2015 is proving a memorable year for Ilkeston Theatre Company.
The group is marking 25 years of shows, and rehearsals are under way for its latest production, a comedy called Dracula - The Final Countdown, to be performed at the Seven Oaks, Stanton, in early June, loosely based on the Bram Stoker classic.
It was back in 1988 when Nick and Carolyn Duncan and Pete and Toni Smith discussed the idea of forming a new musical theatre company in Ilkeston.
They had been members of other companies for many years. At that time, many amateur theatre and musical societies required auditions to be undertaken before any prospective candidate could become a member, but they realised that many people had a passion to be on stage but not the necessary skills. Ilkeston Theatre Company was formed with the sole aim of giving an opportunity to anyone who had this passion but not the confidence to undertake an entrance audition and this principle is still maintained today.
In 1989, the newly formed company, with Robert Lindsay as their president, put on their first show Sweet Charity. Over the subsequent years, shows followed such as Chicago, Cinderella, Scrooge and Singin’ in the Rain. This last show also saw chairman and musical director Nick Duncan dust off his tap shoes to take on the lead role of Don Lockwood.
In 2006, Nick and Carolyn Duncan made the decision to move to the sunnier climes of Spain. Having no musical director, the company decided to try its hand at comedy, the first being the hilarious farce Holiday Snap, followed in 2008 by the very memorable TV favourite ‘Allo, Allo’.
In 2013, the company took on one of their most daring shows to date, Calendar Girls, and the same year saw a change of venue and a new joint venture performing in the Marquee at the Seven Oaks Inn, Stanton. This partnership has continued and has resulted in a brand new stage being built in time for 2014 pantomime Cinderella.
ITC is still attracting new members, especially younger people. You don’t need any acting experience just the desire to be part of a fun show. The group meets every Wednesday at 8pm at the United Reformed Church on Wharncliffe Road in Ilkeston. Anyone over 16 can join.
For more on how to join, visit www.ilkestontheatrecompany.co.uk