We are a professional theatre company based in Wells, although to date we haven’t produced a show within two hours of this beautiful city! It is a joy for us to bring one of our productions home to Somerset.
We are passionate about bringing high quality theatre to the regions. This passion is behind our two repertory seasons in Swanage, Dorset and Leatherhead, Surrey. Both theatres thrived on having rep companies in the past, have beautiful stages and auditoriums, and are valued hubs of the community. Yet, as so many regional theatres do, they were struggling. A lack of funding and dwindling audience numbers mean that keeping the doors open is a daily challenge for theatre management teams. We have been working with both these venues to build an audience for quality live theatre, to reconnect with their local communities and gain valuable reputations as high level creative spaces. We are currently preparing for our third season in Swanage and the theatre is buzzing with improvements and sales!
It was a such a pleasure to meet Ros from the Wells Theatre Festival and to discover that our passion and values aligned. It was a perfect occasion to resurrect one of our very favourite shows to share with our local community. Over the years Teresa and I have worked with the playwright Dave Simpson. He has adapted many children’s stories such as The Prince and the Pauper, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Secret Garden. His play version of The Railway Children had a very successful tour of the UK in 2017. After watching it at the Mayflower in Southampton, we approached Dave about creating a musical of this wonderful classic. It’s – a first! I wrote the tunes, and knowing that I would also be playing the Mother, this was an interesting task. I was able to compose the melodies to suit my own range and varied styles, keeping in mind a ‘Julie Andrews’ feel which seemed apt for the character. Teresa orchestrated the songs with stunning lush harmonies and added incidental music. The show debuted in Swanage in August 2018 and it was magical. It is a piece with a huge heart and it will always be very close to ours.
Whenever we have performed this piece before we have used young adult professional actors to play the children. This time we have auditioned local kids for the main roles. We wanted to make a connection with the community and provide a valuable opportunity for emerging talent in the area. We entered the process with a backup plan! Knowing that if we didn’t find the right level of talent, we didn’t want to compromise the quality of the show and could call on our previous cast members. I’m happy to say that we were extremely impressed with the auditionees. We have secured a fantastic cast of five young budding actors who will do this story justice. Also, there were four other young people who we have invited to take part in the ensemble on stage. Rehearsals have now begun and I have a feeling that this time round there will be even more magic captured by the youth of these fantastic kids.
Teresa was born and brought up locally. She won a musical scholarship to Millfield before becoming a professional musician. As a musical director, arranger and composer she has travelled the world and the UK helping to create theatre and television. Finally she is bringing a performance to somewhere close to home so that her family can attend!
We are very much looking forward to sharing this beautiful piece with the people of Wells and beyond. And we are also hoping to have a moment to enjoy the rest of the exciting performances in the festival!
Producer, Hordern Ciani
The Railway Children will be performed on Saturday 13th at 2pm and 8pm and Sunday 14th July at 11am and 4.30pm in the Cedars Hall
Book your tickets here