Early rehearsal of Godspell number led by Sophie Williams. (Not the greatest recording). Cast are rehearsing in the actual space we will be performing (ie on a thrust stage in amongst the audience). Similiar to Ragtime for those who saw that.
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.
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.”
On Friday night we gathered en-mass at the VIP Room at The Gilded Balloon to see how we had fared in the third ENDA Awards. (Evening News Drama Awards) which are open exclusively for Edinburgh groups. Liam Rudden has to be commended for bringing recognition to local groups in a Festival which is overwhelmed sometimes by comedy acts.
The Drama ENDA this year went to ETA for A Tale of Two Cities. Well Done ETA on recording a double.
Next up; the best Musical award and we were facing Tempo and Edinburgh University’s Savoy Company. We didn’t have to wait long though before the news we were all hoping for broke. We’d won. Again!
It was the perfect finish to the Fringe for a cast, band and crew that had truly excelled.
Roll on 2010.
Excellent Musical About Racism And Civil Rights
Ragtime is a musical set in the USA in the early years of the 20th Century, when racism was more blatant than it is today and civil rights movements were barely under way. Initially we are introduced to a suburban New York family that lives in a totally white area. The family’s lives get turned upside down when an abandoned black child is found on their property. The police find a woman, Sarah, nearby and she is confirmed to be the child’s mother. Both Sarah and her child are allowed to stay with the family temporarily.
Sarah’s former boyfriend and the baby’s father, piano player Coalhouse Walker, comes to find Sarah and eventually tracks her down. She refuses to see him but he says he will come back once a week until she agrees to marry him. As he returns again and again he becomes friendly with the family, playing their piano for them. Eventually Sarah agrees to marry him.
He and Sarah go out in his new car but some racist firemen harass him. They damage his car and Coalhouse tries, without success, to force the authorities to get them to fix it. Sarah tries to speak to the President about it but is killed by the police, who think she has a weapon. Coalhouse then gives up on peaceful means and turns to violence, shooting to death three firemen. Eventually, he is persuaded to surrender to the police and promised a fair trial but is shot in cold blood.
Coalhouse is shown as an intriguing and complicated character, not as a flawless saint. His position is contrasted with that of Booker T. Washington, a black leader of the time, who advocated slow progress without violence so as not to frighten the whites. Whose approach was correct?
This is a tremendously ambitious undertaking for the Forth Children’s Theatre and is a great success. The stage is set in the middle of the hall with the audience on both sides, which must have made the choreography extremely difficult, particularly with such a large cast, but it works perfectly. The singing is, in most cases, top quality even from the youngest performers. An excellent production.
We have been honoured, blessed and thrilled to have Neil Somerville with us for 25 shows, many of them as Musical Director. But he decided that Saturday night was the, very emotional, time to bow out and concentrate on his musical career in The South of England.
To say we are indebted to Neil would be a huge understatement and the gasps of horror from those who were unaware that it was last show told a story in itself.
Neil we thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.
Oggy, oggy, oggy. Oi, oi, oi. Yaaaaah beeaauuuuuttttyyyy!!!
Very best wishes,
Eva and Barbara Spevack
You could take your chances on returns. We get a few. But not many…
In fact, the returns waiting lists for each of the remaining performances are running to 5-10% of total capacity.
We all love Matty Smith and his, well, Matty ways. His command of the FCT float at the Festival Cavalcade was so complete that we were in his slavedom.
But it came at a cost. By Monday night’s penultimate number he was doubled over with what turns out to be a lung infection. He never made the epilogue.
Poor old Matty then was sent to quarantine and is out of action for a bit.
This caused us a problem. 24 hours later someone had to play his part. We had no-one in the cast with the space in their scrtipt to do so.
Now, JP Morgan (his character) may have been the most influential man of the early 20th c entury in America but even he couldn’t ward off lung infections.
So, what next? Cue Keith McLeish who was at Monday night’s performance as a member of the audience. He was called in on Tuesday afternoon and taught the part.
The result? A flawless and word perfect performance on Tuesday night.
That’s class that is.
But Matty. We love you. Get well soon chuck.
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!)
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.”
Well – we’ll have to see about that…..someday.