Over 70 performers audition for panto

On Sunday 18th June over 70 people auditioned to be part of this years pantomime at the Rhodes. The day consisted of dance auditions, drama workshops, as well as lead role auditions in the afternoon. By the end of the day 20 talented young performers were cast to be part of our Junior Chorus. The  Junior Chorus will perform in 22 shows each from December to January, and the ensemble is made up of ages 7 to 16. Some senior chorus were also cast to be part of the ensemble and these actors will also be considered for the roles of the Seven Dwarfs.








DSC_8018The day ended with the auditions for the Principal Parts. This saw older performers sing and read for the parts of Snow White, Muddles, The Prince and The Queen’s Henchman. After this stage, Phoenix cast the young actress Abbie Middleton the title role of “Snow White”. Abbie appeared as Maria in Phoenix’s 2014 production of West Side Story and Phoenix look forward to working with her again this year. This was the only lead part cast on the day and more information will follow regarding the castings of the other principal characters.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs from the 9th December 2017 to the 6th January 2018.
It is shaping up to be the biggest pantomime the Rhodes has seen, and will be a fun-filled production for all ages!
For more information and to book online, click here.

Auditions for Cinderella Sunday 10th July 2016

This December, at the Rhodes Arts Complex, Phoenix Theatre Arts will be producing the largest scale Pantomime ever performed at the Bishop’s Stortford venue.

Cinderella 2016 will feature a brand new False Pros which will replace the one that has been used for the last 6 years. Built bespoke for the Rhodes Venue, the new False Pros has been designed and painted by Malvern Hostick who will also return to paint the set for Cinderella. Phoenix are already full speed ahead with Cinderella. Set designs, music ideas and trying to re-imagine the classic story of Cinderella are all part of the action currently happening at Phoenix. We want Cinderella 2016 to stand out not only from the previous Phoenix iteration, but from every other version of the tale.

“With tradition at its core, Phoenix Theatre Arts enhances its reputation with this seasonal gem” – The Stage (Jack and the Beanstalk 2015)

The audition details have been released on the Phoenix Website which will give all the information. On Sunday 10th July there are open auditions for the production. Phoenix are not only looking for a large chorus of both Junior and Senior age, but a collection of principal characters ranging from Ugly Sisters and Buttons, to the titular character herself. We are looking to cast a strong group of older boys and girls to be part of the senior chorus to play a variety of characters and be part of big song and dance numbers.

The production will run from the 10th December 2016 to 7th January 2017 with weekly rehearsals running approximately 10 weeks before the opening night. This means we are looking for the most committed and passionate people to be in our production, from the smallest Junior Chorus member, to the oldest principal.

We hope to see as many people as we can auditioning on Sunday 10th July to make this year’s Pantomime, Cinderella, the biggest and best one yet!

Click here for more information.

“The musical set pieces are quite brilliantly staged, alive with clever parodies and some truly splendid original songs” – The Stage (Dick Whittington 2014)

December 4, 2014

Rhodes Community Choir at BGT

by Conor O'Sullivan

in Auditions

Big day out for the Choir!

The Rhodes Community Choir is run by Phoenix Musical Theatre Tutor Duncan Rutherford, assisted by Phoenix Musical Theatre Assistant Tutor Grace Wheeler at the Rhodes Arts Complex in Bishops Stortford on Tuesday nights. Recently they auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent, and here’s an account of their fantastic day:

It takes commitment to get up at 6am on a Sunday and put on full panto costume and make-up  but that is what our own Rhodes Community Choir did on 30th November. Wigs were donned, hooks attached and even fairy lights were scattered amongst sprayed and glittered hair. Why? Well, thanks to the one of our members, Sue Last, we were on our way to Britain’s Got Talent!

Having been formed two years ago, the choir has grown in numbers and rehearses every Tuesday evening, at the Rhodes. We have been involved in various performances….so why not let the country see what we are up to? Phil Dale and Sue came up with the idea of full panto attire (which came as a bit of a shock) but it turned out to be a fantastic costume choice. Arriving at the Excel in London, we wandered past bemused members of the public, who were probably there for the Lego or Hobbycraft exhibitions that were also taking place. At the venue, we were instantly greeted by someone on the BGT crew and told that we looked wonderful – of course we did! From then on we were ushered to and fro, making sure that were in shot, as there were not many people in costume.

It was then decided that we should be filmed arriving at the venue. Our Fairy Godmother and Captain Hook were mic’d up and we then walked to the venue…six times. Next we were taken to the ‘Holding Room’: an enormous room with dressing tables, dance floor and a stage. The crew reminded us of past winners and told us, “It is very likely that the next winner could be in this room!”

Following a quick rehearsal, we were ushered into our auditioning room. Lucy (our producer) and a cameraman welcomed us and asked us a few questions. She seemed impressed (or bemused) by our costumes but when we performed she discovered that we can actually sing. As a result, she put us straight through! We performed once more, to camera and then it was done. All that remained was to tuck into the delicious cake that the Rhodes had prepared for us.

We will find out in February if we have made it to the next stage of the process. Even if we haven’t, we had a fantastic day out and made a lot of people smile. Thank you to Sue Last for entering us and to Duncan Rutherford and Grace Wheeler for their continued efforts in making us look and sound fabulous! Now we get the chance to relax and watch you two on stage.

To like their facebook page and see pictures from the day, click here.

Big turnout for this year’s pantomime auditions!

Following on from the success of the previous Rhodes Pantomimes, the Phoenix production team has set their sights on raising the bar even higher this year with Dick Whittington. The part of Dick will be played by former Phoenix student and tutor Amy Moulder, who last appeared on the Rhodes stage as Nancy in Oliver! Other familiar returning faces are Phoenix tutor Grace Wheeler, who took the title roles in last year’s Aladdin and Cinderella the year before that, and will be playing the part of the Good Fairy, and former Phoenix tutor Connor Linden, who once again returns to play the audience’s friend Idle Jack. Georgia Collins will play Dick’s love interest Alice Fitzwarren, and Jack Downey will play her father, Fitzwarren. Phoenix Musical Theatre tutor, and the Musical Director of Aladdin, Duncan Rutherford will be on stage this year playing King Ratputin. Phoenix Principal Phil Dale has decided to cast off his villainous ways for this year and play the Dame, Sarah the Cook. Last but by no means least Sunanda Biswas, a lindy hop and breakdance artist, who helped choreograph the Olympics opening ceremony for London 2o12, will be making her Rhodes debut as Dick’s cool cat companion.

In addition to these stellar principal characters, there was once again a huge turnout for those wanting to be cast in the junior and senior chorus, giving the production team their usual difficult job of who to select and who to reject. As always, everyone who turned up to audition really gave it their all, and showed great effort, but unfortunately not everyone can be cast. Eventually, just 20 junior age performers (two teams of 10) were selected to be the junior chorus teams. They will perform alongside 8 senior chorus members over the age 0f 16 (4 boys and 4 girls). To those who came but didn’t make it in, don’t give up and keep trying!

Rehearsals will start for the chorus members in October and the show opens to local schools on Thursday 11th December.

You can like the Rhodes Pantomime Page Here

You can book tickets online here

June 11, 2014

West Side Story Kicks Off

by Conor O'Sullivan

in Auditions,Productions

All parts cast, and the summer production gets underway

Although it took two Sunday’s worth of auditions, the summer production of West Side Story has been fully cast and rehearsals are already underway. Putting on a musical involving some of the vocally most difficult songs in the musical theatre repertoire is no easy task, which is why director Phil Dale, choreographer Katie Barker-Dale and musical director Will Joy wanted to make sure they had exactly the right people for the job.

The parts of Maria and Tony have been split between two boys and two girls, due to the vocal difficulties involved in having to sing such challenging songs and managing to maintain that for the run. So Abbie Middleton-Evans and Lydia McGrath will be sharing the role of Maria for 6 shows each, and Tom Dickerson and Lewis Russell will be playing the part of Tony for 6 shows each.

Phoenix newcomer Sam Jackson has the role of Sharks leader Bernardo and Amber Thomason, former Phoenix student and now training to be a dancer, will be playing the role of Anita. Ben Hawkins, who played Prince Charming in Cinderella, will be playing the leader of the Jets, Riff. Ritchie Parrott will play Officer Krupke and Gladhand, Jay Brown is Lieutenant Shrank and Kevin Lacey will play Doc.

So remember to book your tickets, and come and enjoy the show!

May 25, 2014

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Roles still available after West Side Story Auditions West Side Story upheld its reputation as one of the most physically and vocally demanding musicals in history when Phoenix Theatre Arts was unable to cast all roles from the show at the first day of auditions. Despite easily enough performers to cast the production twice over […]

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July 9, 2013

Aladdin Auditions

A tough but fun-filled day with pantomime hopefuls! With over 80 auditionees of all ages turning up on the day, it became clear right from the start that it was going to be another hard day for the creative team of producer Phil Dale, director Jeanne Stacey, and Phoenix Primary Drama tutor Amy Moulder, who was […]

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