Tinker Bell and her fellow Fairies introduce the audience to our story (“Fly to Your Heart”). The Darling Children, Wendy, Michael and John, play make-believe in their nursery, imaging themselves in Neverland (“The Elegant Captain Hook”). Mr. Darling comes looking for his cufflinks, but discovers that his adventurous children have drawn a treasure map on the back of his last clean shirt. He scolds Wendy for refusing to grow up and trips over Nana, the dog and nursemaid. Mr. Darling banishes Nana from the nursery, explaining that, sooner or later, all children must grow up. Mrs. Darling puts the children to bed, and Wendy asks her to leave the window open in case Peter Pan returns (“The Second Star to the Right”).

While the Darling children slumber, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell sneak into the nursery in search of Peter’s lost shadow. Wendy wakes up and excitedly tells Peter that she doesn’t want to grow up. He offers to take Wendy and her brothers back to Neverland. Peter teaches Wendy and her brothers to fly, and they set off into the night (“You Can Fly / Fly to Your Heart”).

On a ship docked in Neverland, the Pirates of the island are up to no good (“Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me”). Captain Hook plots with his first mate, Smee, on how to seek revenge on Peter. They decide to capture Tiger Lily in hopes that they can force her to help. Their plotting is interrupted by the nefarious crocodile who ate Captain Hook’s hand after Peter cut it off (“Never Smile at a Crocodile”). Suddenly, Captain Hook spots Peter Pan in the distance and orders his crew to fire. Peter sends the Darlings with Tinker Bell while he goes on to face Captain Hook himself.

A jealous Tinker Bell flies the Darlings toward the Lost Boys’ hideout (“You Can Fly – Reprise”), then flies ahead to tell the boys that Wendy is a bird that Peter wants them to hunt. Hop hits Wendy with his arrow and she falls to the ground. Peter discovers Tinker Bell’s trick and banishes her for one week. Luckily, Wendy recovers and flies off with Peter to retaliate against Captain Hook. Peter leaves John in charge (“Following the Leader”), but the boys are quickly captured by the Indians and accused of kidnapping Tiger Lily. Chief Tiger Bamboo declares that, if Tiger Lily is not returned, all lost Boys will be burned at the stake.

Wendy and Peter meet the Mermaids, who try to convince Wendy to swim with them (“Sunbeams and Sea”). Peter and Wendy spot Captain Hook and Smee with the captured Tiger Lily and concoct a plan to save the Indian Princess. Peter distracts Hook while Wendy sets Tiger Lily free.

Back at the Indian Camp, the Lost Boys and the Indians celebrate Tiger Lily’s safe return (“What Makes the Brave Man Brave”). Peter takes full credit for Tiger Lily’s rescue, which makes Wendy angry. Meanwhile, Captain Hook stumbles upon the banished Tinker Bell. Using her jealousy to his advantage, Hook convinces her to tell him where Peter and the Lost Boys live.

At the hideout, Wendy tells Peter that he should be less conceited, and the boys beg her to tell a story, calling her “Mother.” Wendy explains that she has only been playing and how wonderful a real mom can be (“Your Mother and Mine”). Her song helps John and Michael to remember their own mom. The Lost Boys suddenly want a mother, too! John declares that they all must return to the nursery at once.

Meanwhile, Captain Hook and his crew have devised a plan to get revenge on Peter Pan. While he is out of the room, the pirates snatch Wendy, Michael, John and the Lost Boys, leaving Peter a beautifully wrapped present. The pirates take their captives to the ship and force them to choose to join the crew or meet their doom (“Walk the Plank”). The boys are certain that Peter will save the day, unaware that Hook has given him a dynamite pie! Realizing what she has done, Tinker Bell calls on her fairy friends for help, and they fly to Peter’s aid. Tinker Bell whisks the pie away right before it explodes. Peter forgives Tinker Bell and they fly off to save Wendy and the boys.

Peter arrives just in time to fight Hook in one last battle. Peter wins and banishes Hook from Neverland. Wendy and the Lost Boys rejoice and, with a little help from Tinker Bell, fly the pirate ship back to the Darlings’ nursery.

Wendy, Michael and John find Mr. Darling waiting for them in the nursery. They tell him of their adventures and, while sceptical at first, he begins to remember his own childhood adventures with a boy who could fly. With the family happily reunited, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell head back to Neverland – second star to the right, and straight on till morning (“You Can Fly / Fly to Your Heart – Part Three”).

 

 

Cengiz Dervis is a former professional kickboxing and martial arts champion who, whilst competing, trained as an actor in London, Paris, New York and LA. Cengiz learned his craft by initially working in student films, fringe theatre and a number of award winning short films before moving onto feature films and TV. He is currently filming a US TV series called Knightfall which is shooting in Prague until December. 

Q1: Being offered a part in a US TV show must be a dream job for any actor.  Can you tell us about the audition process and what it was like when you were offered the part?

It’s certainly was a welcomed tick on my creative bucket list…

The auditions for key cast was facilitated by a legendary and really lovely casting director who’s been responsible for the Bond movies for the last twenty years along with a number of other outstanding projects. So when my UK agent called to say her office had contacted them to arrange to see me I was pretty excited and a tad nervous!

The audition process ran over a number of weeks and I was sent sides (scenes) to prepare / perform in the audition room. I was recalled a few times before finally being asked to attend a chemistry meeting with the key director for the series. The meeting went extremely well and a few days later my agent called delighted to inform me I’d received a firm offer to join the cast.

Q2: When did you first meet your fellow cast members and what were they like?

I was flown out to Prague for costume fitting, hair & make up test, horse riding and combat assessments and on this trip I met most of the key people in production and some of the cast.

I then returned to Prague a week later for final fittings, a sword fight rehearsal and a production kick off party for all the cast, crew, writers, producers, show runner and key people from the US network. Absolutely everybody I’ve encountered on Knightfall has been a joy to work with and catering do an amazing job with our food!

Q3: We often remind our young actors at Dramacube how important it is to learn their lines thoroughly. What techniques did you use to learn your lines for your current role?

Personally I like to read the script through a few times without attaching myself to the role. The lines come last after I’m clear on the story and who I am in it. I then set to work learning my lines…

I like to write my lines out and then re-write them in my own words (“how would I say this”). I then put these aside and go back to the actual lines and I’m now fully connected. I think it’s also important to not just know your lines but be really aware of everyone’s lines / actions in the scenes your in.

For screen projects I save my full performance and commitment of my actions / lines for when I’m on set so as to allow myself to be affected by those I’m sharing the scene with and their words / actions. This I feel allows my performance to be truthful and in the moment.

Q4: Most of our shows at Dramacube are rehearsed once a week.  How long is the rehearsal period for aTV show and what is the process?

Once a TV show is filming it all moves very quickly so at times you may get a few days to a week with a new script but you can receive dialogue changes on the day. There is also very little if any movement on the dialogue. Generally and unless the director has requested rehearsals, we’ll block the scene and run lines then. Outside of this you’ll find the cast running lines whilst in make up, in and by their trailers, at lunch, in the transport vehicles on route to set, everywhere and anywhere…

Q5: Were you nervous when you first started the show and how did you overcome any nerves?

I’m always a little nervous but I don’t live there. I feel the nerves are just a way of reminding me how important this is to me and I take control of my breathing and focus on doing good work. I find by taking time to fully prepare the nerves disappear by the time I’m on set and all I’m completely focused on is living the life of the character!

Q6: Have there been any moments during the show when something has gone wrong and how did you and the other actors deal with it?

Thankfully none especially given we’re on horses at times and most fights have us wielding swords, daggers, axes etc. Preparation eliminates a lot of the risks and there’s always safe hands around to assist any incidents or accidents that may arise.

Q7: You are a former kickboxing champion. Have you been able to use those skills in this current role? 

I’ve been training in the martial arts since I was five and over this time have gained extensive experience in unarmed and armed combat. These skills assist greatly, not only allowing me to sell the action to camera / audience but also keeps me and fellow actors and stunt team safe given my control.

The years of training has also impacted on my physicality and how people experience me hence the types of roles I mostly get called in for: agent, soldier, detective, hitman, mercenary, terrorist, fighter, chrononaut, knight, highwayman…

Q8: You have also written, directed and produced in the past. What do you enjoy doing most and do you think those skills have helped you as an actor?

Acting is my first love and I’m happiest when I’m working on the craft in class, with my coach, alone or on a production.

However, there is no doubt that by creating my own content it’s helped me on many levels. Firstly to better understand the business I’m operating in, everyone’s roles within it and what’s actually involved to take an idea from thought, to page, to screen. Also made me fully aware of my brand and how to best present myself for potential future projects. When it comes to scripts I now look at the in a completely different way and I take far more risks in my auditions / performances. Lastly, I believe creating good content is a great way to empower yourself and take more control of your career!

You can check out some of my projects at: www.fightmeproductions.com

Q9: What advice would you give to any of our young aspiring actors?

First and foremost have lots of FUN!

As for acting, always be working on your craft. The world is your stage and you can practice and perform anywhere, anytime. Read scripts, watch films, tv, theatre. You can grow daily if you so choose, for instance:

You can run through scenes at home, alone, with friends, you can walk into any shop, café etc. in character (within reason) and live the role whilst interacting with people you come into contact with and they’d never know your ACTING as that’s a big part of great acting. Don’t act — live it…

Here’s a few things to think about that may help:

Think about how the person your going to play walks, how do they dress, what’s their posture like, do they have an accent?

Then start to apply these things to your time being in the role. Personally I also like to animalise some of my characters adding some of the selected animal behaviours into the mix which I find can be extremely powerful.

Q10: Looking ahead, what is next in the pipe-line or what would be your next dream job?

I’ve recently come back from LA as my US management we’re keen to put a team around me to support my ambitions. Ten days of meetings and I now have a US theatrical agent, a commercial agent and a publicist joining the team. These along with my UK representation should hopefully assist to keep me being considered for projects.

I’d love to do another feature film before going onto another TV series but as long as the projects are high quality and the scripts are great I’m open to all and at some point another stint of theatre would be fun to do.

We’d like to thank Cengiz for his time and wish him the very best of luck with Knightfall and with all future projects.

Before applying for performance rights for our next show, we presented the current cast with a number of options and ask them to vote for shows they would love to appear in. We were delighted that so many children wanted us to do Peter Pan, not only because it is a truly magical show, but because there are so many great parts for our young actors to play. There are 33 parts in total plus many ensemble roles, ensuring that every member of the cast will be challenged in a fun and creative way.

Characters:

Peter Panthe boy who wouldn’t grow up

Tinker BellPeter Pan’s fairy and the Narrator of the story

The Fairies; Iridessa, Silvermist, Rosetta, Fawn, Lyria & VidiaTinker Bell’s friends

Wendythe eldest Darling child and a gifted story-teller

Johnthe middle Darling child and brother to Wendy and Michael

Michael the youngest Darling child and brother to Wendy and John

Mr. Darlingthe Father of Wendy, Michael and John

Mrs. Darlingthe Month of Wendy, Michael and John

Nanathe Darling children’s nursemaid and dog

Captain Hooka dangerous villain who seeks revenge on Peter Pan for the loss of his hand

SmeeCaptain Hook’s first mate and loyal servant

The Pirates; Jukes, Flint, Cookson, Murphy, Noodler & SkylightsCaptain Hook’s gang of Henchmen

The Crocodilea reptile who ate a ticking clock and Captain Hook’s hand

The Lost Boys; Cubby, Skunk, Hop, Fox & the Raccoon TwinsPeter Pan’s gang of orphans

Chief Tiger Bambooleader of the Indians and Father to Tiger Lily

Tiger LilyChief Tiger Bamboo’s daughter and Princess of the Island

The Indians; Brave Pine, Brave Oak, Brave Shrubnative inhabitants of Never Land

The Mermaids; Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Atina, Adella & Allanabeautiful sea creatures and friends of Peter Pan

We are delighted to announce our next show will be Disney’s Peter Pan JR!

Based on the Disney film and J.M. Barrie’s enchanting play, Disney’s Peter Pan JR. is a modern version of the timeless tale about a boy who wouldn’t grow up.

An awfully big adventure awaits Wendy and her brothers in the magical island of Never Land. They join Peter Pan and Tinkerbell in a world made of faith, trust and pixie dust where they meet a host of wonderful characters including Tiger Lilly, the Lost Boys, the Fairies, the Mermaids, dastardly Captain Hook and the Pirates and last but not least the hungry Crocodile who is never far away!

The score includes new arrangements of much-loved classic Disney songs, such as Following the Leader, You Can Fly, The Second Star to the Right and Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me.

Auditions for this production take place on Sunday 27th November from 10.30am-1.00pm at Hampton Hill Theatre. For more information about this production or to reserve an audition slot for your child please visit the Peter Pan Jr production page: www.dramacubeproductions.co.uk/peter-pan.

A terrifyingly terrific performance was enjoyed by parents at Hampton Hill Theatre last week, as our musical theatre students devised a spooky show inspired by classics from the world of theatre and film including; Ghost Busters, Little Shop of Horrors and Ghost Story.

The workshop production was led by guest director, Matthew Bunn who’s naturally creative style enabled the children to input their ideas and participate in every aspect of the production including set design and lighting.

Dramacube Productions’ Artistic Director, Stephen Leslie, who saw the show, complimented the young cast on how much they’d achieved in just two days. The performance had everything from excellent story-telling, well-rehearsed songs and an impressive ‘Michael Jackson’ style dance.

We asked set designer Alan Bower where he got his inspiration for the set of Elf the Musical Jr…

“As a designer there are three things that are imperative to think about. Firstly the script. You need to remain true to the story. Secondly the director’s concept, which in this case was simple but effective – key elements to carry the story and indeed the audience through the show by creating the world of the piece. Thirdly (and arguably the most important) research, Research, RESEARCH.  You need visual imagery to inspire you to create the settings.

I initially met with the director to thrash out ideas and do some on-the-spot pencil sketches throwing ideas about until we came across some vague formats for each of the scenes. With Elf the Musical Jr my biggest challenge was the almost instantaneous change from, what I called to myself, Santa Land to urban Manhattan. I would tell you more, but I don’t want to give too much away until the production is realised.

More detailed colour sketches were then realised, detailing every scene and movement around the stage. These get sent to the director for their approval or for any changes. Thankfully in this case there were very few and I could move onto the next stage!

Once the director has given approval for the ideas, it is on to what we in the industry call ‘the model box stage’. This is where you create a completely accurate scale model of the theatre and make scale models of each of the individual set pieces. The scale is 1:25, meaning that 1cm in the model is 25cm in real life. This needs to be very accurate as this is how we make sure the set will fit in the theatre! This is the stage I am at now. Rough and colour sketches have been drawn up and the full colour model has been approved by the director. All of the team, both on and off stage, work together to transfer this into reality…. I can’t wait to see the finished production!”

Dramacube company member, Milly Stephens, will be appearing at The Rose Theatre over the festive period in The Wind and the Willows. Here we ask her how she found the audition and if she has any advice for aspiring young actors.

Q1: You are appearing at The Rose Theatre this Christmas as part of The Wind in the Willows. Which role are you playing?

Rabbit Kitten

Q2: Tell us a bit about your character…

She is unbearably cute and loves gravy. She is also the youngest in the family of five rabbits. She always wants to make friends with people and is very friendly and a bit stupid.

Q3: How did you get the part?

I had a first audition where 300 people under 18 auditioned (on different days). Five days before the audition we were sent an excerpt from the script to learn. I had to perform this in front of the panel of four judges. I also had to learn a song that I was given during the audition. We sang it in pairs first then on our own in front of the judges. We also learnt a dance that was performed in small groups.

Three days later I found out that I had got into a recall which is a second round of auditions that 80 people got into. The recall is similar to the first audition but it is a lot harder – the text that you had to perform was from the script and it wasn’t just you saying your lines you had to act the scene out with other actors. You had to learn the dance and singing off by heart too and perform on your own. I found the recall a lot more challenging.

The Wind in the Willows will be performed from 7 December to January 4th at The Rose Theatre. We have two casts, I am in red cast and we will alternate so I will perform in 22 of the 44 shows. The Rose Theatre holds about 850 people, so we will perform to 35,000 over the December season. That’s a lot!

Q4: What do rehearsals involve and how often do you have to rehearse?

I rehearse every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for about 2-3 hours a day. It soon becomes every day nearer the show. Rehearsals involve some singing to start off with then we do some dance and then we either do “uniting” which is cutting the script into thoughts (not pages or scenes) or we might do animal work where you start with your animal at rest and then make it more and more human until it is 40% human and 60% animal. We also do “combat” for fight scenes and “clowning” because it is a comedy and also “characterization” so that your character is not generalised (eg any rabbit) but specific to your part (eg Rabbit Kitten).

Q5: Where do your rehearsals take place?

Mainly at the Rose theatre in one of the studios. Soon rehearsals will move to Raven’s Ait (the island in the river near Kingston town centre) where the set will be erected so we can practice our scenes. We can’t use the theatre as there are too many other productions being performed.

Q6: You are a member of Dramacube Productions acting company where you started off with a part in Fame Jr. last year. How did you find that experience?

Fame Jr. was my first production ever on a stage at a theatre. I was nervous before we started rehearsals, but we had so much fun together that my nerves turned into excitement. I made so many friends there that I still keep in touch with. Matt was my first director and he brought fun into acting but at the same time he made it feel professional. Fame was only produced in a week – it was one of the best experiences I have had in my life.

Q7: You played Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as part of Dramacube’s Christmas show last year. How did you learn your lines for such a big role?

Luckily my brother, Tom, was Edmund, one of the other children, so we could rehearse together at home. Because I love Dramacube so much I was dedicated to putting on a good performance. I found my friends there would help me. It was hard to fit in, but it wasn’t stressful as I enjoyed it so much.

Q8: Whilst with Dramacube you have also played Duffy in Annie Jr. and Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical in 20 Minutes. How did you find these roles and what has been your favourite role so far at Dramacube Productions? 

I loved being Duffy, one of the orphans, in Annie. We had great fun learning the words and the dances together. We performed Annie in Questors Theatre in Ealing, one of the largest amateur theatres in London, which was amazing and all my friends came to see me. For Miss Honey I made some new friends because I had never performed with any of that cast so everyone was new to me. Lots of them were younger, it was like watching me in Fame Jr. all over again.

Q9: What advice would you give to any young actor/actress going for an audition?

Be confident. Don’t be shy of who you are auditioning to as they will think you’ll definitely be shy on stage if you are in front of them. Don’t fear it because otherwise you will scared of something you are trying to achieve. Be brave and have self-confidence. Also have a go even if it looks impossible, there is always a way.

Be prepared: read what the play is about, the author, the characters. Learn the scripts they give you beforehand really thoroughly so you feel you are prepared for your performance. Last but not least give it a go and have fun!

It is hard to believe that half term is almost upon us, and even harder to believe that we now miss a week of rehearsals!  We’ve made a really good start to the production, blocking some major scenes, and the time and resource we’ve invested in supporting our young cast with line and lyric learning is really paying off.  I’ve been very impressed with the attitude of so many children who have already learnt large chunks of text and clearly given lots of thought to their character.  Children gain so much more from rehearsals when they are properly prepared.  Blocking a scene which the cast already have a good understanding of, helps everyone involved. It is this commitment and professionalism that so many of the group are already demonstrating, which will give us a show to be proud of this Christmas.

There is so much positivity coming for the groups each week with children coming up with great ideas for their costume, suggestions for the set design and thoughts on props.  It is a lovely environment to work in and I’m really looking forward to two great shows at Hampton Hill Theatre in December.

We may not have rehearsals during half term but this is a great opportunity for children to dedicate some time to working on their roles in the show.  Every child has a line and lyric learning diary at the back of their script and we ask all parents to support their children in helping them to complete these diaries and come back after half term knowing all of their lines. The hard work begins in November and we need everyone to be fully focussed on this great show.

In a first of a series of inspirational interviews with stars actors of stage and screen, we this week we had the pleasure of speaking with professional actor and former Dramacube Teacher, Peter F. Gardiner who is currently appearing in the hugely successful West End production of The Railway Children.

Q1) Being offered a part in a hugely successful West End show must be a dream job for any actor. Can you tell us about the audition process and what it was like when you were offered the part?

The audition process was a fairly normal and regular experience, my agent rang me and then emailed me the script, explaining what roles I’d be auditioning for. The audition was really close to where I live, it was at the Jacksons Lane Centre in Highgate, (I live in Crouch End just down the road) so that made my life really easy (these little factors really help relax you – especially as I’ve flown up to Edinburgh for an audition before, so when it’s just down the road, it makes life really easy.) I had about five days to prepare so it was great to have that large amount of time to work out how I wanted to make the three different characters look and sound different. One was heightened RP (Received Pronunciation) for the Old Gentleman role, then Yorkshire for the Doctor (as well as putting on a pair of glasses) and finally as clear a Russian accent as I could muster for the role of Mr Schepansky. When I went into the audition room I felt very much at ease as the three people behind the desk interviewing me were very welcoming and I thought to myself “I can get this job, I can do this! I’d just played a large range of roles in the Chester outdoor season (summer 2014), so I felt very ready and ‘match-fit’ to do a good job and play three different roles for them. There was a moment in the latter part of the audition after I’d read for the roles where I spoke in quite an open and confident way and explained that I would be very comfortable being an understudy and being in the ensemble. Being in the ensemble involves having a few lines, playing a Policeman, a villager, a train driver and a railway worker and waiting to potentially go on at a minutes notice to cover one of the actors. What I said was that I had recently been an understudy at the National Theatre (in 2013) and I knew what it entailed, I was not going to be bored, or horrified to find out that I wasn’t centre-stage every night, and also in my personal life my partner and I had just had a baby and we were pregnant with another. I was making it clear that I knew what the job entailed. The panel really liked that. Also one of the producers knew the director that I had just worked with in Chester. After the audition she was able to call him and double-check that everything I had said was true and that I was a ‘team-player’ which is a really, really important factor in joining a company. I auditioned well, and I spoke to the panel in a friendly and open way, and then my credentials were confirmed by another director – so all in all a very successful audition. When I got the call from my agent offering me the job I was over the moon (as was my partner, we had a wee girl but we were also pregnant with our wee boy who was due in December 2014). I started rehearsing The Railway Children in November 2014, my boy was born on December 27th 2014 (so I had to take a rare day off for his birth) and now nearly 2 years down the line my boy’s almost 2yrs old and the show’s nearing the end of it’s run in January 2017 after 2yrs and 2months. Both lovely events happened almost simultaneously!

Q2) When did you first meet your fellow cast members and what were they like?
I met my fellow cast members at the first evening of rehearsals (which was a full read-through of the play) at a rehearsal venue called the Three Mills Studios in Bromley-By-Bow in East London. I had met one of the actors before (Connie) when we both filmed an episode of Waterloo Road up in Greenock near Glasgow in Scotland. The acting industry has about 50,000 performers in the business, but as there’s only about 8% being employed at any one time (and it tends to be the same 8% getting all the work), it’s fairly common that you come across the same actors that you’ve met and worked with before.

Q3) We often remind our young actors at Dramacube how important it is to learn their lines and lyrics thoroughly. What techniques did you use to learn your lines and lyrics in The Railway Children?

Knowing your lines and lyrics really well is of vital importance to your success as a performer. In the early stages of rehearsal I would sit on the Tube going to and from rehearsals and just try and learn some of the words, especially the lines from the scene we’d been working on that day. Once we had opened the show, every performance I would sit in the dressing room and go over the lines for one of the three actors I was covering. Through repetition I learned the lines. There is also something in the professional theatre called a ‘show-watch’ which (exactly as the name suggests) gets you the opportunity to watch the show (and have your small roles covered by the other actors) this provides you with an opportunity to watch a performance and make notes so that you can emulate the moves and words of your fellow actors. So that also helped me to know the blocking and lines of my fellow performers. In general in order to learn my lines I just read and re-read the script. Very occasionally I use my iPhone to record the cues and then leave a gap for me to speak the lines out loud. The lines should become second nature so you can say them really naturally. With a well written script the speeches and conversations should flow and make sense, this should also help with learning them. I sometimes draw pictures of the things I’m saying, for instance as the Doctor I had to speak a list and so I drew the images in my script, (grapes, beef essence – Bovril basically, soda water and milk) little visual aids can be useful especially in the early days of learning words. In addition to all of the above the understudies were given their own rehearsals during the initial rehearsal period and also onstage after we had opened the show. These rehearsals really helped me to learn my lines and blocking.

Q4) Most of our shows at Dramacube are rehearsed once a week. How long was the rehearsal period and what was the process?

The rehearsal process was about three and a half weeks long. This is a slightly shorter rehearsal period than other professional shows – but the lead actors had been sent the script weeks before the rehearsal period started. This meant that lots of them could start learning the lines way before day one of the rehearsal period.  After three days of rehearsals we had blocked the whole play and we did a full run. The lead actress playing the role of Bobby was already completely off-book & did the run almost without a single prompt. She had clearly done her homework way before the start of rehearsals!

Q5) Were you nervous when you first started the show and how did you overcome any first night nerves?

I was a little bit nervous on the first night, but I knew that as I only had about seven lines and a group song to sing that I really didn’t have much to be nervous about. However, on the first occasion that I had to understudy one of the three actors I covered and I had to actually go on stage for them was TERRIFYING! I think that was about four months into the run and I got a phone call in the morning from the Company Stage Manager telling me that one of the actors was off sick and I was going on in place of them. That was scary as you’ve never ever rehearsed the scenes with the actual principal actors, so it all feels very unrehearsed & new, VERY NEW!

Q6) Have there been any moments during the show when something has gone wrong and how did you and the other actors deal with it?

Just today a lady in the audience had what seemed to be a stroke. Her family were very calm about it and laid her down on the floor (it was as if she had suffered from strokes before) the ushers gathered around her and were offering assistance and then eventually the CSM (Company Stage Manager) had to announce over the tannoy in the auditorium that we would be halting the show. At the same time some other stage managers came on stage and guided the actors offstage. An ambulance was called and the lady and her family all left together in the ambulance. She seemed to be okay and not too unwell. When the show restarted after at least a 10 minute pause, there was a lovely warm round of applause – “The show must go on” must have been in the thoughts of many of the audience and the company too.

With a competent and experienced cast and crew whenever anything goes wrong you see their experience and professionalism shining through. We’ve had the train not moving due to various issues and the last four minutes of the whole show not being performed due to a major electrical fault. So yes over two years in a huge temporary site (like the Kings Cross Theatre) there are all sorts of interesting and challenging moments. We went through a phase of shoes and boots going missing, or them turning up all chewed and torn. We worked out that foxes were getting into the dressing rooms at night and dragging away bits of costume! You do have to be prepared for anything and everything to happen.

We’ve had David Cameron (then the Prime Minister) in the audience as well as pop stars like Paul McCartney and Brian May. When you see people like that it can often cause quite a lot of excitement amongst the cast and audience which is lovely!

Q7) The Railway Children has been running for a long time. How has your role in the show changed during that time?

I’ve gone from being in the Ensemble – you get paid less, you’re in crowd scenes and have very little to do in each performance, but you’re standing-by to go on as an understudy. I’ve gone from doing that for nearly a year to being in the company where you get paid more and you have more responsibility. So now I am the Butler and Doctor at every performance and I get to do a lot more acting.

Q8) What do you enjoyed most about being part of the company?

I’ve loved being in a team of supportive and creative people. We have loads of fun together and there’s always loads of laughter backstage and in the wings. Artistically I’ve relished the roles that I’ve played and there’s been loads of them from a Detective to an Old Gent to a Father, a Butler, a Doctor, a Russian refugee, train driver, policeman etc….

Q9) The set design for The Railway Children is really clever. What is it like working in such an exciting space?

I have never grown bored or tired of walking into work and passing the train track, seating for 1,000 people and then the 80 ton steam engine. The amazing set adds so much to the show, especially in the moments when the actual steam engine is used, also there’s some very inventive use of the trucks for staging different scenes such as the London home or the three chimneys cottage in Yorkshire and also the gauze which is used to create a tunnel effect. However as visually stunning as all of that is, it would all be for nothing if the acting wasn’t heartfelt and natural and the script and storyline were not as good as they are. I was in a cast of four actors that performed in a different production of The Railway Children in a small pub theatre in Islington (called The Kings Head) back in 2007 and it was very moving and theatrical and enjoyable for the audience but probably cost about 1% of the Kings Cross show which is a multi-million pound project. So money, size and spectacle are not everything!

Q10) Looking ahead, what is next in the pipe-line or what would be your next dream job?

I have nothing in the pipeline. That’s the short answer. We know the show will finish on January 8th 2017 and at the moment I know that I’ll go on to be unemployed. But over the next three months my agent will be submitting me for projects from theatre to TV to films and I would hope to not be out of work for too long! I recently shot a film called Mad To Be Normal. The film is set in the 1960’s and stars David Tennant. In flashbacks (to when David Tennant’s character was a little boy in the 1920’s and 1930’s) I play his father. I’m only in two scenes but I loved the experience of shooting a film. So I would love to do a lot more acting on the screen, whether TV or film I don’t mind but I’d really like to build up my experience and CV for screen acting.

We’d like to thank Peter for his time and wish him the very best of luck with the remaining run of The Railway Children and with all future projects.

Congratulations to Dramacube student Tom Stephens who recently won an award for Script Writing and Inspired Performance as part of the annual Rose Theatre Awards. He was presented by children’s author Jaqueline Wilson.

Tom joined Dramacube in July 2015 when he successfully auditioned for our production of Fame Jr. which was performed at Hampton Hill Theatre.  Tom was cast as student, Schlomo Metzenbaum, a central character in the show.  He joined an extremely talented cast who, guided by director Matthew Bunn, produced a truly brilliant show.  Tom went onto play the lead role of Edmund in the musical adaptation of The Lion, the Witch & The Wardrobe, also at Hampton Hill Theatre before being cast as the charismatic Oliver Warbucks in Annie JR. at Questors Theatre in Ealing.

“Tom is a very talented young performer and we’ve always been impressed with his versatility” says Dramacube Productions’ Artistic Director, Stephen Leslie.  Tom demonstrated this versatility again when he returned to Dramacube in August 2016 to take on the leading role of the despicable Mr. Wormwood in the musical adaptation of Matilda. “It comes as no surprise that Tom has won this award and we wish him every success with his on-going writing and performing”.