Spring 2018
Autumn 2017
Summer 2017
Spring 2017
Autumn 2016
Summer 2016
Spring 2016
Autumn 2015
Summer 2015
Spring 2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988

Spring 2018

TTLS WEB BANNER

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars

By Gervase Phinn, Adapted by Liz Light

18 – 21 Apr in the Studio

Following the huge sell-out success of ‘A Wayne in a Manger’ in January 2017, Stage2 return to the works of the Sunday Times Best-Selling Author for a much requested sequel. This time we see the children presenting not Nativity Scenes but a Talent Show for the hallowed School Inspector, as they perform poems (also courtesy of Gervase) with varying degrees of aplomb and ambition, style and success. The poems are again interspersed with classroom and whole school scenes, allowing us to delve deeper into the lives of these little darlings – including old favourites Dominic and Chardonnay – as well as the Vicar, the Headteacher and another hapless Visiting Poet.
Suitable for anyone who is or has ever been a child.

‘Performed by a talented, enthusiastic cast to a packed, appreciative audience… in this production they were all stars. Well done yet again Stage2.’ Curtain Call.

Autumn 2017

66999914-be29-4ca6-bb98-814b9b26c2a1Claire Dowie Double Bill

‘Arsehammers’ & ‘Adult Child / Dead Child’

by Claire Dowie

10 – 13 Jan in the Studio

Stage2 have special permission from world-renowned author, practitioner & performer Claire Dowie, to present two of her monologues as full-cast one act plays, blasting the text apart for ensembles of young people.

‘I am always impressed by Stage2’s productions and look forward to their imaginative staging of my work. They are a brilliant company and I am very proud to be their Patron.’
Claire Dowie

Arsehammers

World Premiered as a full cast piece in 2011 by Stage2 and published by Methuen/Bloomsbury in the compilation Upfront Theatre.

A young child mishears his parents discussing his Grandad’s Alzheimer’s in whispered voices. Going off on a flight of fancy, the child imagines his Grandad as a Superhero with special magic powers. The theories all seem to fit in with Grandad’s true predicament – he keeps disappearing (to fight secret battles) and he goes to get looked after by experts (who could invent special devices for him, like for James Bond). The set is a game of snakes and ladders, the music is upbeat big band, and the scenes are joyous (with moments of inevitable sadness).

Adult Child/Dead Child

First performed by a small group from Stage2 (directed by James Yarker of Stan’s Café) at The Edinburgh Fringe in 1999 to superlative reviews, the company then revived the piece in 2006 with a cast of over 100. Now, for 2018 Stage2 present a brand new, abridged version in The Crescent Studio.

It is a cautionary tale about how trivial misunderstandings between parents and child can escalate and eventually unravel a young mind. Favoured siblings, imaginary friends, bullies, teachers and social workers collide and clash as the pressure becomes intolerable. Adolescent psychiatric conditions can be a small step away from typical teenage behaviour and it is a dangerous bridge between childhood and adulthood at the best of times. There are knife edges in us all – tussles in our subconscious which teeter precariously between conscience and compelling urges. We all receive different levels of understanding and support.

Summer 2017

Slide 1

Requiem for Ground Zero

by Steven Berkoff

This acclaimed eulogy to the thousands of victims of 9/11 sums up the horror and lasting human damage of that day. Berkoff recasts the terrorist strike as a procession of powerful and resonant images – a window cleaner wipes the eyes of the World Trade Centre – the better to see its impending doom.

Spring 2017

Teechers Bannera

Teechers

by John Godber

Hilarious and irreverent, poignant and gritty, Teechers is John Godber’s brilliant take on life at a modern Comprehensive, published just before he went on to write for TV’s classic Grange Hill. Through their hilarious end-of-term play, three Year 11s exuberantly sketch the new drama teacher’s (very slow) progress through two terms of unruly classes, cynical colleagues, unfathomable timetables and obstructive caretakers at a tough inner city comprehensive known as Colditz at the local County Hall. Bursting with cringeably recognisable pupils; the school bully, the kid who never does PE, those deemed average – ‘Lillian opens a book well and likes a warm room‘, we also get an insight into the lives of their heroic and hapless teachers including the idea of a bat phone/Ninja rescue team that must be the dream of many a teacher stuck in a tricky situation.

Autumn 2016

awiam-banner-1

A Wayne in a Manger

by Gervase Phinn

Adapted by Liz Light

‘Gervase Phinn has a unique understanding and love of children, and a wonderful gift for storytelling … a real star’ Ester Rantzen

Stage2 was delighted to perform the World Premiereof AWayne In A Manger, an adaptation of works by award-winning andbestselling author, Gervase Phinn. Taking stories from A Wayne In A Manger and additions from The Virgin Mary’s Got Nits, the audience was treated to a festivefeast of anecdotes from Phinn’s time as an Ofsted Inspector and the unforgettablemoments he experienced from watching far too many primary school nativityplays.

‘As usual with Stage2, Light goes for the Ben Hur cast model, 47 people on stage at times in this one, and, as usual, they all play their part and never look like a crowd. Organised chaos as she puts it. When assembled as a class there is fidgeting, talking, pushing, shoving and playing up, with every child animated, making it all seem authentic. It looks unruly but it is anything but, the chaos is organised, rehearsed and disciplined…This is not the easiest play to stage with quick scene changes, a big cast constantly moving around the stage and a lot of laughs, all needing room and time to breathe, but this talented cast take it all in their stride. Their enthusiasm is infectious, it’s slick, fast paced,and great fun with belly laughs thrown in.’ – Behind The Arras

The production was a massive sell out success and we had to open up the dress rehearsal to cope with extreme popular demand!

Summer 2016

FSS

Spoonface Steinberg

by Lee Hall

‘The late John Slim reviewed Spoonface the last time it was performed by Stage2… he described it as “quite, quite remarkable”…nothing seems to have changed. It is still quite, quite,remarkable.’  Behind The Arras

Stage2 was proud to revisit Lee Hall’s monologue about a 7 year old autistic girl with cancer as our 125th production.Last performed in 2009 with a cast of 24 all playing the title character, the revised script this time presented the adult roles of mum, dad, Mrs. Spud, Dr.Bernstein, Doctor & Nurse as well as young Spoonfaces. It was still as haunting and as moving as it was 8 years ago with an added dimension of an outsider’s reflection.

‘It was all the more remarkable inthat more than half the cast of 31 are still at primary school – but forget anynotion of school plays. There are times, such as these, when the onlydiscernible difference between amateur and professional theatre is simplywhether anyone gets paid’ Behind The Arras (who named it their Best Youth Production of 2016)

Spring 2016

AFL Banner

A Fallible Lecture

by Brian Patten

Adapted by Liz Light & Jane Bradbury

‘A whirlwind ride through Eng Lit,funny, at times illuminating, and always entertaining all in a black box space with minimal set and props.’ Behind The Arras

This exciting project was a collaboration between Liverpool Poet Brian Pattern, Liz Light & Jane Bradbury. The poet expanded his original short piece according to the requests of Stage2 (include more women!) and the play was completed with excerpts from the writers and two songs from Laurie Lee.

The comic history of English Literature took us from Geoffrey Chaucer to Kate Tempest via 49 other important ones in between

‘This is a sort of Reduced Shakespeare Company Complete Works of English, except of course Stage2 do not do reduced…The enthusiasm of the young cast is infectious and the attention to detail demanded by director Liz Light produces a performance which makes time fly…The entire cast are on stage all the time and, perhaps a hallmark of Stage2, no one is ever there to make up the numbers, or to be stage dressing or scenery…All the world’s a stage – particularly on stage!’ Behind The Arras

Autumn 2015

11745338_1055847444438925_333363225345351419_n

Hard Working Families

by Claire Dowie

Hard Working Families, by Claire Dowie, was a response to a politician’s vision of ‘ordinary’ people, set against the reality of earning a living and the way it impacts on young people’s lives.

We follow two diverse families headed by a working mother – owner and CEO of a big clothing business and a stay at home, biscuit-making mum – a stalwart of the community. Who is harder working? Who is worth the most? Who has the right to judge?

Stage2’s previous Claire Dowie production of Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt so inspired its own author that she immediately began writing this play, especially for Stage2.

‘I have watched and loved Stage2 for years – their exuberance, energy, discipline and talent. The way they can take any play and make it their own. The way they can take my plays and make them better. I was completely blown away by Why is John Lennon Wearing A Skirt? and I thought (when I had finally stopped clapping) I want to work with these people. I want to be involved. I am currently doing just that and loving every minute of it!’ Claire Dowie

Summer 2015

0.07

Girls Like That

by Evan Placey

Stage2’s Girls Like That is a sensational staging of a brilliant play: in fact, it’s one of the cleverest youth productions I have seen in years.

Why? Liz Light’s young cast have talent coming out of their ears. Their speaking is superb: full of guts and panache, and real dramatic flair. Often they form a kind of Greek chorus, one voice taking over from another with perfect timing, linked to what precedes by a kind of artful enjambment. And their choric speaking, all delivering at once, lands a terrific punch. Enunciation, projection are almost professional. This would be a great show even if we only heard them.

Spring 2015

0.08

Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

Stage2 took on arguably the most famous play in history, Shakespeare’s masterpiece: Hamlet. In true Stage2 fashion there were clever concepts to the characters, the most notable of which was that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were not only female, but also Claudius’ nieces. As we follow the young Prince Hamlet on his journey through grieving, feigned madness, trickery, fun, doubt,conflict and murder until his untimely death we see the unravelling of acharacter who is very real in the sense that his emotions and reactions in his given circumstances are relatable. The play has everything – intrigue, romance,politics, violence, revenge, jealousy, wit. It plays itself out on a grandscale.

“I wasn’t quite ready for the quality I encountered. Hamlet is one of the toughest things in the entire repertoire for anyone to tackle. The truth is, I found this superlative production difficult to fault. Liz Light’s direction seemed to overlook nothing: every move, every block, every gesture meticulously plotted. This Hamlet looked good, felt good, was good.”

“George Hannigan as Claudius and Tom Baker’s Polonius shone in every line they spoke and while Baker caught the fussiness of Polonius, Hannigan offered a Claudius who was every bit the villain. Priya Edwards established herself early on in Gertrude’s pleading; a slightly frail, put-upon delicate queen. Laura Dowsett plays Ophelia, and she produces a tender, by no means weedy, at times wilful figure. She interacts well in a scene with Dan Nash’s confident,slightly overbearing Laertes, whose return scene with the chorus is one of the best. The casting in this show is incredibly successful, but the triumph is awarding Mark James the part of Hamlet. Scene after scene is lifted by his presence and authority. It is astonishingly sensitive: you cling on his every word, every rasp, every whisper.”

“If anything pulls all these top-level qualities together, it is the final scene. The chorus is more alive than ever. The actual swordplay between James (Hamlet) and Nash (Laertes) is nailbiting: utterly professional, thanks to choreographer Wayne Fitzsimmons and his aide Rosie Nisbet. The processes by which the woundings take place, the poison gets passed around and revenge is wrought are violent, savage, poignant and genuinely lifelike. It’s certainly one of the best Hamlet final scenes I have seen.” Roderic Dunnet, Behind the Arras

2014

 

 

0.09

Autumn 2014
Private Peaceful

By Michael Morpurgo

“As usual with Stage2 the staging was well thought out with effectively seven exits in a simple set which gave us Tommo’s billet, a French pub, Devon market, tied cottage, forest, battle field, training camp and church all with a just a variation in personnel and with a change in the excellent lighting and sound from lighting designer Chris Cuthbert and sound operator Ethan Tarr. We even had the poison gas, the fog of war and the mists rising around Ypres.” Behind the Arras


0.10

        Summer 2014
        Swallows & Amazons

“Their tale of childhood innocence is not the easiest to stage, for a start lakes tend to be big, and somewhat wet, and this version is based on Helen Edmundson’s National Theatre musical adaptation which, incidentally, normally calls for a cast of eleven with some doubling of minor roles – or in the case of Stage2, a cast of 36.” Behind the Arras

 

 

 


 

0.11

Spring 2014
Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt

by Claire Dowie

“Stage2 are one of the leading youth theatres in the country and the level of discipline, commitment, and sheer hard work – you never see a prompt listed in a Stage2 programme, nor hear one – is there for all to see with productions as good and professional as this”

Stage2 took on another one of patron Claire Dowie’s powerful monologues and reworked it into a play for over 80 young people set on a massive brightly-coloured set. The 14 ‘Claires’ guided the audience through 1960s society as they see it, revealing the pressures they feel to conform.They constantly try to break free with various levels of success.

“Although the subject matter had depth this was at heart a funny show. The actors had excellent chemistry, were bang on with comedic timing and utterly believable delivery.”

The cast, complete with a live band who played Beatles songs throughout the play, performed a massive end scene dressed in modern clothing showing the audience that the pressure the Claires showed us throughout the play to fit in (put on them by their parents, teachers, co-workers and even their friends) still exist today and left all the audience with a powerful message that maybe things haven’t changed since then.

2013

1. Chorus of Disapproval Wed 8th - Sat 11th Jan 2014Autumn 2013
A Chorus of Disapproval

by Alan Ayckbourn

Nothing if not ambitious, the Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society(PALOS) is taking on The Beggar’s Opera.  And The Beggar’s Opera isdefinitely winning . . . until, that is, a personable but shy widower, GuyJones, joins the team . . .

Despite being an instant hit with the company’s energetic, excitable director, Dafydd Llewellyn, and an even bigger hit with PALOS’s female members (including, unfortunately Dafydd’s wife, Hannah) the inexperienced Guy seems destined for a spot in the chorus. But then a series of casting mishaps propel him up the PALOS ladder – on and off the stage. Everyone wants to get to know him but ulterior motives abound. As he climbs closer and closer to thetop, from part to part and actress to actress, Guy – a man all too susceptible to wine, women and song – discovers that there are definite downsides to being a big fish in a small pond . . .


Summer 20132. Towerblock Trio Wed 17th - Sat 20th Jul 2013
Towerblock Trio

by Philip Ridley

Stage2 will be working with the playwright Philip Ridley bringingtogether 3 of his short plays for the first time ever! In each of these plays,young people from London’s concrete clad East End use fairytales to expresstheir true feeling to each other.

“On one of the hottest evenings in the city, Stage2 presented not one but three of Philip Ridley’s plays into a reworked and freshly cemented piece called Tower Block Trio.!”


 

 

3. The Tempest Wed 17th - Sat 20th Apr 2013Spring 2013
The Tempest

by William Shakespeare

“If this production had found itself at Stratford rather than The Crescent it would not have looked out of place. It is that good…We have come to expect a high standard from Stage2 but this is an exceptional piece of theatre.” Roger Clarke, Behind the Arras

Stage2 took one of Shakespeare’s most renowned plays and added clever twists and crafty concepts to the characters, themes and plot in order to offer a fascinating and hilarious journey. Lead by a female Prospero and two other gender changes to the original (Stephana – the drunken cook and Antonia – the usurping sister); with multiple Ariels who were no longer spirits but were like free-runners, spying on the action from the trees, singing and making music,hidden by branches and leaves and playing at being pirates (imitating the master and steering the ship off course); “the isle is full of noises” but no magic- everything was trickery and illusions- performed by ‘smoke and mirror effects’, cloths on pulleys and hypnotic trances.

“Even seasoned professionals see Shakespeare as a challenge. The language is poetic, inventive and beautiful, flowing like music- with words,nuances, phrasings and meanings which are alien to modern speech. Not easy to learn or deliver but this young cast did not make any errors” Roger Clarke,Behind the Arras

Much like the journey for Prospero, which started a long way from the Island, Stage2 started its journey a long way from the stage.  Last summer we devoted a whole week to working on the text of the play. We then spent the autumn term exploring ideas,interpretations and themes to build the foundations. In the spring we were fully prepared to bring everything we had learnt to stage in just eleven days of rehearsals. ..

2012

4. Alices Adventures in www.land Wed 9th - Sat 12th Jan 2013Autumn 2012

Alice’s Adventures in www.land

Devised by Stage2

Alice, 15 from Birmingham, has created an online wonderland of her own.We follow her as she clicks from site to site in search of her own epic adventure – but does it all become too much…?

January 2013 saw Stage2’s latest production, Alice’s Adventures in Www.Land – the show was awarded two well-deserved 4* reviews and played to packed houses. Alice, 15 from Birmingham, has always identified with Alice in Wonderland, and has now created an online wonderland of her own. We tracked Alice as she immersed herself in the original adventures through social-networking.  Stage2 offered the rare opportunity of devising a production, as well as the most advanced technical achievement we have produced yet.

‘This was most impressive with the whole cast involved in such a small area, it was choreographed and performed to perfection.” – Curtain Call

“’Synchronising with pre-recorded video or music is a skill that takes no prisoners and full marks to the cast here for not only coming in on cue with their on screen tweets but also getting virtually every word right. This live/video mix became even more impressive in a final musical number when the entire cast of thousands –alright 54 – filled the stage with a none too easy dance which synchronised exactly with the same dance filmed with the same cast to the same music in the same costumes at Millennium Point in what was a classy piece of staging The result is a clever piece of theatre, well presented and acted, as you would expect from Stage2” – Roger Clarke, Behind The Arras.

 

Summer 20125. Our Town Wed 18th - Sat 21st July 2012

Our Town

by Thornton Wilder

Since its debut in 1938, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town has been embraced as an American classic. The play is complex and rich enough in meaning to be analysed by school students, whilst the beauty of its vivid characters and their innocent relationships warrants continual productions on Broadway and in community theatres throughout its nation. This play is not yet a staple of British theatre but Stage2 aim to bring its charm and style to new audiences in our traditional portrayal of this American treasure.

Our Town takes place in a 1930s theatre. The gentle guidance and insightful words of the Stage Manager are used to create the fictional community of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. Our Town represents Americana, the small town life of the early 1900s, a world none of us have ever experienced.

During the play, the Stage Manager (the show’s narrator) explains that he is putting a copy of Our Town in a time capsule…

 

6. ROAD Wed 18th - Sat 21st Apr 2012Spring 2012

Road

by Jim Cartwright

Beneath the gags, the playwright’s rumbling sense of lost dignity resulting from unemployment and chauvinism, gives this stunning debut a perceptive and frightening reality.” City Limits.

First staged at the Royal Court in 1986, Road tells of one wild night in a derelict northern street. Sharp and comic scenes jostle viciously to expose a population driven mad by despair. With recent riots and Government cuts, this will be a timely revival – we will examine ‘community neglect’ and individuals’ loneliness and how we can actively contribute to happiness and security within our own neighbourhoods.

This is a difficult script and we will be toning down some of the language, whilst still retaining the impact and power. There are some great chorus scenes – some as a whole group and some breaking down into old and young chorus – having a wild night on the tiles and breaking into houses respectively! Everyone will take part in a positive and uplifting finale – looking to a brighter, better future.

2011

7. Picassos Women Tue 17th - Sat 21st Jan 2012Autumn 2011
Picasso’s Women

by Brian McAvera

Tuesday 17th –Saturday 21st January 2012

You had to keep reminding yourself that you were watching, not only amateurs, but a youth theatre. It is no exaggeration to say I have reviewed professional productions which fall well short of this standard” ***** Roger Clarke

After presenting the premiere of Brian McAvera’s 8 monologues in 2000, Stage2 revived their acclaimed production with a cast of 15,presenting the production in 2 parts on alternate evenings, each part consisting of 4 monologues. The 8 most dominant women in Picasso’s life were each joined by an additional character, mentioned but not featured in the original script, from a lover to a mother, child or friend.

Unlike many of Stage2’s previous shows, the stage was occupied by a maximum of just 2 actors at a time except for the additional presence of a psychiatric hospital orderly (Zac Quinn) to calm down Dora Maar(Chloe Jones), the artist and photographer Picasso had wrongly committed. A backdrop of Una Walker’s Picasso-esque sketches and minimal use of props and set brought each character‘to vibrant life in what is a piece of top notch theatre with raw emotions and real passion’ Roger Clarke.

Each pairing spent 30 minutes each delving into the private life behind Picasso’s public façade to portray the ego of the influential artist, through the eyes of the women he used and abused. Some were driven mad, others put up with the infidelity until they were destroyed by the artist, and others, only 2out of the 8 depicted here, found the strength to leave him. ‘When Pablopaints, he paints with other people’s blood’. The cast went into a great deal of research over the months leading up to the production, to justify their portrayals of these very real women, creating beautiful mood /research boards that were displayed in the Crescent foyer throughout production week giving the opportunity for the audience to understand further the life and times of these women.

For 2 hours each night the audience were immersed in Picasso’s world unaware that Olga (Emily Nabney) and Françoise (Rosa Simonet) were sitting amongst them, in parts 1 and 2 respectively, ready to burst into life at the beginning of their scenes, to the surprise of the unwitting audience member sat beside them. Some of the stories were more like fly on the wall moments, with audience as voyeurs to Fernande (Megan Santer) and her lover (Connor Fox),which served as more as a shock when Gaby Lespinasse (Charlie Reilly) began to conduct a survey on how much we can really trust the man sat beside us from the middle of the audience! For a few moments each night, no one was safe….

This production was an enormous project for the cast and crew and the audience response was fantastic, ‘There is no denying the quality of a collection of remarkable performances in a talented production which is at times quite brilliant and deserving of a wider audience’, Roger Clarke.

 

Autumn 20118. Shockheaded Peter Wed 11th - Sat 14th Jan 2012
Shockheaded Peter

by Stage2

inspired by Heinrich Hoffman

Wednesday 11th – Saturday 14th January 2012

As always Stage2 were first class’ RogerClarke

Inspired by the 1844 “Struwwelpeter” stories of Heinrich Hoffman (a German doctor wanting a better class of children’s book for his three-year-old son), this studio production transformed Hoffman’s cautionary tales into a spectacular visual feast, adding a few stories of Stage2’s own creation.At times hilarious, but also chilling, the ensemble cast were inspired by circus performers, giving the audience an insight into the world of a travelling circus.

With slick use of physical theatre, mime, flurries of ribbons and flawless manipulation of props the ‘well-oiled machine of a cast’ and chorus transported the audience into a world of fantasy, meeting characters such as pyromaniac Harriet, cruel Frederick, fidgety Phil, thumb-sucking Conrad and head-in-the-air Johnny. There was a magical atmosphere as the cast worked together to tell Hoffman’s stories in a truly dynamic way, even making human characters appear and disappear into thin air from pyramids of cubes piled high. ‘The 20 lead roles are on stage all the time and never missed a beat or a cue and moved the 20 cubes around like clockwork’ Roger Clarke.

Splitting the audience into quarters, sitting them in 4 banks and opening up the stage into a cross meant that each audience member’s experience of the show was different, and those sitting on the front row could expect the occasional surprise from cast members acting right up to the audience’s faces! The musical interludes kept the pace up as the performers burst into life to circus-inspired tunes, dancing along with perfect synchronicity and humour.

9. Our Day Out Thur 21st - Sat 23rd Jul 2011Summer 2011
Our Day Out

by Willy Russell

The‘progress’ class were off on a school trip! They visited a cafe, a zoo, a castle, a beach, a fairground with varying degrees of delight and success,before heading home on the coach reflecting on the day’s ‘events’. As the kids‘copped off’ and the teachers ‘told off’ we saw perceptions change as characters colluded and collided outside the classroom. Stage2’s young cast brought this play bang up to date with mobile phones, the latest pop tunes,references to Facebook and lots of LOLs!!

Stage2 does not do musicals very often so this modern twist on the original was a big summer production and had a great uplifting spirit. The original score, played by musical director Charlie Reilly was accompanied by current pop songs bringing life to the 70’s play. A huge structure in the centre of the stage became the bus, the waltzers and a bearpit.

At times, it is chaos – but it is disciplined chaos. Director Lucy Bailey has mustered a cast of thousands –well, 80, but what a pleasure it is to be overwhelmed by them! – and each oneof its components clearly knows what he or she has to do. Crowd scenes? Ask Stage2: its young members – oldest, aged 21; youngest, 9 – come fully primed and agog to go. And every small portion of the crowd, every individual youngster,is involved, aware, a vital part of the whole. Stage2 carries no passengers.It’s a joy….And sometimes, when the chaos of free spirits is at its height,there is a freeze – and everyone becomes a marvel of immobility. Again, it’s the discipline, no question…. There’s a chorus of 34, singing their hearts out to stirring effect. There is an unseen legion behind the scenes. There are even more looking after front-of-house. This is Stage2, grasping the nettle that is live theatre and releasing the butterflies of talented imagination.This is Stage2, and Stage2 never lets you down.’ John Slim

 

Spring 201110. Romeo & Juliet Wed 20th - Sat 23rd Apr 2011
Romeo & Juliet

by William Shakespeare

You may know the play, the ballet, the musical (West Side Story), some of the famous lines, but you wouldn’t expect how evil we made Capulet, how‘most unlike in dignity’ the households were, how we explained Mercutio’s seemingly kamikaze attitude through his suffering of a fatal illness or how much impact was created by a cast of over 100 young people performing this powerful tale!  It was also a wonderful last performance by Alex Butler who has now gone to Central School of Speech and Drama.

Yet again, this young group has been challenged to rise far above what in normal circumstances would be expectations, and it has met that challenge head-on.’…Connor Fox and Priya Edwards are the star-cross’d lovers, splendid in their maturity,riveting in their fury and their dying – a pairing that bespeaks the quality that runs through the whole production, from its tragic centre piece to its excellent young pages and maids’…. ‘overall, here is a team of all the talents, sublimely declining to put a foot or a syllable wrong and even investing the sword-fighting choreography designed by Wayne Fitzsimmons with a ration of realism that may well have exceeded his hopes…The production deserves, and receives, top-quality support from Chris Cuthbert’s lighting. The tomb scene is one that especially benefits from this, as the body-count increases and the lamentations become louder. But throughout, this is a venture that proclaims its own virtues. You don’t need subtitles to realise that you have stumbled on something special.’ John Slim

2010

12. James & the Giant Peach Wed 5th - Sat 8th Jan 2011Autumn 2010
James and the Giant Peach

by Roald Dahl

Wed 5th – Sat 8th January 2011

‘Shut out all normal surroundings and go flying away to a magical worldwhere everything is enchanting and fantastic’– Roald Dahl. Stage2 presentedone of the most magical stories from one of the best-loved children’s writersof all time. The closeness of the audience in The Crescent Studio, the youngage of the cast and the fabulous costumes and props, all made by young peopleat our Summer School, fired the imagination and brought this fantastic talevividly to life.

As the audience entered we were privy to the gibbering of Aunts Spiker and Sponge (Chloe Jones and Jacoba Williams)…Khalid Daley as James,had the audience feeling very sorry for him and the austere life he had with his aunts… All the insects played their parts well and kept the pace going throughout the second half. There was really a first rate performance by Aidan Richards as Earthworm who really did object to being the bait for the seagulls… The large chorus all contributed to the production throughout,viewing the giant peach, as fish, clouds, sharks and seagulls and the sounds created by the chorus of the hailstones, was most impressive… With atmospheric lighting and sound, an absolutely fantastic peach and a lot of enthusiasm, a good time was had by all.” Curtain Call Magazine

This production was enhanced by the use of the studio balcony, platforms and alcoves – including a flock of graceful seagulls flying above the audience on the balconies,beautifully showing the peach’s ascent from water to the air. A three metre large peach, which at first, concealed all seven insects also revolved and was directed by the insects to really create a sense of magic on stage. The bubbly and thrilling end scene in New York contrasted immensely to the melancholy beginning to the classic tale; with bright colours, confetti cannons and lots of new friends for James to share his story with. The production took you on James’ journey and left the audience with great content as this maltreated boy got his well-deserved happy ending.

 

Autumn 201011. Arsehammers & YOTM Wed 12th - Sat 15th Jan 2011
Arsehammers & The Year of the Monkey

by Claire Dowie

Wed 12th – Sat 15th January 2011

‘Claire Dowie is the supreme advocate of rebellion. She debunks conformity – or almost anything which can be defined.’ The Stage

Stage2 is delighted to have special permission from our Patron, Claire Dowie, to present the Premieres of two of her stand-up theatre monologues as full cast, one-act plays. In the same style as 2009’s Spoonface Steinberg, we will blast the monologues apart for an ensemble of 20 young people.

‘Quite superb. The company has been choreographed into a vibrant whole….. achieving a oneness and a sense of purpose that hits you between the eyes. Quite, quite remarkable.’ Birmingham Mail on Spoonface.

In Arsehammers a young boy mishears his parents discussing his Grandad’s Alzheimer’s in whispered voices and thinks the secrecy means it must be a rude word! He then goes off on a flight of fancy, imagining him as a Superhero with magic powers. His theories all seem to fit in with his Granddad’s truepredicament eg he keeps disappearing (to fight secret battles), he goes to get looked after by experts (who could invent special devices for him like James Bond).

In The Year of the Monkey a mother yearns for some dynamism and passion to puncture the boredom of her middle-class life. At her daughter’s wedding (which she wishes had an Irish theme so everyone could sing and dance and whirl…), she reflects ‘We’ve lived this superficial relationship and ignored the churning undercurrents,disregarded the bubbling emotions, because it’s not done to talk about them.Because now’s not the time, now’s never the time. All the time in the world to talk about nothing.’

13. Shakers Wed 21st - Sat 24th July 2010Summer 2010
Shakers

by John Godber

Wednesday 21st – Saturday 24th July 2010

In Shakers Stage2 once again took snapshots of a chaotic crowd of characters, but this time we explored the ‘bigger picture’ – what brought people to this bar to both work and play? Shop changing rooms were braved, hours dragging at tedious day jobs were counted down, vital make-up repair kits were packed – as we met the customers behind the orders and the waitresses behind the smiles.

‘This is a Shakers set in Liverpool, and the immediately noticeable bonus is that the waitresses –Elizabeth Halpin, Laura Cummins, Helen Carter and Chloe Jones – have such a mastery of the twang. But this is merely the top-dressing. In the riotous final scene, there are confrontations with obnoxious customers and these are handled quite splendidly, with a mixture of dignity and flaring fury. The four girls,clearly the mistresses of their chosen hobby, never put a foot wrong.’… ‘In the maelstrom of music and movement it is impossible to single out anyone and pretend that you have found a weak link. Stage2 doesn’t do weak links.’… ‘Yet again, Liz Light has transformed a show to accommodate the needs and the talents of her youthful charges. It’s a sparkling delight.’ John Slim

The show was a hugely successful summer spectacular, full of energy and life with crazy characters. The brightly colour coded costume and set contributed to the play’s buzzing atmosphere. Location was ingeniously defined  through the use of actors as furniture in the first half and by a large projection accompanying a busy bar’s-worth of tables,chairs and decorations, all of which were set on stage by the cast in a matter of minutes, in the second half.  We are grateful to The New Billesley, Kings Heath for letting us decamp to their women’s toilets to film the pre-recorded ‘toilet scenes’. The production was closed by a mass ensemble dance routine choreographed by Adrian Richards and Océane Li Ledantec really capturing the fun and excitement portrayed throughout the performance.

Shakers was the winner of the NODA West Midlands Best Youth Drama 2010, the award ceremony was held at Sutton Town Hall, Sutton Coldfield and saw many company members and members of the cast receive their award with immense pride.

 

Spring 201014. Under Milk Wood Wed 21st - Sat 24th April 2010
Under Milk Wood

by Dylan Thomas

21st to 24th April 2010

Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood tells of the small dreams and grand desires of the living and the dead of Llaregyb. Starting on a ‘moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black’, we peep into the houses of sleepers.‘You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing. Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep’.Blind Captain Cat dreams of the drowned comrades of his youth and of his long dead love, Rosie Probert.

Myfanwy Price dreams that Mog Edwards will warm her sheets like an electric toaster. Dai Bread the baker, with one wife for the day and one for the night, dreams of harems. Polly Garter dreams of babies and Rev.Eli Jenkins dreams of a peaceful community…Under Milk Wood is a sensitive, funny, occasionally disturbing, story of one day in the life of the babbling town. Dylan Thomas paints affectionate portraits of the seaside people he knew and observed so well. Spend an evening with the young members of Stage2 as they present ‘The most enchanting and original work for broadcasting ever written’. Listener.s

2009

19. Twelfth Night Wed 16th - Sat 19th Dec 2009Autumn 2009

Twelfth Night

by William Shakespeare

Wednesday 16th – Saturday 19th December 2009

“This is surely Twelfth Night as never seen before. Liz Light’s superbproduction reveals that her youth group has in Alex Butler a Malvolio who can handle both the preening that makes him so amusing and the distraught realisation that the heartless Maria has made a complete fool of him. Stage2 has done it again!” John Slim, Behind the Arras

For Stage2’s 100th major production we pulled out all the stops for a fabulous festive treat! Set in Victorian times, the red, green and gold colours largely used in the show added to the Christmas feel of the show – along with the three Christmas trees and two bay trees, later employed in a wonderfully ambitious version of the box tree scene! Our most extravagant set ever saw Orsino’s guests on a balcony 3 metres up and opened up all the rooms like a Victorian dolls house with steps leading onto a bustling street.The levels were consistently used to both powerful and hilarious effect-  the ‘harmless barmy beanpole’ of a Sir Andrew (Ethan Hudson)sprawling his way up Olivia’s steps to eavesdrop on her declaration of love for Viola and Valentine singing like a siren in the midst of a very 3 dimensional shipwreck!

Carol singers outside the theatre and on stage in the interval and street urchins handing out programmes and presents ensured our whole company could take part. Thanks to a grant from The Charles Henry Foyle Trust we were able to bring in Pete Clifford as a magic consultant , the very versatile Wayne Fitzsimmons to help with movement and hair and Richard Radnor Williams for another beautiful score.

“Liz Light’s production of Twelfth Night was a thoroughly engaging, effervescent piece of theatre. The comic timing from Feste and Fabian (Jonni Dowsett and the pint sized Luca Hoffman) was superb, earning lots of laughs. There were many notable scenes but one of the highlights was when Malvolio was reading the letter… long will be remembered members of the cast appearing on stage with evergreen foliage held  over their heads, eavesdropping to the reading. Moving downstage in unison and shrieking when in danger of being discovered –reminiscent of Burnham Wood. Together with the unwaveringly sure performances from all involved this made for an outstanding evenings entertainment.’ Curtain Call

 

15. The Permanent Way Wed 22nd - Sat 25th July 2009

Summer 2009
Permanent Way

by David Hare

Wednesday 22nd – Saturday 25th July 2009

In 1991, before an election they did not expect to win, the Conservative Government made a fateful decision to privatise the railways.

In The Permanent Way ‘our greatest living political playwright’ David Hare gathers together the first hand accounts of those most intimately involved, highlighting in particular the elevation of profit above safety that led to a succession of disasters at Southall, Ladbroke Grove, Hatfield and Potters Bar.

Funny, tragic and compelling, the play offers an extraordinary parable of British mismanagement that raises questions about the recent history of our country. Members of ‘Birmingham’s critically acclaimed Stage2′ portray the passengers, politicians, executives, experts, decision makers, rail workers,survivors and bereaved in this powerful and perceptive play.

‘Britain, yeah, beautiful country, shame we can’t run a railway’

This play was originally performed at The National Theatre in 2004. It offers an exploration of the Conservative Government’s railway privatisation,from the early ’90s to the early ’00s and the resulting crashes and public enquiries that followed. Put together from a series of interviews and meetings,this play takes a documentary-style look at the issues raised, with first hand accounts of many of those involved. All the characters in this play are real,from all walks of life, and experienced (many first hand) the disasters at Southall, Ladbroke Grove, Hatfield and Potters Bar whilst the bereaved search for justice in this physical, tragic and compelling production.

‘So yeah, really it was just a case of wanting to know if there were other people like me’

A cast of over 60, ages ranging from 9 to 20, portray the passengers,politicians, executives, experts, decision makers, rail workers, survivors and the bereaved and we examine mismanagement surrounding our railway system.Questions are raised about the recent history of Britain and the culture of putting profit above safety.

18. A Midsummer Nights Dream Wed 22nd - Sat 25th Apr 2009Spring 2009
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by William Shakespeare

Wednesday 22nd – Saturday 25th April 2009

“For25 years I have somehow resisted the temptation to call this dynamic younggroup brilliant. This time I realised it was time to give up the struggle. LizLight directs the funniest Dream I have ever seen.” Evening Mail

In Stage2’s inimitable style a number of twists were added to this version of Shakespeare’s classic comedy – including a female Egea (in love with Theseus), a genuine love between Demetrius and Helena established from the offset and a devious pairing of Puck and the First Fairy – meaning it had something for newcomers and experts alike.The contrast between the rich reds and golds of court life, muddy browns of the mechanicals and the luscious greenery of the fairy world, complete with a whole host of diminutive green-clad fairies, served as a beautiful backdrop to the play throughout and further raised the standard of the production as a whole.

Audiences and reviewers alike acknowledged the standard of performances, with the Solihull Times commenting: “The whole show was a testament to the schooling that Stage2 has provided but credit must go to the young cast in which there must be a fair few stars of the future. Adrian Richards deserves aplace in a leading company if his portrayal of the hapless Bottom is anythingto go by” .

The Birmingham Mail was so impressed with Adrian that they did a separate interview with him about his future plans! The Edgbaston and Harborne Observer added, “The young actors were extremely professional and their execution of this intricately detailed piece was captivating,charming and extremely amusing, an illuminating performance that was thoroughly enjoyable for all ages.”

2008

17. The Shadow of a Gunman Wed 14th - Sat 17th Jan 2009Autumn 2008
The Shadow of a Gunman

By Sean O’Casey

14th – 17th Jan 2009

Set in the Dublin slums in 1920, The Shadow of a Gunman follows the fate of a house full of characters who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are dragged into a situation of political unrest. Much of the text is heavily drawn from Casey’s own experiences during his early years of writing when he too lived in poverty-stricken Dublin.

Performed in a studio space, the tenement room in which the play is set served as the focal point,allowing every moment of the drama to be observed by the audience. The pivotal role of Donal Davoren saw Ethan Hudson in his first cast role with Stage2 confidently lead us through the turbulent journey of this play. A particularly remarkable aspect of the show was the use of pre-recorded film, so that the back wall was broken up into a number of small screens through which we could see into the world of the building’s other inhabitants and their reactions to the events, lending a powerful and absorbing atmosphere to the drama. It also solved the ‘problem’ of how to get 80 excited and eager young people actively involved in a studio show– once again upholding the rule that anyone can take part in a show without even auditioning.

Autumn 200816. Spoonface Steinberg Wed 7th - Sat 10th Jan 2009
Spoonface Steinberg

by Lee Hall

7th – 10th Jan 2009

“The first lines fall to Laura Dowsett, who is seven. Her confident, no-nonsense delivery sets an immediate standard below which no-one falls in an evening which is essentially asking the meaning of life while Spoonface learns that she is going to die. She discusses death in the wartime concentration camps, wonders whether God has cancer and explains that because she’s backward she was never very good at saying what was wrong with her.

Brilliant is a word to be approached with caution. Let us, therefore, be content with saying that this is quite superb. The company has been choreographed into a vibrant whole, mostly on the move but at times freezing exquisitely into stillness while an operatic aria resounds. And it’s all been achieved in ten rehearsals. Quite, quite remarkable.” Evening Mail.

In an entirely unique take on Lee Hall’s monologue about a young girl with autism, 24 performers acted out the play, all dressed in white and with no set aside from 10 large white quilts. These quilts were used throughout to represent everything from a hospital machine to an oversized bed. The play was fast-moving and very visual,underlying the sadness of the text with a sense of hope and optimism brought about by Spoonface’s unconquerable spirit. In the same style as Adult Child,this play showcased Stage2’s unique style of taking a monologue and blasting it apart!

S20. The Lord of the Flies Wed 23rd - Sat 26th July 2008ummer 2008
The Lord of the Flies

by Nigel Williams

23rd-26th July

“This superb young group goes bravely into battle with William Golding’s classic tale of mind-blowing depravity amongst youngsters on an uninhabited island after a plane crash and it is no surprise that is now has another success to add to its long list of triumphs. Not that it is anywhere near uninhabited after the youngsters arrive- nearly 60 of them, in Liz Light’s highly populated, busy-busy production that has become Stage 2’s trademark.  Excellent lighting effects give merited support to a company that throws itself into the story so enthusiastically, that there are times when the spoken script disappears beneath a cacophonous chorus….

But this is a minor consideration in relation to the success that is achieved in communicating an atmosphere of growing tension and terror.

Miriam Bird is a ferocious Jackie. Jack having become a female character while many of the of the all boy castaways are played by girls in true Stage2 adaptability  She has well executed confrontations with Ralph, (Sam Moore)the well meaning first leader of the pack, and Alex Pugh excels as Piggy, the asthmatic lad who is blind without his glasses. Connor Fox is an alert and active Simon.  The Production makes plenty of use of the auditorium in a way that inevitability draws its audience into the action.”

John Slim – Birmingham Mail Friday July 25th 2008

 

 

Spring 200821. Teechers Wed 23rd - Sat 26th Apr 2008
Teechers

by John Godber

23rd-26th April

“Some top class performances and bags of enthusiasm ensure the cast of 100 celebrate Stage2’s 20th anniversary in style. From the moment the youngsters swarm through the auditorium and onto the stage, the action is fast and furious as the play is high on humour and no doubt true to life. Drama students Salty (Tom Booth), Gail (Alex Simonet) and Hobby (Samantha Ferrins) are excellent and Ollie Simms impresses as the struggling teacher. Liam McKeown is a convincing school Bully, Oggy Moxon, while the rest of the staff are well represented by Andrew Smith,the cane-weilding Mr Basford, Carly-Jane Hutchinson, the dominating Mrs Parry, Danica Corns as Miss Prime and Annabel Smith, chain smoking Dot the cleaner.” Evening Mail

2007

23. The Crucible Wed 16th - Sat 19th Jan 2008Autumn 2007
The Crucible

by Arthur Miller

16th-19th January

“Menacingly told by a young cast. The mass hysteria at the heart of the Salem Witch trials is superbly captured by the splendid Stage2. What better way for the company to celebrate its 20th anniversary than Arthur Miller’s excellent play, grippingly told by this talented young cast. The astonishing production ultimately pits innocent John Proctor, brilliantly played by Scott Westwood, against the zealous witch finders headed by Reverend Parris and later Deputy Governor Danforth, equally well played by Matthew Urwin and Mike Haydon.” Evening Mail

 

Autumn 200722. ICE Wed 19th - Sat 21st Dec 2007
ICE

devised by Stage2

19th-21st December

Invent. Create. Evolve. It’s time to melt the ICE! In order to complement the ‘adult’ and harrowing The Crucible‚ revived for the new year in 2008, Lucy Bailey led our younger members in a devised production in BSA’s Studio at Millennium Point. The audience were treated to a civil war between two opposing groups of jelly babies – The Jelly Teens and The Jelly Globs. This show saw a first (and fantastic) professional lighting design by Dave Mooney who had joined us 4 years before on our Technical Training course and worked his way up to our Technical Leader before leaving us to work freelance at some of the venues where he trained – The Crescent, The Hippodrome, The Town Hall…

 

25. TWO 18th - 21st July 2007Summer 2007
Two

by Jim Cartwright

19th-21st July

“Jim Cartwright’s award winning play is usually for two actors involving just the fiercely bickering Landlord and Landlady. But Stage2 have cleverly adapted the bitter-sweet drama to involve virtually the entire company of 9-21 year olds. Yolanda Kettle and Luke Waite are outstanding as the feuding couple who run the pub and Scott Westwood is the pick of the ‘regulars’ as the vicious bully Roy.” Evening Mail.

Yolanda Kettle went on to perform at the Royal Court and tour China with the National Youth Theatre (even appearing in the handover of the Olympic Games 2008) before taking up a place at LAMDA.

 

Spring 200724. Much Ado About Nothing Wed 18th - Sat 21st April 2007
Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

18th-21st April

“However many times I see this ever changing young company, I am unfailingly amazed at the wealth of talent that director Liz Light contrives to fashion. This time it’s a slice of Shakespeare, served up by a cast of 70 to yield a boisterous result that defies you not to be enraptured. It’s very funny too – thanks in no small measure to Rowan Turner-Powell, a miniature Dogberry who is word perfect, joyous in his gestures and clear in his delivery. Here is a youngster destined to go far.Mastery of the script as is expected of Stage2, is universal. There are a host of powerful performances – Carly-Jayne Hutchinson a fiery Beatrice, Billy Coughlin (Benedick), Matthew Urwin (Claudio), Ellie Jurczak (Hero) and Lucy Bailey as Leonata – are all remarkable. This is a clean-cut production that brims with life, that often overruns the auditorium and that even uses outsized puppets in its wonderful trial scene. It’s a joy of ingenuity. A Great Ado.” Evening Mail

2006

28. Daughters of Albion 13th - 16th Dec 2006Autumn 2006
Daughters of Albion

by Willy Russell

13th-16th December

Three girls from a biscuit factory gatecrash a student Christmas house party and have their horizons quite literally broadened! The cast of Willy Russell’s hilarious comedy were lucky enough to meet the author himself and pose questions about his work and inspiration. Director Ellie Darvill asked Russell how he felt about Stage2 expanding his screenplay for a huge cast of students, neighbours, scally kids and musicians, as well as inviting the audience to come in their best 70’s gear! Willy Russell was very enthusiastic about the venture, quoting an encouraging ‘Do it your way Ellie!’

 

Summer 200627. Cider with Rosie 20th - 22nd July 2006
Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie

by Nick Darke

20th-22nd July

“Liz Light’s remarkable production, sporting a company of more than 80 well-drilled youngsters, really captures the feel and spirit of Laurie Lee’s childhood autobiography in the Cotswolds. Sam Clear as the narrator justifies his name with diction that is beautifully unhurried and Neil Gardner is the characterful young Loll who comes amusingly into his own with his undisguised bemusement in the first schoolroom scene. Kathryn Levell provides an emotional rollercoaster as his mother, Paula Chatterjee is a firecracker of a school teacher and Hannah Jordan and Lisa-Kay Waite bring delightful cameos as the feuding old women.” Evening Mail.

The company enjoyed days out in Gloucestershire, picnicing on Painswick Beacon, exploring Slad and even being shown round Laurie Lee’s actual childhood home by the current owners!

 

26. ACDC Wed 13th - Sat 15th Apr 2006Spring 2006
Adult Child/Dead Child

By Claire Dowie

13th-15th April

“What started life as a monologue by Claire Dowie has been transformed into a maelstrom for 80 black-clad youngsters in Liz Light’s remarkable production. In this startling adaptation the child is played, often just a phrase at a time by a host of youngsters in an evening of diction that is beautifully spoken; of pauses that are held and held and of which Pinter would have been proud. Every so often the stage erupts into carefully choreographed chaos. The build-up of torment until the mind gives way and the eventual recovery is remarkably achieved by a company that shows discipline beyond its years in a triumph of teamwork.” Evening Mail

2005

29. Oliver Twist 15th - 18th Dec 2005Autumn 2005
Oliver Twist!

by Jeremy Brock

15th – 18th Dec

“What started life as a monologue by Claire Dowie has been transformed into a maelstrom for 80 black-clad youngsters in Liz Light’s remarkable production. In this startling adaptation the child is played, often just a phrase at a time by a host of youngsters in an evening of diction that is beautifully spoken; of pauses that are held and held and of which Pinter would have been proud. Every so often the stage erupts into carefully choreographed chaos. The build-up of torment until the mind gives way and the eventual recovery is remarkably achieved by a company that shows discipline beyond its years in a triumph of teamwork.” Evening Mail

 

Summer 200530. The Childrens Hour 27th - 30th Jul 2005
The Children’s Hour

by Lillian Hellman

27th-30th July

“Lillian Hellman’s drama of gossip and relationships is superbly brought to life in Jess Southwood’s imaginative production. The subject matter is strong stuff, which this precociously talented cast takes in its almost dauntingly disciplined stride. Ruth Fowler and Lindsey Carr put neither a foot nor a syllable wrong in their challenging roles, but then neither does anyone else! Liz McGarry is excellent as wilful Mary with her alarming cunning. Holly Turton as the grandmother, Anil Karra,the fiance and Victoria Payne as the slightly daffy aunt are prominent in a company without a flaw.” Evening Mail

31. Bouncers 21st - 23rd July 2005Summer 2005
Bouncers

by John Godber

21st-23rd July

“John Godber’s riotous tales of a night in the life of four club doormen is given a wonderfully fresh and lively feel in this production. The four bouncers of Judd, Les, Ralph and Lucky Eric are joined by a talented and energetic cast. Luke Waite, Helen Jones, Paul Brotherton and Michael Haydon are equally outstanding as the bouncers while the support cast includes impressive performances by Andrew Smith, Josh Roberts, Billy Coughlin and Alex Pugh.” Evening Mail

 

Spring 200532. The Tempest 14th - 16th Apr 2005
The Tempest

by William Shakespeare

14-16th April

“The inspired words of Shakespeare are safe in the wonderful young hands of the city’s Stage2 youth theatre company. The outstanding talent of the juvenile actors on show almost defies belief in the way they master the bard’s text. Many of the cast have never been on stage before but with their ages matched by many in the sell-out audience, they are successfully bringing  the works of Shakespeare to a whole new generation. Yolanda Kettle leads a superb cast as Prospero, the rightful Duchess of Milan,Hannah McDonagh is delightful as her innocent daughter and there are equally splendid performances from Colin Green as the tortured slave Caliban and a lovely comic cameo from Lucy Bailey as the drunken cook Stephana.” Evening Mail

2004

36. The Snow Queen 15th - 18th Dec 2004Autumn 2004
The Snow Queen

by Hans Christian Anderson

15th-18th December

Stage2 is renowned for giving wide-ranging opportunities to its members and this show was no different. Ellie Darvill, whose extensive experience of working in children’s theatre and TV (including many years as the Why Bird in ‘Playdays’) collaborated on the script with 17 year old company member Holly Turton.

The premiere of this new adaptation ofthis timeless classic delighted festive theatre goers at The Patrick Centre at Christmas 2004. “The show promises to be of the usual high quality for the whole family to enjoy” Evening Mail

Summer 200437. Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt 15th - 17th July 2004
Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt

by Claire Dowie

15th – 17th July

“What an inspired idea to transform Claire Dowie’s riotous monologue of feminine angst into a comic play with a cast of one hundred. It’s hard to imagine it would be possible until you see how confident and daring the brilliant Stage2 can be. This radical material is a courageous choice for a youth theatre and it pays off brilliantly – both holding and challenging the audience in the way the best theatre should. There are some great ensemble scenes – the sixty-strong chorus are all terrific, each giving just enough but never too much. The show works like clockwork and no-one puts a foot wrong.” Birmingham Post.

Stage2 were extremely pleased to be performing another piece by their Patron – who also took part in the production by supplying the voice over ‘presenting the future.’

 

35. New York Short Plays 5th July 2004New York Short Plays

5th July

“With a production of Claire Dowie’s ‘Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt’ plus workshops with the author at the Crescent Theatre, a showcase of exam work at the Library Theatre and a trilingual exchange trip with a German Theatre group in Barcelona, July is a busy month for Stage2 – Somehow though they have also managed to squeeze in a taste of the Big Apple. The company have taken short plays by some of the best American writers such as Christopher Durang and Lucille Fletcher and linked them with improvised scenes, to form a complete day in the life of New Yorkers. Stage2 has a strong reputation and has never been afraid to stretch the boundaries of what’s expected of youth theatre groups, performing challenging work from Shakespeare to Berkoff and with this amount of activity planned for the summer,it’s going from strength to strength.” Metronews

 

Spring 200433. To Kill a Mockingbird 8th - 10th April 2004
To Kill a Mocking Bird

by Harper Lee

8th – 10th April

“Now well established independently of its long time at mac, Stage2 opened its latest production to a packed house at The Crescent. Once again it’s a remarkable enterprise. There are persuasive performances from Lauren Archer, Billy Coughlin and Sam Cofman acting their ages as three children for whom a blatant case of injustice is a rite of passage to a flawed adult world. Dan Dolan strives manfully embodying the idealistic lawyer Atticus; Luke Waite has touching dignity as his doomed client, Jon Paul Millington a plausible swagger as his racist accuser while the most complete performance of all comes from Helen Jones as the maid Calpurnia.” The Birmingham Post

2003

34. Requiem for Ground Zero 8th - 10th Jan 2004Autumn 2003

Requiem for Ground Zero by Steven Berkoff

8th-10th January

“Ellie Darvill proves endlessly inventive in choreographing her cast and the distribution of lines among solo voices,semi and larger choruses give the piece an almost symphonic character with haunting original music by Richard Radnor Williams. This is a team game and I did not notice a weak link. Impassioned, moving and sometimes distressing where it touches on individual victims, the fact that the company reflects Birmingham’s multicultural population naturally gives it a particular resonance. It is one of those triumphant occasions that reasserts the power and(for once not to dodge a hackneyed word) the relevance of theatre.” TheBirmingham Post

2002

41. The Witches 18th - 21st Dec 2002Autumn 2002

The Witches by Roald Dahl

18th-21st December

“It’s shivery and it’s scary – and it’s lots of talented youngsters in full flight. There are witches everywhere including a splendidly funny camp witch by Mike Hirons and a fearsome Grand High Witch by the alarmingly authoritative Lydia Burke. What will be most memorable for me is the most impressive strobe lighting sequence I have ever seen – as if we are sharing the tiny auditorium with the biggest firework display in the world – it is a fascinating experience. Magic for the memory.” Evening Mail

 

40. The Seven Deadly Sins - Metaphysique August 2002The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

August

The Seven Deadly Sins – Metaphysique by Stage2

In 2002  Stage2 returned to Edinburgh – this time taking to the streets for a  physical theatre piece loosely based on Marlowe’s Deadly Sins. The piece was  a fusion of Commedia dell’Arte characters, comedy, music, promenade and  procession and was devised by Jane Sutcliffe of Metaphysique together with  12 of our members. The experience of working with a crowd (including members  of the police force!) and competing with internationally renowned artists at  the festival proved invaluable experience. Within two years of returning  over half the performers were studying full time at Drama School (the others  were studying Maths, Psychology, English, Art…..).

 

44. Godspell 24th - 27th July 2002Summer 2002

Godspell by Stephen Schwartz

24th-27th July

“Heavenly production. This is a show that leaves you gasping for adjectives. It’s vibrant, happy, tender, sexy -impeccably drilled. Tom Bailey has coaxed some huge performances from this young company. The spirit of this remarkable production surges out from a stage that sometimes has 100 youngsters on it. At its heart, Curtis Allen comes to his Jesus with a confidence totally justified by his performance. The crucifixion is achieved with a riveting dignity, aided by excellent lighting.He is surrounded by a cast that enters wholeheartedly into the fun that is the show’s trade mark but which in the second half has the kind of gravitas on tap that totally silenced a spellbound audience.” Evening Mail

 

42. The Mill on the Floss 17th - 20th July 2002Summer 2002

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Adapted by Helen Edmundson

17th-20th July

“A cast so large they cannot all get onstage, tackle an emotionally charged adaptation of George Eliot’s classic with all the skill of seasoned performers. Lydia Burke, Alice Naylor and Gabrielle Shakeshaft create tension as they play Maggie at three different stages of her life: Lydia Burke handling the tempestuous Maggie at her youngest age in splendid fashion. Oliver Harvey is strong as the dominant brother, Paul Brotherton is on good form as one of Maggies’s suitors and there is a warm and colourful contribution from Dan Dolan as the father.” Evening Mail

 

39. Tom & Viv 3rd - 6th Apr 2002Spring 2002

Tom & Viv by Michael Hasting

3rd-6th April

“Ruth Fowler is truly outstanding as Viv, the beautiful English Aristocrat who gradually sinks deeper into mental despair. Tom Grant equally excels as T. S. Eliot whose fame grows as his marriage becomes increasingly strained. Stage2’s latest challenging production,well directed by Liz Light also features an excellent support cast including Richard Morgan and Jess Parfitt.” Evening Mail. “Stage2 sweeps into innovative action.” Metronews

2001

38. TWO 9th - 12th Jan 2002Autumn 2001

Two by Jim Cartwright

9th-12th January

“Jim Cartwright wrote his play for two people. Liz Light’s production converts it into a cast of 110 – triumphantly. Her young company rises joyously to the happy first half and deals just as decisively with the stomach churning events after the interval. Excellent accounts of the one-sided battle and superb cameos. A cracker of a show.” Evening Mail.

“Youth group Stage2 is neither timid nor juvenile – it is known for tackling difficult subject matter – Cartwright’s sharp study of a bickering couple, Richard Morgan and Charlene James, is no exception.” Metronews

 

Autumn 200147. Alice in Wonderland 19th - 22nd Dec 2001

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

19th-22ndDecember

“The talented youngsters of Stage2 will begoing through the looking glass this week. The city’s bravest and most activeyouth theatre take you down the hole following the white rabbit to a world ofmagic and mystery.” Birmingham News.

Jo Taylor (The Cheshire Cat) went onto star in the film ‘Anita and Me’ and the Knave of Hearts – Lucy Bailey – went on to be our very own Company Manager.

 

49. Les Liasons Dangereuses 25th - 28th Jul 2001Summer 2001

Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton

25th-28th July

“It’s saucy, it’s sexy, it’s entendres are more single than double and it is a challenge that a superb young company meet head on. Francis Doody (Valmont) is a paramour par excellence, Katy Hamilton (Merteuil) a self- proclaimed virtuoso of deceit.Superb performances which garner all the support they deserve from a talented cast without a weak link.” Evening Mail

 

Summer 200150. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 18th - 21st Jul 2001

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

by Roald Dahl/Richard George

18th-21st July

The funny and fantastical chocolate factory burst on to the mac stage, aptly sponsored by Birmingham’s very own Cadbury’s. As well as the old favourites of Augustus, Mike, Veruca, Violet and Charlie and his family, Stage2 provided hordes of eerie Oompah Loompahs – one of which, Holly Turton, grew up to direct MDCC’s UK tours of ‘Henry V’ and ‘Twelfth Night’!

 

48. Jacks Children 18th - 21st April 2001Spring 2001

Jack’s Children by Richard Williams

18th-21st April

Hexagon Theatre, MAC

“The Edgbaston-based youth theatre gave its customary splendid account of itself presenting the premiere of Richard Williams’ sequel to ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. But it was Paul Brotherton as a sort of unhinged cross between Anne Robinson and the Milky Bar Kid, who stole the show. There was a genuinely funny, po-faced incarnation of a nutty professor, demonstrating a talent for comedy that is clearly going to stand him in splendid stead for years to come. He sent me home rejoicing, I am sure his will be a name to conjure with.” Evening Mail

 

Spring 200145. Much Ado About Nothing 11th - 14th Apr 2001

Much Ado About Nothing – William Shakespeare

11th-14th April

Studio Theatre, MAC

“What looks like a cast of thousands fills the stage and swarms into the auditorium. Stage2 is in the business of organised pandemonium. Liz Light’s memorable production brims with youthful talent. Speeches flow, conversations crackle and knowing naughtiness is givento its head. From the superb central players – Cian Barry (Benedick), Notzarina Reevers (Beatrice), Sam Millard (Claudio), Victoria Hanlin (Hero) – to the urgent, funny, all-action chorus, every member of this remarkable young team brims with bubbling commitment – Ado is really something!” Evening Mail

 

46. ROAD 10th - 13th Jan 2001Autumn 2000

Road by Jim Cartwright

10th-13th January

Studio Theatre, mac

“Grown  up stuff takes to the road. Stage2, that adventurous young group which habitually sets its audience by the ears with its bold productions has  another adult show planned for the new year. ‘Road’ has always been designed  to be performed promenade-style so Stage2 took in elements of promenade; in  the interval the show spread into the bar and café, with a disco in the  auditorium.” Evening Mail.

“There are three two storey houses on  stage covered in scaffolding and the narrator travels through each building –  after riding his BMX through the audience and on to the stage” recounted  Sanjay Pawar (who played Jerry) interviewed in the Birmingham News before he  qualified as a doctor and took a seat on Stage2’s board.

2000

56. Sweeney Todd 20th - 23rd Dec 2000Autumn 2000

Sweeney Todd by Christopher Bond

20th-23rd December

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“The homicidal barber who kills his customers and bakes them in pies is not traditional Christmas fare but it is a bloodcurdling and funny alternative to panto.” Birmingham News.

The title role was taken by Richard Morgan wholater moved to Italy after being offered his own children’s TV show! The production marked the first pairing of Tom Bailey (Director) and James Rowell (Designer) who after Stage2 went on to work at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and for the BBC respectively.

 

Autumn 200052. Not Worth Peanuts 10th - 11th Dec 2000

Not Worth Peanuts devised by John Godbold & Stage2

10th-11th December

Hexagon Theatre, mac

The size of the company, now 230+, led us to bringing back John Godbold (ex-member and now professional director/practitioner specialising in Creative Play) to devise and direct a piece based on Charles Schultz’s ‘Charlie Brown’ stories for our younger members. Linus, Pig Pen, Lucy and even Snoopy all took to the Hexagon stage!

 

53. Under Milk Wood 26th - 29th Jul 2000Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas

26th-29th July

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“This immensely talented young cast make light work of Dylan Thomas’s complex masterpiece. Stage2’s 40-strong troupe flit on and off stage in orderly and efficient style and all make an equally impressive mark on the sell-out audience. Blind Captain Cat is splendidly played by Cian Barry but other excellent performances abound throughout – Jon Paul Millington as Reverend Eli Jenkins and Anna Wright as local floozie Polly Garter.” Evening Mail

 

The Collector devised by Stage254. The Collector 19th - 22nd Jul 2000

19th-22nd July

HexagonTheatre, mac

“A teasing, intriguing, dazzler based on the premise of a woman who ‘collects’ people and their stories. Ruth Fowler is her victim – bewildered, terrified and unforgettable, Bethan James carries a nice chill as the collector and the successive play lets contain excellent performances, there is no mistaking the depth of Sanjay Pawar in his one man play giving a Jewish persons look at the horrors of Nazism. There are also an outstanding puppeteer and a group of remarkable marionettes. It’s a fascinating evening. The talent fairly bristles.” Evening Mail

 

55. Luvvies in the Air 27th - 29th Apr 2000Luvvies in the Air, devised by Scott Burnett and Stage2

27th-29thApril

Studio Theatre, mac

An empty theatre. An ambitious young director. A day to rehearse. No cast. No set. No script. No hope. There are ‘Luvvies in the Air’ everywhere you look around in this devised show led once again by Scott Burnett.

 

Picasso’s Women by Brian McAvera57. Picassos Women 17 - 22 Apr 2000

17th-22nd April

HexagonTheatre, mac

The Stage premiere of all McAvera’s eight monologues performed in two sets on alternate nights. “Five young actresses with one monologue and one duologue use the clever script to brilliant advantage in re-creating four of the artist’s women. There is humour,superbly handled and often bawdy in Liz Light’s youth production. Jess Parfitt, Jess Southwood and Beth Nestor give superb, completely individual performances and Anna Wright and Katy Hamilton produce a sparkling double act

1999

51. The Crucible 12th - 15th Jan 2000The Crucible by Arthur Miller

12th-15th January

Studio Theatre, mac

Our second visit to Millers blistering witch hunt saw us populate Parris house and Danforth’s court with a full complement of over 100 villagers. The strong cast of principles saw many later taking up places at a range of drama schools including Richard Morgan, Steve Giles, Vicky Hanlin – LAMDA, Matt Hill and Bethan James – Arts Ed, Beth Nestor- RADA and Cian Barry – Webber Douglas.

 

More Grimms Tales61. More Grimm Tales 15th - 18th Dec 1999

Carol Ann Duffy and Tim Supple

15th-18thDecember

Hexagon Theatre, mac

Stage2 presents the second part of Duffy and Supples’ adaptation of the humorous, exciting and magical tales from over 150 years ago. This production was first performed at the beginning of December in Leipzig, Germany as part of a youth exchange. Gareth Knapman, a member of the cast, later moved to Leipzig to work with the exchange group Speilkiste, before setting up his own company in Germany.

 

62. ACDC 29th - 31st July 1999Adult Child/Dead Child

by Claire Dowie (Adapted by James Yarker)

7th-21st August  Bedlam  Theatre, Edinburgh  “Even  if you think you know it well, you will never have seen it quite like this.  Stage2’s production doesn’t so much open up the monologue as shatter it.  James Yarker, from experimental theatre company Stan’s Cafe, directs as if in  the eye of a hurricane, a device that increases the intensity of the piece so  the emotion is so explosive it can hardly be contained.” The Guardian.  “A fantastic piece of theatre…brilliantly conveyed by a sixteen strong  ensemble.” Three Weeks. “Astonishingly mature performances from the  youthful cast.” Theatre Review. “The perfect cast for Claire  Dowie’s popular monologue. Sensational performances in an adaptation of wit  and passion.” The Scotsman

 

63. Amadeus 22nd - 24th July 1999Amadeus

by Peter Shaffer

22nd-24thJuly

StudioTheatre, mac

“Literate, brilliantly paced, totallyengrossing and perceptively revealing of the author’s true intentions. Thetruly impressive young actor Tom Darvill (Salieri) compels us to sit up, takenotice and comprehend. Moving easily between embittered ancient and schemingyounger man, his voice wonderfully modulated, his gestures mesmerising, Darvilldraws us into this sad man’s torment. Craig Painting’s Mozart grows fromirritating pantomine dame into something much more rounded – his physical decayharrowingly conveyed. Liz Light’s entire huge company deserves plaudits, notleast for its verbal choreography.” The Birmingham Post

 

B-Movie65. B-Movie 15th - 17th July 1999

By Stage2 & Scott Burnett

15th-17th July

HexagonTheatre, mac

B-Movie’ or ‘The Monster that the Budget Forgot’was another collaboration with Scott Burnett. Enter Ed Wood’s world of madscientists, flying saucers, wobbly sets and monsters galore. This play featureda notable double act from future soap stars Abi Curtis (Georgia, ‘Hollyoaks’)and Lauren Crace (Danielle, ‘Eastenders’).

59. Romeo & Juliet 7th - 10th April 1999Romeo & Juliet

By William Shakespeare

7th-10th April

Studio  Theatre, mac

“Breath-taking  youngsters! This extraordinary, beautifully lit production defies criticism.  It has a company of nearly 140 and the discipline Liz Light has injected is  remarkable. The most breathtaking aspect of all is the Juliet of 13 year old  Anna Wright, mature beyond her years in a performance which embraces sparkle  and tragedy with equal aplomb. This is a name which will surely enchant us for  years to come. Tom Stevens is an exciting Romeo, alert to all the nuances of  his role. Excellent support comes from Craig Painting, Katy Hamilton, and  Naomi Gudge to name a few of a company which has a habit of making us revise  any preconceived notions we may have of youth theatre. Tremendous!”.  Evening Mail.

1998

67. Doctor Faustus 15th - 17th Jan 1998Doctor Faustus

By Christopher Marlowe

15th-17th January

Studio Theatre, mac

“Put 95 youngsters aged 9 to 19 on stage in one of theatre’s classic poetic dramas and the result is staggering. Liz Light keeps the action in a shadowy red twilight and backs it with repetitive, hypnotic music while her company produces superbly drilled commitment. Mel Birkill is a tower of strength in the central role and Cressida Gaffney a wonderfully assured Mephistophilis but this is above all a team effort. An astonishing massed chorus exhibits an almost ant-like togetherness in its utterances, its movements and its excellently sustained stillnesses. The moments when it clings motionless on and around a staircase like a crimson wasps’ nest are startlingly memorable.” Evening Mail.

We were also visited by members of the Worldwide Marlowe Society who wrote a superlative review – “Breathtaking… crystal clear… perfection …The ultimate in synchronisation… I was in awe at this incredibly committed set of youngsters with their director of undoubted talent… A fantastic achievement!”

Cinemaniacs68. Cinemaniacs 9th - 11th Apr 1998

Devised by Stage2 & Scott Barnett

9th-11th April

Studio Theatre, mac

Stage2 now had 200 members so we regularly staged two shows each term, combining published scripts with devised shows. Cinemaniacs exploded on to the stage as a complete history of the cinema corrupted and condensed. This production featured a cast of 120 but a much smaller cast took a reworked version to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the following year. Birmingham Arts Workers – Clare Lovell, Education Officer at the Birmingham Rep and Jess Southwood, Creative Manager of Purple Monster both featured in this production.

69. In the Bleak Midwinter 15th - 18th Apr 1998In the Bleak Midwinter

By Kenneth Branagh

15th-18th April

Hexagon Theatre, mac

We were delighted that Kenneth Branagh gave us his personal permission to adapt his screenplay that follows the efforts of an out of work actor trying to regain his self-esteem by staging a production of ‘Hamlet’.

“A divine comedy – a busy company loads the laughs into a Shakepearian tragedy in the story of a group’s unintentional creation of a ‘Haha Hamlet’. There are engaging performances throughout Liz Light’s production: Katherine Jones (Fadge) is a delight of desperation and David Baldwin comes devastatingly dead pan to the sardonic Henry. Full Marks for the enterprising venture.” Evening Mail

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole70. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Wed 22 - Sat 25 Jul 1998

22nd-25th July

Studio Theatre, mac

Danny Price returned to choreograph another musical for us fresh from working with Madonna and David Bowie. “A comic treat from a talented cast who were word perfect on the first night. Full marks to Harry Wilson who stole the show as Adrian, well supported by Emily Lloyd Roberts as his unstable mum and like Adrian, the audience fell profoundly in love with Pandora played by Hannah Johnson. Brilliant acting – bravo Stage2!” Birmingham News

71. The Rhinocerous 9th July - 1st Aug 1998Rhinocerous

By Eugene Ionesco

29th July-1st August

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“As a production it is top notch. Dani Parr’s excellent production sets the standard immediately with the brilliantly sustained dialogue between Tom Darvill (Berenger) and John (Benedict Fisher). The Fisher transformation is a noisy, gallumphing tour de force of accelerating frenzy. This is a bravura performance by a young company of enthusiasm and talent.” Evening Mail

1997

72. No Walls Just Doors 10th - 11th Jan 1997No Walls Just Doors

Devised by Stage2 & Stan’s Cafe

10th-11th January

Studio Theatre, mac

“A fascinating picture of lives passing and crossing and of the many individual struggles. Scenes were played out within the movement – a powerful sound of silence. This was an hour long original play by a cast of 10 to 20 year olds that was thought-provoking, moving and sometimes funny.” Evening Mail.

“People will see my work who haven’t previously seen my work and people will see Stage2’s work who haven’t previously seen their work. A nice cross-fertilisation.” James Yarker, Stan’s Cafe.

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream73. A Midsummer Nights Dream 26th - 29th Mar 1997

By William Shakespeare

26th-29th March

Studio Theatre, mac

“Liz Light and her unlikely troupe have turned the unthinkable into a remarkable triumph. A beautiful first night found the words flowing with measured authority, poetic control and unbelievable confidence. Among these teeming, talented youngsters the one with sheer precocious incredibility is Hannah Johnson who sails through the role of Puck with an elfin charm adding its own magical dimension to Shakespeare’s intent. Rosanna Miles, a chuckle voiced Hermia, Nathaniel Coleman’s authoritative Theseus and the exuberant Jack Trow (Bottom) are shining lights in a busy, totally commendable company. This is a triumph of a young dream – it is not one to be missed.” Evening Mail

74. Our Street 1st - 4th Apr 1997Our Street

Devised by Stage2 & Scott Burnett

1st-4th April

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“Scott Burnett is directing 40 young members in a production they have devised themselves. ‘It’s about a street and the people who live in it. It could be anywhere. I feed ideas to the kids and they work on them. Then we go over it together deciding which bits work and what else needs to be done. It’s nice for them to be able to say “This is our bit!”‘ Evening Mail

A Chorus of Disapproval75. A Chorus of Disapproval 17th - 19th July 1997

By Alan Ayckbourn

17th-19th July

Studio Theatre, mac

“Excellent performances from all the young cast members especially Jeremy Hancock and Katie Hayes who play the not so happily married couple. Production director Liz Light, whose own contribution ensured a well entertained audience, must be well pleased with this latest presentation.” Birmingham News

76. Spinechillers 23rd - 26th July 1997Spinechillers

Devised by Stage2

23rd-26th July

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“Fabulous and fearsome stories which will make you want to sleep with your light on and check under the bed before you get in it! Stage2 presents an evening of spooky stuff without a Brother Grimm in sight – you’re more likely to feel the presence of Stephen King. See it if you dare!” What’s On

1996

Monster Mash77. Monster Mash 4th - 6th Jan 1996

Devised by John Godbold

4th-6th January

Studio Theatre, mac

“A deliciously tongue in trash schlock cheek offering from Brum’s Stage2 takes its inspiration from the 60’s novelty hit and throws in huge dollops of ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Dracula’ and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ for dressing. The Caretaker of The Celestial Library has lost it, causing all manner of gothic novels to develop a life of their own. When help comes to the rescue what they find is horror run wild…” What’s On

 

78. Daughters of Albion 4th - 6th April 1996Daughter’s of Albion

By Willy Russell

4th-6th April

Studio Theatre, mac

“Factory girls crash a student party as a Willy Russell play takes to the Birmingham Stage. Youth Theatre group Stage2 makes these two worlds collide with hilarious results at Edgbaston’s mac.” Birmingham News.

We decided to adapt Russell’s screenplay for a cast of over 150. We took over the theatre by not only ‘building’ a two storey, four roomed house, but also erecting a tent, installing a back garden and creating a street – all in the mac Studio!

 

The Little Shop of Horrors79. Little Shop of Horrors 17th - 20th July 1996

By Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

17th-20th July

Studio Theatre, mac

Hooray for the shop of horrors! This is a bubbling, bright-eyed production involving a team of nearly 200 youngsters, most of them put on stage! It delivers a succession of pulsating numbers with disciplined aplomb, the fizz flourishing as irresistibly as ever. Craig Painting excels as the memorably mad dentist and Tom Darvill (Seymour) and Catherine Skinner (Audrey) are an extremely pleasing central pairing; the message of Liz Light’s production came through loud and clear; this is a fine show. The man-eating plant is a pleasure in its own right.” Evening Mail

80. Our Day Out 17th - 21st Dec 1996Our Day Out

By Willy Russell

17th-21st December

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“Stage2, mac’s highly regarded youth theatre, present the original version of Russell’s comedy. First seen 20 years ago on television in the BBC’s Play for Today series, it is the story of a school trip to Wales with a cast of crazy schoolkids, panic-stricken teachers and frantic zoo-keepers. The tearaway terrors prove too much for everybody as one thing after another keeps going inexplicably wrong. A play ideally suited to this company – they will transform the stage into a coach, a zoo, a castle and a beach!” What’s On

1995

81. Cabaret 4th - 7th Jan 1995Cabaret

By Kander & Eb

4th-7th January

Studio Theatre, mac

“The decadence of pre-Third Riech Berlin was powerfully captured in Birmingham as 130 youngsters invaded mac for ‘Cabaret’. The large cast gave the scenes in the Kit Kat Klub real atmosphere creating the authentic nightclub ambience. The cast dealt maturely with a script that tackled Nazism, prejudice and sexuality, making Stage2’s ‘Cabaret’ a powerful, memorable experience. Jeremy Hancock’s Cliff Bradshaw was strong and thoughtful, Paul Ready was touching as kindly Herr Schultz and Naomi Gudge excellent as Fraulein Schneider. But for me the night belonged to Paul Pinfield whose Emcee was a mesmerising malevolent master of sleaze.” Birmingham News

 

Find Me82. Find Me 13th - 15th Apr 1995

By Olwen Wymark

13-15th April

Studio Theatre, mac,

Six years on we returned to our inaugural production, this time giving it a grander treatment with a larger cast on a larger set on a much larger stage! The production featured the first lead role from Jack Trow who went on to train at Rose Bruford before becoming a regular member of Stan’s Cafe, Birminghamís foremost experimental theatre company.

Visions in the Eastern Dust Mirage

Devised by Stage2

17th-18th July

Studio Theatre, mac

“A Birmingham arts centre will be buzzing with the sound of young voices as acclaimed youth theatre group Stage2 take it over! Stage2 have nabbed both spaces to present two different shows ‘Cider with Rosie’ and ‘Visions in the Eastern Dust Mirage’ as dreamt by Habib Nami. Featuring over 100 members of the company, Visions is a modern day fairytale about good vs. Evil with Stage2 joined by a brace of former members and local contemporary dancers.” Evening Mail

Cider with Rosie84. Cider with Rosie Edinburgh 14th - 26th Aug 1995

By Nick Darke

18th-22nd July

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“The young actors magically recreate the world of Lee’s childhood, bringing just the right mixture of joy and pathos to the tale. All acquit themselves admirably but a special mention should go to Nick Allcock whose Loll captures the gawky innocence of boyhood and the ever excellent Naomi Gudge who really gets under the skin of Laurie’s dreamy spirited mother and has a fine singing voice to boot.” The Birmingham News

14th-26th August83. Cider With Rosie 18th - 22nd July 1995

Roxburgh Studios Edinburgh

“Out of a well constructed chaos of accents tumble episodes of pre-war Cotswold life which are funny and savage by turn in this engaging adaptation. Energy and excellent ensemble work are its most marked characteristics. Nick Allcock and Jeremy Hancock tandem their way through the author’s youth and adolescence as the younger and older Laurie – the former’s impish innocence a good foil for the latter’s wistful confidence and easy control.” The Scotsman

85. Tom & Viv 13th - 16th Dec 1995Tom & Viv

By Michael Hastings

13th-16th December

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“A young company makes Michael Hastings’ story of the rocky relationship between T. S. Eliot and his wife look, sound and feel absolutely right. Jo Taylor (Viv) is an expressive delight of many emotions in her battle for sanity. Paul Ready’s Tom grows in stature from deference, diffidence and doubts to become a man able to bury his abiding love in the course of his advancement. These two finely tuned performances are beautifully supported by Victoria Sayce (Rose), Jeremy Hancock (Maurice) and Paul James Parker (Charles) in Liz Light’s excellent production.” Evening Mail

1994

86. Shakespeare Meets Soma 5th - 8th Jan 1994Shakespeare Meets Soma

Devised by Stage2

5th – 8th January

Studio Theatre, mac

“Richard Radnor Williams and Liz Light have selected highlights from ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘Henry IV’, ‘The Tempest’, ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and a few one-liners from others, and put them in the capable hands of the young and talented Stage2, who interpret them in a highly expressive, innovative and entertaining way. Oh yeah, they also enlisted the help of a live psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll outfit too in the shape of disturbed hipsters Soma. And guess what? – They’re perfectly matched.” What’s On

 

Teechers87. Teechers 7th - 9th April 1994

By John Godber

7th-9th April

Studio Theatre, mac

“The curtain rose and Salty (Steve Giles), Gail (Jessica Williams) and Hobby (Emily Lloyd Roberts) began the hilarious job of narration. From the off the trio worked well together, playing off jokes both verbal and visual with style and ease. Matt Simpson as Mr Nixon performed well, Paul Pinfield created a truly frightening caricature of Mr Basford whilst Joyce Grenfel was reborn in Naomi Gudge’s portrayal of Mrs Parry. The remainder of the huge cast created mayhem – so accurate! I go to the theatre quite regularly and I haven’t been so entertained as by Stage2 for quite a while. I hope the talents of this young company continue for a long time to come.” Birmingham News

88. The Freak Show 6th - 8th Jul 1994The Freak Show

By Simon Turner

6th-8th July

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“Stage2 has teamed up with former member Simon Turner to produce his third play ‘Freak Show’, a trip into the world of weirdness. The play looks at the way the decisions people in authority make can wreck the lives of those people who fall outside the expected norm.” The Birmingham Post. We were proud to give Simon the opportunity to produce and direct his own work.

The Tempest89. The Tempest 21st - 23rd July 1994

By William Shakespeare

21st-23rd July

Studio Theatre, mac

“A youthful cast – the youngest is 11, the oldest is 15 – confidently handle Shakespeare’s ‘farewell’ play. Paul Ready’s performance is the pivot of the piece – he is a commanding Prospero. Ben Fisher’s Caliban is vibrant, Rosanna Miles plays Ariel with a light-hearted approach and Craig Painting is an amusing Trinculo. The set has atmosphere, the sound effects are realistic and the youngsters definitely have spirit!” Evening Mail

 

1993

90. Twelfth Night 6th - 9th Jan 1993Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare

6th-9th January

Hexagon Theatre, mac

” A beautifully controlled, gentle performance by Jo Taylor as Viola and a sparkling account of Maria by Ester Naylor are the outstanding virtues of a brave and competent production by this young group. Paul Pinfield gets all the fun possible out of a limp wristed Sir Andrew, Rachel Evans finds a hint of a minx in Olivia and Tom Howell comes pluckily to Malvolio. The pace is well maintained and the lighting is persuasively Shakespearian and overall a well-merited feeling of confidence runs through Liz Light’s expansive production.” Evening Mail

 

Bugsy Malone91. Bugsy Malone 7th - 10th Apr 1993

Alan Parker

7th-10th April

Studio Theatre, mac

“Small boys in slouch hats and broad shouldered jackets, small girls in feathers and boas and a fair bit of young talent. We have a brash Bugsy (Danny Whitlock) and a gentle Blousy (Jessica Colman), but the show is stolen by the diminutive Ben Fisher, his Fat Sam is a delight – a piece of heavily accentuated po-faced caricature sustained with a buoyancy beyond his years. With Danny Price’s inventive choreography… this is a joy of an evening.” Evening Mail

92. Guys & Dolls 21st - 24th July 1993Guys & Dolls

By Damon Runyon

21st-24th July

Studio Theatre, mac

“Outstanding performances by Paul Ready and Naomi Gudge help this lively musical go with real swing. An excellent support from a cast includes exceptional performances from Emma Connelly as Missionary Sarah and Matt Simpson and Tom Howell as gamblers Sky Masterson and Nicely, Nicely Johnson. Splendid direction by Liz Light and Rob Carey, coupled with fine choreography by Danny Price ensures the pace of this fine show never slackens.” Evening Mail

Two93. TWO 22nd - 25th Sept 1993

By Jim Cartwright

22nd-25th September

Hexagon Theatre, mac

Another summer reunion project where ex-members come back from university and drama school to stage a show with current members. Paul Ready played the Landlord in Cartwright’s harrowing drama in his first lead role with Stage2. Paul then went to LAMDA before working extensively with The National Theatre – most notably the premiere of Mark Ravenhill’s ‘Mother Clap’s Molly House’ and ‘Waves’ on Broadway in 2008.

94. Bouncers & Shakers 15th - 18th Dec 1993Bouncers & Shakers

By John Godber

15th-18th December

Hexagon Theatre, mac

Stage2’s very own battle of the sexes! A week of alternating Godber’s hilarious comedies featuring the cocktail waitresses who work inside the bars and the doormen who work outside and the whole host of bizarre characters they encounter. Shakers featured Rochi Rampal who now works extensively with Women and Theatre. Both productions were revived the following May in Frankfurt, Germany as part of a youth exchange.

1992

95. Oliver! 16th - 18th April 1992Oliver!

By Lionel Bart

16th – 18th April

Studio Theatre, mac

Lionel Bart’s musical version of Dickens’ classic featured an early performance from (Tom) Arthur Darvill who graduated from RADA and starred in the award-winning ‘Terre Haute’ which premiered in Edinburgh before transferring to The Trafalgar Studios, London. Arthur then went straight into ‘Swimming with Sharks’ at The Vaudeville, London with Christian Slater. The Artful Dodger was played by Craig Painting who became a stalwart of mac Productions, notably playing ‘Pinocchio’ in Christmas 2006. Birmingham schoolchildren may also be interested to know that Mr Paul Merrell, formerly Head of Drama at Five Ways, now at Bromsgrove School also featured in Fagin’s gang

 

Stags & Hens96. Stags & Hens 15th - 18th Jul 1992

By Willy Russell

15th-18th July

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“Willy Russell’s superb black comedy is set within the bleak environment of the ladies and gents loos at a Liverpool Club. The young cast of Stage2 all play their parts brilliantly. The language is quite strong throughout, but the scouse accents are marvellously and consistently maintained.” Evening Mail.

This production featured Naomi Gudge who went on to play Martha in Angels and Insects a film that also featured 10 other members of Stage2.

97. Woman in a Dressing Gown 10th - 12th Sept 1992Woman in a Dressing Gown

By Ted Willis

10th – 12th September

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“Members of Stage2, one of the regionís leading youth groups are tackling a brave venture in ‘Woman in a Dressing Gown’. It is a piece which is rarely performed and it centres on a man, his wife and his mistress. In any other circles it might be considered an odd choice for a youth group, but Stage2’s record includes the very adult ‘Stags and Hens’ and ‘Piaf’ – so, another brave show.” Evening Mail

1991

98. ROAD 4th - 6th April 1991Road

By Jim Cartwright

4th-6th April

Hexagon Theatre, mac

Following the success of their recent shows, Stage2 is now Birmingham’s fastest growing youth theatre. They are now proud to announce that they are presenting ‘Road’ What’s On.

This production exploited the Hexagon Theatre to the full, as the weird and wonderful inhabitants of Cartwright’s northern street were located in front of, behind, to the sides, and even on top of the audience! This production featured Richard Williams who went on to write Jack’s Children specifically for Stage2 who then premiered the play in 2001.

 

Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations99. Ernies Incredible Illucinations 18th - 20th July 1991

By Alan Ayckbourn

18th-20th July

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“Ernie is a boy whose imagination embroils his parents and everyone with whom he come into contact – to the extent of having a 60 year old aunt taking part in a world boxing championship. Liz Light’s rough and tumble production yields pleasing cameo performances and plenty of fun.” Evening Mail

 

 

100. Letters Home 13th - 14th Sept 1991Letters Home

By Rose Leiman Goldemberg

13th-14th September

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“A Teenager’s bid to become an actress has been boosted by a play to be performed in Birmingham with her Drama Teacher. Emilie Goldman, aged 18, plays the poet Sylvia Plath with Liz Light, who also runs Stage2, as Sylvia’s mother Aurelia.” Birmingham News.

All profits were given to Emilie to help fund her training at Mountview Drama School in London.

 

The Crucible101. The Crucible 19th - 21st Dec 1991

By Arthur Miller

19th-21st December

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“Judged against any standard this is a towering production Miller would surely have felt privileged if he could have seen this talented, tumultuous account of it. John Light’s superb self torture, as Proctor, in the closing stages, is merely the final icing on a cake whose only ingredient is quality.” Evening Mail

 

1990

102. Grease 10th - 14th April 1990Grease

By Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey

10th-14th April

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“Liz Light’s ambitious production fizzes with life and excitement, supported by an excellent band directed by Richard Radnor Williams. There’s no denying the zip in a host of characterful roles, nor the dancing skills of Surangi Somaratne and the enthusiasm of the huge chorus. There are outstanding performances from Caroline Lee, Julia Foster and Natalie Joseph with John Light and Carolyn Langford making a challenging central pairing. The numbers are accomplished with style and aplomb in this dynamic blockbuster.” Evening Mail

 

Our Day Out103. Our Day Out 18th - 21st July 1990

By Willy Russell

18th-21st July

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“In a class of its own! – A company of 30 youngsters give a fizz-filled account of a remedial class on a dayís outing. Liz Light’s enterprising production finds the action taking place all round the auditorium. Characterisations are clearly drawn – none more so than Roz Garrett’s appalling but funny school girl tart, splendidly supported by Naomi Ackling as her friend.” Evening Mail

 

104. A Chorus of Disapproval 22nd - 23rd Dec 1990A Chorus of Disapproval

By Alan Ayckbourn

22nd- 23rd December

Hexagon Theatre, mac

Our first visit to Ayckbourn’s exposé of the intriguing stories of an amateur theatre company. Newcomer Guy ends up taking on a whole lot more than just a lead role! This production featured John Light who went on to work extensively for the RSC (playing Brutus and Caliban in 2007) and Jo Moseley (Taylor) who played Curley’s wife in Birmingham REP’s acclaimed ‘Of Mice and Men’ which transferred to The Old Vic, London.

 

 

 

 

1989

105. Stags & Hens 9th - 13th April 1989Stags & Hens

By Willy Russell

9th-13th April

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“This foul mouthed Willy Russell piece, set in the loos of a seedy nightclub, establishes its standards early; the cue for laughter is when the bridegroom’s vomit hits his friend’s suit. But the treatment it receives in Liz Light’s crackling production is quite superb. The playing is believable, the pace rarely flags and the between scenes music adds humour of its own.” Evening Mail

 

Adrian Mole106. Adrian Mole 5th - 8th July 1989

By Sue Townsend

5th-8th July

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“This youthful and talented company make Adrian’s diary worth keeping a date with, as he escorts us through a range of experiences and family crises. A likeable Dominic Fisher breezes through the traumas with exuberance and a natural approach as Adrian. Siobhan Drury as Grandma, John Light as Bert and Emilie Goldman as Adrian’s mother all create colourful characters – make a note in your diary!” Evening Mail

 

107. Cider with Rosie 13th - 16th Dec 1989Cider with Rosie

By James Roose Evans

13th-16th December

Hexagon Theatre, mac

“The great-nephew of best selling author Laurie Lee is starring in a stage version of his book ‘Cider with Rosie’. John Light is playing Laurie in the production by Stage2. His sister Liz is directing the show and they have borrowed a family heirloom scrapbook, which belonged to Laurie Lee’s mother, as a special prop. They also met and interviewed Charles Light, Laurie’s cousin who featured in the book.” The Birmingham Post

 

 

1988

108. Find Me 15th - 17th Dec 1988Find Me

By Olwen Wymark

15th-17th December

Hexagon Theatre, mac

Stage2 launched with a production of Olwen Wymarks’s powerful piece about a young girl with socialisation problems who slips through every net at every turn, eventually ending up in Broadmoor. Within this stylised production several people play the same character as we meet Verity Taylor’s family, therapists, teachers, social workers and nurses. The cast included Kate Ashfield who went on to star in Shaun of the Dead, and Richard Allenson who created the role of Mr Briefcase in Central TV’s ‘Your Mother Wouldn’t Like it’.”

07961 018841

c/o Stage2
12 Valentine Road
Kings Heath
Birmingham
B14 7AN

Rehearsal Space
Millenium Point
Curzon Street
Birmingham
B4 7XG

info@stage2.org