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Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram round up

By Alison Norton | Entertainment | Published:

Even though the summer holidays are traditionally a very quiet time for am dram, with many groups closing for a few weeks to take what should be a well-earned rest, theatre folk just can’t sit still can they?

Children rehearsing for Our House

Therefore, there are still a few productions taking place and summer classes open across the region.

Theatre Ingestre, based in Staffordshire, is unique in that every August they present open-air performances to allow audiences to soak up the sunshine as well as enjoying their shows. You can never rely on the weather of course, but don’t be put off going to see their latest production, Oliver!, because of the recent bad weather we’ve had. They do have the facilities to put on their shows undercover too thank goodness.

If the weather is good, you can bring picnics, free-standing gazebos and low-backed chairs or blankets and just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Dickens’ tale of the youngster who escapes the workhouse only to find respite with a gang of crooks and thieves in London’s underworld, is a wonderfully popular am dram offering. I have done the show at least four times myself and it is still a favourite.

With a host of memorable characters and tunes including You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two, Consider Yourself, Reviewing The Situation, Oompa-pa and Where is Love, Oliver! is the perfect family musical.

l For tickets visit www.ingestre.com or call 01889 271165.

Over in Birmingham, one group is on the look out for a very niche performer.

BMOS Musical Theatre Company is seeking a trained adult majorette to join them for their forthcoming production of Miracle on 34th Street the musical, which they will perform later this year.

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These performers seem to be few and far between, but we know you’re out there, please get in touch.

l If you would like to bring your skills to this talented company, visit www.bmosmusicals.org or visit the group’s Facebook page.

Remaining in the Birmingham area, from August 23-26 at the New Alexandra, you can catch a production of West Side Story, presented by Stage Experience, a theatre school which showcases the talents of young, local performers.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s great love story, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story is set in the back streets of New York during the 1950s and sees two young lovers from rival gangs brought together amid a world of hate and survival. This touching musical includes some of the most wonderful modern compositions including Tonight, Somewhere, Maria, I Feel Pretty and America.

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l For tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com

Another really popular musical among young performers is Our House.

Based on the music of the 1980s supergroup, Madness, it’s a tale of what might have happened if London lad, Joe Casey, had taken one path or another on the night of his sixteenth birthday. One path leads to a criminal record and social exclusion, while the other will lose him the girl of his dreams. What does he do?

Packed with popular pop songs including It Must Be Love, Baggy Trousers, My Girl and Driving in My Car, this jukebox musical is the perfect vehicle for Madness fans to experience theatre. I love it!

With this in mind, The Lollipop Theatre Arts Summer School project this August is Our House and will feature girls and boys aged five to 17 in a one-off performance at the Dormston Mill Theatre in Sedgley on August 18, starting at 7.30pm.

The kids have been working so hard to perfect their performance and I know from their choreographer, Helen Stone, that they’re bursting with excitement.

So, whether you are a Madness fan, or simply love modern musical theatre, this one’s for you.

l For tickets priced at £15 and £13 for concessions, call 01902 850788 or 07984598589.

Dancers will be pleased to hear that from August 21-24, the Infuse Summer Dance Project is taking place at Newhampton Arts Centre in Wolverhampton from 9am-3pm daily and is open to five to 16 year olds.

Offering young dancers the opportunity to work with professionally qualified experts, this summer school will cover contemporary and street styles and will aim to improve performance skills.

You don’t have to attend every day and no previous experience is necessary, just a love of dance.

l To book places, visit www.newhamptonarts.co.uk/infuse-dance-academy or call 01902 572090.

Newhampton Arts Centre has a huge range of classes available, but they also have a bespoke costume facility called The Actor’s Wardrobe.

Part of Central Youth Theatre, The Actor’s Wardrobe is a local charity and all profits are ploughed back into the company to help support this superbly talented group.

With more than 10,000 costumes, they hire outfits to school and youth organisations, am dram and musical societies as well as to local companies.

l Nothing is too much to ask for, so if you’re looking for something specific, call 0845 051 1167 or visit www.theactorswardrobe.co.uk for more information.

Finally this week, West Bromwich Operatic Society is hoping to swell the ranks of their male chorus for their forthcoming production of South Pacific.

Although already in rehearsal more men are required.

l Interested? Then contact hilary@wbos.co.uk for more information.

l Well, that’s all for this week. Keep those emails and photographs coming to a.norton@expressandstar.co.uk or call me on 01902 319662.

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton
@AlisonNorton

Theatre critic and unofficial 'am dram queen' for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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