Newsletter – 1st May 2020
Happy Month of May!
Hello again 🙂 We hope that this email finds you well and safe and you are managing to adjust to this new temporary “normal”, staying home and making the most of technology to stay in touch with family, friends and loved ones.
Here at Harry’s we have swapped our in-person group sessions to online learning using Seesaw, where each of the students have signed up to online classes.
Our director Kath, our musical director Jonathan and choreographer Helen have been busy uploading videos showing songs and dance routines that the students will be performing in their upcoming shows The Little Mermaid for our minis and our juniors and a Variety Show for the seniors.
Students can video themselves performing the songs and dance routines and upload them to Seesaw, with Kath, Jonathan and Helen able to give feedback to them, so they can continue to learn and develop over the coming weeks.
As we are still all in lockdown, the dates for the shows are yet to be confirmed, but we will keep you up-to-date as soon as we receive any information.
One piece of good news we are very pleased to share is that our patron Chris Barrett, also known as Bomber, won the Best Lighting Award this week for his work on Peter Pan performed at Swansea Grand Theatre, at the Great British Pantomime Awards.
Well done Chris, we are very proud of you and love having you as our patron. This award is very much deserved
This is what one of our previous members said about their time at Harry’s Youth Theatre…
“I am incredibly proud to be a piece of the Harrys history. Year after year they bring out the best in every young performer. Whether you have a desire to pursue a career in the Arts or are just there for a bit of fun and confidence building, you are made to truly feel part of a big family. With a support network that go above and beyond, to make a difference to everyone, it’s a complete team effort. There is no room for egos – if you have no lines and are standing at the back in a chorus line trying with two left feet to keep in time to the music, in Harry’s you are made to feel just as important as the person playing the lead role. What a rarity this is in modern culture where ” being the best” is drummed into you via social media and by so many of the other stage schools and youth groups around. You are only expected to do your best and this is the vital difference.
When I joined Harrys I had already been working as a professional child actor for many years with success on TV, adverts and Films. I had been also lucky enough to have performed on a few london theatre stages in the West End, performing both conedy and magic. However, the one thing I didn’t have under my belt was any musical theatre experience. I went to watch their first production of West Side Story and instantly knew it was the group for me. I joined straight away. I made friends – a few that will be in my life until I’m old and grey! Making friends and social interaction has always been very hard for me (unless in character) due to anxiety from having both dyslexia and high functioning autism. However, for the first time I felt truly accepted. I remember having to leave to film a television series and being truly gutted I had to miss Harrys and not seeing my new friends for a few Mondays.
Harrys would perform 2 full scale musicals on the Grand Theatre main stage twice a year – one in July and one in September. The first full scale show I performed in was The sound of Music, I had previously auditioned and won the role of Fagin in Oliver but unfortunately the show had to be changed. I was then cast as Mr Mushnik in Little Shop Of Horrors – I loved it! I lost myself in the role and now, just turning 14, I caught the theatre bug big time.
I was very blessed that over the years, Kath as Director trusted me with a lot of very “out there” character choices… She would encourage me and my outside the box ideas, always collabrative and championed, never put down or made to feel silly for a suggestion. Kath is not only a wonderful director but she really understands theatre and Harrys are very blessed to have her. Even when I decided I wanted to play the Cat in Honk the Musical as if Jim Carey had been given the role. In my head the larger than life character made perfect sense to me to play it as a complete homage to every Jim Carry film… and my goodness, did it work lol.
I remember getting the role of the old man Pickering in My Fair Lady. On opening night I was 16 year old, playing a man in his late 60s, but by the last night my character had evolved – he developed arthritis, sciatica and was more like a 90 year old.
Kath always encouraged me, and for that I will always be grateful. I learned my love and craft of being a character actor. I even made my own costumes for many of the roles I played. I think if there was a role in a show with a difficult accent, ethnicity, or larger than life character, it was a case of “out the way it’s mine” and like a chameleon I would transform completely.
My career since leaving Harry’s:
I left Harrys age 20 and have continued to work as an in high demand professional in the industry covering many fields including films on Netflix, guest leads in many popular TV shows and a string of adverts. I am also a Comedy Writer and producer for TV in America as well as BBC & Comedy Central back in the UK.
But theatre is my passion and I truly believe that this is because of those very important years at Harrys. I work as a theatrical consultant and theatre Director throughout the UK and Europe & as a stand up comedian working with many of the most popular TV comedians as an additional writer/ collaborator. I have been asked to lend my name and image to brands such as Disney, Sony & Pepsi as well as being a motion capture stunt actor for the Emmy Award Winning Da Vinci’s Demons on FOX, plus regular voice over works to date.
As a theatre actor I have appeared in everything from iconic roles like Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet, have toured playing the lead in The Invisible Man, plays including more Shakespeare & Brecht, as a member of Fluellen Theatre Company.
I have covered roles in plays by Arthur Miller and Patrick Marber for various theatre companies and most recently reprised a one man play that toured in 2017 to rave reviews and critical acclaim. I have played everything from Al Jolson to Frank N Furter.
I also have lent my vocals to new musical theatre works for showcases before they go into the West End or Broadway and have even written a musical myself.
As I write this, I have been in ten professional pantomimes playing everything from Buttons and Simple Simon to Captain Hook and Abanazar, for companies like Imagine Theatre & Qdos Entertainment.
I believe that the confidence in performance and love and longevity I have of stage performing is because of those crucial years at Harrys. I am delighted and so proud that my daughter Scarlet Faye is now following in my footsteps as a member of Harrys and I can’t wait to see what roles she has up her sleeves 🙂. I truly owe Harrys such a lot it – actually changed my life.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart to Deb, Sharon, Kath and all the team.
Harrys needs to be treasured xxxxx”
As always, if you have any questions, please do get in touch. If you haven’t already Liked our facebook page, please come on over and join us facebook.com/harrysyouththeatrenewsandevents/
Until next time, stay home, stay safe and don’t forget to wash your hands!!
Speak to you soon
All at Harry’s Youth Theatre