A group of young people emerged from the Shaftesbury on Saturday feeling infinitesimally cooler than when they went in, all thanks to Kids West End and the Mayor of London’s Open Rehearsal weekend.
Eighteen teenagers aged 13 – 16 booked a place to go backstage at the Shaftesbury, home of London’s coolest musical, Daddy Cool, and spent two hours in a workshop led by the show’s Assistant Choreographer, Adrian Gass, learning one of the musical’s dance routines. The group followed up the workshop by attending a matinee performance of Daddy Cool, to see Javine, Harvey and the rest of the cast doing it for real.
Kids West End, organised by The Society Of London Theatre (SOLT), gives young people the chance to get involved in West End theatre. Kate Earnshaw, Development Officer at SOLT and organiser of Kids West End, commented: “To be able to offer young people this unique access to a West End venue is fantastic. Although there were a few bleary eyes at the beginning, as some participants had made quite a journey to be there on the day, Adrian soon had them leaping across the stage to some of the big numbers from the show. After showcasing what they had learnt to an audience, albeit one made up of parents and siblings, they all bounced out of the auditorium grinning like a true bunch of West End performers.”
SOLT arranged the Kids West End activity at the Shaftesbury in conjunction with Open Rehearsal, a weekend of events offering Londoners and visitors a glimpse behind the scenes of many big cultural and entertainment venues in the capital. The weekend was organised by the office of the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who described it as “an exciting and unique opportunity”. Other venues participating in Open Rehearsal included the Royal Court, Lyric Hammersmith and Shakespeare’s Globe.