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HomeEntertainmentReview: Ashford Theatre Society's 'Encore' 2024

Review: Ashford Theatre Society’s ‘Encore’ 2024

The Ashford Theatre Society (ATS) staged its most recent ‘Encore’ charity event last month, supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Brain Tumour Charity.

The award-winning theatre group has earned a prestigious reputation in Kent, recognised for its elaborate pantomimes, most recently performing Sleeping Beauty in January 2024.

Established in 2018, ‘Encore’ has been an annual tradition for ATS as a one-night-only performance supporting charities chosen by a group member.

Tracy Hickman, 46, a member of ATS, decided to take the lead on this year’s ‘Encore’ production, feeling “now is the right time”.

Hosted in Christchurch Community Hall on Saturday, June 8th, the event was packed with families and residents waiting in anticipation for the evening’s performances.

As everyone approached their seats, guests were welcomed to an ensemble performance of ‘Let Me Entertain You’, with singers scattered throughout the audience.

After a touching speech by Ms Hickman, the audience was invited to an “evening of musical theatre”, exploring the genre’s broad spectrum. 

During the first act, the audience watched breathtaking performances of various classics, including, ‘Defying Gravity’ and ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’.

Other “personal” songs, including ‘I’m Still Standing’ and ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You,’ were sprinkled throughout the setlist.

However, Alan Stamp and Adam Coleman left the audience in hysterics with their spectacular performance of ‘Gaston’.

One attendee, Katie Martin, 63, said: “Every time the Ashford Theatre Society performs, I go down to support them, as the shows only get better and better each year.”

“This year was no exception, as each performer absolutely shined on stage,” she added.

During the second act, the show kept up its momentum with dazzling performances of songs such as ‘Apex Predator’, ‘Stronger’ and ‘Suddenly Seymour’.

One highlight was Phoebe Page’s performance of ‘The Wall in My Head’, her first solo with ATS, which was executed beautifully.

However, each performer captivated the audience, evoking a tidal wave of emotions from joy to suspense.

The evening concluded with an ensemble performance of ‘Joseph’s Coat’, which was met with rapturous applause from the audience.

Heather Hayward, 46, Cabinet Member for Performance and Direction at Ashford Borough Council, said: “Every year, I always show my support for the Ashford Theatre Society’s pantomimes.”

“With exceptionally talented entertainers and gripping performances, their productions highlight what makes Ashford so special,” she added.

ATS will announce on social media the amount they earned for their chosen charities through ticket sales and other forms of donation.

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