Theatre Producer’s Blog – Review of 2013 @spotlites

With the final days of 2013 fast approaching I would like to reflect on the past year and also to look forward to next year with Spotlites.
It’s been a somewhat bumpy year, with both ups and downs. There was the sad sudden death of our wonderful singing tutor Felicity, who made such a huge impact on her colleagues and everyone she taught. Our thoughts are with her husband, Daniel, during this festive season.
For the ups – we produced three brand new sell-out professional plays, enjoyed a wonderful season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe running our three theatre venue and launched a new website which has been very positively received.
We were proud of our outstanding international Edfringe programme comprising the work of 31 of the best companies from around the world including South Korea, the USA, Georgia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Italy and we were delighted that our show ‘Bangalore Rock’ from India won the prestigious ‘Spirit of the Fringe‘ award before touring Europe. They were also in such a cool photo on the cover of ‘Rolling Stone magazine’! We were also proud of the wide international coverage for solo female performer Maisah Sobaihi from ‘Head Over Heels in Saudi Arabia’, the first Saudi show ever at Edfringe and the great success of the production. It was a pleasure to help emerging student play ‘Speak No Evil’ win 5 star reviews and full houses. We were especially proud of our physical theatre and dance programme and delighted to see it gathering appreciative national attention.
Spotlites received over 250,000 website hits over the festival! Have a look at our Edinburgh website (there is a link on the usual website) Pop in if you ever come to Edinburgh during the madness that is the Fringe.
It has been an exciting year for our Youth Theatre too with some great productions of Shakespeare and Dahl. It has been great to be involved in the dynamic progress of so many young people, to see members win places and graduate from the best drama colleges and universities and to see our alumni work on TV, radio and stage. Our Youth Theatres  and Children’s Theatres have gone from strength to strength, there are some great videos and photos on the website. Mask classes were a favourite with our members; have a quick look at the Mask Master Class video on the 18-25 year drama page.
We added extra drama, singing and dance for Adults with Learning Difficulties on Mondays and now on Friday mornings. It is an empowering class for its members and very important to us all; it’s a very happy place!
We also enjoyed a week long residency at Danecourt Special School with some notable break throughs particularly in the classes for children with Autism. We learnt a lot from the children and according to their teachers they learnt a lot from what we did. We also enjoyed visiting many other schools and hosting them at our theatre for tours, workshops and performances. Remember we can put on a play or workshop just for your school on a day to suit!
We are pleased this year to have further developed our specialism in working with those on the Autistic spectrum and to have explored more theatrical ways of working with people with a different way of seeing the world from others.
So to look ahead to 2014 – we have 3 new professional plays currently in production: a show for 2-5 year olds and our new play for 5-12s, ‘Oz and the Space Pirates’ which opens in February, plus a new play for adults. Our programme for children next year contains these exciting new works plus some returning favourites. Our forthcoming season for adults is being expanded to include classics and contemporary productions as well as comedy and musicals.
Our Youth Theatre is busy rehearsing for their musical  ‘The Wizard of Oz‘ in April- with a cast of 65 members aged 5-20 years. Later this year, we look forward to a play by the Children’s Theatre as well as a musical by the Youth Theatre alongside Showcases.
Our Edfringe programme 2014 looks like being even better than last year’s and we are privileged to be working with the very best companies from across the globe. We are also working with some exceptional emerging performers and are delighted to be able to bring attention to their work.
It’s great to see our theatre looking so good after the recent decorating and we’re hoping soon to be able to welcome patrons to a new cafe where you can get a coffee and Wi-Fi whilst waiting for a show or a class or picking someone up!
So goodbye to 2013 and here’s to 2014; we’re looking forward to your theatrical delights! Just don’t be too dramatic in your arrival please as the theatre dates from 1828 and doesn’t like storms so much! Perhaps tornados are best kept on rather than off stage at Spotlites this year!

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