Zoom workshop with Christina Modestou

StageScreen students past and present are being invited to a workshop with Christina Modestou.

Christina ModestouChristina originated the role of Anne Boelyn in Six. This month, she will be leading a workshop for us based on The Boy In The Dress.

Principal Heather Gallagher said: “You may not be too familiar with this brand new musical. I was lucky enough to go and see it in Stratford when Christina was in it. It is pure joy!”

The Zoom workshop will take place on Sunday, January 24. The cost will be as a pay-what-you-can-afford donation (maximum £5 per person).

If you are a StageScreen student, past or present, who would like to attend, please email Heather at info@stagescreen.co.uk. She will give you more information and reserve your place on the workshop. You can pay your donation via Paypal.

Christina ran a high-energy, fun Zoom workshop as part of StageScreen’s virtual summer school in 2020. It was a real hit with students. As a result, she accepted an invitation to become patron of StageScreen’s sister school StageScreen Musical Theatre Associates.

Students thrive during third lockdown

The third lockdown holds no fears for us.  Our students are continuing to benefit from virtual lessons that are full of fun and creativity.

StageScreen students on zoom

Founder and principal, Heather Gallagher, said: “Last March, when the first lockdown came, we switched immediately to using Zoom to bring our students together for lessons. We’ve not missed a beat since.

“In a world that can feel very scary and unpredictable, I think it’s important that we give our youngsters some certainty.”

An antidote to stress and anxiety

Heather continued: “Whatever else is going on, they know they will see their friends and their teachers on screen every week. Creativity is a real antidote to stress and anxiety. It’s a great way to forget about everything else for a few hours. Our students can relax and focus on something they love.

“We have viewed each lockdown as a chance to shine a spotlight on what we CAN do. This has led to a host of exciting new opportunities.”

West End stars came in to teach

StageScreen’s patron, Burton-born West End theatre director Tom O’Brien, has helped Heather bring in West End stars to deliver live Zoom workshops to students.

The stars who have taught Burton youngsters new skills and boosted their confidence in this way have included Christina Modestou, who originated the role of Anne Boleyn in the musical Six. Also sharing their knowledge were: Chris Tendai (Hamilton); Luke Bayer (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie); Danny Mahoney (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Florence Foster Jenkins) and Barnaby Thompson (The Lion King).

Other highlights of 2020 include the youngsters filming their own, original drama serial, Castleford Close and uploading it to the StageScreen YouTube channel. They also did one of the first UK performances of The Show Must Go Online – a musical specially written for lockdown.

Free, two-week trial on offer

StageScreen is currently offering a free, two-week trial for any new students to experience classes on Zoom classes. Youngsters aged four to 18 get age-appropriate lessons in acting, singing and film work from teachers with professional industry experience. Classes run every Saturday morning in term time.

Heather has also devised and organised a series of online performing arts competitions. These are open to all youngsters, not just StageScreen students. The first one received more than 400 video entries, including some from overseas.

Recently, StageScreen hit its target on a Crowdfunder campaign to raise money so that its child-friendly version of the hit musical Sister Act could be filmed without an audience and streamed online. The licence for the show was bought when Heather assumed it could be performed in front of a real audience at Burton’s Brewhouse Arts Centre. When the COVID-19 crisis made this impossible, StageScreen needed to raise more money for extra costs to film it and stream it online. The show can now go on as a filmed musical.

Heather said: “We are so grateful for the support we have received on Crowdfunder. We will continue to follow Government rules and guidance. So, if it’s not possible for us to come together in March to film Sister Act Jr, we will put the date back until it is safe to do so. But, meanwhile, we’ll keep creating new opportunities and providing a creative outlet for our students.”

Entries open for Heat 2 of Centre Stage Door Performing Arts Competition

Heat 2 of the Centre Stage Door Performing Arts Competition is open for entries.

Heat 2 of centres stage performing arts competition is openThis online event is organised by StageScreen founder and principal, Heather Gallagher. She said: “Our first heat in 2020 went so well and we were overwhelmed with the talent we saw coming through!”

It’s only £3 per entry. You can enter as many classes as you want in dance, drama and vocal. There are also six different age categories. Everyone who gets 85 marks or more from our professional adjudicators will qualify for our live, online, World Championship Finals at Easter 2021. If you entered heat one and didn’t qualify, you can try again in heat two. Categories for Centre Stage performing Arts Competition

Email centrestagedoor@hotmail.com to request an information and entry pack. The deadline to enter is February 27, 2021, and there are some 30 different classes to choose from. Every entrant will receive a certificate and an adjudicator’s report. There will be medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in all classes.

There are three industry professional adjudicators – one for dance, one for drama and one for vocal.

Christina judges vocal categories

Christina ModestouChristina Modestou is our judge for vocal categories. She originated the role of Anne Boleyn in Six in the West End. Christina is originally from Port Talbot, South Wales.

Her theatre credits include: The Boy in the Dress (RSC); BBC 10 Pieces (Tour); The Winter’s Tale (National Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors (Regents Park Theatre); Six (Arts Theatre, Cast Recording); 35MM (The Other Palace Studio); Rent (St James Theatre, UK tour); The Last Mermaid (WMC); Shrek (UK tour); Urinetown (Apollo Theatre); In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse); The London Revue (Park Theatre); Edges (Tabard Theatre); Aladdin (Everyman Theatre); We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre)

Television appearances include: Holy Popcorn (web series); Belonging (BBC Wales); Strictly Come Dancing (BBC).

Christina trained at the Arts Educational Schools, London. In 2020 she became patron of our sister school StageScreen Musical Theatre Associates.

Katherine  hopes to inspire future dancers

Katherine JarowickiKatherine Jarowick is judging Heat 2 dance classes.

She trained at Addict Dance Academy after enjoying dance her entire life from a young age.
She has performed around the world on cruise ships, in fashion and on television for brands including Princess Cruises, The X Factor, Adidas & Reebok.

Katherine loves performing in all genres and has just as strong a passion for teaching which has lead to her current position teaching on the east coast of Australia where she is loving helping to inspire the next generation of dancers.

Tom judges drama classes

Tom O'BrienWest End theatre director and StageScreen patron Tom O’Brien will adjudicate the drama classes.

Tom is also a dramaturg and writer. He trained at ArtsEd, Living Pictures and at the National Theatre Studio.

His theatre credits include (as director): Afterglow (Southwark Playhouse); Top Hat (Cunard); Fabric (Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury/UK Tour); Underbelly (Scotsman Fringe First Winner 2016); Foiled (Edinburgh Festival); Our Friends, The Enemy (UK Tour/Edinburgh Festival/Theatre Row, New York City); The Dogs of War (Old Red Lion); Remote (Drum – Theatre Royal Plymouth/St Ives Theatre); The Wedding Singer (The Lowry); The Fastest Clock In The Universe (Old Red Lion – Recorded for The V&A National Video Archive of Performance); How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (The Lowry); Coming Up (Soho Theatre); Judy The Righteous (King’s Head); Christmas Is Miles Away (Hen and Chickens Theatre).

As resident/associate/assistant: Miss Saigon (International Tour); Little Shop Of Horrors (Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park); Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward); Dangerous Lady (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Watermill); Merrily We Roll Along (Clwyd Theatr); Ruben Guthrie (New Wimbledon Theatre); Little Women (LOST Theatre); A Clockwork Orange and Titus Andronicus (Edinburgh Festival).

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

It’s been a tough year for everyone including our students, their families, our teachers and the arts industry as a whole.

But we have good reasons to be excited and positive for 2021. Firstly, we are grateful for the support our Crowdfunder campaign is continuing to attract. This will help us film and stream our March production of Sister Act Jr. Secondly, we are proud of all our students and the way they have continued to work hard and have fun. We know they are going to love the projects we have lined up for the new year.

Now, it is with great pleasure that we would like to share with you our students’ Christmas Virtual Performance for 2020. It is a cover version of ‘Just Sing a Christmas Song’ from Elf The Musical.

We would all like to wish you all a merry and safe Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Santa visits StageScreen

Our final StageScreen classes of 2020 ended this weekend with a huge surprise for our Starlets.

The four to six-year-olds at StageScreen had a safe, socially-distanced visit from Santa himself.

StageScreen Starlets class reacts to Santa visitSanta visits StageScreen

Thank you SO MUCH Santa! Our students loved being able to chat with you.

They were very impressed that Santa knew all about what was on their lists and they assured him that they had been nice all year. And we were happy to agree!

But, Santa wasn’t finished there and he also pulled in a quick Zoom call to our Debut class where he revealed that too many carrots can make the reindeer a bit windy.

Santa zoom call with Debut class

It’s good to see that Santa has embraced technology at the end of this extraordinary year.

We wish all our students and their families a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year. We look forward to welcoming you all back in January.

 

 

Thank you for supporting our Crowdfunder

Our Crowdfunder campaign to raise £500 to secure our March 2021 production of Sister Act Jr has hit its target!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

We are overwhelmed that we’ve hit our target in just ONE week. We are so grateful for your support. These donations mean that our production can go ahead, but with changes in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally, when we booked the licence to perform this exciting musical show, we expected that our young cast would be on stage, in front of a live audience, at The Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton town centre.

At the moment, it’s impossible to predict what restrictions will be in place in March 2021. We also can’t know how people may feel about being back in an auditorium – even if it is allowed by then.

We did not want our students to face the disappointment of late changes. So, we came up with a plan to film the show at the Brewhouse without an audience and then stream it online. This meant we needed to cover extra costs connected with the filming,  editing and the streaming platform needed to show the finished production. Thanks to the donations received we can now meet those costs.

A Crowdfunder stretch target

So, we have now created a stretch target – something we never expected to do – before our Crowdfunder ends in January.  If we get any further donations they will allow us to add some extra sparkle to our production and we would spend that money on upgrading costumes and sets and enhancing the filming of the show.  But the most important thing is that you have helped us secure the future of our Spring show. Thanks again, from the bottom of our hearts. There are rewards you can choose from when you make a donation. Pop over to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sister-act-online to take a look, or share it with your connections who might be interested.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, here’s a clip of our student Bethany who will be playing Deloris Van Cartier in our Sister Act Jr. This is from the audition Bethany did for the role back when we were only teaching via Zoom.

Back to class at our Burton venue

stagescreen back at venue dec 5Our venue has re-opened today and our in-person classes are reinstated. We are observing all the guidelines and restrictions that go with our current Tier 3 status.

Please get in touch if you have been waiting for a trial in person and we can now book you in. Please note that places in our Spotlight group, for ages 10-13, are extremely limited. This class is almost full, so don’t delay.

Pictured above is our Starlets class (for four to six-year-olds) having fun today at the Burton Albion Community Hub, Grange Street, Burton on Trent, DE14 2ER. They were so happy to be back and we loved seeing them in person.

Thankyou to Burton Albion Community Trust for their wonderful support throughout  2020 💜

We also run age-appropriate training for six to nine-year-olds (our Debut class) and 14 to 18-year-olds (our Encore class).

Our number one priority remains protecting the health and wellbeing of all our students, staff and volunteers. All our staff members have completed  COVID-19 awareness training and the community hub is a COVID-secure venue. We will continue to follow the advice of the UK Government, NHS, Public Health England and our local Health Protection Team.

Crowdfunder launched to help Sister Act Jr go online

Sister Act Jr by StageScreen

The show must go on when it comes to our March 2021 production of Sister Act Jr.

We invested in the licence to perform this smash-hit musical some time ago and had high hopes that we would be performing it in front of an enthusiastic audience at our local theatre, The Brewhouse Arts Centre, in March 2021.

As restrictions have eased, and then tightened, and lockdowns and tiers have come and gone, we KNEW we had to provide our hard-working students with some certainty. They are so looking forward to performing this show and they deserve this opportunity after their hard work and resilience throughout 2020.

So, we have decided to film the show at the Brewhouse and then put it out online as a scheduled, streamed performance. It will be different from the production we originally planned, but there are a lot of positives. It gives us the opportunity to give our students the experience of filming a musical with the Brewhouse as their set. It also removes the uncertainty around what restrictions may (or may not) be in place for theatre audiences during March 2021. We are confident we can safely follow social distancing for our cast and crew to make our film in the covid-secure surroundings of the Brewhouse.

But, to film the show we need to meet all the usual show costs, and a few extras on top connected with the streaming and the filming. So, we’ve launched our first-ever Crowdfunding campaign in a bid to raise £500 towards the show costs and ensure that we break-even. You can find our crowdfunder, and read more about our plans, at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sister-act-online.

What’s Sister Act Jr about?

Sister Act Jr. is based on the 1992 film, starring Whoopi Goldberg, and the Tony-nominated Broadway and West End musical that followed it.

It tells the story of disco diva Deloris Van Cartier who witnesses a murder and is put into protective custody, disguised as a nun, at a convent by the police. She soon clashes with the Mother Superior but uses her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the nuns’ choir. When Deloris cover is blown, and the gang of baddies sets out to get her, her newly-found sisterhood comes to her rescue.

It’s a joyful tribute to the universal power of friendship – a theme that is close to the heart of StageScreen teachers and students.

How can you help?

We would really welcome any donations you can make to our Sister Act Jr online crowdfunder. We have put together a list of rewards. Please take a look at them. Some are ideal for local businesses and people who are self-employed as they will offer publicity and promotional opportunities in return for donations. Other might make a great surprise gift for a loved one.

We understand that times are tough and every penny counts, so if you are unable to make a donation, perhaps you could share this story, or our Crowdfunder page, with your friends, family and contacts on social media or by email? We would be very grateful.

Our Crowdfunder page will be open until January 23, and it’s an ‘all or nothing’ fundraiser, which means that any donations will be refunded if we DON’T hit out target of £500.

Principal of StageScreen and StageScreen Musical Theatre Associates, Heather Gallagher, said: “Our students have continued to work really hard and support each other since the first lockdown in March 2020. Exactly 12 months on from that milestone we want to give them a great experience with Sister Act Jr. Its themes of friendship and fun are just perfect for our talented students and the times in which we live.”

Centre Stage competition goes global!

Entries have now CLOSED for Heat 1 of The Centre Stage Door Performing Arts Competition. It’s a truly international event!

We have had entries from Australia, the United States, Cyprus, Italy, as well as England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Centre Stage Door Competition

If you wanted to enter, but missed the deadline, the good news is that there will be a second heat in February 2021. Keep an eye on our news feed here and on Facebook to learn more.

Our professional adjudicators are looking through all the videos submitted now. Results from heat one will be announced on Monday, November 23.

Katherine Jarowicki, Christina Modestou and Tom O'Brien

All entrants with 85+ marks will be invited to enter our World Championship Final at Easter 2021. Every entrant will receive a certificate and an adjudicator’s report. There will be medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in all classes.

Good luck to everyone who has entered.

StageScreen goes online for Lockdown 2

We did it for the first UK lockdown of 2020 – so we KNOW we can get through a second lockdown in England.

ALL our classes will go online from tomorrow until we get the go-ahead to start face-to-face classes in a covid-secure way.

We are really looking forward to seeing all our students again, but until then we will continue to offer classes online that are inspiring, innovative and fun.

We’re here for anyone who wants to talk and we know that our students will continue to support each other and enjoy the team spirit, kindness and companionship that mark out our amazing StageScreen students.

We will continue to follow the advice of the UK Government, NHS, Public Health England and our local Health Protection Team.

StageScreen goes online November 2020