Youngsters to showcase stage talents

VIDEO They're all going on a Summer Holiday!

James Marston

THEY'RE all going on a Summer Holiday!

Now in its sixth year Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion's Summer Youth Project attracts youngsters keen to show off and develop their performing skills.

JAMES MARSTON went along to a rehearsal of this year's production.

OUTSIDE the sun is shining and the sea gently lapping the shore - Felixstowe is enjoying the summer.

But inside the town's Spa Pavilion theatre the serious work of putting on a show has just begun.

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With a cast of 109 youngsters, chaperones, set makers, designers, props people, a director, musical director and a choreographer plus assistants it's a busy scene.

This year Spa Pavilion bosses have chosen the musical Summer Holiday.

Theatre manager Julie Howes said: “The summer youth project is a two week project for 9 to 23 year olds. They get to put on a musical under expert professional supervision.

“After nine days of intense rehearsals they put on a show to the paying public in full costume, with lighting and sound, make up and in every sense a professional production. It is part of our community outreach programme and we see it as a chance to get more youngsters involved in the theatre.”

With auditions back in May attracting nearly 140 hopefuls, the project, which costs £135 per child to take part, is proving more and more popular year after year, Julie said.

She added: “There are five performances from Wednesday August 13 to Saturday August 16 including a Saturday matinee and the project has been very well received by the community in previous years. It is something we produce ourselves and everything is done in house.”

For director Rebecca Darcy, 26, it's a hectic time but she finds a few moments to explain the process and the story of the show.

She said: “We work from 9am to 7am and we have a week and a half to put on the production. Summer holiday is about a group of lads who work for London Transport.

“They want to go on holiday but can't afford it until one of them gets leant a bus. They travel through france, Switzerland, Italy and Greece.

“On the way they bump into a female singing trio who have broken down and they give them a lift. It is a story of romance and obstacles in the way.

“It is light-hearted and there are lots of musical numbers. We want to get everyone up in the aisles dancing at the end.”

A drama teacher by profession, Rebecca is joined by musical director Richard Healey.

Well known songs from the show include Bachelor Boy, Summer Holiday and Do You Wanna Dance.

Richard is busy teaching the number “We Say Yeah” when he snatches a few moments away from the keyboard.

He said: “The music is from the 1950s with a little bit of rock. Some of the leads have seven part harmonies to learn. The cast have a lot of work to do in a short space of time to get on top of the music.”

With such a short timescale and limited rehearsal times not a moment is wasted.

Outside in the Spa Pavilion gardens Rebecca is going through a scene with some of the lead actors while the set designers are putting the finishing touches to a double-decker bus they have made while inside choreographer Suzanne Lowe has got everyone up on their feet on the stage and in the aisles going through some new steps - she's demanding their full concentration and there isn't time for chit chat.

Suzanne, 23, said: “The dancing is energetic and quite varied in style. We have tried to make it a bit quirky and give every number its own style. There are some very big cast numbers.”

For the youngsters taking part, it is a chance to develop their performing confidence and learn new skills.

And it's also a way of keeping busy in the long summer holidays.

Ros Jam's 16-year-old daughter Vicky is playing the part of Mimsie.

Ros, of Shotley Gate said: “Vicky wanted to take part and she loves performing. She has taken part before. It is a great opportunity for the youngsters to get on the stage and learn new things. It is also social and very friendly and a safe and secure environment.”

- Summer Holiday runs at the Spa Pavilion from August 13 to 16. For tickets call the box office on 01394 282126.

- Have you been to see the Spa Pavilion's Summer Youth Project performances in the past? Is your child taking part? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to

Charlotte Scott,15, of Framsden.

“I'm in the senior ensemble and I also play a policewoman when they get to Switzerland. I love acting and performing and I wanted to do something in the Summer Holidays so I auditioned. I'm loving it. I love to be on stage and entertain.”

Wade Ablitt,13, of Ranelagh Road, Felixstowe.

“I'm in the senior ensemble and a few little parts including a policeman and a mechanic. I love the music and \i was in last year's project. I like the feeling of being on stage and the singing.”

Peter Hazelwood, 16, of Tuddenham Road, Ipswich.

“I play Edwin. He is one of the friends of Don. He's the youngest and he's quietly contented with things. It's really friendly and energetic. You make lots of friends and meet new people, It's really good fun.”

Stephanie Hazelwood, 18, of Tuddenham Road, Ipswich.

“I play Barbara and she's lead girl. She wants to break free from her mother and she runs away and finds herself on the bus pretending to be a boy. I love it. I want to musical theatre as a career.”

Joanna Brown, 16, of Borrowdale Avenue, Ipswich.

“I play Stella who is Barbara's mum. She's incredibly pushy for Barbara to be famous. I love to perform. I really enjoyed the show last year so I thought I would do it again.”