Latest news and updates

Singer Lydia Lucy is back at The Deco this Christmas, which is great news for everyone who’ve told us how much they enjoyed her Panto performances in Peter Pan last year, and Beauty and the Beast in 2015. And despite a busy schedule, Lydia had no hesitation, she tells us, in accepting the invitation to play Cinderella this Christmas.

Actually, to describe Lydia’s schedule as ‘busy’ is to grossly under-estimate it. Perhaps ‘manic’ is more appropriate, or even ‘non-stop’. The bottom line is this: Lydia works incredibly hard; and such is her flourishing career as a singer and performer, her workload as taken her to many parts of the world this year, as well as all over the UK.

So, by her own admission, appearing in Panto in Northampton throughout December is rare stability. And anyway, she loves being at The Deco. “I really do,” she says. “It’s a wonderful family atmosphere: I love the team behind the scenes who work so hard, and are always so helpful and obliging, I love working with the cast – some familiar faces, but those I hadn’t met before are fab – and the audiences at Deco Pantos are always so much fun, and fantastic to perform to.”

It was after her first Deco Panto appearance in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that Lydia went off to compete in the TV talent show ‘The Voice’, where she made it through to the Grand Final, and finished third. She made such a big impression to so many, that she has barely had a day off since!

And though she can’t give too much away at the moment, she is already excited about what 2019 holds, with exciting opportunities about to come her way.

“I’d love to say more, but it’s all under wraps at the moment,” said Lydia. “Suffice to say I’m excited, but then I’m very lucky, because I’m doing what I love: singing and performing; it’s so busy, it’s crazy at times, but always great fun.

“But doing Panto is great fun too, and crazy in a different way, because we all have so much fun on and off stage.

“And what’s more, we’ve got another fantastic show lined up, with a great cast, and yet again, an amazingly talented team of young local performers and dancers supporting us, so it’s all very exciting.”

‘Cinderella’ is at The Deco Theatre, Abington Square, from December 7 to 29. For tickets, www.thedeco.co.uk, call the Box Office on 01604 491005, or call by in person between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

Actor Chris Wills returns to The Deco Theatre this Christmas for his second Panto appearance as Prince Charming in Cinderella. He played the role successfully two and a half years ago, when The Deco put on its first Spring Panto, and is not only delighted to be doing it all again, but to be back in Northampton for a second successive year.

“Cinderella is a terrific Panto,” said Chris, who is originally from Wigan, in Lancashire, but now lives and works out of London. “I’m really excited to be back in Northampton, we’ve another great show, a fantastic cast again, and if the audiences are as wonderful as last year, then it’s going to be another wonderful Panto experience.

“The audiences generate a fantastic atmosphere: they make lots of noise, they’re interactive, and they all turn up with the purpose of having fun, and as a performer, that is exactly what we want!”

It has been a busy year for Chris, since he ended last year’s run of ‘Peter Pan’ at The Deco. For much of 2018 he has been on the road, travelling around the UK, Europe, and into Asia, performing in the touring production of Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’.

“It’s been busy, it’s been fun and I’ve really enjoyed myself,” he said. “But it’s been intense, and doing Panto is obviously quite a contrast, though I’m very lucky as an actor to have a wide variety of opportunities.”

Chris will be starring in the Deco Panto alongside Lydia Lucy, Colin Ridgewell, Lee Bright, Clive Fletcher, Fern Roach, and Sammy Webb, who is also directing the show, his first at The Deco. “It’s another fantastic cast, Sam’s a great character on and off stage, and I’m really looking forward to working with him, his knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, Panto is awesome.

“The other thing which always really excites me is the consistently high standard of young, local performers who appear in Deco Panto’s as part of the Chorus, and once again I’m hearing how hard they’re working in preparation.

“Not only that, The Deco have a fantastic support staff behind the scenes; they really look after us and make us welcome; and for all of us, it becomes one big family for a month – and that includes the audiences!”

Chris is a perfect fit for Panto, as much of his work is with Children’s Theatre productions.

“I love it, and I love Panto,” he says. “Great Panto involves a good team, good songs, naff jokes and lots of fun, and that’s what we’ve got, and will be having, in our Cinderella show, and I can’t wait to get started.”

‘Cinderella’ runs at The Deco from December 8 to 30. For tickets: www.thedeco.co.uk, call the Box Office on 01604 491005, or pop by to The Deco, in Abington Square, between 10am and 4pm Monday to Saturday.

A feast of laughter is lined up at the Deco for the new year, headlined by Lost Voice Guy, Lee Ridley, but also bringing to Northampton two of the most highly rated acts on the stand-up comedy circuit, Sean McLaughlin and Ahir Shah.

The 2018 ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winner Lee Ridley takes to The Deco stage on Saturday Feb 9th, having won rave reviews for his appearance at the recent Royal Variety Performance, which you can see on ITV, on December 11th.

Following Ridley to The Deco five weeks later is rising star of the comedy circuit Ahir Shah, on Friday, March 15th. He is bringing his show ‘Duffer’ to Northampton, which has already started its UK tour, following its critically acclaimed sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe early this year, earning him a second nomination in a row for Best Show, at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Ahir has won many plaudits for his stand-up comedy, including this recently from the Daily Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comedy/what-to-see/one-generations-eloquent-comic-voices-ahir-shah-control-edinburgh/

And completing a trio of great stand-ups at The Deco is Sean McLoughlin, who comes to Northampton on April 5th. Fresh from opening for Ricky Gervais on tour, McLoughlin – described as “the best comedian you haven’t heard of yet” by Time Out magazine – is taking his acclaimed, smash hit show, Hail Mary, on the road.

As well as providing tour support for Gervais’ record-breaking international ‘Humanity’ tour, McLoughlin was also handpicked to open for Bill Burr at the Royal Albert Hall recently, and for the legendary Doug Stanhope.

He has also made appearances on Stand-Up Central, Comedy Central At The Comedy Store, and his talents have landed him a Chortle Award nomination, and a review by Beyond The Joke as “…the epitome of the skilful stand-up…”

Said Jill Roach, House Manager at The Deco Theatre: “There’s a great appetite for good stand-up comedy in Northampton, and we’re are delighted to be bringing some of the country’s best performers to town, as we did recently with Lauren Pattison, who was fantastic.”

For tickets and more information about all three shows, go to www.thedeco.co.uk, or call our Box Office on 01604 491005

 

Actor Colin Ridgewell is heading back to Northampton this Christmas for his fifth Panto at The Deco Theatre, and this year he is back doing what he loves best: playing one of the – he’ll be one of the two Ugly Sisters, playing the role alongside Sam Webb, who is also the show’s director.

Colin, on the left in this picture of our Ugly Sisters, was the baddie in ‘Peter Pan’ last year, and loved being Captain Hook, a role he played superbly. But it was as a Dame in previous Panto appearances that won him a legion of fans at The Deco, and he’s looking forward to doing it all again in ‘Cinderella’, which runs from December 7 to 29.

“It’s great to be back at The Deco for another Panto, I’m really looking forward to being a Dame again,” said Colin. “It’s great to be working again with Lydia (Lucy), Chris (Wills), Clive (Fletcher), and Fern (Roach), and to be teaming up for the first time with Lee (Bright) and Sam; when we got together for the photo shoot earlier in the year there was immediate camaraderie and connection between us all.

“As others will tell you, if the cast get along well together, and genuinely have fun performing in the Panto – as we always do at The Deco – then it makes it even more enjoyable for the audience, they feel the buzz, and we all bounce of each other.

“The audiences are traditionally terrific at The Deco, every year they come along with the sole intention of enjoying themselves, being inter-active, and joining in the fun, and for us on stage it makes it all the more fulfilling and rewarding – and we absolutely love what we do.”

Colin, who first made a name for himself in the BBC’s popular ‘Grange Hill’ children’s TV show in the 1990s, says what also makes The Deco special for him is the team behind the scenes.

“The staff treat you like family, nothing’s too much trouble, it really is a pleasure to work there; and not just that, everyone involved with the production are totally professional and at the top of their game at all times,” he said.

“I should also point out the amazingly high standard of the young dancers who support us throughout the run – year on year they are outstanding, and they’ve made an enormous contribution to the success of our Pantos.”

On stage, and off it, laughter is never far away during Panto season at The Deco. Colin’s own funniest memory on stage was two years ago, and it still makes him chuckle now. “It was during ‘Snow White’ in 2016 – I was playing a Dame, and during a scene that I was in, one of my boobs popped!

“I carried on as though nothing had happened, but Nick Cochrane was having none of it, and had a field day; his reaction was hilarious, and the audience loved it,” said Colin. “Lee Bright is just as mischievous as Nick, so I’ll have to be on my guard!”

Colin and the cast will be appearing in Cinderella from December 7 to 29. Tickets can be bought online at www.thedeco.co.uk, by calling The Box Office on 01604 491005, or by popping by to The Deco on Abington Square, Northampton – across the road from BBC Northampton, and opposite Steffans the jewellers.

 

It may well be Halloween this week, but The Deco Theatre is set to continue the spooky celebrations into next month, with the forthcoming production of the popular musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’.

The popular show mixes together horror, sci-fi, comedy and rock music, and has become a cult classic the world over since it was first performed on Broadway, in New York, 30 years ago.

This brand-new production will be playing at the Deco in Northampton for six performances between November 13th and 17th.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’, was devised and written by the combination of composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, who are most famous for their work on some of Disney’s most popular films, including The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast.

‘Little Shop’ showcases some of their finest work, with an electrifying 1960s pop/rock score, and became one of Broadway’s longest running shows.

The story revolves around the meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn, who stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” after his co-worker, who he has a crush on.

But the plant develops a craving for human flesh and blood, and before long, Seymour feeds Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend to the plant in the hope that he might then win her heart. The big question is whether “Audrey II” will take over the world, or if Seymour and Audrey can defeat it!

The show at The Deco features an amazing animatronic plant which starts off as a seedling but by the second half of the show has grown to fill almost the whole stage!!

Director Mindy Robinson says: “It’s a fabulous, fun, show, with great songs and some amazing performances, but people always leave talking about the Audrey II plant, it is a real scene stealer!”

Little Shop of Horrors runs at The Deco Theatre from Tuesday November 13th until Saturday November 17th at 7.30, with a 2.30 matinee on Saturday afternoon. To book, call The Deco Box Office on 01604 491005, or go online: https://www.thedeco.co.uk/event/little-shop-of-horrors/

 

She’s bright, she’s bubbly; she’s young, and she’s funny. Very funny. She’s Lauren Pattison, one of the rising stars of stand-up comedy, and heading to Northampton next month.

Lauren is a stand-up natural. She took to it like the proverbial duck to water from the moment she first gave it a go at 18, and such has been the impact she has made, Lauren has barely had a day off since turning professional just over a year ago.

Her shows – observational comedy, in which she shares her own life experiences – sell out. Indeed, there wasn’t a seat to be had during her run at the Edinburgh Festival in August, and so successful was that show, she is now taking it to venues around the country, including The Deco Theatre, in Northampton town centre, on Monday, November 19.

“I’m going to places I’ve been to before, and that I like, and Northampton fits the bill perfectly,” said Lauren, who has been making people laugh since she was at school in Newcastle. She said: “I was actually quite shy as a youngster, but in my teens I started doing drama and loved it; and what I loved most was making people laugh, so for me it seemed a natural segway to go from drama to comedy.

“I joined a local group for kids which specialised in comedy, which I loved, and from then on I listened to comedy, watched it on TV, and went to see it live; then at 18 I decided to go for it, and started looking for opportunities.

“The first gig I did was when I entered a competition for stand-ups near my home – I thought I’d give it a go, but also use the opportunity to meet people and get some advice,” she said. “I’d never done a gig before, but I got through to the semi-finals, which was really exciting.

“After that, I spoke to a local comedy club, who were good enough to find a slot for me, and from then on it was a chain reaction, with one gig leading to another, and so on.”

Lauren continued to gain experience during four years as a drama student at Northumbria University – she graduated with a first class masters degree – and combined studying with fitting in gigs wherever and whenever she could.

Her reputation flourished, and the next step was to move down to London to try her luck in the comedy clubs around and about the capital, though it was the after the five-star reviews she achieved for her debut Edinburgh Festival Show in 2017 that eventually gave her the confidence to turn professional, though she admits she did so with reservations.

“But it’s been an amazing year,” she said. “I’ve performed in Australia and Canada, I’ve appeared on TV in ‘The Comedy Store’, and I was nominated in the ‘Best Newcomer’ category for the Lastminute.com awards, so it’s gone really well.

“I now gig all over the country, and I love it; I’m earning a living doing something I find so fulfilling, and I’m enjoying every minute.”

Lauren describes herself on stage as ‘a storyteller’. She said: “My comedy is anecdotal and observational, I don’t do politics, nor do I do satire; the material I write is all based on my own experiences and observations.”

And a year on since turning professional, it is fair to observe that Lauren’s star is on the rise. “To think that last year I was excited, but also very scared,” she said. “I didn’t know where my next money was coming from, or if I was ever going to make it.”

But the flood of great reviews from critics and audiences alike speak for themselves. This rising star of stand-up comedy definitely made the right decision!

 You can see Lauren at The Deco, Northampton, on Monday, November 19. To book tickets, call the Box Office on 01604 491005 or book online: www.thedeco.co.uk/event/lauren-pattison-peachy/

 

Panto time is not far away! This year’s Christmas spectacular at The Deco is ‘Cinderella’, starring Lydia Lucy, Lee Bright, Chris Wills, Colin Ridgewell, Sammy Webb, Fern Roach and the much loved and highly respected Deco legend, Clive Fletcher.

And Clive really is a legend. He’s been in all our Pantos since 2010, but more than that, Clive – in character – is the official ‘meeter and greeter’ when audiences arrive at The Deco ahead of the show, and he plays the role brilliantly. Indeed, it’s very much a family affair, because Clive’s wife, Barbara, is one of the ‘unsung heroes’ working hard behind the scenes; if you’re collecting pre-ordered tickets on arrival, then Barbara is the lady at the desk.

This year Clive’s plays Baron Hardup in Cinderella, and as ever, he is looking forward to another busy December doing what he loves. “The Deco puts on fantastic Panto, and I’m privileged to be a part of it,” he said. “I look forward so much to Panto season – it’s so lovely to see families coming to the theatre for what we all hope is a magical experience for them all, but obviously, especially for the young children.

“Nothing makes me happier, as a performer, than hearing the children laughing, screaming, singing along with us, and generally having a great time,” said Clive. “But it’s just as rewarding for me, and all of us in the cast, to see the adults having just as much fun.

“Cinderella’s going to be another great show, with a fantastic cast once again: Lydia, Chris, Colin and Fern are all familiar with our audiences, it’s good to see Lee back again, and Sammy is not just a very good director, he and Colin are going to be brilliant Ugly Sisters.

“I should also point out that I never cease to be amazed each year at the outstanding talents of the young dancers who support the main cast.”

Away from Panto, Clive is also a regular performing in The Deco’s popular shows ‘The Glory of Music Hall’ – the next one, ‘There’ll Always Be An England’, commemorating the end of the First World War, is on Thursday, November 15th.

Said Clive: “These are thoroughly enjoyable afternoon shows, and we get lovely audiences who join us to roll back the years, and it’s a pleasure to be involved with them.”

You can see Clive and the team in Cinderella at The Deco between December 7 and 29. You can book online: http://www.thedeco.co.uk/event/cinderella/, call the Box Office on 01604 491005, or pop by to The Deco between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

Just a couple of weeks after under-going a painful hernia operation, Pete Bultitude, front-man of the Kettering based Genesis Connected, is going back on stage – and starting another UK Tour on home territory in Northamptonshire, when he takes his acclaimed tribute show to Northampton’s Deco Theatre.

Pete’s incapacity at the start of this month meant putting back their Deco show from October 5th to the 25th, and he says he cannot wait to be performing again.

“Playing in our home county is very important to us, and however frustrating it was to move the initial date, I had no choice, because if you get called in by the hospital for an operation you’ve been waiting for, you obviously do it,” said Pete.

“But it takes a lot to keep me down, and after a few days’ recuperation, we’re back rehearsing and looking forward to playing The Deco on Friday, October 25th, before heading down to London the following day.”

Genesis Connected is now acclaimed as Europe’s number one tribute act, and after winning rave reviews around the UK for their stunning tribute to the iconic band, are now receiving invitations to play abroad, and have already been over to Germany to perform.

“We have to be careful, because though we absolutely love what we do, we all have full time jobs, so we work our schedule around our work commitments, but the response we’re getting is phenomenal,” said Pete.

“We’re really looking forward to playing The Deco again; we had great feedback from our show there last year, and we’re delighted that such was the enthusiasm for us we have been invited back there.”

Pete became involved with Genesis Connected after coming up with the idea with keyboard player and his best friend Chris Woods.

He said: “We loved Genesis, but also loved the biggest solo acts that came from it. Once, we were both performing in a Phil Collins tribute show and the power cut, I grabbed an acoustic guitar and started playing Over My Shoulder by Mike and the Mechanics, the audience all sang along and me and Chris thought, time to do this!”

Which is why their show now covers all the great Genesis hits, plus the solo careers too of Collins and Peter Gabriel, and the music of Mike and the Mechanics, headed by guitarist Mike Rutherford.

Indeed, so authentic is the show that Pete also includes Collins’ drum solo as part of his repertoire. He is an accomplished drummer himself, inspired in the first place after hearing the drum fill in Collins’ song ‘In The Air Tonight’.

“It captured my imagination and from that moment on I was hooked,” said Pete. “Phil Collins is an icon to me; I even play a Premier 70s drum kit very similar to one he owned as well as using his signature drum sticks!”

Genesis Connected is at Northampton’s Deco Theatre on Friday, October 25th. For tickets: www.thedeco.co.uk/event/genesis-connected/ or call the Box Office on 01604 491005. The Deco is situated in Abington Square, Northampton, across the road from BBC Northampton, and opposite Steffans jewellers. St Michael’s car park is situated at the back of the theatre.

Sammy Webb, who will be playing one of the two Ugly Sisters in ‘Cinderella’ this December, is not only one of the stars of our Panto, he is also the boss! Sammy is directing the show, too. And The Deco could not have a better person at the helm: if anyone knows what makes good Panto, it is Sammy – a Panto fanatic, be it as a performer, director, or a member of the audience.

Indeed, Sammy’s love of Panto, and his expertise, is such that he is soon to start a PhD in Pantomime! And if that is not enough to prove beyond doubt his enthusiasm, two years ago he launched the annual British Pantomime Awards, which proved to be an instant success.

“I absolutely love Panto, and always have done,” said Sammy, who lives in Northamptonshire, and runs the Brackley Youth Theatre. “It’s why I co-founded the Great British Pantomime awards in 2016, which honours and rewards the best Pantos and performers from all over the country.

“Theatre has its Olivier awards, film has the BAFTAs, so why shouldn’t Panto have its own glamourous, and much deserved, awards night,” he said. “Since we launched it two years ago, it’s been really successful, and this year, for instance, we’ll have over 25 judges watching well more than a hundred shows all over the country.

“Among the awards given out, are for Best Panto, Best Comic, Best Double Act, Best Fairy, Best Baddie, Best Script, Best Special Effects.”

And Sammy is delighted to be working with The Deco for this year’s Christmas Panto. “The Deco’s reputation for top quality Panto snowballs year on year, and I’m absolutely delighted to be involved in ‘Cinderella’,” he said.

“We’ve got a fantastic cast of very talented performers, and everyone is so lovely to be around, not just the actors, but the team behind the scene; there’s a fantastic chemistry throughout the production, and that can only be good for making great Panto.

“It’s my first Panto at The Deco, so that’s really exciting,” he said. “I’ve directed a few Pantos before but since moving to Northamptonshire a few years ago; I was asked if I’d be interested in directing ‘Cinderella’ at The Deco, and I jumped at the chance, and the opportunity to be in it too!”

So as an expert in Panto, what makes a good show?

“For me personally, I love the relationship between audience and performer,” said Sammy. “I love the freedom of interaction with the audience during the show; the off-the-cuff laughs that you can have.

“One thing I picked up quickly was the camaraderie, the banter, and respect among the cast, and with the team behind the scenes, which is something I know is important to The Deco, and though it’s been said before, I totally agree that if the audience see you all having fun together on stage, and enjoying it as much as they are, then you’re on to a winner.”

And Sammy’s favourite memory of Panto? “I loved the late, great John Inman in Panto, the ultimate Panto Dame over many years until his death in 2007. He was awesome!

“But there have been, and are, many other amazing performers who do exactly what Panto should do: provide fantastic family entertainment, engage the audience, have fun while they’re doing it, and make great memories.

“If that’s what we can achieve at The Deco this December, then no one will be happier than me; and I’ve absolutely no reason to doubt that ‘Cinderella’ is going to be yet another Deco winner!”

For tickets for Cinderella at The Deco: www.thedeco.co.uk, or call the Box Office on 01604 491005. Alternatively, call in at The Deco, on Abington Square, between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

For more information about the Panto Awards, visit the website: https://www.pantomimeawards.co.uk/

For more information about Brackley Youth Theatre: https://www.facebook.com/BrackleyYouthTheatre/

For tickets for Cinderella, go to https://www.thedeco.co.uk/event/cinderella/, call the Box Office on 01604 491005, or call in at The Deco, in Abington Square, Northampton, Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm.

 

‘Emerald Storm’, a brand new theatre celebration of the glory of Irish dancing and culture, begins its first UK Tour this week. And is heading to The Deco later in the month, on Friday, October 26.

From the producers of the hit West End hit shows ‘Seven Drunken Nights – The Story of The Dubliners’, and ‘Walk Right Back – The Everly Brothers Story’, this exciting new show provides a fresh take on the Irish Dancing tradition, and features some of Ireland’s most talented performers.

Mike Crawshaw, of the vocal harmony group The Overtones, is a director of the show producers, Slamdunk Entertainments who produce the show.

”Irish dancing is very popular, and I absolutely love it,” he said. “What we want to do in ‘Emerald Storm’ is demonstrate the emerging contemporary scene within the world of Irish Dance, honouring it’s awesome tradition as we do it, but at the same time, bringing it into the 21st century, and highlighting what a new generation are now contribution to the art.

“We’ve a cast of amazing dancers, and we’re lucky to have a team of incredible musicians providing a heavenly soundtrack to our adventure,” he said. “From traditional folk songs, original instrumentals and modern acoustic tracks, the stunning vocalists and fantastic live musicians take you to another world.”

The show follows a thrilling story, set in Celtic mythology – a tale of good and evil, which keeps audiences the edge of their seats throughout, with the dynamic choreography and lyrical soundtrack.

Said Mike: “We wanted to break the mould and step in a fresh direction for shows of this genre. We couldn’t do a show of this nature without the explosive, driving numbers quintessential of the Irish Dance tradition, and nor would we want to!

“But the crossover pieces, the variety and contrast provide something unexpected which we hope will leaving audiences reeling, and wanting more; it’s something completely new and that’s never been explored before.

“Let us transport you to the mythological paradise of Celtic heaven – ‘the otherworld’ – in an epic battle between the light and the darkness.

“In a mystical land parallel to ours, a fairy kingdom exists in peace and tranquillity; but when an uprising threatens to destroy utopia, the Queen of the Otherworld is forced to call upon the help of the mortals.”

So, can the Emerald Storm defeat the elements and restore harmony? Will Heaven be saved?  Will the mortals succeed?

Join us at The Deco on Friday, October 26, to find out. It’s a fantastic production, amazing dancing, and a great night out!

 

 
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