Archive for the theatre Category

Archive photos of the Theatre Royal, Hanley

Posted in Family life, rocky horror show, Stoke City, theatre, theatre royal hanley with tags , , , , on February 14, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

The Theatre Royal, Hanley Facebook page has uploaded a whole host of photographs from the pantos of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, along with the other shows and some backstage shots. Well worth a look.

Please visit the new site for all things about the Theatre Royal/The Royal Hanley

Rockin’ Chair forum

Posted in Books, Classic albums, Classic rock, Melodic rock, metal, News, pop, theatre, theatre royal hanley on September 1, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

New faces always welcome over on the Rockin’ Chair forum – a place for music and books, plus a board dedicated to memories of the Theatre Royal, Hanley.

Stoke makes the UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist

Posted in News, Stoke City, Stoke City FC, Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival, theatre with tags , , , , , , , on July 17, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Coventry, Paisley, Sunderland, Swansea and Stoke-on-Trent will compete to host a year-long celebration of art and performance as UK City of Culture 2021.

The final bid has to be submitted by September and the winning city is announced in November/December time.

Really hope Stoke wins this as it would be amazing for the city and a real boost to the area. Unlike the Garden festival back in 1986, this will have longer term benefits for the area as it is city/area wide and not just focused on one site.

Memories of the Theatre Royal, Hanley – Brigadoon

Posted in theatre, theatre royal hanley with tags , , , , on July 17, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Please visit the new site for all things about the Theatre Royal/The Royal Hanley

Stephen Beattie (Pipe Major) has provided some background to another Theatre Royal, Hanley show featuring the Black Watch Association Pipe Band

I have found another event which took place at the theatre involving pipers from the Black Watch Association Pipe Band.

It was Brigadoon by Lerner & Loewe.  The show was put on by The Porthill Players Amateur Society and ran from Monday 22nd June to Saturday 27th June 1996.

Director: Andrew Talbot

Choreographer: Michaleen Hilton

Musical Director:  Gwen Jones

The Cast:

Jonathan Fernyhough

James Freeman

Linda Slinn

Tracey Hood

Mark Hilton

Amanda Robotham

Bob Paterson

John Stone

Peter Cooke

Danny Noyce

Lisa Clarke

Trevor Mountford

Phil Bailey

Andrew Tooth

Ian Dutton

Liz Owens

Gary Edge

The solo piper played for the funeral in Act II, Scene 3:  The Glen.

Thanks For The Memory show – Theatre Royal Hanley

Posted in theatre, theatre royal hanley with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Please visit the new site for all things about the Theatre Royal/The Royal Hanley

Stephen Beattie (who kindly supplied the photo below) contacted me regarding this particular show. If anyone can offer more information please contact me or comment on this post. Thank you.

The Black Watch Association Pipe Band played at the Theatre Royal on the 26th April 1987 for a show called Thanks for the Memory. We marched from the back of the theatre, down the aisles and up onto the stage where we played a selection of tunes. I can’t remember the name of the promoter, but would be delighted if you could add any more details about it.


I have asked a few fellow Theatre Royal volunteers and attached is the playbill from the show. We think Stephen Hearson, who sadly passed away recently, may have been involved on the musical side of things.

Playbill kindly supplied by the Theatre Royal Facebook group

1987-04-26 Theatre Royal Hanley

The Rock N Roll Oatcake Facebook page

Posted in Books, Mix tape, Music for 2016, News, Stoke City FC, theatre on March 23, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

I may have been doing this blog for eight years this month now but haven’t had a companion Facebook page…until now 🙂 You can like the page here

Thank you

Interview with Mister Maker

Posted in Cbeebies, News, theatre, tours, TV with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Mister Maker is currently touring the UK with the Shapes and you can get tickets here.

Mister Maker tour 2016

How is the mammoth tour you have just embarked on going?

Actually we had a two month stint last year, which actually launched in September and went through until November. Weekends, half-terms that sort of thing and that ran until the end of November, then I went into a pantomime the next day. Then straight of the pantomime into the Mister Maker tour. It has been pretty full and lots of fun.

We were in Lowestoft yesterday and got back just after midnight so just catching-up today on interviews and phone calls today.

What can people expect in the show? I know the Shapes will be joining you onstage.

I think expect the unexpected is the answer I have given on this before. What we’ve done with the theatre shows is take what the CBeebies audience expect, both the children and adults, the creativity and the heart of it, then transferred it quite literally onto a bigger stage. We have turned it into a live event, it is a but like a party, a bit like a pantomime and it is much bigger in its production value than the TV show can be because of course a lot of the TV show is filmed in close-up and carefully directed. We show in close-ups so the kids at home can watch and learn.

We make everything bigger, so we have a huge set and big wooden shapes that are pushed and spin around onstage. We have a massive screen at the back of the stage, which looks like a big picture frame. In the middle of that something is always happening, be it  shape puzzle or a live camera feed. We have a camera operator onstage who beams everything that is happening onstage onto the big screen.

It is hard to turn a TV show into a stage production as it is a totally different environment?

Definitely, you are absolutely right. I think that was the biggest challenge, a couple of years actually when I sat down and thought about putting this into a live show, how do you make it enjoyable and watchable for a small child who may be sitting in the very back row of the theatre. Normally they it at home watching on TV or a tablet.

We use the big screen and the camera, plus we make things bigger on the stage for the Big Makes. We want the kids to feel encouraged to be part of the show, no matter what seat they are in. We ask for volunteers to come up on stage, the kids and also the grown-ups which is fun as well. Every single person who comes and sees the show will make something on the stage I won’t give too much away about how we do this. It is quite a simple idea in essence but quite complicated sometimes when you have a 1,000 people in the audience. It is a tricky thing to carry off, but great fun.

You are playing fair sized venues like the Blackpool Grand and the Victoria Hall in my home town of Stoke-on-Trent.

We were in Blackpool last weekend and a real honour to be there. To walk out on that stage, a beautiful theatre. We are playing a lot of beautiful Frank Matcham theatres. Went to Belfast a few weeks ago and that was absolutely beautiful as well. Back in my home town, I am from Kent.  I don’t live there at the moment but I consider Canterbury as home town and I went to university there as well. I am playing the Marlow theatre there and have played pano there for the past few years. It is a fairly new 1,200 seater and we are doing five shows there which are nearly all sold out. Its amazing what we are doing and so proud what we are doing.

I was surprised at how popular you are in Australia. Obviously we import over some of their TV shows but you have played the Sydney Opera House?

To be perfectly honest nor did we until we went. It is sold to the ABC there and it on every day after school. When did the live shows last year we did two trips and I am fortunate to be going back this June and New Zealand for the first time. This time we are playing the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House. That is just beyond my wildest dreams. It is a real honour to travel to all of these places, like Australia and New Zealand, plus the UK. It is nice to visit the towns and cities where previously only been there for a football match, where all you do is go to the ground or the services on the way.

Blackpool was great the other weekend. As a cast we stayed up an extra night and had a great time at the theatre. The next day we walked up to the Pleasure Beach and the tower.

My son has a question for you – what has been the most enjoyable project you did or thing you made?

You might not like this answer being a dad! It is very difficult to choose as I have made over a 1,000 things now on Mister Maker. But the most enjoyable one was a splat picture where I dipped a tennis ball into a gloppy, paint mixture and then bouncing it a blank canvas. It was great fun and one of those days when I had to stop and think I am so lucky to be doing this as my job.

Who comes up with all these makes?

We have a fantastic production team on the TV show of Mister Maker. It is only  a small tea, there are four in the art team and I write the scripts for the show. There is the producer of the show as well. The art team come up with so many ideas and when I come on board I am really lucky as I get to pick from all these great ideas. It is about a couple months before we start filming and I work with the art team and we work out the best way to put these ideas onto the TV. I then work through the stages and write the scripts for them, then work out the best way to present them. A lot of stuff I have to make upside down or from the side, as I have to make it the best way the cameras can see it.

Even the Minute Make ones I have to practice not only to do in a minute, but also have to make them in a certain way, like gluing from the side and I can’t see what I am gluing! It is  to show it easily for the children at home.

For the live show it is just me and the show’s producer who come up with the makes which will work on the stage.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Because I am so busy with Mister Maker I don’t have free time as such. Mister Maker has taken over my life and I am so happy about that, so proud. Last year we were filming the new series of ‘Mister Maker’s Arty Party’, as well as doing the tour, so I was literally working seven days a week for six months. Monday to Friday in the TV studio, then Friday evening through to Sunday evening doing live shows. My mum gets very worried about me not taking much time off.

I also remember as I started of twenty years ago in kids TV at the bottom of the ladder as a work experience boy. Then a runner’s job for a year doing everything from getting peoples’ lunch to making and painting props. It is one of those things where I gradually worked my way up the industry and now twenty years later to be fortunate enough to put on a live tour and do something I love doing.

The perfect thing for me is to make a nice cup of tea at home just the way you like it. I will put my feet up and watch an episode of ‘Friends’ or ‘Frasier’. They are the shows I chill out and catch up with my family. I love to see my mum and dad and catch up with them.

Message for your fans…

All the mini-Makers in the UK  I am very pleased you watch the shows on CBeebies. Come and see the live show, it is lots of fun. My main message is to make some noise. That is the theme of the show and the opening number in the show. Because we are all about arts, crafts and making things, but the live show is about making noise and have some fun. Not just the children but the grown-ups to and have some fun, plus dance with the Shapes of course.

A really nice person and a pleasure to interview. Do go & see one of the shows, be you young or old!