Friday, 1 February 2019

Meet the Director - A Chat With Sarah Scotcher

Directing shows for a company the size of The Wight Strollers is no mean feat, but Sarah Scotcher has been doing it a long time now, so there must be some appeal!

A founder member of The Wight Strollers in its current form, Sarah was a pupil at the Nesta Meech School of Dance, the banner under which our pantomimes were originally performed, from the age of 9 - and the rest, as they say, is history!

The first show Sarah directed for the company was our February 2008 production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but both prior to that and since she has also taken on almost every type of panto role under the sun, from princess to villain, dame to dwarf.

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is the fourteenth show Sarah has directed for the company, and we wanted to find out what it is that she loves about the Strollers, why she enjoys directing, and what keeps her coming back for more...

What's been the most challenging production for you to direct?
Priscilla: Queen of the Desert - The Musical. The scale of the whole production, the number of costume changes, the bus...it's such a massive show, and it's all very fast-paced.

But was it worth the challenges?
Of course!

And what about directing in general? What is it you like about directing shows?
Because it's exciting, when I see it get on stage, to think that I've brought all of it together and managed to put my own slant and ideas on things and make them a reality. You start off with a blank canvas and you can add bits to it.

And on the other side of the coin, what's the toughest thing about being a show director?
My role crosses over into Producer a fair bit, which means I get pulled in all different directions and that can be really tricky. Critiquing your friends is always a tough task, too!

You've been a Stroller for almost fifty years - that's crazy! But you obviously love it, so what is it - in your opinion - that makes The Wight Strollers special?
It's a family-orientated company, it's a very friendly group, and above all it raises money for Island charities. And it's extremely special to me because I've seen it grow from something smaller, much smaller - I remember the days when we performed at Ryde Pavilion and Carisbrooke High School! - into what it is today. It's just grown and grown. More than anything, though, I love what it [the company] stands for - the Strollers, at its heart, isn't a pretentious company, it's just a group of people who like making theatre and having fun, and our charity ethos is very much a driving force behind that. The fact that raising money for charity is our motivation keeps egos at bay, and always has done, because you see what good the money does in the local community. That's the most important thing - it's why we do it.

Being in the company so long has no doubt given you some wonderful memories - what are some of your fondest moments?
There's so many - that's really hard!

We can let you have three, if it helps!
Not much, but I'll try! Going right back, one of them would be getting my first principal role, which was Sleeping Beauty in 1984, when I was 21 - it was my first principal role, it will always be special. And the first time I played a comedy role, too, which was actually Willy in our 1999 production of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, funnily enough.
But a big thing for me was seeing my children on stage and loving The Wight Strollers as much as me - that was, and still is, very special.

Turning back to directing for a moment, what's been your favourite show to direct?
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, because it was just so special. It was our first musical, and the music was fabulous and it was such a feel-good show. But if you asked me which pantomime was my favourite to direct, I would have to say Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 2008. I don't know why, I think partly because it was the first show I ever directed for the Strollers. I liked Aladdin, too, because it's always a bit different and very colourful, and it's in a different setting to most other pantos and generally has a good mix of everything.

And on stage, what's been your favourite role to play?
Carabosse [the Wicked Fairy in Sleeping Beauty]. I've played the role twice and I enjoyed it both times. She's glamorous, and the way I play it is always sarcastic, which I love...

She does tend to be one of the nastier villains, doesn't she?
She is - she's just bad, she's actually not nice to anyone.

So what was it that made each time you played her so memorable? 
The first time I did it [2004], we did a Bushtucker Trial on stage and I absolutely loved that...in fact, on the last night I ate live worms! And I loved it the second time [2013] because I got to work with my daughter, Emily, who was playing Sleeping Beauty. And I suppose I also love it in general because in my younger years I was never a fairy...but Carabosse, although she's a villain, is still a fairy so you get a lovely costume as well!

Turning now to Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, you co-wrote the script, as you also did for Cinderella - what was it that prompted the change to home-written scripts?
When you write the script, you can tailor it to the company's needs and there's more scope for finding new comic routines, new characters, and new ways of approaching the stories...and we've even built a whole scene around a song we wanted to get into the show before! A big part of it, too, is that it's cheaper, which means more money to give to our charities.

What is it about this particular version of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood that you love?
I think it's a lovely contrast to some of the more Disney-esque shows. There really is something for everyone - action, comedy, romance, all sorts, plus a wonderful mix of songs. And it's giving a lot of our members a chance at a speaking role, including two of our younger members, Madeline and Miley. It's been really nice to see their acting skills and their confidence grow and develop through the rehearsal process, and they are now absolutely ready for an audience...and they're loving every minute of it!

And finally, why should people buy tickets?
Because no-one does panto quite like The Wight Strollers! I truly believe we give professional quality entertainment at amateur prices - I know I always say it, but I really do believe it. Once you've seen a Wight Strollers show, you will definitely be back for more.

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To get your tickets for Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, being performed at Medina Theatre this February Half Term, all you have to do is phone 01983 823884, visit the Medina Theatre website, or pop over to the Box Office or 1Leisure Reception in person! See you in the audience!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The Babes in the Wood: Meeting Madeline and Miley...

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is our 2019 pantomime, and rehearsals are going brilliantly!

Everyone has surely heard of Robin Hood - and we'll hear more about him in another post! - but who are the Babes and how do their paths cross with that of Robin?

The Babes, in this instance, are Eleanor and Edith of London, nieces to King Richard (poetic licence abounds in Panto Land!) and heirs to the throne of England.

And so it is our great pleasure to introduce to you Madeline (aged 13) and Miley (aged 8), who are taking on their first speaking roles within the company.

Madeline's first show with The Wight Strollers was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in July 2016 and Miley's first show was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 2014, so neither are newcomers to the company and both are going to absolutely knock your socks off!

So let's get to know them a little...

How did you feel when you were offered the part?
Madeline: Overjoyed, because I felt as if I could really become the character of Eleanor.
Miley: I was really excited and a bit nervous, but when I started rehearsing I felt really happy and I was excited to do the show. I can't wait to perform in front of a real audience.

What's your favourite bit of the pantomime to perform?
Miley: When I have to say to Willie 'it needs practice', because I can be sassy! And also the part when I get to sing with Madeline, who is a fabulous pretend sister.
Madeline: 'Hushabye Mountain' because I get to sing, and it's also a really sweet moment for me and Miley together - and I love that.

And what about your favourite scene to watch?
Madeline: The jail scene with the Merry Men. Because it's just hilarious, and it's so clever...and all of their facial expressions are amazing!
Miley:  'Are You In Or Out?' because it's very funky and I like dancing to it, and I bet everybody else will love it as much as I do!

What do you like about performing with The Wight Strollers?
Miley: I love singing and dancing and performing with the friends I have made in the Strollers. I love being on stage with my family, too, as my Mum and my sister are also in the panto.
Madeline: The Wight Strollers are like a second family - everyone is so caring, and they give so much to charity.

Why do you think theatre is such a great hobby for young people?
Madeline: You get to just be yourself. And you also get to meet and perform with lots of great and different people.
Miley: Because you get to act and find your passion whilst making friends and having fun. It's hard work at times and can be exhausting but also very exciting.

Why should people buy tickets to see Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood?
Miley: There's lots of jokes and funny bits, and you get to join in with boos and hisses. It's a show the whole family can enjoy - there's some jokes my Dad finds funny but I don't understand!
Madeline: And because the show can make you cry and laugh at the same time!
Miley: Make sure you buy your tickets or you'll miss out!

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Get your tickets to see this wonderful duo in action this February Half Term at Medina Theatre - all you have to do is phone 01983 823884 or visit the Medina Theatre website...or pop into the Box Office/1Leisure Reception in person! See you in the audience!


Friday, 25 January 2019

The Tale of Robin Hood...

He robs from the rich to give to the poor. He's an outlaw who has the heart of Maid Marian and the hatred of the Sheriff of Nottingham. He lives in Sherwood Forest with his gang of Merry Men.

But how much do we really know about Robin Hood and his Merry Men?

It's time to explore the legend, give you a few fun facts, and answer some questions you didn't even know you wanted to ask!

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Was Robin Hood a real person?
The jury is out on this one! Quite possibly, although exactly who his legend stemmed from has become muddied with time, made muddier still by the fact that many bandits, outlaws and vigilantes over the centuries adopted the name of 'Robin Hood' as an alias to keep their identities secret.

How far back can Robin Hood be traced?
The earliest known records of Robin are from the 14th Century, and mentioned with him from the get-go are the Sheriff of Nottingham, Little John, Much the Miller's son and Will Scarlett - Maid Marian, Alan-A-Dale and Friar Tuck, however, are nowhere to be seen!

Alright then, so when did they make an appearance?
Not until the 15th century, when Robin Hood became commonly associated with the May Day festivities and many drinking games, parties and plays were themed around him and his merry band of outlaws. Friar Tuck and Maid Marian made their entrance here, and in some regions the custom of these 'games' lasted right up until Elizabethan times, with Robin often allocated the role of May King to preside over the games and processions.

But still no Alan-A-Dale?
Believe it or not, the minstrel known as Alan-A-Dale didn't actually make his first appearance until the 17th Century, and it depends on which adaptation you're paying attention to as to whether or not he's part of the Merry Men or portrayed as more of a 'Narrator' figure, singing ballads about Robin Hood and his friends and foes.

Was Robin Hood always popular?
Unlike many legendary or historical figures, yes. Robin Hood was always popular, particularly among those who were living in poverty and - perhaps more strangely - those living at the other end of the spectrum, with great wealth.

And was he really Lord Robin of Locksley, before he was outlawed?
Historically, it's actually more likely that Robin Hood - if he existed - was a commoner himself, at least of a sort. It was actually only in 1795 when Joseph Ritson published 'Robin Hood: A collection of all the Ancient Poems Songs and Ballads now extant, relative to that celebrated Outlaw' that the most commonly accepted 'version' of Robin became more concrete. Ritson placed Robin's birth at around 1160, thus making him active in the reign of King Richard I. He also thought that Robin was of aristocratic birth, and that his original name was Robert Fitzooth...but there is a big question mark over the reliability of his sources! 


So actually, who Robin Hood really was is probably going to remain a mystery for all time...if indeed he ever existed at all!
Exactly right. We can safely say he probably existed as a person...but how true his existence was to the stories told of him, and indeed whether those stories can all be attributed to one man, is another matter entirely! Robert has always been a popular name, and in medieval England 'Robin' was by far the most common diminutive. The surname Hood was pretty common back then, too, and most commonly it referred to either a 'hooder', who was a maker of hoods, or to somebody who wore a hood. Because of this, there are a number of 'Robert Hood' and 'Robin Hood' references throughout historical records, and a good number of them are known to have fallen foul of the law on more than one occasion...it must be something about the name!

Drinking games, plays, processions, secret identities - so far, it doesn't sound much like a story for children!
It wasn't! Robin Hood actually only became a popular children's hero in the 19th Century, when authors began to adapt Joseph Ritson's tales of Robin Hood into a variety of children's novels and poems.

Followed by a whole host of films and TV series in more recent times...
And these films added yet more details to the legend we all know and love. From Walt Disney to the BBC, the production companies who have taken Robin Hood and run with him are plentiful, each with their own unique spin on the character and those around him.  But then isn't that the beauty of a legend? It can be shaped, told and retold a hundred times over, in a hundred different ways, and never lose its essence.

...And let's not forget Robin Hood in pantomime form!
Yes, and pantomimes. It's actually impossible to tell when Robin Hood first became the subject of a pantomime but, with the art itself dating back to 16th century Italy in its earliest form and reaching its traditional form by the Victorian era, it's safe to say Robin's first panto appearance could have happened at any time. Given how popular he was as a cult figure it was probably earlier rather than later!

So what about the people who have portrayed him? Exactly how many different Robins are there?
On film alone, there are numerous Robins (some better than others!), including Kevin Costner, Errol Flynn, Russell Crowe, Patrick Bergin, Sean Connery and - most recently - Taron Egerton, to name just a few. Include the Robins of television and stage and we're talking about too many for us to count or record! Each one, too, is so very different to the last - he's been cheeky, brave, romantic, moody, funny, heroic, dashing, tormented, sarcastic, sweet, and everything in between!

And as for our Robin?

Well, you'll have to buy tickets to find out...! 

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You can get your tickets for Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood by phoning 01983 823884 or by visiting the Medina Theatre website, or simply by popping up to the 1Leisure Reception in person! At just £10 for adults and £8 for Under 14s, this is one fabulous show at bargain prices that you will not want to miss!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Auction Extravaganza A Huge Success!

It's a rare thing for The Wight Strollers to be collectively speechless, but that's exactly what we are...

Following our Charity Auction at Shorwell Parish Hall on Saturday 28th May, we are over the moon to be able to announce that we have raised a whopping £7,157!

This total far exceeded our expectations and we're still reeling - what can we say that quite covers it? Not much! But there are a few thank-yous that must be said...

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Tim and Sue Smith for their exceptionally hard work in the months leading up to the auction - this simply would not have happened without them, and we consider ourselves lucky indeed to count them members of our company.

Tim and Sue - thank-you so much, we cannot express enough how grateful we are to you both.

We would also like to thank all those members of our company who assisted with approaching local businesses, donated items or promises themselves, spread the word about the auction, and helped to set up and keep the evening running smoothly from running the viewings to running the bar.

We couldn't have done it without you all!

A massive thank-you goes to all the wonderful individuals and Island businesses who so generously donated vouchers and goods, and we have listed them all here as they appear in our catalogue, because they deserve a major shout-out - we were blown away by the level of support we received:

- The Essex, Godshill
- Three Buoys, Ryde
- Yates Brewery
- Leslie's Service Station, Northwood
- Louise Aitken - Massage Therapist
- Paul Corbett
- Jean Corbett
- Pauline Watson
- Jo Hogan (and Hercules!)
- The Cow Shed
- Island Food Services
- Isle Jump Trampoline Park, Lake
- Anna Hadden, Unique Holistic & Beauty
- Amazon World, Nr. Arreton
- Hong Kong Express, Newport
- Cineworld
- Red Funnel
- Superbowl, Ryde
- Gossips Cafe, Yarmouth
- Mr Sid Brown
- Judith Day
- John Woodford
- Watersedge Beach Cafe, Gurnard
- The Barber Cube, Newport
- Burrs Restaurant, Newport
- IOW Steam Railway, Havenstreet
- Mrs J Mew
- Tapnell Farm Park, Freshwater
- Busy Bee Garden Centre, Ryde
- Mike Squibb
- Bonny
- Besty and Spinky's Cafe Bar, Ventnor
- The Body Shop, Newport
- Isle of Wight Tours, Lake
- New Holmwood Restaurant, Cowes
- TLC Beauty Lounge, Freshwater
- Fitness at Gurnard, Cowes
- Royal Retreat Beauty Salon, East Cowes
- Jireh House, Yarmouth
- Bartletts Green Farm, Ryde
- Jo & Paul Richardson
- The Model Village, Godshill
- Mrs S Lambert
- Donald Keene
- Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood Auction Rooms, Exeter
- Field Cafe, Niton
- Christine Smyth Acupuncture, Cowes/Ryde
- The Old Barracks, Puckpool
- Eldridges Solicitors, Freshwater
- Westridge Gold Centre, Ryde
- Wight Karting, Ryde
- Yelfs Hotel, Ryde
- Leslie's Motors, Cowes
- Karen Cassford
- Alan Vince
- The Griffin, Godshill
- Appley Manor Inn, Ryde
- The Captain's Table, Ryde
- Izzi Rudd & Emily Scotcher
- Blackevedesgins, Ryde
- Reynolds & Read Ltd.
- Summer Lilly's Florist, Newport
- Double Take
- Hungry Bear, The Lavender Farm, Newport
- The Duck Restaurant, Ryde
- Vikki Colenutt
- Julie Russell
- JR Zone, Newport
- Wight Gold Coins
- Angela Sowden - Artist
- Kwiksnip Beauty, Ryde
- Nicola Steedman
- Trumour Feeds
- The Sun Inn, Hulverstone
- Asda
- Tesco
- ADA Meze Restaurant, Carisbrooke
- Shannon Crouch
- Brian Atkinson
- Isle of Wight Council (1Leisure)
- Scotcher & Co, Newport
- Off The Rails, Yarmouth
- Take Two, Newport
- Eldridges Solicitors, Newport
- Pete Attrill Garden Services
- The Wheatsheaf, Newport
- Ken Page
- Over the Garden Wall Emporium
- HRD Auction Rooms, Brading
- Seabreeze Cottages, Brighstone (David & Leslie Kast)
- West Wight Valeting, Freshwater
- Sainsbury's, Newport
- Julian Occomore
- The Blacksmith's Arms, Newport
- The Isle of Wight Ambulance Training & Community Response Service
- Andy & Kim Ball
- Stag Lane Motors, Newport
- Baywatch on the Beach, St Helen's
- Hover Travel, Ryde
- Ashey Road Garage, Ryde
- Stan & Caroline Brading and Bill & Linda Wakefield
- Debbie Fitzgeorge & Geraldine Hanley
- Thread the Needle, Dave Kennett
- Wight Ironing Services
- Rachel Roscoe
- I&J Cantelo
- Ainsley Bennett Photography
- The Owl & Monkey Haven, Newport
- R. Hunt Ltd. Agricultural Engineers, Rookley
- The Orchards Holiday Park, Newbridge
- Medina Valley Centre, Newport
- Blackgang Chine
- Southern Vectis
- Isle of Wight Studio Glass, Arreton
- Mike Edmundson
- Jane Dunn
- Pauline Watson

And last, but certainly by no means least, we want to thank every single person who attended and bid on lots - a charity auction only works if everyone enters into the spirit of the evening and it's safe to say that we had an absolute blast of a night with a room packed - it was standing-room only! - from start to finish.

And a final special mention to Steve Staff, the winner of our mystery lot - two tickets to Priscilla: Queen of the Desert - The Musical and a unique (and highly collectible!) prop from our pantomime...the Storyteller's popcorn!

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To support The Wight Strollers and their chosen charities for Summer 2018, book your tickets to Priscilla: Queen of the Desert - The Musical by visiting the Medina Theatre website, or by calling 01983 823884, or by popping up to the box office in person.

It's jam-packed with floor-fillers, such as 'I Will Survive', 'Hot Stuff', 'It's Raining Men', 'True Colours', 'Colour My World' and 'Boogie Wonderland'.

Trust us...you won't want to miss it!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Cinderella's Magic Continues With Charity Donations

What a whirlwind few months it's been for The Wight Strollers - in the best possible way!

Our production of Cinderella was almost sold out, but for a few tickets on the first Saturday night, and the feedback that came in was nothing short of glowing from curtain up to curtain down. Our cast and crew worked their socks off, our audiences were warm and appreciative, and the reviews from Sardines and IW Theatre were fantastic.

As most of you will know, The Wight Strollers give away the proceeds of each show to Island charities and good causes - since 1981, we have raised over £215,000 and we're showing no signs of slowing up!

This year, at our AGM on Wednesday 18th April, we donated another £7,245 and we couldn't be more proud of everyone who helped us to raise this sum, be it on stage, backstage or by buying a ticket to see our magical pantomime.

We gave £2,500 to our main charity for Cinderella, KissyPuppy, who have undertaken their biggest Island project to date, a refurbishment of Oak House costing a total of £1.5million, to which KissyPuppy have pledged £300,000 in support.

"Thank-you so much to all of The Wight Strollers for this donation." said Aaron Rolf upon receiving the cheque. "We've done so much since we started KissyPuppy, but this is our largest project to date. The Mountbatten Hospice is the first adult hospice in the country to take on people under 18, and we want to make sure that continues long into the future."

We also donated £1,300 to Medina House School to assist with the transportation of their specialist equipment to enable their students to compete in the annual Rock Challenge event on the mainland.

"Medina House's travel costs are considerably higher than most other schools," said Elisa Jones, a member of the Strollers' committee, who nominated the school as a recipient.

"They need to take hoists and wheelchairs and all sorts of other equipment just to get the enable the children to get to the challenge and compete. This donation is amazing, and it should help them to participate for at least the next couple of years."

£1,000 was given to the Isle of Wight Fire Brigade Benevolent Fund, and representative Kev Ellis sincerely thanked the Strollers and said that the money would go towards the organisation's continuing work to support firefighters both past and present in times of need, whether that need be financial, medical or otherwise.

We also gave £500 to Wild Bird Aid, a charity run by just two people to care for sick and injured birds.

Vicky-Marie Hogan, one of the founders of the charity, attended the AGM to receive the cheque and said: "We rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured birds - last year we took in 1,000 and we currently have 200 in our care, including 25 permanently disabled birds. This charity is run by just the two of us, and this money will get us a good way through the nesting season, so thank-you."

£500 to Newchurch Cubs and Beavers, who - as Lewey Way, a member of the Newchurch group, said - are very much in need of some new camping equipment as the summer approaches!

And last, but by no means least, we have donated our seventh Public Access Defibrillator to the Isle of Wight.

This particular defibrillator is set to be sited at St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School following a letter to the company from the parents of one of the pupils there who suffers with a serious heart condition. PADs are so important - defibrillation within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest can improve a patient's chances of survival from being less than 7% to up to 74%.

Thank-you so much to all the charity representatives who attended our AGM, and thank-you again to everyone who supported Cinderella in any way. It's moments like this that often remind our hard-working team exactly why they do what they do, and why they give so much of their time and talents to ensuring that our shows are a success.

Everything we do is done with our chosen charities for each show in mind. All the hard work that goes into our productions both on and off stage, all the fundraising we do to ensure we can continue to keep our donation levels high even as production costs continue to rise, and every community event we attend from carnivals to school fairs, it's all done so that we can  stay true to the ethos of The Wight Strollers: raising as much money for local charities as we can, whilst having as much fun as possible!

With that in mind, prepare for a shameless plug!

We have a Charity Auction coming up this Saturday 28th April at Shorwell Parish Hall, starting at 7pm - entry is by catalogue (£1) and there are over 275 lots, including meal vouchers, entrance passes to Island attractions, promises of cakes and meals made by our members, beauty vouchers, antique furniture, collectible film posters and scripts, gold and silver jewellery and even a date with our very own miniature horse, Hercules!

Viewing is from 5-8pm on Friday 27th, and from 10am-1pm and 6-7pm on Saturday 28th, so you can come and have a look at what's on offer before attending the auction in the evening, where refreshments will be available and the one and only Tim Smith will be banging the gavel!

The auction is to help fundraise towards our summer donation to the chosen charities that will benefit from Priscilla: Queen of the Desert - The Musical. 

These are Breakout Youth IW, Break the Cycle CIC, the Wessex Cancer Trust IW Branch and we will also be donating our eighth Public Access Defibrillator.

All worthy causes, so please do make sure you attend the auction, keep an eye out for other fundraising activity and book your tickets for Prsicilla: Queen of the Desert - The Musical by phoning 01983 823884 or by visiting the Medina Theatre website or by popping up to the Box Office in person...we'll see you in Oz!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Banter With Buttons...

Michael Mullin has been with The Wight Strollers for over four years now, and in that time he's been lucky enough to take on a range of roles, from Judah in Joseph to Jack in last year's Jack and the Beanstalk. 

This year, Michael is playing Buttons, the head servant at Hardup Hall - well, actually, he's the only servant at Hardup Hall! Best friend to Cinderella, confidante to the Baron and loved by all the villagers, Buttons is a long-standing favourite with pantomime audiences all over the country, and we have a feeling Michael's Buttons will be up there with the best of them!

So what is it that makes Buttons so loveable?
"What makes him so lovable? He's the real hero of the story! He's lovely, he's adorable, he's funny...and he should get the girl! It's not fair!"

O...kay...I think I've touched a nerve there! We'll move on! What are your two favourite moments of the show so far? 
"I love the little scene between me and Cinderella where we're sitting on a table and Buttons is convinced she loves him. As for my favourite scene that I'm not in, it would probably have to be the scene where she turns into a princess. That's a really key moment, too."

You've been with the company now since September 2013...
"Has it been that long?"

It has been that long! What's been your most memorable moment with The Wight Strollers so far?
"My most memorable moment would probably be the very first time I was on stage with the company as Man Friday, in my little loin cloth, facing off with Sarah Scotcher for the first time!"

That's a baptism of fire!
"It was, absolutely. I've never forgotten it - and I probably never will!"

Before Robinson Crusoe, you were a relative newcomer to pantomime but you'd performed in many other genres, and have done since, too. What makes pantomime different?
"It's totally insane! Everything about it is just geared towards having fun - the people on stage are having fun, the audience is having fun, and it's just unique in that it's totally focused on achieving that. There's no other aim except for everyone to enjoy themselves."

Cinderella is certainly going to be a lot of fun - and it's a firm favourite in the panto world, as a story. But what's your personal favourite of all the pantomimes?
"Oh, it has to be Mother Goose. I've never actually seen it, but I just think a pantomime based around a goose sounds great!"

That's got to be the most unusual answer I've ever had to that one! Turning back to Cinderella, why should people come and see the show?
"It's what I said before, about pantos just being unadulterated fun. That's just the feeling in all of The Wight Strollers' shows, they turn that idea up to eleven every single time and it's just rad. You'll have a good time whether you pay attention to what's going on in the story or not - the atmosphere is just brilliant."

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Catch Michael as Buttons in Cinderella, this February Half Term at Medina Theatre. Tickets are still available and can be purchased from the Medina Theatre website, by phoning 01983 823884 or by visiting the Box Office in person.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Cinderella's Chosen Charities

As anyone who has ever seen a Wight Strollers production will know, we donate our proceeds to local charities and good causes, with every single penny staying on the Island to help our community.

Since 1981 we have raised well over £200,000 and have helped hundreds of Island charities, good causes, community organisations and individuals.

From purchasing numerous Public Access Defibrillators to replacing Scouting equipment lost in a fire, we consider every single application for funds that we receive with the utmost care, and our committee have now chosen four more thoroughly deserving causes to benefit from our Cinderella proceeds.

This year we will be donating our proceeds to Wild Bird Aid, the Newchurch Beavers & Cubs, the Fire Brigade Benevolent Fund (IOW Branch), Kissy Puppy and St George's School and Medina House School to assist with the specialist equipment required to transport their students to the Global Rock Competition.

We will also be purchasing our seventh - that's right, seventh! - Public Access Defibrillator for the Island, which it is hoped will be hosted by St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School in Carisbrooke.

We hope you'll all agree that these are four very worthy recipients of our proceeds, and we look forward to presenting them with donations at our AGM in April.

In the meantime, to help us to help these wonderful causes, all you need to do is book a ticket to come and see Cinderella on February 10th, 11th or 17th at Medina Theatre, and spend an afternoon or evening laughing, crying, shouting, booing, cheering, applauding and generally having a wonderful time at a magical show!

What could be easier?

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Tickets for Cinderella are available from the Medina Theatre website, by phoning 01983 823884 or by visiting the box office in person, and are £9 per adult and £8 per under 14.