Cast for The Godmother chosen

The cast for our December play, The Godmother, has now been chosen.

We kicked off the new term with two weeks of workshop-style auditions. All our students impressed us with their enthusiasm, commitment and hard work.

This new play has been written by Burton’s Elaine Pritchard. It tells the true story of Lily Thomas. She sent more than 29,000 food, clothing and medicine parcels to Burton men held prisoner in Germany during World War One.

The Godmother play dates and venue

Principal Heather Gallagher explained: “It’s a real ensemble show and there will be lots for the cast to do. They are excited to be the first people to play these roles on stage.”

The play will be performed over two nights at The Trinity, on George Street in Burton town centre. Tickets will go on sale later this autumn for performance on December 9 and 10.

Heather added: “In Lily’s day, The Trinity was George Street methodist church. We know that on December 8, 1918, Lily attended the church for a service of thanksgiving. She was joined by some of the soldiers she had helped who had been released from prison camps. It feels as if Lily is really coming home.”

The cast for the Godmother

M.C. – Grace Arch-Heap

WORKMEN – Imogen Williams, Laila Baines, Jojo Bancroft,
George Weedon, Oliver Osborne, Natasha Adkins

MRS A – Camille Braker

MISS K Bethany Warren

MRS B (MRS BIRCH) – Honor Ashmore

MISS D – Rebecca Pardoe

LILY THOMAS – Gracie Edge

POSTMASTER MR BURT – Matt Hodgkinson

MRS C – Robyn Wells

OLD MAN – Jacob Rose

MISS E – Rebecca Pardoe

MRS G (MRS GARDINER) – Hettie Baker

ARMY OFFICER – George Radley

MRS J – Chloe Clamp

SOLDIER 1 – Owen Mearns

SOLDIER 2 – George Weedon

SOLDIER 3 – Oliver Osborne

MISS F (MISS FISHER) – Molly Hull

MRS H (MRS HOLMES) – Kacy Mearns

MISS M – Laila Baines

MRS L – Imogen Williams

MISS N – Natasha Adkins

CANON HAMILTON – George Radley

VESTA TILLEY  – Hettie Baker

RECRUITING OFFICER – Jacob Rose

POSTMAN – Owen Mearns

LEAD BOY SCOUT – Jojo Bancroft

ALDERMAN LOWE – Matt Hodgkinson

WAR OFFICER INSPECTOR – George Weedon

BURTON MAIL JOURNALIST – Chloe Clamp

JOE STARTIN – George Radley

SMALL CHILD  – Laila Baines

JUNIOR CHOIR – Thea Kirkpatrick, William Moore, Bobby Belson, Seren Davis, Penelope Bancroft, Ella Light

BOY SCOUTS –  Thea Kirkpatrick, William Moore, Bobby Belson, Seren Davis, Penelope Bancroft, Ella Light

CHILD HELPERS – Thea Kirkpatrick, William Moore, Bobby Belson, Seren Davis, Penelope Bancroft, Ella Light

SOLO VOCALISTS IN ENSEMBLE SONGS – Kacy Mearns, Laila Baines, Oliver Osbourne, Rebecca Pardoe, Owen Mearns, Camille Braker, Imogen Williams, Ella Light

REHEARSAL SWING – Eryn Baldwin

Keepmoat homes in Burton

We would like to say a huge thank you to Keepmoat for their kind donation of £250 back in July to enable us to rent our Sister Act Costumes!
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We are moving to a new home!

StageScreen has a brand new home!

Our Saturday morning classes are moving to William Allitt School Performing Arts Centre from the start of the autumn term on Saturday, September 11.

Our new home, in Newhall, South Derbyshire, has purpose-built facilities that create exciting opportunities for our students.
There is a dance studio with a sprung floor, mirrors and a working performance space. The centre also has a black box theatre with a sound and lighting rig and breakout rooms.
To celebrate we are holding a FREE OPEN DAY for any under-18s who want to try a StageScreen morning on September 11 at 10am – 1pm. Please complete the online form at http://stagescreen.co.uk/free-trial/  
We can’t wait for our students to take the next step on the StageScreen journey with us!
StageScreen is mobing to William Allitt Performing Arts Centre

 

 

New play based on a true Burton story is next StageScreen production

Our students will begin work on a new play when term starts on September 11.

The Godmother will allow them to develop skills in drama, comedy and musical theatre. It will also show them a new side of local history.

The play is closely based on the true story of Lily Thomas. She was a widowed mother-of-one from Burton who decided to organise support for local men taken prisoner during World War One. It has been written by local writer Elaine Pritchard. She first heard about Lily from local historian Malcolm Goode and knew it was a story she wanted to bring to life on stage.

Capturing the imaginations of local people

Principal Heather Gallagher said: “This going to be something very special indeed for our students this year!”

Over the summer, Elaine, Heather and StageScreen tutors Jack, Megan and Tilley read through the play in the inspiring surroundings of The Trinity, George Street, Burton. This is also where the students will perform the play on December 9 and 10.

An interior shot of The Trinity, Burton Three people stand in the former pulpit of The Trinity

Elaine said: “I’m already being asked when tickets will go on sale. I’m delighted that Lily’s story is already capturing the imagination of local people.”

Details of how to buy tickets will be available during the autumn on this website as well as on Lily’s own Facebook and Twitter channels.

Lily’s actions saved many lives

The play includes songs that were popular between 1914-1918 as well as a new music hall-style song.  Elaine explained: “Lily and a band of loyal volunteer helpers organised and despatched 25,750 parcels of food, clothes and medicines to Burton prisoners in Germany during the four years of the war. So I’ve written the lyrics for a new song that celebrates the array of essentials and treats that she collected and put into these parcels.

“She faced criticism and a tidal wave of red tape – but she persevered. Raising money was hard and there were many times when funds were almost exhausted. But Lily never gave up. Her faith in what she was doing was justified when many returning soldiers swore that she had saved their lives.”

Following in Lily’s footsteps

Lily Thomas of Burton

Today, the Trinity is a popular entertainment and wedding venue and a small business hub. Originally, it was the George Street United Methodist Church. Trustees from the church were staunch supporters of Lily’s fund for Burton prisoners of war. Lily herself attended a thanksgiving service at the church in December 1918.

Heather said: “We will literally be stepping in Lily’s footsteps when we perform the play at The Trinity.”

StageScreen students will be auditioning for parts in the show during September. There are still opportunities for new students to join us. Parents can use this form to request a free morning’s trial session.

Tickets on sale NOW for streamed production of Sister Act Jr

Sister Act Jr by StageScreen

We’re delighted to announce that tickets are now available for our streamed production of Sister Act Jr.

Go to Eventbrite to buy your tickets for the online event on Sunday, August 1, at 7pm.

It’s been a long wait for our students, who were originally due to perform this show in front of a live audience.

COVID restrictions prompted us to change our plans. The production was delayed by lockdown and then professionally filmed without an audience at The Brewhouse Arts Centre. An online audience will now watch the scheduled stream at 7pm on Sunday.

A new experience of filmmaking

Principal Heather Gallagher said: “It was a disappointment that we couldn’t perform Sister Act Jr in front of a full house, as we’d imagined when we booked the rights to perform the show. But the decision to film the production gave our students a new experience of filmmaking.

“The scheduled stream means that our online audience will be watching it simultaneously and can post live on social media as they enjoy the show.

“I am very grateful to the people who supported our Crowdfunder earlier this year and other fundraising efforts to cover the extra costs we faced.”

Buy your tickets for Sister Act Jr here.

Sister Act Jr – filmed and ready to stream

It’s a wrap!

StageScreen in Burton films Sister Act Jr

Our long-awaited production of Sister Act Jr was filmed at The Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton, yesterday.

Amazingly, every single cast member was available. No-one received a message to isolate or had a positive test result!

Well done to everyone, both on stage and off, for helping us to FINALLY get this show completed, in a theatre and filmed ready to stream. Stay tuned for details of when it will be streamed and how to buy tickets.

Thanks to everyone who supported our Crowdfunder earlier this year.

Tutors Tilley and Megan and Principal Heather Gallagher also completed a half marathon and dance-a-thon to boost our funds.

Altar Boys in Sister Act Jr by StageScreen

Our cast – we are so proud of all of them.

Cast members of Sister Act Jr by StageScreen, Burton-on-Trent

Performing in a theatre – once again

It was wonderful to perform in a theatre again this weekend!

Our sister school, StageScreen Musical Theatre Associates, was at the Brewhouse Arts Centre, in Burton-on-Trent town centre.

Sadly, there was no audience but it was thrilling to stand in the wings, waiting to make an entrance under the spotlights once more. We had all missed it so much.

Our end-of-term showcase, featuring the talents of our StageScreen MTA students, was filmed and will be streamed at a later date.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before we are able to perform in front of an audience.

Next, it’s the turn of our StageScreen school who will film their production of Sister Act Jr without an audience at the Brewhouse in July.

StageScreen MTA performe end of term showcase

Theatre is back in Burton

Rehearsals are in full swing for our production of Sister Act Jr.

Sister Act Jr rehearsal

Our students will have the experience of making a film musical of their production. We took the decision to film our show and stream it online due to covid restriction uncertainty.

We aren’t just filming the performance as if it was live but without an audience. Our students will experience how film musicals are made with shot selection, camera angles and close-ups.

We’ll be filming at The Brewhouse Arts Centre in July and then editing before it is streamed online. We’ll release more information about how you can buy tickets soon.

Thanks to our Crowdfunder donors

This filmed production has been made possible thanks to the Crowdfunder campaign that so many of you supported earlier this year.

Shout-outs, as promised, go to donors Mike Harris, Rachael Joiner and Tetley the dog!

Burton’s Little Theatre Company was also a major sponsor of our Crowdfunder. We have a close relationship with this long-established theatre group and our Principal Heather Gallagher has performed with them many times over the years.

We are delighted to share the news that they are about to become the first amateur company to perform live in Burton following the pandemic. The LTC Youth Group will perform the musical RENT from June 22-26.

LTC performs Rent June 2021

A special seating plan has been devised to reduce the maximum number of people allowed to watch performances.

Bookings can only be made via the Brewhouse by one of the following methods:-
📞 By telephone : 01283 508100
👤 In person at the box office

About RENT

RENT tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive in New York City’s East Village in the  days of Bohemian excess..

Inspired by Puccini’s tragic opera La Bohème, RENT features unforgettable music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson including the much-loved songs Seasons of Love, Take Me or Leave Me and La Vie Bohème. It won four Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards and the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Drama and ran on Broadway for 12 years.

We’d like to send a big, brave ‘break-a-leg’ to everyone at Little Theatre Company.

Elf The Musical – our 2022 production!

We’re delighted to announce that we have secured the rights to perform Elf The Musical in December 2022!

StageScreen Elf the Musical 2022

Our students were the first to hear the news at today’s class. As a result, it’s fair to say, they were VERY excited!

StageScreen students hear Elf the Musical news

We’ll be performing the stage version of the hit Will Ferrell film Elf at The Brewhouse Arts Centre on December 12, 2022.

Ticket details will be announced next year.

StageScreen Elf the Musical Brewhouse Burton

We are continuing to offer a free trial to any youngsters aged 4-18. So, if you know a young performer who would like to be part of this or our other upcoming productions – contact us here.

It will be such a great festive celebration. After all, as Buddy says: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

StageScreen to perform new play about World War One hero Lily Thomas

Lily Thomas play The Godmother

StageScreen pupils are to premiere a new play, The Godmother. It’s the story of Lily Thomas, a forgotten World War One hero from our home town of Burton-on-Trent.

Lily was a widow living in Stapenhill with her young daughter Marguerite when war broke out in 1914.

By the time the war had ended, helped by local volunteers, she had sent out 25,750 parcels to Burton men held prisoner in Germany. Soldiers reported that the parcels of food and medicines saved many lives.

The play has been researched and written by Elaine Pritchard. She first heard about Lily Thomas from local historian Malcolm Goode.

Fighting red tape and opposition

Elaine said: “I was captivated by the story of Lily Thomas. Malcolm has written about her in the Burton Mail, but that’s all I’ve ever seen about her in the town.

“At a time when women were still years away from winning the vote, she set about making a difference and fought miles of red tape and opposition.

“She was determined and clever and set up an amazing communication network with soldiers. This meant that she became the ‘go-to’ person for families wanting news about their sons, husbands and brothers.”

Students from StageScreen had the chance to read through scenes from the play at their Saturday morning class on May 1. To comply with covid capacity regulations, some students were at Trentside Studios and joined the readings by Zoom.

Reding The Godmother play about Lily Thomas

The play is called The Godmother because that was the nickname the Burton prisoners gave to Lily Thomas. She called them her godsons.

Elaine was able to track down a rare copy of a memoir that Lily self-published in 1920. She also researched articles that Lily Thomas wrote in local newspapers.  This means that the play covers many real-life events in Burton during the years of the First World War.

Outspoken and blunt

Elaine said: “It’s strange to think that 100 years ago, everyone in Burton would have known who Lily was. Today, she’s largely forgotten.”

“When the war ended, and honours were handed out to people who had contributed to the war effort, nothing came Lily’s way. It’s clear that she didn’t suffer fools gladly and maybe the men who ran things felt she was too outspoken and blunt. She was focused on helping her ‘godsons’ and I don’t think she cared much if she upset anyone who stood in her way.”

The play also includes popular songs from the period and an original music hall-style song written by Elaine.

We can’t wait to bring the story of Lily, and the people she worked with, to the stage in December this year. You can find out more about Lily on the Facebook Page  LilyThomas.TheGodmother.

A busy 18 months ahead

Performing The Godmother is just one of a host of exciting events our students will be working towards each term over the coming 18 months.

StageScreen forthcoming events

Firstly, in July 2021 we will be filming our production of Sister Act Junior before streaming it online. Thanks to everyone who has made this possible by contributing to our Crowdfunder.

Next, after the summer holidays, we’ll be rehearsing The Godmother ahead of its premiere in December 2021.

Thirdly, in March 2022, we’ll be performing a variety and sketch show. In July 2022, the end-of-term event will be a film festival showcasing work by students in front and behind the camera.

Finally, in December 2022, we’ll be performing a hit musical! That’s staying under wraps for a while longer, but we can say we are THRILLED to have secured the licence for this great show.

If you know any 4-18 year olds who would like to be involved in these projects, please do get in touch.