Hampton Hill Theatre to host new Dramacube cast

Exciting Changes at Dramacube Hampton Hill

January 2019 will see us embark on our eleventh full-scale musical theatre production and what better way to start the year than with a Disney classic – Aladdin Jr.

With the start of the new year will come a number of changes for Dramacube Hampton Hill.

Firstly, the formation of our Hampton Hill Green cast, who will rehearse at Hampton Hill Theatre every Tuesday from 5pm to 7.15pm.

The new cast will be the first (by one day!) to benefit from our new way of working, with a stronger focus on the creative process of learning the show, before parts are allocated at half term.

Our new way of working will see all students become familiar with the story, the characters, songs, routines and scenes, ensuring they are fully engaged in the production from start to finish.  We are excited about this change, and based on the parent feedback we’ve had so far, we are confident this will enhance the experience students have with us further still.

There will also be a complete change in personnel for both the Hampton Hill Green (Tuesdays) and Hampton Hill Blue (Wednesdays) casts, with Steve Leslie returning to work with experienced teacher and director, Marc Batten.

Experienced performing arts teacher Marc Batten joins the team at Dramacube Hampton Hill

Marc Batten – Joining the Hampton Hill Team

Marc joined the team back in the summer, supporting on our Moana holiday workshops at the Exchange theatre in Twickenham, and will take over from Matt Bunn.

Having worked as Head of Performing Arts at a number of local High Schools, and directed numerous productions from Shakespeare to musicals, Marc will bring great experience and knowledge to Dramacube Hampton Hill and we look forward to working with him.

Our Hampton Hill Blue cast (Wednesdays) will continue to rehearse at the United Reformed Church in Hampton Hill from 5pm – 7.15pm and we look forward to working with you all on Aladdin Jr.

But before that of course, we have an exciting journey ahead of us with our Christmas production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is taking place at Hampton Hill Theatre on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd December.

You can book tickets for the production via our website.   We look forward to seeing you at the show.

 

 

For Dramacube Twickenham and Hampton Hill teacher Becky Wright reads her new book

This week we caught up with newly published author Rebecca Wright who was with Dramacube Twickenham and Hampton Hill for two years teaching acting, singing and dance to our 4-6 years classes.

With Simon and the Magic Drums now available to purchase on Amazon and from Waterstones, we wanted to find out more about the book.

What inspired you to write the story?

My friend has a son with ASD who wanted to write stories, he is really creative and would come up with lots of ideas for narrative, but had dyslexia and found writing a real challenge. This got me thinking about how frustrating it must be to have so much creativity Inside but it being so hard to express it. From this I began thinking about all sorts of people who maybe don’t get to use their voice and their ideas much in society. I wanted to write a story highlighting how important everyone’s voices are. Not just the people who are good at public speaking, or who write fluently. 

Are there parts of the book which are reflective of your own experiences? 

Yes, when Simon is in Vozori he is getting frustrated as he can’t find his voice, which is his way of expression. A group of evil Castanets come find him and manipulate him into giving up. They Try to convince him that it’s not worth trying to find his voice, people may not like it, they say that it’s actually a selfish thing to do, taking up other people’s time with your voice. I have definitely had those Castanets in my head before! 

Who is the book for?

The book was aimed at 7-11 yr olds, but the themes in the book seem to really resonate with the 25yrs+ bracket! It’s definitely a children’s book for adults. 

What impact do you think the book will have on young readers? 

I really hope that it will help them to become aware of how important it is to find their voice, whatever that looks like. With more children being given antidepressants, and the pressures they face today, it’s so important that they are able to express themselves. Not to get any kind of award or certificate, but just purely so they can shine. 

Tell us about the workshop you are currently developing.

The half hour workshops are for school PSHE lessons. Through drama and movement the aim is for the children to discover how important each of their voices are. We will look at how different we are and how differently we like to express ourselves. And that this is all OK!!

What plans have you for for the workshop?

I will be trying them out within the next few weeks, making sure they are as interactive and engaging as possible. When I am happy I will begin to advertise them and offer them to schools. The workshops will be free, and the book will be available to purchase at the school afterwards.

Do you have another book in mind and what will it be? 

I am up to chapter three of the next book. It is a sequel to Simon and the Magic Drums, and involves his sister. It is turning out to be full of adventure…that is all I can say right now!!

We’d like to thank Rebecca for her time and wish her the very best of luck with Simon and the Magic Drums.

Sunday Rehearsals 

For parents with children in the Twickenham or Hampton Hill casts of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, please be reminded that Sunday rehearsals start in December.

If you are unsure of details please check your rehearsal and performance schedule or contact the office.

Throughout the rehearsal process children have been building up to running the show and the Sunday rehearsals are extremely important as this is when all the acting, singing and dance comes together and our young casts get a sense of what they have achieved and most importantly what else they need to do.

Please also check your schedules carefully for venue details as rehearsals are all in Twickenham with no sessions in Hampton Hill.

Thank you for your support.

Introducing Rebecca Wright – Author of Simon and the Magic Drums

For those of you who’s children attended our 4-6yrs acting, singing and dance classes in Twickenham and Hampton Hill, the name Rebecca Wright needs no introduction, but what you may not know is that since moving away, Rebecca has been using her creative skills to develop a brilliant new children’s book called Simon and the Magic Drums which was published on 31st October.

The story focuses on Simon who doesn’t understand how to communicate, which means other children don’t understand him. This lack of understanding causes some children to tease him, and others to disregard him like the unwanted crusts of a sandwich.

Simon is from Simon and the magic drumms

Central Character Simon

After a run-in at school, Simon takes refuge in a music room where he is unexpectedly taken on a great adventure, when a magical drum-kit befriends him and whisks him away to the land of Vozori.

Together they encounter strange and compelling creatures which all help them as they go on a quest to find Simon’s voice.

Rebecca’s own son has ASD, and she has worked with children with the same diagnoses so understanding the challenges children can experience came very naturally.

“Sometimes verbal communication can be a struggle for them, not knowing how to express what they want or think about the world can cause frustration. We often think of communication as verbal, but in this story Simon gets taken to a magical land called Vozori, by a magical drum-kit and finds another way to communicate to the world.”

Since publishing the book, Rebecca has been busy developing a workshop for schools which will help children to understand that we all communicate in different ways.

The book is now available for just £5.99 on Amazon and at Waterstones.

We’d like to congratulate Becky on the publication of her first book and wish her every success with the schools workshop and of course, her next book!

 

 

Student scripts arrive for Hampton Hill and Twickenham casts

Aladdin Character List

We have now received our Broadway Junior Aladdin scripts from Music Theatre International which will be given out to our Hampton Hill

Aladdin Jr. Script

Student Script

and Twickenham casts in January.

Aladdin Jr. is a fantastic musical with huge potential for acting, singing and dancing roles.  For students who love the performing arts this is an excellent production to be part of.

The characters in the Disney version are as follows;

Genie – all powerful, fast talking wisecracker and prisoner of the lamp.

Ensemble – Includes Agrabahns, the citizens of Agrabah; Genie’s magical Ensemble in ‘Friend Like Me’, and ‘Prince Ali’s Entourage.

Aladdin – Charismatic, poor street urchin; longs to make his mother proud.

Babkak, Omar and Kassim – Aladdin’s devoted and penniless pals.

Jasmine – Princess of Agrabah; craves the freedom to make her own choices.

Sultan – Warmhearted ruler of Agrabah.

Jafar – the Sultan’s villainous Grand Vizier.

Iago – Jafar’s lackey; always over-eager to assist in an evil plan.

Shop Owner – marketplace vendor from whom Aladdin steals bread.

Razoul – Head of the Guards.

Guards (2) – work for Razoul.

Beggars (3) – hungry Agrabahns in the marketplace.

Apple Vendor – a merchant in the marketplace.

Fortune Teller – unintentionally helps Aladdin escape from the guards.

Attendants (2) – accompany Prince Abdullah on his journey to Agrabah.

Prince Abdullah – one of Princess Jasmine’s arrogant suitors.

Isir, Manal and Rajah – Jasmine’s loyal, encouraging attendants.

Spooky Voice – reveals the location of the lamp.

Cave of Wonders – voice of the magical cave; declares Aladdin to be the “Diamond in the Rough”.

Dramacube makes changes for Hampton Hill and Twickenham students

A New Way of Working at Dramacube

Over the past three years, we have often debated the pros and cons of the audition process.

Aladdin Jr. Script

Student Script

We’ve worked hard to ensure students are comfortable and relaxed when participating in one of our workshop-auditions.

We structure sessions to give students every opportunity to do their best, however we are aware that on most occasions, when a student is auditioning, it is the first time they’ve seen the script, it is often the first time they’ve heard the music and perhaps most importantly it is the first time they’ve looked beyond the leading roles on the character list.

We’ve noticed a change in recent times with children building their hopes even higher on landing a particular role, without giving any consideration to other parts they would like to play, or even if they are right for that role.

Whilst we admire this positive and determined attitude, the outcome of the audition often results in disappointment when they are given a different part.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

We are concerned about the potentially negative impact this may have on the child and on the group and for that reason we have decided to try a new way we working for our next production.

Prospective new members will still attend a workshop-audition prior to joining the company where they will have the opportunity for acting, singing and dance, however there will no longer be an audition at the first rehearsal.

We want students to engage with the creative process and understand the importance of working as a team.  Creating a show is a very special experience and extremely rewarding and our students must feel they are an integral member of the group from start to finish.

Synopsis of play

The Synopsis

Starting with Aladdin Jr. in January, our Twickenham and Hampton Hill casts will work on ensemble numbers, routines and scenes during the first three-four weeks of  rehearsal, providing students with more time and additional resource to fully understand the plot and give some proper thought to the part they would like to play.

Over the three to four weeks, our creative team will be observing who would be suitable for each role, allowing students to shine over a greater period, and not feel pressured to perform in one two-hour audition.

All of our creative team work in performing arts and they understand how difficult it can be to attend an audition having not previously read the script.  By changing the way we work, it will also give our director, choreographer and musical director more time to consider the casting.

Scripts will be issued at the start of term, and the parts will be allocated before half term, giving students the week off school to start working on their lines.

We will continue to cast the shows based on who is right for the role, unlike other groups who simply offer the largest roles to those who have been attending for the longest period.

This philosophy provides every member, existing and new with an equal chance to get any part in the show which we believe is both fair and in line with how a professional company operates.

We will review the new way of working after Aladdin Jr. and decide if this is the best practice, making adjustments where necessary.

 

 

 

 

Spooky workshops at Hampton Hill Theatre

A Ghost Story for Halloween

It was this time last year that performing arts students from Teddington, Hampton Hill and Twickenham performed in a Dramacube Halloween workshop-production at the Studio, Hampton Hill Theatre.  The show included acting, sings and dance including a ‘Thriller’ inspired routine.

Here is the script they worked from;

Halloween Workshop Script – October 2017

Scene 1.

Scarborough Fair.

Narrator 1:          Okay, how about this?  ‘Spirits in torment! Do they really come back to the scenes of their tragedies? Bound there forever,                                  even in death?

Narrator 2:          It was a fine clear autumn day.

Narrator 3:          The late October sunshine had brought flocks of tourists to the beautiful North East coast of England.

Narrator 4:          The pier was buzzing with people.

Narrator 5:          The delicious smell of fried fish and vinegar smothered potato chips drifted tantalizingly through the air.

Narrator 6:          It was October 31st but the brilliant midday sunshine gave the feel of a hot August bank holiday weekend.

Narrator 7:          The Sea was clam and the waves gently rippled into the shallows.

Narrator 8:          With such idyllic conditions it made no sense that the life boat siren sounded.

Narrator 9:          What possible disaster at sea could have occurred?

Narrator 10:        The lifeboat station doors crashed open

Narrator 11:        And the magnificent Frederick William Plaxton

Narrator 12:        Surged out into the sea.

Scene 2.

Captain:               Report; 3 man fishing vessel in distress.

Volunteer 1:       Coordinates; 11.2572 North, 52.8432 East.

Volunteer 2:       Distance; 14 nautical miles.

Volunteer 3:       Personnel; Three able bodied crew.

Volunteer 4:       Increase speed to 25 knots.

Volunteer 5:       25 knots.

Scene 3

Narrator 1:          The lighthouse station at Scarborough had been founded in 1801.

Narrator 2:          Volunteer crews had saved hundreds of lives over the past two centuries.

Narrator 3:          There had been many, many success stories

Narrator 4:          And the current crew had an exemplary record and were renowned as one of the                                                                                                             most experienced and expert teams operating in the UK.

Narrator 5:          But the towns’ people still remembered the story of 1917.

Narrator 6:          Disaster struck when the lifeboat was launched to rescue a small fishing vessel which                                                                                                     had been caught out in an unexpected storm.

Narrator 7:          It had been fine weather that day, exceptionally good for that time of year.

Narrator 8:          The town had been preparing for its traditional All Hallows Eve festival when the                                                                                                           lifeboat siren sounded.

Narrator 9:          The lifeboat capsized and all of her crew went down.

Narrator 10:        The fishing boat was never recovered and to this day, the tragic event still remained                                                                                                       a mystery.

Narrator 11:        One hundred years on and the Scarborough lifeboat was still in service.

Scene 4

Volunteer 1:       Approaching vessel location Captain.

Volunteer 2:       Where is it?

Captain:               Check coordinates.

Volunteer 3:       Coordinates correct Captain.

Volunteer 4:       No vessel.

Volunteer 5:       It can’t have gone down.

Volunteer 1:       The weather is completely still.

Volunteer 2:       There is no wind.

Volunteer 3:       You could sail a dingy out here today.

Volunteer 4:       I don’t understand Captain.

Captain:               No, me neither.

Scene 5

Storm SFX & LFX

Narrator 1:          In seconds the weather turned.

Narrator 2:          A thick sea fret rolled in and smothered the boat.

Narrator 3:          Strong winds tossed the boat around

Narrator 4:          And high crashing waves smashed into the side of the lifeboat.

Narrator 5:          The crew were thrown off their feet.

Narrator 6:          And then, from no-where, they appeared.

Narrator 7:          Ten men, dressed in lifeboat crew clothing.

Narrator 8:          But clothes not recognizable in 2017.

Narrator 9:          They wore clothes from a different century.

Narrator 10:        These men were from 1917.

Narrator 1:          Their faces pale and washed out.

Narrator 2:          Their clothing wet and torn.

Narrator 3:          These men were not from this world.

Narrator 4:          These men were zombies!

Thriller

Narrator 5:          The zombies lurched towards the crew.

Narrator 6:          Surely they were all doomed!

Narrator 7:          The zombies got closer and closer

Narrator 8:          The crew screamed!

Narrator 9:          They called out in fear.

Narr. 10/Girl:      But then I woke up from my nap.  It was time to get my zombie costume on.  I was meeting friends from school for a                                           Halloween party.  It was going to be a great night with loads of food, drink, scary films and of course our favourite song.

Little Shop of Horrors – Intro 

Student scripts arrive for Hampton Hill and Twickenham casts

Aladdin Jr. Scripts Arrive!

We received an exciting delivery today – our first batch of Aladdin Jr. scripts arrived from Music Theatre International.

The Broadway Jr. scripts are specifically written for young actors, and include a synopsis, character breakdown, plus many other top tips about being an actor.

The scripts are an excellent resource for performing arts students and really add value to their experience of being in a production.

Students in our Twickenham and Hampton Hill casts will receive their scripts when they start rehearsing in January.

New designer for Hampton Hill and Twickenham cast

A New Designer at Dramacube!

We are delighted to welcome Christine Osborne to the team at Dramacube.

Christine is a set and costume designer and has worked extensively with performing arts as a Theatre Designer, Art Facilitator and Artist. She has designed a wide range of productions and events including children’s theatre with Image Musical Theatre.

Christine’s most recent costume design was for “The Witches” at St. Paul’s Boys school.  She has also designed set and costume for events and shows at Chase Bridge Primary School and with Creative People and Places – Hounslow, and is currently facilitating community Art Project- Whitton Remembers World War I.

She is delighted to be designing a magical Narnia for Dramacube and is looking forward to working with the Twickenham and Hampton Hill casts.

 

 

 

 

 

Dramacube set design for Twickenham and Hampton Hill casts

Set Design for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

While our young casts in Twickenham and Hampton hill have been working hard at rehearsals, our creative team have been busy behind the scenes developing ideas for costume and set.

Set designers Christine has shared with us some initial images of her ideas, as well as some of her inspiration for the look and feel of Narnia.

Creating an effective wardrobe, which does not dominate the set is always a challenge with this production and there have been many discussions between Christine and Artistic Director Matt about how the set will work.

Whilst it is important for the wardrobe to be clearly recognizable, Christine, having worked with young people on many occasions,  is very

Design inspiration for Narnia

Inspirations behind design

aware that the stage will need to be kept clear for our actors to perform and will need space when acting, singing and dancing.

In these initial sketched you’ll see the wardrobe is positioned up stage right, with the stone mid stage left, both framed by the woods of Narnia.

Further images show some of the inspiration for the set which reflect the style of the period.

We look forward to sharing further details about the set design so please watch this space!