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Artz Centre Students go OFF THE RECORD.

Since January of 2018, the Artz Centre has been running it’s OFF THE RECORD project, funded by the National Lottery Fund, to encourage young singer songwriters to hone their skills and produce original work to share with their community.

The project was kicked off with a “Live Lounge” style event, where young singer-songwriters from the town gathered together at the Artz Centre to showcase their abilities; and give audiences a taste of their own, original music. The night saw ten performers take to stage;

delivering a set of songs to a live audience made up of family, friends and members of the local community alike. Not only was this a fantastic opportunity for the young people to share their own work, but it also stood to be one of the largest events of its kind in West Lancashire: with a total of 20 songs performed by young people accompanying themselves, whether that be on guitar, piano or ukulele.

The next stage of the project was to offer opportunities for students to develop their skills as musicians by working with our head of music James Ellwood through subsidised guitar, piano and singing lessons over the summer. Adam Ball, one of James’ students commented,

ABOVE: Adam performing at Live Lounge.

“My piano lessons with James are extremely helpful and during them I am always taught something new each time. I go to them because the way I am taught how to play, and teaching methods used are easy to follow and very interesting. It has helped me as a musician and a performer as learning the piano has added to another skill I can now use in environments such as performing arts.”

Alongside these instrumental lessons, a further cohort of students participated in creative-writing and lyric crafting masterclasses; where they explored how to put into words their thoughts and views on issues they feel strongly about, and encounter in their lives. Masterclass facilitator Claire McEvoy commented:

The funding from the National Lottery has certainly impacted the Artz Centre through this project, and it has inspired our local youngsters across so many varying levels. From the Live Lounge event of accomplished local musicians – to local youngsters wanting to write their very first song; it has been engaging to the core. ”.

Being a writer myself, I was delighted to have a platform to share my love of word artistry with a group of local youngsters. Young people are very much our vehicles to a brighter future for our local communities; and helping them discuss their perceptions of their local area – and begin to craft these thoughts into songs – it was a very special and cathartic experience for everyone involved”.

The final component for the OFF THE RECORD project was for a selection of students to spend the Summer and Autumn of 2018 working in the Artz Centre’s professional recording studio; recording their original songs, whilst working alongside local sound engineers. This has meant that our recording studio has seen 10 new faces take to the microphone, and we are proud to have offered this opportunity to so many of the young people in the town; removing the barriers encountered by so many songwriters when it comes to recording their work, such as cost. Offering these opportunities to work in the recording studio at no charge has meant more of our students than ever have been able to use these top-of-the-range facilities.

The recordings of our singer songwriters’ pieces, that have been produced through the Artz Centre, are now  being compiled into an original studio album to showcase their abundance of talent and ability. Not only have the artists on this album shown incredible musical ability, but their professionalism and exceptional attitudes have been a true testament to their love for music.

The OFF THE RECORD album will be released on the 29thof January 2019, coinciding with the project’s final event. This 2019 concluding “Live Lounge” Event, will invite all students involved in the project throughout 2018, to showcase their work live to an audience, whilst demonstrating how their skills have improved and how they have grown as artists throughout the past year. This special event is certainly not one to be missed.

To enquire about tickets for Live Lounge contact the Artz Centre on 01695 733080 or Email info@artzcentre.co.uk



Artz Students bring Oliver! to stage

To end what has been the Artz Centre’s busiest year yet, our drama students young and old banded together for our final production of 2018: Oliver!

The musical, based on the Charles Dickens classic of the same name, saw Junior and Senior students  tell the story of orphan Oliver (played by Juniors Ruby Chisnall and Leighton Kirwan) who after being sold to f uneral director Mr Sowerberry (Adam Ball) and his wife Mrs Sowerberry (Emily Perry and Abbie Bayley) escapes and falls into the clutches of Fagan (Aaron Ormesher), a conniving conman who turns young boys into pickpockets and sends them out to roam the streets of London.

It has been a massive production with a cast of 160 students take on the challenge of playing these iconic and beloved characters and bring them to life on stage at Lathom high school; which last held host to a production of Oliver 19 years ago, when Artz Centre director Mark Ashton himself played the role of Fagin as a student of the school. Each and every one of the cast worked tirelessly to perfect their characters before the show went to stage, but by closing night it was obvious that whether you were an ensemble member or lead role, there really was no such thing as a small part in this production.

Of course, no show is possible without a team of crew members to support the performances on stage. From lighting designers, to stage managers and to costume designers.  We have been fortunate to always have a team of creative and hardworking crew. The same can be said for during this show, when our crew offered up their spare time to create the dazzling lights, excellent set and stunning costumes that helped our performers shine on stage.


One element of Oliver that was unseen by the audience on the night, was the rehearsal process undertaken by the cast at the Artz Centre over the past 10 weeks. Scripts and pencils in hand, Artz students have flocked to the centre on various weekdays and Saturday mornings to explore their characters and develop their abilities as young performers. Quite possibly one of the biggest challenges for our dedicated cast has been playing characters who would have lived almost two hundred years before they were even born. However, this has proven to be a great opportunity for Artz centre students both young and old, to explore the history of Victorian England up on their feet through games, exercises and workshops.


For 6 members of the cast, Oliver also marked a special moment in their journeys with the Artz Centre. As 2 received their Chapter 30’s and 4 received their Chapter 15’s. Both are accolades many students aspire for; earned after performing in 30 and 15 shows respectively. These student’s headshots will now take their rightful place on the walls of the Artz centre, where they will join their fellow Chapter 30 and 15 holders, marking their efforts as hardworking, resilient role models to their peers.


With the stage disassembled, the costumes packed away and the cast and crew taking a well-deserved rest, the drawing to a close of Oliver marks the end of a truly jam-packed year at the Artz Centre, filled with moments that will be remembered by students, staff and parents alike for years to come. The Artz Centre will re-open its doors for what is shaping up to be an even busier 2019 on XX with all sessions recommencing that week. Our first event of the new year is already set with the 2019 Awards Night, a glamorous night to spend looking back on a year of amazing work done by our students, and crown a new set of award winners.

For more details on the Artz Centre or to book your tickets for the 2019 Awards night Contact: 01695733080 or Email into@artzcentre.co.uk




Artz Students do it #LikeAGirl

The Artz Centre are pleased to announce an exciting and eye-opening project that we will be collaborating on with The Liberty Centre throughout August 2018. This project will be massively beneficial to young girls (ages 12-18) across Skelmersdale and the wider North West of England!

The project is a free 9-day course in which we will explore the countless issues that plague young adult relationships such as sexting, abuse and more. We will also be exploring what makes a relationship happy and healthy as well as how to achieve this. We will be exploring this through several creative mediums such as: photography, drama, poetry, music, etc.

Once the programme is completed, any creative work that the young girls created will be showcased in an exhibition where all the girls will be able to attend with close friends, family and the public! The young girls whom took part will also have the opportunity to feature in a short film tackling the topics that will be discussed during the course.

Our programme started on the 7th of August and has been running for several days. Fortunately, you will still be able to attend as it will continue to run on the following days: 14th, 15th, 28th, 29th, and 30th of August.
You will be able to attend the programme at The Artz Centre from 12PM to 3PM each day, no adult supervision is required as there will be adequate security at the centre!

To organise a place for you or your child and find out even more information about this programme and the many other upcoming projects that we are working on please call us on 01695 733080 or email us on info@artzcentre.co.uk. Alternatively, you can check out the production calendar on our website here: http://www.artzcentre.co.uk/production-calendar/.
Written by Yasmine Walker.


Artz Students Take On Exam Show

The Artz Centre is eager to announce our first Exam Show: a highly anticipated production which will be showcasing the phenomenal skills and techniques of 40+ of our academy students.
The production will take place on the 7th and 8th of September; it will be assessed by an RSL (Rock School Limted) examiner whom will be grading many of our Artz Centre students from the infants, juniors and seniors ensembles. This means there will be amazing performances from students ages 3 – 20, performances which will be judged by their performers’ ability and understanding of dance, drama and singing.
The techniques that they will be assessed on have been influenced by major drama practitioners such as: Stanislavsky, Brecht, Artaud, Copeau and more!
The students partaking in this showcase exam will be awarded grades for the RSL Performing Arts Award which is equivalent to an AS Level in terms of UCAS points. This will give our academy students a definite edge in the competition against other performers their age in the greater North-West area.
At this Exam Show there will be showcased pieces of theatre from 15 separate musicals that come from a plethora of unique settings. For example, some numbers will be from Wicked, some from Newsies and even some from the acclaimed satirical comedy musical Urinetown!
You can come and watch the Exam Show at 7PM on the 7th and 1PM on the 8th at West Lancashire College’s Hope Theatre. The showings will last 2 hours each and will offer light refreshments before the shows and during intervals. Tickets cost £5 each and can be booked by calling 01695 733080 or by emailing tickets@artzcentre.co.uk, before seats run out!
For more information on other upcoming projects, productions and more please check out the production calender on our website here: http://www.artzcentre.co.uk/production-calendar/ or email us on info@artzcentre.co.uk.
Written by Yasmine Walker.


Legally Blonde Press Release

The Artz Centre’s production of Legally Blonde has, unfortunately, come to an end. The musical was performed at Lathom Highschool in Skelmersdale from the 14th – 16th of June, comprising of both evening and matinee showings. The production showcased local talent and added a modern twist to Legally Blonde.

Legally Blonde explores the transformation of Elle Woods, a love-struck sorority sister turned lawyer once she follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law. As the school year unfolds, Elle quickly learns that she’s smarter than she thought and with her ensemble of unique friends Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

“I loved the show that much, that I went to see it 3 times!” – Satisfied Facebook Reviewer.
With the help of our incredibly talented junior and adult ensemble cast (ages 11-22), we garnered praise from the Lathom Highschool community as well as certain outside communities for our production, something which can be seen on the reviews section of our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/artzcentre/.

Our ensemble featured 2 lead role debuts: local girls Grace McDivitt and Emily Perry who both played Elle Woods. It also starred Ben Rigby, the 17-year-old rugby player and actor whom played Emmet in his 15th Artz Centre production. Congratulations are also in order for Aaron Ormesher (Professor Callaghan), Rosa Taylor (Kiki the Colourist), Lydia Sneesby (Serena) and Megan Powell (Vivienne Kensington) whom were cast in their 30th role in an Arts Centre production.

Fortunately, the Artz Centre still has many projects coming up, many of which can be found on our production schedule here: http://www.artzcentre.co.uk/production-calendar/. The next project is our Infant camp which is taking place on the 23rd – 27th of July, this is then followed by our Summer Camp on the 30th – 3rd of August, and our next production is Two and a Half Men which will be taking place on the 10th of August.

Two and a Half Men is an Artz Centre production and celebration, featuring over 20 of the Artz Centre’s favourite musical numbers. Book tickets by calling 01695 733080 or by emailing tickets@artzcentre.co.uk, before seats run out!

– Written By Yasmine Walker


Adultz Drama is a Hit! 

At the start of the year, the Artz Centre launched its all-new adult’s drama session. The weekly classes are providing members of the town access to high quality and affordable drama provision; which isn’t available currently elsewhere in the town.

The adult drama classes have been part of a continuously growing relationship between the Artz Centre and West Lancs College. As such, the college are offering a formal qualification to all local adults participating regularly in the new drama session, to recognise their individual learning progress throughout the year, and their commitment to the Artz experience.

The committed group of women and men have begun putting together the components of their first production and in August, the Artz ‘Adultz’ will be taking to the stage to share their new creative outlet; demonstrating how freely express yourself, can make for some great performances. With songs from Les Mis, Chicago, Rent and more in preparation, the Adults’ Showcase is shaping up to be a night of theatre you won’t want to miss.


Abbie Brings a Taste of the TT to the Artz Centre

The Artz Centre’s very own Musical Student of the Year Abbie Bayley may only be 18, but she’s letting no time go to waste in making an impact in her community. In April, she brought her passion for bike racing alongside her love of music, in a night of live entertainment in aid of the Air Ambulance.

From a family of successful racing bikers, Abbie has grown to see first hand just how important the work of the Air Ambulance is; giving emergency medical aid to injured racers on the track. With this in mind, she wanted to do her bit to help to raise funds to support the charity; and so began her plans of running her own event.

As a skilled musician and performer, Abbie quickly drafted the idea of holding a night of live music at the Artz Centre, performed by herself and her fellow students, with the proceeds then being donated to the Air Ambulance.

Soon enough, the date was set for the Artz Centre to play host to this one of a kind event and many students were more than ready to volunteer; helping in any way that they could. From hosting the show, to photographing the event and even down to the front of house, the team was composed of Artz students playing their part under the mentorship of the Centre’s experienced staff.

It’s safe to say that the night was a total success, filled with brilliant, memorable and heartfelt performances; alongside experienced guest speakers who shared their stories.

Abbie raised over £1400 for the Air Ambulance through the event. Something that, we at the Artz Centre, think she should be extremely proud of!



Following the Artz Centre’s recent successes back in May, being awarded the Social Enterprise Lancashire Network’s (SELNet) “Enabling Ability” Award, the Centre are up for nomination once again; for the arts-based opportunities that they provide for local people, and the positive social impact that they create on the local community of Skelmersdale.

This time, the Artz Centre are being recognised as the potential “Third Sector Business of the Year” alongside a shortlist of other finalists, at the illustrious Be Inspired Business Awards 2018. The winner will be announced at the BiBAs Event, held at the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom later this year, on September 14th.

We wish all the students and team the best of luck for the event, and it is safe to say that no matter what the outcome, the work of the Artz Centre for its local community, and the impact that this work has; is certainly, in the local community’s eyes, already “award winning”. And that is arguably what matters most.


Upholland Academy Students take Centre Stage in Skrabble

This April, our Upholland Academy celebrated its first show of the year, “Skrabble – A Play on Words”. This original idea was created by Artz Director Mark Ashton to allow students to develop their performance skills. However, this time, the challenge of directing was handed over to two of our own students: Joe Howard and Abbie Bayley.

In just 10 weeks, the cast of Skrabble took the show to stage, and delivered some fantastic performances.

Co-Director Joe Howard, said:

“Getting the chance to direct Skrabble was an incredible experience. Going from being a peer mentor to being a director at the Upholland Academy certainly felt daunting, but it’s safe to say that the cast embraced Abbie and I as directors, and I will always be grateful for the trust that they put into us for this show. 

So the task was set, ten weeks to bring a show to stage. It was certainly a big challenge for us all since our last show took 9 months; and of course we wanted to push the cast to deliver even bigger performances than they had before. Every session was hyper-productive, with the cast arriving at session prepared to tackle anything we threw at them. It is because of their hard work and commitment that by opening night we had produced a show with memorable dances, ensemble pieces, monologues and more. 

The show was a chance for so many of us to learn. Not only was it myself and Abbie’s goal to push the cast to grow as both performers and people, but we also found, that by the end of the show, we had grown ourselves. For us it will be a show that we will always remember.”

Many of the Upholland Academy are now setting their eyes on Academic success as they enter their GCSE examinations. But it won’t be long before they’re back on stage doing what they do best…


The Jungle Book is Taking Over the Artz Centre!

During last year’s production of Seussical, the Artz Centre’s youngest drama students – the Totz – had their first taste of the stage. And it’s safe to say, they were hungry for more!

So, our littlest performers are now about to take their first steps into their first big Totz production, busy at work preparing their own production of the Jungle Book.

Based on the Rudyard Kipling book of the same name, The Jungle Book musical will see our Totz telling the story of Mowgli, Baloo and the other Jungle animals on stage at the Artz Centre, later this year. And whilst Mowgli learns the Bare Necessities, these energetic youngsters are busy learning the drama tools they’ll need so that they can put on a brilliant show.

The Totz aren’t the only ones who have been spending time with Mowgli and friends this year. Our peer mentor team have recently jumped on the Jungle Bus, as they embarked on a trip to see the live production of the show at the Blackpool Grand Theatre in May. This trip was thanks to West Lancs College, who arranged the event. Our mentor team spent a day enjoying great quality professional theatre and learnt something about one another as well. It’s safe to say that a great day was had by all!


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