Mary Poppins for Children in Hampton and Twickenham

Mary Poppins – Summer Holiday Workshops Announced

We are going ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ this summer as we take off with Mary Poppins for three-day musical-theatre workshops inspired by the classic Disney film.

Working with directors and choreographers, students will learn scenes, songs and routines as they work towards a show.  On day three, the cast will take to the main stage at the theatre where they will participate in a technical and dress rehearsal before giving a performance under the lights for family and friends to enjoy.

Workshops take place from Wednesday 24th – Friday 26th July at Hampton Hill Theatre and Wednesday 14th – Friday 16th August at the Exchange Theatre, Twickenham.

There will be a performance on the Friday at 3.15pm.

  • All-day workshops (9.30am – 4.00pm)
  • Acting, singing and dance
  • Perform on stage under the lights this summer!

Dramacube’s three-day workshop productions are ideal for children who love to act, sing and dance and participate in musical theatre.

Workshop fee: £110.

Visit our website for details or book here.

Dramacube at Hampton Hill Theatre

Richmond Councillors Back Ellie & Starlight 

After delighting young audiences at Hampton Hill theatre in April, Ellie & Starlight the Musical has also attracted the support of local councillors Monica Saunders and Matthew Hull who both saw the production.

Original cast of Ellie Starlight the Musical with Cllr Saunders

Cast of Ellie & Starlight with Cllr. Saunders

Cllr. Saunders, who had backed the initial crowd-funding campaign with the South West London Environment Network said “It’s inspiring to see that the crucial message about climate change can be brought to young children in a creative and entertaining way.  We hope that everyone who goes to see the musical has a really enjoyable time and learns the importance of taking care of our planet”

Local Cllr sees production

Cllr. Hull with play-write Kenneth Mason

Cllr. Hull, who attended the show and met with play-write Kenneth Mason and actors Liis Mikk and Kate Barton after the show said “Ellie & Starlight is an engaging musical with magical characters and catchy tunes. It is an excellent way of teaching children about climate change and how it impacts on the lives of ourselves and people in far away countries, who are often forgotten about”. 

Ellie and Starlight played to almost 900 people including groups from the Ivy Tree Nursery, Greenacres Nursery and Hampton Hill Junior School, with children learning about climate change and how they can make wiser choices to make a difference to our global environment.

The support of the local community, schools and nurseries, councillors and the South West London

Cllr Hull visits Hampton Hill Theatre

Cllr. Hull with Kate Barton & Liis Mikk

Environment Network has been a huge help in making the production possible.

Producer Stephen Leslie said “The amazing feedback received after the production and the support of all parties involved is helping us to take Ellie & Starlight onto the next level and we are now in talks with different organizations and individuals about taking the show to more venues and spreading this important message to more families and young people.”  

 

Ordering Production Photos

You can order production photos by emailing

bomicooperphotography@yahoo.com

£4 per photo for a digital copy to be emailed.

Summer Holiday Workshops Announced! 

We will be going ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ this summer as we take off with Mary Poppins for three-day musical-theatre workshops inspired by the classic Disney film.

Working with directors and choreographers, students will learn scenes, songs and routines as they work towards a show.

On day three, the cast will take to the main stage at the theatre where they will participate in a technical and dress rehearsal before giving a performance under the lights for family and friends to enjoy.

Workshops take place from Wednesday 24th – Friday 26th July at Hampton Hill Theatre and Wednesday 14th – Friday 16th August at the Exchange Theatre, Twickenham.

There will be a performance on the Friday at 3.15pm.

  • All-day workshops (9.30am – 4.00pm)
  • Acting, singing and dance
  • Perform on stage under the lights this summer!

Our three-day workshop productions are ideal for children who love to act, sing and dance and participate in musical theatre.

Workshop fee: £110.

For further information and to book for this summer visit our workshops page.

Liis Miik - Actress
This week we caught up with actor Liis Mikk, who is currently appearing in Ellie & Starlight the Musical at Hampton Hill Theatre.

Can you tell us where you are originally from and how that compares to working as an actor in London?

I’m often mistaken for Irish, but am actually from Estonia (homeland of Skype and The Singing Revolution!) I moved to London when I was 18 and back then theatre actors in Estonia would join a local theatre company and be in rep for four years at a time. In recent years, however, more and more Estonian actors have gone freelance matching the UK way. 

You’ve had quite a varied career as a performer, can you tell us a little more about the projects you’ve taken on over the past few years? 

Varied is definitely the word! I’ve recently appeared as a pilot (we shot in a flight simulator which was cool and made me realise I should never become an actual pilot); as a rhinoceros in Eugène Ionesco’s play of the same name (complete with a mask and everything); and as an eight-year-old boy in an audio drama.

What has been your favourite project and why?

I do a lot of improv and that has taken me to different immersive events and festivals over the years. Last year was my first time performing at Boomtown where I was a part of Momentary Bliss – an immersive spiritual spa offering various treatments including chakra khan and a third eye vision test. It was a lot of fun being a part of an interactive event of such scale for five days. 

What has been the most challenging role you’ve played?

It was actually one of my first in youth theatre in Estonia. We devised a play about life in the Soviet forced labour camps, using memoirs of the people deported for creating our characters. People who had lived through the Gulag came to see the show and stayed for a conversation afterwards.

What appealed to you about Ellie & Starlight the Musical? 

Let down by parents who have been otherwise preoccupied or had their head buried in the sand, children across the world have had to become leaders in climate activism. Just like Ellie in our show they see the world’s problems with fresh eyes and have enough guts and hope to try and fix them. ‘Ellie & Starlight’ illustrates that wonderfully with beautiful songs to go with it!

How are you tackling the role of Katrin?

As with any role I think it’s less about taking on another personality and more about bringing up elements of the character already within you. I don’t have any children so I look forward to discovering my inner mum and bonding with the family! 

I also do a sort of chant/rap in the show which I will practice. A lot.

We’d like to thank Liis for her time and wish her the very best with the rest of the run.

 

This week we caught up with actor Peter F. Gardiner who plays Starlight in Ellie and Starlight the Musical.

What might we have seen you in over the past few years?

I was on TV last May in ‘A Very English Scandal’ and I played David Steel MP. The show starred Hugh Grant & Ben Whishaw. My scenes were with Ben Whishaw, an Olivier Award winning actor called Jason Watkins & an actress called Eve Myles that some people might know from Torchwood, Frankie or Broadchurch on TV.

On stage I was in The Railway Children at the Kings Cross Theatre for over 2 years playing various roles and I loved it.

Of the stage shows you’ve appeared in, what was your favourite and why?

I was in ‘This House’ at the National Theatre & that felt like a great achievement & was possibly my favourite because it was such a great story beautifully told. Also I toured America & Canada in Macbeth & The Importance of Being Earnest. These 2 shows were favourites of mine because I got to really ‘flex my acting muscles’ by having lots of exciting roles in both shows (while seeing North America which was great!)

What has been your most challenging role as an actor? 

I was in a musical called Nicked for the HighTide Festival 8 years ago & I had to sing & dance & played 3 different (real-life people) I found that to be a real challenge.

Your connection with Dramacube dates back sometime.  Can you tell us how you first started working for the company?

It does go back quite a long way & I think it started with me running Drama workshops with children on Saturday mornings in Isleworth in 2012. Although I met Steve Leslie MANY years before that in 1993 at Youth Action Theatre in Teddington. So my connection to Dramacube is really through years of doing plays with Steve at YAT.

Playing the role of Starlight the Polar Bear will undoubtedly be an interesting part to take on.  How do you plan on tackling playing an animal in the show?

I’ve played a big mammal before (I was Shere Khan the tiger in The Jungle Book) and to research that role I went to Chessington Zoo to look at the Sumatran tigers there. I’m not sure if I’ll get to a zoo (or the Arctic Circle for that matter) prior to rehearsals starting for Ellie & Starlight but I’ve already started looking at Google images of Polar Bears & making notes about their different stances. I suppose one of the good things is that Polar Bears do stand up on their hind legs (a bit) and this mirrors humans physicality. So hopefully Steve (as a director) won’t ask me to be down on the floor all the time (not with my old knees!) Bears are big so I’m hoping the costume will help pad me out a bit. I am trying to give myself a deeper, older & more gruff voice in order to be Starlight but also to help differentiate from the father role of Kristof that I also play. So the short answer to the question is physicality, voice & costume. (I might dig-out the knee-pads I have somewhere!)

As you know, we run an extensive Youth Company at Dramacube.  What advice would you give to any young actors who intend to become a performer? 

I think working as a member of a team on a play or musical or a film is the most exciting thing in the world. So enjoy it and don’t worry too much about whether it’s going to end up being your career. You learn to improve your self-confidence, your body language, develop your voice & gain great new friends ALL through drama. So first & foremost ENJOY IT!!! 

On a more technical note LEARN YOUR LINES!!! 

In terms of your future as a professional performer (although as I said earlier this really IS NOT THE BE ALL AND END ALL of participating in drama shows) it’s worth trying to get into a really good Drama School once you’re 18 or 19. But if you don’t, and if you know that being a performer is definitely ‘your thing’ carry on anyway. 

I did go to one of the ‘big’ Drama Schools in London but I didn’t actually train as a professional actor (I trained as a Drama-Therapist, this was years ago when I didn’t have the self-belief to ‘go for it’ as an actor so I chose a vocational course), so there’s more than one way to achieve your dreams if you persevere, have self-belief, perhaps get an agent & turn out to be a reliable & trustworthy performer.

I hope you enjoy the show!!!
All the very best, Peter.

We currently have a work experience student with us and as part of the rehearsal process she is keeping a diary. Here is last weeks’ entry.

Today, we rehearsed “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” and began “A whole new world”.

I started by running warm-up games, then I read Iago’s part, since Alfie was absent. Additionally, I interviewed Polina, who plays Jafar.

I tried to add new questions to the interview, such as “What performance would you like to see Dramacube create?” I added this question because I thought it would be interesting to see what the cast might want to perform.

Ellie Starlight Rehearsals

Interview with Kate Barton

This week we caught up with actress Kate Barton who is playing the title role of Ellie in Ellie & Starlight the Musical.

What inspired you to become an actor?

I grew up watching all the old Hollywood movies such as Carousel and Top Hat and initially I wanted to be an actor so I could work with Fred Astaire! As I got older I did regular youth theatre and realised that acting gave me a freedom and form of expression that was not always possible in real life.

Can you tell us a little about your training as an actor and what it involved? 

I trained as an actor at The Poor School in London. It was the only place that allowed you to work in the day and train every night and every weekend until public season. It was a two year course which was extremely rigorous and demanded a thick skin! The first year involved a huge number of classes in voice, text, movement and dance. I remember we had to do ‘animal studies’ (plenty of time spent at London Zoo!) and observational studies with hot seating. There were various modules including Shakespeare, poetry and Restoration theatre and we spent time doing short extracts from plays with different directors. The second year was a bit like ‘rep’. We worked on play after play in front of an invited audience before preparing for ‘public season’ in front of agents. It was exhausting but glorious!
As you know, we run an extensive Youth Company at Dramacube.  What advice would you give to any of of our young actors who are aspiring to get a place at Drama school? 
Read as many plays as you can (including classical plays) and go to see them! It can be very helpful to find a specialist to work on monologues, but it’s sometimes possible to audition without that input. Be prepared to audition many times and if you can wait, go back the next year and audition again! Drama schools have an unbelievable number of applicants and it’s important to remember that if you don’t get in. You have to keep trying! It’s worth going to do an accredited drama school, as the standards will be rigorously enforced.
Can you tell us about some of your recent projects? 
I recently worked on a play called Fast at the Edinburgh Fringe. I actually wrote the play but it was produced by a company called Digital Drama. I didn’t actually write it with the intention of taking a part, but I’m so glad that I did! It was a wonderful experience… exhausting, nerve-wracking, loud and competitive, but utterly worth every minute!

Playing Ellie will no doubt be a challenging role to take on.  How do you plan to tackle the part?

Ellie is a beautiful role and I am lucky that she has been thought out so carefully by the playwright Ken Mason. Like all roles, I look at the overall objectives for the character and then break down what they want (and how they’re going to get it!) for each moment of the play. I also think about what stops a character from getting what they want.
As Ellie is a fairly young character, I am spending time remembering my childhood (and my imaginary games) and chatting to children in the family who are about the same age!
Children in Twickenham rehearse Aladdin

Rehearsal Diary – Saturday 9th February

Children from Twickenham and Hampton rehearse Aladdin

Aladdin Rehearsals

We currently have a work experience student with us, and as part of the rehearsal process she is keeping a diary.  Here is last weeks’ entry.

Today, we spent a lot of the rehearsal time choreographing “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim”.

I asked Emily, who plays Babkak, what she thought of this dance.  She told me “I found it a very fun and energetic dance, although it can be very tiring!”.

I helped by conducting warm-up games, as well as writing and conducting my first interview with Lily, who plays the genie (see video on social media).

I enjoyed this rehearsal because I had an interesting insight into aspects of theatre which I’ve never really experienced before, such as the interview I conducted.  Megan W.

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.