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A Day in the Life of Stage Experience

Stage Experience gives young people aged 11-18 the chance to find out what life is like as a professional musical theatre performer. Over the course of the two week rehearsal period (which our young cast members are now half way through), the cast work with a professional director, choreographer and musical director to produce a high-quality, polished production of Guys and Dolls. Overseen by the in-house Creative Learning department, the aim is to create an unforgettable experience for all participants, the fortnight culminating in three fully-staged performances on the main-stage of New Wimbledon Theatre, 17 - 18 August.

Guys and Dolls is often referred to as one of the most perfect comedy musicals ever written. It bursts to life with big, brash and bold characters performing classic musical numbers such as Luck be a Lady Tonight, Sit Down you're rocking the Boat and I've Never Been in Love Before. Set in New York, the city that never sleeps, the show fosters a narrative around inhabitants amidst all walks of life. From the news seller to the chorus girl, from the gambler to the missionary - all of them caught up in the teeming vitality of the city streets.

The cast cannot wait to sing, dance and act all the monumental numbers in full costume, with lights, set and a professional band.

'It's been the best experience I've had, even better than last year' - Nickesha Ingram, 12

'It's been really really fun and I love everyone here' - Amelie Tu, 12

The Creative Team is coordinated by Emily Davies, who without which this project could never go ahead. Asides from working at New Wimbledon Theatre, Emily attended the Royal Academy of Music completing a post-grad in Musical Theatre, where she received her LRAM. Specialising in 'the singing voice', she's taught at GSA, Arts Ed, Urdang and the Royal Academy of Music over span of 15 years.

She is joined by Director James Robert Moore, a trained Actor and Writer who most recently was Assistant to Director and Choreographer Drew McOnie on Strictly Ballroom (Piccadilly Theatre, West End). Musically directing the performance is Michael Baxter, an MD and Actor, currently teaching at the prestigious Urdang Academy. With choreography by Christabelle Field, who is a trained dancer and has performed with many artists including Rihanna, Fifth Harmony, Ne-Yo, Will i Am, Years and Years, Bebe Rexha, Cheryl Cole, One Direction, Little Mix and JLS as well as on a multitude of television shows. She has also choreographed for Toyota, JD Sports and various television broadcasts. They are joined by Assistant Directors Melissa Livermore and Liam Ashmead, Stage Manager Jordan Whitwell, Designer Inma Cook, Lighting Designer Aaron Dootson and Sound Designer Julian Locke.

So without further ado lets hand over to the team to tell you all about the project...

'I am very excited to be a part of this project as I really believe that theatre is important and we should be giving young people the opportunity to get involved. The aim of stage experience is to allow the company to get a taster of how a professional productions operates and, as such, the average rehearsal day follows exactly how it would work in the industry. Guys And Dolls, as most musicals, is a very 'big' production and requires very sophisticated detail from all aspects of acting, singing and dancing. The first week of rehearsals included mainly splitting the cast into different rooms and working on one of those three skills; whilst some were on the stage learning a scene, others would be in a different room learning a dance routine and others would be upstairs learning a song. Slowly but surely we rehearsed each routine, scene and harmony until we were ready to put all of the building blocks together for a first run on the Friday! The second and final week, which we are currently in, is mainly us running the show again and again, ironing out all the detail and giving the company the confidence they need ready for opening night on Friday 17!'  

- Liam Ashmead, Assistant Director

'It's been a really great experience because all the staff are so friendly and everyone around you is there to support you' - Olianna Meddleton, 11

'I have watched the kids progress and improve impressively within the short time frame we have had. This whole experience is important in growing the children's confidence, having the chance to perform on a London stage within a professional capacity and also meet new people! When I was younger this was exactly the type of experience that I would have adored - being given the opportunity to do something I love with like-minded people. I am so glad this group of children are here and are experiencing it for themselves as I am sure they will remember it fondly for a long time as I certainly will.'

- Melissa Livermore, Assistant Director

'I'm finding it so much fun as I've made so many new friends' - Caleb Cura, 14

'This delightful bunch have shown the work ethic and the talent required to make them real contenders to be stage stars of the future... Growing up I was extremely lucky that my family - and in particular my Mum - were so supportive in me pursuing my dream of working in the theatre industry. Despite knowing that it's a tumultuous path, never once did they try to sway me away from what I loved, which is the reason why it's still my job today. They instilled the passion in me to enjoy life and do whatever made me happy.'

- James Robert-Moore, Director

Guys and Dolls runs at New Wimbledon Theatre from 17 - 18 August.

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