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Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram guide

More and more am dram groups are performing original works written by members of their companies.

The cast of Stranded by Kinver Players
The cast of Stranded by Kinver Players

I have always said I would like to write a book one day, but given my attachment to theatre, a play would be even better.

I was therefore delighted to hear that a local group, The New Kinver Players, has entered an original play into the 2020 Worcestershire Theatre Festival, which takes place on March 7 to 8 at the Norbury Theatre in Droitwich.

Their play is called Stranded, written by Gary Cattell and directed by Phil Drinkwater. The synopsis is short and sweet, but I think that is deliberate so as not to give too much away before the festival.

Sandra is a middle-aged woman living a nocturnal solitary existence in a makeshift shelter.

Interested to find out more? Visit www.nkp.org.uk or for more information on the Worcestershire Theatre Festival, visit www.worcs-theatre-festival.org.uk/2020

Am dram folks work so hard and deserve recognition, and so I love hear about companies who present their members with awards.

My home company, South Staffs, tends to present amusing and often silly awards following our shows, but I know some groups have much more serious and special presentations to reward hard work and talent.

One such group is Startime Variety, who, in memory of their member Tony Vincent, present an award in his name each year and the winner is decided by the audience, who vote for who they think gave the best performance in their role.

This year, Ellie Marie Hares has won for her comedy role of Jester in Startime Variety’s pantomime, Rapunzel.

In addition, The Mike Clifford Award was presented to Gemma Shaw for her outstanding devotion to the society, working back stage as well as taking part on stage. Gemma was also in the panto, playing Prince Artie.

One of my favourite comedy plays is Richard Harris’s Stepping Out.

This tale of an ex-professional dancer, Mavis, who teaches tap dancing to a group of no hopers in a dingy church hall in North London, offers some superb character roles and tells of her pupils’ romances, heartbreaks and domestic chaos, all under the watchful eye of the hilarious Mrs Fraser, the group’s pianist.

It is not an easy piece to perform, as all the roles require the ability to tap dance as well as execute Harris’s expert comedy script, but I would love to tackle this play one day.

Trinity Players, who are based in Sutton Coldfield, will present the show later this year and are holding a play reading on March 2 and a casting workshop on March 16 at Boldmere Methodist Church Hall, at 7.45pm.

For more information email Jennifer.holyhead@outlook.com or visit the group’s Facebook page.

Local Wolverhampton based company, Pink Productions, is seeking performers aged between four and 49-years-old to appear in their next show, Turn the Beat Around, which will take place on June 13 to 14 at Colton Hills School Theatre.

Principal of Pink Productions, Jodie Richards, has chosen numbers from five great musicals to show off different styles of performance, including Cats, Six, Fame, Frozen 2 and of course the title show, Turn the Beat Around.

Pink Productions is best known for being the starting block for One Direction’s Liam Payne and Jodie is very proud of her performers. “I am very excited about this new show and can’t wait to see all the new talent wishing to take part,” she said.

Auditions are at Holy Trinity Church, Ettingshall Park Estate in Wolverhampton on March 1, with under 13’s at 1pm-2pm and over 13’s at 2.30pm-4pm.

Call Jodie on 01902 682087 or 07763847811 or visit www.pinkperformingarts.co.uk for more information.

From March 3 to 7, fans of operetta can enjoy Birmingham Savoyards production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience at the Old Rep Theatre, with performances at 7.30pm nightly.

In true G &S style, it’s a complex plot with everyone falling in love with the wrong partners, but with a happy ending of course.

All the well-born young ladies in the village are in love with two contrasting aesthetic poets, but the gentlemen in question are both in love with Patience, the simple village milkmaid.

Patience learns that true love must be completely unselfish. The girls' military suitors don't see the point to aesthetics, but they decide to give it a try to win the women's hearts. It’s touch and go for a while, but everyone ends up with a suitable partner of course.

The score includes favourites such as Love is a Plaintive Song, Twenty Love-Sick Maidens We, On Such Eyes as Maidens Cherish and After Much Debate Internal.

For tickets, visit www.oldreptheatre.co.uk, call 07928017436 or email tickets@birminghamsavoyards.org.uk.

Finally this week, Cradley Heath Amateur Operatic Society is due to begin rehearsals for their next show in the spring, but are in desperate need of men and dancers.

This popular local group has chosen the rock ‘n roll musical, All Shook Up, which they will perform in November at Stourbridge Town Hall.

This show is so much more than just a Jukebox musical, as it features the music of Elvis Presley in a romantic romp of mistaken identity and the power of love.

The score includes a host of hits including Love Me Tender, Heartbreak Hotel, Jail House Rock, Blue Suede Shoes and of course, the title song.

Are you a singer, dancer, actor or lucky enough to be a triple threat? If so, this friendly company would love to hear from you.

For more information and to arrange an audition, either call 07801 381298 or email chaos@chaosoperatics.co.uk.

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

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