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After the success he had directing last year’s Christmas Panto ‘Cinderella’, Sam Munday Webb will be back at The Deco performing the same role this year, for ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.

This time, Sam will be concentrating solely on his role as director, having doubled up last year as one of the ‘Ugly Sisters’, forming a superb, and hilarious, double act with Colin Ridgewell. But he wants to dedicate his total attention to putting on a fantastic Panto.

Indeed, The Deco is in perfect hands: Sam is a student of Panto, and an acknowledged expert in the field; he is also the executive producer of the Annual British Panto Awards, which he helped launch four years ago, and which is fast establishing itself as one of the big awards ceremonies of the showbiz calendar.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be working with The Deco again this year,” said Sam, who runs the Brackley Youth Theatre in the town where he lives, and has recently launched a consultancy offering specialist coaching in presentation skills. “The Deco’s a lovely theatre, and it has deservedly established itself as a venue for top class, and affordable, Panto for all the family.

“I absolutely loved every minute of last year’s Panto experience at The Deco; I wanted to create something fresh and modern, but embedded in tradition, and I certainly believe we succeeded.

“The cast were a pleasure to work with, the standard of the talented young singers and dancers supporting us was amazing, the audiences were awesome, the feedback was immense, and the team behind the scenes were fantastic and incredibly supportive.

“I didn’t need to think about it when I was offered the opportunity to do it again,” said Sam. “But this year I thought it best to totally dedicate myself to my duties as a director: playing one of the Ugly Sisters was great fun, and doing it with Colin was a laugh a minute, but I’m going to be totally hands-on behind the scenes.

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, and he has a phenomenal knowledge of its history and tradition.

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

“For me personally, I love the relationship between audience and performer,” he said. “I love the freedom of interaction with the audience during the show; the off-the-cuff laughs that you can have, and adapting the script throughout the run to make it relevant to issues in the news.

“The camaraderie, banter, and respect among the cast last year made it a pleasure to turn up every day, during rehearsals and the run of the Panto, and 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.”

For tickets for ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ 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/

The Deco Theatre is offering an amazing opportunity to youngsters between six and 17 years old during later this year, with the opportunity to take part in their Summer Holiday Youth Theatre Workshop in August.

The Workshop runs for a week from August 5th, from 10am to 4pm each day, with the finale, on Saturday, August 10th, when the youngsters will be performing the musical ‘Fame! Jr’ to a live audience at 2.30pm and 6.30pm.

For £155 – and £100 for siblings – youngsters taking part in the Workshop will spend a week learning, rehearsing and then performing two shows on the Saturday. The fee includes a DVD of the show, and two free tickets for one of the live performances; extra tickets cost £10.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for children from six to 17 to take part in a youth drama and dance project, in an actual theatre and performing on stage before a live audience at the end of the project,” said Jill Roach, House Manager at The Deco Theatre.

“This project has been incredibly successful since we started doing it a few years ago, with the finished product each time phenomenal, and we’re really excited to be doing it again this year.”

All participants are welcome to audition for main parts of the show. Those auditions will be held on Sunday, May 19th, from 10am to 1pm, and the following day, on Monday, May 20th from 5pm to 8pm. Call backs will be on Saturday 8th June from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

‘Fame! Jr.’ is set during the last years of the “Fame School,” New York City’s celebrated High School for the Performing Arts on 46th Street (1980-1984). The musical follows the bittersweet but inspiring story of a diverse group of students as they commit to four years of gruelling artistic and academic work in order to achieve their dream of “hitting the heights” and putting their “name in lights.” But it’s not always plain sailing!

Please call The Deco theatre on 01604 491005 for a registration/audition pack or email us at hello@thedeco.co.uk.

 

TV quiz star and acclaimed comedian Paul Sinha is bringing his stand-up comedy show to Northampton’s Deco Theatre in June.

Paul, a qualified medical doctor, and now famous as one of the stars of the popular ITV quiz show The Chase, is coming to The Deco on Wednesday, June 5th. Paul is the headline act on a night of comedy that includes three talented support comedians, Chris Kent, Josh Pugh and Rich Wilson.

It’s Paul’s second visit to The Deco – he was star performer on a comedy night at the theatre in August 2013, when he went down a storm with the audience.

“Paul was hilarious when he was here five and a half years ago, and we’re delighted to be welcoming him back,” said The Deco’s House Manager, Jill Roach. “Paul is obviously a very clever man, and in the top 50 of the world’s best quizzers, a status he proves worthy of regularly on The Chase.

“But he is also an extremely talented stand-up performer who now travels all over the country, and indeed the world, entertaining audiences, and with a fantastic support cast that he brings with him, we’re looking forward to another great night of stand-up comedy at its very best!”

For tickets to see Paul Sinha – known to his fans on The Chase as ‘The Sinnerman’, and reknown for the white suits he wears on the show – perform his stand-up comedy routine, and his support act of talented comedians, call The Deco box office on 01604 491005, or book online: https://www.thedeco.co.uk/event/paul-sinah/.

 

It was a cult novel, one of the iconic films of the 1960s, and more recently it has become an acclaimed stage play.

And ‘The Graduate’ – made famous by the film starring Ann Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman in 1967, and featuring the Simon and Garfunkel hit song ‘Mrs Robinson’ – is being performed on stage at Northampton’s Deco Theatre this May.

The theatre is teaming up with the award-winning White Cobra Productions, with three performances between Thursday, May 16th, to Saturday, May 18th.

“White Cobra did some outstanding productions at The Deco last year, and we are delighted to welcome them back,” said Jill Roach, House Manager of the Deco Theatre. “Having loved the film, I’m really excited about seeing The Graduate performed on stage, and I have no doubt that White Cobra will deliver another top class production for our audiences.”

Set in California in the 1960s, Benjamin Braddock is a confused young man. Having just graduated, he finds himself uncertain about his future, disconnected from his purpose, and increasingly alienated from the upper-class, suburban, “plastic” world of his parents.

Fighting panic and boredom, he is deeply conflicted but ultimately willing when Mrs. Robinson, the unhappily married, alcoholic, and charismatic wife of his father’s business partner, lures him into an affair. But Benjamin’s life becomes complicated when he falls in love with Elaine, Mrs Robinson’s upbeat daughter.

The stage adaptation of The Graduate is a dark comedy, full of rapid-fire dialogue between fascinating and horrifying characters, while exploring family dysfunction, parental expectations, crumbling marriages, and the naive, yet disillusioned, dichotomy of youth.

“As well as being a great film, The Graduate lends itself brilliantly to the stage,” said Richard Jordan, of White Cobra Productions. “It’s up there with other movies which have worked so well as theatre pieces, such as The Full Monty and Billy Elliott, and we can’t wait to bring it to the Deco stage in Northampton.”

To book tickets: https://www.thedeco.co.uk/event/the-graduate/ or call 01604 491005.

Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley – the Lost Voice Guy – kicks off a season of stand-up comedy at Northampton’s Deco Theatre when he brings his one-man show to the town on February 9th.

Lee, 38, won the £250,000 first prize last June, and with it an appearance at the Royal Variety Performance, which he did to much acclaim. He has also established himself as one of the country’s favourite stand-up comedians, and his touring show is playing to packed houses.

Following Lee to The Deco later in the month is Jack Barry, another acclaimed performer who takes to the Deco stage on February 23rd, with more great comedy in March and April.

Ahir Shah is stopping off at The Deco on March 15th, during his nationwide tour where he performs his stand-up show ‘Duffer’ which won him much praise, and played to full houses, at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer – a show that saw him earn a second successive nomination for Best Show at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Completing a quartet of top class comedians at The Deco is Sean McLoughlin on April 5th. Fresh from being the warm-up act for Ricky Gervais during his UK tour last year, Sean will be performing his show ‘Hail Mary’, a show that led ‘Time Out’ to describe him as “…the best comedian you have never heard of.” He hopes this tour will rectify that low profile, though he is very well known to regular audiences on the comedy circuit.

“We’ve four fantastic stand-ups coming to The Deco and we’re really looking forward to providing our audiences with some great, fun, nights out,” said House Manager Jill Roach.

“Obviously Lee has been very much – and very deservedly – in the public eye following his Britain’s Got Talent success, but trust me, Jack, Ahir and Sean are all top class, and will each deliver a brilliant show.”

For more information about all four comedians, and all shows at The Deco, go to www.thedeco.co.uk, or call the Box Office on 01604 491005.

 

Northampton’s award-winning Elvis Presley tribute performer Simon Patrick is coming home to put on a show in his home town.

He’s performing at The Deco Theatre in Abington Square on Saturday, January 26th, and to add the rock and roll theme of the evening, he is being supported by tribute artists to Billy Fury and Shakin’ Stevens, along with The Viva Las Vegas showband, and backing singers.

“It’s always great to come home, and The Deco’s an amazing venue, I’m really excited to be performing there” said Simon. “It’s going to be an amazing evening performing as ‘the King’ live in concert, with awesome support in Johnny Red as Billy Fury and Dean Ryan as Shakin’ Stevens, and there’ll be a fantastic atmosphere, so come join the party!”

Simon, and Elvis fan since he was four years old, has been performing tribute shows to his hero for over 20 years. Back in 2007 he was the winner of Great Britain’s Best Elvis Tribute Artists, won the ‘Elvis European Championship’ three years later, and has been a finalist in the ‘Ultimate Elvis Competition’, staged in Memphis, USA.

Said Jill Roach, house manager at The Deco: “We’re absolutely delighted to be hosting Simon at The Deco, his show’s are amazing, and he very much justifies his reputation as one of the best Elvis tribute shows in Europe, let alone the UK.

“It’s a fantastic night out, and if you love Elvis, and a rock n roll night out, you’ll go a long way to beating this.”

For tickets, go to www.thedeco.co.uk, call the Box Office on 01604 491005, or pop by at The Deco, in Abington Square, Northampton, between 10am and 4pm Monday to Saturday.

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: https://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.

 
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