Pippin by Stephen Schwartz. August 4 – 12. Edinburgh Tabernacle.

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As rehearsals reach a high point it’s time to plan your ticket buying for Pippin.

Remember, each and every one of FCT’s last 37 performances has sold out and this show is yet another cracker. We’ve already sold well over 1/3rd of our tickets directly through cast members, but you can get yours direct from The Fringe Office (or their website) it’s a really slick site so don’t be alarmed.

Alternatively you can wait until July 3rd when our Ticket Hotline opens.  The number of that is shown in the poster above.

Expect a dramatic new stage setting for this show.  It really will blow you away.

Many of our patrons enjoy seeing our shows twice (and at the start of our ten show run and once at the end) to see how the show develops (just saying) but you’ll need to be quick to get late run tickets, they’re always the first to go.

Pippin is another fine Stephen Schwartz play (Godspell, Working and Wicked are all his shows) so you can be sure of good tunes and with Hayley Scott directing, Gus Harrower MDing and Natasha Rose choreographing you’ll have three FCT alumni making magical music all week long. (And Claire Stewart is never far away, acting as their mentor.)

This is why FCT is what FCT is…

Tonight’s dress rehearsal for The Chess Game was fantastic.  We need an audience now as Vic eloquently put it and tomorrow night we get one.  Not as big an audience as we’d like but an audience.

But this picture taken at the dress sums up what the whole thing is about.

We’re all dead proud of our gang.  Adults and kids alike .  Because so many people make so much effort for no personal gain.

Other than to say.  I helped make this photo happen.

Look at those faces and that commitment. Oggy Oggy Oggy...

I think a special thanks to Vic Laing and Kirsty Shaw is in order.

FCT Announces its 2010 festival production and invites you to audition for Guys and Dolls

Forth Children’s Theatre is proud to announce its 2010 Fringe production of Guys and Dolls.

The show will run from 6th – 14th August and be performed at Inverleith Church Hall, Ferry Road.  It will be directed by Claire Stewart who will be revisiting the show that she first directed to critical acclaim in 2002.  Claire’s most recent production for FCT was 2008’s Jeckyll & Hyde.

Set in the 1940’s, Guys and Dolls is a highly popular piece of musical theatre known for memorable characters, hilarious dialogue and a fantastic score.  This winning formula is sure to have audiences on their feet.  Featuring classic songs such as Rocking the Boat and Luck be a Lady, there is something for everyone in the big company numbers.  We are looking for boys and girls with a talent for acting, singing and dancing.  There is a range of principal parts as well as strong chorus roles to be filled.  Please note that you must be over ten by show date in order to audition.

Auditions are being held on Tuesday 6th April at Trinity Academicals Rugby Club, Craighall Gardens from 10:00 – 16:00.  Please wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are suitable for dance and movement.  It is also advised to bring a packed lunch as there may not be time to go to the shops.

The day will take the format of morning workshops followed by small group auditions in front of the directing team.  It will be a brilliant experience and involve lots of fun, dancing and meeting new people!  All material will be learnt in the morning so there is no need to plan anything in advance.  Please be prepared to stay until 16:00 although there is chance you may be able to leave earlier depending on when each group is seen.

Rehearsals are due to start on Friday 23rd April 18:30 – 21:30.  Rehearsals will always take place on a Friday night and Sunday afternoon for the company, with principals sometimes being required on a Wednesday evening.

For casting purposes, filming of auditions may take place on the day.  Please highlight to Claire Stewart in advance if there are any problems with this.

It would be much appreciated if you could pass this information onto anyone that you think may be interested.

ENDA Time!

In the 30+ years of FCT’s existence only one actor in Hollywood achieved back-to-back Oscar success. Well, FCT have done the equivalent in their field with consecutive Best Musical ENDAs in 2008 and 2009. An incredible feat given the competition.

Read on….

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Yes, a bit difficult to read – here is the full article…

Theatre groups full of cheer after second award in a row

LIAM RUDDEN and LAURA CUMMINGS

Evening News  29 Aug 2009

TWO amateur theatre companies are celebrating after winning Evening News Drama Awards for the second consecutive year. Edinburgh Theatre Arts received the award for Best Play on this year’s Fringe at a glittering awards ceremony on the roof of The Gilded Balloon, in the Loft VIP Bar last night. The biggest cheer of the night came when Forth Children’s Theatre was named the winner of the Best Musical award for its production of Ragtime. It follows the youth theatre company’s success at the 2008 awards when it won the same accolade for its production of Jekyll and Hyde. Cabaret star Camille O’Sullivan presented Edinburgh Theatre Arts with the Best Play award for A Tale Of Two Cities, which centred on the French Revolution. Cabaret act Frisky and Mannish – also known as Laura Corcoran and Matthew Jones – presented Forth Children’s Theatre with its award. Frisky had the audience in fits of laughter when she said that both her and Matthew started off in the amateur world, which is “a great place to learn a sense of irony”. Chairman of Edinburgh Theatre Arts and director of A Tale Of Two Cities, John McLinden, 62, said: “It is fantastic to win the award because it is great recognition for six months of really hard work putting the show together. “It was quite a complicated show with 34 scenes, which we had to cram into St Ninian’s Church hall.” He laughed: “We also had to build a working guillotine for people to have their heads chopped off!” Director of Ragtime, Andrew Dyer, 23, added: “It is the second year in a row that we have won the award and we are very grateful. It was a very proud moment for everyone and the children are all fair away with themselves!” Around 100 actors, directors and producers from all 12 nominated amateur companies witnessed the presentation of this year’s awards. The awards were introduced by the Evening News two years ago to recognise the work of local companies during the Fringe. Edinburgh Theatre Arts, whose Fringe history dates back to the early seventies, won the Best Play for its production of Dennis Potter’s Blue Remembered Hills at last year’s awards. The drama awards were judged for the second year running by Scottish Community Drama Association adjudicator Ron Cattell, Evening News theatre critic Thom Dibdin, and Fiona Rogan – an arts professional with more than 30 years’ experience working with amateur groups across Scotland. The award for Best Musical was judged by Edinburgh actor Arron Usher, musicals producer Eleanor Brown, and James Haworth, general manager of the Edinburgh Playhouse. Mr Haworth, 39, said: “Many of the shows that the Edinburgh amateur companies have put on have actually been better than the professional productions I have seen this year. “The thing that you get from amateurs is an incredible enthusiasm.” “For amateurs to be able to perform in front of worldwide audiences is just an incredible treat for them.”

High Praise Indeed!

 
  
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Received today at FCT HQ…..
 
Dear FCT,
 
My sister and I are musical theatre scholars and have worked professionally in the Biz and we agreed that your production was finer in many respects than many professional productions we’ve seen.  After seeing your production of Ragtime last night I felt compelled to write to you to say how utterly impressed my sister and I were and how much we thoroughly enjoyed it.
 
We know Ragime inside out, having closely followed its progress since it lost the Tony to The Lion King in 1998 and all else since. I made it down to London for the premiere production there, and we also saw it at the Fringe a few years ago when the American High School Theatre performed it. We agreed that yours was as good if not better than all of these. We were particularly impressed  by the first-class direction and staging. It displayed a sensitive understanding of the vision of E L Doctorow, Ahrens & Flaherty, McNally et al. I also loved the allusions to the original Broadway production lighting. You moved us and touched us very deeply and we wanted to thank you for giving us this great joy of seeing one of our absolutely favourite musicals live. Sensational! We look forward to seeing many more of your outstanding productions in the future.
 
Very best wishes,
 
Eva and Barbara Spevack

Ragtime and the Inglourious Basterds

The following quote is very topical in the world of showbiz… (Somehow though we think it should be taken with a Tarantino-sized pinch of salt – most of the kids in the show won’t be able to watch this movie for a good few years!)

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Article/interview from Observer Magazine (Sunday 9th August) about Tarantino’s new movie, Inglourious Basterds….

This plotline is the Dirty Dozen remade as torture flick with a nod, I kid you not, to those old-fashioned, stiff upper-lip British war films of the 60s. “I sat down to write a bunch-of-guys-on-a-mission movie,” says Tarantino, “and that happens, but it’s closer to, say, the film of EL Doctorow’s Ragtime than it is to The Devil’s Brigade.”

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Well – we’ll have to see about that…..someday.

Ragtime

FCT present the Scottish premiere of Ragtime.

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FCT’s 2009 Festival Fringe production is “Ragtime” and will be directed by Andrew Dyer.
Based on the 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow and set in America at the turn of the century, Ragtime tells the story of three groups who are represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Harlem musician; Mother, the matriarch of a WASP family in New Rochelle, NY; and Tateh, a Latvian Jewish immigrant.
This epic musical is filled by these and many other inspirational characters as well as incredible, show-stopping songs in the form of marches, cakewalks, gospel and ragtime.

FCT presents “Ragtime”
Directed by Andrew Dyer
7th – 15th August 2009
Inverleith Church  Hall
Fringe Venue  120
Book by Terrence McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Aherns
Based on the novel by E.L.Doctorow
By Arrangement with Josef Weinberger

Mark Gorman’s Review of Jekyll & Hyde

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It’s been a crazy day.

Golf, driving lessons (more later) and at the end of it the latest FCT festival Show. Their 29th and the first with no hand of my dad involved.

The Director, Claire Stewart, speculated in her programme notes that parts of it would have given him ‘the tingles’ and there can be no doubt that she called that one right.

This show is actually so impressive that it makes you step back and re-evaluate this theatre company. But please don’t expect what follows to be unchallenging.

FCT has staged 58 productions and it’s fair to say they’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly with a very strong leaning to the former. But, folks, The Lords of Creation? Everyone screws up sometime.

This show though? This was FCT on steroids.

A Cockerney setting.

FCT loves Cockerney – great excuse to do ‘accents’

However, it had a bleakness that was, unusually for FCT, not offset by a few gags and a singalonga happy chappy come on it’s not all that bad, number. (Doin’ the Lambeth Walk and all that.)

No, this was tragi-comedy without the laughs.

This was bleak.

But, hey, was Robbie LS looking for laughs?

No.

He wrote a very focussed morality tale about good v evil in which (of course) good wins – well, the Victorians were a bit predictable.

Technically this was the most accomplished show in FCT history (perhaps Oh, What a Lovely War had more technical innovation but the lighting, sound and set in this show were awesome.) I sat in the back row and heard every word.

The choreography, I don’t know if you’d call it that, movement might be a better word, (see previous reference to lack of Lambeth Walks) was so considered and impactful as to punch you.

Aggressive, in your face.

Magic.

Low, moody eyelines prevailed and worked fantastically . At one stage the chorus lined the auditorium, turning and looking pointedly and uneasing the audience. I loved that.

The costumes were probably the best I’d ever seen, so themed, by colour especially and such high quality. They contributed greatly to the sense of time.

The band? How insulting to call them a band. This was an orchestra. Their role in this performance was fundamental and flawless. At times I thought it must be a CD playing, it was so flawless. And boy, you guys owe a debt of gratitude to your sound man for mixing it all so brilliantly!

So, turning to the show itself. I’ll caveat the rest of my views with a question, a challenge I suppose, and one that I wasn’t alone in asking!

Was this show ‘on-brand’ for FCT?

At the interval I thought not. Even after it, and despite how good it was, I’m still asking myself that.

As Thom Dibdin said in his review in The Edinburgh Evening News the material causes problems for a Youth production, and I agree with him.

In the first act, at least, it seemed to me that it had been a little too unremitting in its gloom and too heavy on reliance upon the principals’ performances. The second act (nearly) changed my mind. Mainly because the highlight of the show ‘Murder Murder” opened the act, drew your breathe away and established the chorus as a vital part of the energy of the show. And the chorus is fundamentally what FCT has always been about. I’d be sad to see that go.

FCT need never consider a festival production of Waiting for Godot. (musical or otherwise.)

It was a small cast by FCT standards – only 33 – and I wondered, for a while, if less was really more, but the second act reassured me.

All of this sounds a bit negative, but the experience was far from negative. Because, cutting to the chase, this was singularly the most impressive FCT performance I have ever seen.

I’ll have to revert to superlatives now. Hannah Scott was awesome, just collosal in her performance as the hooker with a heart, Lucy, she very nearly stole the show.

But let’s be honest, how could she? She was supporting Matthew Smith who played both Jeckyll and Hyde with a maturity that has to defy his age. (I have little doubt that he will fulfill his ambition of singing on the West End because he is a major talent.) It so happens I also saw him in lighter mode at the Holy Cross Players Panto and he was a hoot.

Every single principal was on the nail, but ultimately it comes down to direction and I have to say Claire Stewart has once again performed a PB.

Whatever your views of the script/libretto (and in our group they were mixed) what Claire Stewart drew out of this group was simply brilliant. “Murder Murder” was one of the finest moments I have ever experienced in a theatre.

As a whole I feel the show is flawed. It’s a bit too bleak, and lacks light and shade during a lot of the, quite long, first half storytelling stage but every opportunity to squeeze a bit of interest out of it Claire Stewart took.

Overall verdict? Outstanding