

Do you ever get the chance to go to see shows not connected with work?

Yes, I’m a big fan of the West End and like to occasionally treat myself to one of the big London shows.

What’s the best thing you’ve worked on at Camberley Theatre – why was it so good?

Frimley Lodge Live is a favourite of mine, we’ve always been lucky with the weather and everyone is always in such a good mood all weekend – it’s great to work in such a fun, chilled out environment with fabulous music and sunshine.

What’s the last thing you saw outside of Camberley Theatre?

 I went to see Les Miserables last month with my friends, which I was buzzing to see because I loved the film version so much. It didn’t disappoint!

 

Les Mis

Favourite ever piece of theatre, either that you’ve seen or wished you’d seen.

If you’re a theatre fan and haven’t seen the Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, then where have you been? I’m also secretly crossing my fingers to finally get tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

 

 

 

Champions of Magic

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The fabulous Champions of Magic comes to Camberley Theatre on March 31st, there are two performances – 2:30pm and then 7:30pm.

Tickets can be bought by clicking here.

We spoke to Alex McAleer, Kayla Drescher, Fernando Velasco and double act Young & Strange, the cast of Champions Of Magic, ahead of their forthcoming tour. Here’s what they had to say…

Q: Magic is going through a particular rich vein of global popularity. What would you put that down to?

Alex: I don’t think it ever went away but more recently people have remembered that magic is something to experience live. I think people know that what they see on TV or YouTube might not be the whole picture so the more opportunities they have to see it live the better.

Young & Strange:  In the past 25 years the success of David Blaine, followed by Dynamo and then the resurgence of David Blaine more recently has helped carve a new interest and fashion for magic. In the 80’s and 90’s it had a reputation as being too cheesy and dated. With the current wave of television talent, magic doing very well on the ‘Got Talent’ shows and magic being perfect for online viral videos, it’s brought magic right back into the 21st century.

Kayla Drescher: I credit the current popularity of magic to the amount of quality magic going around the world.  By quality, I not only mean strong magic.  I also mean a more relatable type of performance.  You have magicians, like Derren Brown, who have had these killer tours, popular YouTube videos, and Netflix specials.  Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us” continues to dominate television while focusing on making each performer be the best representation of magic.  There are many magic touring shows that allow audiences to see magic live and up close.  And most of these shows no longer spotlight the magician in the cape and top hat basically saying “I’m awesome, watch me” through his appearance and vanish of card fans. It’s now about being real and being human.  It’s about showing a purpose through magic as an art.  Because magicians are making themselves more relatable and therefore, more interesting, audiences now want to watch more than ever.  Watching David Blaine actually get shot by a bullet was more emotion-invoking than any card trick ever could be.  We are all striving for more connection with each other.  Magic is able to provide just that; an intimate interaction with a group of people.

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Q: Magicians are notoriously competitive with each other. How do you manage to all get along so well?

Fernando: We don’t get competitive with each other , but instead we work together to make one fantastic show.

Alex: We all have a genuine respect for each other’s acts and what we each bring to the show. Every time we go on tour it’s like a group of old friends or family coming together.

Kayla: We are all such completely different performers with different expertise and different styles.  Because of that, there’s no need to compete with each other.  Our main goal is put on a killer magic show each and every time we hit the stage.  That can only be done if we support each other.  There’s no need to be competitive when we all have the same goal and need each other to accomplish it.

Young & Strange: Our act is ALWAYS the audience’s favourite in the Champions of Magic show, so there is no need to be competitive or have any sort of ego. Compliments should go to the rest of the cast who are great fun to work with and who are also our very good friends. That really helps in the world of magic which is littered with magicians whose self-belief and importance outstrips their talent.

Q: Can you share some memorable moments with us? Both on stage and off?

Kayla: On stage, there was one show where, as we all walk out for the final bow, we see Sam Strange trip on some confetti and completely face-plant.  He sprung up like nothing happened, fixed his tie, and joined the bow.  It was hard to laugh right then as we’re in the middle of the show.  Luckily, there was video, so we were all able to laugh well after the show was done.

Off stage, I really enjoyed when we were in Cleveland, Ohio and we all rang in the New Year together.  The hotel bar was closed, but had the festivities on the TV.  We huddled together at the glass door, counted down enthusiastically, and all spent the beginning minutes of 2018 as the Champions family.  It was really a lovely way to start the year!

Young & Strange: It genuinely is a great fun show to be a part of. The relationship off stage with all the acts is terrific and constant ‘ribbing’ of each other’s performances is part and parcel of a standard day in ‘Champions of Magic’.

Q: Have you always wanted to be magicians? Any other careers you may have chosen?

Alex: When I was five I used to say I wanted to be a magician or a shopkeeper. As an adult I suppose I could have become an actor, designer, or cult leader.

Kayla: Not at all! I always loved magic, but I really wanted to work in the green energy field.  I worked for a short while understanding Hydrogen Fuel Cell power and hoped to convince college campuses to switch their power source to fuel cell power.  I also studied education and would have loved to combine my love of green energy and education to help save the world.  But once I had a real-life job, I immediately knew I had to perform.

Young & Strange: We have had a passion for it since childhood and our friendship helped to inspire us towards making it our profession. Young’s dream job was working in the bakery section of a supermarket and he was subsequently sacked for overfilling the jam in the donuts. Magic always had a draw to it and we are fortunate enough to make a living from it. It won’t be long before that bubble bursts though and we are back to filling jam donuts….

Q: What was the first trick you mastered and who did you impress?

Alex: Probably the first piece of mind reading I ever learnt was a skill known as ‘muscle reading’ – I had a friend hide an object somewhere in the house and then asked them to think about its location until I found it. Took me about two minutes. It’s a bit like a game of ‘hot or cold’ but they only think about where it is, saying nothing aloud.

Young & Strange: The very first trick we learnt together as an act is an illusion that is still in the show today. It uses a cardboard box, in which one of us sits, and 23 wooden stakes which are rammed into the box at speed. We still make changes to the illusion 10 years on, so it’s unlikely we will ever consider the trick to be ‘mastered’. The very first time we performed it, we are adamant that the only people impressed by the illusion was ourselves….

Kayla: The first trick I really learned and did for a while was the cut and restored rope trick.  This first made it’s appearance in my second grade school talent show, where my Dad and I wrote a “comedy” act together.  I must say, the jokes still hold up!  I still do some rope magic in my full show, today!

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Q: Who would you most like to make disappear?

Young & Strange: Aspiring young magicians. Our position on this show is dubious at the best of times and it would only take some younger act to meet with the producer. It wouldn’t be long before we are back in Sainsbury’s filling donuts with the correct amount of jam.

Kayla: Trump. Can I also add his entire cabinet?

Q: Who is your greatest inspiration?

Alex: Too many to mention.

Young & Strange: We absolutely love large scale stage illusions. Interestingly, we believe that’s not a sentiment that is generally shared with the British public, who tend to prefer close up sleight of hand or mind reading. With this in mind we would always answer with David Copperfield as our greatest inspiration. His career and body of work is something that can only inspire and excite.

Kayla: Celine Dion.  Sounds dorky, but I absolutely love her.  Whenever I’m upset, frustrated, or questioning my career decisions. I play some Celine or watch an interview.  I just love her class and dedication to being herself.  She really influences me to work hard and be unapologetically myself.

Fernando: He has nothing to do with magic but the Mexican singer Alejandro Fernandez because of his passionate performances. He just gives the crowd all he’s got, and I love that. Another person who has nothing to do with magic is the Mexican boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez whose story and background give me a lot of inspiration and motivation.

Q: Champions Of Magic is a pretty full-on show. Have you had any personal disasters on stage?

Young & Strange: Our role within the show is to provide the spectacle and bombastic finish. We always say what we lack in talent is masked by production. That production includes the use of Pyrotechnics and we have had a couple of near misses through our own stupidity. We have had 2 incidences where the theatre has been evacuated during the performance due to the pyrotechnics.

Rachael Kean performing in Champions Of Magic (2) SMALL

Q: When on tour what do you do to relax?

Alex: Before the show I like to hang around in the auditorium, sit in the stalls and get a feel for the place. After the show it’s just chatting with the cast and crew about that nights show.

Fernando: I really like to go out and explore whatever city I am in.

Kayla: I’ve fell back in love with reading recently.  In school, when you HAVE to read, it’s a chore. But now that I can read at my own leisure with no one to report to, I am really enjoying it.  I also watch a LOT of dog videos. I love giant dogs with big heads and like watching videos of them being silly.

Q: Describe the Champions Of Magic show in 5 words

Alex:  See it to believe it.

Fernando: The Best Family Magic Show

 

 

 

 

The Bob Dylan Story

The Bob Dylan Story is at Camberley Theatre on Saturday 3 February. We caught up with Bill Lennon, who plays Bob in the multimedia show to ask a few questions….

Bob Dylan Story

What can the audience expect when they see the show?

A show which is both poignant and rocking in equal measure, performed by genuine Dylan fans who take pride and pleasure in reproducing the songs exactly the way people remember hearing them. Think of a Dylan concert in his full mid-sixties pomp and prime, throw in some carefully chosen visual projections to set the scene, a few stories about Dylan’s life and songs, and you’re getting very warm!

How did the idea for the show come about?

It’s a no brainer really – I have always been a fan and really it was just waiting for the right time. And although there have been other Dylan tributes, I felt it needed a proper theatre show to really do it justice.

When did you start being a fan of Bob Dylan’s music?

My dad had The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan on vinyl when I was a kid and I fell in love with it. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, which we do in the show, is the one that really sticks out for me from that album – it seems to be a fan favourite. I also remember hearing Positively 4th Street and Like A Rolling Stone back to back on the radio when I was a teenager and the sound of those records just blew me away.

What is your favourite Bob Dylan song to perform?

Well we do about 25 in the show and they’re all a joy to perform in their own way, but I guess it would be either Quinn The Eskimo, which was of course a massive hit for Manfred Mann, or Rainy Day Women Nos. 12&35, simply because the band just have so much fun with them, as do the audience!

What do you make of the Nobel Prize award?

Well it was a surprising choice on the face of it, but he’s certainly earned it considering his contribution to popular culture over the last half century; people will say “but it’s not literature”, yet I challenge anyone to read the lyrics to songs like Tangled Up In Blue, Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall, Like A Rolling Stone, Subterranean Homesick Blues and then tell me the guy’s not a poet.

Which song do you think the audience will react to the most?

Well I guess that will depend on their own preferences, but there are some very poignant moments in the show – we know A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall has reduced some to tears, not least because of the accompanying visual imagery and the continuing relevance of its message; Knocking On Heaven’s Door and Forever Young are particularly emotional moments too.

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What will the audience take from the show?

We hope people leave with a nostalgia-infused warmth, a renewed appreciation of Dylan’s music, and an eagerness to tell their friends what a great time they had.

Why is Bob Dylan such a legend?

He is an absolute legend, and actually has written many songs that might cause even non-Dylan fans to question their judgement! Mr Tambourine Man (The Byrds), Make You Feel My Love (Adele) and All Along The Watchtower (Hendrix) are three examples that spring immediately to mind and are all performed in the show. And ultimately, I think he gave people licence to demand more from their music experience than a lightweight “boy meets girl” ditty at a time when that was the norm.

What are the trickiest things about performing Dylan’s music?

For me, committing all the lyrics to memory so they can just flow out without me even thinking about it. As for the band, it’s been about reproducing the sounds and notes as authentically as possible so that the audience hears the songs the way they remember them. But they’ve done a fantastic job. They’re all brilliant musicians as well as being fans of the music and this show is lucky to have them.

For tickets to see The Bob Dylan Story, here on Saturday March 3 – click here.