Everyone is invited to the Jellicle Ball when Stagewise School for the Performing Arts put on a production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical CATS at the Regent Centre in Christchurch.
Stagewise, which is based at Lighthouse in Poole (with additional workshops running in Wimborne and Christchurch), is the first regional stage school to win the rights to perform CATS. One hundred talented young students aged between 5 and 18 have spent many months getting to grips with the famous song and dance routines adapted from T S Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
The musical introduces a host of colourful feline characters known as the Jellicle Cats as they gather together for their annual ball to discover who will be the cat chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. On its release it spawned a host of smash hit songs including Memory made famous by Elaine Page. One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, CATS has been presented in over 30 countries, has been translated into 15 languages and has been seen by more than 73 million people worldwide.
The Stagewise team has called in the assistance of Poole-born West End star Ryan Gover, who has been providing guidance on the staging, direction and choreography of the show. Ryan was part of the UK and European tour of CATS and then rejoined the cast as resident dance captain when the show transferred to the London Palladium. He is currently appearing in the West End hit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Students were joined by Ryan during rehearsals and were able to take part in a musical theatre masterclass, where he passed on his top tips to the budding young performers.
Stagewise Principal Ally Cox said, “Our students enjoyed an exclusive rehearsal with Ryan; we really did bring a taste of the West End to the south coast! Ryan is an outstandingly talented performer and his wise words for our cast were inspirational.”
Featuring a superb score and set, inspired choreography and ‘catacular’ costumes, CATS promises to be a production not to be missed. It runs from Friday 3 – Saturday 4 June with daily performances at 2pm & 6pm. Tickets are available from the Regent Centre box office now on 01202 499199 or online at www.regentcentre.co.uk.