Theatre group brings the West End to Wellingborough

All the cast
All the cast

A theatre group brought a taste of the West End to Wellingborough with a relaunch of the town’s community show.

Working in close partnership with Glamis Hall, GLJ Theatre invited local performers to take to the stage to perform Paul Boys: Alice The Musical on June 5 and 6.

Gary L Johnson

Gary L Johnson

The show is set around Lewis Carroll’s stories of Alice In Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass.

Gary L Johnson, artistic director of GLJ Theatre, said: “We had an amazing response from the local people back in December 2016 when we opened the auditions – we then selected the lucky cast members and started the project.”

Gary used to perform in the Wellingborough Community Productions when The Castle hosted the yearly event, and this is why he wanted to bring it back.

He said: “It was always so magical – you made a new family within every project and were given the chance to explore and create on stage.

“This is what we set out to do with Alice The Musical.”

Unlike other community productions, GLJ Theatre and Glamis Hall decided to make the project accessible to as many people as possible and not require cast members to pay a show fee.

Laura Dorling, assistant director for GLJ Theatre, said: “Some local people in Wellingborough are jumping at the chance to perform on the stage, but just can’t afford it.

“We wanted to do something about that.”

The cast for Alice The Musical met once a week at Glamis Hall for rehearsals and ended up with a cast ranging from seven up to 57-years-old.

Gary said: “It’s amazing to see the community come together through the magic of theatre.

“We’re lucky to work with a brilliant cast who put every inch of energy into the show.”

The production was led by Gary and a team of volunteers from Glamis Hall and the local community, and saw two sold-out performances at the hall on the Queensway estate.

Gary added: “The magic of theatre is real, we had cast members singing solos, dancing and acting on stage for the first time.

“It’s helped people with confidence and to even get them through difficult times – that’s when you know you’re doing something good in the community.”

Audience members seemed to enjoy the show, with comments including: “It’s one of the best things we’ve seen in Wellingborough for a number of years, we wished it went on a longer run.”

Later this year GLJ Theatre is set to grow from its youth theatre base with a Christmas community production of A Christmas Carol.

Once again they will be looking for actors for the show, with auditions at Glamis Hall on Monday, September 4.

For more information go to www.garyljohnson.co.uk/gljtheatre or email glj@glamishall.org.uk.