What our audiences said about The Godmother

Our students (and teachers) had a wonderful time bringing the story of Lily Thomas home to Burton. It seems that our audiences loved it too.

We staged just two performances of new play The Godmother, by local writer Elaine Pritchard at The Trinity, George Street, Burton.

Here are just a few of the comments from our audiences:

  • What an amazing achievement! The performance and the story were really woven into something very special. #BeMoreLily. I wish I was going again tonight.
  • StageScreen what a wonderful and powerful performance from your brilliant students tonight! I cried more than once. It was a beautiful and a great story of hope against adversity!
  • It’s such a great story. Nice to see such a young cast too.
  • Wonderful, well done. What a fabulous story.
  • We really enjoyed it and the children were fantastic. It was a very moving story and told with great conviction by all.
  • It was so good and everyone played their part magnificently.
  • Thank you to the cast of Lily Thomas we really enjoyed the show. Loved the Burton history.
  • It was a privilege to watch. It was absolutely fab. I learned so much. Well done to everyone.
  • Really loved last night’s show. Well done to all and enjoy tonight’s. Thank you for bringing this story to life; it is uplifting and sad in equal measure.

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Tickets for The Godmother now on general sale

Tickets are now on general sale for The Godmother, which will be performed by StageScreen students at The Trinity, Burton on Trent, on December 9 and 10.

Parents of our students have been allowed priority booking, which means that tickets are going very fast.

Tickets are only on sale online via Eventbrite – https://thegodmotherlilythomas.eventbrite.co.uk.

The Trinity, on George Street, is a former church, which retains many original features.  We have created a seating plan that offers seats upstairs and downstairs. Descriptions and diagrams of the seating plans can be seen on the Eventbrite page.

You are invited to choose the area of the building where you would like to sit and you will be emailed specific seat numbers after your payment has gone through.

On the night

Doors will open from 6pm each night enabling you to get a hot, cold or alcoholic drink from the bar before the show starts at 7pm.

Stewards will be on duty to guide you to your seats.

Running time is approximately two hours including an interval. The bar will stay open after the show if you want to linger longer and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.

Parking

There are a few pay and display parking spaces outside the venue on George Street, but parking fees are payable until 8pm.

Parking is free after 3pm in both the Sainsbury’s car park nearby and the central car park run by East Staffordshire Borough Council across the road from Sainsbury’s.

Parking is free for four hours, day and night, in the Middleway retail shopping car park on Guild Street next to Cineworld cinema. This car park is controlled by registration plate recognition cameras. If you overstay, you will get a parking ticket automatically through the post.

Who was The Godmother?

The Godmother is a new play by local writer Elaine Pritchard set in Burton-on-Trent during World War One. It tells the true story of  Lily Thomas and the extraordinary lengths she went to, to help local men survive in German prisoner of war camps.

StageScreen principal Heather Gallagher said: “Our students are excited to be the first people to play these roles on stage. They have been captivated by Lily’s story and we hope our audiences will share that enthusiasm.”

“It’s also special to be performing it at The Trinity. In Lily’s day, and for decades afterwards, it was George Street United Methodist Church and a place where she actually spent time. ”

The play includes music from the period and an original song.

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

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.