You may have heard that Andy Collier (musical theatre legend of Leighton Buzzard) founder of Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre and Youth Theatre and also active member and official of the LB canal society sadly died on Tuesday in Swiss Cottage Nursing Home after battling motor neurone disease. His brother Tim would like me to put an article together with to celebrate his life- he was very important to many in the town introducing many children, young people to theatre through his original musicals which included the award winning “Once The Cut” based on the Grand Union canal- please forward any photos/ memories of Andy Collier/ Andy's musicals to firstname.lastname@example.org
It is with sadness that we hear of the news of LBCT founder Andy Collier. Sally and David took over LBCT from Andy in 1995 .Andy Collier playwright, director, entertainer and friend, passed away at 5 o'clock on Tuesday 28th April. Andy had been suffering with motor neurone disease but is now finally at rest and free of his ailments.
Obituary: So many magical music memories thanks to Andy Collier
Leighton Buzzard is mourning the passing of Andy Collier, the founder of the Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre, Youth Theatre and a leading light in the Canal Society.
Andy died on April 28 at Swiss Cottage Nursing Home, aged 70, as a result of Motor Neurone Disease.
Andy was born in August 1944 in Harpenden next to the Midland Railway, which shaped an interest in trains and later canals. An early love of music came from community singing round a grand piano at family parties leading to a place at The Royal College of Music to study singing.
He then trained as a teacher and worked at Gilbert Inglefield School and Fernwood Prep School in Woburn Sands – proud moments included winning the Bedford Schools Festival with his choir.
His musical theatre journey begun at Gilbert Inglefield with productions of his own musicals Out Of Time in 1978, Of A Star in 1979 and Once The Cut in 1980 assisted by Julie Knowles and Ian Crouch.
He left Gilbert Inglefield and opened a piano and singing service in a small room called The Office next to his flat in North Street. Andy went on to retail and repair upright pianos in the same space – with sometimes a dozen pianos – much fun and frustration was had by Tim, Andy’s brother, and Andy hauling and pushing the pianos up two slatted planks onto the first floor. Don Quick and the Patemans TV shop below used to joke about how they thought the ceiling would go some days!
In 1986 he started North Street Music Saturday morning children’s music and drama classes. In 1987 Andy booked the Bossard Hall and staged Once The Cut followed by many many productions.
In 1990 he had written new musicals Reopen The Line and Howzat, his cricketing musical.
Some of his musicals had social comment, Beeching’s Folly (about the closure of the railways) and Once the Cut, a story of families working the canal boats, from the 1930s, through the Second World War and up to the times of closing the canals in favour of road transport.
Space was at a premium on the Bossard Hall stage and Andy decided to form Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre to accommodate the younger members. He ran this until 1995 when it was taken over by Sally Allsopp as a move away from North Street was necessary.
Seven years of scenery and youth theatre props had amassed and were moved to a house in Rushden.
The Youth Theatre and Children’s Theatre went on to perform at The Leighton Buzzard Theatre and still continue to do so.
His love for canals led to a collaboration with his brother Tim, T and A Collier Canal Services.
Andy would spend hours bagging up coal for sale in paper bags supplied by Harry Sears Farm in Eggington.
Their days on the canal are well documented in their book An affair With The Cut. In 1984 Andy also started the Leighton Buzzard Canal Society. With three others he successfully led a campaign to save Brantoms Dock towpath bridge. The IWA took up the issue over derelict sector canals and made them more secure.
1994 was Andy’s last full year in Leighton Buzzard, he married Sandy Lickorish and the Youth Theatre did a sponsored tour of towns and villages along the ‘Obrac Line’ Oxford-Bedford with his railway musical Reopen The Line, said by Obrac founder to have led to East-West Rail trend 1995 onwards.
Also in 1994 Andy’s Youth Theatre and his musical Once The Cut won a place to perform in The Barclays Theatre Awards Competition staged at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank, London – this was a very proud moment for Andy and the group.
Georgina Hawkins won Best Actor for her character in the canal musical. Such was Andy’s enthusiasm for music and the stage, that he was able to bring out the most amazing performances from his young would be actors and actresses. Many from LBCT and the Youth Theatre have gone on to work professionally in theatre.
Andy continued youth theatre in Wellingborough and Northants until when he decided to spend more time on his own musical career.
He staged over 20 singing productions in places including Clapham, Stewartby, Heath and Reach, Flitwick, Cranfield and many more. These went alongside entertaining in care homes and at railway and canal events.
Highlights included performing at Braunston Church and in Stoke Bruerne World War 2 canal events.
He arranged a canal concert in the Leighton Buzzard Theatre with guest artistes including the Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre who went on to stage a production of Once The Cut at The Vandyke Theatre with Andy as musical director.
Andy’s last performance event was at the Somerset and Dorset Railway’s World War 1 weekend 2014 at Midsomer Norton Station dressed as an Army Major.
He had a fall the evening before the performance but instead of cancelling he played the concert as a wounded World War One soldier- such typified a brave career from which he always put music first.
Andy worked hard all his life and gave the town of Leighton Buzzard a wonderful heritage of youth and children’s theatre, excellent new musicals based on his passions of railways, canals and cricket with a lot of local references- these musicals have been performed by groups throughout the UK.
His canal days saw him working narrow boats Elstree and Lyra and the formation of Leighton Buzzard Canal Society. Both the railways and canals were subjects close to Andy’s heart. His knowledge and enthusiasm for those times were infectious.
Andy Collier’s funeral service will be on Tuesday, May 19 at 12noon at All Saints Church, Leighton Buzzard. No flowers please, donations are requested for his two favourite charities. a) Hospice at Home b) Leighton Buzzard Canal Society, c/o Dillamores, Old Road, LinsladeOld Road, Linslade, Bedss, Old Road, Linslade, Beds. There will also be MndA envelopes at side of church for their Andy Collier Tribute Fund.
For the purposes of catering at the wake, please indicate if you are likely to attend, by text/telephone 07818 288522. There is limited parking in Church Square, but a large multi-storey is 200 yards away in West Street; walk through to High Street, then downhill to Church Square.
INTO THE WOODS JUNIOR open to LBCT and non LBCT members
Please find below details of the Advance Theatre Company/ LBCT Into The Woods junior project
We understand the performance date is not ideal but it was the only available date this side of the Summer holidays- if your child would like to take part- please email email@example.com asap and we will save them a space. Please complete the attached application form and send it with show fee to 12 Linslade Rd, Heath and Reach, Leighton Buzzard LU7 0AU or bring to first rehearsal but please do email to secure your place- would be very useful if you could email if this is now not of interest to you
Please do not forget to include your cast t-shirt size- this is included in the show fee
We are looking for a cast of up to 30 young people for “Into the Woods Junior” open to those aged 8-16
"Into the Woods junior" license secured- to complement our "Into The Woods" full adult version.
Members of the adult cast will be producing the junior production with the juniors which is great fun- it is a one act show which focuses on the first half of Sondheim’s musical- the happier side of fairy tales.
Performance date Tuesday 14th July performance 7pm at The Vandyke Theatre
Below is the workshop dates. Workshops will take place on Fridays at The Barn, Heath and Reach-as follows plus dress rehearsal and performance at Vandyke Theatre as listed.
There is £40 show fee which includes cast t-shirt
Into the woods junior workshop sessions
· Friday May 8th 4-5.30 at The Barn (intro session)
· Friday May 15th 4-5.30 at The Barn
· Friday May 29th 4-5.30 at the Barn
· Friday 26th June 4-6 at The Barn
· Friday 3rd July 4-6 at The Barn
· Friday 10th July 4-6 at The Barn
· Monday 13th July 6-9 dress rehearsal “Into the woods junior”
· Tuesday 14th July 6-9 performance “Into the woods junior” tickets £5/ £3
Show fee £40 including cast t-shirt/ £20 siblings
We understand that not all cast members will be able to make all the above. Dress rehearsal is essential but we quite understand if cast need to arrive late because of school or already have commitments on some of the workshop dates- please let us know any dates you are unable to do.
Leighton’s flying dog attracts a French film crew!
Callie being filmed, MPLO
Producers of France’s longest running TV show have been to Leighton Buzzard this week to make a documentary – about a flying dog!
Our story last spring about Callie, the co-pilot dog, who accompanies the LBO’s Eye In The Sky contributor Graham Mountford on his flying trips, was picked up by many national and international newspapers and magazines at the time.
Callie being filmed, MPLO
The story about the chocolate Labrador has now come to the attention of 30 Millions D’Amis – a programme about animals and animal welfare – which commissioned a specialist animal documentary film-maker, Heinz Cadera, to track Callie down and make an eight-minute film of her adventures to include in the program.
The film-maker arrived at Leighton Buzzard station early on Thursday morning with a three-day plan that would take him and Callie, the only canine official member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, as far away as Inverness!
First stop was Ark House Vets in Leighton Buzzard. As the programme is very strong on animal welfare they wanted to begin by talking to a Vet about how to prepare an animal for a long journey, any special precautions for flying and also to film Callie being given a health check.
Senior veterinary surgeon and clinical manager at Ark House, Adele Caldwell spent half an hour being filmed with Callie and interviewed about animal health on long trips.
Callie being filmed, MPLO
Once that part of the film was completed, Heinz and Callie were taken to Turweston Aerodrome in Buckinghamshire to be filmed around the airfield and preparing for a flight.
Graham, from the Mentmore Road area of Leighton, said: “The airport staff were fantastic and very accommodating, and Robin Aris particularly was filmed in the control tower talking about Callie who is a regular visitor there.”
The crew then took off and flew to Inverness where Callie was filmed meeting her best friend, Graham’s sisters’ Labrador Archie, where they were filmed running on the beach and playing together.”
Friday involved a walk through the woods and then back to Inverness Airport where the security man was filmed inspecting Callie’s very own photo Air Crew card, before flying back to Turweston.
Callie being filmed, MPLO
Graham added: “Heinz was captivated by the local villages and we stopped several times to film local areas with and without Callie walking through them. Residents of Soulbury and Heath and Reach especially may have noticed a camera man rushing around trying to get best shots before the light changed.”
The busy schedule ended with the part of the film that will be the start of the documentary – filming with Callie and her friends at Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre in Heath and Reach Village Barn.
Callie and her film crew arrived at the Barn at 8.30am Saturday to set up and talk with LBCT director Sally Allsopp. The children were then filmed arriving, meeting Callie and asking questions about her, before the whole group took to the stage with Callie to sing one of their favourite songs.
Graham explained: “The reason for this is that Callie’s owner Helen Mountford, 17, has been a member of LBCT since she was five, and introduced Callie to the group as a puppy, always taking her along when they were singing In Leighton town centre at Christmas to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
“It was noticed that the cute Labrador sitting next to one of the collectors seemed to always end up with more money in the bucket than the rest, and so Callie became adopted as a mascot for LBCT for their charity work.”
The shoot ended with three of the children (Adam Derland, Billy Knibb and Gwen Firoozmand) being filmed with Helen and Callie, asking questions about her flying.
Graham said: “This was a great insight for the children of the theatre group into the real world of filming, with several re-takes from different angles and in different lights until it was just right. No such luxury on the live stage they are used to for their shows.
“Reviewing part of the film with Callie’s owners Helen and Graham Heinz was heard to say over one shot ‘that is fantastic – this will melt the heart of every grandmother in France!’
“Finally a few more shots of views around Heath and Reach village and the film-maker was off to his next assignment – filming at a Donkey Sanctuary in Devon.
“A little different from one of his earlier documentaries filmed in Libya documenting the saving of the animals in Tripoli Zoo while the palace across the road was being bombed from the air!”
TICKETS FOR OUR PRODUCTION WEEKEND 5th/6th JUNE NOW ON SALE
This terms scholarship places have been awarded to Molly Jones, Oliver Fosberry and Gwen Firoozmand - well done to both of you. You have shown outstanding commitment and potential to your group
The Factory Children is fast approaching
Performance venue The Leighton Buzzard Theatre
Friday 5th June 7.30pm and Saturday 6th June 7.30pm
The Factory Children
LBCT cast members aged 9-13 bring alive the story of The Factory Children in this family musical suitable for all the family. Score by Chris Adams and Michael Sullivan. Poignant and humorous plot about a rich factory owner’s children who become involved with a group of young factory workers. Set in the 1830’s and linked by famous contemporary figures, the audience see the working conditions in the factories and the reformations after the Factory acts were passed.
Fully costumed and choreographed this musical will enlighten, educate and enchant the audience.
Tickets go on sale TOMORROW 7th April and will sell fast
Follow this link to buy your tickets
Box Office 0300 300 8125
All tickets will be sold by The LB Theatre
New term dates will be emailed to members this week (also groups section with dates etc will be updated)
Busy term ahead
Mikado was amazing- so many brilliant reviews-well done LBCT Youth Section members and The advance Theatre company
£325 for Oxfam raised as part of Oxjam, Leighton Buzzard
Members of Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre were very busy last term raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The total raised in December was £1,670. Youngsters aged 5-18 took part in events including The Leighton Buzzard Christmas Weekend, The St Barnabas Christmas Tree Festival, community performances at The Otters Swimming Club and various sheltered Housing establishments and produced 2 performances of “Sing Out Against Cancer for Christmas” at The Vandyke Theatre.
The Sing out involved all LBCT members and was a wonderful event showcasing the talents of local children and young people. Highlights included solos, duets and group pieces, an hilarious spoof of 12 Days of Christmas and much more –the audience left feeling very festive and of course with sweets from Santa.
This term the group has got a lot more planned. The Youth Section are busily preparing “Ring of Roses” a musical set in the plague village of Eyam which will be performed on February 28th featuring the older members aged 13-18 combining their talents with a wonderful score and script by Darren Vallier . The main CT aged 9-13 who meet on Saturday mornings in Heath and Reach will be performing the historical drama with music set in the 1830’s called “The Factory Children” and The Mini Theatre performers aged 4-9 are rehearsing “Potted Pantos” for performance in June, Ring Of Roses will be performed at the Vandyke Theatre, The pantos and The Factory Children will be at The LB Theatre
Theatre is a wonderful way to make new friends and to encourage creativity. LBCT is a community group run entirely by volunteers who have raised over £60,000 for local, national and international charities over the last 19 years. For more details see www.lbct.org
Fantastic congratulations to Adam Derland, Libby Bridgen and Kyle Ward as your panto run at The Grove theatre comes to an end- you were superb as the Babes in The Wood-totally impressed
Well done to everyone our final Sing Out Total is £1670 for Macmillan Cancer support
Merry Christmas to all our members, friends and supporters
Sing Out and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas were fantastic-well done
Wonderful performance at The Mayors Concert
Fantastic performances by LBCT Minis, Ct , YS and Advance at The Leighton Buzzard Christmas Weekend- wonderful.
£300.17 collected yesterday for Macmillan Cancer Support
2014 Christmas SING OUT TOTAL NOW STANDS AT £429.98.
Well done everyone who performed, collected, applauded, supported.
Still 2 x "Sing Outs" at The Vandyke Theatre on Sunday 14th December to go and The Advance Theatre-Company in "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" at The LB Theatre on 16th December
Thank you and Well done again
So LBCT/ Advance Theatre-Company Drama stars of the week 27th September 2014
Seb Cridland for focus and commitment to Youth section on Tuesday
Hayley Green for her patience and characterisation in advance rehearsal yesterday
Chloe S for her amazing fairy pose and great singing today in Mini 1
Sebastian C for his wonderful singing today and technical help in Mini 1
Ben S for his incredibly superior performance as a privileged factory owners child today in CT
Savannah F for working so hard today and reading the part of George so well
Josh P for his super performances today in Mini 2
Lea and Juliette C for working so hard today
More stars will be announced each week....
A certificate will be given to each Drama Star of the week- the week following their nomination
Special mention to our adult and youth helpers today
Nessa Lee, David Allsopp, Lorna Winfield, Rebekah Beare, Héloïse Lee,Lissie Allsopp, Helen Mountford, Chloe Benning, Joe Samuel, Emily Parrott,Elisha Fowler and Luke Birtles
All Saturday groups start Saturday 13th September
Well done to everyone
involved with Magic Dave performance on 6th September- it was fantastic
Leavers "Showstoppers" performance Monday 8th September
Magical performance lined up at theatre
Members of Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre will start the new term with a special performance at Leighton Buzzard Theatre.
Award-winning children’s entertainer, Magic Dave, will be joined by the talented youngsters for an afternoon of magic and music.
The children’s theatre, which has five groups for local children aged four to 18, will focus this performance on members aged nine to 13.
The youngsters will sing songs from well known musicals including Oliver, Matilda, Alice and many more.
The performance is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and takes place on Saturday, September 6 at 2.30pm.
Tickets are available from the box office 0300 300 8125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magic Dave for Macmillan
with the Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre
Award winning children’s entertainer, Magic Dave, will be joined
by the talented Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre for an afternoon of magic and music,
in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. All proceeds to support the work of the charity.
Sat 6th Sept 2.30pm
Adults £6 Children £3 Family Ticket (2 adults & 2 children) £15
from LB Theatre Box Office 0300 300 8125
(Featuring LBCT Saturday 10.30 group as invited)
Showstoppers for Macmillan Cancer Support
Always a wonderful event
The leavers will be supported by LBCT Youth Section and members of TheAdvance Theatre Company and older members from LBCT Saturday group
Will include showstopping numbers from Miss Saigon, Beauty and The Beast, Seussical, Les Miserables, Oliver, Matilda and many others
Tickets £5/ £4 email email@example.com to order
Advance theatre Company
Well done to everyone involved in the Oliver Community concert tonight- it was fantastic- the residents loved it and thought everyone was brilliant
They gave a donation for Macmillan Cancer Support of £70 which is fantastic
Well done everyone
Saturday Minis and CT back to normal
Theatre group will leave you wanting more!
Leighton Buzzard’s Advance Theatre Company are bringing the famous musical Oliver! to life this week at the town’s library theatre.
Being performed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (June 12-14), the production has brought together two children’s teams – Team Charles and Team Dickens – to play the workhouse children and Fagin’s gang, plus an adult cast to play the cameo roles which Lionel Bart and of course Charles Dickens captured so well.
The children will be led by Billy Knibb and Jared Walsh as Oliver. Billy and Jared both attend St Leonards Lower School and have worked very hard on the characterisation of the young boy who is born in a workhouse where he and the others are treated so cruelly by Mr Bumble and Widow Corney.
He is chosen to ask for more gruel saying the famous lines “please sir, can I have some more” and branded a troublemaker he is apprenticed to an undertakers with Mr and Mrs Sowerberry.
Mrs Sowerberry will be played by drama graduate Hayley Green who grew up in Leighton Buzzard and has returned after her studies to work as a teaching assistant in the town. Hayley is involved with direction and production in many projects.
Oliver manages to escape and walks to London where he meets The Artful Dodger played by 14 year olds Jacob Townson and Tom Harriman.
Dodger introduces him to many characters including Fagin played by 25 year old Nathan Rutherford. Nathan graduated with a BA in Drama from the University of Winchester and loves musicals and performing. Fagin leads a band of young thieves and pursaudes Oliver to “work” for him.
He meets Nancy played by Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance student Lissie Allsopp and Bet who see the need to protect him from Fagin and the evil Bill Sykes. Bill is played by young Manchester University medical student Andrew Fell, Bet by A level student Josie Derland and also semi professional actor Carly Halse.
Whilst Dodger and the others are out picking pockets Oliver is falsley accused of stealing the pocket watch of Mr Brownlow played by Graham Mountford.
The wonderful musical full of songs, dance, laughter and sadness will be fully staged over four performances. The adult ensemble brings together many from the community some of whom have performed many times and some who are treading the boards for the first time.
The children’s casts are all local children who participated in an Oliver workshop earlier in the year organised by the Advance Theatre Company and did so well they were cast in the production.
Tickets are on sale from the Leighton Buzzard Theatre Box Office (0300 300 8130). Performances are 7pm on Thursday and Friday. 2pm and 7.30 on Saturday.
> The Advance Theatre Company is a relatively new production company based in Leighton Buzzard.
The company appeals to a whole variety of performers - the amateur seeking confidence and fun, the semi professional looking to widen their horizons and the professional looking to become a part of something new, innovative and exciting.
Past projects have included a production of Midsummer Nights Dream, a 40s/50s song and dance show and two spots at the Grove Theatre, Dunstable. The company present short term projects for the community to participte in as well as professional entertainment for private functions and educational establishments.
No ordinary Saturday CT/ Mini 1 or Mini 2 sessions today 7th June as we have had to put in extra Oliver rehearsals
If you require an Alice dvd please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to the order £12 each £30 for 3 (you can pay on delivery)
Next Saturday session will be 21st June where the dvds will be delivered
Hope to see you all at Oliver next Thurs/ Fri/ Sat matinee or evening
Cast left the audience in Wonderland!
More than 70 local children aged four to 13 took part in performances of Alice The Musical earlier this month at The Leighton Buzzard Theatre, writes Josie Farmer.
The production by Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre featured many colourful characters and a chorus of lobsters, cards, flowers and much more. The performances raised £500 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Mini Theatre cast were led in a one-act version by eight-year-olds Ruby Hyland and Phillipa Starkey as Young Alice and Alice in Wonderland, both girls showed real enthusiasm in their singing and led the cast through wonderful adventures.
They met the Mad Hatter played brilliantly by nine-year-old Jared Walsh, the crazy hares Antonio Borelli and Rowan McGwyre and the sleepy dormice, eight-year-old Gwen Firoozmand, seven-year-old Evie Agget and six-year-old Eliza Walsh – great fun was had by all at the tea party.
The Gryphon played superbly by Adam Derland and the Mock Turtle, nine-year-old Imogen Mills who gave an equally amazing performance, told their old sea tales allowing the chorus to sing and dance the lobster quadrille with such fun and enjoyment.
The King and Queen of Hearts Billy Knibb and Emily Elding were suitably terrifying, young Billy tackling a very complex court scene with real maturity. The cat, the duchess, the rabbit, the caterpillar and all the characters made us smile-well done to you all for such a young cast you were brilliant.
The older Children’s Theatre cast showed the progression from younger to older group showcasing some very fine talent indeed.
They were led by 11-year-olds Molly Tooman and Leah Quinn, who both who attend Leighton Middle School and learnt so many songs, dances and lines to perfection.
The story was narrated in this version by Lewis Carroll himself – 12 -year-old Robert Beilby playing The Rev Dodgson, Robert was excellent.
The two girls playing Alice encountered so much fun which showed in everyone’s performance especially Hannah Brewin as the Duchess, Isabelle Thyer as the cook, Amber Chambers as the Gryphon and Ella Raffe as The Mock Turtle.
Dodgson took Alice to meet the walrus played by 10-year-old Alex Scorza and the carpenter played by 10-year-old Olivia Campbell. They met the White Rabbit played very well by Ella Rose King and Mad Hatters tea party characters including Elisha Fowler, Hayden Gell, Danny Rushby, Eleanor Moyle,Freya Dann and Ben Samuel. The Cheshire Cat (Rebecca Knibb) sang and danced superbly and didn’t stop grinning.
Excellent singing from everyone. Stand-outs included Beth Coles as the caterpillar, Molly Squires as Victorian soloist number one and Charlotte Snowdon as the King of Hearts.
Both versions had great scenery by Border Studios and lighting by Richard and Tom Ayre, with superb musical accompaniment by David Allsopp.
Well done to both casts and all the crew a great achievement.
Heloise Lee wins LBCT Charity cup
Vandyke Upper school sixth former Heloise Lee is the latest recipient of the Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre Charity Cup. Given annually the cup is presented to a member or associate of the group who has gone one step beyond with their charity and volunteering work. Heloise has volunteered as a Youth helper with the Mini and Children’s theatre groups for 5 years. Volunteering for these groups means an early start to Saturday mornings as the group starts at 9am. The volunteer position includes teaching and encouraging the young performers at workshops, rehearsals and during performances.
Spokesperson Sally Allsopp said “Heloise is a fantastic youth helper, nothing is too much for her and she really helps the children to have fun and learn. Her love of music and drama shines through her work- the children all adore her. During productions Heloise will give up a week after school to help get the production ready and make sure every child feels that the performances are amazing. At LBCT community events Heloise is the first to volunteer to help and last Christmas helped at many events to help raise thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support.”
Heloise also coaches swimming for a local club two evenings a week and helps to edit the newsletter for the club.
Heloise was a finalist in the Bedfordshire Young People of The Year Awards 2012-13 and in the Summer will help at the Mencap Summer holiday club.
A worthy winner of the award Heloise will continue her volunteering whilst studying for A levels showing a true community spirit in all she does
Miss Saigon is a proud moment for Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre
Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre Youth Section should be very proud of the reviews received after their recent performances of the moving musical Miss Saigon.
Three performances raised more than £500 for part of Leighton Buzzard’s Oxjam.
The Saturday evening performance was even more special as it was proceeded by a talk for the cast by a person who had left Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in the 1970s as a tiny baby as a “ displaced boat person”.
She told her story of how they were refused entry to many countries but as media interest grew more governments felt the pressure to accept the refugees – her boat docked in Hong Kong and she and her family were finally sponsored to live in Canada.
A spokesman for the children’s theatre said: “She brought with her a member of the exiled Vietnamese Royal family. Performing this piece to people with so much connection to the setting was incredible and very moving.
“The one thing the cast were asked to hold onto is that both of these people see the hope that their situations gave them and to be able to retell their stories as survivors was very powerful.”
Here are some of the reviews of the production.
Reviews from the audience included
“WELL DONE EVERYONE Well done LBCT. The performance, as always, was fantastic. It never ceases to aaze e how those young people rise to the ocassion each and every time” Lynda
“Can safely say watching Miss Saigon three times didn’t make it any easier. I was an utter mess every time. Awesome performances from some very talented young people at LBCT.You should all be very proud of yourselves.” Abi
“They were amazing, tough subjects tackled maturely and realistically. The photos on the backdrop made it even more poignant “ Victoria
“Wow, wow, wow! Thank you to the wonderful cast and crew of LBCT for an incredible evening, transporting us into the world of Miss Saigon. I feel really lucky to have witnessed something so special, you should all be proud of yourselves; Seb, Karl and Thomas were fantastic and Jenny broke everyone’s heart, you played your characters with such depth and maturity. I was unable to cheer as much as I’d like to have at the end, as I was sobbing! Awesome!” Nikki
The following is a review by a cast member about his fellow cast members. Luke will leave the group in the Summer to study medicine at university.
“What to say about Miss Saigon? Firstly, the past few days have probably been the greatest experience of my life, the show was just legendary and that was down to every single person who took part.
“Josie Derland as Gigi the emotion you put into being Gigi was outstanding, especially in Movie in My Mind.
“Thomas Langston as John, you put your heart and soul into the role of John and despite the difficulty of that high note in Bui-Doi you hit it spot on every time.
“Rosie Brooks, you played Ellen perfectly, connecting with the audience and showing the pain she was going through with the whole ordeal with overwhelming.
“Seb Cridland, you were amazing as Chris and I can think of nobody better to steal my woman .
“Karl Goodwin, you made the part of the Engineer yours and I really loved what you did with it.
“And finally Jenny Beckwith as Kim (Miss Saigon), you were simply incredible, Kim is such a difficult part to play with so many lines to learn and you were just so good words can’t even describe it.
“Of course the show couldn’t have been what it was without the chorus, you really made it the spectacle it was and it was an honour working with all of you” Luke
Other cast comments include
“ I just want to thank absolutely every single cast and crew member involved in Miss Saigon, it was such an incredible experience that I will never forget!! It took so many months hard ...work but boy can we say it really paid off!!
“The principles were outstanding but the chorus numbers were simply epic. Id do anything just to perform it one more time. I still can’t believe the amount of tears on the Saturday night by all the cast and even the audience.
“The privilege we had to have a Vietnamese princess and boat people watching us just made us perform 10 times better. I think we’re all still struggling to realise its all over!! Thank you to the whole LBCT family!!! Love you all so much and well done!!!” Chloe
“It was such an amazing experience to be a part of Miss Saigon, everybody was so wonderful- I’ll never forget it and thank you to everyone!” Jenni
From the musical director
“OK guys, let’s bring some realism to the proceedings. It would be wrong to leave you guys with the wrong impression of Miss Saigon. We sometimes compare you to professional shows and emotion can take over. So...
“I would genuinely prefer to watch this production than any professional West End. Seriously! Yes! Why? Because this show was energised by the passion and recklessly powerful energy of young people that didn’t seem to realise that it is a very, very, VERY difficult show to pull off.
“Easily the hardest we have done. They just stormed in and did it. The go-for-it attitude. The diva-less comrade spirit. The intelligence of the performances. The commitment of the chorus. (Do you have ANY idea how hard the morning of the dragon really is?)”
“So when the dust settles and you look back on this production guys. Remember it is an experience that no-one will ever be able to take back from you. However good you get you will know that you could not have been better. You are now framed in the history annuls as LBCT legends!” David
Time to learn lines for Alice the Musical
New terms details to follow
Miss Saigon reviews
"My son came back last night raving about the last performance - he loved it, and said the cast were all amazing. Well done cast and crew of Lbct Drama on another triumph!"
"I would like to congratulate everyone involved in tonight's production. I wasn't sure where to look for the first five minutes or so - but was soon drawn into the story :-) !!
I'm not a regular theatre goer, but thoroughly enjoyed the performance which was brilliantly carried along by the main cast members and superbly supported by everyone else on stage.
'Kim' was 'stand out' wonderful and on several occasions when she really let rip her voice went straight through me - in a good way !! My children - Finlay and Murron that is - always take the Mickey out of me for shedding a tear when watching great performances on 'The Voice' or similar! 'Kim' got me again and again. Murron caught me glazing over for about the third time or so, toward the end of the first half, and laughed at me, which I hope didn't put anybody off!!!
I hadn't realised until we were wending our way home that tonight was the first performance in front of an audience - so tonight was all the more remarkable. I hope that the whole production takes great satisfaction out of tonight's performance
> Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved"
MISS SAIGON TICKETS SELLING FAST
FOR TICKETS EMAIL email@example.com
Performances Friday 7th March 7pm
Saturday 8th March 3pm and 7pm
Raffle and retiring collection in aid of OXFAM as part of OXJAM Leighton Buzzard
Lucky’ children’s group perform Miss Saigon next month
The Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre are busy rehearsing for Miss Saigon which is being performed on March 7-8 at the Vandyke Theatre.
More than 40 young local performers have been working very hard to present the amazing story of Chris and Kim set during and after the Vietnam War.
The group is one of the last youth theatres to gain a license to perform the show before it opens again in June in the West End.
Director Sally Allsopp said: “The group were very lucky to be part of Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables at the 02 Arena and now have the chance to grab a bit of history with their edition of the amazing production of Miss Saigon
“Local performers include Linslade based Jenny Beckwith as Kim and Vandyke Upper School student Seb Cridland as Chris. The production based on the story of Madam Butterfly is harrowing, harsh and heart-warming.
“Musical director David Allsopp and I feel privileged to work with such a wonderful cast of young people willing to learn, perform and passionately reproduce the scenes, songs and dramatic moments with quality, maturity and believability.”
See www.lbct.org for more details.
Friday 8th Feb
The Barn car park is clear at the moment so it remains so rehearsals will go ahead at The Barn tomorrow as normal. If not we will relocate all rehearsals- please check your email in the morning for details as we will update only if necessary. We will be rehearsing! The alternative venue is also in Heath and Reach. Details will also be posted on facebook and on here
FULL CASTING FOR MISS SAIGON NOW COMPLETE
MISS SAIGON schools edition March 2014
Kim- Jennifer Beckwith
The Engineer- Karl Rushby
Chris- Seb Cridland
John- Tom Langston
Ellen- Rosie Brooks
Thuy- Luke Birtles
Tam Fri eve - Edward Jackson
Tam Sat mat- Cameron Gell
Tam Sat eve- Harvey Prophet
Gigi- Josie Derland
Mimi- Jess Amey
Yvette- Georgia Hare
Yvonne- Juliette Flach
Ass Commiissar- Matt Wallis
Captain Schultz- Will Faulkner
Morning of the ragon solists -Amber Kearney, Corinne Hubbold, Helen Mountford
Morning of the Dragon dancers- Emma James, Emily Parrot, Chloe Benning, Chloe Bright
Marine soloists- Amber Kearney, Emily Parrot
Embassy workers- Georgia Hare, Helen Mountford, Josie Derland, Juliette Flach
Club owner-Helen Mountford
Non singing marines/ comm - Harry Cawood, Steven Sheehy, Callum McEnzie, Cameron Sinclair, Sean Wells, Luca Mitchell, Charlie Somerville
chorus of marines, dreamland girls, soldiers, comm, vietnamese, hustlers, vendors, tourists
Alexander Beilby, Amber Kearney, Ben Craig, Corinne Hubbold, Chloe Benning, Chloe Bright, Cliona McGivern, Ellie Prophet, Emily Parrot,Emma James, Erin Dann, Georgia Hare, Helen Mountford, Jacob Townson,Jennifer Mann, Jess Amey, Joe Samuel, Josie Derland, Juliette Flach, Laura Samet, Lorna Winfield, Lottie Hayman, Matt Wallis, Meghan Orbell, Rebekah Beare, Thomas Harriman, Will Faulkner
LBCT emergency contingency rehearsal venue found for Saturdays- still in the village- thank you to everyone for their suggestions. No more rehearsals will be cancelled due to flooding! phew. Members are asked to check here for any changes to rehearsal venue weekly as the bad weather continues
Saturday 1st February 8.12am
The flooding at The Barn is too dangerous this week to run any rehearsals. The water level at present is higher than last week and last week during the morning levels significantly rose. This is very frustrating and we can only apologise for this situation. If rain stays a problem we will have to find an alternative venue for the next few weeks-(we may have found a solution and will let you know for next week.)
We have no alternative today but to cancel rehearsals.
The council may come and clear the drains this morning but it is not worth the risk waiting to see if they do
Many many apologies- We will reorganise extra rehearsal time nearer the show dates to make up for this
Sally Allsopp on behalf of LBCT
Friday 31st JANUARY 5pm
The Barn car park is clear of flooding at present.
We sincerely hope it stays clear but if it does flood to the levels of last week we will have no alternative but to cancel as getting the children in and out of the building is dangerous when levels are as high as last week.
I have tried to book 3 other rehearsal spaces just in case but with no joy.
PLEASE check facebook/ our website www.lbct.org and your email tomorrow morning for updates as necessary.
If it clear we will not update. If there is a problem we will update at 8.15am
Missed rehearsals will be made up nearer to show week as necessary
Hope to see you all tomorrow!!!!!!!
Drama for children’s theatre group
They may be rehearsing their version of West End hit Miss Saigon, but the setting of a flood hit Leighton Buzzard dramaclass looked more like a scene from The Little Mermaid on Saturday.
Torrential downpours left the car park of the LB Children’s Theatre’s Heath and Reach rehearsal space under several inches of water.
But while one early morning class was cancelled, budding thespians from a second class decided that the show must go on.
They waded through the water and completed their session despite the giant puddle almost swamping the venue by the end.
The group are pictured still smiling in their wellies despite the unexpected drama.
Sally Allsopp, who runs the group, said: ‘We decided to cancel the 9am group but the water was receding by 9.45am so we decided to run the later group. But the water rose again significantly and by the end of the rehearsal was lapping at the door of the venue.
‘The youngsters were brilliant . They sang, acted and danced as usual and were evacuated to dry land by 12 noon.’
CT Update: Water is slowly draining but car park is unusable. Access to the barn on foot is improving - you will need wellies! Please do not attempt to park IN the car park unless your vehicle is suitable. Rehearsal will go ahead for CT at parents discretion. Mini 2 update will be sent at 11:30 by text.
BARN FLOODED: Just got to barn and very surprised that the barn car park is completely flooded and totally inaccessible. It would be unwise to hold a rehearsal for mini 1 9am group with water levels so high. Therefore mini 1 is cancelled today 25th Jan. Water levels may recede in time for CT and Mini 2. Will update at 9:15.
Fantastic start to the new term
Minis and CT working very hard on Alice the Musical
YS are incredible in Miss Saigon-tickets now on sale
Advance Theatre Company have the rights to Oliver for June 2014
Saturday sessions start Saturday 11th january
Looking forward to seeing you all again
Alice preparations are now our priority
Casting details will be posted asap
Leighton’s amazing young performers boost cancer charity funds
Members of the Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre and Advance Theatre Company spread some extra cheer this Christmas as they sang out to raise more than £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The youngsters performed at venues all over the area including Laburnum Court sheltered housing, Leighton Buzzard Christmas weekend, and The Vandyke Theatre, presenting their Sing Out AgainstCancer concert to packed audiences.
They also entertained shoppers at Milton Keynes Shopping Centre.
A grand total of £2,369.50 was raised in less than a month as the performers sang their hearts out.
A spokesperson from Macmillan said: “That is absolutely fantastic! Please let the children know how thrilled and grateful we are.
“I think they are amazing.”
Highlights included a new song, Christmastime, which LBCT also sang at the mayor’s concert this year.
Christmas sing out now stands at £640.68
CHRISTMAS SING OUT TOTAL REACHES £570.18!
Thursday 21st November
Fantastic performances from Lbct Drama Youth section and The Advance Theatre-Company tonight- superb. Tonight the WI gave us £162.49 which added to last Fridays Laburnum Ct donation means our total so far for Macmillan Cancer Support for our Sing out against Cancer is £253.99. Many more fundraising events to go and it's not even December yet-well done every performer who took part tonight.
Busy schedule for Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre
Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre have already had a busy time this term with their annual leavers show raising £400 for The Epilepsy Society. The leavers show featured the Youth Section members with special focus to those leaving for university or employment. The 10 leavers Gemma White, Gemma Faulkner, Katie Wesley, Suzanne Taylor, Jess Allsopp, Callum Fosberry, Harvey Murray, Joanne Turney Lucy Woods and Emma Tuohy, combined time at LBCT totalled more than 90 years with many of them starting the group whilst at lower school (or before) and continuing till the completion of upper school.
Leavers destinations include Keele, Birmingham, London, Leeds and more. It was a fantastic performance with many many special moments. The show was hosted by past member Edward Percival and five leavers from last year.
> A wonderful ‘Matilda the musical’ workshop was hosted by sister group The Advance TheatreCompany and gave local youngsters an insight into the wonderful musical and the ‘naughty’ children’s antics against Miss Trunchball.
> The term continued with preparation for Leighton Linslade Continental Day by the younger members which was great fun. The children learnt to sing in German and French, a great catchy song about Italy and a medley of songs from The Sound of Music. A huge crowd gathered at the end of the High Street to watch the performance which the young performers loved.
> This half term will be really busy for LBCT as they perform in the community for the community. They will be performing at The Grove Theatre in Dunstable as part of The Grove Sings, a fantastic opportunity to work at a local professional theatre. They will also be hosting a zone and performing on the main stage as part of the Leighton Buzzard Christmas weekend.
There are trips to community groups, WI’s, sheltered housing and charity clubs all calendared in and an evening of Christmas songs at Middleton Hall, Milton Keynes is also organised.
As a finale the group will perform “Sing Out Against Cancer” on Sunday, December 15 at the Vandyke Theatre, a festive feast of music, drama and fun with communal carols and a visit from Santa. Two performances and the other events will ensure an excellent amount is raised this half term for Macmillan Cancer Support
As well as allowing the young members aged 4-19 to have great fun, learn about music, dance, drama,stagecraft and much much more, the group raises thousands of pounds for local, national and international charities. See www.lbct.org
Tickets are £10 each from The Grove theatre box Office
Tuesday 12 November 7.30pm
A delightful evening showing local talented singers taking to the stage for the Grove’s third annual singing extravaganza.
Showcasing local singing groups and solo artists aged from 4 to 94, Grove Sings will take you on a journey of musical theatre, gospel, rock, pop, soul and folk to name just a few genres!
Join us for an incredible night of entertainment by an exceptionally talented community.
01582 60 20 80
Featuring LBCT Youth Section and friends and The Advance Theatre Company
Community term is fantastic. We have bookings coning in from everywhere=anyone else need any musical theatre/ Christmas/ themed entertainment- made to measure for a small donation to our chosen charity?? Macmillan Cancer support
We are ready but already busy for your ideas
Leavers show was magnificent
£400 raised for The Epilepsy Society
review to follow
Good luck to Gemma, Gemma, Harvey, Jess, Suzanne,Callum, Joanne, Lucy, Emma and Katie
"Matiilda" the Musical workshop run by members of The Advance Theatre-Company on behalf of Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre. Friday 20th September for ages 7-11. 4.30-6pm at the Barn, Heath and Reach. £6 per child (half price for siblings) Limited places. Please message or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information
1st September 2013 Great performance for Graham's party-well done LBCT Youth section
Highlights included Will Faulkners interpretive dance! Thomas singing at least three roles in one song, Helen and Jess in Matilda, Georgia in On My Own and Corinne taking two solos minutes before we took to the stage. Was wonderful to have the new members of the YS join us onstage- brilliant to see you fit in so well
The bouncy castle and the barbeque were great- thanks Graham
LBCT leavers show with real quality and excellence in aid of The Epilepsy Society featuring songs from Beauty and The Beast, Alice, Treasure Island, Seussical and many many more. Join us as we say goodbye for a while to our year 13 leavers as they heads to uni, gap years, internships etc. etc and we welcome back last years leavers (and some) for catch ups etc etc
Tickets £5/£4 from email@example.com
Celebrate with Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre Youth Section and especially
Group visit to "Matilda" anyone- just getting ticket prices
Also Advance Theatre Co are running a "Matilda " workshop for 9-16 year olds in early September- interested??
British actress Lydia Kay was born in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. Daughter to an artist and a guitarist she naturally grew up creative in many ways. From an early age Lydia decided that acting was the career for her, and everything she has achieved since has been in pursuit of this dream. When she was age 7, she first trod the boards with a local amateur dramatics group, and later went on to perform many times with the Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre. It was through work with this group that Lydia began to fully realise her potential, not only with acting but singing and dance also. By the time she was headed for drama school Lydia had twelve years of experience on stage, as well as seven years training in dance (styles including street, jazz, modern and ballet).
Lydia trained for three years at East 15 Acting School on the BA (Hons) World Performance course, and is privileged to belong to its first ever graduating year. The course was a valuable eye opener for Lydia, teaching her to strive for what she wants and exposing her to a huge range of different global performance techniques, which both intrigued and inspired her. The intensive training enabled her to develop her performance in Western acting styles but also to learn new disciplines such as Jingju, Balinese dance, Kecak, traditional Nigerian dance and drumming, Butoh and many more.
Since graduating Lydia has been acting almost non-stop, with a great desire to progress into film and television. She has had several scare acting jobs, which were of great enjoyment, and has been warmly welcomed into the world of touring Pantomime. One of the greatest opportunities she had was the chance to perform everyday at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for Coca-Cola, in their interactive Beatbox building. An experience which has since influenced her to take up archery. She also completed filming on the feature 'Survivors', and has a lead role coming up in 2013 in the high profile indie film 'Invasion of the Not Quite Dead'.
New term details soon to be announced
Great final Saturday CT/ mini sessions for the term. "Stinging nettles the opera" work was amazing CT! The Minis impros as always were fab and "David the walrus" in the penguin play was a real highlight for Mini's 2- oh theatre!!!
Each year Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre awards it's charity cup to a member of the group who has shown outstanding contribution to the local community. The cup given in memory of Fred Janes who volunteered as front of House manager for many years with the group has this year been won by 15 year old Matt Wallis.
Matt has attended LBCT since he was six years old. LBCT is a community group which has raised over £56,000 for local national and international charities. As well as being an active member of the LBCT Youth Section Matt volunteers as a Youth helper with the younger groups- giving up every Saturday morning to help.
Matt says "I help them develop their acting, dancing and singing skills and this hopefully also boosts their confidence. I also help on show days backstage offering advice and support, this includes sorting out costumes, props and most importantly calming their nerves! In my time at LBCT I have taken part in 15 shows and my proudest moment to date is when I played Mr Warbucks in Annie last year, and I was especially pleased as we got a standing ovation from the crowd."
Matt also helps out with a local beaver group as a young leader, is a volunteer on a regular basis at the Cancer Research Shop where he enjoys helping out in the shop and meeting new people, especially the older generation, as he likes to listen to their stories.
He attends Vandyke Upper School where he works very hard as part of the ‘Student Voice’ group organising events and focus groups
Matt adds "Also occasionally I volunteer at my mum’s place of work, Leighton-Linslade Town Council, in this case by helping out at their community events. This role is varied and can involve litter picking, stewarding, handing out leaflets, supervising activities, and given out advice and information to the general public."
A true community stalward Matt thouroughly deserved his cup which was awarded by last years winner Helen Mountford at a performance of Treasure Island at The Leighton Buzzard Theatre.
Treasure Island was amazing! Well done everyone
Review to follow