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Hit musicals help charities

Published 18 June 2008

A selection of Mamma Mia!’s Dancing Queens will take their talents to the Arts theatre for a special one-off Macmillan Cancer Support fundraising concert on Sunday.

Linzi Hateley, Joanna Monro, Katie Brayben, Jodie Read, Laura Selwood and other cast member from the Abba musical will perform a range of songs from musical theatre and pop in Carole’s Concert, which also features a live band and troupe of dancers from the Susan Robinson School of Ballet.

The concert is a personal project for cast member Read, who plays Ali in the hit musical. She lost her mother to cancer in October 2007 and felt moved to support the charity that helped her family through a devastating period: “When [brother] Jamie and I lost our mum to cancer, it was a shock diagnosis: we lost her only a week and a half after she was diagnosed. Although our time at the hospital was not that long, our struggle was eased by the nurses around us. They really were amazing, and once Macmillan were involved, it didn’t feel like a medical process anymore.

“I think we were lucky, not to have to struggle for months and months, and although we would give anything to have had mum around for longer, I know the ordeal must be so much worse for other families. That is why we want to raise this money. Macmillan Cancer Support helps families through every stage of cancer, so I’m just glad that we can do something to help in return. Some people run races, climb mountains or swim oceans. We aren’t very good at those things, but we can sing!”

Tickets for Carole’s Concert cost £20 and can be purchased by calling 0870 534 4444.

Fellow West End musical Dirty Dancing is also doing its bit for charity, entering a team of 10 in the Cancer Research UK Race For Life on 13 July.

While you would expect professional dancers to be able to cope with a five kilometre run, most of the team come from the show’s less active wardrobe department. As wardrobe mistress and team leader Janie Stephenson says: “The dancers are super-fit, and some of us go to the gym, but otherwise the most exercise the wardrobe team generally gets is dashing up and down stairs backstage with costumes during the show; it’s going to be a challenge!”

Cancer Research UK’s Race For Life is the biggest women-only fundraising event in the UK and has raised over £200 million since the inaugural run in 1994. Anyone running, or showing their support, will find it fairly easy to spot the Dirty Dancing runners as, being a team from a wardrobe department, they have already been kitted out in Dirty Dancing caps, T-shirts and hot pants.

MA

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