Month: January 2017

Rossendale Arts Groups Are The Star-Makers Of The Future

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It is widely acknowledged that the vast majority of children and young adults have untapped talent within them. It could be in Dance, Music, Singing, Acting or a combination. It just needs to be recognised and nurtured. The Rossendale Valley has within it a number of very strong amateur and commercial Performing arts groups who have as their main objective a desire to identify and develop the potential in everyone through diverse, professional and dedicated teaching staff with years of experience in their specific area of expertise. They are always looking for young talent to help develop their potential. So if you have raw talent for singing, dancing, acting or would simply like to have a go, any of the groups would be pleased to help. Many of these groups have already proven their abilities and have been an important contributor to the development of a number of successful performers.

Henry Farmer’s Experience:

Henry Farmer, a local Haslingden lad,  has realised his dream by playing the lead character of ‘Michael’ in the sellout musical ‘Billy Elliot’ currently running at Manchester’s Palace Theatre.

js107785861                                                                  Photo courtesy of Alastair Muir

Henry joined the Rossendale Dance and Drama Centre in Waterfoot while at Haslingden Primary School and trained in both dance and drama. At his audition, the production casting director  advised Henry to work on his dancing and acting, he enrolled for lessons with teachers from RDDC and as a result, he got the part and hasn’t looked back. For further information, please check out their website at http://www.rddc.co.uk

Olivia and Lexi Young, Sam Hughes and Jaydan Hanson-Beech’s  Experience:

Six of the 59 dancers who were on stage in Les Sylphides and a medley of different ballets at the Northern Ballet in Leeds are students at Dansworks Dance Academy based at Pioneer Buildings in Bacup.

Olivia Young is one of the youngest to win a place and also secured the only junior scholarship from the company. Olivia, from Bacup, has been dancing since she was just a year old when she started in the DansTots class. Her mum Jenny said: “This was her first audition and she was successful; she is going to go far.”

Olivia’s older sister Lexi Young was also picked for a part in The Rendezvous and The Reedpipes. She said: “I have been dancing since I was three and I do tap, ballet, musical theatre and jazz.”

Of the hundreds of young dancers who auditioned, just 55 girls were successful and two boys from Dansworks Sam Hughes, from Whitewell Bottom, and Jaydan Hanson-Beech from Bacup, were among the four who were picked for places. Jaydan said: “I have been dancing since I was about four years old; always at Dansworks. I started ballet in September 2014 and got a place in Polka Boys and Hornpipe. Ballet is really good fun and it lets me express my feelings. I met a lot of nice people in Leeds at the rehearsals.”

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Front Lexi Young, then from left Rhianna Edwards and Olivia Young and from back left Jaydan Hanson-Beech and Sam Hughes.

Sam, who has danced since he was two-and-a-half-years-old will be taking on the role of Billy Elliot in the Swan Lake scenes and also dancing in Polka Boys. Also in the production from Dansworks were Grace Bentley, from Bacup, and Rhianna Edwards, of Waterfoot, who both also secured a place last year in the English Youth Ballet’s production of Giselle.

The dancers join an ever-increasing list of performers from Dansworks who have landed roles in major productions. Principal Karen Roe said: “I am delighted that so many of our young dancers do so well. It is an incredible opportunity for them at such a young age. It encourages them to keep on practising and may help them to consider dancing as a future career.”

For more information about Dansworks classes contact 07843 263714 or visit www.dansworks.co.uk

Story and Photo By Catherine Smyth Media http://www.catherinesmyth.co.uk/

Sean Ruane’s Experience:

The Bacup Royal Court Theatre, through its Amateur Operatic and Dramatics Society (BAODS), was the first taste of performing arts for International Opera Star Seán Ruane started his journey into opera with the Rossendale’s St Mary’s Players, where he experienced both acting and singing, and identified his true love of singing through his time with BAODS. Pre the Internet, Sean recognised the importance of Bacup library as a source of information for music. Seán completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, and is one of the rising stars of the opera world, whose breathtaking vocal artistry comes with an endearing, easygoing style that has allowed him to grace grand opera, TV and sporting arenas with ease. Equally at home performing in front of the cognoscenti of Covent Garden or fervent football fans at Wembley.

sean-ruane-england-game-wembleySeán Ruane at Wembley Stadium

Seán founded Chant Productions  in 2011 with the aim of combining sports and music by using sports stadia as theatres for young people.is now Managing Director of CHANT Productions, a company set up in.For further information on the work of CHANT Productions, check out their web site at http://www.chantproductions.co.uk

Working with schools from the Blackpool, Blackburn and Bury areas, CHANT  produced a choir of children over 240 strong to perform at last years Children in Need. Singing ‘I’ll Stand by You’ the children performed live at Blackpool Tower Circus infront of a live audience of fundraisers and  millions of viewers at home.

Children in Need 2014

The children were both entertained by the circus acts and did some entertaining themselves as they warmed up for their big performance. Encouraging audience participation they sang Rather Be and Sing along with ‘I Like The Flowers’ lead by the Choir Master Dan McDwyer and our Creative Director Sean Ruane.

For further information on the work of CHANT Productions, check out their web site at http://www.chantproductions.co.uk

There are opportunities for you to realise your potential. For further information on BAOBS and Bacup Royal Court Theatre, why not check out their web site at http://www.bacuproyalcourttheatre.com

Sophie Lord’s Experience:

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At the age of 10 Sophie Lord watched a production of “Oliver!” at Bacup Royal Court Theatre (BRCT), and from the moment the curtain went up she told my nana ‘this is what I want to do when I grow up”, and she has never looked back.

Soon after watching this production, she enrolled with BRCTs youth section “BYTES” ,and appeared in the chorus of their production of ‘Joseph!’. Every Saturday morning Sophie’s parents would drop her off at the theatre, where she learned the skills that she would need to make it in ‘show business’. Sophie admits that she didn’t know just what an impact Director Regina Arkwright and her team would have on her life.

Having been involved with the BYTES for a couple of years, Sophie auditioned for the role of ‘Ratty’ in the production of ‘Wind in the Willows’ and was lucky enough to be offered the role. This was the first of many roles within the youth section, including ‘Anna Leonowens’ in ‘The King & I’ , ‘Eliza Doolittle’ in ‘My fair Lady ‘and ‘Cosette’ in the National Operatic and Dramatic Association award winning production of ‘Les miserables’.

Sophie has also been lucky enough to tread the boards at Bacup Royal Court Theatre in the Adult Society’s productions, undertaking roles in many Pantomimes, musicals and plays over the past 16 years and has also appeared in shows all around the North West. But the biggest opportunity she has had was working on an American cruise liner as a Production singer on the Carnival Valor. She says that “This was the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I truly believe without all the support of local groups and local people, I would never have got this opportunity to live my dream”.

Her most recent role was that of ‘Little Voice’ in an outstanding production from the Rossendale Players of ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’ where the review from NorthWest End magazine said “Taking on the lead role of Little Voice was Sophie Lord, and what a superb job she did! Pitching the shyness and reclusiveness of the character to perfection it made the moment you hear her wonderful voice for the first time all the more special. Her impersonations were also accurate with her Dusty Springfield being the stand out moment”. Further information about The Rossendale Players can be found on their web site at www.rossendaleplayers.org.uk

Have you got a talent that you would like help in developing? What are you waiting for. Contact any of the many performing arts groups in the valley and they will be there to help and support you.

If your group has an example of success that could inspire the youth of Rossendale, please let us know.

Sophie Lord Praises Bacup Royal Court Theatre For Helping Realise Her Dream

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15170970_1856159127949902_4203680871923954873_n-1Sophie Lord in the leading role of Little Voice

At the age of 10 Sophie Lord watched a production of “Oliver!” at Bacup Royal Court Theatre (BRCT), and from the moment the curtain went up she told my nana ‘this is what I want to do when I grow up”, and she has never looked back.

Soon after watching this production, she enrolled with BRCTs youth section, Bacup Youth Theatre Education School (BYTES) ,and appeared in the chorus of their production of ‘Joseph!’. Every Saturday morning Sophie’s parents would drop her off at the theatre, where she learned the skills that she would need to make it in ‘show business’. Sophie admits that she didn’t know just what an impact Director Regina Arkwright and her team would have on her life.

Having been involved with the BYTES for a couple of years, Sophie auditioned for the role of ‘Ratty’ in the production of ‘Wind in the Willows’ and was lucky enough to be offered the role. This was the first of many roles within the youth section, including ‘Anna Leonowens’ in ‘The King & I’ , ‘Eliza Doolittle’ in ‘My fair Lady ‘and ‘Cosette’ in the National Operatic and Dramatic Association award winning production of ‘Les miserables’.

Sophie has also been lucky enough to tread the boards at Bacup Royal Court Theatre in the Adult Society’s productions, undertaking roles in many Pantomimes, musicals and plays over the past 16 years and has also appeared in shows all around the North West. But the biggest opportunity she has had was working on an American cruise liner as a Production singer on the Carnival Valor. She says that “This was the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I truly believe without all the support of local groups and local people, I would never have got this opportunity to live my dream”.

Her most recent role was that of ‘Little Voice’ in an outstanding production from the Rossendale Players of ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’ where the review from NorthWest End magazine said “Taking on the lead role of Little Voice was Sophie Lord, and what a superb job she did! Pitching the shyness and reclusiveness of the character to perfection it made the moment you hear her wonderful voice for the first time all the more special. Her impersonations were also accurate with her Dusty Springfield being the stand out moment”.

If you have the dream of a career in show business. Follow Sophie’s example and join one of the many excellent amateur groups in the Valley.

For more information, check put the blog at http://www.rossendalecan.wordpress.com

Five Generations Share Dance Passion

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5generationsFive generations of dancers, from left, Scarlett Scott, Becki Scott, Yvonne Price, Elsie Smith and Principal of Dansworks Dance Academy in Bacup Karen Roe.

FIVE generations of the same family are all dancing at a Bacup dance academy. Principal of Dansworks Dance Academy Karen Roe has been joined by her daughter and granddaughter, her mother and grandmother. The newest family member Scarlett Scott is only two but is already following in her grandmother Karen’s footsteps as she joins her mum Becki in Dance Tots. She also takes part in three classes on a Saturday – tap and ballet, street dance and musical theatre. Karen’s grandmother Elsie Smith is the matriarch and keeps fit at mature movers where she is joined by her daughter Yvonne Price.

Yvonne said “I also do tap and was in the zumba class until work prevented me from attending. I like being taught by my daughter because she is a good teacher. I used to dance when I was very small and but I wanted to be on the stage and was not too keen on the lessons. I fell down the stairs about 10 years ago and hurt my legs. We bought a bungalow because I couldn’t even get up the stairs anymore. I was gradually getting worse and worse and couldn’t walk properly then I started dancing and look at me now.”

Yvonne chaperoned Dansworks dancers on a trip to Malta next year when they will join in the annual show with the academy’s twin Dance College Studios.Great-great-grandmother Elsie joined the dance school in 2011 but from the age of 40 was a ballroom dancer. “Coming to the classes means I get to meet people and I always feel better afterwards; it is good to exercise,” said Elsie.

Dansworks opened in January 2008 and has been based in Pioneer Buildings since 2010.

Karen said: “It is lovely to have the five generations dancing here together and I already have great aspirations for my granddaughter.”

If you are an aspiring dancer, or would like to know more about Dansworks classes, contact 01706 559671 or visit www.dansworks.co.uk

Story and Photo By Catherine Smyth Media http://www.catherinesmyth.co.uk/

 

 

 

Bacup Royal Court Theatre Inspires Sean Ruane’s Journey To Success

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The Bacup Royal Court Theatre, through its Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (BAODS), was the first taste of performing for International Opera Star Seán Ruane. He started his journey into opera with Rossendale’s St Mary’s Players, where he experienced both acting and singing, and identified his true love of singing through his time with BAODS. Before the Internet, Sean recognised the importance of Bacup library as a source of information for music. Seán completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, and is one of the rising stars of the opera world, whose breathtaking vocal artistry comes with an endearing, easygoing style that has allowed him to grace grand opera, TV and sporting arenas with ease. Equally at home performing in front of the cognoscenti of Covent Garden or fervent football fans at Wembley.

sean-ruane-england-game-wembleySeán Ruane at Wembley Stadium

Seán founded Chant Productions  in 2011 with the aim of combining sports and music by using sports stadia as theatres for young people.

Working with schools from the Blackpool, Blackburn and Bury areas, CHANT  produced a choir of children over 240 strong to perform at last years Children in Need. Singing ‘I’ll Stand by You’ the children performed live at Blackpool Tower Circus infront of a live audience of fundraisers and  millions of viewers at home.

Children in Need 2014

The children were both entertained by the circus acts and did some entertaining themselves as they warmed up for their big performance. Encouraging audience participation they sang Rather Be and Sing along with ‘I Like The Flowers’ lead by the Choir Master Dan McDwyer and our Creative Director Sean Ruane.

For further information on the work of CHANT Productions, check out their web site at http://www.chantproductions.co.uk

There are opportunities for you to realise your potential. For further information on BAOBS and Bacup Royal Court Theatre, why not check out their web site at http://www.bacuproyalcourttheatre.com

Get inspired at http://www.rossendalecan.wordpress.com

Maltese Twinning Relationship Inspires Young Bacup Dancers

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show-maltaStudents from Dansworks Dance Academy in Bacup and Dance College Studios in Malta performing on stage in Sliema.

Dansworks Dance Academy, based in the Pioneer Building, Bacup, formed a link with Dance College Studios in Sliema in 2013. Principal Karen Roe said: “We took nine girls and one boy aged 12 to 15 and we went to dance in the annual show held by Dance College Studios.

“We left at 2am and when we arrived in Malta the dancers had about half an hour to unpack before they were taking part in a dress rehearsal for the show, which was held on two nights.

“They were so excited and enjoyed the whole experience. It was a great cultural exchange for the young dancers and something to put on their CV.

“They have all made really good friends and keep in touch with each other over social network Facebook.

“We do different styles of dance, Dance College Studios perform commercial and street dance where as we do all different styles of dance from tap and ballet to musical theatre and modern jazz as well as street dance.”

The two groups of dancers performed a joint routine, which they had learnt for the Dansworks show in March held at Burnley Mechanics when the Maltese dance students visited England.

Dansworks also performed two individual numbers showing street tap and street dance skills.

The dancers also socialised together. There was a Saint’s festival so they enjoyed parades, firework displays and meals out and they also got to visit the capital city Valletta.

Business Manager Dale Connearn said: “There are Italian, Greek, English and Arabic influences both in the architecture in the city and the language. It is an amazing place.

“Events were organised to help offset the cost of the trip including a cake sale at Haslingden High School, bag packing at Tesco and a concert at The Riverside with the Royal Fusiliers.”

Dansworks was founded in 2008, moved into Pioneer Buildings 2010 and has up to 300 dancers on the register.

In October the academy’s annual Theatre Dance Festival will be held at Haslingden Primary School when hundreds of dancers from schools across the North West will be competing.

To find out more about Dansworks visit www.dansworks.co.uk, email info@dansworks.co.uk or contact 01706 559671.

Story by Catherine Smyth Media http://www.catherinesmyth.co.uk/

 

 

Dansworks Sponsor Cambodian Boy To Attend School

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john_snowJohn Chuon gets to play in the snow for the first time.

A FOUR-year-old Cambodian boy who can now attend school travelled more than 6,000 miles to say a personal thank you to his sponsor – a Bacup dance academy.

Dansworks Dance Academy based in the Pioneer Buildings, Bacup, has been sending money every month to For the Love of Cambodia – run by Christian missionary Christine Stacey, who used to live in Bacup.

The former high school teacher met Dansworks Principal Karen Roe-Connearn when she was a youth worker in Bacup and Karen attended the group.

It was after backpacking in Vietnam and Thailand in 2006 that Christine went into Cambodia and was moved by what she saw.

A year later she went to live in the country and set up a house so she could initially offer unmarried or single mothers and their babies a home so they could see that there was a better way of life than living in slums or on the streets.

Karen said: “I have known Christine since I came to live in Bacup in the 1980s.

“We saw that she was asking for sponsorship for John Chuon and we were delighted, as a business, to be able to support him.”

Christine began caring for John and his mother around the time of his birth.

She is now John’s legal guardian and also cares for his three-year-old brother Marko.

Karen said: “Christine had asked if we could go out to Cambodia; we never thought that John would be able to get a visa and come to visit us.

“Our sponsorship has helped to pay towards his nursery education and will help towards his schooling.”

Other families of Dansworks students also make regular donations towards John’s education fund and Karen is encouraging more to do so as just £1 a month can make a huge difference.

She said: “When he visited Dansworks with Christine we showed him around the studios and he enjoyed watching the dance lessons.”

Christine has five children, two sons Ben, in Crawshawbooth, and John in Essex, and three daughters, Julie who also lives in Cambodia while Asha is in Australia and Eleanor is in Thailand. She also has nine grandchildren.

She said: “When John knew he was coming over to England what he wanted to see was snow because he had never seen it before. Then when we were staying in Crawshawbooth it snowed and he got to build a snowman.

“He has around 20 different sponsors that help to pay for his schooling. As he speaks English, and has been brought up by me, it is better that he goes to the international school.

“When I went to Cambodia in 2006, I felt that the western world had let the country down and I came back home with a real desire to return. A year later I moved out there and have been living in Cambodia ever since.”

Christine also sharing her story in churches across Lancashire including at Goodshaw Baptist Church in Crawshawbooth.

To find out more about For the Love of Cambodia and how to help the organisation visit http://fortheloveofcambodia.org/ or like the Facebook page Homestay – for the love of Cambodia.

Story and Photo By Catherine Smyth Media http://www.catherinesmyth.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Realises His Dream Thanks To Valley Dance Centre

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Photo courtesy of Alastair Muir

11 year old Local Haslingden lad Henry Farmer has realised his dream by playing the lead character of Michael in the sellout musical ‘Billy Elliot’ which is currently running at Manchester’s Palace Theatre.

Henry joined the Rossendale Dance and Drama Centre in Waterfoot while at Haslingden Primary School and trained in both dance and drama. At his audition, the production casting director  advised Henry to work on his dancing and acting, he enrolled for lessons with teachers from RDDC and as a result, he got the part and hasn’t looked back.

The Rossendale Cultural Arts Network (CAN)  is a newly formed collective of like-minded groups and individuals who appreciate the wealth of visual and performing arts talent that exists within the Rossendale Valley. The main objective of Rossendale CAN is to identify, develop, showcase and promote all of the amazing arts that exist within the Valley, and to encourage communication and collaboration between members.

Rossendale CAN is committed to highlighting, promoting and developing the Valley’s talent and already has a number of committed members and welcomes all visual and performing arts groups within the Valley, and acknowledges that there are still groups out there that have yet to be identified, and are looking to these groups to broaden the network’s scope. These include music, singing, comedy, brass bands, dance and theatre groups, of which we have many excellent examples in the Valley.

As an initial showcase of the Valley’s talent, Rossendale CAN will be featuring profiles of a number of arts groups and promoting their activities and raising its profile. Collaboration between groups is positively  encouraged, with a view to enhancing the scope of activities and performances throughout the network. Rossendale CAN believes that the more members the network, has the more effective the network will be. So if you are interested in joining the network, please email the Chair at b.hyde3@ntlworld.com.

If you think you have a talent and would like to develop it, why not contact one of the many dance and theatre groups within the Valley. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain.

For further information on Rossendale CAN, check out their blog at http://www.rossendalecan.wordpress.com