Press Report

 


Tiverton Gazette

 

Tuesday July 25, 2006

Step in Time
Willow Tree students coming along in leaps and bounds

Willow Tree dance centre's end of year show was a sell-out success at the New Hall.

More than 700 tickets sold for the performance Step in Time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

The production was staged by more than 200 students of the Willow Tree Centre of Dance and Performing Arts.

They raged in age from youngsters no more than four-years-old to women in their 30's.

The show featured time travellers trying to return to 2006, but repeatedly landing in the past, where they witnessed song and dance routines of the age.

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Tiverton Gazette

News

Tuesday July 25, 2006

Stars finding their feet
at dance school

A Tiverton performing arts centre has given another batch of young stars the best possible start to their glittering careers.
   Willow Tree Centre of Dance and Performing Arts pupil Conner Van Bussell has been invited to audition for Billie Elliot: The musical, while Millie Chamberlain has been accepted to the Royal Ballet School Junior Associates.
   Another success story is Abi Page-Browning, who has been accepted into BRIT School of Performing Arts, and will start in September.

   The Northcott Theatre's Christmas production of Aladdin will be that much better with the Willow Tree students Emily Chillcott, Amy Wyllie and Megan Huish.
   Willow Tree principal Irene Holland said it has been another busy year.
   "The musical theatre classes were especially exciting and successful, allowing the students to use all their dance, drama and singing skills to come together."

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Tiverton Gazette

News

Tuesday August 1, 2006

Staggering Achievement

Every year I come away from watching the Willow Tree annual showcase at the New Hall in Tiverton amazed, writes Amanda Knott.
   I am staggered by what Irene Holland and her team of teachers, choreographers, costume designers, stage management and administrators can achieve.
   Just to organise a production of this magnitude is an administrative feat, but add the eclectic mix of creativity I saw on the stage on Thursday, July 20 and it becomes astonishing.
   More than 200 young people took part in 50 numbers, linked by three actors who in a Dr Who-ish way - scarves and overcoats (in the New Hall's blistering and airless heat) - were aboard a time machine travelling back several centuries and forward into the future.
   This gave the evening its theme and the tap, ballet, modern, contemporary, singing, musical theatre and jazz dances were happily attached to different eras.
   It was a feast of surprises: so much colour, so many styles, so many talented performers.  It was sheer entertainment from top to toe.

   For me, the high spots included a knockout song and dance from Annie, the musical.
   Buckets and scrubbing brushes were banged and swung about by some very small people with remarkably powerful voices, led by Sammie Firbanks.
   A medley from West Side Story gave Sarah Jepps an opportunity to show how talented a singer and dancer she is.
   Jamie Rumson also caught my eye in West Side Story as did Lucy Flatters in a jazz number.  The stage exploded when Lucy Hill, who trained at Willow Tree, returned with a jazz solo.
   In an evening of delights, I think my absolute favourite was the primaries 1940's tap sequence.
   Their dresses were perfect for the period and each had a brown gas mask box on a string around the neck.  The tapping was good too!
   A successful show, if not a trifle long.  I look forward to next year's.

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Tiverton Gazette

News

Tuesday August 1, 2006

Celebrity award win
shows Lucy is a class act

A Tiverton youngster has won the first-ever Ross Kemp Award from the Willow Tree Centre of Dance and Performing Arts.
   The award was donated by the Eastenders actor last year, and is one of many awards given to students from the centre which are sponsored by celebrities.
   Other donors include Eurovision pop legends Bucks Fizz and television presenter Penny Smith.

   Tiverton High School student Lucy Guy was presented with the award in recognition of her drama efforts after the Willow Tree end-of-term show.
   "I didn't think I would win it," the 11-year-old explained.  "But I was really pleased."
   Lucy said throughout the term she had taken part in a number of activities including improvisation and script work.

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Tiverton Gazette

News

Tuesday August 8, 2006

Taken from JOHNTWYFORD
A personal view of mid-Devon life

Students' opportunity for
moment in the limelight

Irene Holland should be declared a Tiverton Town Treasure.  In a town deprived of many things, this lady runs the Willow Tree Centre of Dance and Performing Arts, giving hundreds of children - and some adults - the chance to develop performance skills and experience their moment in the limelight.  The recent annual show at the New Hall had a cast of more than 200 and must have taken extraordinary effort from Irene and her team to stage.
   How many towns the size of Tiverton can boast the same?

   Many students go on to study dance and drama at a higher level, but most of her students do not pursue the subject, becoming instead accountants, cleaners, plumbers or whatever else.
   We should be no less thankful for the opportunity they will have had as youngsters for excercise, self-expression and a dash of theatrical glamour.

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