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Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram guide

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

I do enjoy seeing productions in unusual venues, for instance in a church or an open-air setting. Both are cool in this hot weather we have been having.

Spring Awakening

With this in mind, Lichfield Musical Youth Theatre will present Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s Spring Awakening from August 7 to 10 at St. Mary’s Church in Lichfield.

Spokesperson for this relatively new group, Oliver Rowe, said, “We have assembled an exciting young cast of 13 local performers to undertake this brutally honest tale of teenage angst and discovery.”

He continued, “The cast are backed by a professional six-piece band led by Jack Hopkins, industry professional lighting and sound designer Martin Pritchard, visionary director Richard Poynton and award-winning choreographer, Jessica Lambert.”

Set in a German province in 1891, in a world where the grown-ups hold all the cards, and do not spare the rod, a group of teenagers begin to explore their sexuality. Young love leads to confusion, heart-ache, angst and abortion as the story progresses.

There is no doubt it’s not a happy tale, but the music, which is beautiful, more than makes up for the doom and gloom. The score includes Mama Who Bore Me, Touch Me, I Believe, The Guilty Ones and The Song of Purple Summer.

It’s the perfect vehicle for young adult performers who are keen to display not only their musical ability but their dramatic skills to the extreme.

For tickets, visit www.letmeinpresents.co.uk or email enquiries@stmaryslichfield.co.uk.

Sadly, there are not many amateur groups who take to an open-air stage these days, but one who does is Llanymynech Amateur Dramatic Society, or LADS as they are affectionately known, who will be performing Richard III at Chirk Castle on August 15 to 16.

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They then take the play on a short tour, appearing at the Willow Globe, Rhayader on September 7 to 8 and finally the Walker Theatre within Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on September 17 to 18.

At Chirk you are invited to bring a picnic and at Rhayader, there will be refreshments available. The Walker Theatre is of course undercover and offers full facilities.

For the chance to see a very different version of the Bard’s famous composition, visit www.ladstheatre.co.uk or all 01691 658032 for tickets.

The summer theatre schools continue and at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham from August 19 to 23, young performers can take part in an Alice in Wonderland week, designed for 8 to 16-year olds, based on the Lewis Carroll children’s story.

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Budding actors and actresses will be offered the chance to develop their theatrical skills, play games, make full use of the theatre’s stage and finally present their performance at the end of the week to friends and family.

For more information, contact Sam George on 0121 359 9444 or visit www.oldreptheatre.co.uk

The award-winning youth theatre group, Spotlight Youth Productions, will be running a Summer Drama Academy for 8 to18-year olds from August 12 to 16 at 10am until 4pm each day at Brownhills Activity Centre, with a showcase performance on Friday afternoon.

Call 01543 452 119 or text 07971 625 865 for more information.

Aldridge Musical Theatre Company is seeking a director for their next production, Sister Act the Musical, which they will perform from May 14 to16, 2020.

This group rehearse on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at the Keeling school of dance in Aldridge.

If you are interested or require any further information please contact the group’s Facebook page or send your CV to aldridgemcs@gmail.com by September 2.

There are ghostly goings on tonight and tomorrow evening over at Shawbury Village Hall in Shropshire, as the Shawbury Village Players present An Evening of Ghostly Encounters, at 7.30pm nightly.

The evening consists of two, one act plays; The Attic by Robert Scott, which is a classic ghost story and then in contrast, Flatmates by Barry Lambert which is a comedy to lighten the spooky mood.

The Attic sees Demi sorting out her attic ahead of the house move, when she finds an incomplete letter. Is it a suicide note? A confession? And what are Demi’s connections with the letter’s writer?

Then Flatmates is an amusing piece, guaranteed to entertain.

One morning, recently divorced Ben is surprised and annoyed to find a strange young woman called Devra making herself at home in his flat. Even worse, she claims to have been living there rather longer than Ben has himself, and some of her other claims are still more unbelievable.

Friend and colleague George and local bobby PC Pullen are unable to even see Devra, let alone resolve the situation. Devra does seem to have mysterious powers, but is it possible she might be able to improve the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Ben and his former wife, Hilary?

Supper will be served between the two plays, the cost of which is included in the ticket price of £12.50. Call 01939 250070 or visit www.shawburyvillageplayers.co.uk to book.

Finally this week, the University of Wolverhampton Musical Theatre Group will present The House of Mirrors and Hearts from August 2 to 3 at the Arena Theatre in the city. There is just time to snag a ticket.

This is a timeless, atmospheric musical about a contemporary, dysfunctional British family who are haunted by their past.

When Anna's husband is killed in a tragic accident at their home, her family's life is changed forever. Seven years pass, and, torn apart by grief, Anna has drunk herself numb. Her daughters, Lily and Laura, exist in a world of secrets and lies.

They spend their days in bitter silence and suspicion until Nathan, a new lodger studying the works of a forgotten poet, forces them to confront their past. Tensions within the family build, threatening to shatter this already broken household once and for all.

This is a new one on me, but I believe that popular songs from the show include Something for the Pain and Look at Me.

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

Break a leg!

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton
@AlisonNorton

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

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