Rock on for striking young talent

Children's Festival Camp Rock the Musical
Children's Festival Camp Rock the Musical

TWO giant paintings of Margaret Thatcher and Arthur Scargill will face each other from opposite sides of the Crucible Theatre stage when High Storrs School perform their version of Billy Elliot during the Sheffield Children’s Festival next week.

That’s just one of the ways the production will evoke the turbulent times of the pit strike in the Eighties in which the popular musical is set.

The National Mining Museum has lent them 10 mining helmets while South Yorkshire Police have loaned out riot gear to help them re-enact scenes on the picketline

And they have also had input from ex-policeman Tony Dobson, who now works for the school, but has vivid memories of duty on the picket line during the strikes.

High Storrs were among a handful of young drama groups chosen to participate in the second year of the countrywide Billy Youth Theatre scheme which offers schools and youth groups the opportunity to stage a special version of the internationally award-winning show by writer Lee Hall and Martin Koch (musical supervision and orchestrations) who have adapted their original script and orchestrations. Some of the production team took part in special workshops in London before rehearsals began.

Recently lead actor Elliot Goodhill was auditioned in London by the Billy Elliot the Musical team to play the part in the West End. “He was unsuccessful but it was an amazing achievement to have been spotted and auditioned at all,” says the school’s Abi Merritt.

Rehearsals start in The Crucible next week and the students are working almost daily on the show. Performances take place next Friday and Saturday.

Tickets are on sale from Sheffield Theatres box office priced at £8 adults and £6 concessions.

This weekend, in another children’s festival production, around 60 young people take to the stage in Camp Rock – The Musical at the Montgomery Theatre.

In Reach Musical Theatre’s production Ellie Symonds plays every young girl’s dream role, Mitchie, from the Disney Channel hit movies, Taking the best elements from Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, audiences can expect music, dance and fun for all the family . The story follows the students of the Camp Rock Summer School who are having the time of their lives learning how to be professional musicians and singers. However; things begin to go wrong when a rival school, Camp Star sets up just across the lake and poaches staff and students from Camp Rock. It’s up to Mitchie Torres to rally her fellow students together for the ultimate feel good performance to prove which camp is best.

Reach is a musical theatre school providing weekend and holiday classes in Dancing, Singing and Drama for ages six to 18+, meeting at Endcliffe Methodist church on Saturday afternoons and are always on the look out for new members

There are perfomances of Camp Rock at the Montgomery Theatre on Saturday at at 2.30pm and 7pm. Tickets are £8/ £6 and available from 2394350.

l Sheffield Children’s Festival runs until July 10 and includes exhibitions, performances, workshops and family events at venues across the city.

Opening on Saturday for one week is the Fathom exhibition in the Winter Garden which has brought the sea bed to the steel city.

With the help of professional artists and sculptors hundreds of weird and wonderful deep sea creatures have been created out of clay by children from a number of schools. Each creature has been decorated ‘black light pigment’ that glows in vivid colour in the dark, mimicking the bio-luminescent qualities that many deep sea creatures have.

The fantastic artwork will be displayed in complete darkness accompanied by the sounds of the deep sea.

A Fathom Workshop takes place in the Winter Garden between 11am and 3pm this Saturday and next when children can make their own deep sea creature and decorate it with black light pigment to add to the exhibition.

Also this weekend, families can try a spot of stone balancing in Tudor Square, creating beautiful sculptures made of huge pieces of natural stone but with nothing holding them together – they’re just perfectly poised and balanced on top of each other.