Messages from the stars cheer StageScreen students

Last week we had to tell our students that, unsurprisingly, we have to move our production and film stream of Sister Act Jr from March to July 2021 because of current COVID-19 guidelines.

But we were able to cheer them up with a host of messages of support from wonderful stars of the West End & Broadway! We’ve been sharing them throughout this week with followers of our Facebook page.

With theatres closed, many of the stars were able to tell the youngsters that they knew EXACTLY how disappointed they felt – but they must keep positive and look forward to the excitement of performing together in the future.

Stars who sent their support were Rachel Tucker, who has played Elphaba in Wicked (West End) and Beverley Bass in Come From Away (West End & Broadway); Carrie Hope-Fletcher (Les Miserables, Heathers and The Addams Family); Charlie Stemp (Mary Poppins and Half A Sixpence); Luke Baker (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) and Sam Tutty (Evan in Dear Evan Hansen).

Each of them recorded a personal video message to cheer up our disappointed students and it certainly worked!

“Everything is going to be fine”

Rachel told the students how proud principal Heather Gallagher and all the StageScreen teachers were of them and urged them to be kind to themselves and keep working towards their dream before singing them a bit of Defying Gravity from the show Wicked.

Carrie said: “I am so sorry. I bet you are all absolutely gutted …but it’s going to be OK.”

She added: “I’m sure it won’t be long before you’re all performing together… I completely understand how you feel.”

Luke said: “I don’t want you to worry about it. Everything is going to be fine. I am in the same boat. I want everything to be back to normal as soon as possible.”

He finished by urging the youngsters to stay inspired.

You can watch all five videos on the StageScreen Facebook page – and we’ve linked three of them below for you to watch from this page too.



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.

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.”

Serial drama Castleford Close – another success for StageScreen

Castleford Close end title
During lockdown we’ve seen some great work produced by writers, directors and actors on TV – did you catch Staged by David Tennant, Michael Sheen and friends?
Maybe you saw Isolation Stories, a series of 15-minute ITV dramas?
Well, StageScreen students have also been busy creating their own serial drama, Castleford Close, the story of a group of youngsters facing their own problems during lockdown.
It is written by acting tutor Jack Broughton and produced by film tutor Tilley Bancroft and the StageScreen students.
A pandemic can’t stop our incredibly talented students from producing excellent work! We are so proud of them all! You can catch all episodes of Castleford Close by subscribing to the StageScreen YouTube channel, or watch them below.

 

The Show Must Go Online

Finale of the Show Must Go Online

Our sister school, StageScreen Musical Theatre Associates, is thrilled to be among the first organisations in the UK to rehearse, perform and upload to YouTube the virtual musical The Show Must Go Online.

Show must go online detailsThis is the first musical of its kind – one written during lockdown to be rehearsed and performed remotely.

StageScreen MD Heather Gallagher said: “When lockdown started it soon became clear that we would be unable to put on any performances in person for a while. All our classes and workshops went online. Then we found out that Beat By Beat Press, a group of writers and arts educators in New York City who write children’s musicals, had created this special show where each performer could record their segment separately.

“When all the videos are edited together, they tell the story of a group of passionate students desperate to keep their annual musical alive online during the pandemic.”

“Schools in 40 different countries have so far acquired the rights to perform The Show Must Go Online, and we are thrilled to be among the first in the UK.”

You can watch The StageScreen production here:

StageScreen MTA is the elite performance arm of the StageScreen organisation and is an audition-only company for students aged from 8 to 21.

MTA classes run in South Derbyshireat Oakland Village, Swadlincote. We are delighted that we held our first in-person MTA classes on September 9 – one day ahead of our YouTube premiere of The Show Must Go Online.

Cast announced for Sister Act Jr.

We are delighted to announce the cast for our planned production of Sister Act Jr. at The Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton upon Trent, in March 2021.

Congratulations to everyone who auditioned, virtually via Zoom. You were all fantastic. We can’t wait to get started on rehearsals and we look forward to welcoming you all to see the production.

StageScreen Sister Act Jr cast list

Annie Jr delights audiences in Burton

StageScreen Annie Jr castOur students have just completed two performances of their first, full-length musical, Annie Jr, and we couldn’t be more proud!

Annie Jr poster by StageScreen

The cast took to the stage of Burton’s Brewhouse Arts Centre to delight matinee and evening audiences with the story of little orphan Annie and her adventures as she searches for a family and a home.

Annie Jr is adapted from the Tony Award-winning musical by Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin but has been specially adapted to be performed by youngsters with some songs edited and keys changed to ranges appropriate for young voices. It still includes all the songs that Annie fans know and love, including The Hard-Knock Life, Easy Street, Tomorrow and Little Girls.

Annie Jr cast image

Annie Jr with starlet chorus member

Miss Hannigan in Annie Jr

Eryn and George as Annie and Daddy Warbucks In Annie Jr

Modern Twist on The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Stagescreen Lion Witch Wardrobe posterEleven weeks of hard work came to fruition yesterday when our StageScreen students performed The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at the William Allitt School.

We are so proud of students who were part of our biggest challenge to date – a full-length play planned, rehearsed and performed during our shortest term of the year.

Students worked backstage on filmed sequences and animation – which gave it a modern twist – sound and stage management as well as playing the beloved characters from the classic book by C. S Lewis, adapted for the stage by Glyn Robbins.

Members of the cast were also trained in stage combat in order to perform the iconic battle scenes.

StageScreen team witch characters

Lion Witch Wardrobe performer

Susan and Lucy from Lion Witch and Wardrobe

Susan Lion Witch Wardrobe