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The South Devon Players


Brixham theatre & film team, of local people, win national arts award

The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company are excited to announce that on the evening of March 19th, 2017 at an awards ceremony at the Sage conference centre in Newcastle, they were presented with the Epic Award for England. Laura Jay, one of the founders, and Michael Mirsadeghi, who is the head of editing, and cameraman of the Players current 6th Century Arthurian feature film Mordred, travelled to Newcastle to collect the award on behalf of the team, but as Laura feels it important to point out, this has been earned by efforts and collaborations of the entire team, not by any one person.

There is growing recognition in the media and in public policy of the importance of everyday participation in creativity. The Epic Awards shines a spotlight on the incredible achievements of these groups each year.
Winning groups are those that demonstrate the four Epic qualities – Engagement, Partnership, Innovation and Creativity.

Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture in the UK stated ""The fantastic work of the South Devon Players shows what can be achieved by the ingenuity and determination of arts groups."

This is wonderful recognition for a group which was founded by local Brixham performers, 11 years ago, on the proceeds of a carboot sale, and has grown into a vibrant theatre & film team, who perform newly researched historical shows around Devon, and whose film work is gaining recognition and awards abroad.
In addition the Players work hard to promote the skills of local creatives, with workshops and training, networking events, and involvement with other local organisations.

The award will stand next to the Torbay “Creativity In The Community” trophy won in 2010.

The group are currently in rehearsals for their summer stage show, a steampunk theatre production telling the story of the mysterious Victorian killer known as “Jack The Ripper” and also busy fund-raising for the final few days of filming their 6th Century Arthurian feature film, Mordred, the trailer for which is already selected for screening at international film festivals, in Hollywood, New York, Barcelona, as well as at Torbays very own English Riviera film festival. The crowdfund – as well as more information about the film, is at all assistance in promoting the crowdfund and the project is much appreciated.

Posted on 22/03/2017

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The South Devon Players



Brixham theatre & film team, shortlisted for national arts award & semifinalists in Los Angeles Cinefest film festival - In one day!

Some days just keep on getting better and better.

The day started pretty normally, until an email arrived from Voluntary Arts England. We, that is, the South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company, are shortlisted for the Epic Awards 2017. This is a national award for creative organizations - voluntary, CIC, etc, who do work considered to be especially adventurous in their community. We are delighted and very proud that we are are one of 32 organizations around the UK who have made the shortlist.

Making the shortlist this year was especially down to our film production Mordred, which we have been working on, sometimes alongside other projects, for the past year.
If anyone would like to vote for us, for the Peoples Choice Award - the link is at

This was exciting news. We had just told oursouth devon players members the great news, when another email pinged into the inbox. This one, was from Los Angeles Cinefest, a US based film festival, to tell us that the trailer for our film Mordred, has been selected as a semifinalist in that film festival. Alongside the other recent success of being selected as a finalist in the Thanksgiving IndieBOOST 2016 Competition, in which the trailer was given a rating of 9.5 out of 10, in terms of acting, cinematography, technical and creative aspects.

The team are running a crowdfund to raise funds for the final few scenes needed, which will be filmed in 2017.This will be launched on Friday Febuary 10th. (the link will be on our website

“I am what you made me become!” is the tagline of the film, spoken by Mordred.
Set in a heavily researched backdrop of early 6th Century Devon & Cornwall, and researched from many early Celtic sources, as well as later medieval texts, Mordred tells the tale of King Arthur’s illegitimate son, and how two equally honourable men were brought to war.
Once the majority of principal filming was completed, our main editor, Michael Mirsadeghi, put together the official film trailer with a haunting soundtrack created by German film composer Michael Klubertanz. The team decided to submit the trailer to several international film festivals during the autumn.
This production not only showcases very heavily researched Dark Ages history of Devon and Cornwall (the southwest peninsula of the UK) , linked to some of the very earliest and less known Arthurian legends, but also equally to showcase the amazing skills by local actors, filmmakers, and other production creatives. Since there are very few opportunities, we decided to make our own and that is how The South Devon Players Theatre and Film Company started, back in 2006. Now, years later, we have been able to branch into filmmaking, as well as theatre, reaching a much wider audience for our team.
Contrary to the usual glamourous medieval settings for many Arthurian adaptations, with knights in gleaming plate armour, and ladies in stunning court dresses; this is a very different production. Set in the early 6th Century, this drama is set within a very different landscape.
Following the departure of the Romans from Britain, the Southwest again became the Celtic kingdom of Dumnonia - what is now the southwestern peninsula of the UK comprising Devon & Cornwall. At this point in history, the Saxons were raiding along the coast, much as the Vikings did, centuries later. Set against this backdrop, Arthur and his warriors, fight to defend Dumnonia, against invasion.
The timeline for this film came originally from the entry for the year 537AD in the Annales Cambriae;
537 The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell: and there was plague in Britain and Ireland. “Medraut” was the name that in later legend, became Mordred. We went with the later name “Mordred” simply so that it would be more recognisable to modern audiences.

The Southwest is linked to a wide number of legends connected with King Arthur, and as we researched, we found yet more old stories, both of Mordred, and and of other, Mordred-like characters who almost never appear in modern adaptations of the legend. Piecing these together, against this dramatic, ever-changing landscape of the Dark Ages, and using peripheral history of the times – for example; as the Saxons began to expand their kingdom of Wessex, Cynric, who was the first king of Wessex, is also an important character in our drama – we created our own version of the legend, with a lot of the backdrop which would have existed in the time it is set.
After months of research, rehearsing and training, the cast are really excited to begin filming at last!

The group running it, The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company, from Brixham in South Devon, also founded by Laura Jay, has a proven track record over 10 years of producing historical theatre and film, working from the early days of raising £80 from a carboot sale and using the backroom of a pub for rehearsals.

large cast ranges from Julie Tetley playing Gitta; Morgan le Fay's maid and co-conspirator, and thirteen year old newcomer Reece Whitehouse playing King Arthur’s “legitimate” son, Duran, in their first ever major acting roles (in fact the first ever role for Reece), through our more experienced actors Rich Sandford who stars as Mordred, and Guillaume Rivaud, who plays King Arthur, right over to “Iron” Mike Mitchell, who, after holding 5 “Mr World” and 2 “Mr Universe” titles with the World Fitness Federation, went on to the world of acting and has appeared in films such as Gladiator, Braveheart, Skyfall, Apocalypse Z – and the TV soap Emmerdale.

The South Devon Players have an unusual raison d'etre; exemplified, in this project. The group, which started out as an amateur dramatics theatre group, specialising in historical and mythological drama, are a group of local career-orientated actors and creatives, who are unable, for various life reasons, or lack of resources, to move away to large entertainment hubs such as London, to make careers there.

It was considered very important to make sure that we were not making “just another King Arthur film”, and to find a unique adaptation. While novels have been written from Mordred's point of view, to our knowledge, this has never been transferred to film. That, coupled with spanning Devon and Cornwall, and delving into earlier and less known legends, has created an all new version of the legend.
Not that creating a production of this scale is easy. While grants were applied for, we found ourselves turned down by arts grants seeing this as a heritage project, and heritage grants seeing this as an arts projects, therefore cast and crew members are involved in a wide range of fundraising activities, ranging from small amounts from tombolas and face painting at fetes, and selling on ebay, through to a film/ scifi/ fantasy convention, grant applications, cabaret shows, ebook publications and more.
For costumes and props, It was also a case of keeping one eye on the history book and the other on what reclaimed fabrics and items can be remade, and adapted. We have to thank so many people who keep an eye out for second hand things that we can do this with.

This is an ambitious project, taking not just every ounce of creativity on screen, but also in the planning and logistics behind-the-scenes.

Posted on 08/02/2017

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Garden Suburb Theatre

An interview with Baker Street Irregulars director Mary Musker
Garden Suburb Theatre sent ace reporter Lavinia Quivers to interview the director of our upcoming show...!
Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars

An interview with the director, Mary Musker.

Just ten days to go till opening night - Tuesday 14 February... for six performances only


Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars What made you choose Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars?

I was looking for a play that would be family-friendly both in terms of casting and audience. The GST have had great fun and success in the past with adaptations of books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Railway Children, Treasure Island and Alice in Wonderland, for instance. So, I was looking around for another book adaptation and stumbled upon the idea of doing a Sherlock Holmes related play; the idea immediately appealed not least because of current popularity of the BBC Sherlock series. Following up that idea, I found an intriguing reference to a play version of the Baker Street Irregulars that had been performed in the US; further sleuthing got me Eric Coble's email address. I made contact and he sent me a copy of the play to read. The combination of good roles for teenagers and adults was immediately appealing and on a first reading we could see the theatrical possibilities.
Tell me more about the play.

It's an adaptation of a series of graphic novels about the Baker Street Irregulars written by two English guys, Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood. You can find out more about them here. So it's actually an adaptation of an adaptation! This origin in comics gave us lots of ideas about ways to stage the play and I hope you'll be able to spot lots of comic-book moments. The action takes place just after Sherlock and Moriarty have had a fight at the top of the Reichenbach falls and are both missing, presumed dead. Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
Who are the Baker Street Irregulars?

They are a gang of street children who appear in several of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels. They have all been helped by Sherlock in one way or another, and they are led by Wiggins who Sherlock paid a shilling a day to collect data.

They don't believe that Sherlock is dead and resolve to find him - but get diverted by another case.

So, is Sherlock Holmes not in the play at all?

I can't reveal that information! You'll have to come and see it to find out...

What have been the biggest challenges you've faced directing the show?

Wrangling a cast of 27! Also I've given the younger members of the cast an enormous amount to do - they all play several characters, make live sound effects, move furniture around - amongst other things - and never leave the stage. Plus I decided to stage the show on a traverse stage - with audience on both sides. Most if not all of the cast don't have experience on a stage like that and neither do I so that was pretty challenging, making sure that both sides of the audience get to see everything. Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
Why should we come and see the show?

It's a super-entertaining way of spending a couple of hours on a cold February evening. Fun for all the family from six to 106!

Posted on 06/02/2017

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The Curious Theatre Company

The Curious Theatre Company


Check out my resource for the new AQA GCSE Drama spec The 39 Steps, it's had rave reviews!

39 Steps
This scheme of work is ideal for teaching The 39 Steps.
I know how hectic a drama teacher’s life is, so these twelve one-hour lesson plans are simply laid out and a doddle to follow. There are easy to photocopy handouts, lots of inspiring videos and many web links – so it’s important you can access YouTube to really take advantage of all the valuable resources. Read more below…

“This Scheme of work is brilliant”- Lance Keegan ‘Royal Latin School’

Posted on 09/11/2016

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Author: Katie Stevens

A new parent will know just how much time goes into making a home child-proof. You have to get on to your hands and knees and see things from a child’s angle. Cover open plugs, safety-proof stairs, remove or cover sharp corners and more. It gets easier as the child gets older as they can listen to and understand instructions, although you always have to be careful.

If you have a disabled child, the challenges are that much harder. Worldwide, roughly one in twenty children have some kind of disability. Children with physical disabilities often have accidents in the home, because of impaired sight, hearing, mobility and even smell and feel.

We’re going to start off with how to child-proof your kitchen area as this is where most accidents happen.

Look at the disabilities that your child has
You will know the problems that your child faces, but let’s go over them.
Hearing: Children who cannot hear need to get warnings through any means other than audio. These will be visual.
Sight: You will need to have warnings for your child that are not visual. These will be tactile.
Mobility: You need to think ahead of how your child will be able to escape a dangerous situation. It could be an alarm or special access.

Communicate with your children about safety
You need to talk to your child. Explain from early on that there are dangers in the world, the house, and in the kitchen and how important it is that they are aware of the possible dangers. Reinforce the possibility of danger, role play if that is helpful, reassure them about the dangers but make quite sure they know what to do.

Cultivate good habits
Don’t do anything that you don’t expect your child to do. Do not play with matches. Do not leave taps running or the stove on. Put away cleaning products, close the fridge and do not leave anything lying around.
Also, if you have taught your child not to touch the oven plate when it is on, don’t do it yourself. Be a good role model.

What are some of the potential dangers?
Fire. Explain to the child why they cannot play with an oven or matches. Never leave matches lying around.
Water. Explain what a flood is. Or what happens if you drown. Remove the plugs from sinks or baths.
Knives: Never leave them lying around. Show kids what happens if they cut themselves.
Poison: Talk to your child about the potential dangers of chemicals and why they must never drink detergents or kitchen cleaning products.

What action can you take to ensure safety?
First of all ensure that all cupboards have childproof locks and that all sharp corners are covered on tables or counters. Any open plugs should be blocked or covered. Knives must always be put away, as must all domestic products or detergents. The oven buttons should be out of reach, dustbins should be closed and difficult to open, dirty sponges must be out of reach and the fridge needs a lock too.

Remember that child with a hearing disability will not hear a smoke alarm or the water boil. You need to find an alternate method, possibly something with bright or flashing lights. If your child is hard of hearing but can see, use visual signs to alert them to what is going on.

A child in a wheelchair will find it hard to exit the kitchen in case of fire. You need to ensure there are emergency and easy exits that are disabled friendly. All passageways should be wheelchair accessible.

Remove obstacles that could get in their way. A vase as decor is not a good idea if a child is going to knock it off the counter. Tables and chairs should always be in the same position.Remove the clutter.

If your child cannot hear a smoke alarm, have something visual that will notify them of a problem. Flashing lights are a good idea, or vibration pads. Remove obstacles that could get in the way.

Keep dangerous items away, at all times, including knives, any sharp objects, food processors and chemicals. Keep pan or pot handles turned inwards at all times.

Things to teach your children, a rulebook!

• Stay away from the oven.
• Never touch the stove, kettle or toaster.
• Do not use cleaning products.
• Keep your fingers away from plug points.
• Do not play with electrical chords.
• Do not play with knives, cutlery or crockery.
• Only help cook when someone is with you / watching you.
• Only help clean when someone is with you / watching you.
• Walk slowly in the kitchen.
• Do not play with matches.
• Never panic and always ask for help.

Useful Resources

Kitchen Safety for Disabled Children
Adapting the Childcare Environment for Children with Special Needs
Housing options for people with disabilities
Home Modifications - Funding Sources
Financial Assistance for Accessibility Home Repairs and Modifications

Posted on 25/10/2016

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Winners Again at 65 Years Young

Author: Norma Phillips
Secretary of
Teesside Musical Theatre Company


More awards for TMTC and celebrating 65 years in musical theatre

The multi awarding winning Teesside Musical Theatre Company, as well as celebrating 65 years in musical theatre this year, have also won the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) Region 8 Adult Performance Award for their 2016 production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. This award was presented at the NODA North Youth and Performance Awards on 10 September 2016 where TMTC’s young and talented member, Emily Bashford, won the “Rising Star” award for her performance in Teesside Musical Theatre Youth Company’s production of “Scrooge – The Musical”. Hannah Smith was also nominated for the adult performance award for playing the role of Mary Magdalene so beautifully in “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

Added to previous performance awards for “The Producers” in 2014 and the programme award last year for “Carousel”, there are so many reasons why a TMTC production is the obvious choice when planning an evening at the theatre. It will always be an evening of spectacular entertainment.

As part of their celebrations, Teesside Musical Theatre Company are performing a concert entitled “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” to be performed at Teesside High School, Eaglescliffe, on 27-28 October 2016 at 7.15 pm. The concert will include hit songs from the shows and a spectacular finale from their upcoming 2017 production of “Spamalot” being performed at Middlesbrough Theatre on 15-20 May 2017. Teesside Musical Theatre Company were proud to be the first theatre company in this area to be granted a licence to perform “Spamalot”, and this will undoubtedly be the most amazing and hilarious production which will appeal to everyone who wants to leave the theatre feeling happy and thoroughly entertained.

Tickets for “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” only cost £10 for adults and £8 for under 14s and can be ordered from Jacquie Kelly on 01287 635259 (Mobile: 07712 485211). Jacquie will, of course, also be happy to discuss booking enquiries about “Spamalot”. It’s never too early to reserve your seats.

Members of Teesside Musical Theatre Company and their families and friends will also be getting together to celebrate the great achievement of 65 years in musical theatre at a dinner dance at Eaglescliffe Golf Club on Saturday, 29 October 2016.

Posted on 16/10/2016

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Leicestershire Safeguarding Children's Board

Leicestershire Safeguarding Children's Board

Safeguarding children

Leicestershire Safeguarding Children's Board Questionnaire
Do you work with children, young people and families?
Are you within the Voluntary/ Community Sector?
Is safeguarding children high on your agenda?

Children’s Safeguarding is Everyones Business – Have your say
The Children, Young People and Families team at VAL have been commissioned by Leicestershire and Rutland LSCB to conduct a survey of the VCS to identify the learning and development needs of groups working with children, young people and families.

The Leicestershire Safeguarding Children's Board would like to hear your feedback around safeguarding issues, training and development.
The questionnaire is NOW AVAILABLE to complete online (this should only take 5-7 minutes to complete). Your answers will help the LSCB understand the needs of the voluntary/ community sector & how they can support best practice for people working with children, young people and families in Leicestershire & Rutland.

complete the questionnaire here online with Survey Monkey (5-7 minutes): /r/LSCBquestionnaire

Quarterly and yearly reports can be found on our website along with FREE courses for Safeguarding information at:

For further information contact:

See Children's Safeguarding letter here

Posted on 06/10/2015

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