St James' Church
Methodist/URC, Woolton, Liverpool, UK
Show-in-a-Week 2018 was Aladdin Junior, produced during the week of August 20th-26th, involving 36 children aged 5-14 and a production team of props, costume, sound and lighting technicians under the guidance of the show’s directors Pam Alexander and Amy Bates.
Sofia (one of the Junior cast members) brought this lovely Good Luck Greeting poster for all the team, when she arrived for the first rehearsal at 9.30 on Monday morning.
The cast was made up of children from regular church groups, and others from families across our local community. Some were new to Show-in-a-Week in 2018, but many others have been regular participants over a number of years. Some families book their place from one show to the next, because their children enjoy the singing, dancing and fun so much.
Whether they were first-timers or regulars, all the children soon blended into a friendly team and really looked after each other, helping to learn parts, and playing together during the lunch and refreshment breaks.
Rehearsals started promptly at 9.30 every morning and continued till 4 pm, covering a third of the script each day for the first three days, and then consolidating and rehearsing over and over again, ready for the dress rehearsal, photo calls and two performances on Friday and Saturday night.
Across the two nights, 250 family members and friends came to see what their young ones had been up to all week. They could hardly believe their eyes (and ears) and they showed their surprise and delight in deafening applause that went on and on.
The Cast and Production Team deserved every moment of their success. They had worked so hard all week, with the principals beginning to learn their lines and songs more than a month earlier.
Many of the songs had quite complicated words, and really catchy tunes. But everyone heard them so often that by the end of the week they were going round and round in all our heads!
This picture shows the Genie, Aladdin and his supporters practicing their grand entrance, when the humble street lad is transformed into Prince Ali arriving at the Sultan’s palace to claim Princess Jasmine’s hand.
Backstage the costume and props teams were working wonders of their own, with all the outfits being made from scratch on Monday morning .......
.... and a flying carpet and Cave of Wonder being imaginatively produced with the most humble and unexpected resources. It’s not amazing what can be achieved with cardboard, papier-mache, a clothes airer, imagination, ingenuity - and a magic lamp, of course !!
No-one would have been really surprised if everyone had gone home exhausted when the curtain came down for the last time on Saturday evening.
But even if that was true, two thirds of the young cast, their families and all the production team were back in church on Sunday morning to reprise the show’s two big production numbers, compare and contrast Aladdin’s themes with Christian life experiences and celebrate what a truly wonderful week it had been.
It was good to give thanks and praise to God together for all we had shared, for if it wasn’t for the love of God, there would be no St James’ church, no dedicated youth leaders, no amazingly talented children to be so proud of, and no Show-in-a-Week.
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed in any way to the production of Aladdin Junior. Plans are already being made for the dates and title of next year’s production! Anyone young or older who would like to take part on-stage or back-stage, or just find out more, please us via the contact page of this web-site.