Professional Work

Katzenmusik at the Royal Court

The Royal Court Theatre is one of the most famous and critically acclaimed theatres in the country. Being a new writers theatre, the large majority of the plays put on are original and politically relevant. It has held the work of writers including Sarah Kane, Martin McDonagh and Jez Butterworth with his iconic play Jerusalem and, most recently, The Ferryman, directed by acclaimed Director, Sam Mendes.

Drew Royal CourtEarlier in the year, Phoenix Student, Joseph Vaiana and, Ex-Phoenix Student, Drew Gregg successfully auditioned to be part the Royal Court’s Youth Company, which meant that from April 2017 they would develop and rehearse a brand new original play called Katzenmusik, written by up-and-coming playwright Tom Fowler. Drew and Joe have both appeared in multiple Phoenix Productions including, most recently, Cinderella and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so it was great to see them perform in such a prestigious place.


Drew and Joe both had significant parts in Katzenmusik, amongst a cast of 25 actors aged 14 – 20, their parts allowing them to showcase the range of their acting abilities. The play explored the effects of government and council neglect on working class towns and the feeling of anger that is left in the inhabitants of such towns. The narrative, told in reverse, was a relevant reflection of the turmoil society currently appears to be in and it was interesting to see the story told by a young generation.

Joe Royal CourtIt is always good to see Phoenix students, current and previous, continue to try and further their career in theatre and both Drew and Joe are both active in pursuing this.

Joe is now performing from 6th – 9th September in the National Youth Theatre’s 50 strong cast production of the 1970’s play Zigger Zagger at Wilton’s Music Hall, the largest music hall in the country and both Drew and Joe are auditioning for RADA’s Youth Company in the upcoming week.

Good luck to both of them!


Photo Credit: Khayam Shah

Monologue Masterclass from former Phoenix Student

Theo with the Senior Students

Sixteen Phoenix Youth Theatre senior students were lucky to attend a 3 hour monologue Masterclass by former student Theo Ancient recently, who coached them in monologue delivery with a particular emphasis on auditions for Drama School. Theo is more than qualified to run such sessions considering that after graduating from Phoenix he gained a place at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and has recently been cast as Albus Potter in the Olivier Award winning west end production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Theo, 24, gained a place at the UK’s top drama academy after 3 years of auditioning for various schools. His was cast in the role of Albus Potter as his three-year training concluded and took over the role on 24th May.Theo in his Phoenix Theatre School Days

The students, who had all prepared their own choice of monologue in the weeks preceding the masterclass were given a range of tips from mental preparation to delivery. Perhaps though, the most enlightening part of the evening was just being able to meet a former student who just a few years ago was very much the same as them – a young committed performer with aspirations to become a professional actor.

Phoenix Director Phil Dale said “It was a fantastic opportunity for the students to meet someone who has been through what can be a very daunting process and proved that with hard work and dedication, we can all achieve our aims. Theo was always a hugely committed student who has stayed dedicated to his craft as an artist and refused to give up. The whole evening was really inspirational and it was great for Theo to give up his time to come back and share what he has learnt with the next generation of future performers.”

Theo attended classes at Phoenix for several years, appearing in various showcases and productions. He is pictured above in 2008.

For more pictures from the workshop visit our facebook page by clicking this link


9500 more people can now successfully ‘Lean and Dab’

Following the consistent success of the annual Phoenix Pantomimes, this year’s Cinderella completely smashed Box Office records, becoming the largest selling show in the history of the Rhodes! With the Company’s reputation, along with the introduction of ‘motion posters’ The Rhodes convinced 9500 audience members to attend during the 40-show period, watching the magic unfold through, song, dance, slapstick comedy and enchanting puppetry.

“Why on earth anyone would go elsewhere when we have this talent in Bishops Stortford”- Toni Elford

IMG_6025_DxO © Acabashi Malvern HostickThe cast featured many current and ex-Phoenix students, one of which was Georgia Collins who played the Principle girl for the third time running this year. Alongside her was; Joseph Vianna as Buttons, teaching everyone to ‘lean and dab’, as well as Buck Braithwaite playing Prince Charming in his Rhodes debut. Charming’s sidekick, Drew Gregg as Dandini entertained with his constant enthusiasm, whilst Ugly sisters, Daniel Boulton and George Jack, kept everyone laughing with their childish brawls. Not forgetting Phil Dale who took on the role of the petrifying Principle of the ‘Hard Up school of Dance’ and Wicked Stepmother.

On receiving overwhelming amounts of positive feedback, Phil explained “We were so pleased with the response from audiences spanning such a huge age range. It really seemed that our production of Cinderella, proved to be proper entertainment for the entire family. The puppets proved to be a big hit- as always, and we are already planning on how they can be incorporated into next year’s production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

IMG_6481_DxO © Acabashi Malvern Hostick

It’s obvious when reading through reviews that it wasn’t just one reason why this year’s pantomime directed by Phil Dale and Stevie Doherty was so well received. With a “cast…as always, brimming with enthusiasm and flair and overflowing with confidence”, “a healthy dollop of innuendo” and “special effects…well beyond what you might expect” – (Muddy Stilettos), numerous factors made Cinderella such a hit.

The spectacular set, made by Malvern Holstick looked beautiful against costumes designed by Jules dale, while lighting designer Rob Dyer, only enhanced this with his ideas and ambition. The brand-new laser equipment impressed everyone bringing a new dimension to the ballroom scene, giving it a real current energy. Aiding this- and improving year by year- was the flawless choreography by Katie Barker-Dale which was so vibrant and up to date, in order to match the diverse music that was mixed and edited seamlessly by Ross Simpson.

“The scene at the palace was epic.  I can honestly say that I think it’s probably like no ball scene you’ve ever seen — like none I’ve ever seen, certainly.” – Muddy Stilettos

IMG_6140_DxO © Acabashi Malvern HostickDespite all the special effects, including the reveal of the white sports car that would take Cinders to the ball, the younger audience members were captivated by the mice puppets that appeared to help Cinderella! The chorus brought the puppets to life to create a magical image that was such a hit with younger family members. Being such a success, we hope to bring this enchanting aspect to next year’s Pantomime in an even more spectacular fashion!


For pictures and full reviews of Cinderella, see below.

Click here for pictures

Muddy Stilettos Review

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)

A weekend of entertainment!

The annual Bishops Stortford Music Festival took place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May at St Mary’s School. This year Phoenix had been asked to organise the kids entertainment tent for the weekend, so along with the Phoenix Clowns up to their usual antics, Elsa and Anna were painting faces and playing Princess games, Glastonbabies was in full swing and even Batman and Spiderman popped by to give a Superhero Training course!

Adam Amor, who used to run the Phoenix Chicks classes, was there running his Glastonbabies set; a fun and interactive introduction to music and rythm for young kids and parents. Armed with an assortment of shakers, plastic boppers, a few big drums and Adam’s saxophone, musical jams were ringing out across the sunny festival field as anyone was welcome to come along and join in for as long as they wanted.

Grace Wheeler was there running her Parties with a Princess set, with her and Kali Dronsfield dressed up as Queen Elsa and Princess Anna from Frozen making aspiring young princesses dreams come true. Even Olaf made an appearance, and even though the sun was out he managed not to melt! Throughout the weekend they played Princess themed games, told Princess stories and also did face painting and Frozen inspired tattoos.

Finally Batman and Superman appeared to represent The Play People, and ran a superhero training course around the tent to see if there were any possible young superheroes around the festival. After a couple of parachute games and superhero themed games the young hopefuls tried their hand at a superhero obstacle course!

Of course the Phoenix Clowns were popping in and out of the tent over the weekend, joining in with the superheroes and princesses, even showing their dance moves during the Glastonbabies jam sessions. The rest of the time they were up to their usual hijinks with the public, another fun couple of days out for the Phoenix Clown troupe!

With lots of live music going on throughout both days at the festival and some lovely weather, the Bishops Stortford Music Festival was a fun weekend out for anyone who came along.

To see pictures from the day, click here.

March 16, 2015

Phoenix Students Entertain Stortford’s Mayor

‘Phenomenal Entertainment’ at Civic Dinner Students from the Harlow Senior Monday evening class provided the entertainment at the Bishops Stortford Mayors Annual Civic Dinner at Rhodes Arts Complex recently. Mayor of Stortford Diane Hollebon asked Phil Dale to provide the entertainment for her annual black tie event and Phil suggested an evening of Musical Theatre. […]

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March 13, 2015

Bouncers at West Hatch High School

First School Show a Success! After their first performance at the Rhodes in Bishops Stortford at the end of February, the four members of the newly created Phoenix Youth Repertory Company were next bringing the production of ‘Bouncers’ to West Hatch High School in Chigwell, to perform in front of the sixth form Performing Arts […]

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