JCS the first time round!

 Good morning blog readers, show week has now arrived and we thought we would take you on a trip down memory lane to Encore’s first production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Tickets are available here for our 2017 production starting this week!

Front JCS
Back in the early 1980’s every amateur society was hoping to be granted the licence to be the first to perform Jesus Christ Superstar

Disciples When Jesus Christ Superstar was first released for amateur theatre groups in 1983, the then Featherstone & District Amateur Musical & Dramatic Society immediately applied to the Robert Stigwood organisation for a licence to stage a production.  We were advised that all applications were under review and we would be contacted in due course with a decision; the acknowledgement letter was signed by a David Land.

 David Land was an impresario and theatre producer, best known for having developed the early careers of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.  He played a key role in their production of Jesus Christ Superstar and went on to manage many of their early shows and the successful runs in London’s West End.

Jesus and Mary

Having not had a reply after a few weeks, our Secretary at the time decided she would telephone the office of the Robert Stigwood organisation and quite innocently asked to speak with David Land, unaware as to his prestigious status in the world of theatre.  The reception asked the purpose of the call and she explained she was calling on behalf of Featherstone & District Amateur Musical & Dramatic Society.  She was put through direct to David Land, who asked “Are you the same Featherstone who won the Challenge Cup at Wembley on Saturday?  I was there and what a game it was!”

Featherstone Rovers RLFC had played Hull FC in the Challenge Cup Final and had won 14:12; it was considered one of the biggest upsets in Rugby League history at the time.

HerodWhen David Land realised it was the same town, he immediately agreed there and then to grant the Society a licence on a date of our choice and we subsequently staged the North East Amateur Premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1984, a challenge production at that time for our Society, but one which is still remembered fondly by our then members and audience.

 

The current production, running from 7th to 10th June, stages the traditional story of the last week of Jesus’ life in a much more contemporary style, but includes all the much loved songs including ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, ‘Heaven on Their Minds’ and ‘Hosanna’. The talented cast and production team continue to build on Encore’s reputation for staging innovative and memorable shows, making this a show not to miss.

Tickets are available here (www.castlefordphoenixtheatre.co.uk) or by calling (01977) 664566. For more information about Encore Theatre Company and Jesus Christ Superstar, please visit www.etconline.co.uk or e-mail etconline@live.co.uk

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Meet the cast…Mary

Hello everyone, this week it’s the turn of our Social Media Coordinator Sarah Clarkson who will be answering our questions she will performing as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Tickets are available here so book now to avoid disappointment!

“I never thought I’d come to this, what’s it all about?” – Mary 

Name: Sarah Clarkson

a Mary
Sarah Clarkson as Mary (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

Character: Mary Magdalene

Tell us a bit about your character: Mary is a true follower of Jesus and is a real complex character. She is a very strong woman who has a real caring and gentle nature but yet she is pretty tough and finds herself struggling to deal with the fact that she falls completely in love with Jesus. Deep down I think she knows something significant will happen and she’ll ultimately lose him.

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? Ooof, tough question! I’ve been a huge fan of the show for so long that I’m going to struggle to choose…but If forced I’d have to say Gethsemane…and Could We Start Again Please…both break my heart every time!

What other shows have you been involved in? I’ve been with ETC since 2002 so it is currently my 15th year performing with them. I’ve enjoyed so many but I’d say the best have to be Guys and Dolls just for the dance routines and Little Shop of Horrors for the harmonies and amount of hard work that paid off!

 

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Sarah in rehearsal (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

Everyone knows the story of Jesus Christ Superstar but what can you tell us about Encore’s version that makes it different? Hmmm…tricky, we are heading for a timeless/no sense of era version this time so anything goes, plus we are aiming for a post-apocalyptic style so it’s a bit earthy and dirty…hopefully not giving too much away haha!

 

Best or worst moment on stage? Worst moment has to be during panto of Once Upon a Time when I played my first princess role as Lottie and had to shout out the Dame’s name Gertie but instead shouted my own name and it made no sense…mortified!
Best moment is more difficult as there have been so many but I think my best moment has to be performing the ballet from Carousel…dance routines like that don’t come along very often and a chance to play Louise and dance something lyrical with a partner will always be special to me.

What is your favourite lyric from the show? “Hurry up and tell me, this is just a dream”

What musical moment was it that made you think…I want to do that?
I don’t think I have a specific moment that made me think…Yes that’s what I want to do but I have always loved singing and listening to music, it just makes me happy. I have always been involved in performing from an early age and at school I took part in musicals/dance shows.

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Mary & Jesus (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

What are you enjoying most about being part of Encore Theatre Company?
The fact that we are like a massive family and even though rehearsals can be hard work everyone has a laugh. It’s a happy society and I’ve got so many brilliant memories with such an amazing bunch of people.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? I am the Social Media Coordinator for Encore as a member of the committee and spend quite a lot of my time working on blog posts like this one and promoting the shows online. I work as a Dental Nurse full time and I am also a member of the Castleford Young Musicians…if I find any “spare” time I enjoy cooking, especially with wine…and gin!

Meet the cast…Judas

 

Good Morning everyone we are back with another cast member blog, this week we introduce our cast member Dale Vaughan who takes on the role of  Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Tickets are still available here so book now to avoid disappointment!

“Listen Jesus to the warning I give, Please remember that I want us to live” Judas – JCS

Name: Dale Vaughan

Judas
Dale Vaughan as Judas (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

Character Name:  Judas Iscariot

Tell us a bit about your character: We see the show through Judas’ point of view and all the questioning of Jesus as a human being or the son of God comes out throughout the show.  Judas is torn between following Jesus as his right-hand man and being worried about this ‘son of God’ claim.  Judas sees from the start that claiming to be the son of God will upset the Priests and he doesn’t think it helps with the actual cause.  ‘Heaven on their Minds’ distils Judas’ thinking perfectly into one song.
What’s your favourite song in the show and why?  The Last Supper.  Not only do I get to sing/argue but the apostles sound fab.

What other shows have you been involved in?

Judas 1
Mary, Judas & Jesus (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

I have just completed a 2-week run as Bob in ‘Rita, Sue and Bob too’ which was very challenging but enjoyable.  With ETC I have had the pleasure of being Fagin in ‘Oliver’, Seymour in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, Billy Bigelow in ‘Carousel’ and The Scarecrow in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.  Away from Encore I was lucky enough to be cast as The Big Bad Wolf in ‘Into the Woods’ for Croft Theatre Company who are based in Sheffield.

Everyone knows the story of Jesus Christ Superstar but what can you tell us about Encore’s version that makes it different?  It’s not set in 33AD so don’t expect loin cloths and sandals.  It explores Jesus as a revolutionary figure trying to lead his people.

Best or worst moment on stage?  Standing on the Lyceum Stage in Sheffield was amazing and getting standing ovations during the run of ‘Bat Boy’ with Diva Theatre Company was special.  Worst must be being half naked during ‘Rita, Sue and Bob too’ the pouch didn’t always do its job.

What is your favourite lyric from the show?  “If you strip away the myth from the man”

Judas wall
Judas (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

What musical moment was it that made you think…I want to do that?  When I was at primary school I was playing a shepherd in the school nativity and I can vividly remember the music teacher positively commenting on my singing and performing; being praised for something that I enjoyed felt fantastic.  From that moment on I noticed people seemed to like me when I performed; so, I’ve not stopped since.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Encore Theatre Company?  Rehearsals are always a laugh and this is a talented cast who are sounding amazing already.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting?  I have a 4-year-old son who loves teaching me number bonds and I am a supply primary teacher through the week, so I can usually be found trying to make children laugh.

Thank you Dale for answering our questions in this weeks blog.


Thank you for reading!
Don’t forget to send me any old photographs you may have from previous Encore shows especially from Jesus Christ Superstar performed in 1984!
Get in touch on Facebook or email me at etconline@live.co.uk

Meet the cast…Caiaphas

Hi everyone and welcome back to the blog, This week we introduce another cast member Phil Clarkson who takes on the role of  Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Tickets are still available here so book now to avoid disappointment!

“I see blood and destruction, Our elimination because of one man” Caiaphas – JCS

Name: Phil Clarkson

Character Name: Caiaphas

Caiaphas 1
Caiaphas (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

 

 

Tell us a bit about your character: Caiaphas is the High Priest who organised the plot to kill Jesus to avoid him being crowned King. Although he’s seen as one of the ‘baddies’ in the story, he’s doing what he thinks is right. He knows that as more and more people start seeing Jesus as their leader, the ruling Romans will be forced to retaliate resulting in the suffering of many Jews (followers of Jesus or not).

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? ‘Could We Start Again Please?’. I’m partial to a good melody line and a bit of harmony. This song captures the mood of the moment really well and could be a song we’re singing at the end of show week!

What other shows have you been involved in? My first show with Encore was Oklahoma, though I was a member of the orchestra rather than on stage for that. After a few more years as a musician I ventured onto stage for a small role in Calendar Girls and then volunteered to be the plant puppeteer in Little Shop of Horrors. My first full role on stage was that of Jigger in Carousel and my most recent, Jim Fenner in Bad Girls the Musical.

Caiaphas
Phil Clarkson as Caiaphas (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

Everyone knows the story of Jesus Christ Superstar but what can you tell us about Encore’s version that makes it different? It’s different from the original in that it’s not set 2000 years ago! Like some more recent versions of the show it’s set in a sort of timeless era – but definitely more up to date. If you’ve seen any of our recent shows under Andy Lunn, our Director, you’ll know to expect some quality staging and lighting.

Best or worst moment on stage? I’ve only been on stage for three or four years, so don’t have enough moments to pick a best or worst as yet. However, my most memorable moment on stage so far is being handcuffed to a bed after having my trousers pulled down and being taunted with a cigarette lighter!

What is your favourite lyric from the show? “Die if you want to, you innocent puppet!”

What musical moment was it that made you think…I want to do that? I don’t think there was one moment, but Mum and Dad used to take my brother and I to the theatre regularly as kids, including many trips to London and the West End. As with anything, if you see something you love, you naturally want to be involved.

judas caiaphas
Caiaphas and Judas (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

What are you enjoying most about being part of Encore Theatre Company? The comradery and the challenge. This is a very welcoming group of people; there’s always someone happy to see you and have a chat or help you out. It’s also challenging for me as a relatively inexperienced singer and actor – each show has given me something different to work on (this year it’s getting my voice down to D2 (2 octaves below middle C!)

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? (Did someone tell you I can dance?!) I have recently taken over the role of publicity officer for Encore and am the Band Director of the Castleford Young Musicians Concert Band, supporter of Castleford Tigers and amateur photographer, so plenty to keep me busy when not on Encore duties!

Thank you Phil for answering our questions for this weeks blog.


Thank you for reading!
Don’t forget to send me any old photographs you may have from previous Encore shows especially from Jesus Christ Superstar performed in 1984!
Get in touch on Facebook or email me at etconline@live.co.uk

Meet the cast…Simon

This week we introduce another member of the cast Simon Zealotes played by one of ETC’s more recognisable faces Paul Barron

Tickets available here…

https://castlefordphoenixtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873566602

“You will rise to a greater power, We will win ourselves a home.” Simon Zealotes – JCS

Simon profile
 

Simon Zealotes (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

 
Name: Paul Barron
Character Name:  Simon Zealotes

Tell us a bit about your character: He’s one of the apostles but not necessarily happy with Jesus’ passive approach to change. He wants Jesus to recognise the power he has and use it to rouse the masses into violent action against the Romans. That said, he’s still supportive of Jesus and what he’s trying to achieve.
What’s your favourite song in the show and why? I should say my own but I think it’s probably ‘Heaven on their Minds’ – that’s the one I’d happy listen to on repeat time after time. In terms of one I’m actually involved in singing, I’d say ‘The Last Supper’. It’s so good to hear a large group of male voices which we haven’t had at Encore in a long time. I’ve also managed to learn a harmony for once in my life!
What other shows have you been involved in? I’ve been with ETC for around 15 years so I’ve done quite a few. ‘Anything Goes’ was my first and then I’ve played Fagin in ‘Oliver’, Nathan Detroit in ‘Guys and Dolls’ and the voice of the Plant in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ amongst others. I also play the Dame in the pantomime and I’m looking forward to getting back in my frock after a break last year!
Simon crowd  

Simon and the cast  (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

 
Everyone knows the story of Jesus Christ Superstar but what can you tell us about Encore’s version that makes it different? To be honest, very little at the moment. Musically, it’s such a challenge that we’ve spent so much time getting the sound right, the look and feel of it is still to come. I know that it’s set ‘out of time’ in that it’s non-specific to any particular time period, which should be interesting. I also know from experience that one thing Andy Lunn, our director, regularly does is to make a show look amazing so I’m looking forward to seeing the lighting and stage design.
Best or worst moment on stage? Best moment is probably conducting the whole audience in a rendition of ‘Let It Go’ during a panto, which just came out of nowhere. There’ve been a few moments of unscripted laughter as well which are always enjoyable. I’m not sure about worst. Maybe an unplanned fall in a panto which revealed my less than feminine underwear to the audience!
What is your favourite lyric from the show? Tough question! I really like the line ‘Jesus is cool’ but it’s not in this version of the show! I’m going to stick with that one then nobody can be offended I didn’t choose a line from their song!
What musical moment was it that made you think…I want to do that? I’ve been doing it so long I can’t remember! It’s not something I grew up with so I presume it must have been some moment at school. ‘Grease’ was the first show I did when I was about 12 so we’ll blame that.
Peter simon Jesus  

Peter, Jesus and Simon (PHOTO COURTESY OF Nicole Walton Photography )

 
What are you enjoying most about being part of Encore Theatre Company? Having fun! This show is definitely the most challenging I’ve ever been involved in but everyone still enjoys the hard work and it sounds amazing!
What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? I’m a season ticket holder for Castleford Tigers so this season especially there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had there! Other than that, with 3 year old twins, there’s not much time for anything else!
Thank you Paul for answering the questions for this weeks blog!


Thank you for reading!
Don’t forget to send me any old photographs you may have from previous Encore shows especially from Jesus Christ Superstar performed in 1984!
Get in touch on Facebook or email me at etconline@live.co.uk

 

Meet the cast…Jesus

Welcome back to our Encore Blog and Happy Easter! We hope you haven’t missed us too much in the past few weeks but we are back!
We will be introducing some characters from Jesus Christ Superstar and the talented folks playing them in the run up to show week.
This week we will be kicking the series off with none other than the man himself Jesus Christ and a new member to Encore Theatre Company!

Name: Edward Leigh

Character Name: Jesus Christ
Jesus
Tell us a bit about your character: Well…He’s assumed to be the son of God. Quite a big one that! Whether or not he’s God or just a man is the whole argument of the show. He preaches fairness and love and believes all of what he says. As time goes by however he begins to question the path that he has been put upon.

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? Gethsemane. Because I don’t think I know of another song where the stakes are as large as that. Questioning God why should I die is a hugely emotional question, and so is the song!

What other shows have you been involved in? I’ve worked as a Lead Singer for AIDA on their cruise ships, and also played Jake “Joliet” Blues in the Italian National Tour of Blues Brothers: On A Mission From God. Most recently I played Emmett in Legally Blonde at Harrogate Theatre.

Everyone knows the story of Jesus Christ Superstar but what can you tell us about jcsblur Encore’s version that makes it different? It’s very different for a few reasons. One being the setting that it’s in, I know of a number of performances that have placed JCS in a more “modern” setting, but they’ve all been donned in leather and been quite steam punk-esque. I get the impression we’re going for a more bohemian style theme with our show. Which is something new and interesting! Also, having the band on the stage next to and above us as a cast is really cool.

Best or worst moment on stage? Worst moment on stage….Running on from a wing and falling over, power sliding from one wing straight across the stage to the other wing on my belly like a penguin….

Best moment, performing the Blues Brothers ending scene (concert) in front of 1500 people all standing and screaming in Catania in Italy. That was special.

What is your favourite lyric from the show? “Oh and now I understand you’re God…At least that’s what you’ve said”

What musical moment was it that made you think…I want to do that? Erm, I don’t really know to be honest! I remember my first ever show I was in was in school in around Year 11, it was a school show of Annie (I know right?) and I played Roosevelt. I just remember it being really good fun and enjoying myself and thinking that I’d like to do it a bit more. Things snowballed from there!


What are you enjoying most aCrowdbout being part of Encore Theatre Company?

How friendly and welcoming everyone is. It sounds cliché I know, but in my experience I’ve worked with people in the past be it professional or amateur who have made the whole experience thoroughly unpleasant through how they’ve acted. Off stage that is. Being able to be a brand new unknown face and to feel like everyone is welcoming and happy and smiling and laughing is such a nice feeling, it makes me excited for rehearsals which was something I began to miss in the past. I feel like I can talk to anyone and everyone in the company and that’s no small thing for me.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? I’ve been lucky enough to earn a living off of performing since 2014 when I graduated. Things are changing now I’m a little older and priorities are shifting, but I’m looking at switching from stage work to doing more gig kind of work. Not leave performing completely!

Thank you Edward for answering our questions and welcome to Encore Theatre Company! 

Goodnight Snow White

Snow White is now over and well performed to another sell out run! Congratulations and well done to everyone involved the show was fantastic and well received by our audiences.
Here are a few quotes from Facebook…
John Harvey
We took our three-year-old granddaughter, her first panto, worried about her attention span, and she sat spellbound for 2 hours and hardly budged! Says it all really. Icing on the cake was meeting the cast afterwards, particularly Snow White. Thanks to all concerned
Rebecca Johnson All the actors were great but the girl who played the wicked step mother was absolutely brilliant. Couldn’t believe how much like bet middler she looked!
Becki Sansom The show was amazing. You all did a wonderful job. Loved the queen . The magic mirror was amazing . Fabulous !

As an extra treat after the panto here are two of our characters from Snow White Plink and Plonk who answered some questions for us to finish off the show week finally!

plink
1.What is your name? Do you have any nicknames?
My name is Plink. My nickname is Plink The Stink for obvious reasons!!!!
2.What does your social media/dating website bio say?
Desperate!!! Always open to offers!!!
3.Tell us something about your childhood
Just a humble childhood; living in a tree house in the jungle by the sea, before being plucked and being chosen to work in the Royal Palace. No one in our family had ever risen above Chief Coconut Tester before!!!
4.What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Finding someone of similar intelligence to me – my old mate Plonk!! We met when we were travelling to the Royal Palace for the first time to start working for the Queen. We bonded over our love of rapping, and also our fascination of how husband and wife hedgehogs don’t poke each other in the eyes when they have a cuddle. Amazing!!!
5.What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I’m always happy!! Especially when I’m rapping with my buddy Plonk!!
6.What is your current state of mind?
Erm………………………….
7.Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
Sardine and marmalade sandwiches!!!!! My favourite!! Yum!!
8.What talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to fly so that I could whizz around the Kingdom, and get to places really quick!!
9.What would be your dream holiday?
I’ve never had a holiday. The Queen doesn’t allow them. But if I could have one I’d love to visit the Kingdom of Remainineu. It sounds so much friendlier than our Kingdom of Brexitmania.
10.What is the meaning of life?
To always be happy, and to love the ones around you!!!  Come here Plonk, my old mucker!!!!!!!!

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1.What is your name? Do you have any nicknames?
My name is Plonk and yes I do have  a nickname it is Tristram Lancelot Montague is that what you mean?
2.What does your social media/dating website bio say?
I not allowed on any dating website cos I’m happily married (that’s what my wife tells me). My bio, is that a washing machine powder? think I’ve heard of it before or was it non bio anyway I use Daz
3.Tell us something about your childhood
My childhood ermmmm, well it happened between birth and becoming an adult, are you  asking me this cos you think  I’m different?
4.What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest  achievement is that i finally can dress myself and tie my shoelaces and don’t need velcro ones anymore, they used to stick to your socks!
5.What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness … beating Plunk at spelin
6.What is your current state of mind?
State of mind … mostly blank but occasionally have splashes of stupidity
7.Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
Greatest love of my life … well obviously ME, then Mrs Plonk, got to say that just in case she reads this, strawberry milkshake yummy, and our stuffed parrot called Cyril
8.What talent would you most like to have?
What  talent would i like to have …..  some special powers so that I could hypnotise Snow White into  marrying  me instead of that Princey Wincey bloke, oh no,  but then I would become a bigamist, have to rethink that one!
9.What would be your dream holiday?
Dream holiday …. ohhh yes a boating holiday, two weeks all inclusive on Pontefract Park Lake, get in!
10.What is the meaning of life?
The meaning of life …… when all the ‘ologies’ collide with one another and become one in our infinite world, or was it something to do with the Life of Brian or  “always look on the bright side of life” de dum de dum, no its how to make the perfect chip butty!

Thank you to Plink and Plonk for answering our questions!


Thank you once again to everyone who supported our Prize Draw by selling tickets and donating prizes.  We have raised £900 which will be split 50:50 between Encore and Bowel Cancer UK.  And, with the generous audience collections, we hope to have a substantial amount to donate to our nominated charity.

Please remember about John Whelpton’s fundraising during December and visit his “Just Giving” page.
www.justgiving.com/john-whelpton1