Monday, January 17, 2011

Previews for the week ahead

Well the start of the new theatre year (for me) get off to a cracking start with three productions, all different and with something for everyone, so I suggest you sit back and have a look at these words and pictures and make your own mind up.
Please go out and support your local theatre.

First up is Pygmalion, really looking forward to seeing this production at Peoples Theatre in Newcastle...

Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
The People’s Theatre Arts Group is celebrating its hundredth birthday and this milestone year lau
nches next week with a heart warming production of George Bernard Shaw’s well loved play, Pygmalion.

Henry Higgins is a Professor of Phonetics who bets his colleague Colonel Pickering that streetwise flower girl, Eliza Doolittle (Anna Dobson, pictured), can pass for a duchess if only she can be taught to speak properly.

CLipped version of picture of George Bernard S...

Higgin’s supreme self-confidence is, however, quickly rattled when he discovers that his lively protégée has a mind of her own.

A timeless tragicomic tale that has inspired film and musical adaptations around the world.
The director of Pygmalion, Maggie Childs says, “It was an honour to be asked to direct the first production of such an important year in the arts group’s history(The Theatre is celebrating it's Centenary).  The People’s Theatre has a long running relationship with Bernard Shaw and it is very fitting that Pygmalion has been chosen to launch the season.”

Time                7.30pm
Dates               Tuesday 18 – Saturday 22 January 2011
Venue              The People’s Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF
Tickets                        £10.50 [£8.50 concessions]
Box Office      0191 265 5020

Second up is Sunderland University trying out on the professional stage with Godspell 

STUDENTS are putting on a professional performance of biblical proportions this month.

The University of Sunderland’s performing arts students are staging the legendary Stephen Schwartz musical Godspell as part of a live project for their course curriculum.

Godspell is structured on a series of parables based on the gospel of Matthew. It opened off Broadway in May 1971 and has played in various touring companies and revivals many times since.

As part of their rehearsals for the three-run show at Sunderland Minster and the Customs House in South Shields, the performers are being put through their paces by one of opera’s biggest names, Graeme Danby, who is an Honorary Professor of Music at the university.

Working alongside Rachel Emms-Hobbins, programme leader for performing arts, Graeme(pictured) has been helping the second and final year students with their rehearsals for the last 12 weeks, to ensure the audience enjoys a first-class theatre experience of West End quality.

Graeme, who is Principal Bass with the English National Opera, said: “Godspell is part of a music enhancement project at the university which Rachel and I have been working together on for two years.

“We have had a great time and are pushing these students as far as they can go. They wanted as much of a West End theatre experience as possible at the start of this project and that’s what we‘ve tried to do within the confines of a live project at Sunderland.

“I’ve never performed Godspell so this has also been a learning curve for me, but I was familiar with the music and seeing its development over the last 12 weeks has been inspiring. It’s a huge ensemble piece, so everyone’s part is as important as the next. I’m incredibly proud of the students.”

Rachel added: “The students are both nervous and excited about the performances on a professional stage. They’ve worked tirelessly, fitting in rehearsal alongside their other coursework and giving up time over the Christmas holidays to get this right.

 “We are delighted that Sunderland Minster has come on board. We have also begun a new collaboration with the Customs House, so this is a great start to our partnership.”

Taking on the challenging role of Jesus is 21-year-old Sam Porter, originally from London.

He said: “I admit I am nervous, but looking forward to the shows. Rehearsals have been intense but the support from the staff has been excellent.

“Doing this course has given me confidence that I never knew I had; I still can’t believe I am taking on such an important role.”

Godspell takes place at Sunderland Minster, off St Michael’s Way, on Monday, January 17, and at the Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields, on Tuesday, January 18 and Wednesday, January 19. All performances start at 7.30pm.

For information and tickets, contact the Customs House box office on 0191 454 1234, or log on to their website

You can also contact Dianne Chaganis on 0191 515 2538 at the university for tickets, or email her:

Last and not least is the fantastic Westovian's Youth performers take on the classic Cinderella.

I am sure I don't need to inform you of what Cinderella is all about, if the pictures are anything to go by, then a bright and colourful evenings worth of entertainment is in store.

21st to 29th January 2011 at 7:30pm (Excluding Sunday night)
Matinees Saturdays 22nd & 29th and Sunday 23rd at 2.00pm

For more info contact:  The Westovians


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