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........ ..NODA Review............


... . Scrooge The Musical..........

Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society

Scrooge The Musical

Directed by Pauline Pope MD Geoff Allanach Choreographers Pauline Pope and Caroline Ibbetson

Spotlight Theatre, Bridlington

16th December 2015

This was a very entertaining production of a show which can sometimes be a challenge for everyone. Obviously any production of this traditional story relies heavily on the actor playing Ebenezer Scrooge and here we had a very good portrayal from long standing society member and performer Bob Downing. Throughout the entire show his years of experience brought a whole range of skills and emotions to the fore and all his frustrations showed at the right times. This gave him the chance to show a different side to things when he comes to his senses.

However, he couldn’t have done it on his own and there were some very good supporting performances with Mike Rawson strong as Jacob Marley as was Jamie Hughes as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Pat Hughes as the Ghost of Christmas also worked well with Scrooge.

I very much enjoyed a good performance from John Allanach as Young Ebenezer and the Nephew and his work with Sophie Brown, playing Isabel was excellent. Tim Harrison was very likeable as Bob Cratchit and Mrs Cratchit (Caroline Ibbetson) and all the family were nicely close-knit with Tiny Tim, played by Isadora Carvill-Belt, being lovely.

The main chorus numbers were good and taken at the right pace for me with the highlights being December the Twenty Fifth (Kenneth Davison and Maggie Davies as the Fezziwigs), Thank You Very Much (George Ansell portraying Tom Jenkins enthusiastically) and the full company in The Minister’s Cat.

The set was very simple and utilised a super back cloth, designed and produced by society members, and stage props and box sets where necessary.

All in all this was a very good start to Christmas.


NODA North East District 3 Representative

Spotlight car sticker tees off at Bridlington Golf Club  2015
Bridlington Golf Club is amongst the first to display the new Spotlight Theatre car sticker. Lady Captain for 2016, Jan Kerr, put stickers in several golf buggies to help generate awareness of the volunteer-run-theatre.
Designed to sit nicely in the space left by the removal of the now defunct tax disc, Brid’s favourite little venue has a batch of stickers to give away free of charge and is hoping that as many vehicles as possible with put one in their windscreen.
 Mike Sheldon, Chairman of the Spotlight, said:
‘It’s hard to believe but, although we’ve been based on West Street for over 15 years, lots of people still haven’t heard about us let alone visited us. The idea is to get our name seen around town and encourage more people to come and enjoy a show’.
 As a thank you to those who place a sticker in their car, the theatre is undertaking a monthly prize draw.
Mike explained: ‘Anyone who takes a sticker and chooses to leave their contact details will be included in a draw to win two complimentary tickets to one of our live screening performances. So they’ll get the chance to see the best theatre in the world, right here in Bridlington, for free’.
 Spotlight car stickers are available from the theatre on performance evenings
 Image: Jan Kerr, Lady Captain 2016 on the green at Bridlington Golf Club.
Booking office move for the Spotlight Theatre 2015
From early January it will be easier to book tickets for shows at the Spotlight Theatre as Brid’s favourite little venue has signed-up to the Spa’s new ticketing hub so that seats will be bookable online.
For the past 15 years, tickets for shows at the theatre on West Street could only be booked in person at Bridlington Blinds and Curtains. But customer needs have changed and offering the convenience of booking at any time of day has driven the new approach. The addition of live streaming performances has also meant that people are visiting the volunteer-run theatre from further afield and just can’t get into town to book.
 Mike Sheldon, Chairman of the Spotlight, said:
‘Linda and the team at Bridlington Blinds and Curtains have done a great job for us but we have to move with the times. A significant number of our customers want to book tickets in the evening when they’re browsing the internet. Now they can ensure they get the best seats in the house from the comfort of their own home’.
The Spotlight is one of the first local organisations to sign up to the new system which will allow visitor attractions other than the Spa to utilise their booking facilities.

Andrew Aldis, General Manager of the Spa, Bridlington believes this is a major step in encouraging the town to work together to benefit everyone: ‘We have invested heavily in new technology to make this happen. It provides a safe and secure option for organisations, such as The Spotlight, that want to reach to more customers. There will still be the option of booking by phone and, of course, people can still pop into the Spa and book in person. For visitors to the town, the fact we’re right on the seafront will mean they can discover what’s on at The Spotlight just by strolling down the prom’.

Spotlight club report 20th December 2015
It’s been a week of panto pandemonium. Packed houses for Mother Goose have been raising the roof and the sound of ‘He’s behind you’ has been echoing down West Street on a regular basis. The show itself is a laugh a minute and something the cast enjoy as much as the audience. However, it’s a really physical performance and on the plus side, all the running around on stage has helped at least one member of the cast shed a few unwanted pounds. On the down side, the Queen of Gooseland had a mishap and cut her finger on her tiara – proving that pretend diamonds are definitely not a girl’s best friend.
It has to be said that the audience has played its part in this show superbly, never missing a cue and never needing a prompt to respond to an ‘Oh no it isn’t’. And it would appear joining in with the jokes is as much fun for groups of OAPs as it is for the youngest girlguiding group, Rainbows. It would seem that you’re never too old or too young to giggle at a Dame - or to heckle one. The best audience quip so far has been from a young man of around ten years old while they were being chased by ghosts and ghoulies if they’d got the number for Ghostbusters. With timing like that, we hope he auditions for our next show, Annie.
After a brief rest for Christmas, Mother Goose will return to our stage in the New Year. We simply can’t wait.
Spotlight club report 13th December
It’s been a week of tears and laughter. The touching tale of Scrooge has been having its sell out audiences reaching for the tissues. While there’s plenty to smile about, this classic Christmas story has some poignant moments. If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, don’t forget your hankie.
Meanwhile our glorious, rip-roaring panto Mother Goose has got its audiences rolling in the aisles. The only tears in this show are from laughter. With a wise-cracking Dame leading a cast who appear to have as much fun as the audience, it will be keeping folk giggling well into January.
We also had a very different version of Jane Eyre on our big screen. Another performance from the National Theatre, this stylistic adaptation took an inventive approach to bringing the story to life. And we’re taking bets on whether the spirited central performance will pick up an award.
We’ve been handing out our new Spotlight car stickers at all these productions. If you fancy displaying one, you can collect one from the theatre. And if you do, leave us some contact details and we’ll include you in a monthly prize draw for two free tickets.
Last but not least, we’ve just announced that our Spring musical will be Annie. There’s already been lots of interest from youngsters about joining the cast and we’ll be releasing details about auditions very soon.
Putting the pazazz into panto  
Pantos are a bit like Marmite – you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. If your’re a fan you’ll find Mother goose, with its jolly japes and jaunty tunes a cracking way to pass a couple of hours.
The tale isn’t perhaps as familiar as some so here it is in a nutshell (or possibly, egg shell): Candy the Goose arrives from Gooseland to settle in a village full of poor folk who are under the thumb of their penny-pinching landlord, the Baron. Candy, who lays golden eggs, provides them with a way of paying off their debts. And chaos ensues.
Despite the unusual story line there’s the usual cast of characters. And in this well-cast production, each plays their part to perfection. Gertie, aka Mother Goose, is the archetypal Dame. She’s as brash and brassy as they come but has a heart as big as her monumental wigs, which seem to change colour more often than Christmas lights.
Then there’s Billy, her son, who quickly becomes the kiddies’ bezzie mate. He romps around encouraging them to sing, shout and stamp their feet until the excitement registers on the Richter Scale. And credit must go to the youngsters (and not so young) in the audience who deliver their traditional responses with no need for a prompt. ‘He’s behind you’ and ‘Oh no it isn’t’ were bang on cue throughout. And there was some seriously sophisticated heckling from one ten year old who told the cast to ‘Call Ghostbusters’ when they had trouble with ghosts and ghoulies – a word which provided much merriment.
Every panto needs a Principal Boy and Girl and in this show they’re Colin and Sally. The ‘goodies’ always struggle to make an impression to my mind but these two make their mark by singing most of the songs, which they do incredibly well.
Of course, because this is a fairy tale, there are fairies too – the good one sparkles beautifully and the evil one sneers magnificently. But of all the supporting players it’s Snitch and Snatch the Baron’s young henchmen, who give the stand-out performance with a version of ‘Little People’, from Les Miserables, that could give the original a run for its money.
As you would expect, everyone lives happily ever after, which is just as it should be. But happiest of all appeared to be the audience which must be the toughest test for any panto. This one passed it with flying colours – not to mention a flying fish! Sorry, did I not mention Nemo….
A Scrooge to lift your spirits.  
How many of us, given the chance, wouldn’t lead our lives differently? Maybe this is why the story of Scrooge has such an enduring appeal. The thought that it’s never too late to alter the course of your life and to be a better person resonates with us all to some degree. And certainly that message comes across loud and clear in the Spotlight Theatre’s wonderfully exuberant production of Scrooge the Musical.
From the opening notes of Sing a Christmas Carol, to the final rousing chorus of the show’s most famous song, Thank You Very Much, this festive offering from Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society rolls merrily along like a like a sleigh ride on a snowy star-filled evening.
All eyes were on octogenarian Bob Downing who brought real pathos to the role of Ebenezer, his advanced years bringing added poignancy to the message that it’s never too late to change the way you are. And his transformation from miserly curmudgeon to munificent benefactor after a few glugs of the Milk of Human Kindness is truly heartfelt.
But this wasn’t a one man show. This is a true ensemble piece and the company worked well together to fill the stage with a mix of memorable Dickensian characters. There’s Tom Jenkins, the cheekiest of cockneys who sings and dances on Scrooge’s coffin. There’s the bubbliest of Fezziwigs, who throw an office party that fairly fizzles with festive fun. And there’s the happiest of Cratchits, whose poor home is rich with love, especially for Tiny Tim who pulls harder at your heart strings than a John Lewis Christmas ad. And, of course, there are ghosts – some real, some special effects, all suitably chilling in one way or another.
The story, as everyone knows, is blessed with a happy ending. And when it comes, redemption for Scrooge is touchingly believable amid a blaze of present giving and glass chinking, all rounded off with a good old knees up. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the season to be jolly.
Spotlight club report 30th November
It’s been a week of heads up and heads down. For those interested in treading the boards there’s advance notice of two chances to take to the stage. Thursday (3 Dec) is the deadline for applications to take part in the National Youth Theatre auditions, being held for the first time at The Spotlight. Full details can be found on Northern Lights Theatre’s website. Friday (4 Dec) sees a read-through in the bar for the drama section’s spring production of ‘Kindly Leave the Stage’. Just turn up on the night for this if you’d like to take part.
Cast members of both our winter shows – Mother Goose and Scrooge the Musical – are giving their all in the run up to their December opening nights. Despite this, Panto Dame, Mike Hammond and Candy the Goose are taking time out to visit residents of White Rose Lodge care home this week for a bit of pantomime fun. And a new cast member has just joined this show – Nemo, the Flying Fish. And yes, he does fly.
We’ve also been busy putting the finishing touches to a batch of golden eggs for our entry in the Bridlington Christmas Tree Festival which opens this weekend. We’re really pleased to be taking part in this event for the first time.
And we weren’t the only people grafting hard this week. Bridlington School took over the theatre for the day as part of their drama studies curriculum work. The pupils were involved with all aspects of how the theatre works from lighting and sound to actual performance. It was a great experience for everyone involved.
Spotlight club report 21st November
It’s been a week of big birds and big challenges. Candy, aka Mother Goose, took her first tentative steps on stage. The costume has been created in-house by Margaret McIntosh and everyone who sees her agrees she’s a mighty fine bird who is sure to make a lot of friends over the coming weeks. Once the panto gets underway in mid-December, we’ll be running a Candy-n-Me competition to find the best selfie taken with our feathered star. And while our panto may have the fluffiest goose, we definitely have the tallest Baron. New member, David Watson, is 6 ‘ 10” tall. Other news from Team Panto, is that there’s a show-stealing duet of Little People from Les Miserables by two of our junior members.
Team Scrooge has introduced extra rehearsals to its schedule. This musical has over 20 fabulous songs in it and those that involve the entire company are wonderfully atmospheric. This is definitely a show that will get you in the mood for Christmas.
The theatre building needs constant attention and this week it was the turn of the ruckling carpet in the auditorium to have work done on it. The carpet fitters returned to, literally, straighten things out. So it’s now perfect for our next big screen performance – The Winter’s Tale, the first play from the newly formed Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company on 27 Nov.
Looking ahead to our Spring/Summer show, we’re in the process of approaching music publishers as to what might be available to licence for amateur use – which can be a tricky business. Four musicals made our short-list but, so far, two aren’t available to us. We have high hopes for those that we haven’t received a decision on.
Becoming Ebenezer - 3   1th November
It strikes me that Ebenezer may have the gestation period of an elephant. He’s still proving an elusive chap to pin down.
There is news on his wardrobe though. The red tights have been dropped (not literally). And we’re back on the trail for the director’s preference - red slippers. But all those available seem to have embroidered crests on the front. Or worse still, pom-poms.
And there is now a key accessory to add to the lucky muffler – a walking stick topped with a silver horse’s head. It looks expensive – so maybe this Ebenezer doesn’t mind spending on himself, which would be an interesting twist.
The words still aren’t nailed. Bob estimates he’s putting in five or six hours most days. He’s faring better with the songs. But a single song can take a whole day to learn and there are 12 for Bob alone. ‘I hate people’ is particularly tricky.
‘It’s a bit of tongue twister’ said Bob. ‘Just look at those opening lines’. I did. And, to be honest, I was hard pushed to say them let alone sing them. The words are complicated and the pace is fast - scavengers and sycophants and flatterers and fools, pharisess and parasites and hypocrits and ghouls. It sounded like a 19tt century attempt at a rap – fortunately without the rude words. And it made the more famous song, ‘Thank you very much’ look as simple as a nursery rhyme.
Bob remarked it was a bit like a Patterson. I’d never heard of a Patterson. It turns out I’d misheard. But I’d never heard of a patter song either. ‘Gilbert and Sullivan were great exponents of them. The Major General’s song from The Pirates of Penzance is a classic example’. Bob proceeded to sing it and I pointed out he did it without a trip or a stutter. ‘Yes, well, I’ve sung that one many times’, he explained.
Our chat was interrupted by the irritated director telling off one of the cast who was chewing gum. ‘If you swallow it while you’re singing, don’t expect me to give you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.’ I don’t think the girl will make the same mistake again.
My final view this week was Ebenezer with the ghost of Christmas present poring over a ring binder containing the first half of the script. All I could hear of the conversation were worrying sighs accompanied by several ‘Oh dears’. On the plus side, there are still 21 days to go to opening night.
Spotlight club report 8th November
As the last fireworks November 5th fade, the theme this week has been remember, remember. Both senior companies have been hard at work learning lines. The cast of Scrooge and the cast of Mother Goose are both hurtling towards their respective opening nights in December. In our busy theatre, rehearsal time is at a premium so they’ve been criss-crossing each other to gain important stage time.
Behind the scenes there’s been plenty of activity on both shows too. Candy the Goose is well on the way to being brought to life for this year’s panto. She’s sure to be a show-stopper. Meanwhile the painted backdrop for Scrooge is showing a strong resemblance to the Old Town’s Georgian High Street – with St Paul’s Cathedral included for good measure. A new chop saw is assisting with the construction of a bow fronted shop fronts.
There were plenty of ooohs and ahhhs on Bonfire Night in the auditorium thanks to Ian Keable’s one man show about Charles Dickens’ conjouring skills. A talented magician himself, Mr K managed to combine a series of entertaining tricks and a host of interesting facts, with the obligatory assistance of members of the audience. And in a twist on pulling a rabbit out of a hat, having put raw ingredients into a topper he produced a cake with a lighted candle on top. It tasted delicious too
Finally if you want to fill the space left by the removal of the tax disc on your windscreen, then we may have just the thing. Coming soon are Spotlight car stickers. Don’t be seen without one
Becoming Ebenezer - 2   8th November
There still appears to be very little sign of Ebenezer at rehearsals. At least to me. I think I thought by now he’d have sprung onto the stage fully formed like Athena from Zeus’s skull. But he still seems to be stuck somewhere in Bob’s head. Perhaps he’s proving tricky to pin down as a character?
It would seem to be a lot more pragmatic than that. Bob is still concentrating on the words.
Learning the lines are all consuming at the moment. The words are the first thing Bob thinks of in the morning and the last thing on his mind at night. And if he wakes up in the wee hours in need of the loo – he’s thinking about his lines then too
But no matter how hard you try, apparently there are words that just won’t stick. The one that’s evading Bob this time is ‘infernal’. ‘I’ll just have to find another word to replace it’, said Bob.
So how do you go about learning a script? What’s the secret? ‘Just grafting’, said Bob. ‘I just sit down and repeat my lines time and time and time again. I’ve put my life on hold to learn this part. Everything has stopped – apart from going to church.’
It all sounds too much like hard work to me but not for Bob. He enjoys every minute of the theatrical experience. He always has done since he made his first appearance on the amateur stage with the Stockton- on- Tees drama group. He had one line in a production which he invited all his friends too. But when his big moment came and he delivered the words , ‘Don’t pay any attention to me, Ma’am’, they were spoken off stage. So no-one actually saw his first performance. Well, as Ebenezer he’ll be on stage for most of the two hours and 20 minutes running time, so there’ll be no missing him in this production.
 But with just four weeks to opening night, there must be something that Bob believes will help bring Ebenezer to life. ‘Well, there’s my lucky muffler. And I’m considering wearing red tights. Albert Finney wore them in the film version and I thought they’d be a good substitute for red shoes that the director wants me in but that I can’t find. Oh, and he’s going to have a stoop’. It sounds like a very good start.
Spotlight club report 31st October

It’s not surprising that the end of October has been a week of ghouls and ghosts. Five performances of the vampire classic Dracula, a joint production with 9 Degrees East, delivered a unique take on this familiar horror story. The combination of minimal sets, striking costumes and a sinister surround-sound audio track created an unsettling experience that definitely made a few spines tingle.
And as one company exits stage left, another enters. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, along with the rest of the cast of Scrooge the Musical, have just five weeks to get word and song perfect before they open in early December.
This hugely popular West End show is a big undertaking especially for Bob Downing who, at 82 years young, has taken on the central role of the miserly Ebenezer. Everyone is giving 110% to make sure this all-singing, all-dancing show is a big fat winter hit. The Director’s dog, Alfie, has been keeping a close eye on rehearsals and reassuring Bob that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
 This week too, an all stations alert for help went out after a plea from our props department. They are desperately trying to find rabbits and pheasants to hang outside a shop on the set of Scrooge. Stuffed ones, papier mache ones, fabric ones – as long as they look realistic we don’t mind. Any offers are most welcome
Spotlight club report 25th October
This week has been one of heroes. West Yorkshire Playhouse brought their sell-out tour of Beryl to the Spotlight. This play by Maxine Peake told the story of Beryl Burton, a cyclist who against all the odds and through her own grit and determination, remained at the top of her sport for 25 years. With over 90 domestic titles to her name as well as seven world titles and an OBE, she’s now largely a forgotten hero. This affectionate portrait gave her the recognition she deserves and, as performances go, it was a belter.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s much praised production of Henry V brought the heroes of the Battle of Agincourt to our big screen on the actual 600th anniversary of the famous victory over the French. As you would expect from the RSC, it was stirring stuff with an outstanding central performance from Alex Hassell as the King of England who would be King of France.
Meanwhile our own local hero, Bob Downing, has been working hard on his next big challenge. At 82 years young, he’s taken on the lead in December’s show, Scrooge the Musical. Although some would say Bob was born to play the part, the role is a huge undertaking and no mean feat at any age. It’s heartening to see one of our most experienced and seasoned actors at the centre of this production which is being staged at The Spotlight for the first time.
And there’s been heroic efforts from the techy team during final preparations for Dracula. They’ve had some seriously late nights in the run-up to the show’s opening. Much secrecy surrounds the special effects and the costume design which will be revealed during the five day run this week. For the performance on Halloween, the audience is invited to come in fancy dress. All vampires are welcome.
Spotlight club report 17th October
This week we’ve been dealing with the issues of fictional noblemen - Count Dracula and The Prince of Denmark. Dracula continues to take shape as it rushes headlong toward its opening in less than a week. The Nine Degrees East/Spotlight Theatre co-production of the famous gothic novel is making the theatre’s sound and lighting equipment turn somersaults and do things we never dreamed of to enhance the chilling storyline. The techy team is, rightly, feeling very proud of itself.
The live screening of the National Theatre’s production of Hamlet was a storming success with its Sold Out audience. It more than lived up to its hype and it was amazing to be part of an experience that had theatre-goers around the world at fever pitch. This one performance was seen on more than 1,400 screens in 25 countries and drew the largest global audience since National Theatre Live began in 2009. The play’s star, Benedict Cumberbatch, made a plea on behalf of Save the Children as the cast took their curtain call. He quoted from a poem by British-Somali poet Warsan Shire, which included the lines: ‘No-one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark… No-one puts their child in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.’ It was a thought-provoking evening all round.
In general, the theatre is busier than ever with something happening most days. Rehearsals for Scrooge the Musical are picking up pace, the theatre’s junior company, S.P.O.T.S, is making Saturday mornings fun for local kids and professional companies continue to make Brid’s favourite little venue a port of call on their touring itinerary. This week it was the turn of Badapple Theatre who took to the stage for an evening with a new comedy about a village footie team. It’s certainly an exciting time.
Becoming Ebenezer - 1  
De Niro famously drove a cab in New York to get into character for his role in Taxi Driver. And apparently almost the entire supporting cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest checked themselves into a psychiatric ward prior to filming the Oscar winning movie.
So it seemed a good idea to ask our very own Bob Downing how he plans to create his role as Ebenezer in Scrooge the Musical. Would he reveal similar sterling efforts to ‘become’ the miserable miser? Has he refused to put the central heating on? Is he learning his lines by candlelight? Has he swapped his undies for long-johns? I could only hope.
It turns out Bob’s no method actor. He’s more in the Laurence Olivier mould – remember his advice to Dustin Hoffman who went to extreme lengths when preparing for Marathon Man? ‘Try acting, it’s so much easier’.
 Having just spent an evening with Bob at rehearsals, it’s clear that he’s just doing what comes naturally. He takes his lead from the words and the director. Bob initially gave Ebenezer a ‘gritty, gratey’ voice. But when the director heard it she said ‘pitch it higher’. So he did. The director also demanded a bigger nightshirt – despite Bob’s claims that it was only tight on him because he was wearing a jumper underneath. ‘I haven’t put on weight in years’ he insisted.
 Bob doesn’t suffer from nerves either. So what does worry him? The unsurprising answer is learning lines. He aims to be word perfect for this show by the end of November. And what if he’s not? ‘Well, there’s always the prompt’ he confessed. When Bob performed in the King and I, during one scene there was a prompt positioned under a bed that was centre stage. I couldn’t help thinking that post-it notes might have been an easier option.
 As it stands Bob’s word perfect for his opening speech. Mind you, it is only the one word, ‘Cratchit!’ But you have to start somewhere.
 We’ll be seeing how Bob brings Ebenezer to life as rehearsals progress. I, for one, can’t wait.

82 year old wins lead role in Scrooge.

Possibly the oldest amateur actor to play a lead role in a musical has just been cast by a Bridlington theatre.
Octogenarian, Bob Downing, has just secured the part of Ebenezeer Scrooge in the Spotlight Theatre’s production of Scrooge the Musical which opens at the West Street venue in December.
Director, Pauline Pope said:
‘At the best of times, Bob can be grumpy – so the part could’ve been written for him! Seriously, on the night, Bob was simply the best man for the job. Over the years, his voice has matured and his deep, rich tones will suit the role perfectly’.
Taking on the role of Scrooge at any age is no mean feat. The character is on stage for most of the two hour plus show and has 12 featured songs – as well as numerous songs with the full company. Bob joins an august list of actors to have tackled the part, including Albert Finnery who starred in the 1970 award-winning film and, more recently, Tommy Steele who played the role to much acclaim on the London stage.
One of the founder members on the volunteer-run venue on West Street, Bridlington, Bob has been treading the boards there since it opened its doors in 2000. And before the group had a permanent home, Bob performed at venues around the town, including The Spa.
Bob quickly established himself as one of the cast regulars after joining Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society in 1979. He has played numerous leading roles including the King in The King and I.
Bob claims this role will be his ‘swan song’ but after a lifetime’s involvement with amateur theatre he could still have years of acting ahead. On the professional stage, Sir Michael Horden played his final role in the BBC’s much admired adaptation of Middlemarch at 83. Sir John Guilgud did even better. He played his last lead role at the grand old age of 86 in Peter Greenaway’s ‘Prospero’s Books’ and he continued to make cameo appearances for several years after that.
Spotlight club report 11th October
This week we’ve been proving that there’s nothing like a dame. The casting for this year’s panto, Mother Goose, took place amidst much merriment. And, of course, no panto is complete without a dame and we have one of the best in the business putting on a big frock for us. (Oh yes, he is). Jokes, only slightly better than those in Christmas crackers, are on the cards – and it’s all part of the fun.
David Suchet left behind Poiret and his little grey cells behind to perform the role of Lady Bracknell, twice on our big screen. A live and an Encore performance of The Importance of Being Earnest played to packed houses both on West Street and at The Vaudeville Theatre London where it was broadcast from. As you would expect, it was a sparkling, witty concoction with seriously laugh-out loud moments. The well-known ‘Handbag’ line took an even more central role as the team at Tamaras Ladies Fashions had generously given us a handbag to add to the now famous Spotlight raffle. The winner was delighted.
Earnest is just one of an ever-growing programme of live screenings of plays, operas and ballets that have taken the town by storm. This has now turned into a truly global experience with recent live broadcasts from San Francisco, New York and Moscow. Further live screenings are lined up for the Autumn and Winter season and with some truly outstanding productions waiting in the wings.
The Tourist Information Centre carry details of our programme and they asked us this week if we could provide more comprehensive information on what we’re showing. This is great feedback and we’re looking at how we might achieve this with our existing resources. If anyone can help with this, we’d love to hear from you.
Spotlight club report 29th September
This week we’ve literally been cooking on gas. Many of our volunteers put on their aprons and got out their mixing bowls to bake for our Macmillan Coffee Morning. We served a range of cakes Mary Berry would’ve been proud of, ran back-stage tours, showed a live screening taster on our big screen and raised £373 for the charity. It was a great team effort and we enjoyed welcoming so many visitors – thanks to everyone who turned up on the day for being so generous.
 The run of our hugely popular summer show sadly came to an end. Tuesdays won’t be the same without our fix of 60s and 70s inspired music and laughter. But as one show ends, another goes into rehearsal and work will soon start on the theatre’s Christmas offering, Scrooge the Musical. Before that takes to the stage, our autumn in-house production, Dracula, will be sending shivers down the spine of its audience at the end of October. Rehearsals for this are well underway.
 Last week also saw two very different live screenings. The National Theatre’s Coriolanus burst onto our big screen and transported its audience to a brutal and violent Rome while the Royal Ballet’s spellbinding Romeo and Juliet captivated its audience two days later
More live screening transmissions are being added to our programme - next up is the brilliantly witty Importance of Being Earnest in early October, with David Suchet, better known as Poirot, in the role of Lady Bracknell. The ever growing list of productions that are becoming available is stretching our technical team so we’re looking for additional volunteers to learn how to run these transmissions. Anyone interested in receiving training should contact
Air cadets salute Battle of Britain heroes 21st September
Members of Bridlington’s 252 Squadron air cadets were on duty at The Spotlight Theatre on Friday 18 September.
Seven cadets, along with Commanding Officer Bob Hill, attended the live screening performance of The Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary concert and formed a guard of honour at the theatre entrance as the audience arrived.
The cadets were keen to find out more about the iconic conflict and learn about the vital role the RAF played in the defence of the country. The concert, part of the BBC’s day of commemoration of the Battle, featured music from the war era as well as readings from actors such as Simon Callow along with the moving testimony of Spitfire pilots.
Many of the audience too had a connection with the RAF. One man had served an apprenticeship with the RAF while a lady was there to remember her Dad who served during World War 11 and was based at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire.
Mike Sheldon, Chairman of the Spotlight, presented a cheque to the cadets which will be added to funds already collected for the Wings Appeal. Money placed in collecting boxes in the theatre bar will also be donated to the appeal.
Mike said the Spotlight was proud to have the youngsters join them for the evening:
‘The cadets are a credit to the town and some of them could become the RAF personnel of the future. We felt it was important to share this event with them, in particular to help them understand the sacrifice made by previous generations – many of whom were not much older than some cadets are now.’
New talent in the Spotlight. September
The Spotlight Theatre is looking for more youngsters to join its junior company, S.P.O.T.S.
And in order to accommodate more budding actors and actresses, the successful Saturday morning sessions are being split into two age groups
7-11 year olds will meet between 10am and 11.30am while 12-15 year olds will get together between 11.30am and 1.00pm
The 90 minute sessions will cover training in various aspects of performance including dance, drama and singing. There may also be opportunities to gain an insight into stage crafts such as lighting and sound. . Time will also be spent rehearsing for any show currently in development.
Sophie Brown, who directs S.P.O.T.S., hopes that by having a younger and older group, productions can be selected that are more age appropriate and that allow performers a choice of roles. She added:
‘The sessions are lots of fun and uniquely they take place in a real theatre so the youngsters get an authentic theatrical experience. It’s important to say that the skills learnt aren’t just relevant on stage, they also help develop essential life skills such as team work and communication.’
Earlier in the year S.P.O.T.S performed in the children’s musical Dazzle to great acclaim and the aim is to tackle both full-length musicals and short pieces in the future, with parts for everyone who wishes to participate.
Sophie emphasised that the sessions are open to all:‘Youngsters of all abilities are welcome. We’re looking for enthusiasm as well as talent. Commitment is important too. Rehearsing a production week-after-week takes real dedication.’
S.P.O.T.S meets every Saturday during term time at The Spotlight Theatre on West Street from 12 September. Thanks to a generous sponsor, taking part in the sessions is free.
Spotlight club report 6th September

It’s been a week of strange noises and familiar tunes.
The techy team has been creating spooky sounds using all sorts of items – ukuleles to jam jars – as they work on the sound design for the in-house production of Dracula. This atmospheric production is due on stage in October and is set to be a real spine-tingler.
Meanwhile the music of the 60s and 70s continues to bring in full houses on Tuesday evenings. The run of It’s Yesterday Once More finishes at the end of September. Please book in advance if you want to see one of the last remaining shows as we have had Sold Out every performance so far.
Two brilliant big screen performances wowed audiences. The National Theatre’s current production, The Beaux’ Stratagem, written in 1709, proved to be a lot funnier than many 21st century comedies while the re-showing of the Old Vic’s The Crucible was outstanding yet terrifying, as the consequences of false accusations took their toll on a small community.
We also received confirmation that members of Bridlington Air Cadets will be joining us to remember ‘the few’ at the forthcoming live screening of the Battle of Britain Anniversary Concert from Biggin Hill on 18 September. The day before that, we have the spectacular Aida on Sydney Harbour Bridge on the big screen - a must for opera-lovers.
There was also the first meeting of Team Yum-Yum, the group of volunteers who are putting together the Macmillan Coffee Morning at the theatre on Friday 25 September. In addition to serving coffee and home-made cakes to raise funds for the charity, there’ll be back stage tours and the chance to sample our big screen live streamings. So please join us for a cuppa.
Spotlight club report 28th August

It’s been a week of welcomes at The Spotlight. Firstly, we’re preparing to welcome back both our junior and youth companies after their summer break. S.P.O.T.S (for 7-15 year olds) will be resuming their Saturday morning sessions on 12 September while Northern Lights Theatre (15 + years) will be returning to their regular Wednesday evening meetings on 9 September.
We also welcomed another capacity audience to our to our sparkling summer special, It’s Yesterday Once More. The fun-filled 60s and 70s musical variety show continues its hugely successful run throughout September.
And next week we look forward to welcoming the National Theatre to our big screen on Thurs 3 September for a live streaming performance of The Beaux’ Stratagem – a rollicking restoration romp. This is followed on Sat 5 September by a big screen repeat showing of the Old Vic’s sensational production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. And on Sun 6 Sept we welcome ReMarkable Theatre who are staging two matinee performances of their musical showcase .
 There’s also a welcoming thought for the not-so mobile members of our audience. In addition to our fully accessible disabled toilet we have just completed fitting out the Men’s toilet cubicle with hand rails and a higher pedestal loo. It’s all part of our programme of continuing improvements at the theatre.
We also hope to welcome lots of visitors to our McMillan Coffee Morning on Friday 25 September. Between 10am and 12 noon we’ll be serving up cuppas and cakes to raise funds for the charity as well as giving tours of the venue and showing off our big screen.
Spotlight club report 22nd August

This week has whizzed by in a whirlwind of forward planning. Crew from Nine Degrees East theatre company have been searching through the wardrobe department in preparation for their co-production with the Spotlight, Dracula, which runs in late October. Victorian gothic is the style that’s been set and the hope is that they’ll be able to find most of the outfits off-the-peg. The audience at the final performance of the classic horror story, on Halloween, is invited to come in costume too and there’ll be prizes for the best dressed. So start scouring the charity shops now.
Looking ahead further still, Scrooge the Musical is being performed by Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (BAODS) in December, but rehearsals will start in less than a month. This is an exciting departure for BAODS who have in recent years put on a musical showcase with a festive theme. This full-scale musical will be a definite challenge – especially as it will run alongside our traditional panto. To get everyone in the Christmas spirit early, on 7 September at 7.30pm there’ll be an Open Evening and a screening of a version of Scrooge with a ‘share supper’. Members old, new and those thinking about joining, are invited to this. Casting and rehearsals will begin shortly after this date. If you’d like to be involved in any way, please come along and say Hello on the night.
Meanwhile, back in the now, our summer special, It’s Yesterday Once More, continues to wow audiences. Tuesday’s performance was, once again, sold out. It’s a real crowd-pleaser of a show – if you haven’t seen it yet, treat yourself and indulge in a bit of nostalgia. And if you’re ever near West Street on a Monday or Friday morning, please call in and have a look around – we’d love to let you know what’s on and what’s coming up.
Spotlight club report 16th August
We’ve been coping with success and looking forward to the autumn this week.
The sixties continue to swing in our sparkling summer show, It’s Yesterday Once More. We played to another full house on Tuesday and sadly were turning holiday makers away on the door. Touching base with a selection of the audience revealed folk visiting from London and Leicester as well as other areas of Yorkshire.
The techy team have been experimenting with the in-house kit and looking at possibilities such as projecting images onto stage flats to create a set – which could eventually mean the end of the painted backdrop. We’re also considering a series of workshops that train more members to understand the equipment and how to operate it.
Waiting in the wings is a very special event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. We’ll be showing a live streaming performance of the BBC Radio 2 concert from Biggin Hill.
This will tell the epic story of the greatest aerial conflict of the Second World War. Radio 2 presenters, including Jeremy Vine and Dermot O’Leary, will be joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra on Friday 18 September to mark the occasion. In addition to music from the era, rare archive film footage , modern day RAF personnel, guest singers and a cast of actors will bring the story to life as we remember the men and women who took part in the struggle 75 years ago. Radio 2's D-Day commemorative concert in June 2014 - Friday Night Is Music Night at the Royal Albert Hall - recently won seven Golds and the Grand Award for Best Special Event at the New York Festivals World's Best Radio Programs 2015. So this promises to be something truly memorable.
Spotlight club report
7th August
This has been a nose-to-the-grindstone kind of week particularly for the trustees.
A problem with the fabric on the new auditorium seating has been partly resolved. The seats have been replaced and now have a ¾ rather than a full tilt to help reduce wear and tear on the edges. The backs too will be replaced soon. Blocked guttering at the rear of the building has been cleaned and repaired in places. The marching tunes from a bag-pipe playing neighbour helped the volunteers get the job done in double-quick time!
Security as well as health and safety issues have been addressed. The CCTV system is now fully operational and personal alarms, with automated alerts, have been introduced for lone workers. Seven volunteers also undertook a one-day emergency first aid course.
Performance-wise, the summer show, It's Yesterday Once More, continues to delight audiences. After the positive response to the comedy elements, the director has introduced an additional sketch from everyone's favourites, The Two Ronnies, which should go down a treat.
The co-production between Nine Degrees East and the Spotlight, Dracula, is now cast and rehearsals will shortly begin. This is an exciting new version which will utilise some of our new technology to create a truly spine-tingling atmosphere.
And it's only a couple of weeks until the next broadcast from The Royal Shakespeare Company, Othello, hits our big screen. So there's plenty to keep volunteers busy and audiences entertained.
Celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary at The Spotlight 5th August
 It’s only taken George and Ada Kent around 50 years to visit The Spotlight Theatre on West Street.They made their first visit to the volunteer run venue on the opening night of the summer show, It’s Yesterday Once More, on 30 July - which also happened to be their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.
But the couple have been coming to Bridlington from their home in Dronfield, Derbyshire since the early days of their marriage in the mid 50s and have stayed in many different flats, guest houses and hotels in the town. One of their favourite things to do in the resort was taking a trip on the ‘Flamborian’ pleasure cruiser. They also brought their two daughters on holiday here. "Brid is lovely. And now they’re doing it up, it’s going to be better still’, enthused George.
84 year old George met Ada on a works coach outing to Belle Vue Zoo in Manchester and they were married in 1955 at Chesterfield Registry office. After the ceremony, they went to see the Irish tenor, Josef Locke at the Sheffield Empire before spending their wedding night in their new bungalow. So what finally brought them to the Spotlight?
 ‘We saw it advertised in our hotel and we thought we’d do something different and have a night at the theatre. We knew the music mentioned on the poster and we thought it would bring back happy memories’.
 And the 60s and 70s inspired show, performed by Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (BAODS) certainly lived up to their expectations. Ada said: ‘It was top notch – they’re every bit as good as professionals. And the way they did the songs made you want to join in and sing along’.
To make the evening even more perfect, Ada won a bottle of wine in the famous Spotlight raffle. ‘We’ll definitely be coming back. Everyone was so friendly and the show was wonderful. We’ve had a marvellous evening’.
Bob Downing, one of the founding members of the Spotlight, said:‘It was only by chance we found out about George and Ada’s big day. We managed to get a card from a late-night shop and offered them a celebratory drink. There aren’t many couples who make it to 60 glorious years. We hope to see them again on their 61st anniversary’.
The Spotlight club report 3rd August
It’s been all systems go this week at The Spotlight. The dress rehearsal of It’s Yesterday Once More, the Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s (BAODS) summer special, impressed a specially invited audience. With just a few tweaks, the 60s and 70s inspired show looked in great shape for its opening on the following night. And the first performance played to a sold-out house, amongst which were members of the Bridlington Tourism Association (BTA). The mix of singing, dancing and classic comedy sketches proved to be a winning formula - there was unanimous agreement that this would be something local accommodation providers would recommend to their guests. It’s Yesterday Once More continues its run, playing every Tuesday until the end of September.
The casting call for performers wishing to take part in an autumn production of Dracula brought a great response from actors of all ages. Those attending were involved in a read-through of the text, taking turns in different roles, to give the director a chance to assess their abilities before making his decision on who will take what part in the coming weeks. This co-production between 9 Degrees East theatre company and The Spotlight will be staged in late October with the final performance taking place, appropriately, on Halloween.
The very brave like-it-or-get-your-money-back screening of London Road finally took place. There was a good turn-out for this unique film which uses the words of real people to tell the story of how a community came together in the wake of a series of terrible murders. If it sounds horrific, it wasn’t. This film of a much-praised National Theatre play was an uplifting piece. And while the themes and approach were at times challenging, significantly no-one asked for a refund.
Town’s hoteliers enjoy a night out at The Spotlight 1st August
30 members of the Bridlington Tourism Association (BTA) joined a sell-out audience for the first night of the Spotlight’s summer special, It’s Yesterday Once More, on 30 July.
The members, all holiday accommodation providers, enjoyed a drink in the bar before watching the first night performance which one BTA member rated ‘20 out of 10’.
Sylvia Wright, Secretary of the BTA, and proprietor of Lincoln House on Wellington Road, said " the show was a fantastic addition to the town’s summer season:There’s no doubt that visitors to the resort will love It’s Yesterday Once More as much as we did’.
Performed by the Bridlington Amateur Operatice and Dramatic Society (BAODS), the show turns back the clock to the mid 60s and 70s and showcases classic hits from the big names of the era – the Beatles through to Abba.‘It really took us back to when we were young’, added Sylvia. ‘There’s singing, dancing and very funny comedy sketches that will appeal to a wide audience. It’s real seaside variety entertainment’.
For many BTA members this was also a first chance to see the recently refurbished auditorium at the volunteer-run theatre and to have a drink in the new extension which houses the bar
Mike Sheldon, chairman of The Spotlight, said:‘The BTA play an important role in letting visitors to Bridlington know about what’s happening in the town. We’re delighted they enjoyed the performance and hope they’ll be great ambassadors for the show. With our show running on Tuesdays and the Spa’s summer spectacular on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the BTA’s guests will be able to enjoy two fantastic nights at the theatre during their stay’.
Happiness is…watching It’s Yesterday Once More 30th July
If you’ve had a bad day at work or the dog’s chewed the sofa or the washing machine is on the blink, this is the show for you. Because from the minute the curtain rises, you’ll be surfing on a wave of joy watching Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s (BAODS) summer special.
There’s something for everyone to enjoy in this 60s and 70s inspired production – singing, dancing and comedy sketches. And while it’s performed by non-professionals, the cast is both able as well as enthusiastic and determined to give the audience a good time.
The ensemble pieces fairly fizzle and when the entire cast gets behind favourites such as Petula Clark’s Downtown or Blue Mink’s Banner Man, complete with a marching big bass drummer, you have to bite your tongue not to join in.
In between the big numbers, a stream of solo spots takes you through a juke-box of hits – Ob la de, Ob la da, Those Were The Days, even the gritty Wandrin’ Star gets its turn centre stage, much to the audience’s delight.
The comic interludes are just as good. Covering the whole gamut of classic British humour , from Tommy Cooper’s one-liners to the best of Morecambe and Wise and into the surreal world of Monty Python, there are genuinely funny laugh-out-loud moments.
For those of a certain age, the music will bring back memories of mini skirts or sequined jump-suits. But younger folk won’t feel bemused – you’d have to have been wearing ear plugs an entire lifetime not to recognise the music on this playlist.
Regardless of age, you’re sure to leave the theatre smiling. For anyone suffering from the summertime blues, It’s Yesterday Once More is the perfect antidote.
The Spotlight club report 26th July
Groovy is our word of the week as the Bridlington Amatuer Operatic and Dramatic Society (BAODS) builds up towards the opening of their 60s/70s inspired summer special, ‘It’s Yesterday Once More’. While the cast have been tripping the light fantastic on the stage, the technical crew has been working with an LED lighting rig to create some positively psychedelic effects. A white silk Austrian drape theatre cloth has been bought as a backdrop for the show and coloured lights are also being projected onto this. Rumour has it that the boys in the upstairs booth are putting Blackpool Illuminations in the shade.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘Merchant of Venice’ was broadcast live from Stratford-upon-Avon and it was every bit as good as we’d hoped. With a shining golden set that reflected the action, it turned the tables on one of the play’s most famous lines – ‘All that glisters isn’t gold’ – as this was definitely a 24 carat production. It tackled the themes of racism, forgiveness, revenge and love, bravely and boldy. Othello is the next RSC offering and it’s coming in August.
Sadly, the much-anticipated ‘London Road’ didn’t make it to our big screen. A technical glitch on the night forced this performance to be rescheduled for next Saturday (1 Aug). The plus side of this is that those who couldn’t make it on the 25th now have a second chance to see this uplifting film based on the award-winning National Theatre production.
The exciting co-production between the Spotlight and Nine Degrees East theatre company gets underway this week with auditions for ‘Dracula’ taking place on Fri 31 July at 7.30 at the Spotlight. Anyone wishing to try out should be at the theatre for 7.30pm and everyone is welcome
Dazzle cast toasts success at The Spotlight 20th July
It was lemonade all-round on Saturday 18 July as the youngsters of the Spotlight’s junior company, S.P.O.T.S, celebrated a successful run of their debut show, Dazzle.
With a fabulous array of cup-cakes and other goodies to hand, the cast also watched a DVD of their show on the theatre’s big screen – so they all got to see themselves performing on stage.
Sophie Brown, the show’s director, said the musical had received praise all-round:‘The audience enjoyed every minute, they laughed in all the right places and the applause was tremendous. The National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) also reviewed the show and were hugely complimentary. So we definitely had something to celebrate’.
The cast of 26, aged between seven and 15, made the most of their time-off as next time they meet it will be business as usual as they get back into their weekly routine. Each Saturday morning, the children receive coaching in all aspects of stagecraft – acting, singing and movement. But the training develops more than just theatrical talent; it gives children confidence and helps build life skills such as communication and co-operation.
Roberta (Bobby) Watts, age seven from Carnaby, is in her second year with the company and played the role of Mary Goround, one of the main characters, in Dazzle. She would encourage everyone to come along and join in: ‘Being part of S.P.O.T.S is brilliant. And if you want to act in your school play it’s good for that. Everyone in the group is really friendly and we have a fun time together’.
Due to demand for places, changes are being made to the group to allow more children to get involved. In future, there will be two age groups – 7-ll years and 12-15 years. Auditions will be held in September and youngsters of all abilities are invited to take part. ‘The two essential qualities we’ll be looking for are enthusiasm and commitment’, explained Sophie.
S.P.O.T.S is supported by the Spotlight Theatre which means the Saturday morning sessions are free to attend. Anyone interested in joining should contact Sophie on 07935 988771. Regular updates also appear on the theatre’s Facebook page.
The Spotlight club report 19th July
There’s been a celebratory mood at The Spotlight this week. Saturday saw the junior company, S.P.O.T.S, enjoy a post-show party after their successful run of Dazzle. Over two weekends and four performances the youngsters wow-ed audiences with their dynamic performances of this magical musical. Lemonade toasts and cake all-round were the order of the day.
The back-stage crew have also giving themselves a well-deserved pat on the back. They’ve now cleared all the staging material for both Grease and Dazzle and have got everything in place ready for ‘It’s Yesterday Once More’, the Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic’s Society’s (BAODS) summer special. The company itself is delighted with how rehearsals are progressing and is looking forward to a great first night on 31 July.
Meanwhile those who saw the live screening of Everyman from the National Theatre on London’s Southbank were congratulating themselves on getting a ticket. This was a vibrant update of a 15th century morality play – which might not sound like everyone’s cup of Darjeeling but given the fact it was re-written by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and starred Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a Slave fame, there was a feeling it would be something special – and it absolutely was. With God depicted as a char-woman and Death as a chilling serial killer, this was riveting stuff with a climactic moment that made the entire audience jump with surprise. Clever, witty and visually stunning it was a joy to be able to see it in Bridlington.
Finally, there was a definite fiesta feeling at the screening of Andre Rieu’s 2015 Maastrict concert. With Andre fans packing out two screenings, this incredible entertainer treated his audience of thousands, possibly millions, to an orchestral extravaganza featuring works from the greats of the classical music world. It was quite a show.
The Spotlight club report 12th July
In the week that saw Spitfires once again in our skies to commemorate the start of the Battle of Britain 75 years ago, the Spotlight signed up for the BBC’s live broadcast from Biggin Hill in September to mark the end of the conflict. This unique event will be screened in September and is sure to be something to book in advance.
In another bold move, the theatre has also agreed to take broadcasts from The Metropolitan Opera in New York. This is sure to please opera lovers who have been treated to some incredible performances recently – this trend is sure to continue with The Met now on board.
Yet another exciting addition to the Spotlight’s ever-expanding schedule is a new version of Dracula that will be performed, appropriately, on Halloween. This is the first co-production between the Spotlight and local drama company, 9 Degrees East. The show is being cast at the end of the month and auditions take place at the theatre on 31 July.
Amateur productions are still at the heart of the Spotlight’s ambitions. The end of July heralds curtain up on the Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s (BAODS) annual seaside special, Yesterday Once More. The show is built around favourite songs from the era of the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies mixed with some comedy sketches. It’s certain to bring back memories and raise a smile too. The team feels sure it will add to the town’s summer line-up and it’s hoped it will prove as popular with visitors as it will be with locals. Full dress rehearsals start soon and the first night is 30 July.
Everyman, the latest offering from National Theatre Live, will be broadcast on Thurs 16 July. This vibrant new take on a morality play has been wow-ing audiences in London – and this week, Bridlington and the rest of the world get their chance to be impressed. Tickets will be available on the door.
The Spotlight club report 5th July
In possibly the hottest week of the year so far, there’s been a definite hint of Christmas in the air. Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s (BAODS) Xmas show will be Scrooge. The performing rights have been secured and casting will begin in early autumn. This is definitely one that will test the team – the eponymous lead will be following in the footsteps of the likes Tommy Steele and Shane Ritchie. Expectations are high.
Dazzle, the junior company’s show, has been well, dazzling audiences. This tale of a group of kids coming together and fighting to save a fairground has a host of great songs with wonderful lyrics. The youngsters’ dynamic production, with a stunning painted set by Rob Ketteringham, is a must-see for musical fans – catch it if you can this weekend (Sat 10 and Sun 11 July). You won’t be disappointed.
Controversy came to the Spotlight in the form of the Royal Opera House’s performance of Rossini’s William Tell. Opening night had seen opera lovers at Covent Garden booing the production which has been updated and set during the Balkan War. The inclusion of extreme violence in certain scenes had London audiences in uproar. Forewarned, the Spotlight audience wasn’t quite so easily shocked and was able to just enjoy Rossini’s wonderful music.
The next live broadcast is Everyman from the National Theatre. This startling new production is a modern take on a medieval play, written by the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and starring the Oscar-nominated, 12 Years a Slave star, Chiwetel Ejiofor. It’s a bold and breathtaking production that’s received four star reviews across the board. One to watch on Thursday 16 July.
"London Road" Money-back guarantee from The Spotlight Theatre
On 25 July, the much talked about film of the successful National Theatre production of ‘London Road’, hits the big screen in West Street, Bridlington and the Spotlight team is offering anyone who buys a ticket to see it a full refund if they don’t enjoy it.
The star-studded cast includes Olivia Coleman (ITV’s Broadchurch), Anita Dobson (Eastenders) and Tom Hardy (BBC’s Peaky Blinders) and the film itself has received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike
But it is a challenging piece as Bob Downing, one of the founding members of the volunteer-run venue, explained:
‘While our audience has embraced our live screening productions, this film takes quite a unique approach. The story has been developed using a technique called ‘verbatim theatre’. The author, Alecky Blythe, recorded the testimony of the ordinary people who lived on the street and then worked with actors to reproduce exactly not only their words but also their accent and intonation
The result is a bold and imaginative drama-documentary style of theatre set to music. It’s definitely a bit of a risk for us, but we thought Bridlington deserved the chance to see it’.
The storyline revolves around a real-life incident – the murder of five prostitutes in a house on a suburban street. The play follows how the residents react and respond to the terrible event. Despite the subject matter, the film has been described as ‘uplifiting’ and ‘life-affirming.
There’s no doubt that ‘London Road’ will push our audience outside their comfort zone. So we’re hoping the offer will encourage them to give-it-a-go and try something a bit different. Having spoken with people who’ve already seen it in Hull, I don’t think they’ll be disappointed. But if they are, they can claim their money back. At the end of the performance I’ll be standing at the door with my wallet at the ready, just in case’.
The good, the bad and the budgie 22nd April
The laughs came thick and fast in Reform Theatre Company’s latest comedy Thick as Thieves – the tale of a bungled burglary that goes very, very wrong for two small-time criminals.
There were some great one-liners - like one of the light-fingered pair insisting that he had pets as a child and his accomplice telling him that ‘headlice don’t count’. And there were plenty of visual chuckles too - not least of which was one bad lad weeing in a teapot to revenge a cruelly treated budgerigar.
But, as we all know, crime doesn’t pay. So while the burglars didn’t find anything of any value when they broke into No 17 Forester Road, they did find something they didn’t expect. The grizzly discovery set off a chain of events that could only end in tears.
Along the way, we got an insight into the lives of the two childhood friends who had gone off the rails; one who longs for respect and recognition from his peers, the other who just wants to be able to support his partner and two kids. It was at times genuinely touching but the giggles were never far away – as when one robber offered the other a hug after he’d related how his absent Dad failed to recognise him the street. The reaction of horror to the possibility of embracing his mate was joyful slapstick.
 The two man cast was excellent in a fast and punchy production that raced along never missing a beat. And it’s a sign of a job well done if on the way out the audience is still smiling. This audience was positively grinning from ear to ear
Words of wisdom from Ashley Jackson 19th April
For anyone who wasn’t fortunate enough to get to our sell-out event with the renowned Yorkshire landscape artist Ashley Jackson, he proved to be as good a telling a tale as he is at painting the moors. Here are a few of his most memorable quotes from an evening packed with art, anecdotes and laughter.
On Tracy Emin’s famous bed installation:
When a reporter noticed him queuing to get into the exhibition to see the unmade bed and asked him what he was doing there, he replied: ‘Rumour has it she’s put the names of her lovers on the bed head – I’ve come to see if mine’s there’.
On what he does: ................ 'I read Mother Nature’s love letters and I translate them into paintings’
On conceptual art..'When asked what it was on a radio 4 programme he likened it to going to an Ann Summers .shop, and having a selection of 'toys' delivered to your loved one before calling them and saying, ’Darling, I’m on my way, .but .if my train’s late, start without me’.
On painting trees:... There are three kinds – the umbrella shape, the tear drop shape and the upturned bucket shape’.
On fame: ....'In America he was asked if he knew Prince Charles he replied: ‘Aye lad but more to the point, he knows me’.
On breaking the ice: ......'He once hired a nude model to paint a life study – she asked where she should put her clothes . .......................................He replied, ‘In the corner over there on top of mine, love’.
On speaking his mind: ......... ‘I can say all this because I don’t get a grant from the Arts Council’.
On being remembered .‘There’s no statue of the artist Turner in the UK but there’s one of Dickie Bird – that’s how .life is’.
A View from The Spotlight 27th March
26 March proved to be a night to remember. The first link-up with the National Theatre Live programme brought world-class theatre on a grand scale to Bridlington.
At 7pm, The Young Vic’s much lauded production of ‘A View from the Bridge’ was broadcast live from the Wyndham Theatre in the West End to our little theatre on West Street. And it was an experience that won’t quickly be forgotten.
Now just about every complimentary adjective in the Oxford English dictionary has been used to describe director Ivo Van Hove’s take on the Arthur Miller classic.
Mesmerising, mind blowing, stunning, stupendous, thrilling… the list goes on. And to cap it all, it now has seven Olivier Awards nominations under its belt. So we didn’t think we were going to be disappointed, but did it live up to the hype?
And some, is the answer.
From the moment the curtain went up, the Spotlight audience was enthralled. There was no coughing, no foot shuffling, no rustling of sweet wrappers. If I didn’t know it was medically impossible, I’d say that the entire audience held its breath from beginning to end.
Two hours passed in what seemed like two minutes as the tension racked up towards the inevitable and unforgettable climax. And in that time, there wasn’t a moment that didn’t grip with the ferocity of a Staffy’s jaws, from the opening sensual shower scene to the final shattering bloodbath.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers as there’s every chance the popularity of this show will mean there’ll be an ‘Encore’ performance later in the year. But if you want to read more about it follow this link.
Meanwhile, those of us who were fortunate enough to see the production live on the first night of The Spotlight’s new venture will be able to say, I was there.......................... [All photos on News/Reviews pages courtesy of Maria Prchlik]
Live Screening - Making it happen. 25th  March  
For a little theatre, signing up to NT Live was a huge leap of faith - as well as a massive undertaking for all the volunteers involved. From Pauline who kept the tea coming to the near legendary Two Robs who sorted the installation of the new equipment, it was a real team effort.
A screen wasn't the only bit of new equipment needed. Up on the roof, Tim, watched by those not afraid of heights, fitted a satellite receiver that would allow the theatre to receive the broadcasts.
We've had some wonderful donations recently,for which we're very grateful. One of them allowed us to buy a a TV for the bar area that we can use to display a 'What's On' slideshow. Or take a peek at what's happening on the stage!

The new 14' x 8' giant screen, needed to project the high quality images, was delivered to the booking office - a ten minute walk from the theatre. But 20 minutes if you have to carry a very heavy load!
By the time we arrived at West Street, we'd gathered a few more strong arms.
Negotiating such an awkward package through the inside doors was a tricky business - made more so by the fact that a steel ladder had been attached to it in order for the transport team to have something to hold on to!
The heart of the new set up is a state of the art projection unit. The Two Robs, assisted by John, worked night and day to get it ready to roll as the countdown to the broadcast started. The sound system was equally important - and during testing, Annie Lennox sounded amazing (Only on CD...but with our new ambitions, who knows!)
Not everyone was around when we cut the 'We Did It' cake (sorry). We felt it was important on the-morning-after-the-night-before to give ourselves a tiny pat on the back - and it was all the more appreciated with a piece of carrot cake in it! Thank you to everyone who made NT Live a reality - you did an amazing job.
National Theatre Live screenings come to Bridlington 1st March
The big ambitions of a small local venue have brought world-class live theatre to the town as the Spotlight Theatre on West Street has invested thousands of pounds in new equipment to enable it to receive and transmit live satellite screenings of plays and musicals from London theatres.
National Theatre Live began in 2009 and its productions have been seen by 3.5 million people in 1,000 venues around the world.
Past productions include Frankenstein with Benedict Cumbernatch and Jonny Lee Miller, The Audience with Helen Mirren, A Street Car Named Desire with Gillian Anderson and Skylight with Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan.
Mike Sheldon, Chairman of The Spotlight said:‘Becoming part of the National Theatre Live phenomenon is a really big deal. It means people in the town have direct access to the very best of British theatre right on their doorstep. It’s been a massive commitment on our part so we’re hoping that theatre-lovers will help us make the screenings a huge success’.
The first live screening at The Spotlight takes place on March 26 at 7pm and is the five star rated Young Vic production of Arthur Miller’s A View from A Bridge. Starring Mark Strong, The Daily Telegraph reviewer called it, ‘One of the most powerful Miller productions I have ever seen’.
The Spotlight’s new equipment will ensure high the audience experience’s excellent visual and sound reproduction and includes a special lens, new satellite receiver and a 14’ high definition screen.
He added:‘We have 83 seats in the auditorium and these exciting one-night live screenings are regularly sold-out in other venues. So to be sure to book early if you want to be part of the global audience’,
Tickets for the Spotlight’s first NT Live event are available from Bridlington Blinds and Curtains at the top of Bridge Street and cost £16.
"Peter Pan" 15th February
Peter Pan set in a supermarket? Well, it could have gone either way – brilliantly or badly.
Fortunately for the audience it was the former. In fact, locating this much-loved tale of the boy who didn’t want to grow up in a shopping environment proved to be a stroke of genius.
For a start, calling the store Priceland meant that its name was just a syllable away from Neverland. The retail setting also provided a handy supply of props - a shopping trolley that stood in for an island, French baguettes that served as swords, a roasted peanut that took the place of a kiss – it was endlessly inventive.
But this wasn’t just a clever show, it also had heart. The story began with a lost little girl being entertained by supermarket staff giving an impromptu rendition of the JM Barrie classic while waiting for her parents to collect her. So Pete, working his last shift before leaving for the bright lights of London, takes on the role of Peter; the girl who loves him but who isn’t loved back becomes Wendy, the store manager, Tinkerbell and a cocky sales assistant transforms into Captain Hook with his junior colleague playing not just one but three pirates.
There was music too – songs that were Disney-esque if not quite Disney standard and which worked well within the story line. And although there were genuinely touching moments as unrequited love remained that way or, elsewhere, love blossomed there were also a treasure trove of laughs. The double act of Hook and his first mate, Smee created some genuinely funny moments - not the least of which was the revealing of the Captain’s ‘Muppet’ underpants.
As Saturday night entertainment goes, this show’s feel good factor beats the X Factor hands down.
Stories and pictures at Spotlight with acclaimed artist, Ashley Jackson. 30th January
Something a little different comes to the stage of the Spotlight this April.
Popular Holmfirth based artist Ashley Jackson, one of the country’s best-loved water colourists, will be stopping of at the theatre on West Street, Bridlington to discuss his life and demonstrate his painting techniques as he creates one of his atmospheric landscapes during the show.
Well-known for his brooding skies and dramatic Yorkshire moorlands, Ashley’s art hangs on some of the most famous walls in the world in the homes of the rich and famous. Actors, politicians, even Princes are amongst his biggest fans.
As entertaining as he is talented, as viewers of his TV series ‘A Brush with Ashley’ will recall, the evening promises to be one to remember. The 90 minute show will be filled with humorous anecdotes and possibly some celebrity secrets – as well as a painting demonstration. There will also be an opportunity to ask Ashley questions at the end of the show.
An honorary Yorkshire man, Ashley came to the country as a nine year old boy, swapping Penang in Malaysia for Barnsley in South Yorkshire. He immediately fell in love with God’s own county and has been loyal to it ever since making it the centrepiece of much of his work. He is often quoted as saying he wishes to do with the brush what those other great Yorkshire icons, the Brontes, did with the pen.
Mike Sheldon, Chairman of Spotlight, believes that the show has something for everyone:
‘Even if you’ve never picked up a paint brush in your life, this evening of anecdotes and art will bring a smile to your face - Ashley is as good a raconteur as he is an artist. And who knows, after spending a couple of hours in his company, you might be inspired to try your hand at capturing the beauty of our wonderful coastline or wolds on canvas for yourself’.
A cracker of a christmas at Spotlight 14th January  
Taking down Christmas decorations is usually a bit of a sad time, But at Spotlight Theatre it was a cause for celebration as the company reflected on a bumper festive season.
Members of the cast and committee of the Bridlington Amateur Operatic and Drama Society (BAODS) gathered after the final performance of ‘Cinderella’ to put away the tinsel, baubles and the tree and congratulate themselves on a job well done.
With most of the 11 performances of Cinders playing to capacity audiences and Mums, Dads, kids, Grans and Grandads really getting into the spirit of panto, director Pauline Pope was delighted with the enthusiastic response: ‘The reaction was amazing. The traditional audience participation bits almost blew us off the stage. Nearly 90 people shouting ‘He’s behind you’ really raised the roof. One night we had in 16 members of St Oswald’s choir, Flamborough. and they sang almost as loudly as those on the stage’.
‘And knowing that people have enjoyed the show makes all the hard work worthwhile. BAODS is an amateur company and the theatre is run by a dedicated group of volunteers who all put in many hours of hard work to get a production up and running’.
December also saw a great turn-out for professional touring company, Badapple Theatre, who stopped off with their production of the Mice who Ate Christmas – a whisker-tickling tale of two hungry mice who almost spoilt Christmas Eve for an entire village, while BAODS were in action with "Wartime Upstairs Downstairs’ [see review below]
Audiences for all shows were better than last year and the company hopes this trend will continue throughout the Spring season with more people switching off the tv and enjoying The Spotlight’s eclectic mix of live drama and music – as well as its brand new bar and events space.
Bob Downing, long-serving founder member, wants more local people to support Brid’s favourite little venue:‘ Spotlight has been in its current home for 13 years. If you’ve never been, now’s a great time to come along and see a show. Our programme just gets better and better and our recent improvements to the auditorium and the bar make for great night out’.