Christmas show.

Danger in the Manger!

As we speak, throughout the country, shepherds’ crooks are being fashioned out of walking sticks, teachers are frantically googling images of frankincense and tinsel is being sewn onto everything that moves…Nativity time is finally here!

A magical time that stirs up memories in all of us.  Memories of Joseph picking his nose, Mary dropping baby Jesus and one of the Shepherds wetting himself on stage.

By this time, the auditions are done, the cast is set and lines are being learnt. But what happens if your child didn’t get the part they wanted?

Breathe!

Yes, it is heart-breaking to see your child disappointed and upset but try to stay calm.

Trust the Teacher!

Remember that the child you have with you at home is often very different to the character they present at school.

Often, children are happy to sing, dance and put on plays at home but may be reserved and quiet amongst their peers at school.

Be Objective!

With a limited number of main parts, some children will have to be given the smaller roles.  Your child is obviously the centre of your universe but schools have to meet the needs of hundreds of pupils.

I once witnessed a parent complaining that her child’s self esteem was irrevocably damaged because he had been cast as 2nd lead in a play.  She had lost all sense of perspective and 10 years later it still astounds me.

Do Your Research.

Much of the playground chat is currently centred around the random array of characters in the less traditional versions of The Nativity.  Bats, musical dogs and fairy tale characters provide enough parts for what would otherwise be a very small cast.

Some parts are often created to suit the needs of less outgoing individuals.  I was once cast as a tree and I was so nervous I was sick on the day!

Children's Drama

Children Performing a Nativity Play

Be Open-Minded and Positive!

Have a look at how much dialogue, singing, movement the part requires.

Your child may have been cast in a silent role because they are brilliant at being patient and quiet!

If they would prefer to have been given more singing and acting, consider signing them up for a club that will develop these skills and improve their confidence.

Remember it’s not a competition!

What may seem important to us won’t register in our child’s thoughts.  When my daughter was recently cast as Mary, I was so pleased to know that she hadn’t inherited my stage fright.

When I asked her about the audition, she explained that she hadn’t auditioned for Mary.  It transpired that she wanted to be the barking dog but nobody wanted to play Mary, so my daughter offered to do it in order to help the teacher!

Last but not least, Enjoy Every Moment! The Nativity years pass so quickly and you will soon be yearning to return to this innocent and carefree time.

 

Sarah Watson

Holly Hos
Meet Holly Hos Who will Play Title Role this Christmas! 
Holly Hos starring in Ellie & Starlight's Christmas Adventure

Actor Holly Hos Starring at Hampton Hill Theatre

We are delighted to announce that actress and Tik Tok star Holly Hos will play the title role of Ellie in our forthcoming festive show Ellie & Starlight’s Christmas Adventure at Hampton Hill Theatre.

Holly will play opposite actor Peter F. Gardiner in the production which runs from 20th to 24th December.

You can read more about Holly’s credits below.
Holly Hos is an Actress, Character Comedian and Presenter, best known for her TikTok Comedy Sketch Show, Helga and Mummy.
She trained at the Institute for Contemporary Theatre and graduated in 2020 with a Degree in Performing Arts.
Holly is best known for her outrageously comical online sketch show; she has amassed over 750,000 followers and 10 million likes in just one year.  Other credits include Children’s Entertaining with CraZy BeanZ and Immersive Acting with Goodwood.
This Christmas, Holly is making her muchly anticipated stage debut as Ellie.

To find Holly Hos on your Socials check out TikTok– @thehos / Instagram @_thehos / YouTube– Holly Hos and come and see her in the show this Christmas!

For tickets book here.

Starlight the Polar Bear puts in special guest appearance at Hampton Hill Christmas Event!

With December fast approaching there is a slightly frenzied feel about the air this year. We are racing to put up trees and decorations early, encouraged by the shop displays that were put out before Halloween!

Everyone is so busy: buying presents for loved ones; making plans to see family and friends and

Hampton Hill Christmas Event

Starlight the Polar Bear will switch on the Hampton Hill lights this Christmas

booking events to get us into the Christmas spirit. In the local boroughs we are spoilt for choice, with festive events in Twickenham, Teddington, East Molesey and Hampton Hill!

The variety of events is particularly impressive this year with such delights as Wreath Making at Marble Hill Park, Winter Shire Horse Carriage Rides at Richmond Park and the highly-anticipated ice skating rink at Hampton Court Palace.

Our own Hampton Hill Christmas Event will take place on Saturday 27th November from 12-4:30pm at the square between Tesco and Clarence House.

The event will include:

Official naming of The Square with Richmond Borough Mayor attending to unveil
Live music, including Christmas Carols

Stalls- including art, jewellery, gifts, food and lots more
Children’s entertainment from Crafty Tales

Tombola- including lots of prizes from businesses on the High Street
Christmas Post Box for children to post their letters to Santa

Main Christmas Tree Light switch on at 4:30pm

And lots more….

Starlight the Polar Bear

To top it all off Starlight the Polar Bear will be taking a break, from rehearsing Ellie and Starlight’s Christmas Adventure at Hampton Hill Theatre, to assist the Mayor of Richmond with turning on the Christmas tree lights at 4:30pm.

We feel blessed that actor Peter F. Gardiner has agreed to reprise the role of Starlight the Polar

Actor Peter F. Gardiner

Bear, bringing his usual mixture of humour and warmth with him.

If you were lucky enough to see Dramacube’s 2019 production of Ellie and Starlight the Musical, you’ll know to keep your wits about you, as he is one cheeky bear!!

You can join Starlight and his best friend Ellie at this year’s Christmas show which runs from 20th to Christmas Eve at Hampton Hill Theatre. Click here for more information.

Meet Starlight the Polar Bear!

We are delighted to welcome back Peter F. Gardiner for Ellie & Starlight’s Christmas Adventure after he played the role of Starlight the Polar Bear in our 2019 production of Ellie & Starlight the Musical at Hampton Hill Theatre.

Since finishing Ellie & Starlight the Musical Peter has been busy touring with Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em and filming as a semi regular in Coronation Street.

You can read Peter’s full Theatre, Screen and Radio biography below.

Theatre: Some Mother’s Do Ave Em 2018 & 2020 UK Tour, Ellie & Starlight the Musical 2019 Hampton Hill Playhouse, The Railway Children Kings Cross Theatre, Macbeth, Comedy of Errors & The Secret Garden Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester, A Little Hotel on The Side Theatre Royal Bath, This House National Theatre, The Importance of Being Earnest & Macbeth Aquila Theatre Company (New York). Nicked HighTide Festival. Vertigo & Alice in Wonderland Oxfordshire Theatre Company. Balmoral Theatre Royal Bath. Hapgood Birmingham Rep & West Yorkshire Playhouse. A Trip to Scarborough Stephen Joseph Theatre. The Railway Children The King’s Head Theatre. The Jungle Book Birmingham Stage Company. Hamlet Merlin International Theatre Budapest, HungaryThe Legend of Robin Hood Oddsocks Productions. Comedy of Errors & The Canterbury Tales’ The Festival Players.

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

 

Audio / Radio work includes: Macbeth & Robert Burns a collection of Poems & Songs by Almost Tangible.

Dramacube "Matilda The Musical" rehearsal - Nov. 2021

“Matilda the Musical” Update

Our amazing Matilda casts sprung back into action this weekend, impressing us with how much they’d learnt over the half term holidays.

With our Twickenham casts rehearsing at St. Mary’s University the drama studios were once again buzzing with all the big numbers from the show.

As Covid works its way through our groups and then our team, I was called in to cover for our director Matt.

It was the first time I’ve seen a rehearsal this term and it was a real treat to see how far our young actors had come.

I was particularly impressed with School Song, which also seems to be a favourite among our talented students. The energy levels in the room are already sky high so I cannot wait to see these shows on stage at Hampton Hill Theatre this Christmas.

I look forward to seeing you all in December!

Best wishes,

Steve Leslie

Dramacube "Matilda the Musical" rehearsal

Dramacube “Matilda the Musical” rehearsal at “St. Mary’s University” – Twickenham / Nov 2021

 

Dramacube "Matilda the Musical" rehearsal at "St. Mary’s University" - Twickenham

Christmas Angel _ By Mahnam Sabahi 2016

“A Christmas Carol”, Journey back to Victorian London!

After a week packed full of Halloween fun, children in our 4-6yrs Saturday morning class returned to the excitement of  a Christmas story for the festive season. Children were amazed to find themselves being whisked back to Victorian England where they started to explore the famous Charles Dickens’ story “A Christmas Carol”.

Dramacube "A Christmas Carol"

Dramacube 4-6 years rehearsing “A Christmas Carol”

“Scrooge” played in Dramacube 4-6 years drama – November 2021

It’s full of familiar festive icons and events with a fantasy story line and ghostly theme.

“A Christmas Carol” is a classic that has been adapted for the stage in many different ways but the excellent story is what always makes it an interesting experience.

Children at Dramacube enjoyed hearing about Dickensian lifestyle and meeting some of the characters, especially the mean “Mr. Scrooge”. Kids enjoyed learning about the story and the characters who struggled to get by too, particularly those who worked for Mr. Scrooge.

Our amazing teachers, Katie and Lena introduced props and costumes for children to use and wear to show them what it was like to live in Victorian London and to help them imagine how life was at that time.

As the term continues, we’ll be unravelling the rest of the story, then working towards a short performance for parents to enjoy in December.

Classes Back Up and Running!
It’s almost two years since Covid-19 pandemic has been emerged in the world. There were up and dawn in the road to deal with the pandemic since then and thanks to our medical teams and scientists we’re in much safer, better and relived place than the beginning of the pandemic. However everybody – including us as Dramacube family – had been expecting Covid pandemic to continue its impact on our life for some time being.
We always put the well-being of our students, teachers and their families at our first priority. As a result we’ve had a number of contingency plans in place to deal with the situation when there is some significant changes since we’ve resumed our face to face classes, workshops and rehearsals. However the spreading rate and speed in which it has impacted over the past few weeks on our community in general and our teaching team at Dramacube in particular, has been challenging to manage.
It was the first time in our nine and a half years history that we’ve had to cancel classes because of illness of some of our teachers and students. The health and safety of our students, teachers and families has always remained our number one priority and with so many teachers affected it was the only safe decision we could make, to cancel classes, rehearsals and workshops.
We sincerely apologize to those of you who missed out on sessions in last week and please be assured we are looking at ways in which we can make up the time and we’ll be in touch
with those affected very soon.
As our team starts to recover from the illness, you’ll find rehearsals getting back to normal. This is such an exciting time for our young casts as we build towards production week and we can’t
wait to see the shows come together.
We will continue to carry out additional safety measures at rehearsals and would ask that you please be more vigilant and keep children isolated if they are suffering with any of the recognized Covid-19 symptoms based on governmental health advice. We want everyone to stay well and be in a happy and healthy position for performances in December.

Bonfire Night
by Steve Leslie  

With 5th November fast approaching I started scrolling through a Google search of local fireworks displays where I might take my daughter this year. It struck me that bonfire and fireworks displays are not only very theatrical but also full of drama. The excitement, the anticipation and the squeals of amazement as each gunpowder filled rocket screams up into the air and explodes with a bang!

There are various theories around where the first fireworks came from, with most people believing China was the birthplace to the fireworks around 2000 years ago made accidentally when a cook  mixed together charcoal, sulphur, and saltpeter – all items commonly found in kitchens in those days. Since then, Fireworks have been commonly used in China at cultural events and festivities such as the Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Fireworks symolize many historical events. In the days of the American revolution fireworks had become a popular way to celebrate national prosperity and patriotism.

Fireworks at Bonfire Night – Photo by: Mahnam 

Bonfire Night – Photo by: Mahnam 

And then of course there is the story of Guy Fawkes, the very reason we here in the UK gather together on Bonfire Night each year. And what a story! A rousing band of repressed 17th century Englishmen, led by the radical Guy Fawkes, plot to bring their tyrannical monarch down with a bang! A plot full of high drama from to start to the end. It was the plot line of Guy Fawkes which on a Google search lead me to discover Bonfire Night the Musical! – another fitting theatrical link – alongside of some movies which have been made based on Guy Fawkes story. Bonfire Night was presented in 2007 at The Robert Moss Theatre at the Playwrights Horizon Theatre School of New York University and had a concert reading in 2010 at New York Stage and Film at Vassar College. A great idea for a show but perhaps limited to a very short run each year.
Whatever fireworks symbolize for you please keep safe this November – with more caution to avoid spreading Covid-19 and seasonal flu – and if you are looking for a display in Hampton area, Carlisle Infant School always put on a good show. You’ll find it happening this year on Saturday 13th November and tickets are available by emailing to carlisleschoolassociation@googlemail.com.

Arts Richmond Young Writers Festival 2021/22

Arts Richmond Young Writers’ Festival is open to all young people who either live or attend school/clubs in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is a  chance to demonstrate writing skills of any form:stories,descriptive writing,poems, playlets,lyrics for songs-whatever the imagination can devise.

Entries are judged in four age groups (from School Years 4 and under to School Years 10 and over) with prizes for all winning entries.

In addition, Arts Richmond appoints a Junior and Senior Laureate who will be given opportunities during the following year to write about events taking place in the borough, for possible publication.

The competition is running until Friday 3rd December 2021.

All shortlisted entrants will be invited to a gala awards event in a prestigious venue Spring 2022.
More information is available on the Arts Richmond website.

Step Through the Wardrobe this Autumn 

As the summer weather draws to a close and we turn our attentions to the Autumn months ahead, we are excited to be kicking off the new term with a project inspired by the classic story of The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

Children aged 4-6 attending our drama classes in Hampton Hill will step through the wardrobe and go on an adventure into the magical world of Narnia where they’ll meet such characters as Mr. Tumnus, Mr & Mrs. Beaver, Aslan the Lion and of course the White Witch.

However, before we start the journey there will be plenty of opportunity for drama games with children getting to know each other, and to share their creativity with our team of experienced teachers.

Our 4-6 years classes run at the United Reformed Church in Hampton Hill on a Saturday morning from 9.00am – 10.30am or 10.45am – 12.15pm.

Sessions help children to build their confidence and develop their creative skills in a safe and secure environment.

Two-week tasters are available and can be booked here.

We look forward to seeing you all for our adventure through the Wardrobe into Narnia.