What we’re looking forward to: Teechers

Presented by Blackeyed Theatre in association with South Hill Park

“there is only one fitting description of Teechers…winner” ~ Daily Telegraph

Teechers Brochure Image 2 (Dec 12) 640

Fast-moving, inventive and highly entertaining, Teechers is John Godber’s brilliant take on life at a modern comprehensive. Through their hilarious end-of-term play, three Year 11s exuberantly sketch the new drama teacher’s progress through two terms of recalcitrant classes, cynical colleagues and obstructive caretakers. Disillusioned, he departs for the safe waters of a private school, and leaves behind his students, whose youthful irreverence gives way to despair.

Brought to the stage by highly acclaimed Blackeyed Theatre with high energy, break-neck comedy and breathtaking ensemble performances, Teechers is a modern classic with something vital to say about education for the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.

Reviews…

The Stage

“The effusive cast of three execute Adrian McDougall’s direction with timed precision and hilarious interpretation. Donna Preston’s facial variations are wonderfully expressive from her portrayal of head teacher Mrs Parry to the sniggering student Simon Patterson, while Nicole Black injects excellent physicality into each of her characters from PE teacher Miss Prime to school bully Oggy Moxon and deputy head Mr Basford. Jacob Addley is the lynchpin of the piece as new drama teacher Jeff Nixon and all three actors switch effortlessly into Scott Jenkins’ brilliantly choreographed interludes.”

The Good Review  ★★★★

“All three actors project the kind of presence that says they’re completely comfortable on stage, with bags of energy, ingenuity and impressive physicality. Entertaining song-and-dance set pieces punctuate the evening, including a memorable Gangnam style routine and a hilarious take on Glee’s Don’t Stop Believing.Teechers Press photo 4 640

On the night I attended, most of the audience seemed to be school pupils of around the same age as those depicted on stage. From what I saw, they absolutely loved it, particularly the bit just after the interval when they, and some of their teachers, were urged by the cast to get up and dance. Amidst all the fun, and frenetic energy, this play carries serious messages about education and art, and how they can give hope and direction to otherwise listless lives.”

Bracknell Times

“A mass of energy is needed to keep this fast-paced show going and the three stars did not fail to disappoint, with stellar and flawless performances from Jacob Addley, Nicole Black and Donna Preston… I wouldn’t want to see another production because I doubt any three actors could match the performance of Addley, Black and Preston.”

Tempted? Tickets can be purchased online here or via the Box Office on 01432 340555

Jen’s Lens – Roll out the Barrels and get #Courtlaughing!

On Saturday May 11, the Courtyard are putting on a very special treat for you.   To get you in the mood for good beer, great laughs and a lively atmosphere a free promo event will be held at The Barrels Pub in St Owen’s Street.

From 8pm, up-and-coming, local and downright hilarious comedienne Vikki Stone will be taking to the stage with her keyboard to deliver some absolutely incredible songs.  Emerging on to the comedy scene after declaring her love for Philip Schofield on Youtube, this witty, amazing talent is not to be missed!  Here she is below doing a one woman les Miserables!

Join us at The Barrels on Saturday 11 May from 8pm and prepare to be #Courtlaughing!

Whilst at The Barrels, be sure to indulge in Wye Valley Brewery’s latest tasty keg of special #Courtlaughing brew, Dorothy Goodbody’s Barrel of Laughs.

Look on the beer’s pump clips to discover how you could have our crowds laughing out loud.  Think you’re a budding comedian?  Then get a pint pulled and make sure you join in this summer’s festivities.

vikki poster copy

Jen’s Lens – Get ready to be #Courtlaughing!

Beer & jokes - a perfect partnership for #Courtlaughing!

Beer & jokes – a perfect partnership for #Courtlaughing!

Well, you are very lucky this week, as there are now 2 Jen’s Lens posts!  And this one is by no means less exciting, because if you follow us on Facebook, keep an eagle eye on our tweets, or indeed know someone at The Courtyard, then you will know we have been revealing the big names involved in our 2013 #Courtlaughing festival, our comedy event that is being held over the weekend of the 7 – 9 June this summer.

I, however, had to keep the exciting news to myself as we launched the event last

Local comedienne Vikki Stone gets us giggling

Local comedienne Vikki Stone gets us giggling

Thursday at Wye Valley Brewery to invited press, VIP’s and staff.  This was in fact, the very first moment we could share with others in the county who would be making us laugh out loud this June.  The launch event was held at Wye Valley Brewery in Stoke Lacy and we enjoyed curry, fine ale and joke props as the headliners were revealed, and also enjoyed live comedy from last year’s Wye Valley Brewery Open Mic winner Phil Pearcy, and newly local comedienne Vikki Stone.  Vikki had everyone in stitches as she sang break up songs based on Jurassic Park and declared her love for Professor Brian Cox; songs which were also extremely catchy and resulted in strange looks from my folks as I forgot my place and sang them making the tea.  The evening was a triumph, as everyone socialised, ate, drank, and a few were even papped on camera #Courtlaughing!

So, without further adieu, let me introduce you to our comedy class of 2013.

Phill JupitusOpening up for the festival and kicking off the trio of comedy talent is comedy veteran and star of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Phill Jupitus.  He will be bringing his new show You’re Probably Wondering Why I Asked You Here… fresh from last summer’s Edinburgh circuit to have you all chuckling.

Saturday night’s entertainment comes in the form of dry witted American ironist Rich Hall,

Rich Hall

Rich Hall

who is known for his observational comedy on people both sides of the pond, and is star of such TV shows as QI and his own TV programmes such as How the West Was Lost.

Rounding up the big named comedians and bringing the festival to a close is emerging talent Josh Widdicombe.  Known for appearances on shows such as Mock the Week and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Josh moves away from supporting the likes of Alan Carr and brings his debut solo stand up to our #Courtlaughing festival.

Tickets for all of these comedians are currently on sale and available to book now – so, what are you waiting for?  Get in fast and be sure to be #Courtlaughing this summer. 01432 340555 or http://www.courtyard.org.uk

Josh Widdicombe

Josh Widdicombe

Other events taking place over the festival period is a Sunday evening screening of Monty Python’s jewel the ‘Life of Brian’.  A film which caused much controversy at its time of release but now is widely accepted and has us all singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ when faced with crucifixion.  Children’s comedian James Campbell and ventriloquist for the younger ones, Kieran Powell will bring some pre-watershed laughs, and there will also be two of The Courtyard’s renowned #Courtlaughing comedy clubs if you fancied having a beer and scouting some emerging talent.

Returning after its success last year is the Wye Valley Brewery Open Mic competition, introducing local budding comedy talents to have a go in front of our Courtyard panel in a bid to be crowned the local King (or Queen) of comedy!

Live music will also be taking place over the three nights, and we are currently on the scout for musicians and performers to put themselves forward to play on the Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights.  If you are a musician and fancy showing us what you are musically made of then send us your facebook pages, soundcloud, myspace or youtube links to competitions@courtyard.org.uk or alternatively drop in your demo’s and CD’s to Box Office or post them to Jennifer Booton, The Courtyard, Edgar Street, Hereford, HR4 9JR by Monday 15th April.

Phew!  I think that’s it.  So, like I said, what are you waiting for?!  See you #Courtlaughing.

Laugh-in the New Year, live the healthy life… … and raise money for charity!

Did you know? Laughing for just 15 minutes can burn up to 40 calories.

So kick start your 2013 diet plans and book some tickets to see the brilliantly funny Roisin Conaty – star of BBC Three’s Impractical Jokers – who’s bringing her new stand-up show to The Courtyard for one night only on Friday, January 18th.

“Conaty, oddly, has shades of early Russell Brand, but with less misogyny, including a charming flamboyance and a turn of phrase that proves she’s a verbal gymnast as well as a pretty face.” ~ Kirstyn Smith, The List

Roisin Conaty, comedienne

Roisin Conaty, comedienne

Not only will you be doing yourself some good, you’ll be raising vital funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a cause close to the heart of organiser Melanie Denning who’s been a business development manager at The Courtyard for the last six years. ‘Our 12-year-old son Owain was diagnosed with CF at seven weeks old which was a massive shock. But his dad Chris and I picked ourselves up and decided we were going to do our utmost to keep Owain as well as possible and not let CF dominate our lives. We’re also determined to do what we can to raise money to help find a cure and Chris has done so many mad things, including three marathons, a zip wire at Man United and a tandem skydive while I’ve stuck to organising things like this comedy night, our second at The Courtyard.’

Over 9,000 people in the UK have CF, one of the most common life-threatening inherited diseases for which there is no cure, although much genetic and treatment research is going on, funded mainly by charity fundraising such as this comedy night up and down the country.

The Denning family

The Denning family

Each week five babies are born with CF and two young lives are lost to the disease although improving treatments such as antibiotics mean average life expectancy has been steadily increasing.

Melanie says she can’t wait to see Roisin, a previous winner of Best Newcomer at Edinburgh Comedy Festival, along with young Welsh comedian Dan Thomas who’ll be supporting Russell Kane later this Spring. ‘I’ve also asked Phil Pearcy, our front of house manager, to compere for us… he won our Comedy Festival’s Open Mic competition last year and is very funny so all in all, it should be a great night out for an even greater cause!’ says Melanie.

Book online or get your tickets from The Courtyard’s Box Office on 01432 340555, £15.