Youth scheme to develop stage skills

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A new theatre for young people will be launched in Ponteland tomorrow.

The Preppies will offer singing, dancing and stage craft development for those aged between nine and 18.

The initiative is the brainchild of Ponteland Repertory Society. Director Carole Davies will be joined by Rep stalwarts Stephen Stokoe and Jonny Woollett to run taster sessions at the launch evening in Darras Hall First School.

She said: “There are few out-of-school opportunities for young people who wish to learn about and take part in the performing arts.

“When the Rep advertises for performers for productions, we receive a good response from young people. Now we want to give them the opportunity to develop their skills in drama, improvisation, music and other theatre arts.

“At the launch evening, we shall be working on the theme of Gangsters and Molls and I will be running a drama session on character development.

“Stephen will be holding a music session, looking at songs from Bugsy Malone, while Jonny will be teaching the basics techniques of stage fighting and moving safely on stage.”

The launch evening is free and parents will be able to ask questions and sign up the children for the autumn term.

The Preppies will be divided into two age groups – nine to 13 and over 14s – and there will be a limit of 25 in each.

Members will then prepare for two performances. The first will take place on Saturday, October 25, as part of an evening of entertainment at St Mary’s Church Hall in Ponteland called Oh! What A Lovely Night. This is a curtain raiser to the Rep’s production of Oh! What A Lovely War.

They will also have the opportunity to take part in the Rep’s panto (Dick Whittington and His Cat) in February.

Tomorrow’s two-hour session will start at 6.30pm. For more information, email