Find Your Grail….Spamalot Diary-One Day To Go!

Hello, you gorgeous lot you!

I aim to bring you a sneaky peek of what’s happening in rehearsals and introduce the cast and crew of Spamalot. Our fearless Herd Leaders, Alex Hinton and Lisa Lowarch have high expectations and we intend to meet them, in what will be an amazing production of Spamalot!

Don’t miss out, book your tickets at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

Mad Cow Productions present our trailer for SPAMALOT! – Thank you Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!  The company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

 

 Rehearsal Diary: The Final One!

Well…this is it! The last Rehearsal Diary entry, as tomorrow night we will be on stage performing.

If you missed any posts and want to catch up, here is;Week One/Part TwoWeek One/Part One,Week Two/Part One , Week Three , Week Four ,  Week Five and Week Six!

I’ve been thinking…I know it will be a shock to most of you 🙂 But I’ve been asked a few questions since I started doing this: Why I want to do shows?  Why join Mad Cow’s? Why am I writing a Rehearsal Diary?

The answer is simple…because I wanted to. (Chuckle) But it’s more than that, I don’t think people realize how exhilarating it is to be up on stage. Yes, you’re nervous, yes you feel sick and get the shakes as you wait in the wings for you entrance. But the second you’re feet hit the stage and you’re under the lights, it evaporates.

Each person on and off that stage has worked hard for months, their hearts and souls are bared for you, the audience to see. It would blow your mind if you knew all the hours and planning Alex, Lisa, Chris and the rest of the Herd have done in order for this show to go ahead! They are committed to bring you the best show you’ve ever seen!

Mad Cows aren’t just a theatre group to me. They are friends and family, we learn together and support each other no matter what. I have had the joy of watching members confidence grow, my own included. Of seeing how they work together and rally round anyone struggling and the beaming smiles when they get it right! It was exactly what I was looking for, a caring and passionate group who are willing to push themselves in order to put on a show that they can be proud of.

It is for that reason that I wanted to write the Spamalot Rehearsal Diary. To show all the hard work and fun we have and how fantastic the company is, on and off the stage! I would like to thank all of the Herd for getting on board with the Diary and letting me write about all of you! It will be fantastic to be able to look back through the Spamalot memories we have made.

One last thing…I need to thank my blog stars, Bec’s and Annette…without you two writing in the note-book and doing very funny things, this wouldn’t have worked!

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Blog Stars! Becs and Annette.

But for now…let’s take one last look at more of the ‘special moments’ we’ve had together!

I have a few Chris moment’s to share with you. He really is a star for putting up with all of us!

Chris: Are you ready for your Ah So’s?  (Yes, some of us(me) are that immature, but it was hilarious when he said it!)

Chris:No…L ( we were singing grail and kept lingering on the note at the end.)

We sang it again…and got it wrong.

Chris:Noel…It’s not christmas!  Cue cast laughing, but on the next go we got it perfect!

The next Chris moment occurred on a Friday rehearsal…I blame end of the week tiredness of the cast.

Chris:I don’t know how you can do anything passionate with your arms folded! Cue a case of the giggles as our minds wander into naughty territory and then stop when we see Chris’s face…we made him sad…sorry Chris, we didn’t mean to, I promise.

 

This time from the note-book, I have a few fab moments of Matt…Mwa ha ha!

Matt was rehearsing ‘His name is Lancelot’ with the boys.

Matt:Those girls over there, are standing in puddles at your hips! (Lauughed my head off…haven’t been called a girl in years…but wow those hips do move well…you’re in for a treat!)

Matt: For the Navy- I’ll even join the tooth Fairy! It’s a good line…unfortunatley it’s the wrong way round and the whole room burst into laughter along with Matt.

Bec’s coment on Matt had me in stitches when I found it…

Bec:Oh! Two weeks till show week and Matt brings out the low cut T-shirt! Cue girly squeal!

You are fab Bec’s!

A wonderful moment with Robert!

Robert: I should have gone upstairs.

Alex:Upstairs? Really?

Robert: I meant upstage!

Whole room errupted into laughter!

Becs was listening to Annette singing and heard…”You may even have some shit stirs making stew.”

It would seem that Annette hasn’t mastered ‘Jewish’ yet!

Annette: Is it you may even have some schnitzel making stew?

The answer is no…it’s not…not even close Annette 🙂 I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

For the Vocal Booth massive…just a reminder. What happens in the Vocal Booth…stays in the Vocal Booth! You get me! 😉

 

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Meet the Cast and Crew!

Up first this week is the…Glamorous Natalie Watts! 2016-04-26 08.36.25

I am Natalie and I am playing the lady of the lake. This is my third production with the Mad Cows and instead of talking about me and what I have done or achieved, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the amazing company that I am part of.

Like most people my life has taken a series of ups and down since I joined the herd, who I consider to be some of my closest friends. The three hours of rehearsal not only improve my cognitive functions, (remembering those bloody harmonies – big up to Chris for his patience with us all!) but the humour and love in that room is enough to brighten anyone’s mood and that comes from the top in the form of the very lovely Alex and Lisa.

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You rarely come across a bunch of people that are as genuine, friendly, loving and accepting and I feel very blessed that me and my lovely daughter are part of that family.

So, I won’t bore you with mundane facts about my quite uneventful life.Instead, I want to let you know that you should definitely come and see Spamalot – so you can see that all that loveliness has made this, a show worth watching!

 

 

The Handsome and Very Talented Choreographer…Matt Robinson! Me In Pink

Hello! My name is Matt…. I am 37 and I’m an alco…Oops sorry, wrong BIO…

I was born in Wolverhampton and from a very young age my parents decided to channel my ‘showing off’ in a positive direction…

I trained in dance, singing & drama at Telfords – Gaston Payne.  Whilst there I performed in numerous pantos / shows.  I danced in 3 shows for Heather Games ‘Game Productions’.

At seventeen, I successfully auditioned for a three-year Musical theatre course at Laine Theatre Arts.  During my time there I was fortunate to dance in 3 professional pantomimes.  On completion of my three years, I went straight into a full UK tour of Pirates of Penzance w/ Paul Nicholas (ask your mums kids) From there I continued touring the UK & Europe with Anything Goes, 42nd St and Jesus Christ Superstar.

In 2000/01 the bright lights of London’s West End came calling…. For a year I was in Bill Kenwrights ‘Blood Brothers’. After that I went onto, what can be only described, as my hardest job…EVER.  I did a six month stint singing in hotels in Ibiza…I tip my hat to ANYONE who does this! In theatre, people pay to watch a show.  They want to go and watch that show…In hotels, it’s just family’s w/ kids running about and drunken idiots trying to grab the mic off you and duet to ‘Angels’….

In 2006 I started what would be a two-year world tour with ‘Mamma Mia’.  This was brilliant for many reasons, I got paid to see the world (China, Israel, Sweden, Holland, Dubai, Doha…the list goes on.) Perform in Arena’s with audiences up to 7000…and I met my wife, Kellie.

Good times.

I’m really babbling now…. Damn you Heidi!… So to cut a long (boring) story short… We finished, got married and decided to start a family…  Cue the arrivals of George (6), Thomas (3) and Oliver (2). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now… My best ever part?  Being a Dad!Mini Matt

Unfortunately, my ‘pro’ career came to an end after I was part of the ‘Ghost the musical’ workshops, when I tore all my ligaments & tendons in my right ankle (having previously broke it 5 times) I promised myself to walk away completely from the industry.  So I came back to the sunny midlands to start a new chapter…or so I thought…

Cue the Cows…So as legend has it, Lisa Lowarch trawled Facebook & phonebooks looking for ‘Matt Robinson’.  Someone had dropped out of their upcoming production of ‘Drowsy Chaperone’… and Lisa STALKED me to ask if I would replace… I politely declined.  I came to watch a couple of rehearsals and was blown away by the level of professionalism.  I loved what Alex (Hinton) and Lisa were doing and asked them if I could come in from time to time to ‘clean’ or choreograph…. Drowsy, Kiss Me Kate, Crazy for You and Hairspray later…. I’m still here (just)

Alex and Lisa have always sat back and watched me work and they couldn’t help but notice I had a slight itch to get back on stage…with each show I helped with…it was turning into a rash…a BIG rash.

And so, a few confidence boosting chats with the Cows and 2 auditions later…Here I am… The wig wearing, Sir Galahad.  Not as light on my feet, carrying a FEW extra pounds but I’m about to go on stage for the first time in 6 years……

And the best thing about it?  My eldest son, George, will get to see what his Daddy used to do……

Moral of this long winded story?  ‘Never say never’….

The Stunning…Poppy Dhansingani! received_1337849472908440

Hey! I’m Poppy and I have been cast as one of the Laker Girls! This is my second show with Mad Cow before I hopefully set off for university in September.

Being a Laker girl has been challenging with the everyday limbering as Alex chants, “limber, limber, limber!!” But the hard work is proving to be worth it, as it always is. Especially for this hilarious show Spamalot. The whole cast has been so supportive of each other and the company gels really well together, making everyone feel at ease.

I love all the dances within the show, my favourite being the Laker cheer when we transition from an elegant ballet number, to an American style cheer with pom- poms!

The leader cows; Alex and Lisa deserve a massive thank you because, as usual, they’ve managed to coordinate a whole herd to produce such a high quality show.

I have enjoyed the experience a lot and it’s my last bit of fun before swapping the showgirl, Laker attitude for pens, paper and endless revision for my exams!

 The Gorgeous…Lauren Newland-Nell! 2016-04-26 08.33.40

Being born and raised in sunny South Africa, I am the International Herd Member. As a little girl I did what all little girls do and danced ballet until the age of 9. I was lucky enough to be cast in our National production of ‘The Nutcracker’ at the age of 7 and continued to perform in Local productions, along with playing the piano to concert level and singing in our children’s choir, until I had to choose between ballet and horse riding lessons. Thus began a life-long obsession with all things horses!!

Having competed nationally in Working Hunter Competitions in South Africa and after studying my Bachelor of Science degree, I decided to immigrate to the UK in 2003 after I spent 2 years here training and competing prior to studying. For years I satisfied my musical interests by doing ‘Dressage to Music’ with my 2 dressage horses, which keep be extremely busy outside of Mad Cows and work. I also work as a Medical Sales representative selling a dermal skin template for the regeneration of skin for major burn victims and reconstruction surgery. I also volunteer for Shrewsbury’s local riding club and am on their Committee to organise their dressage teams, dressage clinics and manage their Facebook account.2016-04-26 08.33.22

I joined the Mad Cows 3 years ago and was DSM for ‘Lend me a Tenor’. My first on stage production was for ‘Crazy for you’ and I have been involved in every production since then in some form or another, from helping with sound to props and learning some interesting DIY skills building and painting sets. I really do consider the Herd as my family away from home, you couldn’t hope to find a nicer and more supportive bunch of people if you tried. I however did have my doubts about joining the cast for Spamalot as being from South Africa I didn’t really ‘get’ the Monty Python sense of humour!

The cast has absolutely made this show for me and they are hysterical! My biggest challenge in this show is keeping a straight face as the cast are all so brilliant in their performances that I just keep laughing – 6 months in and it’s still not old! I am extremely grateful to the dynamic duo (Alex & Lisa) for keeping me in the Herd – I really don’t know what I would do without this crazy lot of fantastically talented people! If you have your tickets already – enjoy the show – you are in for a real treat – if you don’t – WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

One of our gorgeous Herd members,  Emily Ireson – is raising money for two charities, The Little Princess Trust and Macmillan. On Saturday the 7th  of May she will be cutting eleven inches of her very long hair off and donating it to help create wigs for children, who have lost theirs and to help raise money so that the charity can continue their fantastic work! She is also collecting for Macmillan who helped so much with her Nana!

If you would like to support and sponsor Emily, Click here to visit her Just Giving page!

It is such a good cause and I know Emily will really appreciate anything you are able to donate! Thank you:)

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A huge thank you to our wonderful Sponsors!

SOLICITORS

Wace Morgan Solicitors are long-established providers of legal services to clients in Shropshire and Mid Wales from our Shrewsbury and Newtown offices.

 “We are proud of our involvement with the Shropshire community, our support for regional events and efforts to raise money for charity.”

They have generously supported Mad Cow Productions for almost a decade!

Click here for all your legal needs and advice.

mens underwear

I am a huge fan of deadgoodundies! They also supply our shows with underwear when needed and my hubby was lucky enough to receive a pair of fire engine red briefs and Wow! They are truly amazing. I tried to get him to model a pair for me but …sigh…he refused, so here are two wonderful pics of their latest products.

You won’t find a better place to buy a wide range of men’s underwear, swimwear, thermal wear, T-shirts and lounge wear. They sell worldwide so click  here and have a gander!

Thank you so much for taking the time to have a read and supporting us.I really hope you’ve enjoyed it! Feel free to share or even send me a message:) But for now this is me, Heidi Brown, signing off from the Spamalot Rehearsal Diary…But who knows, I may get to do an after show post just for you! One day to go!

The only remaining questions left are…Who will find the Grail ? Who will be our Sir not appearing in this show? Come and watch our fantsatic show Spamalot and find out for yourselves! I look forward to seeing you !

:)

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What Happened To My Part?…Spamalot Diary-Week One/Part Two

 

Hello, you gorgeous lot you!

I aim to bring you a sneaky peek of what’s happening in rehearsals and introduce the cast and crew of Spamalot. Our fearless Herd Leaders, Alex Hinton and Lisa Lowarch have high expectations and we intend to meet them, in what will be an amazing production of Spamalot!

Don’t miss out, book your tickets at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

Mad Cow Productions present our trailer for SPAMALOT! – Thank you Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!  The company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

 

 Rehearsal Diary: Week One – Part Two!

There is so much that goes into making a show and it really is a team effort. If you missed any posts and want to catch up, here is;Week One/Part One,Week two/Part Two ,Week Two/Part One , Week Three , Week Four ,  Week Five and Week Six!

It’s all happening, right now as I write this blog, the Herd are building what will be a fantastic set. Costumes have been tried on and I’m so excited I’m struggling to contain it! Everyone looks fab and it’s going to be amazing to see everyone together! I’ve had another ‘last moment,’ I will no longer be the stand in for the giant wooden rabbit, as it has arrived at the theatre. This is one of the things I love about Mad Cows, the way everyone get’s stuck in. Currently the whole Herd is gearing up to bring everything together. But for now…let’s take a look at more of the ‘special moments’ we’ve had together!

At one point in the show…I won’t say where…there is a moment where a person is greeted by the knights. In each rehearsal we have practised with different names, and let me say this, they have been interesting! However when Ryan pulled Lisa up, he named her Tallulah Sharnackal! Lisa had me in hysterics as she played the part of Tallulah and then it came to sing the name…I don’t know if anyone actually got it right as we were all laughing to much at the Knights trying to keep straight faces and at Lisa giggling!

A quote straight from my book, written by Becs…

Alex /Lisa: Girls… just stand there and look gorgeous!

Bec’s: Lord this acting lark is hard…

It wouldn’t be the Spamalot diary if this dynamic duo didn’t appear together! Love seeing what they get up to when they have the notebook!

Annette: You ended up on the wrong side of me!

Bec: I know. I’m sorry! I don’t know how it happened!

Annette:Well I can only act on your left, I can’t act on your right!

I spilled my tea when I read this exchange! 🙂 I love you two!

A few photo’s of the ‘get In’!

 

Meet the Cast and Crew!

Up first this week is…Asha Parker !

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Asha is twelve years old and is the youngest member of Mad Cow Productions. This is her second show with the company, as she was in ‘Hairspray’ last year. However, this isn’t the only time she has performed. Asha was also in the 2015/16 pantomime of ‘Dick Whittington’ at Theatre Severn. She has also been in many other shows at the Theatre Severn which include; Carmen, the Perfect season, Night at the Musicals and now will be performing in Spamalot!

As well as being a performer, Asha is a British street dance champion and competes in competitions around the country. Her main aspiration is to be a performer and she will be attending the West End summer school in August. Then hopefully, when she is older she will be able to attend a performing arts school.

Asha loves being part of Mad Cow Productions and will definitely be in more shows in the future!

The Talented… Patrick Playfair!
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For Patrick, sixty years of performing have culminated in this fabulous Mad Cow production of Spamalot. In addition to his stage roles he has appeared in film [for the BYFA and a long defunct schools film unit] and on radio.

Having originally left school intent on pursuing a professional career in the theatre and as a member of the newly created NYT, he trained as a teacher and combined this with working with companies at The Palace Theatre Watford, The Swan Theatre Worcester and The Grand in Wolverhampton.  As well as the traditional repertoire of musical theatre, Patrick was fortunate to take leading roles in The Alchemist; London Assurance, Roots, A View from the Bridge, Oh What a Lovely War, Lock Up Your Daughters, and Boeing Boeing.  However, rising through the teaching profession his ‘double life’ had to be curtailed. He didn’t tread the boards for some fourteen years before he returned to the stage as Fagin in a production of Oliver sixteen years ago.

Patrick met Alex and Lisa when he joined Shrewsbury Operatic Society.  He is probably the only member of the cast of Spamalot to have chased Alex through an auditorium [High Society] and ‘playfully’ smacked Lisa’s bottom [My Fair Lady]. He has great admiration for what the Mad Cows have achieved.  As an original member of this ‘benign dictatorship’ Patrick has seen first-hand how The Cows have raised the bar in both production values and in extending the repertoire of shows being performed in Shrewsbury. In roles as diverse as Lloyd in ‘Noises Off’, The Colonel in ‘Allo Allo’, Roger Debris in The ‘Producers’, Patrick began to think he could only be cast if the part demanded the wearing of a wig or a ‘wiglet’ or teetering down a staircase in sequined high heels and evening gown!

Asked about amusing incidents, Patrick recalled a headline and photograph in a local paper ‘Actors caught in backstage touch up’ [perfectly innocent]; free-standing ballroom pillars in a production of Half a Sixpence collapsing like dominoes onto the stage; too much dry ice completely enveloping the stage in a production of Brigadoon; standing on a counter as it careered towards the orchestra pit in a production of ‘Hello Dolly’ at The Malvern Festival Theatre [at the same performance – a Thursday matinée – the ASM put too much charge to simulate the exploding cans of tomatoes and nearly deafened himself] – and many more, which of course simply add to the enjoyment of the stage.

So, no longer needing to live a ‘double life’ Patrick can act disgracefully in the full knowledge that at his age people can do just that!

Taunt well mon brave.

The Gorgeous…Cerian Lancaster! 

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I have always been a musical’s enthusiast ever since the tender age of four, when my brave parents took me to see the ’94 revival of ‘Oliver’ in London. Four-year-old me enjoyed it so much that my parents had to constantly quieten me. My (exceptional) vocals were drawing too much attention away from the professionals.

I continued this habit throughout my childhood and went on to perform in school plays. I embraced these roles with the same amount of enthusiasm as I did for ‘Oliver’, as well as a great deal of professionalism and artistic licence. For one year only Mrs Cratchit became very northern. Later on I expanded my musical talents and played in the Shropshire Youth Wind Orchestra and eventually joined my university show choir, where my life became an episode of ‘Glee’ for a brief moment in time.

I joined Mad Cow in 2013 to satisfy my innate need to sporadically belt out musical numbers, (sometimes with accompanying choreography.) So far I have been in three shows; Crazy for you, Hairspray and Spamalot. I’ve also had the opportunity to be DSM for ‘Noises off’ and work in props for ‘The Game’s Afoot’. Mad Cow has really helped me come out my shell and has introduced me to a really great group of people, who I have learnt a lot from. Spamalot is the third show I’ve performed in but hopefully not the last!!

The Handosme…Tom Beddows! 

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I have lived in Shrewsbury all my life. But I have only just begun exploring the world of theatre. I have always enjoyed plays, which all my schools used to put on every so often. But I only watched them, I never performed in them. One day an opportunity at my school came up for me to be in the play. It was ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. I never really did much for my secondary school until Year nine, where I took the role as an ugly step sister, believe it or not!

I then went on to study AS Performance at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College. At the same time, I knew I wanted to do more performing outside of College. Then I heard about Mad Cow Productions through a family member, who had met Alex Hinton previously in the theatre. It was just what I was looking for and I joined the company.

My first show with Mad Cow was 2014’s ‘Crazy For You’, I worked back stage for ‘Noises Off’ and returned to the stage for 2015’s ‘Hairspray’, I was once again backstage crew for ‘The Games Afoot’. My most recent show with Mad Cow is ‘Spamalot’ and I’m loving the rehearsals! For the three shows I have been an ensemble cast, but I have had just as much fun being an ensemble as the main cast have had as the principle characters. As everyone says, ALL the cast are important!

One of our gorgeous Herd members,  Emily Ireson – is raising money for two charities, The Little Princess Trust and Macmillan. On Saturday the 7th  of May she will be cutting eleven inches of her very long hair off and donating it to help create wigs for children, who have lost theirs and to help raise money so that the charity can continue their fantastic work! She is also collecting for Macmillan who helped so much with her Nana!

If you would like to support and sponsor Emily, Click here to visit her Just Giving page!

It is such a good cause and I know Emily will really appreciate anything you are able to donate! Thank you:)

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A huge thank you to our wonderful Sponsors!

SOLICITORS

SOLICITORS

Wace Morgan Solicitors are long-established providers of legal services to clients in Shropshire and Mid Wales from our Shrewsbury and Newtown offices.

 “We are proud of our involvement with the Shropshire community, our support for regional events and efforts to raise money for charity.”

They have generously supported Mad Cow Productions for almost a decade!

Click here for all your legal needs and advice.

mens underwear

I am a huge fan of deadgoodundies! They also supply our shows with underwear when needed and my hubby was lucky enough to receive a pair of fire engine red briefs and Wow! They are truly amazing. I tried to get him to model a pair for me but …sigh…he refused, so here are two wonderful pics of their latest products.

You won’t find a better place to buy a wide range of men’s underwear, swimwear, thermal wear, T-shirts and lounge wear. They sell worldwide so click  here and have a gander!

Thank you for taking the time to have a read and supporting us.I really hope you’ve enjoyed it! Feel free to share or even send me a message:) The next installment of Spamalot Rehearsal Diary will be with you shortly, don’t miss it!. Not long to go now!

:)

2016-04-15 08.19.39

His Name is Lancelot…Spamalot Diary Week One-Part One!

 Hello, you gorgeous lot you!

I aim to bring you a sneaky peek of what’s happening in rehearsals and introduce the cast and crew of Spamalot. Our fearless Herd Leaders, Alex Hinton and Lisa Lowarch have high expectations and we intend to meet them, in what will be an amazing production of Spamalot!

Don’t miss out, book your tickets at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

Mad Cow Productions present our trailer for SPAMALOT! – Thank you Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!  The company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

 

Rehearsal Diary: Week One – Part One!

There is so much that goes into making a show and it really is a team effort. The props and costume departments are in full swing and I can’t wait for you to see it all ! If you missed any posts and want to catch up, here is; Week Two-Part two ,Week Two/Part One , Week Three , Week Four ,  Week Five and Week Six!

This week has been wonderful and yet I’m filled with mixed emotions. You see, we’re now hitting what I will call, ‘for the last time’ moments. We have had our last rehearsal at the Darwin Community Centre, the last rehearsal in the Theatre Severn dance studio. It’s very strange to think we won’t be there next week. On the other hand, we are now getting ready to move into the Theatre Severn, Yay! This is what we have been working so hard for. So the whole Herd is gearing up to bring everything together. The sound system has arrived, the costumes and props are stunning and next we have a set to build! But for now…let’s take a look at more of the ‘special moments’ we’ve had!

I can’t wait for you to see ‘His name is Lancelot’. The boy’s have been working hard and for some, learning something very new for this number. It’s been wonderful watching them over the last few weeks.They’ve really thrown themselves into it and wow can those hips move! And the thrusts…oh my, you’re in for a treat!

Quote from my notebook by persons unknown: “Terry’s ‘camp’ is outstanding!” (was this you Theo or Becs?) Either way this show is going to blow your mind…the variety of numbers and the humour is in a league of its own.

During ‘Run Away’ and the lead up to it, has given me some fantastic moments! Patrick is a star and doesn’t fail to make me laugh. Here a couple of those moments.

The large wooden Rabbit is pushed on. (Currently Laura,Emma and myself)

Patrick: It’s a ,a…a…Line please!

Emma (DSM): It’s a large wooden rabbit.”

Everyone cracks up in the room and Patrick grins, shaking his head.

Next up…it seems there are a lot of ways in which blowing raspberries can go wrong.

Patrick: I did an extra raspberry!

Company chuckles as the scene halts and quick as lightning Ryan ( Patsy) say’s…

Ryan: I think he followed through Sir.

Cast bursts into laughter and it takes a few moments for everyone to calm down.

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Band call! Our Spamalot musicians gathered together to rehearse and they sounded amazing!  Wow! Is all I can say…I can’t wait to hear them in Theatre Severn it’s going to be fantastic to sing with them!

Meet the Cast and Crew!

 Up first this week is… The Handsome Terry Edge! 2016-04-18 13.30.48

Originally from Aberystwyth. I moved to Shropshire when I was almost seventeen. This is where I became interested in performing and it led me to studying performing Arts for four years. I have been a member of Mad Cow since 2013, with ‘Spamalot’ being my second in which I’m performing. I was previously in “Crazy for you” in 2014. I have also been a back stage member for ‘ Noises off’, ‘ Hairspray’ and ‘The game’s afoot’.

Spamalot has been a very fun and exciting show to be part of and I hope everyone that watches thoroughly enjoys it!

 Our Amazing DSM …Emma Hedges! 

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I joined Mad Cow two years ago when I moved to Shrewsbury – and every production has been a real learning journey for me; from tackling heights on stage (!), to speaking over the intercom in my poshest voice back stage at Theatre Severn, to being a dead body in the bar….

I was the DSM for Hairspray and have dusted down my highlighters to do it all again on Spamalot.  My biggest tip for anyone considering being a DSM is: Concentrate at all times.  In rehearsal the second your concentration slips you can guarantee someone will ask, “Where are we…?” or “Line!” or the best one – when there’s a rather long silence and you realise that you haven’t present play on Rocs and everyone is looking at you…. Oh and learn to interpret the tiniest wave of the MD’s hand – is that Stop! Or are you just conducting…?

I can honestly say that I’m part of the herd because it’s joyous and the drive to make something truly wondrous is at the heart of everything…oh and they’re quite a lovely bunch too….

 The Fantastic…Connor Sturrock!
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Hi! I’m Connor, I am eighteen years old and I live in the rural village of Snailbeach. I went to Shrewsbury Sixth Form college and now work full-time at Secure web services, a rural broadband company.

I have been a part of the great herd, that is Mad Cows for the last two years, performing in Hairspray and now Spamalot!

I’m having the best time ever with this musical and can’t wait for show week!

Our Glamorous Make-up Artist…Melissa Wellington! received_10154754266873858

Hi, I’m Mel!  I’m currently the Mad Cows Make Up artist/designer. I joined Mad Cow back in 2010 and have been performing with them ever since. I took a year out of the spotlight and went and qualified as a Make Up Artist. Since then, I have been coming up with the best looks for our fabulous productions and can honestly say I Love it!

I really enjoy designing the make-up for all of the characters and then getting to see them on stage. It is just so rewarding to be a part of such an amazing Company. Make Up is a passion of mine and I’m lucky enough to work with it full-time within a premium beauty brand too, which is so much fun and creative.

Spamalot has been the most varied of looks to create, from Muddy faces to dazzling showgirls this one’s got it all! I can’t wait to see everyone’s look come together on stage, it will be a joy to see!

 The Wonderful…Tal Bowen!
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How often do you get a chance to dress up as a knight of King Arthur’s court and dance and sing without the threat of being arrested for disorderly conduct?

So when I saw that Mad Cow had Spamalot planned, it was now or never. First time with Mad Cow for me and very different from my previous performing (choirs of 1,000 strong at National Eisteddfod (just Google it!), comedy and Shakespeare with local companies) – but hey, why not?  What most impresses me is everyone’s enthusiasm, energy, laughter and last but not least the patience from our tutors coping with us first timers.

This is going to be a great show – “nudge, nudge- wink, wink – say no more squire” – See you there!

One of our gorgeous Herd members,  Emily Ireson – is raising money for two charities, The Little Princess Trust and Macmillan. On Saturday the 7th  of May she will be cutting eleven inches of her very long hair off and donating it to help create wigs for children, who have lost theirs and to help raise money so that the charity can continue their fantastic work! She is also collecting for Macmillan who helped so much with her Nana!

If you would like to support and sponsor Emily, Click here to visit her Just Giving page!

It is such a good cause and I know Emily will really appreciate anything you are able to donate! Thank you 🙂

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A huge thank you to our wonderful Sponsors!

SOLICITORS

SOLICITORS

Wace Morgan Solicitors are long-established providers of legal services to clients in Shropshire and Mid Wales from our Shrewsbury and Newtown offices.

 “We are proud of our involvement with the Shropshire community, our support for regional events and efforts to raise money for charity.”

They have generously supported Mad Cow Productions for almost a decade!

Click here for all your legal needs and advice.

mens underwear

I am a huge fan of deadgoodundies! They also supply our shows with underwear when needed and my hubby was lucky enough to receive a pair of fire engine red briefs and Wow! They are truly amazing. I tried to get him to model a pair for me but …sigh…he refused, so here are two wonderful pics of their latest products.

You won’t find a better place to buy a wide range of men’s underwear, swimwear, thermal wear, T-shirts and lounge wear. They sell worldwide so  click here and have a gander!

Thank you for taking the time to have a read and supporting us.I really hope you’ve enjoyed it! Feel free to share or even send me a message:) The next installment of Spamalot Rehearsal Diary will be with you shortly, don’t miss it!. Not long to go now!

:)

2016-04-15 08.19.39

 

Till Death Do Us Part – Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction Photo Propmpt!

Hello all!

I hope you are well and ready for some more Flash Fiction. As always, we are given our photo prompt by our wonderful Friday Fictioneer leader, Rochelle . The rules are to write a story in 100 words, using the photo prompt as inspiration. Life is still manic at the moment with family and rehearsals for Spamalot the musical. I can’t believe that in one weeks my hubby and I will be on stage performing! It’s so exciting! To see exactly what I’ve been up to click here ! I’m still reading last weeks, so be patient with me, I’m getting there slowly. 🙂

So here is my attempt for this week. I hope you enjoy it.

PHOTO PROMPT © Madison Woods

PHOTO PROMPT © Madison Woods

 

Till Death Do Us Part.

 

“Why do you need more barbed wire Harry?”

“To keep them out of course.”

“Who?”

“Our enemies.”

“Your enemies.”

“What?”

“We’re surrounded by fences and armed guards. The Manor is more like a prison than a home.”

He strokes my cheek and I freeze in place.

“Do you think Drew, would have given you a better life?” I shudder as his breath tickles my ear.

“Your coffee’s getting cold.”

“Answer me!”

“He’s dead…what does it matter.”

Harry smiles and lifts the cup to his mouth and drinks.

The cup smashes, “Lucinda…why?” He gasps.

“You killed Drew. You took me from my family… but you taught me well Harry… and for that, I will always be thankful.” I watch with a smile as his body stills and white foam gathers on his lips.

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 Thank you so much for taking the time to read my offering! If you fancy reading some more stories from the Friday Fictioneers please click on the little blue froggy, you won’t be disappointed!

 

I thought I’d share Mad Cow Productions ‘Spamalot’ Trailer with you! – Thank you to the amazing team and Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!

I’m singing in this and the company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

Don’t miss out, book your tickets now at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

I can Dance and I can Sing…Spamalot Diary- Week Two-Part Two!

 

Hello, you gorgeous lot you!

I aim to bring you a sneaky peek of what’s happening in rehearsals and introduce the cast and crew of Spamalot. Our fearless Herd Leaders, Alex Hinton and Lisa Lowarch have high expectations and we intend to meet them, in what will be an amazing production of Spamalot!

Don’t miss out, book your tickets at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

Mad Cow Productions present our trailer for SPAMALOT! – Thank you Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!  The company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

 

 Rehearsal Diary: Week Two – Part Two!

There is so much that goes into making a show and it really is a team effort. The props and costume departments are in full swing and I can’t wait for you to see it all ! If you missed any posts and want to catch up, here is;Week Two/Part One , Week Three , Week Four ,  Week Five and Week Six!

I almost cried with laughter at Bec’s and Ryan’s brief conversation!

Every now and then small changes occur, as to where you are set, or you realise you’ve been standing in the wrong place the whole time! (I had one of those moments, lol) Lisa was going through the routine, watching every move. She called a stop to the music and approached Bec’s and Ryan.

Bec: So am I going to be behind coconut boy here?

Bec’s points at Ryan.

Lisa: Yes you are.

Ryan turns round and grins at Bec.

Ryan: Alright arm pit girl!

Now that’s what I call a term of endearment! 🙂 Also, I have to say, Lisa and Alex have the patience of a saint!

 

 

Meet the Cast and Crew!

 First up this week is…Leanne Kinsella our Gorgeous Stage Manager!

Leanne Kinsella currently works as a full-time residential care worker for children and young people. Being involved with the Mad Cows brings a delightful relief to Leanne’s general working week.
Leanne has always loved the theatre and everything around it. Being involved from the age of five with her mother, Leanne spent many of her ‘younger’ years being involved in local armature dramatic companies, performing at least once a year within the community. Believe it or not Leanne even used to spend more time on the stage rather than behind it!
Leanne attended the Brit School for her college years, studying Drama, Media Studies and Film Studies.

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Leanne then spent a summer working at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts School, working in all areas involved in putting on a big show. Graciously Leanne then chose to save others from her mesmerising performances and concentrated on the excitements behind the scenes, as It was here that Leanne found her love for the backstage, learning different areas required until moving away to attend university.

Spamalot will now be the fourth show that Leanne has stage-managed for the Mad Cows and looks forward to remaining within the backstage team for many more shows to come. It truly is fantastically Mad sometimes!

 The Handsome…Keith Clements!

“Come in and just see what you think…” She said.

“You don’t have to do anything, there’s no pressure,” she said. It was 1979 and this turned out to be one of those ‘Sliding Doors’ moments. If I hadn’t succumbed to my girlfriends entreating, I might never have trod the boards at all!2016-04-17 10.18.47

That pivotal moment was for a rehearsal/audition for a part in a student production of ‘West Side Story’ and at nineteen years old, I was one of the oldest!

Anyway, having started my thespian activities, they promptly halted whilst I undertook a Mechanical Engineering degree. (Rough, tough, manly engineering students at Salford don’t do that kind of thing you know!) But I found myself in a handful of musical productions with a local amateur company in as many years following.

Several drama free, wholesome years followed, in which I played squash every hour God sent, playing competitively for a club in Manchester where I lived. Then I got married…

The wedding was in Glasgow – hell of a party! Anyway, eventually in 1989, a need to get off night shifts at the plastics factory in which I was working, led me to a job in Shropshire.

Still I was blissfully carrying on my life without thespian interference, producing two children.

Apparently I can only make boys. Ben is now 23, living in Brighton and trying to make a living as a professional musician, having got his degree. He’s obviously got the performance gene, although his vision is to compose and orchestrate film scores. To this end he’s hoping to start a Master’s degree later this year. His younger brother, Jack is the sporty one. He’s about to return from Japan having qualified and worked as a ski instructor since November. He’s off to Worcester University later this year to do a Sport Therapy degree. Then who knows?

So one day, about six years ago a friend said to me, “you should try joining Mad Cow,” she said.

“Just go along and see what you think – there’s no pressure.” I know…I know…déjà vu. Except I didn’t realise and before I knew it, I was Henry in, ‘Move over Mrs Markham’. Having still not learned my lesson, I returned to musicals after that in the part of Franz Leibkind in MCP’s ‘The Producers’.

Now…I’m usually a baritone. Comfortably at home singing the swing classics in the key of C. But the lederhosen I had to wear as the pigeon-fancying Nazi playwright, easily turned me into a tenor!

By now I’d been made redundant from my job and become the self-employed plumber I am today. Not exactly your typical thespian, but there’s something about Mad Cow’s that keeps tempting me back. Usually the plays, until now.

Well…you just can’t not go for Spamalot can you?

The Stunning…Rachael Holbrook!

Hi!

I’m Rachael, but you can call me loopy Laker! I play a Laker girl in the hilarious Spamalot!
I have been performing from a very young age, whether that be village pantomimes; school productions, shows with various performance groups, or just generally being a drama queen. However, being cast as a dancer is somewhat new to me!

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I have been ‘dancing’ for just over a year now and I love it!! I have spent my gap year teaching dance to children and adults with additional needs, as well as performing with Arcadian Youth Dance Company amongst other things.

With the guidance of the Cows and my fellow Laker’s, I have been limbering every night for the past few months in preparation for Spamalot…it has definitely been worth the pain!

 

Being part of ‘The Herd’ has been such an amazing experience, they’re like a second family to everyone!

I feel I must give a massive thank you to our leaders Alex and Lisa, and our fabulous choreographers, Matt and Sian for taking a risk on me as a non-dancer, I won’t let you down!

Now let’s get Spamming!

The Fantastic…Andrew Murray!

Andrew enjoys anything to do with the entertainment industry, when you don’t see him; he is probably working in the dark with the rest of the stage crew or controlling the sound, lighting or everything as stage director; either professionally or for fun, a lot of which he has done for Mad Cow.2016-04-15 10.14.40

He also takes great pleasure in singing with the Shrewsbury Light Orchestra, in their charity concerts all over the county.

Some of his favourite & more recent roles include: –

Bela Zangler (Crazy for You), Darcy (Pride & Prejudice), Sir John (Me & My Girl), Pooh Bah (Mikado), Emile Dubeck (South Pacific),  Charles Condomine (Blythe Spirit), Sir and Lord Evelyn (Anything Goes), Herod (Jesus Christ Superstar), Madame Lucy (Irene), Pirate King & Major General (Pirates of Penzance), Judd Fry & Curly (Oklahoma), Pluto & Orpheus (Orpheus in the Underworld) Tevye (Fiddler on the roof ) Etches and John Thayer (Titanic) Danilo, Pritschitsch and St Brioche (The Merry Widow) Eddie Fredricks (In the Club) Mr Sprizter, Mr Pinky, Principal and News Reader (Hairspray)

Andrew enjoys working with the “Mad Cows” he’s known them longer than his ’39 years’ cares to remember!!

The Glamorous…Yvonne Morris!

Hi there!

I’m Yvonne Morris and Spamalot is my second show with MCP. I have been with them since 2015 after being approached in my hairdressers to take part in the Mad Cow Production of ‘Hairspray’ in which I played Motormouth Maybelle. I had not sung or performed for many years, so was a bit rusty.

2016-04-19 14.39.33Since joining MCP I have enjoyed and become a part of this brilliant group of actors. I do not have a theatrical background and have never had tuition in this field, but I now feel that I am gaining valuable experience. Alex and Lisa have given me the added confidence to realise my dream of performing, dancing and singing. I do give it my best always.

 

Performing can be challenging and hard work, but I have managed to fit in and feel part of the Mad Cow family. As well as being in the singing ensemble, I have several small roles in the production of Spamalot. I have made new friends and enjoy the camaraderie and I’m very proud to be a part of such a professional group. Overall I relish the whole process and am with a great group of fun-loving and hard-working people.

 

A huge thank you to our wonderful Sponsors!

 

 

SOLICITORS

SOLICITORS

Wace Morgan Solicitors are long-established providers of legal services to clients in Shropshire and Mid Wales from our Shrewsbury and Newtown offices
.

 

 

 “We are proud of our involvement with the Shropshire community, our support for regional events and efforts to raise money for charity.”

They have generously supported Mad Cow Productions for almost a decade!

Click here for all your legal needs and advice.

mens underwear

I am a huge fan of deadgoodundies! They also supply our shows with underwear when needed and my hubby was lucky enough to receive a pair of fire engine red briefs and Wow! They are truly amazing. I tried to get him to model a pair for me but …sigh…he refused, so here are two wonderful pics of their latest products.

You won’t find a better place to buy a wide range of men’s underwear, swimwear, thermal wear, T-shirts and lounge wear. They sell worldwide so click  here and have a gander!

Thank you for taking the time to have a read and supporting us.I really hope you’ve enjoyed it! Feel free to share or even send me a message 🙂 The next installment of Spamalot Rehearsal Diary will be with you shortly, don’t miss it!. Not long to go now!

:)

2016-04-15 08.19.39

 

I Am Not Dead Yet…Spamalot Diary Week Two- Part One!

Hello, you gorgeous lot you!

I aim to bring you a sneaky peek of what’s happening in rehearsals and introduce the cast and crew of Spamalot. Our fearless Herd Leaders, Alex Hinton and Lisa Lowarch have high expectations and we intend to meet them, in what will be an amazing production of Spamalot!

Don’t miss out, book your tickets at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

Mad Cow Productions present our trailer for SPAMALOT! – Thank you Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!  The company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

 

 Rehearsal Diary: Week Two – Part One!

There is so much that goes into making a show and it really is a team effort. The props and costume departments are in full swing and I can’t wait for you to see it all ! If you missed any posts and want to catch up, here is; Week Three , Week Four ,  Week Five and Week Six!

Not long to go! Oh my…it’s getting close and we are working really hard. In every rehearsal we are now running through the entire show. Reading through my notebook, I almost choked on my cup of tea…I’d forgotten about this conversation. We were watching Theo, there was something different about him at this rehearsal. We couldn’t work out what it was at first. Then…

Bec:”It’s Theo’s shoes; actually it’s his trousers tucked into his socks!”

What made me chuckle is that Theo has read this observation and drawn a little arrow away from it and written…

Theo: Mock me all you want, it turns everyone on!

One week later…Bec’s has no clue as to what Theo has written and we are again discussing his fashion sense.

Bec :”I’ve no idea what look Theo is going for…but ballet pumps, teamed with jogging bottoms tucked into sports socks… is kinda doing it for me, lol.” We all giggled (quietly) as we watched Theo finish his routine.

I think our Theo looks great!…To tuck or not to tuck? What do you reckon?

 

The knee pads have arrived for,’You won’t succeed on Broadway’. They were all lined up and kneeling on the floor to test the pads out.They went through the routine twice (and looked very good doing it!) when Lisa stopped them. Hands on hips, she stood in front looking down at them.

Lisa chuckled before saying: “I feel like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Cue cast laughing.

 

Meet the Cast and Crew!

 

 First up for this week is…The Amazing Robert Hinton!

I joined MCP in 2003, for the first production (intended at the time to be a one-off charity event). I have been involved in every MCP show, nearly always on stage but always helping with the productions in several ways.Robert H Spamalot

By day I am a Financial Controller with a food manufacturing company, which I guess made me a candidate for Treasurer of MCP. Staging Spamalot properly, with the production values of MCP, will cost close to £50,000, so we have to budget carefully. Whether we cover the cost essentially depends on attracting an audience: we always know we have to put on a really good show or it will be our last!

MCP is a “not for profit” organisation, so if we make a surplus on one show, it goes back into the next one. I think that our audiences get great value for money.

For musicals we normally hire the scenery. For our plays and one of our musicals, our sets have been designed by Alex, the Director, and built by “the herd”.  We have been very fortunate that when there have been major engineering challenges or we needed the eye of a true visual artist, we have been helped by friends with skills to turn the Cows’ vision into reality. At a more modest level we all muck in. I have developed some handy construction skills and dredged my memory of school mathematics for trigonometry. I’ve also had a lot of fun with fellow herd members: scenery building and painting can be a very sociable event.

What I enjoy most about Mad Cow is, of course, performing on stage and the rehearsals that come before. The Cows demand a high standard. We need plenty of energy and determination. But, as you may have gathered from Heidi’s blog, we laugh a lot too. Best of all for me is the joy of seeing people blossom, be fulfilled and delight an audience, especially those who have a lot of hard stuff to deal with in other parts of their life.

If that sounds a bit solemn, I’m sorry. MCP is great fun and I love it!

Our Mad Cow Company Artist… the extremely talented Niki Holmes!

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I’m not so much behind the scenes, as Painting them!
And sometimes – yes sometimes, I’m to be found on stage performing rather than lurking at Theatre Severn with a paint brush in hand.

I moved up to Shrewsbury from London back in 2005, a soon to be first time Mum and first got involved with Mad Cow back in 2010, making a few props for ‘A funny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.’
One thing led to another and many production poster designs, sets and props later I’m still the ‘Go to Gal’ for anything that needs painting and Photoshopping.

(I’m also pretty good at making Owls from hats and religious relics from Coke Bottles; ) See if you can spot them in Spamalot!)

Alex and Lisa had heard through a Herd member, my then neighbour – that I was a bit Arty.

Well actually – I’m a LOT Arty!

I studied Fine Art at University of the West of England and Université de Marseilles, before graduating as a painter from the Royal Academy Schools in 1996. I then studied Multimedia and Digital Imaging at Westminster College, London.

From that moment on, I’ve always worked in the Arts and Design – I’ve had the pleasure of working on Arts projects with scientists; health care professionals, technologists, engineers, architects, and other artists. In the UK, Europe and Africa.

I have taught at the Royal College of Art, the City of Guild School and Architecture Association, through Charities in community and recently at the Shrewsbury School.

I also, (when I can find a room/time/ studio) continued to make my own Art, exhibit and even SELL it!

Way back, in my School and College days I used to design sets, paint scenery, make props and pop up in the odd character role in a play or musical.
Being able to do all that again with all the wonderful of Mad Cow Herd has been, is now (and always will be) a brilliant chance to use my talents to work with others. To create something together that is fun, fabulous at high quality ‘professional’ standard, with all the heart and dedication that comes from the ‘Amateur’.
It’s also lead to me working on designing sets, working on scenic painting and interior finishes elsewhere, too.

And it’s given a public outlet for my shower room Diva singing voice and my collection of regional and national accents. It was brilliant beyond measure to have the opportunity to be in the chorus of classic musicals and to play fiery Italian Maria in ‘Lend me a Tenor’ – I was quite literally transformative. Many of my family and friends didn’t recognise me. It’s truly amazing what a good director and 1950’s underwear can achieve!

We work hard and laugh hard in the Herd.

I feel privileged to hang out with a wonderful diverse bunch of genuine fun, talented, kind and supportive people. It’s great that together we put on Stellar productions again and again!

If you’d like to see some more of what I do, please have a look at my website: www.nikiholmes.co.uk and my Facebook page: Niki Holmes æ Art Emphasis

If you’d like me to create, teach or organise something Arty for you – get in touch!

The Wonderful…Joe Phillips!

I’ve been a member of mad cow since late 2014 when I joined for ‘Hairspray!’ I was fortunate enough to be cast as Link Larkin. I was then lucky to be cast as Simon Bright in last year’s play ‘The Games Afoot’. And now, I think this is one of the best roles I have played, the Homicidally Brave Sir Lancelot!received_10209000240227576

I began acting at 13 when I joined Stage 2 Performing Arts Academy, (quite a shy rugby player, it really was the last thing my friends expected) and I haven’t looked back!

I have performed in a variety of shows at the Theatre Severn, including the title role in ‘Sweeney Tod’, Willard Hewitt in ‘Footloose’ and Prince Charming in ‘Into the Woods’.

I hope to pursue a career in acting, my dream is to act on-screen in TV or film.

But for now I’m teaching at Stage 2 Performing Arts Academy and serving up cocktails at The Libertine Cocktail Bar on Butcher Row!

I love being a member of Mad Cow! I have learnt so much and I really feel like it was the best decision I’ve made by auditioning.

Hope you enjoy the show as much as I have loved rehearsing and performing it!

The Stunning and Comical…Rebecca Gwynne!

Hi I’m Bec!  My nonsense seems to be featuring every week, in Heidi’s excellent blog!
I was born and grew up in Bradninch, a village in beautiful Devon (no I can’t surf, yes I can body board. )
received_10154004632401291I attended St. Margarets school in Exeter, which I loved. I was an active member of the local Young Farmers and a member of my village am-dram group.

After attending university in Birmingham, I qualified as a Diagnostic Radiographer and I work at the RSH. I have a special interests and a post graduate in paediatric and forensic radiography.I love singing and this will be my 4th Mad Cow musical! It’s a lot of hard work but I absolutely love it!

 

Being in Mad Cow has given me a chance to sing and perform on stage in a professional environment; knowing that what we are acheiving is of the highest possible standard, something I thought I would never do!

There is no better feeling than show week!

Heidi: (I’m just going to put it out there…this fantastic lady is single and looking for a leading man to sweep her off her feet…I’m just saying …you know, in case your interested…and single! )  😉

The Beautiful…Emily Ireson!

Hi everyone, I’m Emily and I’m new to Mad Cow.

You may have read in a previous blog, that my other half is Tom. Although, there are some that call him TIM…or Night of Ni! It’s been lovely to work together on Spamalot. Not only because we are both Monty Python fans, but the fact that we haven’t been on stage together for a number of years. In fact this is my first show in two years!2016-04-17 14.12.37

Born in England, but raised in Northern Ireland my love of theatre started when I was young. A lot of my family have been on stage so I guess it developed naturally. I took part in many amateur shows in my youth such as ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘South Pacific’ and volunteered at my local theatre. It was my first ever job! During this time, I was also lucky enough to gain a short-term position singing with Jacqui Dankworth within an arts academy scheme, which was an amazing experience.

I then decided to continue in acting and singing completing a B.A (Hons) in Drama at the University of Exeter.

During this I decided that although I loved to tread the boards, it was not going to be my full-time career, more a hobby. So instead I began to focus on my interest in backstage crafts, namely Costume, Hair and Makeup.

I then became a Freelance and retail makeup artist and outside of this began to focus on my love of costume and history. This has now developed itself into my career as a curator and fashion historian and I completed my Master’s degree in the subject last year.

Saying this, theatre has always been, and still is my hobby and I have performed in a variety of musicals and plays over the years. I even try to develop acting into my work when I can, in the form of living history and costumed interpretation!
However, talking of my career, it was a contract museum job here in Shropshire which brought me and Tom to the area, and subsequently Mad Cow!!

What a pleasure it has been, and I hope that once my contract finishes in June I can find another job in the local area to allow me and Tom to stay and take part in more shows with the company!

We love Shropshire and the Herd!!”

A huge thank you to our wonderful Sponsors!

 

SOLICITORS

SOLICITORS

Wace Morgan Solicitors are long-established providers of legal services to clients in Shropshire and Mid Wales from our Shrewsbury and Newtown offices.

 

 

 “We are proud of our involvement with the Shropshire community, our support for regional events and efforts to raise money for charity.”

They have generously supported Mad Cow Productions for almost a decade!

Click here for all your legal needs and advice.

mens underwear

I am a huge fan of deadgoodundies! They also supply our shows with underwear when needed and my hubby was lucky enough to receive a pair of fire engine red briefs and Wow! They are truly amazing. I tried to get him to model a pair for me but …sigh…he refused, so here are two wonderful pics of their latest products.

You won’t find a better place to buy a wide range of men’s underwear, swimwear, thermal wear, T-shirts and lounge wear. They sell worldwide so click  here and have a gander!

Thank you for taking the time to have a read and supporting us. If you’ve enjoyed it feel free to share or send me a message. Part Two will be with you shortly, don’t miss it!. One week to go!

:)

2016-04-15 08.19.39

Cursed -Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction Photo Prompt!

 

Hello all!

I hope you are well and ready for some more Flash Fiction. As always, we are given our photo prompt by our wonderful Friday Fictioneer leader, Rochelle . Life is still manic at the moment with family and rehearsals for Spamalot the musical. I can’t believe that in two weeks my hubby and I will be on stage performing! It’s so exciting! To see exactly what I’ve been up to click here !

So here is my attempt for this week. I hope you enjoy it.

PHOTO PROMPT © Kent Bonham

PHOTO PROMPT © Kent Bonham

Cursed

 By Heidi Busby Brown

Word count: 96

The chanting grew louder.

Trapped within the circle of masked strangers, the air vibrated, energy building.

 Serena…

My name floated on the breeze.

Luke’s grip tightened on my hand, did he hear it too?

A glint of metal in the moonlight.

 “Please don’t…” Luke whispered.

Pain slashed through my palm, Luke flinched beside me.

 Our blood spilled over the ancient pages.

 The words and pictures began moving, almost floating.

 “I love you.”

“Serena?”

“Say it!”

“I love you…”

A flash of blue light blinded me.

Silence.

I opened my eyes.

Luke was gone.

“It didn’t work.”

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 Thank you so much for taking the time to read my offering! If you fancy reading some more stories from the Friday Fictioneers please click on the little blue froggy, you won’t be disappointed!

I thought I’d share Mad Cow Productions ‘Spamalot’ Trailer with you! – Thank you to the amazing team and Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!

I’m singing in this and the company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

Don’t miss out, book your tickets now at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

 

We’re Knights of the Round Table… Spamalot Diary Week Three!

Hello, you gorgeous lot you!

I aim to bring you a sneaky peek of what’s happening in rehearsals and introduce the cast and crew of Spamalot. Our fearless Herd Leaders, Alex Hinton and Lisa Lowarch have high expectations and we intend to meet them, in what will be an amazing production of Spamalot!

Don’t miss out, book your tickets at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

Mad Cow Productions present our trailer for SPAMALOT! – Thank you Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!  The company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

 

 Rehearsal Diary: Week Three!

There is so much that goes into making a show and it really is a team effort. The props and costume departments are in full swing and I can’t wait for you to see it all ! If you missed any posts and want to catch up, here is Week Four ,  Week Five and Week Six  !

This week has been yet another fab Spam fest! Right now, as your reading this members of the herd are dancing, singing and running through lines wherever they may be. My kitchen has been classed as out-of-bounds. Much to Lola’s (my dog) dismay who has hidden herself in a corner out of harms way, as I’ve danced my way around the room. Meanwhile, Niki Holmes, our amazing company artist has been super busy and created a fantastic display in Tanners Window!

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Vocal warm up’s are a must and have provided me with some wonderful moments. This week didn’t fail to amuse me. During our vocal warm up we do a set which involves counting, I have come to realise while doing these that I am numerically challenged and …I’m not alone. It seem Sian also struggles and as we reached, ” 8!” Sian doubled over.

Sian:”Ahh! I can’t do this!” As we finished, “-7-6-5-4-3-2-1”

Sian went to stand back up only to have Jane (our wardrobe mistress) say, “Sian, stay where you are whilst I measure the letter G on your bottom.” This resulted in a very red-faced Sian and the rest of the company laughing. As of now, we are running through the show in order. Below are our very own Knights of the Round Table!

 

 

My next chuckle moment had to be a conversation I overheard, between Annette and Bec.

Bec: I’m in this?

Annette: Am I in this?

Bec: We’re both in this aren’t we?

Annette: Which part of ‘Run Away’ are we going from?

Sian: We are doing ‘Find Your Grail’!

Bec and Annette: Oh! We’ll just be over here then…

Both of them walk away and stand in the corner of the room, leaving Sian and I to giggle. Love you guy’s, you are amazing!

On Friday we were back in the dance studio at Theatre Severn, everything was going as planned. The rehearsal was going great, we all had our photo’s done for the programme, thanks to Natalie Watts. We’d gotten to the part where God is talking to King Arthur. All the Knights are on their knees, bowed down.

Waiting for the music cue…and waiting…then all of a sudden music erupts in the studio, the wrong music.

The knights all lift up onto their knees and start dancing.

The music stops just as fast as it starts and the Knights, drop back to the floor, as though nothing happened.

Whole cast erupts into laughter at their fab timing and interesting dance moves 🙂

It would seem we have Spamalot fever in the Mad Cows, for even when we’re not in rehearsals it’s always on our minds…day’s out…shopping…even when on holiday!

 

Meet the Cast and Crew!

 The one and only… Jane Conlon, Wardrobe mistress.

Hello everyone! Sorry if this message is a bit muffled, it’s just that I am backstage in the Wardrobe!

I have been with Mad Cow for a few years now,how time flies!! I am almost getting used to the steady increase in excitement and tension as the show gets nearer, and it’s nice to hear from the cast that the wardrobe room is like an oasis of calm!!!!

If only you all knew!!!

At the moment , my small but mighty team of six ladies are making several costumes, including the laker girls.

We aim to have them all done ready for the arrival of the costumes from Molly Limpets, so we can get them ready for the show.

One thing Mad Cow has is very high standards, and I am always impressed by the dedication and  effort put in by everyone in the months and weeks leading up to Opening Night.

You really are an impressive bunch!

The very talented Harry Allmark!

This is my 3rd show with Mad Cow Productions, I originally joined two years ago and tookreceived_837081546414919 part in the play, ‘Noises Off’ as the part of Tim. Since then I have been in every other performance Mad Cow has produced.

I love taking part in Spamalot! It is such amazing fun and the humour is just brilliant with every rehearsal leaving me in stitches! I’m looking forward to playing the dancing monk, it’s such a fun dance to take part in and I can’t wait for the rest of the show!

Hope you enjoy yourselves!

The Beautiful Annette Edge! 

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Born in Aberystwyth many years ago , I studied all types of dance before going on to train at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts (again a long time ago!!) My biggest claim to fame is performing as one of the miners in the Queen video “I want to break free” then getting to meet the band members.
Joining Mad Cow brought that urge to perform out once again and Spamalot is my third production with The Herd. After playing Prudy in Hairspray last year I am delighted to be playing that old hag Mrs Galahad……….a pattern seems to be emerging here!!
With three sons of my own, one of whom is in the show and another helping backstage, I am used to being a nagging Mother 😅😅
It just so happens that my hubby is a gardener too, so a shrubbery is easy to locate!!
In ‘normal’ life I work in a pre-school ( where my singing and acting experience can prove very useful) and try to watch my other son, who is a professional footballer for Colchester Utd.
Spamalot is a laugh a minute show and every person in it is a character in their own right. I’m sure all those who come to watch it will have as much fun as we are having performing it!!

The wonderful Prop King…Bob Gibbs! 

One of my little jobs with Mad Cows is making props, which I have done since joining four20160410_132749 years ago, (and for many years before in other societies.) These are quite varied, starting with the large fridge from which the cast emerged in the ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ and includes packing cases and boxes to sit on; reinforced luggage cases to be stood on, fire axes and my favourite…a historic radio set, which has been used in three play’s and is ongoing!

For Spamalot so far; the dice boxes; a tree stump and halberds (a combined spear and battleaxe) for the swamp castle guards and now the coconut shells. Most of these things are fairly easy, but I do occasionally get a good one!

The Knight of Ni is traditionally very tall. Alex presented me with a picture of a pair of traditional wooden stilts, to which I said no way! Bear in mind that our Knight of Ni is 6’4″ and over twenty stone and needs to have his hands free. On with the thinking cap and Google.

From my construction industry background I recalled plaster’s stilts, which strap onto the legs for the purpose of plastering ceilings. Brilliant…Yes?

No! The first pair I got hold of, plastic, were impossible to stand on even for me. The second ones, metal, were better with good feet. To give Tom his due, he tried very hard and managed to take a few steps before we both decided that it was ridiculous. He was now 7’11” tall and very unsteady.

Back to the drawing board. What was needed was a much bigger foot area and more safety. Lateral thinking – two upturned builders buckets, suitably reinforced; block of wood on top and pair of size eleven trainers screwed on top. Job done. Total cost…£2.00 for the trainers from a charity shop. Back to e-Bay with the plaster’s stilts.

Nice to know I’m being useful!

 

A huge thank you to our wonderful Sponsors!

SOLICITORS

SOLICITORS

Wace Morgan Solicitors are long-established providers of legal services to clients in Shropshire and Mid Wales from our Shrewsbury and Newtown offices.

 

 

 “We are proud of our involvement with the Shropshire community, our support for regional events and efforts to raise money for charity.”

They have generously supported Mad Cow Productions for almost a decade!

Click here for all your legal needs and advice.

mens underwear

I am a huge fan of deadgoodundies! They also supply our shows with underwear when needed and my hubby was lucky enough to receive a pair of fire engine red briefs and Wow! They are truly amazing. I tried to get him to model a pair for me but …sigh…he refused, so here are two wonderful pics of their latest products.

You won’t find a better place to buy a wide range of men’s underwear, swimwear, thermal wear, T-shirts and lounge wear. They sell worldwide so click  here and have a gander!

Thank you for taking the time to have a read and supporting us. If you’ve enjoyed it feel free to share. See you next week, same time, same place. Two weeks to go!

:)

Freedom – Friday fictioneers Flash Fiction Photo Prompt!

 

Hello all!

I hope you are well and ready for some more Flash Fiction. It’s half term here and I am behind with everything, I’m still reading last weeks flash fiction.  As always, we are given our photo prompt by our wonderful Friday Fictioneer leader, Rochelle . Life is still manic at the moment with family and rehearsals for Spamalot the musical. To see exactly what I’ve been up to click here !

So here is my attempt for this week. I hope you enjoy it.

 JhardyPHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Freedom

Run!

Branches scrape my skin.

Dirt wedged between my toes.

My lungs burn, body shaking.

He’s close, I can hear the keys jingle.

Breaking through the tree line I stumble into the court yard.

Back where I started.

My shoulders slump.

A large calloused hand circles my throat, “I’m going to make you pay for that Anna.”

  “Really, thought you’d… enjoy… some exercise.” I gasp, his grip tightening as I slap at his body.

Got it.

“What are you…” His eyes widen as he staggers backwards.

He feels the handle of his own knife, sticking out of his throat.

                I remove the bunch of keys from his belt and head towards the old building.

Once I release the girls, we’ll gather weapons and wait for the trucks to arrive at midnight.

And then…Freedom!

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 Thank you so much for taking the time to read my offering! If you fancy reading some more stories from the Friday Fictioneers please click on the little blue froggy, you won’t be disappointed!

I thought I’d share Mad Cow Productions ‘Spamalot’ Trailer with you! – Thank you to the amazing team and Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!

The company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

Don’t miss out, book your tickets at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

 

You Won’t Succeed on Broadway… Spamalot Diary Week Four!

Hello, you gorgeous lot you!

I aim to bring you a sneaky peek of what’s happening in rehearsals and introduce the cast and crew of Spamalot. Our fearless Herd Leaders, Alex Hinton and Lisa Lowarch have high expectations and we intend to meet them, in what will be an amazing production of Spamalot!

Don’t miss out, book your tickets at Theatre Severn !

Click here to visit Mad Cow Productions.

Mad Cow Productions present our trailer for SPAMALOT! – Thank you Tom Marshall, who runs PhotograFix, click here to pop over and have a look at his work!  The company sounds amazing! Even if I do say so myself:)

 

Rehearsal Diary: Week Four!

It really is amazing to see how it all comes together and how we are all up for standing in when necessary.There is so much that goes into making a show and it really is a team effort. The props and costume departments are in full swing and I can’t wait for you to see it all ! If you missed any posts and want to catch up, here is  Week Five and Week Six  !

In our first rehearsal of the week it saw us cleaning up, ‘You Won’t Succeed in Broadway’.

There is a certain part of the tune that our beloved herd leader Lisa, always sings to.

It goes something like this: “Dinky, dinky, dinky… dinky, dinky do- Dinky, dinky, dinky…dinky, dinky do!” It’s strangely catching! Now Sian, Laura, Lotty, Asha and I, can’t seem to help joining in.

Although, Asha may have changed a couple of the words. (Don’t ask.)

As the dancing Jewish brides, we will be using handkerchiefs over our heads for part of the routine. This week we improvised, with rather fetching tea towels. 🙂

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Laura, Asha, Lotty and Heidi.

We had a scare when Harry crashed to the ground during the routine, having twisted his ankle. He was a trooper and handled us all fussing over him. Alex and Lisa checked over Harry’s ankle and applied ice, whilst someone was sent off to Lisa’s car to get bandages from her first aid kit. This led to questions about first aid and carrying a first aid bag in the car. What followed had me in stitches, Tom Beddows is an absolute star!

Tom, who has recently passed his driving test was asked. “Do you have a first aid kit in your car?’

Tom: “No…but I do have a sponge…”

I’m not sure how helpful a sponge will be, but hopefully we’ve convinced him to get a first aid kit!

(Harry’s ankle is doing much better now and he will be back up and performing very soon!)

Our next rehearsal saw us ladies working on our vocals with the wonderful Chris!

As normal, we are gathered round the keyboard in our groups. Altos’, second sopranos’ and first sopranos’. After our vocal warm-up, Chris holds up his folder.

There are numerous orange and yellow sticky notes attached. When asked what they’re for Chris says: “Yellow sticky notes for all the lady parts!”

Cue said ladies laughing and giggling like school girls. Chris calls us to order and explains that we are cleaning up the vocals. The orange notes are for the men, our goal is to be free of yellow sticky notes and beat the men.  🙂

After two songs are done and Chris is happy with us he pulls the second sticky note out from his folder and I shout out…”Two sticky lady parts down!”

Again everyone crumples, whilst I turn red as a beetroot.

Four songs in and Chris is very pleased with us, as Lauren say’s…

“Take it off! take it off! ( referring to the sticky note)

It’s been a long time since I laughed that hard, whoever thought you could have so much fun cleaning up vocals!  Best part is…we beat the men!

Thank you Chris, for putting up with us!  🙂

Bec’s words of the week: “You can learn a lot from a man by the way he rides a pretend horse…”

Our Lady of the Lake, otherwise known as Natalie Watts has been getting creative and given Lego a Spamalot makeover!

Aren’t they amazing!

 

Meet the Cast!

 

Here is one of our very glamorous Laker Girls…Charlotte Dugan!

image1I am one of the Laker Girls in this amazing production of Spamalot! I have danced since I was four years old, starting with ballet and progressing into contemporary, jazz and street dance. I have trained and performed in the Theatre Severn and Walker Theatre and also the Royal Albert Hall which was incredible! I love performing, it is the love of my life and I never feel more myself than when I’m on stage.

Mad Cow productions is the best company I’ve been with! They are so passionate and have such drive. From big bosses Alex, Lisa and of course Chris, to the rest of the company. They are all great fun, but also such hard-working people. I love being part of a company which all have the same goals and aspirations. It’s a fantastic production and I hope to see you at the show!

 

Up next is our whip cracking vocal coach…Lorna Crosse!

 

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I’m one of the hidden Cows.

I work as part of the professional tutor team to ensure the voices of our talented stars are strong healthy and fabulous. I feel very strongly that we put on a great show, but not at the expense of these precious voices. We are teaching our cast how to sing appropriately and safely, for long successful careers. I love watching our young members star in our shows and go on to accept places in prestigious drama schools in London.

This is a special company. No divas or prima donnas , just ..people who care about each other and want to put on a great show.What a lovely job I have!

Lorna Crosse  is one of Shropshire’s most qualified singing teachers. Lessons available for you, or a great gift for family and friends!  Contact Lorna at  Yes, you can sing with Lorna Crosse and begin your singing journey.

 

Introducing the wonderful …Tom Marshall!

Tom MarshallI’ve been on the stage for nearly twenty years, since I was a strangely tall nine-year old in Hello Dolly.  I have undertaken lead roles in various shows back in my native Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, including Chess, The Vicar of Dibley, Godspell, Calendar Girls, Hi De Hi, The Threepenny Opera, The Ragged Child, Jesus Christ Superstar, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver! and Our House.  This time last year I was in Guys and Dolls up in Glasgow, and the week before I moved down to Shropshire I was Oscar in Sweet Charity (I don’t recommend moving house during show week!).

Backstage, during that show I was researching Shropshire groups to join and happened to find Mad Cow on Facebook. A few days later I’d moved down and auditioned to join.

I’m SO glad I did.  I was delighted to be typecast as two of the tallest and most iconic characters in comedy history, the Knight of Ni and Tim the Enchanter.  This has been (so far at least, I can’t vouch for the next three weeks) the funniest show I’ve worked on for a very long time.  The cast and everybody involved are utter brilliance. It has also been nice to do a show with my partner Emily again, as we’ve not been on stage together for a couple of years!  I think I can confidently say I’m the biggest Monty Python geek in the cast and would happily fish slap any challengers.  Alex and Lisa have been very accommodating whilst I’ve been adding more Python lines back into the script that seem to have been lost in the Broadway translation…!

I’ve also been roped in to channel my inner Gilliam, by creating the animated segments for Spamalot – watch out for the next trailer coming shortly!

The fantastic thing about Spamalot is that it truly has something for everyone, whether you’re a Python fan or not.  The big musical numbers are pure 100% Broadway campy amazeballs glitz, and the comedy scenes are very witty, not shitty and absolutely hilarious (unless you’re French).

A huge thank you to our wonderful Sponsors!

SOLICITORS

SOLICITORS

Wace Morgan Solicitors are long-established providers of legal services to clients in Shropshire and Mid Wales from our Shrewsbury and Newtown offices.

 

 

 “We are proud of our involvement with the Shropshire community, our support for regional events and efforts to raise money for charity.”

They have generously supported Mad Cow Productions for almost a decade!

Click here for all your legal needs and advice.

 

mens underwear

I am a huge fan of deadgoodundies! They also supply our shows with underwear when needed and my hubby was lucky enough to receive a pair of fire engine red briefs and Wow! They are truly amazing. I tried to get him to model a pair for me but …sigh…he refused, so here are two wonderful pics of their latest products.

You won’t find a better place to buy a wide range of men’s underwear, swimwear, thermal wear, T-shirts and lounge wear. They sell worldwide so click  here and have a gander!

Thank you for taking the time to have a read and supporting us. If you’ve enjoyed it feel free to share. See you next week, same time, same place. Three weeks to go!

:)