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!

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!




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!


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9 thoughts on “I Am Not Dead Yet…Spamalot Diary Week Two- Part One!

  1. Pingback: I can Dance and I can Sing…Rehearsal Diary week Two-Part Two! | heidibusbybrown

  2. Pingback: His Name is Lancelot…Spamalot Diary Week One-Part One | heidibusbybrown

  3. Pingback: What Happened To My Part?…Spamalot Diary-Week One/Part Two | heidibusbybrown

  4. Pingback: Find Your Grail….Spamalot Diary-One Day To Go! | heidibusbybrown

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