Caroline was a fantastic director to work with. Imaginative, determined and always able to get the best out of the cast. She worked around problems and (when needed) through them! Always well prepared and adaptable, she had the somewhat rare quality of taking time to listen to the actors and the musical director!
Always optimistic, I would recommend her to work with young people and adults wholeheartedly.
Andrew Walker, Head of Performing Arts, St. Birinus School, Didcot
Caroline has been directing productions for over twenty years. Her experience ranges from Shakespeare outdoors to large scale musicals in schools and large spaces.

Productions include:

Guys and Dolls, Oliver, Wizard of Oz, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, A Midsummernight’s Dream both for children and adults, The BFG, Twelfth Night and Love’s Labour’s Lost.

OLIVER AT THE DORCHESTER FESTIVAL
APRIL 2013

It is such a pity that the word “amateur” which should imply that dancers, singers and actors are dancing, singing and acting because they love to do so, has become debased and implies that the performances are well intentioned but maybe not very slick and polished. All the more heart-warming therefore, when a group who could call themselves amateurs, put on a show which is, in every part totally “professional”.

Lionel Bart’s “Oliver” can claim to be one of the best musicals ever written, but it is a very complex one to stage, requiring complete integration of direction, music, dancing, acting and staging. The brilliant team of Caroline Seed, Sally Mears, Amy Dow and all of the technical crew worked seamlessly together and overcame so many obstacles which included the complex shape of the Abbey and the lack of curtains.

The main characters in ‘Oliver’ are beautifully drawn and require acting and singing of high quality, which they got, but the show stands or falls on the strength of the ensemble and this was there in splendid form. The workhouse children all were completely involved, knew their words and acted all the time. Fagin’s gang were a real, and convincing gang. The chorus sang lustily and the dancers were not only elegant and beautiful, but they drew us in to the action.

The set suited the Abbey perfectly and made the most imaginative use of simple chairs, tables and boxes which the stage management crew manipulated with considerable skill.

Special mention must be made of the way in which the conductor marshalled the orchestra to follow the singing faultlessly without becoming over-bearing, something which is very hard to do, especially when the orchestra is so large. The sound produced by the orchestra was excellent and beautifully held together.

All of the principal characters shone! The mellifluous John Cornelius as Mr. Bumble and the comic skill of Vera Hull as Widow Corney. The very convincing undertaker family, Mr Sowerberry (Joe Seed), Mrs Sowerberry, (Marjie Seed), Noah Claypole (Oli Craven-Todd) and Charlotte (Megan Garvey). The exuberant Dodger played by Tom Warrick and the menacing Bill Sykes (Johnny Cornelius). The superbly voiced Nancy (Amy Dow) and the wistful and touching role of Oliver performed on alternate nights by Tom Atkinson-Seed and Nick Sims.

Special mention must go to Barry Gibney who brought an entirely different characterisation to Fagin. A younger Fagin, who actually appealed to our sympathies and, incidentally, managed to take out any side of his character which may have been construed as anti-Jewish. For me, the tour-de-force was his performance of “Reviewing the situation” where, with exquisite timing, he allowed the violin (beautifully played) to preface his choruses.

A wonderful show, very cleverly put together which made one totally proud of the British Amateur/Professional tradition. The warm and inviting atmosphere engendered by the helpers at the Abbey helped immensely. The only drawback which I can see is that, after this production, and the recent production of “The Wizard Of Oz” the bar has been set so high, and expectations are so lofty that the next production will have to be a miracle. BRING IT ON!

Ken Fitt 28/4/2013

More coming soon on our most recent shows including, ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘Oliver’, ‘Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’

We’ll let you know when we’re auditioning again!