On a sunny Tuesday in February, friends and family filled the auditorium at Strode Theatre to watch the premiere of Future 4 @ Street Drama Group’s latest production – Alice in Wonderland. The cast also attended in full costume
The audience were not disappointed. The wonderful movie which was creatively filmed using a green screen, and the actors made all of the props, sets and backgrounds themselves. The cast, who have a variety of learning disabilities, also composed almost all of the music and sound effects for the film using a Soundbeam 5.
The actors were amazing. Diane White shone throughout in the lead role of Alice, and James Portingail was captivating as The Cheshire Cat. Sue Wheeler owned her role as the Queen of Hearts as she became increasingly bad-tempered when Alice beat her at croquet, using poor flamingos as sticks and a hedgehog as the ball (no animals were injured in the making of this film!). Michael Bond and Stefan Smith were incredibly funny as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, having such a natural rapport which obviously comes from also being best friends outside of the group.
There were incredibly enthusiastic performances from Jamie Topham, Wendy Bennet, Anita Chant and Claire Reakes who played The Mad Hatter, The March Hare, The Dormouse and The Caterpillar respectively and Charlotte Simon was perfect as the cute and curious White Rabbit.
The 17-minute film is Future 4 @ Street Drama Group’s eighth show in three years, having previously put on a mixture of comedies, musicals and mysteries. The 10 actors meet weekly on a Tuesday to plan and rehearse with Dave Palmer and Leza England teaching, supporting and directing. Strode Theatre have been really supportive; allowing them use the space for free in the school holidays and have even donated a technician for the screenings.
The drama group has seen huge benefits for all of the individuals involved, the main one being their growing confidence through working as a group, rehearsing and preparing for the various shows, as well as performing in front of friends and family in the professional studio theatre.
Dave Palmer, who, along with Leza England, produces and directs all the shows said:
“Their friends and family have often mentioned, after a show, how amazed they are at the confident performances that they have seen. There is also a real sense of achievement and enjoyment from all those that have taken part when looking back at past productions, especially since we have started to record the shows, so they can relive the experience.
There is also their great enthusiasm to do more shows with them suggesting new show ideas, enjoying the planning as well as the execution of the pieces. Many also have growing confidence in their own communication skills and their ability to express their opinions on aspects of the production – owning the shows, as well as working collaboratively on them.”
The cast is already excited about their next production – a musical based on different types of jobs, which will be performed live at the Strode Theatre this Easter. Stay tuned!
- Alice – Diane White
- The Caterpillar – Claire Reakes
- The Cheshire Cat – James Portingail
- The Dormouse – Anita Chant
- The March Hare – Wendy Bennet
- The Mad Hatter – Jamie Topham
- The Queen of Hearts – Sue Wheeler
- Tweedledee – Stefan Smith
- Tweedledum – Michael Bond
- The White Rabbit – Charlotte Simon
Produced by Dave Palmer and Leza England
Adapted, Edited and Directed by Dave Palmer