After a 21-month pandemic delay...losing cast members...choreography changes... a venue move...a local amateur theatre company is dying to get back on stage this weekend with a musical adapted from a popular 1990s movie.
Every Friday, Express presents a selection of online and offline exhibitions, performances, workshops, events and other historic, creative and delicious content to help islanders get their weekly dose of culture.
Pictured: The Jersey Green Room Theatre Company was originally due to perform 'Ghost' in March 2020.
In March 2020, with just four weeks to go until opening night, the Management Committee of the Jersey Green Room Theatre Company had no choice but to postpone its spring production, ‘Ghost the Musical’, as the island headed into lockdown.
Several challenges along the way, including further restrictions and the temporary closure of performance venues, almost brought the curtain down on the show for good as the show’s Director, Nick Carver, explained, the cast and crew wouldn’t let anything prevent them from reviving the show.
“We are very, very excited,” he said. We really were heartbroken when we had to cancel our show last year, everyone was scared because no one knew what it was all about but then lockdown happened so we wouldn’t have been able to perform anyway.
“We had to get the show on the road, it’s something that everyone kept in their head. We were very determined!”
Pictured: The cast and crew were "very determined" to bring 'Ghost' to a live audience.
As their licence expired at the end of the year and Jersey Opera House remaining, the team had to go search for a new venue. Their salvation came in the form of the Royal Showground, but it involved further challenges as the show had to be completely rearranged.
“It’s a completely different venue,” Nick said. “We came back to rehearsals 18 months later with a new choreography and the stage completely redesigned.
“We have never done a show in that kind of environment, it feels quite ground-breaking.
"We were used to going to the Opera House or Jersey Arts Centre, traditional theatres - this is like a black box to use and build from the ground up.
“It’s very exciting, it lends itself well to the cinematic quality of ‘Ghost’. It’s a film adapted into a musical, it’s not like a traditional musical. The venue works really well, and the sound is absolutely fantastic.”
Pictured: The show had to move to the Royal Showground.
As if a pandemic and a change of venue was not challenging enough, the team also had to contend with cast changes as some performers became unavailable after dates changes. Half of the cast, including the four main characters – Ben O’Shea, Alice Veitch, Rich Allo and Keiran Brown – remained and all worked hard ahead of the premiere on Saturday (4 December).
“The new cast is full of energy. It actually works very well because we started again and everyone had to learn from scratch. It really worked in our favour.”
With only 24 hours to go before the curtain rises, the Green Room Theatre Company can hardly contain its excitement.
“The team has waited almost 2 years to bring the show to local audiences, and they are now buzzing with excitement and anticipation,” Nick said. “The many months of waiting have not dampened the team’s spirit - in fact, there’s an incredible hunger among the cast and crew to bring the project to fruition, and to give islanders a chance to watch live musical theatre in Jersey once more.”
“It’s really exciting. Everyone cannot wait to get up on stage and tread the boards in costumes.”
Video: This winter, JYPA is reviving an old folk custom.
Jersey Youth Performing Arts (JYPA) is bringing back the hallowed tradition of telling ghost stories during winter, a folk custom that stretches back centuries, when families would while away the dark nights with tales of spooks and monsters.
They will give life to some of Jersey’s most enduring ghost stories in the chilling atmosphere of Mont Orgueil Castle for a series of performances between today and Sunday 12 December.
Using the books from local writer Erren Michael, ‘Jersey Ghost Stories’ and ‘Jersey Legends’, the group will be presenting four “terrifying” tales, ‘The Vioge’, ‘The Ghost Bride of Waterworks Valley’, ‘The House on the Hill’ and ‘The Light in the Tunnel’, by candelight.
Pictured: The cast will be performing in the chilling atmosphere of Mont Orgueil Castle.
In addition to the performance in the castle’s Medieval Hall, the audience will also be taken to other eerie locations within the castle to meet ghostly figures whose supernatural stories are inspired by events from local history.
“It’s incredible to be able to perform somewhere so unique and extraordinary,” Director Carla-Marie Metcalfe, who is the Creative Producer at Butterfly Theatre Company and specialises in immersive and site-specific theatre, said.
“I am excited about working at Mont Orgueil. Live, immersive theatre brings historic venues to life in a truly magical and atmospheric way and Mont Orgueil is the perfect venue to tell ghost stories! This is JYPA’s first project in association with Jersey Heritage and we hope that it will encourage more immersive theatre in our amazing historical sites.”
Pictured: Annigna and Tom Kennedy of Little River Pictures have filmed videos which will be project during the performances.
‘Ghost Stories by Candlelight’ will features images filmed on location by Annigna and Tom Kennedy of Little River Pictures.
Whilst the ghost stories are performed live the images are projected onto the walls of the Medieval Hall. “This project is multi-layered,” Carla explained. “We have live performance, video projection, live and recorded sound and our cast have had the opportunity to hone their performance skills whilst also learning about local history and folklore.
“Unique to this production is the inclusion of Jèrriais in some of the stories. There is something very special about a traditional island ghost story being told in Jersey’s mother tongue.”
Children are being invited to design a Christmas jumper and be in with a chance of seeing it created on gingerbread in real life.
Brand Champions has teamed up with local retailers over the festive season to offer a range of prizes for the best design:
There are just a few days left to put creativity to the test, with entries closing on Monday 6 December.
The awards ceremony will take place at Liberty Wharf on Thursday 16 December.
CLICK HERE to enter.
Pictured: Danny Booth is the latest artist to take part in ArtHouse Jersey's pop-up exhibition series.
Danny Booth will this weekend be presenting paintings and drawings in a pop-up exhibition at the Greve de Lecq Barracks.
Danny is a Fine Art graduate whose practice embraces a wide range of materials and techniques, including mixed media, painting, drawing and sculpture. His work takes inspiration from nature and his personal experiences whilst walking.
He uses expressive marks and thick impasto paint to convey the textures and depth of the landscape and although the work is figurative in nature, abstract forms appear through the mark making and layering process he applies to the surface.
Pictured: All the work on display was created last winter.
“All the work was created last winter using reference photos and memories from walking on various cliff paths around the local coastline,” Danny explained. “I spend a lot of time walking on the cliff paths and have found the vastness of the rugged coastlines inspiring for my work. Jersey can often feel constricted but walking on the north and south coast cliffs removes that feeling.
“As I work alone, I was lucky in that I could continue to work in my studio throughout the pandemic. It was actually a very productive time for me. The sense of isolation you get from walking and working alone for me is a positive one and my aim was to replicate those feelings throughout this body of work.”
A majority of the work on display in the pop up exhibition was inspired by some of the huge storms Jersey experienced last winter. The entire show is in monochrome, a comment on the sometimes bleak feeling of an island winter, particularly during extremely wild weather.
“Working without colour was a big change from how I normally work,” Danny said. “It meant that I had to find new approaches to how I paint which was challenging, but fruitful."
‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’ is the subject of this year’s Christmas stamps from Jersey Post.
Illustrated by local Jersey artist Nanette Regan, the eight stamps feature the narrative from the much-loved festive poem, which is also known as ‘The Night Before Christmas’, whilst the accompanying miniature sheet shows a child being read the poem before going to sleep on Christmas Eve.
Pictured: The eight stamps were illustrated by local artist Nanette Regan.
The sheet also bears the NSPCC Jersey logo, a children’s charity which Jersey Post supporting with this latest stamp issue.
“Turning Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas poem into a tiny storyboard across eight stamps was a dream project!” Nanette said. “I hand-painted the images using gouache paint and coloured pencils to keep a cosy, traditional feel to the artwork. Having grown up in Jersey, I wanted to bring a bit of the island into the designs, so the home in the story is made of pink granite and the presentation pack covers are based on houses at Greve de Lecq on the north coast of Jersey.”
Pictured: The issue's theme is ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’.
‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’ stamps are available to buy from all branches of Jersey Post, whilst philatelic stamp products such as Miniature Sheets, Souvenir Sheetlets, First Day Covers and Presentation Packs are available from the Broad Street and Rue Des Pres offices as well as online.
Created during last year’s lockdown, Aureole Choir has been selected as the one and only virtual choir in the British Isles to perform at the hybrid NSPCC Childline 'Merry Little Christmas' event in London this Christmas.
For the event, which will be livestreamed on Thursday 9 December from 19:30, the choir came up with an original arrangement of the ‘Jingle Bell Dash’.
The choir will also be releasing a video of its performance in the island and launch a JustGiving campaign to try and raise more money for the Jersey branch of the NSPCC.
Over 70 singers of all ages came to record the performance in-person in October at the Georgetown Methodist Church, including participants from a number of other local choirs such as Concordia, The Grouville Warblers, the Holme Chase Singers, The Hot Bananas and especially the Jersey Academy of Music Vocal Department.
The video, shot by Jersey film company Slingshot Films and the choir’s usual team and editor Clare Bowskill, features festive shenanigans around Jersey's special sites as choir members filmed themselves singing and dancing out and about to add that special Jersey touch to the video.
Pictured: The choir hasn't been able to perform together since 2019.
After having to cancel their carol services last year, local charities are looking forward to sing again.
Les Amis Choir will be returning to the Town Church on Saturday 4 December after a two-year absence. While the service will not be open to the public Sadly, due to concerns about rising cases of Covid-19, it will be filmed and broadcasted closer to Christmas.
But that’s not curbed the enthusiasm of the residents and service users who make up the Les Amis Choir. Since October they have been practicing their carols and cannot wait to perform in the Church after last getting together for the service in 2019.
“After the last 20 months, being able to celebrate with our residents and service users in the run up to Christmas is fantastic and we hope to be spreading Christmas cheer to as many people as possible by sharing clips from the service over the next few weeks before we broadcast the whole service in the week before Christmas,” Jason Loveless, Head of Support Services and Choir Coordinator, said. “The choir have put in long hours rehearsing for this event, making sure their performance of Christmas favourites will put everyone who watches them in the mood.”
Shaun Findlay, Managing Director of Les Amis, added: “The safety of our residents, staff and supporters is our priority but we also want to ensure they can get together and celebrate the start of the Christmas season in the best way possible. The Choir has worked exceptionally hard thanks to the commitment from Jason, without whom we would not be able to put the service on.”
The service will be led by The Very Reverend Mike Keirle, Dean of Jersey, and will be shown on the Les Amis Facebook page.
Pictured: Jersey Hospice Care Community Choir will be at St. Andrew’s Church this Sunday.
Meanwhile, Jersey Hospice Care Community Choir will be at St. Andrew’s Church on Sunday 5 December between 16:00 and 17:30 for its Family and Friend Carol Service.
Light refreshments will be available after the celebratory carol service.
The Société Jersiaise is launching a series of Winter Lunchtime Talks starting Thursday 9 December at 13:00.
For the first event, Vice-President Stuart Fell will be discussing New Street, 'A Street of Fascination and Curiosity’.
The event is free for members and the general public and spaces can be booked through Eventbrite.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.