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Charity is given a boost

Staffordshire | Entertainment | Published:

Am dram guru Alison Norton casts her eye over this week's new shows

Well it's good to be back in am dram land after a two-week holiday and great to see that all across the region productions are taking place, despite this being the quiet time of year for theatre.

Congratulations are in order first of all this week, to Rainbow Pantomime Company, who performed a concert entitled Songs from the Silver Screen in conjunction with The Teenage Cancer Trust, back in July and have informed me that they raised £1,400 on the night. Well done guys, as always it is good to see amateur performers supporting charity.

An appeal for youngsters now. The newly formed Phoenix Theatre Company is due to perform Lionel Bart's classic musical, Oliver! at the Mill Theatre in Sedgley from February 4 – February 8.

The group is currently auditioning for boys to play in Fagin's gang and also potential Olivers and Artful Dodgers. Call Richard Bourne 07534295285 or visit www.phoenixtheatreco.co.uk for more information.

Stourbridge Theatre Company has chosen J B Priestley's murder mystery An Inspector Calls as their next production, which they will perform at Stourbridge Town Hall from September 5-7.

The plot of this play is straightforward – a mysterious inspector interrogates a wealthy English family about their responsibility for the death of a young working class factory girl. However, critics believe that Priestley took this opportunity to point out the hypocrisies of English society in the early 1940s and to affirm his socialist political views.

That said, it is very entertaining and keeps audiences guessing right up until the final curtain.

For tickets, priced at £9-£8, contact the box office on 01384 812812 or visit www.stourbrid

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getheatrecompany.org.uk

Over in the Walsall area, Sutton Arts Theatre is performing the play version of Gigi by Anita Loos and directed by Ian Appleby, from August 29 – September 7 at the Grange Playhouse.

I visited this venue earlier in the year and have to say that although it is "cosy," the playhouse has a lovely atmosphere and is purpose built for amateur theatre. I was very impressed.

Also at the Grange Playhouse, from September 11-21, the Grange Players are presenting Anthony Shaffer's two-hander, Sleuth. The original film version starred Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine, both of whom were nominated for Oscars for their roles.

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Another film version was then made in 2007, this time starring Jude Law in the original role played by Caine, while Caine himself took the Olivier role – an interesting switch of characters.

For tickets for Gigi, call 0121 355 5355 and for Sleuth call 01922 649168 or simply visit www.grangeplayhouse.co.uk

The Brewood Music and Drama Academy, based at Estate House in the Staffordshire village, is holding an open day on September 7 between noon and 4pm, for anyone who is interested in finding out more about performing and expanding their musical skills.

The teachers are experts in vocals, dance, drama as well as instrumental tuition including lessons in piano, keyboard, percussion, guitar, woodwind, strings and brass.

There will be the opportunity to meet the instructors, try out instruments, take a tour of the premises and also enjoy performances by existing pupils. There is also champagne and canapés, so it can't be bad!

And it gets better; you can receive 20 per cent off your first lesson if you register. For more details contact Lucy Ellen Parker on 079845985891 or visit Brewood Music and Drama Academy on Facebook.

Finally this week, Rodgers and Hammerstein fans will be delighted to know that Jean Brown Productions is presenting The Sound of Music at The Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock from September 5-7.

For tickets call 01543 578762 or visit www.jeanbrownproductions.org.uk

That's all for this week. Keep those emails and photos coming to a.norton@expressandstar.co.uk, call me on 01902 319662, or follow me on Twitter @AlisonNorton

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