IT is all change for Stratford Musical Theatre Company this autumn. . .not only has it got a new production team and chairman but it is testing the performance space at the ‘new-look’ Stratford Civic Hall.
At the end of this month it opens its autumn season with Sweet Charity and new chairman Phil Beeson is boasting another first for musical productions.
Beeson, who has directed many of the company’s critically-acclaimed and award-winning shows over the past decade, said: “After giving the Royal Shakespeare Theatre a thorough trial before it officially opened in 2011, it seems we’re becoming the go-to group for the inauguration of new spaces!
“After many successful musicals with our award-winning production team over recent years, we decided the time was also right to broaden and expand our production talent to meet the exciting new challenges ahead.”
In the director’s chair for this show is Paul Clark, who brings a wealth of artistic and technical experience. As well as working full time as a teacher at Henley School, he is the producer of Odyssey Youth Theatre in Banbury and company manager at 1640 Productions, which gives performers the opportunity to perform on the West End stage.
Clark has also performed in the West End, including the London Palladium, Palace Theatre and Theatre Royal, several times. He joined SMTC in 2009 playing Walter de Courcey in Chess.
Sara Higgins, last seen playing April in SMTC’s 2010 production of Company, is choreographing Sweet Charity. Higgins is the resident choreographer for Spa Opera in Leamington and is a very active performer, with a string of principal roles for societies across Warwickshire. Professionally, she runs Fiery Feet Dance Studio in Leamington with her sister, Sophie, who is also in this cast.
Completing the trio is Jacqui Smith, who is providing musical direction. Smith is a freelance music and vocal teacher working with local schools, colleges and theatre groups. She is a talented musician and singer, and performs with many groups across the region. She played the Science Officer in the company’s 2011 production of Return to the Forbidden Planet at the RST.
Beeson added: “We have a tremendous opportunity to reinvigorate the society while cherishing the traditions that have made it great over the last nine decades. We are proud to perform in a town with such a great theatrical tradition and we are working hard to better our already high standards.
“We have a very loyal audience and Sweet Charity promises to deliver the great night out they have come to expect from our society. We also look forward to sharing our new ideas with them over the coming months.”
Sweet Charity runs at Stratford Civic Hall from 30th October to 2nd November. Tickets (£12 or £15) are available from the civic hall box office on 01789 207100 or at www.civichall.co.uk
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