Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram round up

By Alison Norton | Entertainment | Published:

I am sorry to start off this week with some rather sad news, but unless a desperate appeal for funds is successful, it looks as if Walsall’s premiere amateur theatre drama company may have to close.

Playing hard – events will raise funds for the group

The Grange Players, who are a non-profit making organisation and registered charity, have performed quality drama and comedy at their own venue, The Grange Playhouse on Broadway North, Walsall since 1951, but due to essential maintenance to the 67-year-old building, they are currently closed for business.

With a huge bill which could run into thousands of pounds, the players have launched a Save the Grange fund to pay for the work required as well as future running costs.

Spokesperson for the group, Peter Smith, says that with no productions on stage at present, the group is unable to generate any income and so the venue is in grave danger of closing down altogether.

As the Grange Playhouse is the only amateur run local theatre in the Walsall area, it would be a great shame to deprive audiences of their entertainment. This potential closure is also affecting The Fellowship Players, who also use the venue four times a year.

All amateur groups face financial difficulties at one time or another and it would be a crying shame to see this wonderful, self-contained venue close down, so let’s see if we can help to get the Grange Players back on track shall we? The players are holding a variety of fundraising events, starting with a Burns Night Supper on January 25 and tickets are just £10 each. Please go along and support them, or just donate the cost of a ticket if you are unable to attend.

l For more information on the venue and how you can help, call 07805068850 or email

On a lighter note, I feel as if I am drowning in pantomime at the moment. It’s everywhere. So, let’s change the subject to something else, shall we? What about murder?

The resident company at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham will be presenting a play entitled Let the Right One In from January 27-February 3, with an After Dark discussion following the February 2 performance.


Oskar is a lonely, bullied teenager who lives with his mother on a housing estate on the edge of town. A spate of horrible and sinister murders rock their world, but Oskar is comforted by the fact that he has a kindred spirit in his new neighbour Eli who has moved in next door. Eli however never leaves her flat and never goes to school. But why? You need to find out!

l For tickets priced at £9.50-£6 visit or call 0121 643 5858.

There is more death and adventure at Sutton Arts Centre, this time from January 25-February 3, with The Perfect Murder, the comedy thriller by Peter James.

Victor Smiley and his wife Joan are Smiley by name but not by nature. In fact, they hate the sight of each other and admit they could quite happily murder their other half. It’s a marriage of convenience with plenty of laughs along the way, but highly sinister undertones.


l For tickets visit or call 0121 355 5355.

On January 23, choir Viva Musica will be holding an open evening for anyone who would like to join them.

The choir will be performing, so you can get the perfect view of what it is like to be involved and you will get the chance to meet and chat to existing members.

They rehearse every Tuesday evening from 7.30pm at Ham Dingle Primary School in Stourbridge.

l More details are available by visiting the Viva Musica Facebook page or visiting their website

And we are into pantoland! You can catch a production of Sleeping Beauty, presented by Sutton Coldfield United Reformed Church Dramatic Society, from January 26-28 at the church venue, with performances at 7.30pm nightly.

l For tickets visit or call 07572 989 778.

Pelsall Musical Society is presenting Dick Whittington, a bespoke version of this popular pantomime, written especially for this group by David Phipps-Davis, at Pelsall Methodist Church Hall from January 25-27.

l Follow Dick and his cat on their adventures in London where the streets are paved with gold apparently, by calling Jennifer on 01922 684263 or visiting the group’s Facebook page.

Aladdin remains the most popular panto ever and this year, one of the best loved amateur pantomime companies, Stourbridge Pantomime Company, will perform it from January 20-27 at Stourbridge Town Hall.

This the 50th anniversary of this talented group and I know audiences will be in for a treat.

l To see if brave Aladdin can overthrow evil Abanaza and win the hand of Princess Jasmine, call Peter Mills on 01384 836963 or 07426 498475 or email for tickets which are priced at just £14-11 each.

The Wizard of Oz is a classic, whether it be a musical stage show, a movie or a panto and this winter season there are various versions all across the Midlands and Shropshire.

One version you may choose to see is the musical, which is being presented by the resident group at The Belfrey Theatre in Wellington from January 26-28.

This group intend to treat audiences to a classic storyline and all the familiar songs you would expect from an evening of family entertainment.

l For tickets visit or call 01952 222277.

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton

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


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