Barnstormers featured on Argus website

Barnstormers recently took part in the ‘Love Patcham’ festival where churches from the surrounding area united to put on a festival of music, acting and fun.

Barnstormers were asked by the event organisers to perform a section of their upcoming show “Barnstormers Does Broadway”, which they did to critical acclaim.

Barnstomers kitted out in their newly purchased light blue t-shirts took to the stage and wowed the crowds with soaring harmonies, in the form of a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs.

Photo courtesy of The Argus

Caroline Lucas said (MP) “Fantastic” … “Hoping it becomes an annual event from now on.”. Of course we have since made contact with the member of parliament letting her know that the Barnstormers shows are a bi-yearly event.

If you missed out on hearing Barnstormers at the Love Patcham festival, fear not! There are still opportunities to get hold of some tickets to Barnstormers Does Broadway and experience the medley and many other Broadway classics for yourself.

The Argus article can be found here:

“Joseph” – Out of the Desert (Part 2)

Camel caravan in a desert

So, there we were: show week.  For 15 weeks it had been sitting on the far horizon just beyond our reach and nicely out of view.  Now that reprieve was over and it was right there in front of us shining with its jazz hands glittering in the spotlight.  Or something like that.  Whether you like the metaphor or not it was right there coming at us like a steam roller.  Ok, enough.

The thing was that those of us on the creative team had seen its shadow looming and heard the roar of the feedback some weeks before.  We had tried so hard to remind everyone that it was coming and would not be stopped.  The notebook had been out in full glory and it had started to look like dividends would be paid.  And then again there just didn’t seem to be that spirit of urgency that us creatives were feeling.  Other people might refer to it instead as clinical stress.  I call it creative fever.  Desperate were we to get the whole production over the line yet happy was everyone else to plod on to the finishing line like Brummy Wildebeest from the days of Just So.  Oh how hard it was to stay calm and enjoy “the process” from T (thereabouts) to Z (err, Zuper?)  Thank goodness for prayer and jelly beans.

Jelly beans (by L Taylor)


So there we were.  Dress rehearsal day.  The set was already built and standing in its theatrical glory.  The pyramids were set onto the blue sky background and cunningly covered up by the black back-cloth (with its tasteful yet accidental tie-dye effect).  The doorway disguised as a Bible was in place and ready to be opened to reveal Joseph in his opening dream sequence.  The giant Pharaoh’s head was painted and waiting in the wings with Joseph’s glorious chariot of gold.  So much promise and potential waiting to be brought to life.  Dress rehearsal day was the day of delivery for two other important pieces of set: the steps and the chaise lounge.

You will remember my excitement and trepidation in forming the Joseph Children’s Choir for the show.  The whole plan had hinged on them being able to sit on raised steps which would sit at stage height and rise above the stage so they could always be seen by the audience (and could also see the on-stage action too).  This had started to look like an impossibility.  We were trying to think of other ways to create height differentials but none of them filled me with excitement or anything other than dread.  Then I remembered a very nice man mentioning that he might be able to ask for a loan of some stage steps from the school where he works (Thank you, Alex!).  The possible problems were too many to consider.  What size would the steps be?  Would they be high enough?  Small enough?  Bright green (always a possibility although admittedly unlikely)?  Yet, on that fair dress rehearsal day (actually I think it was raining but go with it for a moment), he came up trumps and with a little help from the man with the van (thank you, Gary!) the much-longed for steps arrived. 

In the words of someone in the cast of “Cinderella”: “it fits”!  Ok, the grammar is bad and poor but it was amazing to see them in situ.  The steps were exactly as I had visualised and within 2 inches of the space we had on the stage for them.  They were not a funny colour but black, just like the rest of our stage, and they were the perfect height.  Not too high so that anyone on them would suffer from vertigo but not so small that the Choir would never been seen by anyone beyond the front row.  They fitted the space perfectly and allowed us to have them on a slight angle exactly as I had originally planned (and drawn in my notebook).  I have never before thought of steps as an object of beauty but, on that day, I did.  I really did.  I practically hugged them.  The steps, that is. 

Not just did the steps arrive in their glory (and they have been photographed enough that they will never be forgotten) but another critical piece of stage kit also arrived that day.  For weeks we had been asking around for anyone with a chaise lounge to come forward.  Yes, it was a long shot.  A very long shot, but you never know and if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  Nothing had come up.  We were debating how to make a garden chair and a footstool look like a chaise and be sturdy enough to be stood on safely by one Mrs Potiphar during a rather vigorous dance routine as she seduces Joseph.  However, little known to us, a very nice man (thank you, Philip!) was ringing around all the local charity shops and anywhere he could think of to see if anyone had a chaise lounge we could borrow for the week.  He clearly had a wonderfully persuasive manner and, after many calls, won over a local charity who just happened to have a blue chaise in one of their furniture sales shops.  So there it was, a beautiful, traditional, blue chaise lounge.  Ours for the week for the price of a donation and some notifications.  Every night it made a starring appearance in the Potiphar number and, like the steps, has paraded its face in front of our cameras enough that it too will stay in the Barnstormers’ archives long after its return to the shops.

And so it was that the final set was ready.  All that remained was the big workshop day, dress rehearsal, technical set up and rehearsal, extra costume run and then, the big day.  Curtain up.

To be continued….

[Photo of “Camel caravan in a desert” by m_bartosch: ]

Joseph – the aftermath

“Way, way back 15 weeks ago

Not long after rehearsals began

I looked at the size of the cast for this show

And said to myself: “Is this a good plan?”


Barnstormers doing Joseph again

So much to do and so little time

Barnstormers doing Joseph again

A crazy few months but it all worked out fine!”


I can’t believe that all those 15 weeks of rehearsals, kilos of cakes and too many bananas for anyone to really ever want to think about have all gone so quickly.  It barely seems 5 minutes since I started testing early staging ideas on the set of Snow White (not during the show, Clare, honest).

Cheesy though it is, words are not going to be enough to express just how proud I am of everyone involved in Joseph.  Perhaps my rather emotional episodes at the end of the last two shows say enough.  If not, then the enormous smiles on the faces of everyone in the audience proved to us all that we had given them a show to remember.  You were all stars!  Being part of the audience was a fantastic experience – getting to see first-hand the stunning amount of energy, enthusiasm, talent and fantastic singing that Barnstormers is becoming so famous for.  All those cheers and standing ovations were for real!  You should all be very, very proud of the fantastic show you performed night after night whether you were on stage, in the band, singing in the pit, part of the crew (backstage, sound, lighting, make-up, costumes or anything else I should know better than to forget!)   

It was so amazing to watch you all get better and better every night until it became clear that my infamous notebook was surplus to requirements.  May it rest in peace.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the entire team on stage and off who helped give life to the dreams I had for this show and literally made my dreams (and Joseph’s) come true.  It was better than I could ever have imagined!  From the patience of the backstage and props/scenery crew creating giant Pharaoh heads, bony sheep and golden chariots and the lighting team’s creation of “sad desert” lighting, to the costume team’s creation of Joseph and Pharaoh’s glitzy numbers and smoking lounge attire for “Potiphar” – it just could never have been what it was without you.  Thanks to you all this production of “Joseph” will always have a very special place in my heart.

I know many of you will be waiting expectantly for me to reveal the real casting for Joseph…watch this space and the Barnstormers website…all will be revealed…!

Have a fantastic few weeks catching up on rest and getting make into “normal” life (whatever that it).  Hopefully see some of you on Friday evening (see separate email) and look forward to seeing the rest of you at the introduction night to A Christmas Carol and the AGM.  Until then, I’ll leave you with the challenge of trying to get those colours out of your head…red, yellow….

Thank you again, and God bless.

Louisa x

Joseph – SHOW WEEK!!!

Hi all

Show week is finally here!  It seems only 5 minutes since I put on my iPod and started working out timings for the Joseph’s Dreams moves on the set of Snow White and yet here we are.

We were all extremely impressed with the dress rehearsal (and some of us were rather emotionally moved…..!!) and we’ve received lots of really great comments so well done to you all.  We are on track to putting on a really fantastic show!  Having said that there is still lots of room for improvements (!) so please watch out for notes coming your way and a few extra little rehearsals where we can grab you in groups on Tuesday – just so we can you really confident and excited!

TUESDAY arrive at 6pm – the costume team are working extremely hard over the next couple of days to get everything ready so Tuesday will now be a full costume and make-up run for everyone.  Please arrive as close to 6pm as possible with all your own pieces of costume and shoes so you have time to get your costumes laid out and make-up done ready for our warm-up and the extra bits of rehearsal we need to squeeze in.  I appreciate that this is a change to the original planned arrival time but will give you and the rest of the teams the best opportunity to ensure you have everything and that we resolve those last outstanding issues.  I know those of you who are working this week may struggle so please get there as soon as you can.  We will then aim to run from 7.30pm as if it was a performance with a warm-up about 7pm.

Choir – you will not need to wear or bring your costumes on Tuesday (or have make-up done).  Please arrive at 7.20pm.  Ideally we would like to keep you until we finish the show (hopefully 9.45/10pm) as we need to give you the opportunity to run the Act 2 singing (as this hasn’t had as many rehearsals), the “party scene”, your walk on at the end of the Any Dream Will Do finale (which you completely forgot at the dress rehearsal!) and the whole of the Megamix including your bows and the company bows.  If it is absolutely essential for you to leave earlier please stay until after the Entr’acte (around 9pm if timings run to plan) but would appreciate being able to run the whole show with you there.

On the party scene – please can Phoebe and Charlotte go to the stage left group (with Sheila) for the party dance and the rest of you join Ruth’s group – will be much easier for you to get back on the steps at the end!  Sheila’s group please watch for them and let them into the circle with you before you stop to free-form dance. 

Pit singers – please arrive by 7pm ready for warm-up.  You do not need to wear your outfits.

Blankets – please still have a rummage at home and bring along any extra non-brightly coloured blankets on Tuesday as we still seem to be short.  If you are a Potiphar Guard at the start of Go, Go, Go Joseph (Becky H, Stephen & Hyder) you will not need a blanket so, if you have one, please donate yours to anyone else who is missing one or whose blanket is too bright.

Please email the costume team if you think you are still missing something.  We have made notes on the things you were missing on Saturday so have hopefully picked it up.  Also, please let them know if you are sourcing anything yourself. 

If you are coming down to the hall tonight for the technical run or for costumes please make sure you are in the building by 7.45pm at the latest and ONLY use the fire exit doors from the hall to the car-park and NOT the main doors into the coffee bar as there is another booking for the coffee bar tonight.

Have a great couple of days and see you all rested and refreshed tomorrow for our last run-through before our official OPENING NIGHT!!  Hope you are all as excited as me!

Louisa x

Joseph – Week 15 rehearsal plan (LAST WEEK BEFORE SHOW WEEK!!!)

Hello everyone!

Right, this is it.  Our last week of rehearsals before the show.  That means we are now down to just two rehearsals before the dress rehearsal and only a maximum of four rehearsals left before the show!!  Yikes!!  So please work hard, check all the points below to make sure you don’t miss something and ASK if you are unsure what you are doing!

Everyone is needed at ALL rehearsals from now on.  Don’t forget that it doesn’t just affect you if you don’t turn up but it is extremely off-putting to the other members of the cast so please make every effort to attend.

This week

Again the focus will be on tidying up and running the show through each night.  Please help out with getting chairs out, band set up and getting to the right places quickly (including listening out for the end of the song before you are on and waiting in the wings to come on with any props that you need).  Please bring AND wear the shoes you are planning to use for the show so we can check if there are any problems with them.


Nearly all the props will be available from Thursday evening so if you are meant to bring something on please look carefully for it in advance and bring it on with you.  I will briefly go through the items on the props tables before we start.  In particular, Wives the pots, baskets etc will be available so please collect them before your entrance for Jacob & Sons.  We will try and have some of the material available for those who are “sewing” instead.  If you don’t have a prop because there is nothing left for you please tell me at a suitable break so we can arrange this for Friday’s run.  Blankets will be available for some of you for Go Joseph so please grab one or use your own (see my earlier email) and don’t mime unless we have run out – we particularly need to sort this as we need to practice you throwing them all off!

Scenery/stage – entrances and exits

The stage and set crew have done an excellent job of getting most of the set finished and fixed ready for our rehearsals this week (big thanks once again to the wonderful team J)  Unless you have a specific entrance or exit from the audience (such as the Camel/Ishmaelites or the Guards or Choir and Narrator from the front of stage right) please DO NOT climb on the stage from the audience or use the gap on stage right to get into the wings.  Everyone will need to allow extra time to go through the Church and to cross behind the stage during the numbers so you can enter from stage right and/or stage left.  This is the best way for you to get used to how long it will take on the night – especially given you have to grab props!

Please be careful backstage.  Be helpful and considerate towards one another.  Please let people and props off the stage before you attempt to come on!


Please can everyone in the cast bring everything that you are providing for your costume (including shoes) and make sure you see the costume team before rehearsals on either Thursday or Friday evening.  Caroline will be available upstairs from 6.30pm both days.  Please use the main entrance on Thursday (not the fire exit) as the dance group will be in until 7.30pm and be aware that there is also a meeting for the Church Voyager’s group from 6.45pm so keep the noise down.

In particular, please can the following see Caroline on Thursday before rehearsals to try on all your costumes but specifically the following (please don’t all arrive at 7.15pm – please spread out from 6.30pm):

Seb – Joseph (both Act 1 and Act 2)

Sheila – Brother, Go Jo and Pharoah’s Servant

Paul – Brother, Go Jo & Fat Cow

Ann – Wife, Potiphar Quartet and Pharaoh servant costumes

Rachael B – Wife, Potiphar Servant, Go Joseph, Cheerleader and Corn/star dancer

Bob – Jacob & Potiphar Quartet

Mandy – Narrator and Potiphar Quartet

Ruth – Narrator

Hannah T – Benjamin & Thin cow & Go Jo

Natalie – Benjamin’s Wife & Cheerleader & Go Jo

Bert – Levi & Potiphar servant

John – Potiphar

Clare J – Potiphar’s Wife & Jacob’s Servant

Stephen – Guard (Act 1 and Act 2) & Camel

Becky H – Ishmaelite & Go Joseph

Paula G – Butler & Go Jo costume

Katy G – Wife and cheerleader

Gary – Fat Cow & Brother

James – please can you make sure you visit the costume team on Friday re Pharoah

Everyone else please see the costume team on Friday (unless you can’t get there early in which case please go Thursday or as soon as you arrive on either night)  If you don’t have everything please check with them again what you are meant to be providing.


Does anyone have a collection of gold, blue, silver or white pom-poms or shiny wigs?  The costume team are still hunting down the pom-poms for the cheerleaders.  If you can help please contact Caroline Cadlock.

Pit Singers

Pit Singers please bring your “costume” for the dress rehearsal.  You will need black shoes, black trousers (or long black skirt) and a brightly coloured top, ideally a Barnstormers t-shirt if you have one.  If you have music stand lights you may also find these helpful for the dress rehearsal.  Some lights may be available but torches are not appropriate.

Thursday 19 April

At 7.15pm – All Stars & Corn dancers from Joseph’s Dreams (downstairs in Church to practice with Margaret)

At 7.30pm – Everyone please (including Pit Singers and Joseph Choir) to work through & run the show [Choir – finish time of 9pm]

Friday 20 April

At 7pm, Nick and Rachel to work tango

Our Barnstormers prayer group will be meeting in the room on the left at the top of the stairs from 7.10-7.30pm on Friday.

At 7.30pm – Everyone please (including Pit Singers and Joseph Choir) to work through numbers as needed before running the entire show

Saturday 21 April

Everyone will be needed during the course of the afternoon (1-5pm), including the Choir and Pit Singers.  Exact arrival times will be confirmed over the next couple of days so please listen carefully to announcements and check your emails for confirmation.  Please arrive from 6pm for the dress rehearsal to have time for changing, make-up and photos.  Refer to Bert’s email for further details.

Advance notice – please continue to keep Tuesday 24 April free for a full run-through.  We are expecting to use this as a complete run which will be the only opportunity some of you will have to practice with your costumes.  This will be every bit as important as the dress rehearsal as it will be the first time the full lights and sound will be available so please make sure you are available.

Now is the time to concentrate, make notes if you need to remember something, check with one of us if there is something you are unsure of and get used to using props/scenery etc.  Please keep up the hard work and really focus on these last few rehearsals so we can put on a fantastic show.

From the Producer – April 2012

Good Afternoon Folks,
“Joseph” – the Final Countdown
We are in the final month and preparations for the four performances are hotting up with non-stop run throughs for the cast, creative work for costume and set/props construction, assembly of teams for the other off stage roles with everyone focussed on putting on a great show for the 400+ people who will be coming to watch.
We have sold over 80 tickets for Thursday night which fully justifies the extra performance. There are now, however, a few tickets available for Friday night as a result of some people swapping to Thursday. 

Stage Out
I have previously asked for volunteers to help me get the stage blocks out of the cupboard on Easter Monday. To date I haven’t had a single offer. I originally said I was planning to do it in the afternoon but I can’t do that now so are there 5 or 6 people  available to help from 10.30 am? It will only take 2 hours, at the most, as we only have to stack the blocks at the back of the hall for the backstage crew who will be coming in on the following Saturday to set the stage and set up (see below for further details). 


I’m delighted to say that we have now got a full team so thanks to those who have rejoined and welcome to the newcomers – it’s great to have you on board.
If you haven’t sorted yourself out with the Costume team please do so next week.
Don’t forget we will be back to 2 rehearsals a week from next week. Final dates are as follows;
Thursday 12/4, 7.30 pm  – Rehearsal
Friday      13/4    ”                  ”
Saturday  14/4    ”          – Stage & set construction all day. Jill has a good team already but if you would like to help, contact Jill

Thursday  19/4   ”           – Rehearsal

Friday       20/4  ”                   ”

Saturday   21/4 1.00 pm  – Pre-Dress Rehearsal Workshop
     ”            ”    7.30 pm  – Dress Rehearsal

Sunday     22/4  1.00 pm  – Technical Set-Up

Monday     23/4  7.00 pm –  Technical Rehearsal

Tuesday    24/4  7.30 pm –  Final Rehearsal

Thursday   26/4  1.00 pm –  Hall, changing areas etc set-up.

Thursday   26/4  7.30 pm –  Performance

Friday       27/4  7.30 pm –         ”

Saturday   28/4  2.00 pm –         ”

     ”            ”     7.30 pm –         ”




  • Cast members, please make every effort to get to all the remaining rehearsals but, if you can’t, please let Louisa know asap.
  • Photographs, in costume, will be taken immediately prior to the dress rehearsal.
  • General help won’t be needed for the technical set-up and rehearsal but individuals may be asked!
  • On performance days, would cast please arrive 1.5 hours before curtain up and go straight to make-up. They have a lot of people to do so please don’t leave it until the last minute.
  • If any of the above dates or times change, Louisa or I will let you know.

Easter In Church
There will be two services over the weekend. The first will be on Good Friday at 10.30 am and will feature drama and other contributions from the younger members of the Church and the Choir will be singing. On Easter Sunday the service will also be at 10.30 am when the Choir will, again be singing to, and with, the Congregation.The services will also be supported by the Church Orchestra. Please come, if you can, to join in with this very important weekend in the Church calendar.
Greater Than Gold
This is something that I have mentioned previously – it is a drama being led by our own Minister, Andrew, and I have attached a letter from him giving further details. It’s something that Barnstormers members could certainly contribute to so, if you want to be involved, contact Andrew 

Just a reminder that the meeting will be held on Friday 29 June at 7.00 pm. There will be at least three changes to the Production Team (Caroline Dewar as Christmas Carol Director, Hannah Pool as Christmas Carol Musical Director and a new Producer to be elected at the meeting) so it would be great if we could have a good attendance to give them your support.
Christmas Carol
As you are probably aware, this is a licensed production, which needs more rehearsal time than our normal pantos and cabarets. Consequently, we will be starting a month earlier than normal.
Read through/auditions – Friday 6 July at 7.30 pm.
Rehearsals start           – Thursday 12 & Friday 13 July at 7.30 pm and twice weekly thereafter.
We realise that quite a number of people will have holidays during the rehearsal period but we will have to work around them as best we can.
I will be sending a synopsis to you after “Joseph” to give you an idea how the show works and, maybe, you might find a role that you fancy putting your name forward to the Director for consideration.
I’ve probably forgotten something, I usually do, but there is a lot of information above so it’s best if I sign off now.
Have a great Easter everyone and come to next week’s rehearsals refreshed and ready to perform.


Joseph Guest Post – “The Well”

Here is the next guest post on the theme of Joseph.  Don’t forget to get your contributions to the Barnstormers website team soon!

The Well

Their jubilant shouts of victory rang in his ears as he lay slumped in the dirt.  Sand and dust blew in clouds across the dried-out well as he breathed, in and out, in and out.  His body still refused to give up hope even as his soul lay in tatters. 

The betrayal had come so unexpectedly.  He thought they were pleased that he had dreams for his future and hopes to become someone more than he was now.  He’d taken their good humoured smiles at face-value when he’d danced around in the beautiful coat his Dad had made for him.  It never even crossed his mind that they’d worn thinly veiled masks hiding their jealously and disgust at his fortune.  And, now they were too far from home for anyone to save him, they had attacked.  He hadn’t been ready for them.  No chance of fighting back as they beat him to a pulp, ripped his coat to shreds and threw him away like discarded rubbish.

He looked up as his eyes slowly began to acclimatise to the bleakness of the dark.  Was that a loose section?  A foothold?  Hope surged through him as he pulled himself upright and reached up.  It immediately disintegrated at his touch and his hopes dived.  Helplessness descended.  He could hear them in the distance discussing his fate.  He knew now that he may have no future.  This could be it.  The thought chilled him.

A shadow fell across the top of the well.  Time was up.


“Joseph” – Choral Reflections

Camel caravan in a desert

The calm remains.  It is an odd feeling.  I have now begun to think that something must have gone horribly wrong after all, but then I look back at my notes and the schedule for this week and realise that it is all ticking along quite nicely, thank you very much.  What I needed to have sketched out for this week is already down there on paper (yes, it is even from Act 2) and we are so well on target that I even managed to get some old posts up onto the website.

The most recent fun has been caused by cyberspace flying on Facebook, email and text to work out whether we had enough interest in our little Children’s Choir to make it viable.  Thanks to huge support from some of the Choir-hopefuls, and their willing parents, we just managed to find a small group of very excited and enthusiastic girls (I dare not call them “children”) that will do very nicely as our happy little choir for the show.  It would have been a personal disaster had we not managed to find such a suitable brood. 

You see my vision for the show begged for cheeky, smiling faces to look up at Joseph and the Narrators with wide-eyed innocence sporting the biggest smiles you have ever seen.  Without the Choir half the show would need re-staging to cover the gaps where the Choir would have been.  My detailed planning would have fallen apart and heralded a new season of chaos.  For now at least, all’s well that ends well.  

Friday marks our very first rehearsal with the Choir bringing with it both excitement and trepidation (in case no-one actually turns up – it is half-term after all).  The word sheets are all prepared and only need to be photocopied tonight which should be a straight-forward task so as long as the Producer is not let loose on the task again (if it were it a pantomime I would “boo” him with great conviction…sorry, Mr Producer).  Once this is all done we just have to arrive on time (hoping and praying that the traffic is light and no medical emergencies arrive for our in-house doctor) and then we are off and running.

In the meantime, I’ve been playing around with the spice and herb pots again.  This time it was because I needed to use the contents.  You would not believe how difficult it was to get the contents of Matt and Mandy out of the jars and into my curry.  Don’t try this at home, kids.


[Photo of “Camel caravan in a desert” by m_bartosch: ]

Welcome to the new “Guest Posts” section!

We have just introduced a very exciting new “Guest Posts” section especially for you! 

Hyder very kindly submitted the first entry: the story of Joseph from the perspective of the Camel.  This fantastic short story can now be found ONLY on the Barnstormers site under the “Guest Posts” sub-folder. 

It would be fantastic for as many of you as possible to submit entries for the Guest Post section.  It could be a short story from another character’s perspective, a poem, revised lyrics for one of the songs (keep them clean, please), thoughts about the last or current production, memories of other productions or rehearsal anecdotes.  We would love the backstage teams to have a chance to share too so please feel free to submit entries by email (word ideally) to Seb and Louisa so we can get these posted up on the site.

Don’t forget to keep your profile updated too.