Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram guide

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

Our am dram star this week is a talented local performer, Joshua Bennett, 18, who is a member of Stafford Gatehouse Youth Theatre.

Joshua Bennett

Josh has won a place at the esteemed London School of Musical Theatre and is due to begin his training this September.

Having performed for more than ten years with a variety of youth groups across the area, Josh has played some notable roles including the title role in Bugsy Malone and Rudyard Kipling in Just So to name just a couple.

It seems that performing is not Josh’s only passion though. Football is another.

“After my GCSE’s I was torn between going to a football academy or to start training in musical theatre,” he told me. And it was down to the line.

"“It came to the day before starting and I made my decision to make theatre my life and it’s something that I will never regret,” he said.

“Performing for me has so many aspects of enjoyment. Progression of the industry, knowing that you are constantly learning how to improve and also knowing that by performing you are inspiring others.”

“I have loved every show I’ve been in, but a favourite was the musical 13 which I performed with Stone Youth Theatre and played the role of Brett. It was full of fun and a joy to be in.”

He has a number of dream roles, but two are Calogero in A Bronx Tale and Eddie Birdlace in Dogfight. There’s plenty of time Josh, so I hope you get the chance to play these one day.


To be accepted onto his chosen course is a feat in itself, as it is usually reserved for more mature performing arts students, but then Josh is extremely talented. He has already secured a call back for a role in the Broadway hit show Dear Evan Hansen, which is due to hit the West End later this year.

But financially, Josh has a mountain to climb. Such exceptional training does not come cheap and so he is on a mission to raise almost £16,000 for his course.

With this in mind, Josh is giving a live performance on August 16 at 7.30pm at Trinity Church in Stafford to raise money. The concert will be a celebration of his musical journey so far.

For tickets priced at just £7.50 each, call 07412549995 or call into Mews Music in Stafford. Alternatively you can read more about Josh’s story and donate here.


By way of thanks, Joshua will select 10 of his supporters who will each receive a digital recording from his repertoire, dedicated to them or a loved one.

The workshops and summer schools continue this week, both for adults and young performers.

The Whittington Players, who are based at Whittington Village Hall in Staffordshire, are holding drama workshops covering all aspects of theatre including acting, movement, costumes, stagecraft, make-up, lighting, sound and set design on July 30, August 6, 13 and 27.

Workshops will be held in the evenings from 7.30m and cost £5 per workshop or £10 for all four nights.

To book your place, call 07976666591, email or simply turn up on the night.

Disney fans will be thrilled to hear that the Danielle Myles Academy of Performing Arts based at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton will be holding a Disney Summer Workshop from August 5 to 9.

The workshop will culminate in a show for friends and family, featuring a whole host of songs, dances and acting pieces from some of your favourite films and musicals.

For more information, visit

Stageworks Academy, who have branches in Birmingham and Aldridge, will be holding a holiday club for your performers from July 29 to August 2 for children aged 3 to 14 years to study dance, drama, performing arts, singing, physical theatre and gymnastics.

The classes will be delivered through fun learning processes with the support of expert teachers who will help the children gain confidence, meet and work with new friends and develop performance-based techniques and skills.

For more information, visit or call 07812957140.

The Cannock based group, Drama Changes Live, will be presenting a summer camp for young performers, based on The Greatest Showman, from August 5 to 9, with classes from 9am to 4pm or 9am to12pm.

The group is teaming up with a professional circus skills company and so as well as singing, dancing and acting, the youngsters will have the opportunity learn a variety of exciting tricks too.

For more information, visit or call 07376235086 or email

Codsall Dramatic Society is about to go into rehearsal for their next production, Richard Everett’s comedy, Entertaining Angels, which they will perform in the autumn.

As a clergy wife Grace has spent a lifetime on her best behaviour. Now, following the death of her husband Bardolph, she is enjoying the new-found freedom of being able to do and say exactly as she pleases. But the return of her eccentric missionary sister, Ruth forces Grace to confront the truth behind her marriage.

Set in a classic English vicarage the play is filled with sharp-edged comedy and probing wit.

This group is on the lookout for new members, so get in touch via their Facebook page or visit

Finally this week, Brownhills Community Centre and The Lamp is seeking a director for their forthcoming production of ‘Allo, ‘Allo.

Based on the hit BBC TV series, the stage adaptation of this hilarious show promises to be thoroughly entertaining and will obviously require an excellent comedy director to take it on.

Interested? Email or call 01543 452119 during office hours.

That’s all for this week. Please send all your news and good quality colour photos to me at, call me on 01902 319662 or follow me on Twitter @AlisonNorton

Break a leg!

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton

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


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