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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Youth Theatre

Basingstoke

Basingstoke Youth Theatre (Haymarket)
Central Studio Youth Theatre

Newbury and Thatcham

Corn Exchange Youth Theatre
Newbury YoungStars
Newbury Youth Theatre
SLY Theatre (Shining Lights)
Teenage Dramas
Watermill Youth Theatre and Young Company

Out of town

Abdabs Youth Theatre at Witney
Hungerford Young Performers, Children's Theatre and Youth Theatre
Whippersnapper at Wantage
WOAPA – West Oxfordshire Academy of Performing Arts at Witney
Young Sinodun Players at Wallingford (not on this page)

Oxford

The Musical Youth Company of Oxford
Oxford Playhouse
Oxford Youth Theatre (Pegasus)

Reading

Masquerade Youth Theatre (not on this page)
Progress Theatre student group and youth group (not on this page)
Starmaker
Woodley Theatre youth group (not on this page)

Basingstoke Youth Theatre (Haymarket)

For young people aged 14-19 in Hampshire, meeting on Thursday evenings. Entry is by audition only. For information on joining and attending Youth Theatre Productions please contact the Haymarket on 01256 355844.

Central Studio Youth Theatre (Basingstoke)

There are junior youth theatre groups for two age ranges - 8 to 11 and 12 to 15. The Bite Size group is for the 8 to 11 year olds and meets from 5:30 to 7:00 on Tuesdays. The older groups are for 12 to 15 years and run from 6:30 to 8:00 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The senior group is a project-based group that works through an intensive rehearsal period to produce musicals and plays. This group is aimed at 16 years +.

For more information, phone Central Studio on 01256 417511.

Corn Exchange Youth Theatre

Next production

The Jungle Book, 17th to 19th April, 13:00 and 18:00
Saved from the tiger’s jaws, baby Mowgli is adopted by a wolf family to embark on a journey of discovery to find his place in the animal kingdom, guided by his larger than life friends. But danger lurks around many corners in the jungle, with the ever-looming shadow of the terrifying tiger, Shere Khan. Mowgli must face his nemesis but in doing so, discovers that his greatest challenge lies within; neither a creature of the jungle, nor at home among people, he must find a way to accept who he is and to become who he must be. Featuring unforgettable songs and directed and designed by a professional team, the Corn Exchange Youth Theatre invite you to join them in the depths of the jungles of India, for a tale of adventure, bravery and self-discovery.

Who

Young performers will have the opportunity to make new friends and learn new performance skills with the support of our professional theatre practitioners. Each term they'll create showcase sharings for parents, as well as produce large-scale bi-annual performances with a fully-professional creative team.

As an openly accessible youth theatre, there will be no audition process and registration will work on a first come, first served basis.

The Infant Youth Theatre is for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, the Junior Youth Theatre is for Year 3 to Year 9, the Intermediate Youth Theatre is for Years 10 and 11, and the Senior Youth Theatre is for ages 16-19. More information is at cornexchangenew.com/learning/youth-theatre

Newbury YoungStars

Next production

Aladdin Jr, Cancelled
The story you know and love has been given the royal treatment! Aladdin, the “diamond in the rough” street rat, along with his three friends, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim, are down on their luck until Aladdin discovers a magic lamp and the Genie who has the power to grant three wishes. Wanting to earn the respect of the princess, Jasmine, Aladdin embarks on an adventure that will test his will and his moral character. Will Aladdin learn that his true worth lies deep within?

Where

Arlington Arts Centre.

Box Office

01635 244246.

Review of Alice In Wonderland

20th to 21st April 2018.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Hearty cheer for YoungStars

Three Alices for the price of one in music theatre Wonderland

Newbury YoungStars: Alice in Wonderland, at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21

Alice in Wonderland was certainly a good choice for a young theatre group, with the famous larger-than-life characters all on parade and behaving throughout as many young persons do in certain situations.

Newbury YoungStars had this show covered from the start, with a bright and colourful dance sequence, followed by the song Alice in Wonderland, which soon became a jazz standard after the Disney film opened in London in 1951.

The film was an animated feature, with the voices dubbed by actors and singers, but here we were treated to a lavish stage presentation, with a large country scene projection at the back of the stage and the characters and chorus in colourful costumes.

Mabel Stewart was a lithe White Rabbit, heading for Wonderland as Alice scampered after her, following the opening songs. We had three Alice actors for the price of one, with Sophie Willcocks starting off, before drinking the liquid that turned her into Tall Alice (Anna Tippett) or Small Alice, Ruby Waters. All three did very well in the part, and director Sarah Scott and choreographer Ellen Busby worked out impressive ways of changing Alice - at one point she changed on stage in front of everyone, surrounded by a chorus of young people whose clever movements momentarily deceived the eye.

Luke Diprose and Frankie Lochhead had a good little comedy double-act, as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, with Luke also playing Door Knob at one point and Emily Hamilton made a fine Caterplillar, if I can put it that way.

Caitlin Richards was a robust Queen of Hearts and Riley Seamons doubled well as the Dodo and The King of Hearts, even if the parts he played seem a bit incompatible.

With a cast of 25, there is not room to mention everyone, but every part played was spot-on in character, movement and the ability to sing very well.

This was indeed a well-paced, smooth and colourful production, every part neatly co-ordinated from the piano, bass and percussion music trio to the lively dance routines and final Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah curtain calls at the end.

DEREK ANSELL

Previous productions

Legally Blonde Jr, 29th to 30th March 2019
Alice In Wonderland, 20th to 21st April 2018
Camp Rock: The Musical, 23rd to 25th March 2017
Fame, 17th to 19th March 2016. See the review in the Archive.
Beauty and the Beast, 12th to 14th March 2015
The Music Man Jr, 14th to 16th March 2013. See the review in the Archive.
Alice in Wonderland, 15th to 17th March 2012. See the review in the Archive.
Oklahoma!, 17th to 19th March 2011. See the review in the Archive.
Annie Junior, 4th to 6th March 2010. See the review in the Archive.
A Load of Rubbish, 23rd to 25th July 2009. See the review in the Archive.
Tin Pan Ali, 1st to 2nd August 2008. See the review in the Archive.
Return to the Forbidden Planet, 26th to 28th July 2007. See the review in the Archive.
A Medley of Modern Musicals, 26th to 27th January 2007
The Dracula Spectacula, 3rd to 5th August 2006 - see the review in the Archive.
10th Anniversary Concert, 13th to 14th January 2006
Summer Holiday, 28th to 30th July 2005
The Vackees, 22nd to 24th July 2004 - see the review in the Archive.
Bugsy Malone, 24th to 26th July 2003 - see the review in the Archive.
Smike, 25th to 27th July 2002 - see the review in the Archive.
Christmas show 2001
- see the review here.
Return to the Forbidden Planet, 26th to 28th July 2001.

Who

Newbury YoungStars is the youth section of Newbury Operatic Society. YoungStars rehearse on Monday evenings during term time between 7pm and 9pm. Contact Chairman Sarah Scott-Cound on 01635 841216 or 07771 522375 or email .

Newbury Youth Theatre

Last production

Wizard of Winterbourne, 27th July 2019
Open lock to the Dead Man’s knock! Fly bolt, and bar, and band! Nor move, nor swerve, joint, muscle, or nerve, at the spell of the Dead Man’s hand! Newbury Youth Theatre present the tall tale of Wizard John Palmer, who famously exorcised a Boxford cottage, silenced the bells of Welford and stopped the curse of a dead man’s hand in Winterbourne. see the review below.

Where

Corn Exchange, Newbury.

Box Office

01635 522733.

Previous productions

Of Rags and Bones, 28th July 2018 and at the Edinburgh Fringe. See the review in the Archive.

The Glorious Invention of Emmanuel Stork, 29th July 2017 and at the Edinburgh Fringe.
See the review in the Archive.

Fairies and Dragons of the Desolate Plain, 23rd July 2016 and at the Edinburgh Fringe.
See the review in the Archive.

Cautionary Tales, 25th July 2015 and at the Edinburgh Fringe.
See the reviews in the Archive.

The Bee Man of Orn, 26th July 2014 and at the Edinburgh Fringe.
See the review in the Archive.

The Curious Case of the Ugglie Wump and Other Mysterious Monsters, 27th July 2013 and at the Edinburgh fringe.
See the review in the Archive.

Just So Stories, 28th July 2012 and at the Edinburgh fringe.
See the review in the Archive.

The Portrait, 30th July 2011
See the review in the Archive.

From Newbury With Love, 9th to 12th March 2011
Newbury Youth Theatre took part in the premiere of this play presented by RedCape Theatre.

Cautionary Tales, 31st July 2010
See the review in the Archive.

The Lost Letters of Mr Corrigan, 1st August 2009, then at the Edinburgh Fringe, and back in Newbury on 18th December
A lonely clerk sits at his desk, surrounded by towering piles of the letters and parcels that never arrived. Through him each sender’s hopes and wishes find life and, just occasionally, their intended recipient. Newbury Youth Theatre return with a newly devised production, incorporating their critically acclaimed ensemble storytelling with live music, dark comedy and physical theatre. Now back in Newbury with a special one-off performance, based on the original but with all new, stories inspired by Christmas.
The Lost Letters of Mr Corrigan at the Edinburgh Fringe has won an Editors' Award from the ThreeWeeks review web site. The commendation includes: "We've noticed in recent years that the output of our second winners, Newbury Youth Theatre, has been of a particularly high quality, not least with this year's 5/5 show The Lost Letters Of Mr Corrigan. To be able to achieve such quality with each new generation of young people is particularly noteworthy, and makes Newbury Youth Theatre a definite winner of one of our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards."

The Wind Tamer, 26th July 2008
See the review in the Archive.

Just So, 21st July 2007
See the review in the Archive.

Hope Springs, 17th July 2006
See the review in the Archive.

Pieces of Us, 21st May 2006
See the review in the Archive.

Skellig, 23rd July 2005
See the review in the Archive.

Rainbow's Ending, 19th July 2004
See the review in the Archive.

The Control Experiment, 25th to 26th July 2003
Imagine living in a kaleidoscope where sounds, images and thoughts are constantly shifting, where you're given drugs similar to cocaine to control your behaviour, but not to cure. Such is the world of children suffering from Attention Deficiency Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

Robbie Williams... Who's He? 2nd to 3rd August 2002
See the review in the Archive.

Dear Kitty, 26th to 27th July 2001.
See the reviews in the Archive.

About us

At the Corn Exchange, NYT has two groups, for 9-14 and 14-20 year olds. For more information, call Robin Strapp at the Corn Exchange on 01635 582666 or visit our web site at www.newburyyouththeatre.co.uk. Twitter @Newburyouth.

Newbury Youth Theatre was founded in December 1983 and aims to provide local young people the opportunity to develop their theatrical skills and interests and explore the arts in general and learn more about themselves. There are no auditions or restrictions on membership apart from a commitment from the members to support the group, have energy, enthusiasm and a love of theatre. Above all it's fun!

Review of Wizard of Winterbourne

27th July 2019 and at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Next stop Edinburgh

Newbury Youth Theatre's vibrant young company preview Fringe show

Newbury Youth Theatre: The Wizard of Winterbourne, at the Corn Exchange, Newbury, on Saturday, July 27

Newbury Youth Theatre's annual performance is this year based on 19th-century stories about Boxford's John Palmer, found in a book of Berkshire legends by NYT writers/directors Amy and Tony Trigwell-Jones.

In the parlance of the time, Palmer was a "Cunning Man" who lived by his wits, but he was considered to have magical powers, so was called a "wizard".

Here were all the hallmarks of NYT: a performance devised over three months by talented youngsters aged from 15 to 17.

Working collaboratively, with energy, exuberance and obvious relish, comedy and fun are allied to creative invention, in both dialogue and physicality.

Members use a variety of performative techniques and styles to conjure creative scenes and images, ensemble groupings and movement.

There's tellingly minimal staging – little more than Palmer's cart and a 'dressing-up box' at the back of the stage – with three original songs, written, sung and played by company members, punctuating the performance. With young performers, there is always a balance to be struck between energy and pace, and clarity and projection of speech, and dialogue was sometimes difficult to catch.

All the fun of the Boxford Fair topped and tailed the show: a fortune teller, tug-of-war, ferret racing, and games including splat the rat, dowsing a poor soul in the stocks, or trying to win a goose.

We follow Palmer as he makes the silent bells of Welford Church ring again (too often and too loudly for his liking), and deals with a haunted house, a process that involved several trips to the smith at Newbury Market to buy a very long, strong, length of chain.

The smith was a woman, a nice contemporary feminist touch.

Palmer cons money from a naive vicar; finds a herd of missing cows; casts a suspect love charm; and is called in to deal with thieves who are terrorising Winterbourne with the gruesome "Hand of Glory", taken from a man hung from the gallows tree.

De-breeching was (literally) the punishment for misdemeanours by the wizard or villagers, though being a family show, the victims always have another pair underneath.

Palmer's influence appeared to extend into the 20th century with a series of unexplained accidents in 1963, on the newly-built M4 motorway, where the 'Palmer Post' had stood.

NYT take the performance to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next week, as it has done under its founder and producer Robin Strapp for more than 34 years, a proud record for a vibrant company.

LIN WILKINSON

SLY Theatre

Last production

Frankenstein, 15th April 2012 at the Coronation Hall, Burrell Road, Compton RG20 6NP

Review of SLY Theatre - Frankenstein

15th April 2012.

Review from Jane Alexander.

SLY Theatre: Frankenstein, at the Coronation Hall, Compton on 15th April

The original Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is told as a series of letters within letters - a series of flashbacks starting and ending in the Arctic, where a sea captain tells of an encounter with the two principal characters. SLY Theatre’s new stage adaptation remains faithful to the original and the stunning set captured both the bleakness of the Arctic and the scribblings of a tormented genius. The entire story is enacted on the deck of the stranded ship with sails and crates covered with sketches and notes representing pages from notebooks and letters.

The ensemble cast was generally superb, with everyone playing more than one character. Whilst this was initially confusing, the strength of performances and clarity of the story telling soon eradicated any concerns. Elliott Laker’s Victor Frankenstein was the model of the fiery intellectual who will stop at nothing to achieve knowledge; Chris Billingham as the Creature was compelling, especially as he became more competent in English and could express his deep-seated ambivalence about his creator; Holly Lucas’ Elizabeth was thoughtful and complex and her Walton (the ship's captain) suitably commanding. Jessica Holmes brought some much needed comic relief with her unpleasant landlady Frau Brach in stark contrast to her other character: the ill-fated Justine Moritz. Scarlett Smallbone had a commanding presence as Victor’s tutor Waldman and brought a real warmth to Mrs Moritz the Frankensteins' Housekeeper and mother of the murdered Justine.

The story was told at pace, and whilst this captured the impending inevitability of the unfurling tragedy, it would have benefitted from an occasional slowing of tempo to give the audience time to take stock.

This show was not about monsters and mad scientists: it was a thoughtful and faithful adaptation of an important book.

JANE ALEXANDER

About SLY Theatre (Shining Lights)

Shining Lights Youth Theatre, known as SLY Theatre was formed in 1999 to develop the performance skills of young people through workshops that feed into a production. Our aim is to create an environment where young people feel comfortable and learn through positive experiences, pushing the boundaries of youth theatre and always aiming to cover new and interesting ground. SLY Theatre is a self-funded, voluntary organisation dependent on a small, dedicated team of individuals and ex-members who have a passion for the arts. The company is run by Pete Watt (Artistic Director) and Melanie Rosier-Watt (Company Manager).

Previous productions

Kes, 28th to 29th June 2011 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Disconnected 2011, 9th April 2011
A Christmas Carol, 21st to 22nd December 2010 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Blood Wedding, 27th to 28th July 2010 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Mountain Language, 12th to 13th April 2010 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
The Ash Girl, 22nd to 23rd December 2009 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Hotel, 8th August 2009, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Medea, 21st to 22nd July 2009 at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Beauty and the Beast, 20th to 21st January 2009, at New Greenham Arts
The Roses of Eyam, 14th to 15th July 2008, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
The Coming of the Kings, 17th and 19th December 2007
Grimm Tales, 23rd to 24th April 2007, at New Greenham Arts
Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 22nd to 23rd February 2005, at New Greenham Arts
In the Shadow of the Cross, 7th April 2004 at St Nicolas' Church. See the review in the Archive.
Arabian Nights, 12th to 13th December 2003, at New Greenham Arts. See the review and pictures in the Archive.
Cabaret, 12th to 14th June 2003, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Salome, 24th to 25 January 2003, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
4:48 Psychosis
, 2nd September 2002, at New Greenham Arts. See the review in the Archive.
Alcestis
, 19th March 2002 at New Greenham Arts
Woyzeck
, 14th June 2001 at Kennet School. See the review in the Archive.
This is a Chair
, 23rd November 2000 at Newbury Corn Exchange. See the review in the Archive.
Equus, 23rd to 24th July 2000. See the review in the Archive.
Alcestis, 19th March 2002.

Teenage Dramas

The Newbury Weekly News previewed this new group:

Lauraine Leigh began teaching drama in Newbury 12 years ago and after a period living in London, has returned to the town. She now works as a dramatherapist and part-time consultant, services which schools in East London and Slough buy in, including from Behaviour Support Services, mainly working with children who are in trouble at school often because they have difficult behaviour. This includes children with or without special needs, some who have suffered bereavement, some who've got into fights, some who've bullied or been bullied, and kids who lack self-esteem.

She's looking to start up an after-school ad hoc teenagers' group called 'Teenage Dramas' after Christmas, based in the Carnegie Room, at Newbury library, which she says "is a nice space, a safe atmosphere".

Using circles, drama games, freezeframes, role-play and role-reversal, the sessions will be aimed at raising self-esteem, to help any young people feel comfortable and confident in themselves, their ideas and their creativity.

Lauraine assures potential participants that "You don't have to be able to act. This isn't about making you feel nervous, it's about helping you feel strong. We'll use your ideas to make up stories: happy ones, sad ones, stories where people get hurt or bullied, and stories which we can laugh at."

"It's about being together and accepting each other, she explains, "and most importantly, it's about having fun together."

"We work with two important boundaries: you can say 'pass' and no put-downs". She maintains adolescence is a time of 'special needs'. The group is for any teenager of the right age.

Lauraine will also be using her skills as a dramatherapist in a separate support group for parents and carers of children and teenagers by bringing metaphor, drama and story as a tool for working with feelings.

To find out more about her sessions, ring Lauraine on (01635) 45011.

The Watermill Youth Theatre / Young Company

Last production

Cyrano de Bergerac, 30th October to 2nd November 2019
Cyrano is the greatest swordsman in all of France whose prowess in battle is only equalled by the beauty of his poetry. Fierce with a pen and notorious in combat, the gifted nobleman appears to have it all. If only he could capture the heart of his one true love Roxanne. The Watermill Young Company return with a swashbuckling tale of adventure and romance.

Review of the Young Company's Cyrano de Bergerac

30th October to 2nd November 2019

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

The nose has it!

Romantic, heartbreaking, poignant and funny – the Watermill Young Company

Cyrano de Bergerac, at The Watermill, Bagnor, from Wednesday, October 30, to Saturday, November 2

Two things emerged from my evening at The Watermill, the first being that all my life I have mispronounced the name Cyrano (wrongly putting the emphasis on the second syllable) and the other, that the Watermill Young Company are a group of very able actors aged 16+ who are a pleasure to watch.

The story of the real life Cyrano, a soldier, poet and famed swordsman, was the subject of a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand, here adapted by Glyn Maxwell. The result is, by turns, romantic, heartbreaking, poignant and often very funny.

Cyrano (Frank Smith giving a faultless performance which cleverly brought out the emotions of the great man) has everything except the woman he loves (Isabelle Klein as the beautiful Roxanne). Hampered by an enormous Pinocchio-type nose, Cyrano feels he has no chance of winning his love and instead helps the young tongue-tied soldier, Christian (superbly played by Harry Forkin), to win Roxanne by writing beautiful poetry for him to send her. Aided by Cyrano, the couple marry as Cyrano sadly accepts that he is "a man the world would rather listen to than look at".

The soldiers of Gascony, including Christian and Cyrano, go to war and still Cyrano writes three letters a day to Roxanne who has no idea that it is not Christian who is the romantic poet. The war rages and Count de Guiche (Henry Barker) tells his exhausted men to hold on for just one more hour, but the result is a battle in which Christian dies.

Finally and many years later, we return to the opening scene in which nuns gathered in their convent to learn the story of Cyrano. This last farewell is beautifully staged and quietly moving as the nuns on the balcony watch white petals falling on the body of Cyrano below.

The actors brought the facets of the many characters to life with panache, sensitivity and humour, as required.

There was no weak link, the dialogue ran smoothly never holding up the action and the movement, often through the theatre or on a crowded stage, was slickly achieved, speaking of much rehearsal.

It was all worth it. This production, directed by Seamus Allen, provided a most enjoyable evening for the audience as well as a showcase for the talented members of the Watermill Young Company.

CAROLINE FRANKLIN

Who

The youth theatre meets on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings. The group devises its own work and works with the professional production team to produce main house youth theatre shows.

There are three groups, for 6-11, 11-15 and 16 to early 20s. For more information, contact Ade Morris on 01635 45834.

Previous productions

Moonfleet, 3rd to 6th April 2019. See the review in the archive.
Easy Virtue, 7th to 10th November 2018
Digging for Victory, 7th to 10th March 2018. See the review in the archive.
Our Town, 8th to 11th November 2017
Ann Veronica, 29th March to 1st April 2017
Ubu Roi, 9th to 12th November 2016. See the review in the archive.
The Railway Children, 6th to 9th April 2016. See the review in the archive.
Gormenghast, 11th to 14th November 2015. See the review in the archive.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, 25th to 28th March 2015
Twelfth Night, 12th to 15th November 2014. See the review in the archive.
Life Lessons, 26th to 29th March 2014. See the review in the archive.
You Can't Take It With You, 13th to 16th November 2013. See the review in the archive.
David Copperfield, 27th to 30th March 2013. See the review in the archive.
The Government Inspector, 14th to 17th November 2012. See the review in the archive.
Writers' Block, 28th to 31st March 2012. See the review in the archive.
The Clodly Light Opera and Drama Society, 9th to 12th November 2011. See the review in the archive.
The Girl Who Never Forgot, 30th March to 2nd April 2011. See the review in the archive.
Bullets and Beetroot Lips
, 17th to 20th November 2010. See the review in the archive.
The Three Musketeers, 7th to 10th April 2010. See the review in the archive.
Lay Your Sleeping Head, 18th to 21st November 2009. See the review in the archive.
Around the World in 80 Days, 6th to 10th May 2009. See the review in the archive.
The Sirens' Call, 19th to 22nd November 2008
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 21st to 24th May 2008. See the review in the archive.
¡Donkey Hoo-Ha!
, 30th May to 2nd June 2007. See the review in the archive.
Mary Kelly's Bed, 1st to 4th November 2006. See the review in the archive.
The Gilded Lilies
, 26th to 29th October 2005. See the review in the archive.
The Odyssey, 4th to 7th May 2005. See the review in the archive.
Hope Springs, 14th to 17th July 2004. See the review in the archive.
Wallride
, 29th October to 1st November 2003. See the review in the archive.
Accelerate, 9th to 12th July 2003. See the review in the archive.
Landmines and Chewing Gum
, 20th to 23rd November 2002. See the review in the archive.
Fen
, 6th to 9th February 2002. See the review in the archive.
Walk in the Shadow, 25th to 28th July 2001. See the review in the archive.
Dragon's Teeth
, 22nd to 25th November 2000. See the review in the archive.

Abdabs Youth Theatre at Witney

Just outside our area (north west of Oxford); their web site is www.abdabs-yt.co.uk.

Hungerford Young Performers, Children's Theatre and Youth Theatre

The Community of Hungerford, who stage an annual musical (the Town Show) each year, have three groups for young people. The Hungerford Young Performers (ages 6 to 8 years), The Hungerford Children's Theatre (ages 9 to 13 years) and The Hungerford Youth Theatre (ages 14 to 21 years). All these groups meet in the John O' Gaunt Youth & Community Centre.

New members are always welcome. More information can be obtained from our website www.hungerfordtheatrecompany.co.uk  or by e-mailing our membership secretary:

Last productions

Dragon Days, 29th to 30th June 2019
In the pretty, alpine village of Stumbledorf (just a short ‘trip’ away), the overdramatic villagers await a hero to rescue them from the mythical creature whose presence overshadows their otherwise idyllic mountain home. Just in the nick of time, seemingly in fulfilment of an ancient prophecy given by three wizened old crones, Tommy Rumble and his fearsome mother stumble into Stumbledorf, which causes great excitement. Could Tommy finally be the answer to the village’s problems? Can he get fit in time to fight the dragon or will jealousy and mischief thwart his heroic exploits? Has the dragon really developed a taste for goats, or is it just a social media feeding frenzy? Will the village ever be free of its Dragon Days? There’s only one way to find out… A Children's Theatre production.

Chicago, 29th to 30th June 2019
For razzle dazzle and All That Jazz, don’t miss this High School production of the Broadway classic Chicago. Set during the roaring 1920s jazz era, Chicago tells the story of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, two murderesses in Cook County Jail. Driven by ambition, both women try to grab the spotlight, whilst trying to clear their names. A Youth Theatre production.

Review of Madagascar

10th to 11th June 2017.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

They really moved it, moved it

Hungerford's young actors really smash the Madagascar musical

Community of Hungerford Theatre Company Children's Theatre: Madagascar A Musical Adventure Jr, at Herongate, Hungerford, on Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11

This show, presented by the Children's Theatre, the junior branch of the Community of Hungerford Theatre Company, was based on the popular series of animated films, shown in cinemas a few years ago.

It presented a cast of around 30 young actors and, although no choreographer was listed in the programme, it seems safe to assume that the choreography was worked out by director Hoffi Munt with input, no doubt, from her assistants, Roushka Westall and Jane Munt. Certainly quite a bit of carefully arranged movement around the stage was needed and indeed achieved, with some scenes having around 28 young actors on stage at the same time.

The main characters – Alex the lion (Eleanor White), zebra Marty (Martha Gayer), Gloria the hippo (Honor Patterson) and giraffe Melman (Tayisha Flower) – did well as a quartet of zoo animals who find themselves caged on an ocean liner and, after taking over the ship, end up in Madagascar.

Seven youngsters played the parts of the lemurs, all decked out with suitable black-rimmed eyes and joining in the dancing and stage movement with obvious enjoyment.

Bella Schofield had fun with the part of King Julien, hamming it up and doing the jokes with Maurice, played heartily by Barney Bennyworth as her sidekick.

There was plenty of singing, dancing, acting and – an extra bonus – a series of exercises featuring handstands and complete somersaults.

The line-ups on stage, the set pieces involving much movement in a certain direction and the discipline of all the actors was most impressive.

It comes back to that uncredited choreography, but whoever was responsible for that did very well indeed.

Most likely, as previously suggested, it was a group effort.

Although uncredited in the programme, Madagascar was written by Kevin Del Aguila, with music by Joel Someillan and George Noriega.

From the volatile singing of Move It, to the enthusiastic well-drilled dancing, and not forgetting an authentic-looking penguin shuffle, this was a well-produced and lively show.

DEREK ANSELL

Previous productions

Children's Theatre: Seussical Jr, 9th to 10th June 2018
Young Performers: The Gingerbread Man and Other Stories, 11th July 2018
Youth Theatre: Private Peaceful, 13th to 14th July 2018
Children's Theatre: Madagascar A Musical Adventure Jr, 10th to 11th June 2017
Children's Theatre: Wind in the Willows, 13th to 14th June 2014
Young Performers: The Princess and the Pauper, 12th and 14th June 2014
Young Performers: Charlie and the Beanstalk, 28th April 2012
Youth Theatre: James and the Giant Peach, 26th to 27th April 2012
Children’s Theatre: The Dracula Rock Show, 10th July 2010
Youth Theatre: The Cleaners, 10th to 11th June 2010
Young Performers: Grimm Tales, 20th March 2010
Young Performers: The Fate of King Minos, 28th March 2009
Children’s Theatre: Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs, 5th July 2008
Young Performers: Beowulf, 29th March 2008
Children’s Theatre: Romeo and Juliet the Musical, 7th July 2007
Youth Theatre: Two Short Socks, 6th July 2007
Young Performers: Tattybogle, 17th March 2007
Young Performers: The Selfish Giant, July 2006
Children's Theatre: Scheherazade, Tales of Arabian Nights, July 2006
Children's Theatre: Alice, 2005
Youth Theatre: Ritual For Dolls, 8th July 2005
Youth Theatre: The Gut Girls, 6th to 7th June 2005
Young Performers: The Piper, Easter 2005
Children's Theatre: Cinderella, 2004
Young Performers: Hoodwinked, July 2004
Youth Theatre: Daisy Pulls It Off, 22nd to 23rd July 2004
Children's Theatre: Card Play, 19th to 20th July 2004
Youth Theatre: Once a Catholic, 8th and 9th July 2003
Young Performers: Whoops -a- Daisy Angel, 16th December 2002
Children's Theatre: The Spell of Sleeping Beauty 12-13 July 2002
Youth Theatre: You Me and Mrs Jones 12-13 July 2002.

Whippersnapper

Whippersnapper is a Wantage based youth theatre company whose aim is to give teenagers with a love of theatre the opportunity to involve themselves in the nitty-gritty of putting on plays in as professional a way as possible. The organiser of this group is Margaret Bateman, 01235 762992.

Next production

A Tale of Two Cities, 4th to 6th November, 19:30, at Lains Barn, Wantage
A Domino Players production.
By Charles Dickens, adapted by Matthew Francis. Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, it depicts the plight of the French peasantry under the oppression of the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and a number of unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period (hence the work's title). It follows the lives of several protagonists through these events, most notably Charles Darnay, a French once-aristocrat who falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution despite his virtuous nature, and Sydney Carton, a dissipated British barrister who endeavours to redeem his ill-spent life out of love for Darnay's wife, Lucie Manette. Tickets £8 and £7 concessions.

Previous productions

The Accrington Pals, 21st June 2009, at Blue Boar Barn, Newbury Street, Wantage
By Peter Whelan. A funny, moving account of life (and death) in the First World War.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, 21st June 2008, at Wantage Civic Hall
On Midsummer Night, 21st June, the company will bring its ingenuity and exuberance to Wantage Civic Hall for a one off performance of (what else?) A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. The space will be transformed by youthful sleight of hand into a woodland glade peopled by trouble making fairies, confused lovers and an ambitious, if less than skilful, troupe of village thespians.

The Musical Youth Company of Oxford

We produce and perform high quality shows and concerts that entertain audiences throughout Oxfordshire and beyond, organise summer camps, social events, music and theatre workshops and run our very own "Oscars" event.

We currently rehearse from 19:00 to 21:30 Wednesdays at Cherwell School, and on most Mondays at Marston United Reformed Church.

Our web site is at www.myco.org.uk.

Oxford Playhouse

For details of youth events, see the Oxford Playhouse web site.

Oxford Youth Theatre (Pegasus)

Oxford Youth Theatre is open to anyone between the ages of 10 to 25. Membership costs £20 per year and there are no auditions. Make sure you're on the mailing list to receive details of projects by contacting Yasmin Sidhwa, Louise Barrett or calling 01865 792209. Also see the web site at www.pegasustheatre.org.uk.

Starmaker

Last production

Annie, 12th to 16th October 2004, at the Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell
Based on the cartoon strip Little Orphan Annie it was translated into a musical by Martin Charnin. The musical Annie tells a Depression-era rags-to-riches story of an eleven-year-old orphan who yearns to escape from the orphanage run by the mean-spirited Miss Hannigan. When Daddy Warbucks decides to adopt Annie, her dream comes true! Songs include Tomorrow, We'd Like To Thank You, Little Girls, I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here, Easy Street, You Won't Be An Orphan For Long, You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile and Annie. A musical treat for the whole family.

Previous productions

Once a Catholic, 22nd to 26th June 2004, at Studio Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell

Songs from the Musicals - Act Two, 8th May 2004, at Bearwood Theatre, Winnersh
Pirates of Penzance (Broadway version), 2nd to 6th March 2004, at the Wilde Theatre, Bracknell.

See our web site at starmakeruk.org. We are totally dedicated to the Youth Theatre Scene and not an "attachment" to an Adult Society. We have had a large number of members go onto various performing arts colleges all over the country and subsequently onto some major shows / films / TV etc. Our most famous "graduate" was Kate Winslett.

The main rehearsals are in Reading in the Avenue School not far from Madejski Stadium (Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays). The various Schools (Easter, Summer, SPACE) are held all over the Reading area. The major (and some Minor) performances are at the Wilde Theatre at
Bracknell.

Over the past 15 years, Starmaker have staged over 60 productions at venues including: The Hexagon, Reading; The Wilde Theatre, Bracknell; Kenton Theatre, Henley-On-Thames; Corn Exchange, Newbury; The Fulcrum, Slough; Magnet Leisure Centre, Maidenhead; Shinfield Theatre, Reading; and The Desborough Suite, Maidenhead.

WOAPA – West Oxfordshire Academy of Performing Arts

WOAPA is a part-time Theatre School for children aged 4–16 years which operates at evenings and weekends during the standard academic term. Providing quality tuition in the three disciplines of Singing, Dance and Drama, our class sizes are deliberately kept small to ensure that each child receives the individual attention they deserve. Our classes are led by experienced and enthusiastic tutors whose skills in working with young people enable our students to develop at their own pace, and encourage them to reach their true potential. With no entry auditions or previous experience required, whether your child dreams of a career in performing arts or simply wants to make new friends, WOAPA will boost your child’s confidence… and they’ll have loads of fun!

Each week, students attend three, 1-hour sessions of drama, singing and dance. We promote a positive environment - where students have fun as they celebrate their individuality and achievements. Working as part of a team, students are encouraged to be creative and value the experience of working closely with others towards a common goal. Skills are developed and refined, enabling students to become multi-disciplined, all-round performers.

For our young performers (aged 4-6) all three elements of singing, dance and drama are combined in a weekly, 1-hour, fun-packed session. We offer the opportunity for your child to stretch their imagination and nurture their social skills including communication and concentration.

Watch as your child develops…

  • Increased confidence
  • Growing self-esteem
  • An expanding imagination
  • Creativity
  • Co-ordination

AND a whole new set of friends!

Reports, Awards and Exams

In order to share our students’ progress we arrange informal performances for families. Parents also receive written reports at regular intervals. WOAPA provides its own internal awards for achievement in class. For those students wishing to undertake more formal assessments, exams are arranged for both LAMDA and Arts Awards.

Added benefits

Students and parents have exclusive access to a members'-only area on our website, listing details of auditions, theatre trips, special events, and more!

If you’re looking for drama activities for kids in the Witney area, WOAPA – West Oxfordshire Academy of Performing Arts is for you!

Take a look at our website – www.woapa.co.uk

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