The Fairytale of Cinderella

Ravenshead Theatre Group return to Pantomime in January 2018 with that ever-popular fairytale, Cinderella. One of the UK’s most performed pantos with a ‘persecuted heroine’ storyline that is known to almost everyone. When given the task of writing an article about Cinderella, it’s very popularity made me wonder where to begin, but my curiosity about it’s heritage led me to the internet and there I found some fascinating origins that actually go back to Ancient Greece.
Folklore experts point to thousands of versions of this classic tale throughout the world, but the story of Rhodopis from 7 BC is generally considered to be the earliest known variant. Rhodopis is a Greek slave girl whose sandal is snatched by an eagle whilst she is bathing. The eagle carries the sandal to the King of Egypt who then gets his men to scour the land for the woman who wore the sandal. In true fairytale tradition the King eventually marries Rhodopis.
Several different variants appear in the medieval Tales of The Arabian Nights and all have the theme of a younger sibling harassed by two jealous elders – precursors of the Ugly Sisters. The first European version of the story was published in Italy in 1634. Giambattista Basile assembled a set of oral folk tales into a collection named The Pentamerone. His story features a wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters, magical transformations, a missing slipper and a hunt by a monarch for the owner of the slipper. In 1697, a French author, Charles Pervault, introduced the famous elements of a pumpkin, the Fairy Godmother and a glass slipper.
The debut for Cinderella as a pantomime was at the Drury Lane Theatre, London in 1904. It has been a perennial family favourite ever since. With the birth of cinema, hundreds of films have been made that are either direct adaptations from Cinderella or have plots loosely based upon the story. The famous Walt Disney animated film was released in 1950 and is considered to be one of the Disney classics.
Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment!
Tickets can also be bought directly from Adcock Financial in the Ravenshead shopping precinct, or by phone on 07742 057 153, or by email:
John Birch for RTG Publicity


3 Trophies for RYTG at NANDA!!!

This year’s NANDA Youth Theatre Festival took place at Chilwell Olympia Theatre on Saturday 13th May and it proved to be a very successful day for Ravenshead Youth Theatre Group as they came home with 3 splendid trophies. In a closely fought contest, where all the entries could be described as tightly choreographed, ensemble pieces, the team won the Touchwood Award for Best Original Play for “A Wolf’s Tale” and scooped both male actor awards in two age categories!

‘A Wolf’s Tale’ was written and directed by our very own Mandy Buckley, with additional material by John Birch. It tells of an aspiring young actor, played by Josh Hill, who decides that the only way he is going to succeed is to go for auditions for films and plays that feature a wolf. We see his hilarious failed attempts to impress on the set of various well-known fairy tales such as The 3 Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, with a finale excerpt from Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

The NANDA Best Male Actor trophy went to Lewis Hallam, playing the Director of The 3 Little Pigs. Lewis won last year in the lower age category so next year he will be going for a hat-trick! This year’s Best Actor aged 11 years and under was James Terry for the cameo role of Mowgli. James only joined RYTG this year so is one to watch for the future. Acting commendation certificates were also awarded to Amelie Frost, Josh Hill and James Mussett.

The Festival brings together youth theatre groups from all over Nottinghamshire to compete in a one-act play competition and we’re already discussing what we should enter in 2018.

RYTG Publicity.



California Suite by Neil Simon is our May 2017 production. This hit American comedy set in the 1970s is actually made up of 4 smaller plays that all take place in the same hotel suite – Room 203. Without giving too much away, here’s a brief synopsis of the individual mini-plays. Although each is slightly different in style, in all of them Neil Simon shows his adept skills with razor-sharp dialogue and the personal “dilemmas” of the room’s various occupants.
VISITOR FROM NEW YORK. In the opening play, Hannah Warren has arrived from the Big Apple for a meeting with her ex-husband, William (Billy). The couple were divorced 9 years ago and have met to discuss the problems that they are having with their 17 year old daughter, Jenny. What follows is a verbal fencing match that crackles with sarcasm, barbed wit and genuine tenderness.
VISITORS FROM PHILADELPHIA.  With vague memories of the night before, Marvin Michaels wakes to find a girl next to him in bed. He has overslept, he didn’t leave a wake-up call and his wife is about to arrive any minute! Classic comedy of a man in a very ‘tight place’.
VISITORS FROM LONDON. Famous film actress, Diana Nichols, and her husband Sidney, have travelled to Hollywood to attend the Oscars ceremony. Diana has been nominated for the Best Actress award and obviously hopes to win. The script beautifully deals with both tensions and tenderness within the couple’s marriage. Maggie Smith played the role of Diana in the 1978 film of ‘California Suite’ and, ironically, won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress.
VISITORS FROM CHICAGO.  To round off the evening, 2 couples, the Hollenders and the Franklins, have come away on vacation together. They have just played a tennis doubles match which got just a little too competitive. Sharing a vacation with friends is not always a good idea as this mixture of disasters, farce and slapstick proves.
Having just 2-4 cast members to each playlet has allowed us to neatly ‘split’ rehearsal time. One week New York and Philadelphia would be rehearsed in the Brammer Room whilst London and Chicago could be rehearsed at member’s houses. This would be swapped over during the next week and so on. Masterminding this whole process is the Director, Dennis Baggarley. Dennis joined RTG in 2014 and has appeared in several of our recent productions. This is Dennis’s first spell in the Director’s chair for RTG and we hope to see many more future productions under his care. In previous years Dennis was an active member of the Capital Players in Gaborone, Botswana – directing and acting. He appeared in their production of ‘California Suite’ in the role of William Warren.
Book into the California Suite on 18th,19th or 20th May at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from the Box Office on 0774 2057153 


On June 29th RTG held its annual AGM and Awards Evening in the Brammer room at The Village Hall. Alongside the serious business of electing a new Committee, financial reports and a review of our 3 productions this “season”, the highlight of the evening, as always, was our annual Awards ceremony. So, with the voting in the EU referendum still ringing in our ears, RTG members were asked to vote yet again. With Trophies for Best Performance, Best Director and Outstanding Achievement all to be won.
Since introducing these awards in 2008 we have never had a ‘dead heat’ before, but this year our members voted in equal measure for two actors – Richard Kinnaird for his moving performance in the title role in ‘Macbeth’ and Mandy Buckley for her role as Queen Caligula in ‘Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs’. Both actors deservedly share this year’s Betty Kirk Award for Best Performance.
The winner of this year’s Founder Members Trophy for Outstanding Contribution to the group was Patrick Kelly for his tireless work as our Treasurer and for his devotion to making our Box Office run as smoothly as possible. The Trophy for Best Director went to John Birch for directing our popular panto ‘Snow White’. All the awards were presented by Joyce Townsley, one of our Founder Members.
Reports from this very successful 2015/2016 season focused on our Youth Group success, winning the NANDA Festival trophy for Best Play. Also, the success of our first Shakespeare play – our October production of ‘Macbeth’, excellent ticket sales for ‘Snow White’ and the landmark production for Graham Smith of ‘Lucky Sods’.
The immediate future for RTG looks very Dickensian as we now concentrate on our December production . .yes that’s right . . a production early in December of ‘A Christmas Carol’!! Rehearsals for this festive treat begin before August so Christmas for our members starts really early this year!! Watch the website this autumn for more details.
Betty-Kirk-Award FM-Trophy


Ravenshead Youth Theatre Group have won the prestigious Best Play Trophy at this year’s NANDA Youth Theatre Festival with their performance of ‘A Dog’s Life’ by Pam Valentine.The Festival took place on Saturday 7th May at Friesland School in Sandiacre, bringing together other youth theatre groups from all over Nottinghamshire to compete in a one-act play competition.

“A Dogs Life’ is set in a dog’s home and features 5 members of the 7 strong cast playing the parts of various breeds of dog, all of them hoping to be chosen by a visitor who is looking to adopt a rescue dog. The dogs have a unique view of many aspects of human behaviour in a script that is both comic and poignant.

RYTG had another reason to celebrate as Lewis Hallam, playing one of the excitable puppies, won the award for Best Actor aged 11 years and under.

‘A Dog’s Life’ was directed by Mandy Buckley, who also directed RYTG’s previous Best Play winner ‘The Wall’ which won in 2011. Mandy says “We last performed ‘Dogs Life’ at Ravenshead Village Hall in November 2015 as part of an evening of one-act plays. It was a good decision to take the play to NANDA because the lines were already embedded and we were able to spend the spring months tweaking little details and polishing the characterisations. The cast put in their best-ever performance when it mattered. We were still shocked to win Best Play because we were up against some strong competition including the Lace Market’s extracts from Julius Ceaser and a none-musical version of Blood Brothers both of which contained some fantastic acting talent.”

The adjudicator, Stephen Godward, praised the RYTG cast for the strength of their characterisation, their attention to detail and their accuracy.



Ravenshead Mini Oscars

At our recent AGM three awards were handed out to deserving winners for the shows they took part in last season.

The Betty Kirk Award for Best Actor went to Daniel Barrow for his role as Sherlock Holmes in Hound of the Baskervilles
Betty Kirk Award Best Actor - Daniel  BarrowThe Betty Kirk Award for contribution to RTG wen to John Birch for all his hard work and dedication to Ravenshead Adult and Youth Groups especially over this last year with the sad loss of his loving wife Christine.
Betty Kirk Award for Contribution to RTG - John BirchA new award was introduced this year for Best Director of the Season, this was awarded to Terry Cox for his direction of Hound of the Baskervilles.
New Award for Best Director - Terry CoxGroup Award Winners



. . what would you wish for? Long before The Lottery, this was the rags-to-riches fantasy we used to dream about and it all originated with the traditional story of Aladdin. Ravenshead Theatre Group’s January Panto allows you to relive this dream of untold treasures, magical flying carpets and genies in lamps.
Thanks to Walt Disney, most people believe that Aladdin should be set in Arabia. Although the tale is Middle Eastern in origin and first appeared in a French translation of ‘The Arabian Nights’ in the early 18th century, Aladdin was definitely a Chinese character and the original setting for the story is Ancient China.
Aladdin has been a popular pantomime for over 200 years and our choice of script retains that traditional Chinese setting with all your favourite panto characters. There’s Widow Twankey, Wishee-Washee, the evil Abanazar, the Chinese policemen – even a crazy Panda named Tyson!
The sparkling script is by Ben Crocker, the same author as last year’s Beauty & The Beast, so, if you enjoyed the show last year you’ll have just as much fun this time around. Our Youth Theatre Group will bring their energy to the chorus and, once again, we will have TWO MATINEES, both at 2pm on the Saturday and Sunday. Always popular.
We can promise you songs, dance numbers, corny jokes, lots of malarky and oodles of audience participation. Just the tonic to magic away those winter blues!


There has definitely been a canine and feline theme running through our RTG and RYTG activities this Summer.

Starting with our 2014 AGM meeting which took place on June 4th. This year’s Betty Kirk Award went to Daniel Barrow for his performance as Felix, the attention-seeking, good-looking, refusing-to-be-trained french poodle from ‘Beauty & The Beast’. In the year that Betty sadly passed away and the year that saw the successful return of the RTG Panto, it was very fitting that the coveted award should have been won by a Pantomime performance.

This year’s Founder Member’s Trophy was deservedly won by Patrick Kelly for taking on the difficult role of Treasurer, for his hard work as our Box Office and for his skills behind the camera.

Jump ahead to July and it was a Cat that stole the show at our RYTG 10th Anniversary Celebration – a violin-playing Cat to be exact. The title character in the play ‘The Cat & The Fiddle’ which was a major part of this hugely enjoyable evening.

For more details and fun photos from this milestone event please see our Youth Theatre page.

To round off our Cats & Dogs theme, rehearsals are well underway for our next production – the Sherlock Holmes classic – ‘The Hound of The Baskervilles’. Coming to Ravenshead Village Hall on 2nd, 3rd and 4th October 2014. Go to our Upcoming Production page to learn more!



NANDA is the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Drama Assosication.  Each year local groups enter their plays for adjudication for the Play of the Year Competition.

At the end of the year an Awards Dinner is held at the Welbeck Hotel in Nottingham to present the winners with their awards.

Ravenshead Theatre Group entered Blue Remembered Hills this year and we are proud to announce that we won the Peter & Joan Martin Front of House Award. Presented in honor of our original Front of House welcome.  The adjudicator in his speech said how much he enjoyed being welcomed by the Front of House team in costume and felt that it set the atmosphere for the whole evening!

Congratulations to all involved and thank you to our audiences for all your support.


FOH Team