Young performers standup for equality and for understanding for people with mental health issues…

Seussical the rock/pop musical opens THIS Saturday and Sunday @Spotlites, Chatham!
‘A person’s a person no matter’… sings the cast of Seussical the rock/pop musical

This weekend Spotlites Youth Theatre has the pleasure of bringing you the exciting, thought provoking and feisty musical Seussical originating from the much loved stories by Dr Seuss! Seussical follows the story of Horton, an elephant with a kind, eager and caring view on a tiny world that he discovers upon a dust speck on top of a clover and the struggles he faces when other jungle dwellers do not see or appreciate the world as he does. The meaningful story touches on themes very relevant to everyday life including, prejudice, being punished for being different, the consequences of artificial beauty and being at peace with who you are no matter what pressures or envy may surround you.

Extract Youtube video of one of the songs

 

The themes portrayed in Seussical reflect how troubled and judgemental our society is today and also links to current political affairs. The production will aim to open up people’s eyes on how equality is not always present, how mental health issues are affecting many young people and the sometimes spiteful nature of society doesn’t allow them to always receive help from other peers and why we should accept people for who they are. All these issues are experienced by at least one of the characters in the show and are directly linked to the unsettled nature of our current world that seems uncertain for the future. Another issue that is addressed is artificial beauty which is now very popular especially amongst young girls in our society as they believe they have to look or be a certain way and some go to dangerous lengths to make themselves look how others would want, when they do not need to and may find that that one special person much prefers them for who they truly are. This is an important aspect of the show to share with young people and audience members as it will give them the space for thought on accepting who they are and not allowing other judgemental individuals to tell them otherwise.

The production is also extremely political and touches on many of the unnerving things that are happening that are beyond our control, which will open audience members eyes and get them to realise the reality of how the world could shape out in the next few years, depending on the decisions of powerful individuals, which will be fully reflected within various storylines in the production Spotlites Youth Theatre is going to showcase. These issues are one of the driving factors behind the Youth Theatre performing the musical and bringing them to the attention of audience members to fight for equality and awareness of mental health.

Spotlites Youth Theatre is beyond exhilarated to have the opportunity to present this gripping show and have enjoyed going to town on the development of the characters, costumes and set and with the company’s previous stunning performances and dazzling reputation audience members of any ages should look forward to the production.
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With a range of electrifying, inspiring, passionate songs and musical numbers Seussical is going to be an action packed, fast paced and fun filled musical triggering a lot of contrasting thoughts and emotions for any audience member and leaving them contemplating the underlying themes presented in this insightful show, that has something for everyone!

Some of the cast members have shared their thoughts on why they are looking forward to being in the production and what they think audiences members will appreciate about the show.

“One of the biggest things that excites me about being in a musical – especially in a rock musical- is the amount of energy required for all the dances in the show. Seussical is going to have some really awesome dance numbers that I can’t wait to get to grips with!”
– Bart (Cat in the Hat)

 
“I absolutely love working with the Seussical cast and am glad to have the opportunity to work with everyone on such a great production! I can’t wait until the performances; from the energetic choreography to heartfelt songs and themes of betrayal, love and fiery attitudes this show has something for everyone!!”
– Elysia (Gertrude McFuzz)

 
“I am absolutely honoured to be working with the cast of Seussical and am looking forward to being part of the amazing family that Spotlites creates for us all. Not only am I excited to be working with such an amazing group of people but also cannot wait for the feisty, fast paced nature of the show, which will open up the opportunity for me to learn endless new techniques. Seussical is such an in depth show and inhabits a range of interesting themes including vanity, distrust, the struggles of being heard in a prejudice society and love, so has something for every audience member to consider and enjoy!”
– Rachael (Bird Girl)

 
“Seussical is probably one of my favourite shows I have done at Spotlites – the high energy songs and dances combined with meaningful story lines, masked by the theme of animals in the jungle make the whole musical so fun to be in and watch!… Seussical is so special to be in because we have a small cast, which many of us have never experienced before – we are able to work together to be a strong and energetic group to show off this fantastic musical and bring well known Dr Seuss characters from the books to life! ”
– Lauryn (Mayzie La Bird)

 
“I am really excited to be in Seussical and cannot wait to work with all my friends and learn new skills to add to my performance. It is a really cool show and the songs and dances require lots of energy!”
– Hannah (Bird Girl)

 
“Being in a Spotlites musical is a great experience, it helps you grow in confidence and get new skills that you didn’t have before. Seussical is such a special show to be in because there are no other shows like it. It is a great experience for audiences to come and see because it is such a fun show”
– Gavin (Jojo)

 

“I value being in Seussical as it gives me a chance to test myself and improve in singing, acting and dancing. I feel great pride in the part i have been given and feel a real connection with the character. Seussical is such a great musical as it has so many layers and messages about society, which I think the audience will realise as Seussical is not well known. Being able to perform this show in front of an audience is a great privilege for me and I really look forward to it”
– Ben (Horton the Elephant)

 
“I am enjoying being in Seussical, it’s a great musical that is deep and meaningful with characters that everyone can relate to. Being in a Spotlites show is great fun and after every show you feel like you all have progressed and learnt new skills as a team. Spotlites always put on amazingly professional shows that stick with you after you’ve seen them or been a part of one”
– Sophia (Mayoress of Whoville)

 
“The thing I value the most about being in a Spotlites musical is coming together as a community to produce an appreciative performance with a moral that supports people through their lives and ours. Seussical is a special show to be part of as it explores a number of different personalities played by different characters, and how they participate in a situation of surrealness. This is a great show for an audience to experience as it explores a number of three different important aspects that makes a musical, a musical. Acting, singing and dancing. With these three in one show, there is something special to witness”
– Kieran (Wickersham Brother)

 
“Its great fun to communicate with other people and you get to learn new things when doing a musical, I really enjoy working with such a great team. Being in Seussical is a very energetic and shows what life today is like (if you think about it) The audience will get to see the amazing personalities of all these fun and amazing characters come to life. Being part of this team is amazing and just gives you a little break from reality”
– Lexie (Vlad Vladikoff)

In summary …

Seussical is a sassy, captivating and energetic rock musical displaying what happens when someone makes the decision to do something that others may not agree with and the thoughts and emotions that they go through when challenged by differing circumstances and opinionated individuals. Addressing many different issues we deal with in society today including parental difficulties, giving into the pressure of artificial beauty and the abuse that can be throw at individuals for being different. This show provides fun and thought for all! Plus the music is just AWESOME! You will leave singing the tunes!

Just around the riverbend at Spotlites

It’s been a really exciting and intense year at Spotlites. Can’t remember a single moment without a major project just around the riverbend.

We have staged six of our interactive productions for children this year, beginning with ‘Sleeping Beauty and the Time Lords’ at our Kent theatre last January and culminating with 71 different performances of our own shows at our ‘home from home’, Spotlites @ EdFringe.

We also built our EdFringe venue from scratch in just 5 days creating 3 high specification theatres literally from the ground up. This involves laying tens of metres of stage flooring, hundreds of metres of scaffolding, thousand of metres of cabling and rigging and focussing innumerable lights, projectors, sounds and lighting desks as well as what feels like several thousand miles of black curtains and a million safety pins! All credit and much gratitude to our ingenious and intrepid Technical team who guide our whole company in this huge undertaking.

We have travelled thousands of miles to watch hundreds of shows – ranging across the whole spectrum of performing arts from plays, dance, physical theatre to music, performance poetry and magic – to create an outstanding curated programme of 67 productions from 19 countries. This programme was honoured with 10 awards and nominations while 15 shows were reviewed as 5 stars and 95% as 4 star. As a consequence of performing at Spotlites, there were 5 London transfers and 13 international and 6 UK tours.

We proofed 150 pieces of print, advised on or redrafted 80 press releases, organised and facilitated over 270 reviewers, welcomed and looked after over 600 artistes from 19 different countries, many not speaking English. Our press office has made thousands of calls to generate hundreds of columns of print or web copy including a great article in the Guardian on our ‘Titus Andronicus’, the first ever Chinese production, a full double centre page spread! They also pitched our programme’s shows to numerous producers and promoters as well as giving them a warm, personal welcome. Not to mention our wonderful front of house girls carrying over 400 heavy boxes of print up and down 3 staircases.

Along the way we have performed at numerous theatres and educational establishments as well as creating and giving many bespoke drama workshops on themes as diverse as Minecraft, Places and Cultures Around the World and Shakespeare. We have worked with thousand of children and enjoyed their incomparable infectious energy, enthusiasm and creativity.

Somehow we also found time in June to extensively re-model Spotlites Theatre, Kent adding a relaxing cafe / waiting area with comfy sofas and WIFI as well as moving our Wardrobe – no mean undertaking with over 6000 costumes, building 2 new offices and our Studio Theatre and Dance Studio. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped whether moving things, decorating or constructing!

Our Youth Theatre has gone from strength to strength, welcoming several new tutors as well as many new members of Kids Spotlites, our fun and energetic section for 4-6s, Children’s Theatre (7-11 years), Junior Youth Theatre (11-13s), Youth Theatre ( for 14-17s) and Theatre Zone for over 18s. Plus this year saw us add more of our Dance sessions for all age groups, Singing lessons and Show Choirs, as well as another day of our Drama and Dance for Adults with Learning Difficulties, making all of these even more accessible. We were delighted that so many of our Youth Theatre performed this year in some delightful and impressively high standard shows – notably the exceptionally emotive and mature ‘The Pirate Queen’ and ‘James and the Giant Peach’ (full of fun and colourful performances) as well as finding time for a Showcase and an excellent scratch night in aid of Nepal which raised almost £400, in addition to our usual fundraising for the Poppy Appeal and donations to many local schools. We were pleased to be able to offer several scholarships to those in need of them again this year. We have had several third generation members of Spotlites Youth Theatre join up this year and are looking forward to the first fourth!

We are delighted to celebrate the success of so many of our alumni from Spotlites Youth Theatre – this year one was appointed director of a major theatre, another three wrote and staged plays, one came third in the German ‘The Voice’ and has a successful recording career, another graces our screens in the BodyShop Christmas commercial, another in Barclaycard’s, another graduated as a speech therapist – after re-training for 4 years following working as an actor for 5 years – and we have alumni on tour in theatre in the UK, in the West End, on Broadway, at Ballet Rambert, making films and at or graduated from all the major Drama Colleges including Mountview, Central, Rose Bruford, East 15, ALRA, Italia Conti, Guildhall as well as at Lecoq Mime School, Paris. Many actors tell us that they are still using the audition pieces that they worked on at Spotlites Youth Theatre.

2016 dawns sunny and cold this January and challenges us with its hard winter light to take another look at what we do and how we do it. We are excited to be moving our Spotlites EdFringe Venue a few metres up the road from the home we have had for the last 8 years, to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. This move gives room for a fourth theatre space, an exciting traverse ‘Imagine Theatre’, with the audience on two sides, as well as a conventional end on space ‘The Create Theatre’ in addition to our popular ‘Innovate Studio Theatre’ and intimate ‘Zone Theatre’. Additionally we now have space for bars, a cafe and a green room as well as a decent office space for our hardworking team. We are currently searching hard for dynamic plays and shows to create an even more inspiring programme than last year!

We are excited to be writing and bringing two new interactive plays for children to the stage this year- ‘Braveheart’ the William Wallace play for 5-12s, as well as another of our special plays for little ones aged 2-6 years. We will be touring these extensively in the UK and internationally along with ‘Peter Pan on Dinosaur Island’ and ‘Oz and the Sith Pirates’ for 5-12s, ‘Puss In Boots’ for 2-6s, ‘Enormous Turnip’ and ‘Golden Goose’ both for 3-7s. This year we will also be touring a play for adults too. We will also be staging some Roald Dahl to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth and a special re-imagining of ‘The Tempest’, perhaps Shakespeare’s most obscure play, to honour the 400th anniversary of his death.

We look forward to what’s just around the riverbend in 2016 – embracing our imaginative team’s adaptability and willingness to react swiftly to what’s happening in the world around us to use theatre and story-telling to help make sense of our changing world for both children and adults alike. Spotlites exists to tell stories – we hope 2016 will give us the chance to weave many.

shakespeare

400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death

ACTRESS SAVES THE DAY AT SPOTLITES AT EDFRINGE 2015

SHOW MUST GO ON AS NONI STAPLETON STEPS INTO HAMLET ROLE

Award winning Actress Noni Stapleton saved the day this weekend as she stepped into the role of Gertrude in the English Repertory Theatre’s production of Hamlet at Spotlites at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Due to illness current actress Helen Bang was unable to perform, Noni who is starring in her own hit show Charolais at Spotlites, jumped at the chance to help out a fellow theatre company. With a script in hand she saved the company from having to cancel the show and wowed audiences with her very ‘on the spot’ performance.

Noni Stapleton said “I loved it, I relished the challenge and I’d never see a theatre company stuck! They’re a brave talented bunch and a joy to work with. It was certainly an adrenaline filled ‘I can’t believe I’m going to do this’ joy. It’s a great act of trust, the acting lark, never more so than at times like this. It was my privilege.”

Gavin Davis of English Repertory Theatre, commented; “I met Noni on the first day of performance and was immediately struck with her talent. She was the first person I turned to for help and without hesitation she agreed.”

Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most iconic work, refreshingly brought up to date by English Reparatory Theatre, the play explodes with modern ideas and is the ultimate story of loyalty, love, betrayal, murder and madness. In this stripped-back, fresh and fast-paced version, emerging actress Rachel Waring, at the age of 26, the youngest women ever to play the eponymous Prince. The role of Gertrude will be played by a replacement actor from the RSC for the rest of the run, which closes on 31 August.

Noni Stapleton is an Irish actress, playwright, and voice over artist. Her one woman play Charolais (until 30 August) won the Bewley’s ‘Little Gem’ award at the Tiger Dublin Fringe 2014. Charolais takes the age old story of one woman’s jealousy of her female rival in love and gives it a new twist: the other woman is cow, a literal one, a purebred Charolais heifer!

Spotlites are encouraging audiences to see Hamlet twice in one day as Hamlet (A One Man Play) is also performed at the venue (in the mornings until 22 August) by award winning Spanish actor Alfredo Padilla. Alfredo explores all the possibilities, restructuring the original order of the tale.

Spotlites programme of events can be viewed on http://www.spotlites.co.uk or http://www.edfringe.com