Actor Peter F. Gardiner

Peter F. Gardiner plays Starlight 

Actor Peter F. Gardiner

Peter F. Gardiner plays Starlight in Ellie and Starlight the Musical

Theatre credits include:  Understudy on Some Mother’s Do Ave Em UK Tour Butler and Doctor in The Railway Children Kings Cross Theatre. Macbeth, Comedy of Errors & The Secret Garden at the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester. The Porter & Policeman in A Little Hotel On The Side at the Theatre Royal Bath, Ensemble & Understudy in This House for the National Theatre, Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest and Banquo in Macbeth both for Aquila Theatre Company (New York). Ed Balls, David Davies and Danny Alexander in the musical Nicked for the HighTide Festival. Dr Ballard in Vertigo and Charles Dodgson in Alice in Wonderland both for the Oxfordshire Theatre Company. Understudied and played the role of Deeping in Balmoral at the Theatre Royal Bath, Mac in Hapgood directed by Rachel Kavanaugh at the Birmingham Rep. Mel in A Trip to Scarborough directed by Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Perks in The Railway Children (The King’s Head Theatre). Shere Khan in The Jungle Book (Birmingham Stage Company). The Player King in Hamlet (Merlin International Theatre Budapest – Hungary). The Sheriff of Nottingham in The Legend of Robin Hood (Oddsocks Productions). Both Dromio’s in Comedy of Errors and Absalom in ‘The Canterbury Tales’ (The Festival Players).

TV credits include: A Very English Scandal, Eastenders, Waterloo Road, Frankie, Doctors, Emmerdale & Days that Shook the World.

Audio / Radio work includes: Macbeth by Almost Tangible.

Interview with Stephen Leslie – Director of Ellie & Starlight

This week we caught up with Stephen Leslie, director of Ellie & Starlight the Musical.

Can you tell us how you came to first direct?

Having worked as an actor for eight years, it was an obvious transition to move into directing so initially I volunteered at Youth Action Theatre in Teddington and the Riverside Youth Theatre in Sunbury, where I was able to direct large-cast productions with young people aged 12 and up.

I enjoyed directing and felt I wanted to develop this skill further so applied for an internship at TheatreWorks in Hartford, C.T, where I worked with Broadway director Rob Ruggiero on a production of The Lonesome West with a small cast including Hollywood actress Susan Pourfar.

When returning to the UK, I continued to work with local Youth Theatre, before taking on Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions at the Baron’s Court Theatre in West London and working with StopWatch theatre company, directing various touring shows. 

I then directed several corporate projects, including live events and video shoots, before forming Dramacube where I’ve produced and directed numerous productions with our Youth Company including; Annie Jr., Elf the Musical Jr., Peter Pan Jr. and Alice in Wonderland Jr.

What inspired you to direct Ellie and Starlight the Musical?

The subject matter is very close to my heart and I could see the potential to match two areas I feel passionate about, the environment and musical theatre.

I felt the story would make a lovely children’s show, and having worked on some excellent children’s theatre as an actor, I had an idea in my mind of what the show should be. 

Have you been involved in writing the show?

Indirectly yes! I contacted playwright Ken Mason and asked if he would be willing to have a go at adapting the story for the stage.  Ken read Ellie & Starlight and was keen to get involved so I then spoke with composer William Morris, who I’d worked with in 2015 on Fame Jr.  William was equally keen so I arranged a meeting between the two of them, plus Sarah Watson who wrote the original story and the creative process began!

What have you enjoyed the most about developing the script?

This has been a completely new experience for me and I’ve loved every minute! Watching a team of brilliant creative people work their magic and seeing the script and score take shape has been truly inspiring. 

I recently spent a day working with Ken and William, and was amazed at their ability to create something so special based on a short discussion or suggestion.  The script and music is exactly what I’d hoped for and I really can’t wait to see the show.

What are your hopes for Ellie & Starlight beyond the run at Hampton Hill Theatre?

Ellie & Starlight is a really important show because it shares a message we all need to be reminded of.  We must start to take care of our planet and stop being so excessive in our life-styles.  I’d love to see the show tour the UK, reaching thousands of children, and potentially tour oversees. 

We’d like to thank Stephen for this time and wish his every success with Ellie & Starlight the Musical.

Actress Liis Mikk

Liis Mikk plays Katrin

Actress Liis Mikk plays Katrin in Ellie Starlight the Musical at Hampton Hill Theatre

Liis Mikk is originally from Estonia. She has lived and worked in London for the last 12 years.

Her recent theatre credits include Lady in ‘Lady of Stavoren’ with Over the Pond Productions (2018); Stephanie in ‘Bare Essentials’ with Encompass Productions (2017); Speechmaker in ‘Rhino’ with LUXE (2017); Máire Uí Dhomhnaill in ‘Cailleach Óg’ with Blackshaw (2017); Woman in ‘The Ones’ with Urbn Theatr (2016); Chorus in ‘The Bacchae’ with Lazarus Theatre Company (2016).

Liis is also one of the founding London cast members of the internationally acclaimed musical comedy act Show-Waiters and has performed at high profile events all over Europe.

Ellie Starlight coming to Hampton Hill Theatre

Kate Barton plays Ellie

Actress Kate Barton to play Ellie

Kate Barton to appear in Ellie and Starlight the Musical at Hampton Hill Theatre

Kate Barton is a playwright and actor.  She trained at The Poor School and with Shakespeare’s Globe practitioner Emily Jenkins.  Recent credits include Dora in the ‘highly recommended’, 5* production of Fast at the Edinburgh Fringe, Ava in the award winning animation Being Good (Paris Art and Movie Awards and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards), voice over work for Audible and classical theatre roles including Kate in Taming of the Shrew and Richard in Richard II, both of which received Best Actor nominations.

Kate has an MSt in Creative Writing from Cambridge University and her final-year play Fast received a Distinction and the Kate Bertram prize from Lucy Cavendish College and is now under contract to Digital Drama.  Kate enjoys writing for radio and stage and has worked on commissions for the International Youth Arts Festival and the Museum of London.  She is currently working on drafts for a London run of her play.

Twickenham and Hampton Hill casts

Production Photos 

We are delighted to share the beautiful production photos from The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

Please click here to view.

To order photos please contact Bomi Cooper by emailing bomicooperphotography@yahoo.com with the file numbers you would like to order.

Digital copies are priced at £4.

 

Children from Dramacube Hampton Hill and Twickenham in Matilda

Four-week Summer Term Project

This summer term we’ll be looking for some revolting children as we embark on a project inspired by Matilda the Musical which will result in a concert performance on the main stage under the lights at the Exchange Theatre in Twickenham.

Children participating in the project will learn songs and routines over a four-week rehearsal period, working with our creative team as they put together a show for family and friends to enjoy on the evening of Saturday 18th May.

Rehearsals for the project will run in Hampton Hill and Twickenham from Saturday 27th April and a full schedule will be published next month for both Twickenham and Hampton Hill casts.

Dramacube actors playing out scenes from Matilda the Musical

Scenes from Matilda

Dramacube Students performing scenes from Matilda

Matilda the Musical

This project is open to all students and registration will open in mid February.

The project fee will be £130.

Full details about our summer term will be announced on our website Productions page in February.  This production will follow on from our three-day musical theatre Easter holiday workshops, which will also take place in Twickenham.

 

Dramacube Actors

Review

After an exhilarating week at Hampton Hill Theatre in December, we were rewarded with eight excellent performances from our Hampton Hill and Twickenham casts.

Theatre critic Thomas Forsythe, who attended the Twickenham Blue cast performance, rated the production highly giving it an excellent review.

“Director Matthew Bunn has kindled an imaginative fire in Dramacube’s young company which pulls out the deep messages in the lovely parable for Christmas, but perhaps the last word should go to Professor Kirk. Harry North puts across the kindliness and the discerning insight of the Professor as he says “What do they teach children in school nowadays?” with a knowing wink to the audience”.

For the full review please visit Mark Aspen Reviews.

 

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.