Is it too early to start thinking and planning panto? Erm…nope! It’s going to be a busy, fun-packed year – not just at MJHQ with all the events and productions already scheduled and in pre-production, but it’s also a big year for me personally…
In September, I turn 40 – yep, the big four zero! It’s an age that makes me feel more grown up…but, like the all-time classic pantomime character Peter Pan, I don’t really feel much older than my 16 year old self! It’s with this in mind that I’m reflecting over what has already been an incredible start to 2017…
NEW YEAR, NEW PROJECTS
Immediately after the glitz of panto, the glamour continued on board the Norwegian Epic as I cruised around Jamaica, Mexico and the Bahamas! As much as it was a lovely holiday (much needed after the excitement of panto!), I was there for another reason – two of our fantastic kids, Matthew Packer and Rhys McNab, were on the ship in their highly acclaimed production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert! The boys were absolutely fantastic and all of us at MJHQ are so proud of them for taking such a big step in their careers – well done, boys!
THE MARK JERMIN STAGE SCHOOL
Being back on Welsh soil after my fantastic time on the cruise liner has made me extremely motivated for the busy few months ahead. With my foot still tapping to the infectious beat of Priscilla, we are leaping head first into preparations for the year ahead – starting with our much anticipated two week summer school!
From one huge, loud, award-winning hit musical to the next, you had better get ready to run and tell that. Our next summer school production will see the nicest kids in town put on their dancing shoes as they hear the bells…Welcome to the 60s, and say good morning Baltimore as we say hello to HAIRSPRAY! It’s time to challenge our students like never before and show them what it’s really like to work at a professional pace (just like our two superstars on board the cruise ship!); in just TWO WEEKS, our wonderful students will learn the entire show – all lines, choreography, songs, blocking, the lot! – to present the complete production at the end of the fortnight. Excited is an understatement!
In addition to the excitement of our summer school plans, we have already announced that at the end of April, our wonderful students from Cardiff, Penarth and Pontypridd will be performing THE LITTLE MERMAID JR! Rehearsals are already in full swing – auditions and casting took place in February, and we’re well and truly getting used to being under the sea in rehearsals! This Disney family favourite will be performed in the Richard Burton Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on the 29th and 30th of April – needless to say, we love being part of that world with progress hurtling full steam ahead. After taking this successful piece to London’s Hampton Hill Theatre last year, we are bringing it back to the home of the Mark Jermin Stage Schools to showcase our Cardiff talent. As if that wasn’t enough (!), our lovely Little Mermaid cast will be invited to recreate their performances at our grand Anniversary Concert in July.
Speaking of which..
MARK JERMIN STAGE SCHOOL TURNS 25!
This year is not only my 40th birthday, but is also the Silver Anniversary of the Mark Jermin Stage School! It has been 25 whole years since I first set up my small stage school class in my local Pontlliw Village Hall; and now, after seeing many students pass through our doors, we are inviting them all back for one big royal knees up and celebration! We will be welcoming past and present students to perform a wide selection of musical numbers – in true, MJ full out style! We will be releasing more news on this event very soon, and we will also be announcing some of our fantastic headliners for the evening – be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more exciting updates!
MARK JERMIN MANAGEMENT
With it heading towards April, Christmas has been and certainly gone…and so have hundreds of casting breakdowns! The festive auditions came flooding in, and saw many of our clients bag top spots on infamous 2016 Christmas adverts including ASDA, McDonalds and TKMaxx. Since then, the Christmas glitter has settled…but the New Year has seen many of our clients gain some fantastic professional credits and land a number of prestigious roles.
Dec Wyer is confirmed for a feature film called The Favourite, starring opposite Emma Stone and Olivia Coleman; Grace Stone has been offered a role in a very exciting Netflix project; Stuart MacIver, who is currently working on the Asian tour of Wicked, has been offered the UK tour of the same production; Harry Capehorn has been cast in the feature film Melody; Amy Leigh Hickman has been in a brand new Channel 4 series called ABC; and finally, Ben Roe is going to be filming the historical TV series Vikings!
And that is just from our Adults Agency!
Our Kids Agency has been just as busy, with our wonderful children and students being booked on some fantastic projects! India Jazz filmed for the Mulberry Christmas Advert, the mini film of which was featured in the New York Film Festival (wow!); Alfie Kennedy was flown out to Prague to film for the Fox 21 series Genius Einstein; Gwion Cornish landed a featured role in the Channel 4 series Born To Kill; Molly Peacock, one of our lovely Northern kids, has been filming for The Strike Series – Career of Evil; and finally, Summer Mason, another of our Northern children, is being featured in a TV series called Trust Me. Fantastic work, guys!
Last, but not least, we come to our wonderful JP team, who have been busying themselves with some very exciting events coming UP NEXT…(see what I did there?!) In partnership with the South Wales Evening Post, we are very proud to be producing a brand new celebration of South Wales talent. UP NEXT is bringing together an incredible cast of stage schools and dance academies across South Wales to reach higher, sing louder, and perform better than ever before! Last night we filmed at the incredible RAIE COPP ACADEMY and witnessed some amazing talent!! Taking place in the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot on the 21st and 22nd April, this is an event not to be missed.
Even as we run into April, the preparations for this year’s bumper bonanza panto are already underway! With castings, a Pantomime Reunion and our upcoming promotional photoshoot, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is well on the way to being our best panto offering yet!
Right, time for me to shoot off – with showcases to see, talent to scout, and shows to rehearse, it’s never a quiet day in MJHQ!