Plans To Rejuvenate City Centre Streets Go On Display

Early proposals for a revitalised city centre design are going on display for the first time in a bid to gauge public opinion.

Ideas for improvements to city centre streets and public spaces will be on display from Thursday 17 March with a series of roadshows in Tontine Square on 22 and 23 March.

The designs, which have been drawn up by the city council’s in-house design team, show how areas such as Tontine Square, Crown Bank and can be revitalised to create an improved, functional and attractive space for visitors and residents to enjoy.

“The city centre is currently undergoing major regeneration with schemes such as the new bus station, Central Business District, Mitchell Memorial Theatre and East West Centre redevelopment all moving forward. The public realm improvements will help to complement the major schemes by creating a mixture of new public spaces which create an inviting atmosphere for shoppers and visitors.”

Key priorities have been identified for the project to complement work on the city’s major regeneration schemes such as the new bus station, East West Centre redevelopment and Central Business District.

Areas that have been identified for investment include Tontine Street, Percy Street, Fountain Square, Upper Market Square, Crown Bank, Market Lane and Albion Square.

The first phase of work, which is due to take place in the next financial year, will focus on Tontine Street and Percy Street.

The consultation will give local people the chance to comment on initial designs for the area. Plans will be online at www.stoke.gov.uk/citycentreconsultation , on public display in The Indoor Market, The Potteries Museum and The Regent Theatre and at the roadshows in Tontine Square on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 March between 10am and 4pm. Comments can be received up until 31 March.

Once the comments have been received a final design is expected to be drawn up for the first phase of works by the end of July.

BBC3′s Russell Howard’s Good News Comedian comes to Stoke-on-Trent!

A prolific writer and comic performer, Ray Peacock is on his way to Stoke. One of the most in demand comperes, headline performers and TV warm up acts on the circuit, Ray will have them rolling in the aisles at Laugh Out Loud Comedy at The Regent Theatre on 19th March.

As a solo stand up performer Ray has performed on BBC3′s Russell Howard’s Good News. As an actor Ray’s TV credits include, No Heroics (ITV2), Doctor Who (BBC One), Skins (E4) Doctors (BBC One), Harry Hill’s TV Burp (ITV1), The 11 O’clock Show (Channel 4), Skin Deep (Channel 4) and Les Dawson’s Finest Hour (Channel 4).

As a highly sought after warm up act, amongst many other shows, Ray has most recently provided regular warm up for Russell Howard’s Good News, The IT Crowd, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and The Graham Norton Show.

Alongside Ed Gamble, Ray currently writes and hosts the long running The Peacock & Gamble Podcast, available on itunes, with previous series culminating in special, series finale live audience recordings.

It was as part of the highly successful Big and Daft comedy trio that Ray first came to prominence. The trio enjoyed their own BBC London radio series, three consecutive years of sell-out Edinburgh Festival shows and their own series for the BBC’s PlayUK, Terrorville. After performing in the Comedy Zone at the 2002 Edinburgh Festival Ray went on to take two solo shows to Edinburgh.

Also appearing on the 19th are:

Silky – “Always Brilliant” Metro

Canadian sensation Pat Burstcher – “Very, very funny” Three Weeks

Damion Larkin (MC) ““ “One of the country’s top new comedians” BBC

Tickets are available now from the Regent Theatre, in advance for £12 or £15 on the night. You can buy them in person from the Box Office on Piccadilly, over the phone on 01782 213808 or online at http://www.ambassadortickets.com (Britannia Suite section). Doors open at 7.30pm with the show starting at 8pm prompt.

Tea Dance To Mark Start of London 2012 Ticket Sales

A tea dance inspired by a 2012 dance project will take place next month to mark the start of nearly nine million tickets going on sale for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The dance which forms part of Stoke-on-Trent’s London 2012 inspired project World of Dance has been organised to mark that 8.8 million tickets go on sale during March 2011 for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It is part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands.

The tea dance, featuring a wide mix of music from local band “The John Simons Band” takes place on Thursday 31 March at the Victoria Hall between 2pm and 4:30pm.

It is one of several events planned as part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s World of Dance project commissioned through Dancing for the Games. Part of the West Midlands’ Culture Programme for London 2012, World of Dance uses the inspiration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to get people dancing across Stoke-on-Trent.

Funded by the Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games, Arts Council England West Midlands and Advantage West Midlands, World of Dance is a three year programme of activity aimed at encouraging mass participation in dance and dance related activity across the West Midlands.

“The World of Dance project has inspired a huge number of local people of all ages, skills and abilities to make dance part of their everyday lives. We are now just over a year away from the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and it would be great if we can continue the momentum in these final stages of the preparations.”

To book one of the 200 tickets costing £3, residents should call into the Regent Theatre box office, Piccadilly, City Centre or telephone 0844 871 7649. Tea and cakes will be on sale.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s World of Dance is a dance participation project for all ages and abilities. Over three years in Stoke-on-Trent, members of the public will be encouraged to try out a range of dance art forms including Bhangra, Hip Hop, Belly Dancing and Salsa. World of Dance has been awarded the Inspire Mark which recognises innovative and exceptional projects directly inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The process to sell 8.8 million tickets for the Olympic Games starts on March 15, 2011. Anyone can apply for tickets across the 26 sports, 39 disciplines 34 competition venues across 19 days, featuring the world’s greatest athletes between 15 March and 26 April. Prices start at £20 in all sports and 90% of tickets cost less than £100. For further information see www.tickets.london2012.com.

Youth To Audition For Nutcracker At The Regent In March

Tuesday 15th March is going to be a very exciting day for all young dancers in and around Stoke.

English Youth Ballet will be searching for 100 talented boys and girls to take roles in a professional ballet.

On the 15th there will be an audition on stage at the Regent Theatre for the unique chance to dance in their full-length professional ballet production of Nutcracker. This glittering production is critically acclaimed and will be lead by stunning international principal artists.

EYB is one of the largest dance companies in the UK. It is the only touring ballet company to nurture and showcase the talents of over 100 selected young local dancers (aged 8-18) in its extensive classical repertoire. EYB has 8 superb international professional principal artists who dance the leading roles in the full length ballets and teach the young dancers.

English Youth Ballet’s philosophy is to develop artistry in the young people through performance experience. There are now former EYB students in some of the world’s top ballet companies including the Royal Ballet. Theatre Critics, parents and students all agree that EYB is a very special company. Kim Chitty (BBC Nottingham) described an EYB production as “a tremendous performance with inspirational dancing”. A parent wrote that her child “was brimming with enthusiasm each day for rehearsals. It has boosted her confidence immensely and given her an insight into the rigour and discipline required to be a dancer.” Students often talk of how “EYB has been the best thing they have ever done”.

For a chance to take part in Nutcracker with English Youth Ballet at the Regent Theatre in Stoke there will be an audition on Tuesday 15th March 2011 at the theatre. The production will run for 3 performances only from 24th -25th June 2011. To find out more information and to reserve a place at the audition contact EYB by phone 01689 856747 or by email: misslewis@englishyouthballet.co.uk or take a look at the EYB website: www.englishyouthballet.co.uk

Regent Announces Impressive Line Up For 2011

The Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent has unveiled an impressive line up of shows for the 2011 Spring Season.

Leading the charge is the show that everyone has been waiting for ““ Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Ian and The Really Useful Group’s lavish production of Roger and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music starring Jason Donovan as Captain Von Trapp.

This critically acclaimed production tells the story of the Von Trapp family’s flight across the mountains with its unforgettable score including “ËœEdelweisse’, “ËœMy Favorite Things’, “ËœDo-Re-Mi’, “ËœClimb Ev’ry Mountain’ and the title song “ËœThe Sound of Music’.

Matthew Bourne returns with a startling brand new production, Cinderella. Bourne’s unique take on Cinderella is a thrilling and evocative journey through London during the Second World War. A chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of The Blitz.

There’s the classic R.C. Sherriff First World War drama, Journey’s End, based on the author’s own experience of the Front and life in the trenches. It celebrates humour and courage in the face of certain tragedy. A donation from each ticket sold for Journey’s End will be made to the Poppy Appeal ““ supporting the British Legion.

In January, The Regent’s Creative Learning department presents 011 Dance. The region’s acclaimed youth dance festival is celebrating an amazing 10th anniversary with over 1,750 young people performing over nine nights. Be amazed by inspirational creations by some of the finest young dancers and choreographers ““ as the next talented generation make their mark.

Master of the mind, Derren Brown, brings his all new show, Svengali, to The Regent in 2011. Derren is a massive hit with Stoke audiences and his three night residency is sure to be the hottest ticket in town!

Marti Pellow stars as the brilliant but obsessive scientist in Jekyll and Hyde, Claire Sweeney returns in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tell Me on a Sunday, X Factor’s Niki Evans appears as Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers and electrifying film based musical, Footloose, is energised with 80s hits. Other musical highlights include Michael Jackson tribute Thriller Live and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Maureen Nolan, Liberty X’s Michelle Heaton and Emmerdale’s Claire King star in The Naked Truth, a brilliant new comedy set in a pole dancing class and The Chippendales will be bringing their Most Wanted Tour to Stoke for two nights only!

From the creators of Wallace and Gromit comes Shaun the Sheep live on stage in Shaun’s Big Show and Horrible Histories return with Awful Egyptians and Ruthless Romans.

The Imperial Ice Stars perform their dynamic interpretation of Swan Lake on Ice and The Russian State Ballet of Siberia present three timeless classics ““ Romeo & Juliet, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.

For tickets call the Box Office on 0844 871 7649 or book online at www.ambassadortickets.com/stoke. For Group Bookings call 0844 871 7619. Fees apply.

Full details can be found in the new Spring 2011 brochure with the Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella front cover.

Jason Donovan To Star In The Sound Of Music At The Regent Hanley

Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Ian and The Really Useful Group are delighted to announce that Jason Donovan will star as “ËœCaptain Von Trapp’ in their smash hit production of the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound Of Music” at the Regent Theatre Stoke.

Jason has had a hugely successful and varied career as both an actor and world-wide recording artist, selling over 13 million albums to date.

His West End theatre credits include “ËœTick’ in “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, the title role in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “ËœCaractacus Potts’ in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. His touring credits include “ËœFrank N Furter’ in “The Rocky Horror Show”, the title role in John Doyle’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” and he can currently be seen as “ËœThe Artilleryman’ in “The War of the Worlds”.

His television credits include “Neighbours” and “Echo Beach”. He was also a finalist in ITV’s smash hit “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!”.

Although the producers of The Sound of Music cannot guarantee the appearance of any particular artist, Jason Donovan is expected to perform at all performances excluding Mon 21 February, subject always to illness and holidays.

This wonderfully lavish production tells the story of the Von Trapp family’s flight across the mountains with its unforgettable score that includes some of the most memorable songs ever performed on the musical stage including “ËœEdelweisse’, “ËœMy Favorite Things’, “ËœDo-Re-Mi’, “ËœClimb Ev’ry Mountain’, “ËœThe Lonely Goatherd’ and the title song “ËœThe Sound of Music’.

“The Sound Of Music” has music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp.

The show is directed by Jeremy Sams, with choreography by Arlene Phillips, design by Robert Jones, sound by Mick Potter and lighting by Mark Henderson.

This production of the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein musical opened to rave reviews and sell-out business at the Wales Millennium Centre in July 2009 following a record-breaking 954 performances at the London Palladium where it was seen by well over 2 million people.

The Sound of Music originally premiered on Broadway in 1959, when it won six Tony Awards, including “Best Musical”.

The show first opened in London in 1961 and its last London revival was in 1981, both productions having record-breaking runs. The 1965 Hollywood film, which starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, won five Oscars, including “Best Picture”.

The Sound of Music with Jason Donovan in a starring role is at the Regent Theatre Hanley Stoke-on-Trent and runs between the 15th February until the 5th March 2011.

For tickets call the Box Office on 0844 871 7649 or book online at www.ambassadortickets.com/stoke. For Group Bookings call 0844 871 7619. Booking fees apply.

Backstage In The Buff ““ Regent Theatre Staff Strip For Charity!

Staff at The Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, are about to show a side of them few people have ever seen before as they go the full monty and pose naked for a calendar, titled Backstage in the Buff, in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

The project was launched following the death of long serving Box Office Manager, Karen Yuill, aged just 45, in July of this year.

“We were all in complete shock at how quickly Karen’s illness advanced. Her courage and dignity in fighting right to the end inspired us all.

She asked for donations upon her passing to go to the Breakthrough appeal and we managed to raise £1000 this way. However we all felt that we wanted to continue the fundraising in Karen’s honour and then someone made a joke about doing a calendar in the style of Calendar Girls, one of The Regent’s most successful shows.

We took up the suggestion and asked for volunteers and thankfully 29 men and women from all departments at The Regent came forward to appear in the photos which were taken inside The Regent Theatre over three evenings. The photos were tastefully done, showing off the assets of the theatre… and a few of the staff as well!”

The cost of producing the calendar has been covered by local companies Church Lane Physiotherapy Clinic and Total Access, which means that every penny from the sale of the calendars will go to the charity.

Photography was by Richard Johnson, who kindly donated his time to assist with the project. Photography is in black and white with a different item for each month highlighted in pink.

Printing was done by Johnsons of Nantwich.

The calendar, Backstage in the Buff, can be purchased for just £5 from The Regent Theatre Box Office or the Tourist Information Centre based at The Victoria Hall.

Alternatively calendars can be purchased online at www.backstageinthebuff.com
(£5 + postage and packing).

Calendars go on sale from Wednesday 17 November and they’ll make great stocking fillers this Christmas!

“I’m incredibly proud of my team for coming together to work on this fantastic calendar. Many found it to be a very liberating, and in some cases, a life changing experience. We are hoping that our customers attending forthcoming shows will support us in our efforts to raise money for Breakthrough, and who knows, they might see some of the staff serving them in a completely different light from now on!”

For further information please contact David Bradbury in the Press Office on 01782 211 206 or email davidbradbury@theambassadors.com

Book Your Regentre Theatre Panto Tickets Now And You Could Win A Carribean Holiday!

Book now for Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates at the Regent Theatre Hanley and you could be jetting off to the Caribbean courtesy of The Co-operative Travel!

Jennifer Ellison and Jonathan Wilkes get castaway to Stoke-on-Trent’s Regent Theatre this Christmas as they star in a brand new pantomime title for the 2010/2011 season, Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates.

If you book for this year’s Regent Theatre pantomime you too could find yourself castaway to a hot Caribbean location courtesy of The Co-operative Travel!

The Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates Win a Caribbean Holiday prize is a seven night holiday in Sol Cayo Coco booked for May 2011 for a family of four.

Everyone who books tickets for Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates will be entered into a free prize draw which will be drawn after 31 December 2010. Tickets must be purchased by this date.

For a full list of Terms and Conditions please visit www.ambassadortickets.com/stoke

Jonathan Wilkes ““ The Regent’s very own panto superstar is back once more for what’s guaranteed to be another stunning pantomime hit. Jonathan has become the Panto King of Stoke-on-Trent and is a firm favourite with local audiences.

Joining him is the multi-talented star of screen and stage, Jennifer Ellison as Polly. Liverpool born Jennifer is best known for her role in Channel 4 soap Brookside. She has also appeared on Hell’s Kitchen, The Verdict and Dirty Dancing ““ The Time of Your Life.

Other castaways include Arthur Bostrom, famed for his role as Officer Crabtree in the long running BBC sitcom “ËœAllo “ËœAllo! as Dame Dolly Dumpling, Steven Serlin as Captain Cutlass and Stoke’s Top Talent 2010 winner ““ Sam Bloor as Robin the Cabin Boy.

Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates promises to be a swashbuckling adventure, bringing sun, sea and a tropical paradise island to the cold winter streets of Hanley this Christmas.

Will Robinson Crusoe find the hidden treasure? Will the evil Captain Cutlass beat him to it? Will Dame Dolly Dumpling and her beautiful daughter Polly survive the storm that shipwrecks them on a desert island? Join them on the island to find out!

Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates is written by former Coronation Street star, Eric Potts and is produced by First Family Entertainment (FFE). For the second year running The Regent’s pantomime will be sponsored by Robinsons – the nation’s favourite family soft drink.

Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates runs at The Regent Theatre from 9 December 2010 to 9 January 2011.

For tickets call the Box Office on 0844 871 7649 or book online at www.ambassadortickets.com/stoke.

For Group Bookings call 0844 871 7619. Booking fees apply.

Stoke’s Sexy ‘Calender Girls’ Pose To Help Our Heroes

A group of sexy Stoke-on-Trent ‘Calender Girls’ made the best of their assets to raise funds for the Help for Heroes charity.

The Real Stoke Girls 2011 calendar was launched at the end of Septembers and has already raised in the region of £2750 for the forces charity.

The calender was shot in various locations across the 6 Towns of Stoke-on-Trent including Park Hall, the Etruria Industrial Museum and Kingsland Primary School.

The 65 ‘girls’ who took part ranged from 16 – 80 in age

The calender was promoted and organised by Julie Hancock from Milton:

“I am Julie and in June 2010 I had a dream to try and do something to help our troops.

I have a friend, Fiona, who has 3 sons in the Army and recently lost her husband, only 46, to cancer. At his funeral, Colin had requested everyone donated to “Help for Heroes” instead of giving flowers, this raised thousands of pounds……..What a fantastic idea !!!!

So, I wanted to do my bit too . I asked around and through Facebook if anyone would be interested in doing a local calendar, with a sexy military theme?

Within 48 hours I was inundated with kind offers of photographers, fancy dress, vehicles, props, locations and “models”.. 65 of them, 95% of whom I had never met!

Now …we are talking REAL women – REAL curves, REAL lumps n bumps.
From 16 to 80 years old, some with scars from operations, some who have never even undressed in front of their husbands!
REAL stories. REAL problems – but nothing would stop them from “doing their bit” for the troops.

After six weekends of photo shoots in locations such as the picturesque Park Hall Pine woodlands, Etruria Industrial Museum, The Sentinel Photo Studio & Kingsland primary school, in Bucknall”.

“The cast of the Calender Girls, who recently starred in the show at the Regent Theatre, thought our Calender was great. The all signed a copy for us which was a fantastic gesture”.

The calender can be purchased from the website below and would be great to fill many of the stockings on display in the beautiful images that celebrate the female form. It is priced at just £10.

Calander Girls! – Back at the Regent Stoke

Following a sell out, record breaking week here, Calendar Girls has triumphed in the West End. Now it’s back for one week only starring Lynda Bellingham with Debbie Chazen, Brenda Gilhooley, Jan Harvey, Ruth Madoc, Michelle Collins and June Watson.

A group of extraordinary women, members of a very ordinary Yorkshire WI, persuade one another to pose for a charity calendar with a difference – no more photos of Wharfedale Bridges or Norman churches for them. Overcoming their initial reserve, the friends drop their dressing gowns – modesty spared only by artfully placed cakes, knitting and flower arrangements.

Puzzling their husbands, mortifying their children, and riding the wrath of the outraged WI, they spark a global phenomenon. But as media interest snowballs, the Calendar Girls find themselves exposed in ways they’d never expected, revealing more than they’d ever planned.

A very British story with a very British heart, Calendar Girls is quirky, poignant and hilarious. Adapted by Tim Firth from his smash hit Mirimax film of the same name, it is based an uplifting and very inspiring true story.
Last year, Calendar Girls sold out in Stoke-on-Trent before it even opened, so don’t miss out and book today for the show the Mail on Sunday called “marvellous theatre, guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and come out singing Jerusalem!”

Calender Girls starts on Tuesday 5th October and runs until Saturday 9th October.

For tickets call the Box Office on 0844 871 7649 or book online at www.ambassadortickets.com/stoke. For Group Bookings call 0844 871 7619. Fees apply.