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St. Augustine's Musical Theatre Company

The UK Midlands' Award Winning Premier Local Theatre Company - Entertaining for 50 Years - 1974 to 2024

2023 Production - Shrek The Musical
Shrek The Musical ran from 14 to 18 November 2023 at The Artrix Theatre, Bromsgrove
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Shrek The Musical ran from 14 to 18 November 2023 at The Artrix Theatre, Bromsgrove
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Shrek The Musical

14 to 18 November 2023

Following the closure of The Core Theatre in Solihull, our production of
Shrek the Musical took place at The Artrix Theatre in Bromsgrove and proved to be a big hit with audiences and the local press!

REVIEW- Bromsgrove’s Artrix back with a bang in spellbinding production of Shrek the Musical

BROMSGROVE’S Artrix was back with a bang as St Augustine’s MTC transported us to Duloc with its spellbinding, hilarious and heartwarming production of Shrek the Musical.

"This concoction of pure entertainment gave me, and I’m sure many others in the elated crowd, the most sublime theatre experience I’ve ever had.

Every second on stage felt like it was passionately pondered over and crafted over many an hour- every step, sentence and song was impeccably delivered and contributed to a truly joyous evening.

The play, much like the classic film, sees Shrek (Jake Genders) and his tag-along friend Donkey (Solomon Smith), attempt to get his swamp back from Lord Farquaad (Matt Barnard) by rescuing Princess Fiona (Sophia Gough) from a tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon.

Shrek spends much of the first act as a lovable yet miserable and sarcastic loner, but as he begins to fall for Fiona we see him accept himself and find the love he’s been lacking.

Genders marvellously portrays Shrek’s more heartfelt moments with both sensitivity and humour, making his character all the more endearing as he attempts to ignite his stunted emotions.
Gough gives Fiona magnificent energy and an almost schoolgirl-like quality as she excitedly and naively waits for her textbook happily ever after.

Her performance of the dream-like ‘I Know It’s Today’ with the equally excellent Olivia McDaid and Emily Simpson as a young and teen Fiona contributed to one of the play’s strongest and most emotionally gripping vocal displays.

The two leads share exquisite chemistry and their back and forth in the inventive ‘I Think I Got You Beat’, where they find common ground in their troubled pasts, was all the more compelling for their great connection.

Smith, meanwhile, did far more than simply try and imitate Eddie Murphy as Donkey, he embodied all of his charisma and comedic timing whilst bringing a certain tragic quality to the role- for all his jokes, he’s simply desperate for a friend.

It’s harsh to pick a standout performer in a stellar lineup, but Matt Barnard was so effortlessly hilarious as Lord Farquaad I had to give him the credit he warranted.

From his physicality and quirky line delivery down to his over-the-top bravado and marvellously petulant depiction of Farquaad’s ‘little man syndrome’, Barnard may have just given the standout comedic performance I’ve witnessed on stage.

This play isn’t frightened to get utterly ridiculous at points and I love it all the more for its boldness- it even managed to make the sound of a bird tweeting tickle my funny bone.

There are simply too many incredible musical numbers to mention, from the side-splittingly farcical ‘Ballad of Farquaad’ to Shrek’s poignant rendition of ‘A Big Bright Beautiful World’.

The jazzy score of ‘Forever’ saw Siobhan Thornley channelling her inner Jennifer Hudson with a raspy, powerful vocal display, coupled with a jaw-dropping production featuring dancing knights and ‘dragonettes’ and a full-size dragon puppet.

Perhaps my favourite song, however, was the magnificent magical creatures all-singing, all-dancing ‘Freak Flag’ which sent a moving message to the audience and capped off a well-executed and emotional character arc for Pinocchio, played flawlessly by David Charter.

There was a beautiful moment during the interval when I overheard a woman saying how thrilled she was to finally be able to bring her granddaughter back to Artrix to watch this wonderful show.

And as I got to my feet to join in with the rapturous standing ovation as the sound of ‘I’m a Believer’ echoed throughout the theatre, the evening felt like a fairytale- both on stage and off it."

Audience Comments:

“It was a fantastic show.”

An Absolutely amazing show, well done all.”

“It was fabulous.”

“Loved every minute of it. Such a fantastic show.”

"Absolutely amazing, well done
to everyone involved in this amazing show.”

“Brilliant night. Very entertaining.”

“Absolutely amazing, a great cast and a great show.”

“Was excellent, we really enjoyed it.”

“A fabulous evening at STAGS production of Shrek the Musical this evening. Another example of a society in pursuit of 'the show will go on' and they pulled it off with aplomb. Orchestra were stupendous - at points I wished I was in the room where they were to have been able to enjoy them acoustically."

Well done to all at Stags involved in Shrek the musical. Too many to mention, but Veronica and Stephen it was a triumph. And if I could just mention one more- Matt for a fantastic portrayal of Lord Farquaad.”

"Was amazing we went last night and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

“It was brilliant last night! Way to go cast & production team.”

“All worth it in the end as you all delivered a fantastic show for everyone to enjoy.”

“You absolutely smashed it out of the park. A hugely successful effort all round. Bravo.”

“It was absolutely wonderful! Congratulations!”

“A real achievement! Well done!”

“Everyone involved did a fantastic job, you should all be proud of yourselves with everything you had to face to get the show on the stage.”

CAST for 2023
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We were thrilled that JAKE GENDERS was cast in the title role of SHREK for our 2023 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

Jake has appeared in numerous shows in the local area including the Emcee in
Cabaret, Tobias in Sweeney Todd, Boris in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Chitterlow in Half a Sixpence.

This is Jake’s first production with Stags MTC and we were really pleased to have him join the Company, bringing his considerable performing experience to the central role of Shrek.
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We were so pleased to announce that SOPHIA GOUGH was cast in the role of PRINCESS FIONA for our 2023 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

Sophia has been part of the local theatre scene for around 10 years and has played roles such as Mrs. Lovett in
Sweeney Todd, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family and most recently, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

Alongside theatre appearances, Sophia also sings with a 1940s vintage vocal harmony group called The Boogaloo Babes and is a proud Choir Leader for the local community choir Pop Voices.

We really looked forward to seeing Sophia bring Princess Fiona to life. Welcome to the Company!
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We had a wonderful set of auditions for principal roles, and we were very happy to announce that SOLOMON SMITH joined in the company to play the role of DONKEY for our 2023 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

Solomon’s previous theatre roles have included Big Jule in
Guys and Dolls, Jud Fry in Oklahoma, Zeke/The Lion in The Wizard of Oz, Ariel in Return to the Forbidden Planet and recently Gary Coleman in Avenue Q.

Solomon was with Stags MTC for the first time and couldn't wait to explore the crazy and lovable character of Donkey!
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We were delighted to announce that MATT BARNARD was cast in the role of LORD FARQUAAD for our 2023 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

Matt has appeared in several local productions including the pantomimes
Aladdin as the evil Abanazar and Dick Whittington as Alderman Fitzwarren, as well as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as the Mad Hatter, Wuthering Heights as Heathcliff and Peter Pan: Or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up as Peter Pan. He is currently performing in Peterbrook Player's West Side Story as one of the Jets. 

West Side Story, Matt travelled to Duloc in Shrek The Musical and strengthed his knees to play the fantastic role of Lord Farquaad. Welcome to the company Matt!
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We were very pleased to announce that SIOBHON THORNLEY was cast in the role of DRAGON for our 2023 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

Siobhon joined Stags MTC for the first time as the soulful Dragon and certainly has a voice you will want to hear! She has performed in many shows and productions including as Trish in
Kinky Boots, Fairy Godmother in Sleeping Beauty, Dandini in Cinderella, Scaramouche in We Will Rock You, Mona in Chicago and Disciple in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Siobhon also sings in an 80s duo called The Cassettes and has appeared as several Disney Princesses including Anna from
Frozen and Ariel from The Little Mermaid. We warmly welcomed Siobhon to the company!
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We were very happy to announce that JASMIN BURROWS was cast in the dual role of GINGY / SUGAR PLUM FAIRY for our 2023 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

Jasmin has been dancing with Rochelle Dance Academy since she was 4 years old taking part in numerous shows and competitions over the years. At age 14 she began studying Musical Theatre at Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) where she is currently in year 12. She performed in her first show with St Augustine’s MTC last year in
Kipps and loved being part of the company.

Other productions include playing Shimbleshanks in
Cats with BOA, Oklahoma and Return to the Forbidden Planet with SOSage Factory in Solihull and appearing for three years in the The Core Theatre’s pantomime.

As well as bringing puppetry skills to the role of Gingy, Jasmin brushed up her Russian accent for Sugar Plum Fairy!

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We were delighted to announce that DAVID CHARTER was cast in the role of PINOCCHIO for our 2023 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

David joined Stags MTC in 2022 when he played the role of Pierce in Kipps and has always loved singing. He caught the theatre bug when he became an unofficial swing in a youth production of Les Misérables, covering the roles of Factory Foreman / Feuilly for the entire show's run when a cast member became ill the day before it opened!

David has not stopped performing since: in light operas, musicals, pantomimes, plays, and concerts, as well as serving as a director, musical director, and lighting designer.

Roles include Major General Stanley in
The Pirates of Penzance, Sasha in Fiddler on the Roof, Salty in Teechers and Fleshcreep in Jack and the Beanstalk. Other show credits include Jekyll & Hyde, Aladdin, Treasure Island, The Gondoliers, HMS Pinafore, and Ruddigore. Earlier this month, he revisited The Pirates of Penzance, playing the lead role of Frederick with Birmingham Savoyards.
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We were very happy to announce that EMILY SIMPSON was cast in the role of TEEN FIONA for our 2023 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

Emily has been performing from a young age and has appeared in productions of
Peter Pan, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and played the role of Pepper in Annie.

Last year, Emily joined Stags MTC for our production of
Kipps and also appeared in The Addams Family at The Beck Theatre in Hayes.

Emily has been part of Stagecoach Solihull for over 10 years and is a member of TWDA Performing Arts in Solihull, the excellent dance school run by our Choreographer Sharyn Whiteman. Well done Emily!

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Our next talented young performer already has an impressive list of past performances to his name and we were very happy to announce that BILLY STAIT was cast in the dual role of PETER PAN / PIED PIPER in our 2023 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

Billy has played the role of Oliver twice, with QMTS and Bournville MTC, Graham in
Made in Dagenham with QMTS, Dodger in Oliver!, Archie in 13 and Jack in Into the Woods, all with Dynamik Theatre. He has also appeared as The Genie in Aladdin Jnr, Emmett in Legally Blonde Jnr and TJ in Sister Act Jnr, all with QMTS Juniors.

Billy is currently studying at Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) where he has performed the role of Jackie Elliot in
Billy Elliot. He has also appeared in the children’s choir of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the ensemble of Evita (both at Birmingham Hippodrome), and in Peter Pan at The NIA in Birmingham.

Well done Billy, and welcome to the company!
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The role of Princess Fiona begins in the show as a young person (Young Fiona), then grows into a teenager (Teen Fiona), then eventually becomes the adult Fiona.

We were delighted to announce that two very talented young actresses, OLIVIA McDAID and ESME STEWART shared the role of YOUNG FIONA and joined Stags MTC for the first time.

During the week of the show in November, Olivia appeared in the performances on Tuesday 14th November, Thursday 16th November and Saturday Matinée on 18th November.

Esme appeared in the performances on Wednesday 15th November, Friday 17th November and Saturday Evening on 18th November.

Well done Olivia and Esme and welcome to the company!

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The role of Shrek himself also begins the show as a young person, when family tradition says that a young ogre is sent out into the world to fend for themself and find their own swamp!

We were very pleased to announce that two more talented young actors, MAX BUTTERFIELD and OWEN HORSLEY shared the role of YOUNG SHREK and also be played the role of BABY BEAR in the group of fairytale characters.

During the week of the show in November, Max appeared in the performances on Tuesday 14th November, Thursday 16th November and Saturday Matinée on 18th November.

Owen appeared in the performances on Wednesday 15th November, Friday 17th November and Saturday Evening on 18th November.

Well done Max and Owen and welcome to Stags MTC!

Rehearsals - Important Information
Rehearsals are held at Widney Junior School, Clifton Crescent, Solihull, B91 3LQ. 

Rehearsals take place on WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY evenings at 7.30pm at Widney Junior School.  Please note that if you have a role in this production, other than unavoidable work commitments, illness and holidays (we ask that you don't book holidays in October/November on the run up to the show), you are expected as a priority to make yourself available on Wednesday and Thursday evenings for rehearsals. 

Availability for rehearsals is a key factor and you will be required to notify us of any known unavailability for Wednesday and Thursday rehearsals. While it is understood that people’s busy lives may result in certain unavailability developing after we start work on the show, you are required to promptly notify the Production Team of any changes in your availability. Prolonged or regular absence may result in your role being re-cast.

If you cannot attend a rehearsal, contact Veronica Walsh on 0121 705 3914 initially and thereafter Stephen Powell or Sharyn Hastings.  Please contact the production team directly and preferably in advance of a rehearsal, so that any disruption to a planned rehearsal can be avoided.  Do not send absence messages via another cast member or other third party!

There will also be two orchestra rehearsals - Sunday 5 November 2023 from 10.00am to 1.00pm and Sunday 12 November 2023 from 2.00pm to 5.00pm. Venues to be confirmed.
Shrek The Musical - Synopsis
Act One

Opening like a storybook, our musical adventure begins with a large ogre named Shrek narrating the story of his seventh birthday. As he narrates, the storybook comes to life, and we see Shrek's parents telling the seven-year old version of himself that it is time for him to venture out into the world on his own. As he does, his parents' warning that everyone will hate him because of his hideous looks proves to be true, and he is forced to live alone, embittered and angry in a swamp. Before our eyes, Shrek grows up, the adult ogre now stepping into the story that he was previously narrating (Big Bright Beautiful World). His lonely solitude is interrupted one day, however, when all of the Fairytale Creatures of the land show up to his swamp, banished there by Lord Farquaad (Story of My Life). Not at all pleased to have his home invaded and encouraged by the Fairytale Creatures, Shrek decides to travel to see Lord Farquaad in order to regain the privacy of his swamp (The Goodbye Song). Along the way, he rescues a talkative Donkey from Farquaad's guards and, after much begging on the Donkey's part (Don't Let Me Go), Shrek reluctantly allows him to tag along.

Meanwhile, in Duloc, we are introduced to Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror who is torturing Gingy the Gingerbread Man into revealing the whereabouts of a princess that he wishes to marry so that he may finally be a true king. Gingy claims that Princess Fiona is locked in a nearby tower, cut off by lava and a dragon. Lord Farquaad decides to have a festival to draw the name of a Duloc citizen that will have to fetch Princess Fiona for him. As the crowd gathers (Welcome to Duloc / What's Up, Duloc?), Shrek and Donkey arrive; Lord Farquaad demands that, in return for the deed to the swamp, Shrek must find and bring back Princess Fiona.

While Shrek and Donkey set off, the lights come up on seven-year old Fiona, stuck in her castle and dreaming that she will one day be rescued by one a prince (True Love's First Kiss). As she grows into a teenager, and then into a headstrong woman, she never loses her faith in her fairy tales (I Know It's Today). As Shrek and Donkey continue on their journey, Shrek becomes increasingly annoyed with Donkey's constant chattering (Travel Song). Somehow, though, deep down, a friendship has begun to form. After crossing the lava-bridge and then arriving at the castle, Shrek sets off alone to rescue Fiona while Donkey encounters a ferocious female Dragon (Forever). When Shrek reaches Fiona, she tries and fails to get him to play out the romantic scenarios found in her storybooks and, at last, he is forced to drag her off. Reunited with Donkey, they must then escape an angry Dragon. Fiona is thrilled to finally have her rescuer fighting for her (This Is How a Dream Comes True). Shrek traps the Dragon, and the trio makes it to safety, where Fiona is appalled to find that Shrek is an ogre and not Prince Charming. Shrek explains that he is merely her champion; instead, she is to wed Lord Farquaad. As the sun begins to set, Fiona becomes apprehensive, insisting that they rest and that she spend the night alone. Donkey and Shrek stay awake and, as Shrek finally opens up to his new friend for the first time, we see Fiona transformed into an ogress, alone in the moonlight (Who I'd Be).

Act Two

The next day, Princess Fiona rises and, excited that it is her wedding day, dances around, singing (Morning Person). When she inquires about her groom-to-be, Shrek and Donkey let the "short" jokes fly, and Shrek begins to mock her childhood circumstances. Each thinking his/her own childhood is worse, the two begin a contest of one-upmanship that culminates in a battle of disgusting bodily noises. (I Think I Got You Beat). Through this, their pasts are revealed to one another, and a friendship is kindled.

Meanwhile, back in Duloc, Lord Farquaad plans his wedding, and he reveals his own sordid heritage (The Ballad of Farquaad). As Shrek and Fiona's newfound camaraderie grows into love, Donkey insists, with the help of the Three Blind Mice, that Shrek should tell Fiona how he feels (Make a Move). Before he can, though, the sun begins to set, and Fiona once again rushes away to bed. Refusing to give up on the thought, Donkey goes to the barn where Fiona has retreated, only to discover that she turns into an ogress at night due to a curse placed on her as a child by a witch. She tells Donkey that only a kiss from her true love will return her to love's true form. Alone, Shrek tries to summon the courage to express his feelings (When Words Fail) and, when he finally goes to tell Fiona, he overhears the end of her conversation with Donkey, completely mistaking her description of herself as an ugly beast for a reference to him. Hurt, he storms off.

The next day, transformed back into her human form, Fiona decides to tell Shrek about her curse (Morning Person – Reprise). When Fiona tries to explain, however, Shrek rebuffs her. Farquaad and his army approach to claim Fiona, who, now upset herself, not only agrees to the marriage, but also insists that it take place before sunset. Donkey tries to appeal to Shrek, but Shrek rejects him, angry that Donkey would talk about him with Fiona behind his back, and declares he will return to his swamp, alone (Build a Wall).

Elsewhere, while the Fairytale Creatures, evicted from the swamp, head for their new home, they decide they've had it with Farquaad's discriminatory treatment (Freak Flag). With a newfound confidence, they decide to return to Duloc and take on Lord Farquaad. Back at the swamp, Donkey and Shrek argue until Shrek is convinced that Donkey and Fiona weren't talking about him. Each one forgives the other, and Donkey convinces Shrek that Fiona cares about him. They rush to Duloc, and Shrek is able to stop the wedding just in the knick of time. He finally finds the words to express his feelings, declaring his love to and for Fiona (Big Bright Beautiful World – Reprise). Caught between love and her desire to break the curse, Fiona tries to escape the event, but the exiled Fairytale Creatures storm the wedding and protest their banishment. Amidst the protests, the sun sets, turning Fiona back into an ogress in front of everyone. Farquaad is disgusted but insists the marriage is already binding, claiming he will lock Fiona in a tower and continue to rule as Duloc's true King. Shrek whistles for the Dragon that they met earlier, and she swoops in, destroying Farquaad in one fiery breath. Finally free of Farquaad, Shrek and Fiona admit their love for one another and share a kiss. Fiona's curse is broken, and she takes her true form: an ogress. At first, she is ashamed of her looks, but Shrek declares that she is still beautiful. Shrek and Fiona begin a new life together as everyone celebrates what makes them special (This Is Our Story). They all live happily ever after (I'm a Believer).
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Shrek The Musical - Flyer Front
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Shrek The Musical - Flyer Back (Ticket Booking Form)
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