Ipswich: Juniors’ Christmas show set to be the biggest yet

IPSWICH: With 104 cast members, nearly 800 costumes, an eight-piece orchestra and a wide range of dance numbers from big band to Cheryl Cole, it can only mean one thing – Suffolk’s biggest Christmas show is back with a bang.

Ipswich-based Co-op Juniors Theatre Company is preparing to stage its Christmas Spectacular, the group’s most ambitious performance ever.

Opening at Snape Maltings Concert Hall on December 11, they will be going all out on a new two-tiered moving set covered in thousands of twinkling lights and four huge video panels.

“It’s on a scale you don’t see very often,” said co-director Jeannie Ingram. “The setting is magical and we try to provide a really wide range of styles in music and dance.”

Part of that range is provided by no fewer than six choreographers working with Pauline Walker, Jeannie Ingram and musical director Nigel Virley.

Two of the choreographers, Luke Cattermole and Oliver Brett, both 20, have worked for Disneyland Paris. Oliver is now with Disney in Tokyo.

Luke has choreographed five numbers for this year’s Christmas Spectacular, including a Cheryl Cole song for which he also designed costumes with hundreds of lights sewn in.

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He said: “I always see it as a complete performance, not just choreography. It’s the choice of music, the costumes and lighting, the mood of the piece. That sets the scene for the dancers to be innovative.”

He also faced the “marathon” prospect of fitting 83 dancers into the Act One finale.

Both Luke and Oliver had principal roles in Disney’s High School Musical, which the Co-op Juniors staged at the Seckford Theatre Woodbridge in 2009.

They also appeared with the group in Disney’s Beauty and The Beast at the Ipswich Regent this summer.

The cast have been working in their regular rehearsal studio in Ipswich, but also had the chance to do complete rehearsals on the stage set, built in an empty East of England Co-op warehouse.

Co-director Pauline Walker said: “We like to build on the ambition of the previous year’s show, with something for everyone in music and dance. It’s fun, it’s festive, and it’s family.”

There will be 15 Christmas Spectacular performances from December 11 to 21.

Tickets are �13, �16 and �19 and can be booked online at www.aldeburgh.co.uk or by phone on 01728 687110.

More information and a preview video can be seen at www.coopjuniors.co.uk

n Are you staging a Christmas show? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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