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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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The Pride of Teesside

Author: Norma Phillips
Secretary of
Teesside Musical Theatre Company


A follow up to my article "Family Matters" to highlight the impact of one particular family dedicated to keeping Teesside Musical Theatre Company alive.

The Pride of Teesside

Following my article, “Family Matters”, which was posted on this website recently, I was inspired to disclose more about the family values that have been an integral part of Teesside Musical Theatre Company for decades. I originally intended to make specific reference to several of the families involved, but I realised this would probably just become a long list of names, and I could also be in danger of excluding someone.

I, therefore, decided to focus on our Producer, Alison Dale, whose family has been a part of Teesside Musical Theatre Company (previously known as Teesside Operatic Society) for most of its existence. Kath Dawson, Alison’s mother, was a leading lady for many years before retiring from the stage to take over as Business Manager and Wardrobe Mistress. Alison and her sisters were, therefore, brought up in the amateur theatre world, and Alison naturally started to take on leading roles from an early age.

In recent years, Alison decided that, as well as acting in productions, she would like to use her extensive experience to produce shows for Teesside Musical Theatre Company. This revealed that Alison has an amazing talent for visualisation, creating a masterpiece as an artist would with paints and canvas. The cast and crew can always be confident that following Alison’s direction will result in another spellbinding production that we can all be proud of. It is a joy to be part of the process, and it is heartwarming when Alison thanks the cast and crew for making her visions into a reality. She always expresses her appreciation and pride and commands the respect of all involved.

With the help of Stockton Stage Society, Alison introduced the use of back projection with minimalist sets, which makes scene changes so fluid and seamless, to great effect. I particularly remember our production of “The Sound of Music” when Maria changed from being a nun in the Mother Superior’s Office to walking through the streets clutching her guitar and suitcase, arriving at the von Trapp mansion, without leaving the stage (using a screen to allow her to change costume)! In “The Producers” Max Bialystock is transported from a prison cell to Broadway theatre land with minimal set changes.

I could continue for pages describing Alison’s inspirational concepts, but it is enough to highlight the effect of Alison’s influence on our productions. Teesside Musical Theatre Company’s 2014 production of “The Producers” won the NODA North Regional Councillor’s Cup. As it was the first time that this Youth and Adult Performance Councillor’s Award had been presented, Teesside Musical Theatre Company was especially proud to be the first name to be engraved on the cup. It was a double celebration, as Andrew Gardner was selected to win the Adult Performance Award for his portrayal of Leo Bloom in “The Producers”. I should also mention that Samantha Holden was nominated for this award at the first NODA North Youth and Adult Performance Awards in 2013 for her portrayal of Maria in Teesside Musical Theatre Company’s production of “The Sound of Music”.

We are currently involved in music rehearsals for “Jesus Christ Superstar”, to be performed in April 2016, but Alison is already perfecting her ideas for staging the production, and I have no doubt that it will be amazing. I just hope that we can fill the theatre, as it is always such a shame that empty seats mean that some people have missed out on an evening of top quality entertainment. As I have said previously, we may be amateurs, but a Teesside Musical Theatre Company production is as good, if not better, than anything that can be seen in the West End.

I should also add that Alison is working with our Youth Group on a production of “Scrooge the Musical” to be performed in December 2015. I am looking forward to watching our talented youngsters who, in the future, will no doubt mature into accomplished performers and hopefully become adult members of Teesside Musical Theatre Company. Alison works tirelessly to encourage these young performers, but I know she will not want to take all the credit and will once again show her appreciation for others who helped her bring the production to the stage.

I feel very proud and privileged to have been part of the “Teesside Musical Theatre Company” family that has enriched my life for over two decades. Thanks to Alison Dale, we have a good chance of continuing for many years to come.

More details of our production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” can be found in forthcoming shows or visit our website at www.teessidemusical

Posted on 06/12/2015

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Family Matters

Author: Norma Phillips
Secretary of
Teesside Musical Theatre Company


I feel passionately about the subject of no restriction amateur licences being dished out by rights holders with no regard to the problems it can cause for theatre companies in the same area.

Family Matters

I have enjoyed many happy years as a member of an amateur musical theatre company and hope to enjoy many more. I have been lucky enough to be able to help on the business side as well as performing, and from the start I felt as if I had become part of a large family. Members of the Company and Committee included generations of the same families, having grown up together, united by a love of musical theatre. It is still the same today, and some of our younger members have progressed to the professional stage. This has made us all very proud that we have played a part in their development into West End performers.

I admire West End and professional touring performers who dedicate their lives to entertaining audiences, but it is no different in the amateur theatre. The performers and production teams spend countless hours planning, rehearsing and preparing for production week in the theatre. Many also have "day jobs" and give up their precious spare time for no recompense other than the joy of producing a show to be proud of. It invariably involves hours of hard work, although we also manage to have a lot of fun along the way.

As well as the challenge of selling tickets in the current economic climate, the future of amateur theatre groups seems also to be in jeopardy because of the attitude of some of the rights holders who disregard the need for restrictions when allocating amateur licences. There are so many amateur groups competing for ever dwindling audiences, and it does not help matters when the same show may be given to two groups in close proximity within months or even weeks of each other.

Because of this trend of issuing amateur licences regardless of the distance between groups, it is now even more vital that groups from the same area work together and liaise with each other to ensure that their productions have a good chance of success. After all, we are amateurs and should be supporting each other. Presumably the reason for being involved in amateur theatre is for the joy of performing rather than for profit or prestige.

The demise of a local theatre group has already occurred in our area, and it was a tragedy to see years of their history come to an abrupt end. It could so easily happen to any group if a significant financial loss was made on a production. I could not contemplate this happening to my musical theatre group which would rob our audiences of the pleasure of watching West End quality productions and would be a tragic loss to the local community of amateur performers, especially the talented youngsters who in recent years have joined our youth group.

Our Company continues to strive to retain our integrity and endeavours to ensure the survival of amateur theatre, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. I wish that all amateur theatre groups would adopt family values, as this could possibly give amateur theatre a better chance to have a healthy future.

Posted on 10/10/2015

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8 Resources for Supporting Special Needs Children


As the mother of a special needs child – my son, James, has autism – I understand the unique challenges that parents, families and educators of these exceptional children face daily. Many days run smoothly, but let’s face it – some days are more of a struggle than others.

In honor of school being back in full swing, which always presents many changes to our children’s routines, I decided to create a list of some of the articles I’ve come across in the past few months that shed light on many of the ways we can support our special needs kids. I’m passing these resources on to you in the hopes that you’ll share them with your audience, too. I believe they’ll make a great addition to your site.

Home Safety for Kids!

5 Important Reasons Why Your Child Needs Routine to Succeed

PBS Parents: Communication Strategies for Children with Learning Disabilities

Create Your Own Anti-Anxiety Kit for Children

5 Ways for Teachers to Help Students with Special Needs

Adapting the Childcare Environment for Children with Special Needs

Disability Remodeling for the Home

Financial Assistance for Accessibility Home Repairs and Modifications

A Guide for Disabled Homebuyers

As a parent who has spent many hours seeking the wisdom these resources provide, I thank you in advance for making them available to your audience!

Thank you!

In health,
Patricia Sarmiento

Putting the Public Back in Public Health
340 S LEMON AVE #5780, WALNUT, CA 91789

Posted on 02/10/2015

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Comment from Keri Evans 29/08/2016

My name is Keri. My daughter, Reese, and I have been researching information about people with special needs for a summer class program and came across your page,

It was very useful to us so thank you for your helpful resources! Reese and I came across another page that we used for the summer class program, /home-updates-special-needs

The page has some great information on Home Remodeling and Modifications for People with Special Needs and we wanted to share it with you in case you were interested in including it alongside your other resources for other students to find.


Directed by Maggie Smales

York Shakespeare Project are proud to mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt with their all-female production of:

Directed by Maggie Smales
21 - 31 October 2015 at Upstage Theatre, 41 Monkgate, York.
Tickets £12 Adults, £10 Concessions – available from

Let York Shakespeare Project take you back in time to World War One to watch the 'Barnbow Lasses' present Henry V.

Enter into the world of the munitions factory; smell the cordite, hear the noise, watch the women work and share in their enactment of Shakespeare’s most famous History play, Henry V, as they explore the meaning of war through Shakespeare’s own discourse. Shakespeare presents Henry V (Claire Morley) as a King who matches the idealised national hero whilst also revealing another less appealing side of his character on more than one occasion. His play shows us Henry set in context of the full spectrum of class and rank and it is as much about the experiences of war for the people living through it as it is about those who wage it.

The all-female company is modelled on the Elizabethan tradition of a single gender ensemble. Just as the male actors in Shakespeare's own company of players adopted all of the roles, female or male, as a matter of course, we have an ensemble of players who will do the same. Not Lord Chamberlains Men or The King's Men then, rather 'The Barnbow Lasses'.

Possibly the largest munitions factory in Europe, the Barnbow factory, just outside Leeds, employed women and girls from all over Yorkshire including York. A job at Barnbow meant economic independence but with it came danger. An explosion in December 1916 completely destroyed one of the factory sheds, leaving 35 dead and many more severely injured. Only recently has the memory of these local women and girls been honoured by a commemorative stone laid near where the factory buildings once stood

As the timing of this production coincides with a special 600th anniversary of Agincourt recent commemorations of World War One, it is also an opportunity for York to remember its own rather forgotten 'heroes'; our own munitionettes.

Director Maggie Smales says: "I want to produce an evocative and exciting piece of theatre which also recognises the sacrifices that women made. The fact that some of the women who lost their lives were local makes this all the more poignant. The diverse experiences of the talented cast will certainly help us in exploring the lives of the Barnbow women as we develop our interpretation of Shakespeare's characters.”

Joining Claire as Henry V, will be Rosy Rowley as the swaggering Pistol and Elizabeth Lockwood as the authoritative Duke of Exeter. Making up the ensemble cast are: Kathryn Addison, Elizabeth Elsworth, Margaret Hillier, Imogen Little, Lily Luty, Karen Millar, Rachel Price, Beth Sharrock, Sarah Jane Strong, Alison Taylor, Emily Thane, Becky Thomson, Becky Tunstall, Shirley Williams, Charlotte Wood and Diana Wyatt.

York Shakespeare Project was established in 2001, and is committed to performing all of Shakespeare’s known plays in York over a period of 20 years. Henry V marks their 28th production. Their most recent production Timon of Athens, featured as part of the York International Shakespeare Festival, and they have also recently enjoyed sell-out shows of Othello and Twelfth Night at York Theatre Royal.


Henry V by William Shakespeare will be performed at Upstage Theatre, 41 Monkgate, York, YO31 7PB.

Wednesday 21st October – Saturday 31st October 2015.
Matinees on 24th, 25th and 31st October

Tickets: £12/10 and group rates available.

Box Office:

For more information about the production, please contact Maggie Smales
Telephone: 07753694322

You can find out more about the production and project at:
Facebook: York Shakespeare Project’s Henry V
Twitter: @Y_S_P_

Posted on 03/09/2015

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The British Theatre Challenge


We would like to thank everyone who entered the British Theatre challenge 2015. The diversity of styles from plays dealing with subjects such as war torn Israel and mental illness to supermarket shopping has been immense. Our readers have been struck by the fact there have been fewer comedies entered this year with a larger number of plays highlighting military conflict - a sign of the times perhaps.

Choosing ten plays has been an incredibly difficult task, well done to those writers who were chosen for the shortlist but we also highly commend all writers who entered their plays, it's no easy feat; "Do you know what a playwright is? A playwright is someone who lets his guts hang out on the stage." Edward Albee.

We're delighted to announce that the final 10 winning plays have been selected and posted on the Sky Blue Website. Congratulations to everyone who entered the competition - It's been a pleasure reading all of your scripts over the past few months so please, keep up the awesome writing!

As you know the British Theatre Challenge is a huge undertaking - Although we ask for a £15 submission fee from each writer, this is not nearly enough to cover the costs of everything we need, to ensure its success in promoting new writing. The hire of rehearsal rooms for not just one play, but for enough time to develop ten new plays, requires quite a hefty sum; securing a professional London theatre with technicians, not only for performance but also for tech runs to enable the smooth running of the plays, demands a huge outlay; paying for the filming of each performance for writers unable to attend, adds greatly to our costs and then there are costumes, props and sets - the list seems endless - the whole project gets very expensive so we’re asking for your help.

Because we love theatre and we believe in the importance of new writing to keep theatre alive, John , Anne and Rebecca, the driving force behind the British Theatre Challenge, all volunteer their services to ensure all money received goes where it does the most good - to the BTC Production in October. In addition we are indebted to our script readers who also offer their professional services free of charge.

This year we have set up a Crowdfunder scheme in order to raise some money to put towards the project. If you, or anyone you know, would like to donate towards the project then you will have a hand in making sure the BTC performances continue to promote exciting new writing, introduce inspirational playwrights and delight audiences. It is important to reach as many people as possible so please share our crowdfunder page link on social media. here

Donations will be rewarded but any amount pledged will be greatly appreciated.

You can also continue to follow the competition and support by joining us on the 23rd and 24th October at the Lost Theatre, London for the performances of the winning 10 plays.

To your writing success!

From Anne, John and Rebecca,

Posted on 03/08/2015

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The Brighton Academy

As you know
Three years ago, myself and three other similar Brighton based performers opened a performing arts college in Hove with one sole purpose: to give young singers, dancers and actors of any financial background, professional training rivalling anywhere else in the country.
We have made our training affordable for all. This means the only criteria that we look for in our yearly auditions are talent and potential, thus ensuring that no talented young performer gets left behind based on their parent’s financial state.
This philosophy has been backed by some of the country’s leading professionals including Tony and Olivier Award winning choreographers and directors Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear and star of stage and screen; David Essex. Not to mention the performers who travel to Hove every day from London to teach our students.
It is this backing that has allowed us to help, so many local up and coming performers, that otherwise would have had no chance of affording college whilst giving them the chance to train with the west-ends finest and have a real shot at an incredible career on the stage.

I am writing to you as I believe we may have an interesting story (or three) for your Community News. On the 27thMarch, our premier graduating year performed in their industry showcase, “Making Waves” at the Leicester Square Theatre, in London's West End and from this gained representation from some of leading theatrical agents in the business!

Secondly, based solely on the strength of the Showcase, The Brighton Academy was awarded “The Inaugural Cameron Mackintosh Bursary” from the DCD (Dancers' Career Development).

And finally, on top of all of that, our students are already fulfilling their dreams by being offered professional work in such shows as “Jesus Christ Superstar” – U.S. Stadium Tour, “Shrek the Musical” - U.K Tour, Slickly Ballroom – U.K. Tour and acting in the upcoming motion picture, “Fraternity” - MCN Productions.

I hope you agree this is newsworthy especially if you think that all of the students involved couldn't afford to go to such an establishment elsewhere and would have given up on the their chance to realise their promise as professional performers.

If you would like anymore information please don't hesitate to contact me via email or phone.
Kind regards,
Stuart Dawes :TBA Co-Principal
07976625270 / 01273

Posted on 03/05/2014

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International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival

Who would have thought that a comment at the Festival’s Magic of G & S Symposium last year would lead to a first Global Gilbert and Sullivan Day celebration that really has captured the attention and imagination of the world. And not only the artistic imagination but also the technical imagination. Saturday May 3rd – Richard D’Oyly Carte’s birthday - will see a dinner in St Andrews, Scotland linked to a dinner in Bingley, Yorkshire, to a “flash mob” in New York; a champagne celebration in Melbourne Australia and surprise contributions from Cape Town, Brussels and Gosforth in the UK.
It’s all being done by Skype co-ordinated by the Smiths in Halifax who have gathered a party of 80+ Brits for a whole weekend celebration which includes egg, ham and strawberry jam fare on a barge trip up the Leeds-Liverpool Canal; a Pirates Sherry reception (with sausage rolls), luncheon bell and off to the banquet they press – with a toast from Ian Bradley sitting in Scotland to the “Immortal Memory of Gilbert and Sullivan” responded to by Andrew Crowther ( Secretary WS Gilbert Society) and Stephen Turnbull (secretary Sullivan Society) sitting in Bingley. Richard Gauntlett will propose the toast to “ G & S performers and lovers….” There’s a title with plenty of scope! Ian Smith will respond.
And we are hearing of many other celebrations. people are inviting guests for barbecues in Britain and toasting G & S. People have said they will sing Hail Poetry in their gardens at around 4.15pm EST ( 9.15pm in the UK) and a ridiculous hour “Down Under.”
What will you be doing? Let us have details of your celebration that we can add to a short film we will make commemorating the first annual Gilbert and Sullivan Day – the first we hope of hundreds more!!!

Posted on 03/05/2014

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Official Press Release from TRW on GHOST THE MUSICAL Acquisition
MARCH 6, 2014, New York City, New York
For full article see

Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW)

TRW President & CEO Steve Spiegel

Leading musical theatre licensor Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW), announces exclusive representation for stock and amateur rights for GHOST THE MUSICAL. The show was nominated for three Tony Awards, five Olivier Awards and is still successfully touring North America and the U.K. The musical joins a roster that includes Tony Award-winners MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT and MEMPHIS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, and THE COLOR PURPLE.
Based on the Paramount Pictures film written by the musical’s book writer Bruce Joel Rubin, GHOST THE MUSICAL features a pop-rock score by Dave Stewart (EURYTHMICS) and six-time Grammy Award winner Glen Ballard. The iconic “Unchained Melody” written by Hy Zaret and Alex North, complements the musical journey of this beautiful story.
Dave Stewart

GHOST THE MUSICAL’s national and UK tours will end August 17 and March 8, 2014 respectively. The title will then available for production by all stock and amateur groups in these countries. Perusal copies are available now at
TRW President & CEO Steve Spiegel, celebrating his 35th year in the Broadway musical theatre licensing industry, said in a prepared statement, “Once again we are proud to announce the representation of a new Broadway/West end musical that we can immediately offer to thousands of our pro and amateur theatre groups. GHOST THE MUSICAL magically portrays the beloved story of Sam and Molly in a heartfelt, riveting theatrical telling,” he said. Spiegel pursued representation of the show after seeing both the London and Broadway engagements. “It will be a perennial favorite with professional and community theatres along with high schools for years to come.”
Key Regional Theatre and other professional productions are already booked through TRW including Atlantis Productions in Manila.
Glen Ballard

TRW's Director of Music David Abbinanti
TRW’s Director of Music, David Abbinanti, has created new orchestrations for the show, making it accessible to theatres everywhere. “We have a new orchestration that is scored completely for live musicians and geared for the expertise and budgets of our stock and amateur organizations,” Abbinanti said in a recent interview.
Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) represents musicals from Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as shows originating in regional theatres and elsewhere. It is our mission to cultivate and introduce new work along with extending the production life of musicals to all theatrical marketplaces.
For further information contact:
Theatrical Rights Worldwide
570 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2100
New York, NY 10018

Read These Words from GHOST Writer Bruce Joel Rubin
As the hugely successful U.K. Tour of GHOST THE MUSICAL drew to a close this past weekend, the creator of the show reached out to the hundreds of thousands of fans of the show with this beautiful statement, released via the tour’s official social media sites on Saturday, March 8, 2014:
To All of Our UK fans,
Bruce Joel Rubin
“When I wrote GHOST as a movie nearly 25 years ago I never dreamed that people would still be talking about it all these years later. And I never ever imagined that they would be singing its songs (I never imagined that it would even have songs) or that people would see it repeatedly in theaters all over the UK. I am told that there are people who have seen it 50 times (besides the producers) and I am overwhelmed by the love and support you have offered all along the way. From the moment we opened in Manchester, almost three years ago, I could feel the roar of approval and joy that filled the theater night after night. I can even feel it now. Thank you for that gift. Thank you for embracing our show, for caring about it, for believing in it. You are why we made it. It is my deepest hope and prayer that the love inside – you take it with you.” —Always, Bruce Joel Rubin
We’ve just announced the general release of Performance Rights for this hot new pop-rock show!

Adapted from the film by Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Bruce Joel Rubin, GHOST THE MUSICAL features a hot rock-pop score by Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Grammy Award-winning Glen Ballard. This exciting “new show release” is for pro & community theatres everywhere.
Read, listen…BELIEVE! We are so excited for the hundreds of productions around the world that will be coming for GHOST THE MUSICAL!

Posted on 22/03/2014

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Darlington OS
Stage Darlington has gratefully received the donation which will be used to upgrade the fire alarm facilities at Stage Darlington’s premises in Darlington.
The upgrade will enable Stage Darlington, which has 26 members on its books, to comply with fire safety regulations in order to host live performances.
Julian Cound from DarlingtonOS said “I read that Stage Darlington needed £3,000 to upgrade their fire alarm system and instantly contacted other committee members to see if we could help. The benefit people get from performing is immeasurable and for Stage Darlington to be in a position not to be able to allow their members to show an audience what they had been working on just seemed wrong to me.
“Hopefully our donation will ensure Stage Darlington members experience the thrill of thunderous applause at the end of their next production.”
Stage Darlington director Julie Cormack said “We have made many improvements to our studio including new ceilings and car park funded by The Big Lottery Fund. Installing a new fire alarm system will mean we can stage performances in-house that is a familiar environment where all our members can take part.”

Posted on 22/03/2014

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Phoenix Theatre

Local amateur theatre, dance and arts groups, students and professional production companies are set to benefit from the re-launch of a new performance space in Swindon.
Phoenix Theatre is rising again – not from the ashes, but into a cultural centre for the community. The theatre was opened in 2003 in Swindon’s New College, and has been a platform for performing arts students, but now Phoenix is reaching out to a wider audience.
Spearheading the relaunch is Matthew Clift, theatre production manager and lecturer. He said: “We want to let people know there is another professional theatre in the town. We have a new box office which we have renovated and as BTEC performing arts is a vocational course we sign up two students for box offices duties.”
The theatre has a huge festival of arts lined up for this year kicking off with a Halloween project that is a joint production between Whole Hog, the resident theatre company, and drama students.
“We are doing a scary show on Halloween night,’’ said Matthew.
“It is a new play, Call of Cthulhu, which evokes ancient rituals, paranoia and blood curdling creatures, all brought to life in an atmospheric staging that will explore the depths of horror.”

Posted on 22/03/2014

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Ray Cooney is to direct his 1984 play Two Into One at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory this spring.
The show will run from March 8 to April 26, with press night on March 19.
Design is by Paul Farnsworth, lighting is by Paul Anderson and sound by Gregory Clarke. Casting has yet to be announced.

Posted on 22/01/2014

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RSC Open Stages kicks off
Having received nearly 200 applications from amateur theatre groups across the UK, the Royal Shakespeare Company along with 6 partner theatres will work with the 86 selected amateur groups to support them with mentoring and workshops to create their own RSC Open Stages production in their own venue. The project began last weekend on the weekend when all 86 directors (pictured) came together for the first and only time in Stratford-upon-Avon to participate in two days of skills workshops led by the RSC’s own team of theatre practitioners.
Just a few examples of the huge range of work being done by over 2,500 participants (the oldest being 80 and the youngest 8 years old), include the Royal Navy performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V in a Norman Castle, a Sci-fi Tempest in a village hall in Oxfordshire, a Gulf War set Titus Andronicus in Edinburgh, a female King Lear in London, and a Hamlet in the style of a Danish Crime Drama in St Andrews.

RSC Open Stages producer Ian Wainwright commented: ‘The RSC is once again excited to continue to collaborate with just some of the million amateur theatre-makers in the UK. The RSC understands the skill, commitment, energy and passion it takes to make theatre happen. We therefore have a huge respect for those DIY, grassroots theatre-makers who create theatre in their spare time often on very limited resources. Open Stages looks to share some of the processes, techniques and ideas of professional theatre making, while allowing the RSC to learn about, and be inspired by, the work of people with a real passion for the craft of theatre.’

Posted on 24/12/2013

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The Spread Eagle Pub Theatre
The alternative choice of theatre is continuing to grow with the opening of a new studio theatre in Croydon. The Spread Eagle Pub is opening a new 50 seat studio theatre which opens on October 2. The theatre will open on the pub’s first floor where they already host film screenings.

Fullers Brewery already has one pub and studio theatre, The Old Joint Stock, in Birmingham and they will be presenting a season of new work to celebrate the opening of The Spread Eagle Theatre.

Tim Hodgson, Artistic Director of the Old Joint Stock Theatre Company says: "If this goes well, the Spread Eagle Theatre will launch as a permanent venue early in 2014, with a minimum of one week-long production each month, again strictly professional small productions, specialising in new writing.

"We are really looking to get people in Croydon behind this new venture, especially given the dearth of arts venues in Croydon at the moment."

Posted on 24/12/2013

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Jane Lockyer Willis

Member of The Society of Women Writers & Journalists.
To see scripts by Jane click here

I trained as a teacher of English, speech and Drama at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama - AGSM LGSM and I'm an Associate of LAMDA. After college, I did some pro acting, amdram and later BBC World Service radio acting (plays) For many years I ran my own company, Speakwell Communications and taught adults speech training and all of that. I have been published main stream: SPEECHES AND PRESENTATIONS and am part author of THE COMPLETE SPEECHMAKER. I continue to act and now write plays. ABOUT WEBMASTER PETER

Peter set up and has run for a few years now. I was one of the first people to go on his site and just want to say a few words about what he has achieved. is a theatrical haven. Serving as a central site for groups and societies, it has developed and grown over time.

A mine of information, you can advertise shows and auditions; track lyrics; look for props and costumes; find or advertise a script and so on. There is even a 'Swap ideas' section. The site is well laid out and user friendly. It is uncluttered, full of information, attractive and welcoming.

Peter works tirelessly. In my experience he answers emails promptly, is extremely helpful and polite and gets the job done efficiently and as fast as he can. With so many people to deal with, I think this is admirable.

Without sites like, amateur theatrical life would be a great deal more difficult. I remember the old days, when one had to search all over for this or that prop, root out prospective actors who were reluctant to take to the boards, and hope to goodness that audiences would turn up on production nights. Now, with this sort of publicity and help, we can find like-minded folk who are only too happy to apply for parts, write plays, produce plays, swap a script or write a lyric etc. And all of this is due to Peter's inventiveness - someone who has recognised the needs of others, so that we can make use of all the varied facilities.

So from me, a BIG THANK YOU PETER for your help, guidance and support.


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Response dated 13/10/2013
Name: Michael Collins email michaelc76 'at'
Background: Member of Belmont Theatre Company
Comment: I have only recently got to know Jane when she joined our Amateur theatre company and I played opposite her in The Hollow and now she is in our current sell out production of “A Woman of no Importance” by Oscar Wilde. A very generous actress and a lovely talented lady with great style.
Certainly I shall encourage Belmont Theatre Company to use this valuable site in the future.

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The South Devon Players

Press release

London sponsor backs Brixham theatre group’s epic stage production of Les Miserables: The Memoirs of Jean Valjean for a further performance at the Palace Theatre, Paignton, on November 16th 2013.
In September, the South Devon Players, an award-winning amateur theatre group from Brixham, performed their own production, of Les Miserables, as a three hour full-scale non-musical stage drama written directly from Victor Hugo’s novel.
This production was very well received by audiences, with standing ovations, comments such as “flawless”, “spellbinding”, “awesome” being commonplace, and one couple on holiday from Taunton, stating that they felt the production of be of a higher standard than a professional production of The Tempest which they had recently seen in Stratford Upon Avon.
Also present, was Murray Keene, a professional photographer and film maker from London, who was so impressed by the production, in his words “spell-binding”, that he is now sponsoring the South Devon Players to be able to go where they could not afford before, into the Palace Theatre, Paignton, for a final performance of this show, at a low ticket price, as he believes that the show should be seen more widely, and that the South Devon Players in future should be able to afford to perform in larger theatres, and is hoping to fill the theatre for this show, and then to work with the Players again in 2014.
The tickets are now available from the Palace Theatre box office (Tel 01803 665800) priced at £3 each.
Les Miserables: The Memoirs of Jean Valjean is a dramatic new 3 hour show based directly on Victor Hugo's novel. Suitable for the whole family, this brings this classic tale of love, redemption and revolution to life in a thrilling new production written by our secretary, Laura J, and premiering with the South Devon Players.
This is a huge production, the biggest by far that we have ever undertaken, it has attracted positive interest & compliments from Hollywood celebrities, and the original show “run”press release is featured on one of the biggest Broadway websites in their "international" section. An international theatrical script agent is also currently looking into making the script available to other theatre companies.
All in all, a show not to be missed!
The South Devon Players are an award winning, small, family-friendly, completely non-profit, community theatre / amateur dramatic group based in the beautiful fishing port of Brixham; Devon (in South West England) and we perform theatre shows around Torbay, and South Devon, based on historical events, usually local history & legends although we sometimes do also cover wider historical events.
Founded in 2005 with the proceeds of a car-boot sale, then winning the Torbay Together Arts In The Community Award in 2010, and appearing on BBC1 national television in 2012-2013, the majority of our shows and projects are about local history and mythology of the South West, and are written by local authors. It is part of our ethos to promote the history of Brixham, Torbay and South Devon. We sometimes deviate to perform plays based on famous classical stories or other wider historical events, but our main focus is, and will always be, the history of the Southwest.
We consider it a vital part of our raison d’etre to be able to keep ticket prices affordable for everyone, and bring theatrical experience to a wider audience. We also do our best, where possible, to support other local non-profit events or entertainment groups working within the community
Les Miserables Tickets are £3 each, from
The Palace Theatre, Paignton.
Box Office, Palace Theatre, Palace Avenue, Paignton TQ3 3HF Tel: 01803 665800
Contact info 'at'

Posted on 02/10/2013

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New Victoria Theatre Woking Dear Theatre Friends,
We have been busier than ever at the theatre in Woking with the restoration and painting of our auditorium and what will be the unveiling of our newly refurbished mid level bars.
We look forward to welcoming you to the plush new setting and of course experiencing the new atmosphere of the Piano Bar.
So, you will find a new format of our offers that are being released, don't miss Paul Michael Glaser as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof in October, directed by Craig Revel Horwood...
All the details on the attachment "Back to the Theatre for September"
In addition our online brochure and the reduced rates for groups of 10+.
Looking forward to seeing you all again after the extended holiday.
Catherine Wade
District Publicity Assistant
The New Victoria Theatre, Woking
0118 375 3392
cathywadenvt 'at'

Posted on 09/09/2013

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Gillingham Dramatic Society

GDS Productions Logo Competition has now closed
After a big deliberation from the committee we can finally announce the winner of the Logo competition.
It was a very hard decision due to the extremely high standard of entries that we had put forward.
We so pleased to announce the winner is: Dani Gillespie.
Her design is now with our talented designer Rebecca Lehmann.

Posted on 09/09/2013

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Gillingham Dramatic Society

GDS Productions Logo Competition has now closed
Winner to be announced soon!

Posted on 03/09/2013

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London Drama Group (LonDram)


On 3 September we read and chose three short new serious plays to rehearse starting September with a view to performing them in January 2014. They are:

‘A SHOUT IN THE DARK’ by Bill Saunders (LonDram member); spooky, low budget, 4 characters 2F 2M, duration 11 minutes
‘SMOKE AND MIRRORS’ by Rhiannan Falshaw-Skelly (LonDram member); murder investigation suspense, low budget, 6 characters 2F 4 M/F, duration 18 minutes
‘THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND’ by Roger Geoffrey Clark (LonDram member); emotive drama adapted from H G Wells’ short story, low to moderate budget, 12 characters 6M 3F 3F/M, duration 22 minutes
The overarching theme that therefore emerges thus far is ‘Spooky/Intriguing/Suspense’.
Performance time of the three plays totals approximately 51 minutes, meaning that with scenery changes plus an interval of 15 minutes we still need to find two more short plays totalling about 30 to 50 minutes to complete a programme of 110 to 120 minutes.
We agreed that Russell Leeburn’s idea of staging a final or penultimate comedy to counter the heavy-going serious natures of the above plays is a good one ... maybe a comedy to end the programme will avoid nightmares? We have asked Tinaz Denizmen (LonDram member, playwright actress and musician), to consider adapting her very short play ‘HOW TO FLY A ‘PLANE’, intriguing fantasy aboard a train, low to moderate budget, 2 characters 1F 1M, duration 8 minutes (which we read and liked but liked less than the others as it does not fit the overarching theme) to become a comedy to comply with this requirement. If we don’t have a comedy to end on, the programme could be over-heavy on the emotions.
We agreed that minor adaptations are required to ‘SMOKE AND MIRRORS’ and ‘THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND’ in order to realise them on a stage; to avoid possible confusion on the part of the audience in the case of ‘SMOKE AND MIRRORS’, and to increase aggression in the case of ‘THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND’.
Our own Dominika Visy is willing to be Director of all three plays, although this is a tall order and we have to seek different Directors for the remaining plays still to be chosen. The playwrights may have to be pressed into service as Directors, no bad thing.
It was agreed that we would rehearse the three plays at either VINTERS STUDIO in Streatham, London SW16 or at the AMERICAN CHURCH, Tottenham Court Road, London, commencing on Monday 16 September, the choice depending on cost.
This is a major milestone reached in our history folks!

Acting Chair Roger Geoffrey Clark announces that owing to increased personal commitments over the next few months he hands the chair to Gemma Louise Rose with effect from 1 October (while continuing to be involved himself). Gemma has enthusiastically agreed to take this role on. Gemma has vigour, ideas, spirit and leadership qualities. This is so wonderful! - thank you Gemma! Tinaz Denizmen will help establish her in the role.
We now have a bank account specific to LonDram. It is an HSBC account. As of 4 September it has £10 credit in it donated by Roger Geoffrey Clark. More donations needed! Details are:
BANK: HSBC - BRANCH: Gravesend - SORT CODE: 40-22-20 - ACCOUNT NR: 71824058
Rehearsal space costs £15 phr for Streatham, £33 phr for American Church so kindly put some money in.
We need to change the name of the account to “London Drama Group” and to do that we need two of our number to become cheque signatories. Volunteers please! ... then we can convert the account to a ‘community account’ bearing zero bank charges.
Eight interested persons attended our third meeting at “The Globe” on 3 September 2013:
Roger Geoffrey Clark (playwright and actor), Gemma Rose (actress and musician), Tinaz Denizmen (playwright actress and musician), Bill Saunders (writer), Zayne Iyaniwura (actor), Shaifur Rahman (playwright), Natalie Moska (actress), Dominika Visy (Director).
Next meeting: Monday 16 September at 1900, venue TBA, Streatham or American Church
We need an administrator to update our website and also someone to update entries for our group on
This newsletter prepared by Roger Geoffrey Clark 4.9.13 TEL: 0752 871 5038

Posted on 05/09/2013

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Chester's New Theatre
The new theatre is ideally placed in the centre of the city where it will ensure it is inextricably linked and connected to its community – this will be a building for everyone to use and people will connect with it in many different ways.
The highly respected local company Chester Performs will be charged with shaping and crafting a programme of high quality shows and activity throughout the year. As well as producing and hosting shows and activity in the new centre they will continue to produce their acclaimed open-air theatre seasons in Grosvenor Park.
The auditorium will seat 800 people in a traditional proscenium arch model. A thrust stage format will Provide seating for up to 600
Provide a stage suitable for the highest quality touring productions of this scale
Provide a stage suitable for a produced season of work in the Summer and at Christmas
Provide a dynamic yet intimate relationship between performer and spectator
It is likely the preferred layout for the touring work will be a proscenium arch with an orchestra pit. An elevator providing a range of options will form the basis of the orchestra pit system:
Orchestra Pit – for approximately 35 musicians
Forestage extension / apron
Wagon with additional seating
Full arcticle at Chester's Theatre, Library & Cinema

Posted on 21/08/2013

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Back End Productions

Ugly Sisters, Fairy Godmothers, Slippers & Horse Burgers:

Back End Productions is Back… OH YES IT IS!

A new pantomime from Back End Productions at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane,

One Night Only! Sunday, 15 December 2013

All profits going to The SilverLining (, a charity helping brain injured people rebuild their lives through helping others

Sponsored by Christie's, Hanson Asset Management, Field Fisher Waterhouse, Sweettree Brain Injury Support and Johnny van Haeften Old Dutch Master Paintings

Costumes at the ready! Get ready to dance in the aisles. West London’s best loved amateur dramatic pantomime specialist, Back End Productions, is back with a brand new panto Cinderella – working title “Boom or Bust!”. Did you know that Cinderella’s first ever performance in the UK was at Drury Lane in 1904? Back End Productions brings Cinderella back to Drury Lane with their latest spectacular production! Giving money to charity has never been such naughty fun, so get a gang together for this raucous black tie gala night out.

Returning after a well-earned break, highly acclaimed Back End Productions has created Cinderella Boom or Bust!, a unique and very modern fairytale pantomime for grown ups (recommended age is 14+). The show conforms to all the traditional panto stereotypes but also goes a little bit further! This one night charity show at Drury Lane in West End will be performed by a group of 50 cast members supported by semi-professional dancers and singers.

With lots of humour and innuendo this will be the perfect pantomime for those who, like another famous panto character, never grew up. This brand new witty, farcical, and at times a little bit sexy, pantomime presents the whirlwind of Ugly Sisters, Fairly Good Mothers, slippers and pantomime horse burgers. The audience is set to be surprised with a mixture of situation comedy and contemporary material with a grown up “Carry On” tone.

Founded fifteen years ago, Back End Productions has become renowned amongst the London theatrical scene for its original, themed and musically diverse pantos, as well as for the ability to throw an after party that shows Prince Harry how to do it! The group was founded by three friends who met while at St Andrews University and put the hugely raucous Kate Kennedy Club panto on there – where the student audiences historically pelted the brave performers with rotting fruit and veg as part of the fun while the actors played on. Health and safety got in the way of that in the end, but the shows got a reputation for audience participation and dancing in the aisles to a cracking backing band smashing out classic anthems, big cheesy disco tracks and set piece choreography that carries through to today.

Having got down to London the boys decided to keep the tradition of the pantomime alive, keep raising money for great causes, and keep them sane in the madness of London working life.

Since foundation, Back End Productions has raised over £250,000 and has played matchmaker to four couples! Profits from this year’s production will be donated to The SilverLining, a charity helping brain injured people rebuild their lives.

Cinderella – Boom or Bust! will be shown on Sunday, 15 December.

Running time is approx 2hrs 30mins including interval and as Back End’s regular audience will know – the party has only just begun. All profits will be donated to: The SilverLining, a charity helping brain injured people rebuild their lives through helping others.
For further details and booking, please visit (site under construction) or email: cinderstickets 'at' to register for tickets.
Ticket prices
Balcony £10.00 – £20.00
Grand Circle £20.00 - £25.00
Royal Circle £30.00 and £40.00
Stalls £50.00 and £80.00
Platinum Box Seats £150.00 and £200.00
VIP Sponsor Tickets £350.00 - £750.00 (See below)

The Sponsorship Packages
All Sponsors will be given full VIP Treatment which will include pre-show Champagne reception, free programme(s) and exclusive access to the After Party to meet the cast.
INDIVIDUAL £350 - 2 x VIP tickets plus recognition in programme

CORPORATE 1 £750 - 2 x VIP tickets plus Business logo/name + short description in programme and ¼ page advertising opportunity in programme

CORPORATE 2 £1,500 - 4 x VIP tickets plus Business logo/name + short description in programme and 1/2 page advertising opportunity in programme

CORPORATE 3 £2,500 - 6 x VIP tickets plus Business logo/name + short description in programme and full page advertising opportunity in programme

CORPORATE Primary £negotiable - VIP Tickets full recognition on all marketing media and programme as Primary sponsor and other tailored opportunities at the show

Sponsorship opportunities can be tailored as required. Anonymous donations to support the show are also welcomed.

£1,000 and upwards – sponsor your boss to appear on stage as a Tree (no lines and green tights of course) as part of the Enchanted Forest scene. Imagine the fun we’ll have with the panto horse. Candidates may be assigned to the herbaceous border at your request.

For sponsor information, and advertising please contact: Gavin McNicoll at Back End Productions gavin 'at'

For press information, interviews, high resolution images or a full press pack including cast biographies:
Kasia Maj at Fuel PR on 020 7498 8211 or kasia 'at'

Posted on 20/08/2013

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York New Musical Festival
JIM Welsman may not have planned it this way, but the inaugural York New Musical Festival has a preponderance of women.
“An interesting slant on the festival is that most of the composers are women and even those that aren’t have women as central characters in their shows,” says Jim, former chairman of York Musical Theatre Company and director of the festival, which runs at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre from July 23 to 29.
“Seasons was written and composed by Elaine Pechacek and Katie Hammond; Girl With A Torch by Judit Catan, Confessions Of A Rabbi’s Daughter by Emily Rose Simons; and Francesca’s Passenger by Becky Callaghan.
“Austen The Musical is about the life of Jane Austen; Armada features Elizabeth I; and Lady Luck has three girls competing for the love of one man. Even Cindy Weller is about a modern-day Cinderella.”
The festival will open serendipitously with Antony Irwin’s Lady Luck on Tuesday at 7.30pm. “Unfortunately, Stephen Hodel and David Benedictus’s The Happy Hypocrite had to be withdrawn, but we now have Lady Luck as a replacement, only for one performance right at the beginning,” says Jim.
In Lady Luck, Xander Jackson is a self assured, occasionally cocky 27-year-old working in the city and living with girlfriend, Zoe, but he lusts after a more exciting lifestyle. Promiscuous workmate Madison and demure school friend Paige weave their own stimulation into Xander’s life, and with pulses racing, three thoroughly modern women compete for the love of one lucky guy. Let the games – and the festival – begin.
Full article at York Press

Posted on 20/07/2013

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Taunton Brewhouse Theatre
Taunton's Brewhouse closed in February when its trustees called in administrators BDO
A fresh bid to buy Taunton's redundant Brewhouse Theatre will be considered by Taunton Deane Borough councillors next week.
The much-loved venue closed in February when its trustees called in administrator BDO after running into serious financial difficulty. It has been looking to sell the 61-year lease and the borough council submitted an initial bid that was rejected.
Now, following further talks, in-depth valuation and negotiations, a fresh bid could be submitted if councillors agree. Details of the bid remain confidential and the council has declined to confirm a report that the rescue package could cost taxpayers £350,000. The theatre received a £150,000 annual grant from the council before it closed.
An independent consultant has been appointed to advise the council on options for the future of the venue. The range of potential options and the timetable for their implementation will depend to a large extent on whether, and when, the council acquires the venue.
At this stage, the consultants have met with a range of potentially interested groups and organisations and they are scheduled to complete their work in autumn 2013 – subject to clarification on ownership of the Brewhouse.
If the council acquires the Brewhouse, it could then grant a new lease on terms agreed with a new tenant. If the council does not acquire the lease there is a restriction on assigning the lease to a new tenant. The authority has already made it clear that it has no wish to operate the theatre itself but would be keen to reach an agreement with a potential tenant to take over the day-to-day business as long as they could prove their operation would be financially viable long-term. Any future operation must be proven, to enable a realistic date for re-opening the venue.
Councillor Norman Cavill, who holds the arts and economic development portfolio, said: "A vibrant arts and culture scene makes a significant contribution to the local economy and our commitment to putting growth and regeneration at the top of the agenda.
"I hope that we can agree to submit an acceptable bid and so resolve a very difficult situation. The council can understand the frustrations felt by our community but it's vital that we find a financially viable solution that will secure the future of the Brew-house now and into the future."
The report will be considered by the council on Tuesday and can be read online at Members of the public are welcome to attend and can make a comment or raise a question during public question time. However, part of the Brewhouse discussion and the vote will take place during a closed session because of the commercially sensitive nature of the issue.
Full arcticle at Taunton People

Posted on 20/07/2013

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New blow for Preston Playhouse
Theatre bosses trying to raise cash to repair their venue’s roof have suffered a “blow” after 40 stage lights were stolen.
Work to repair the roof of the Preston Playhouse in Market Street West started at the beginning of the month following the launch of a campaign to raise £20,000 to pay for it.
The lights were taken sometime between 24 June and 8 July from the theatre.
The lights had been taken down for annual testing and placed at the back of the auditorium - a member of staff realised they had gone when they came to test them.
Chairman of Preston Playhouse Board of Trustees, Alex Tagg, said: “It is a blow at this time obviously with all the money we have had to raise to have to start finding more money to replace the lamps.
“Because of the roof works currently in progress involving scaffolding around the building our insurers withdrew the burglary and theft cover of the building.”
Mr Tagg said it would cost the theatre in the region of £3,000 to replace the lights.
He added: “Some of the regular users have already offered to help to replace the lights for the start of the season in September.”
PC Emma Jackson said: “If anybody has any information about the theft of these specialist lights I would urge them to contact police.
“Work is currently being done on the roof of the theatre using money which theatre staff have raised themselves so this will have a huge impact them.
“Please come forward if you think you can help.”
The Playhouse’s Raising the Roof Appeal was launched in January to raise cash to repair the roof.
The work is estimated to cost £50,000.
The venue already had £30,000 in reserves and in recent months has been doing all it can to raise the remaining £20,000.
There has been a number of fund-raising shows and the theatre has been supported by its users and private donations.
Anybody with any information on the stage lights should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Alternatively visit the website at

Posted on 20/07/2013

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Gillingham Dramatic Society

Competition Time
GDS Productions aims to bring great musicals and pantomimes of a national standard to local audiences.
We are a local drama group that has been performing shows for over 40 years now. Past productions include Oliver! The Wizard of OZ, The Sound of Music and Honk!
We have decided to have a company logo created and have decided to open this new venture as a competition.
All ages are welcome to enter this competition.
Closing date is 30 August 2013 and the winner will be shown and announced on the GDS Facebook Page soon after the closing date.
Please like the page so you can keep up to date. GillinghamDramaticSociety
GDS Productions would like to see on the logo:
GDS Productions
You have two ways to enter via email at:
gdscompetition 'at'
or via the post at:
20 May Road, Rochester, Kent ME1 2HY
If you send in a postal entry please send a covering letter stating your name and address, please bear in mind that we will not be able to return entries.
The Prize is: 2 tickets to see our fabulous Panto at the brook where you will see your logo in use,
so let your creative juices flow and we look forward to your entries.

Posted on 13/07/2013

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Weymouth & Portland Borough Council

Weymouth Pavilion lease awarded
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council has agreed to award the lease for Weymouth Pavilion Complex to a not-for-profit-organisation.
Councillors considered two bids at their Management Committee (19.06) and agreed to award the lease to Mr Phil Say, who has set up a Community Interest Company.
Now the council will work with Mr Say to sign the lease and hand the pavilion over as soon as possible to the Community Interest Company.
The council agreed to enter into a 10 year lease with the proposed Community Interest Company based on terms agreed at its April Management Committee, and also subject to:
A £150,000 loan by the council, repayable on terms included in the 19 June Management Committee report
A fixed annual contribution from the council of £30,000
The council awards 80 per cent discretionary rate relief
The Community Interest Company meets the costs of car parking permits for staff and volunteers
The Council meets liabilities that may arise from any staff issues (TUPE) related to the previous council-operated facility
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council brief holder for Community Facilities Andy Blackwood said:
"This is a major step in securing the future of Weymouth Pavilion and I am delighted that the council has awarded the lease to Mr Say.
"I am sure that we are all looking forward to the complex re-opening and will do all we can to make sure this happens as soon as possible, and the start of a bright new future for the Pavilion under community leadership."

Posted on 13/07/2013

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Contact sheena_clarke 'at'
Pat Clarke's new play," Moments of Madness ", excellent new playwright .
Article Title: event/37932-moments--- new-play-showing-in- killinkere-co-cavan

Article Title: event/37932-moments-of-madness -new-play-showing-in- killinkere-co-cavan

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By Mattie Lennon

Im happy

“Im happy” is a gripping tale of our times. The author tackles highly sensitive issues such as bullying head-on while weaving three separate lives into one convincing thread. If you buy one book this year make it Im happy” (Dan Binchy, author.)
Renowned author and cousin of Maeve Binchy was referring to Diarmuid Hudner’s first novel Im Happy

It comes at a time in which such a book was never more needed. Society has at last woken up to the fact that bullying, in any shape or form, can have a devastating- often fatal- effect on both the victim and the perpetrator.

It is the story of three young people who are the victims of bullying and how they came together to change their lives through a website called Emmet from Ireland, a self confessed masternerd, isolated by his own idiosyncrasies, finds a friend in alcohol until it too becomes a friend no longer. Ralph from the USA, born grossly overweight suffers from a crushing lack of self esteem and sees the only release from his torment is to attempt suicide. Ming from China, who looks different to other girls uses this the only way she can, becoming a bully herself until she resorts to self-harming to punish herself from her wrongdoings.

The following is a excerpt from Emmet’s “story.”

“Life is better because I am happy. It is because I am happy that I have a life. What makes me happy might make you happy, it might not but that is also life. My name is Emmet. I have been spat upon, sneered at, laughed at, beaten and ridiculed. I have lived in hell for most of my life but I do no longer. My crime: I am a nerd. I have no hatred for those who have bullied me because deep down I know they are not happy doing it. To hurt another is to hurt yourself. I am a nerd but that is not all I am. The best of me is under my skin. I am no longer a slave to other people’s thoughts because no one but me controls what I think.
No one knows you but you. You may be rich, you may not. You may be healthy, you may not. You may be married, you may not. You may never find a partner, you may never be looking. You may have children, you may never have. You may have everything everyone thinks they should have. You may have everything but what you want. A great number of things may or may never happen to you. Life decides those things. Only you decide whether you are happy with what life gives you. I am not religious but I am spiritual. I can be whatever I want to be at any given moment because no moment can be repeated. Happiness is available in abundance; it can never be bought, can never be sold because your happiness is unique to you and you already own it within you. I am happy now because I have chosen to be happy and only I have the power to make that choice. This site is for those who have chosen to be happy now too.”
This work is a novel but were the words of Virginia Woolf ever more apt? “Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so slightly perhaps but still attached to life at all four corners.”
This is not just a story about bullying; it is the story of everyone’s quest to be happy and the realisation that you and only you are in control of your own happiness. It weaves the emotions and feelings of insecurity that all of us experience with the freedom that can be achieved from making the decision to take control of one’s own life. Though quite a harrowing tale, this is a story of immense hope, dexterous wit and passionate perseverance with acorns of wisdom that will linger in your mind long after you thought you had gathered them all.

Quotes from start of each Chapter
1. Always take the chance to laugh at your own expense before everyone else does
2. HARD is only Happiness At a Remote Date
3. You can’t be all things to everyone so be something to someone
4. When you make the decision to change you already have
5. No moment can be repeated so I can never make the same mistake twice
6. Humans don’t have eyes on the back of their heads for a reason: you can’t go forward if you are continually looking back
7. Accept the Good for what it is whenever it happens because you will be forced to accept the bad anyway
8. You are not what you eat, You are not what you wear, You are not what you do. You are You.
9. Be honest with yourself: If you want the harsh truth, ask your enemies not your friends.
10. Intelligence has no bearing on your level of happiness because happiness doesn’t have an IQ.
11. What a difference a day can make when you’re not counting the hours.
12. The only questions worth answering are those you ask of yourself.
13. You don’t have to be SOMEBODY to BE somebody.
14. HURT is only Happiness Undoubtedly Returns Tomorrow.
15. If you can’t trust yourself, trust your instincts.
16. You have the same number of hours, minutes and seconds in your day as everyone else: therefore you stand the same chance of achieving happiness.
17. Coincidences are too random for random things to occur.

About the author: Diarmuid Hudner is a farmer's son from Effin, County Limerick., A former Headhunter in the City of London, he was a regular contributor to financial magazines such as the Financial Times, Investment Week and Money Marketing. Upon returning to Ireland, he became the founder and chairman of the Doneraile Literary & Arts Festival, the only free literary festival in Ireland. This is his first novel.
It became apparent to the author whilst writing this book that there was a genuine need to make this fictional website a reality. Thus the website was born. He told me , “ The world today has never in its history been so full yet it is very easy as an individual to feel empty. We are all seeking happiness and by helping each other, we are not alone. This website is a work in progress and will develop organically over time with the help of the readers.”.

The book is available from the website as an eBook or hard copy.

Mattie Lennon

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BFS Newsletter for Scotland (December 2011)
Hello Everyone,
This is our busy season with lots of end of term things for teachers and pupils alike, and hopefully many opportunities to play in public - always very good for us all! Fans of Flutes en Route will be delighted to know that they are appearing in the Usher Hall in January. And proof from Glasgow Amateur Flute Ensemble that fluting is also about giving. Read on for more news…..

Glasgow Amateur Flute Ensemble in Glasgow Cathedral

On Wednesday 7th December, the ensemble were part of a Festive fund raising concert held by the Meningitis Trust in Glasgow Cathedral. A video has been created by an Elder at the Cathedral which can be viewed in your browser here or, for iPhone or iPad, a special streaming version is at

Fl(ut)ing and Familiar Favourites Scottish flute quartet Flutes en Route will be playing in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, at 11am on January 10th, as part of the 'Emerging Artists: Sound Check' series at the Usher Hall, in partnership with Live Music Now. Hope to see lots of you there! Pushing the boundaries of the flute quartet, Flutes en Route will present an exciting programme including Fl(ut)ing by Scottish composer Rory Boyle. Alongside this brilliant new work, be prepared to hear some familiar music in ways you have never imagined before.

For more information on Sound Check see News/ Emerging-Artists- Sound-Check-series.html and to learn more about Flutes en Route, see their website at

Fluting Feedback Required
Member Nikola Kyosev has asked for feedback from fellow flute players on his new recording which can be heard at Nikola can be contacted at Listen now and drop him an email, he’d love to hear from you.

Dates for your diary.
The McGoldrick, McCusker and Doyle gig, which was postponed last September at the Tolbooth in Stirling, has now been rescheduled for Friday 17th February at 8.00pm. Tickets are £12 and £10. This is a rare chance to hear three fine musicians with McGoldrick on flutes, whistles and Uilean pipes. See and for more information or Buy tickets now.

Perth Symphony Orchestra are giving a concert in Perth Concert Hall on 26th February 2012. Nielsen's Flute concerto is in the programme with Katherine Bryan as soloist. Other works are Dvorak’s Overture, In Nature's Realm, and Brahms Symphony No 3.

For information on joining the British Flute Society see

And, believe it or not, this is our twelfth Scottish flute newsletter – a full year of flute news! Thank you very much to the many players who have taken time to let me know they enjoy these little updates, and to those who have shared their news. Do please continue to let me know any flute news.

Wishing you all a very merry flutey Christmas and all the best for a tuneful 2012!


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BFS at Glasgow Cathedral

See a video of the concert here

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BFS Newsletter for Scotland (October 2011)
Hello Everyone,
Where has the year gone! I can hardly believe that summer school bookings have opened already for 2012 - see below for details of the Scottish International Summer School, and also Malvern Winds if you’re looking for a wind ensemble course. Places are also still available on our 13th November Aberdeen Flute Day so do please let me know if you’re coming but haven’t booked yet.

Music on the Isles with Glasgow Amateur Flute Ensemble

Glasgow Amateur Flute Ensemble held a residential music workshop in the Cathedral of the Isles on the beautiful Isle of Cumbrae in October. The group took part in a master class covering various flute techniques, followed by smaller section rehearsals. They gave a concert on Saturday evening in the Cathedral, featuring the full ensemble, the afternoon groups and the percussion section playing an unaccompanied piece. Alastair Chisholm, the Cathedral organist, provided accompaniment - on grand piano. On Sunday, the ensemble unveiled their new Contralto flute, pitched at one octave below the Alto G flute, manufactured by Eva Kingma. All in all, a fantastic weekend of music combined with tuition and fun. See to learn more about the Glasgow Amateur Flute Ensemble.

Wissam Boustany launches a new CD

For anyone planning a trip to London in November, Wissam's new double-cd, ‘This Invisible World’ will be available, at a discounted rate of £15, at two recitals within the Wimbledon Music Festival (see for more information). Wissam is thrilled to be performing the Claude Bolling Suite with Claude Bolling himself on 14th November. On the following day, he and Aleksander Szram perform works including the Franck Sonata, Edward Gregson's "Aztec Dances", Debussy's "Syrinx" and Wissam's own composition "...And The Wind Whispered...".
If you’re not planning to be in London during November, the CD will be available to purchase online at the Nimbus Alliance website and on Wissam's website

Scottish International Flute Summer School 24th - 30th July 2012

Summer school only seems like five minutes ago, but bookings are open for 2012 in St. Andrews already. For more information see for more information about this superb summer school. Come along to meet up with old friends, and make new ones.

Malvern Winds 4th - 11th August 2012
Bookings are also open for Malvern Winds, a summer wind chamber music course in the beautiful Malvern hills at Malvern College. The flute tutor is Lynda Coffin, former principal flute in CBSO and RPO, currently principal flute in the London Concert Orchestra and flute tutor at Trinity College London. This course is run by 'Cuillin Sound' wind trio (Lynda Coffin, Sarah Watts and Laurence Perkins). More details and on-line booking form available at CuillinSound/ Malvern_Summer_Course.html

And dates for your diary..

Scottish Flute Trio play in Glasgow University on Thursday 10th November at 1pm.
Flutes Unlimited Flute Choir on Sunday 4th December at 7.30 in Shawlands Parish Church, 5 Moss Side Road, Glasgow G41 3TP
For information on joining the British Flute Society see
Happy fluting, Everyone!

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Jane Lockyer Willis

Member of The Society of Women Writers & Journalists.
To see scripts by Jane click here

I trained as a teacher of English, speech and Drama at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama - AGSM LGSM and I'm an Associate of LAMDA. After college, I did some pro acting, amdram and later BBC World Service radio acting (plays) For many years I ran my own company, Speakwell Communications and taught adults speech training and all of that. I have been published main stream: SPEECHES AND PRESENTATIONS and am part author of THE COMPLETE SPEECHMAKER. I continue to act and now write plays. PEDIGREE

The ‘phone rang. There was an email and a text. They were all from the same woman. She wanted me to get in touch, wanted to meet up, to become part of my life - to see, to feel connected. No, this was not some female nutter, rather a long lost relative. Put another way, a distant cousin I had never met, who now, having surfaced, wanted to unearth and agitate my past.

Florence is into genealogy. Not in a small way either. She is an amateur but I bet she knows every clergyman in England, every graveyard and every register in the land. She must have spent a fortune on the relevant internet sites that require a fiver, a tenner or more, to investigate family trees.

Now, having allowed myself to be drawn into her projects, my phone never stops. At first, I would hide it under a tea cosy, or switch off the ringing tone. But late into the night I would hear it ring in my head. Florence!

I should, I suppose, have told her to clear off, to go and bother another long lost relative. And I would have done, in a polite way, of course, but for one thing. Florence is nice. Not nicey nice, but good, open hearted and generous nice. I like her. And how do you tell someone you like to clear off?

You have to admire her hell bent determination - a resolve to unearth long dead, long forgotten relatives by way of charts and trees. There was a distant Great Uncle Percy, who had twelve siblings. There was my great grandfather’s brother Alban, who opened an orphanage; and way back in the eighteenth century, a swashbuckling pirate who was hanged for mutiny. There were the illegitimate and the married, the good and the not so good; there were the poor and the rich, the long and the short lived. All recorded, all set down, and all brought to light, to my attention, by Florence.

So what if she did wear me down, drink my gin and eat half the contents of the fridge. Didn’t she deserve to? Without her, would I have bothered with ancestry and family trees? Of course not. I had shut the door on my past, and not because I had anything to hide, but simply because I was too lazy to care. My arm chair and Coronation Street beckoned nightly.

Florence has changed all that. I could go as far as to say that Florence has changed my life. I go all over the place now - dig up records, visit museums, pubs, old houses, streets and churches. My arches have dropped with so much walking. But I sleep like a log. I’m as thin as a rake, but I eat like a horse.

Florence continues to drain me. I am worn out from keeping up with her - the charts, the brain work, burning the midnight oil. So what!

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