Thank you for visiting our digital programme. Here you can meet the cast and creative team behind Once Upon a Christmas Song and learn more about the show!
Good evening and welcome to the Mill Theatre.
What a pleasure it is to be able to present a show with song, dance and so much more after what seems an age.
We extend our thanks to Kathryn Rose as Director, Kaye Tompkins as Musical Director, Davina Beegoo-Price for Choreography and all the Sharnbrook Mill Theatre team for preparing this production for your entertainment. Also thanks to all the members of the Trust who have worked throughout lockdown to implement many improvements to our Theatre.
We do hope this show will kick start your festive activities with a bang and we look forward to welcoming you back to the Mill again very soon. With our very best wishes to you all for a joyous Christmas and New Year!
Douglas Pope: Chairman of our Governors
From The Creative Team
You know you’re onto a good thing when, at a garden meeting in April, it starts snowing as you play through the show tracks!
The concept for this production began a few years ago, but when the Production Committee gave it the green light in March 2021, Christmas really had come early!
Bringing together a new creative team, fifteen cast members, a five-piece band and a large tech team was exciting and challenging, but overall a delight!
Creating a show like Once Upon A Christmas Song takes much longer than ‘book musicals’ as the style has to be established, songs and readings selected and arranged into order, narrative sections written or found, vocal and band parts written, original direction and choreography needs to be created – and that’s all before the rehearsals start. The team has been blessed with an incredibly hard-working, open-minded and brilliant company who have said ‘yes’ to everything, making our lives so much easier. Our heartfelt thanks to all those involved in this festive production for helping to make our dream vision become a beautiful reality.
We hope you enjoy tonight’s performance and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Heather is delighted to be back on Sharnbrook Mill Theatre’s stage after appearing in Entertaining Angels in 2019 and Avenue Q in 2018. Having gotten the bug for the arts at a young age, she moved down to the big lights of London at the age of 18 from ‘up north’ to fulfil her dream of being the next Spice Girl. She now works full time in the Construction industry…practically the same thing!
Heather has had the pleasure of terrifying the great paying public as an actor at The London Dungeons and spent many a weekend performing as part of a three-piece Motown group for weddings, corporate events and socials. But her heart lies in the theatre and she is beyond thrilled to be back on The Mill stage once again with her friends.
Previous roles include: Diva (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), Miss Spider (James and the Giant Peach), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Nancy (Oliver!), Gertrude McFuzz (Seussical), Frances (No Sex Please, We’re British), Sorel (Death by Design) and many more.
Graham has been involved in theatre for more years than he cares to mention, performing in plays, pantos, musicals and operas, as well as occasionally being one of Santa’s little helpers at corporate dos and church bazaars – and they don’t come more bizarre!
In panto, he’s given his Widow Twankey, Ugly Sister, Nurse Molly Coddle, Mephisto the villain, Daisy the cow (the back end!) and a JCB!
Most recently he’s played Clyde Gabriel (The Witches of Eastwick), Gomez (The Addams Family), Mr Bumble (Oliver!), Grumio (The Taming of the Shrew) and John Miles (Theft). In the New Year he’ll be starting rehearsals for Evita! and A Man of No Importance.
This is Graham’s first show at The Mill, following the cancellation of Little Shop of Horrors, due to the pandemic, and he is delighted to finally make it onto The Mill stage with this wonderfully talented and friendly cast.
Imogen’s love of performing began at 8, playing ‘Gretl’ in ‘The Sound of Music’ followed by a professional production of ‘The King & I’. She then played ‘Cosette’ in ‘Les Miserables’ & ‘July’ in ‘Annie’. Imogen also loves dancing, training at Kilburn School of Dance from 3, studying Ballet, Tap, Modern & Contemporary to name but a few! She also teaches Baby Ballet and Tap. She was a dancer in ‘Legally Blonde’ and ‘The Wedding Singer’ and is currently rehearsing for her 10th Pantomime, this time as Dance Captain. She participates in dance competitions, performed at the Royal Albert Hall and has represented England in The Dance World Cup on 4 occasions, winning several medals. She hopes to perform professionally in the future.
Imogen first discovered Sharnbrook Mill Theatre when she played ‘Bobbie’ in ‘The Railway Children’ and is excited to be performing here again. Rehearsals have been fun, though singing Christmas songs in July was strange! She hopes you enjoy the show & wishes you all a ‘Sparklejollytwinklejingley’ Christmas!
Leisa has enjoyed a wide variety of roles over many years and she has dabbled in most forms of theatre since graduating from the Hertfordshire Theatre School. At Sharnbrook Mill Theatre, she has been fortunate to play the roles of Hannah in Cloud: A New Musical, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot and most recently Sarah in Entertaining Angels. Leisa worked as Production Manager for our productions of Avenue Q and The Phantom of the Opera. Prior to lockdown, Leisa had the absolute pleasure of playing Mrs Johnston in Bonkers Theatricals’ 10th Anniversary production of Blood Brothers and performing in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, also at Bonkers Playhouse.
Leisa is so glad to be back on the stage again with such a super company and such a great show.
Julie has been performing for more years than she wishes to remember, in a wide variety of productions. Her most memorable roles include: Mrs Lovett (Sweeney Todd), Beverley (Abigail’s Party), Regan (Cloud: A New Musical) and Pennywise (Urinetown). As director: Me and My Girl.
Julie has sung with pianist extraordinaire Lincoln Noel, The Maestro on several occasions including at The Mill’s 40th Celebration Concert, Ruby Reflections.
When not performing, Julie runs her own company ‘The Sales Ace’, training and coaching businesses to ace their sales.
Julie is delighted to be back on stage at The Mill again ‘hosting’ this Christmas party after taking a break for a few years to spend time with her gorgeous dog Alfie!
Last time Mike did a show with Sharnbrook Mill Theatre, it was to direct The Crucible. He was delighted to find that Once Upon A Christmas Song was much lighter in tone and he is delighted to be sharing the stage with this talented group of performers, musicians and creative types! Before that, he appeared with Sharnbrook Mill Theatre in Cloud: A New Musical, Merrily We Roll Along, Parade and Company.
Prior to joining Sharnbrook Mill Theatre, Mike played several major roles for other societies: Cable (South Pacific) & Freddy (My Fair Lady) for Dunmow Players; Thomas Andrews (Titanic: the Musical), Anthony (Sweeney Todd) and Oscar (Sweet Charity) for Stevenage Lytton Players. He has also directed plays and musicals for the Stevenage Lytton Players (Anything Goes, Godspell, The Crucible, Proof) as well as pantomimes in Little Hadham! He is excited to be directing The Last Five Years next year, at The Mill.
When not performing or directing, designing artwork for productions and chairing The Mill’s Marketing Committee, Mike is a programmer in Cranfield and lives in Potton with his surprisingly understanding wife and step-children. He can be found on Twitter @recantha.
Tim achieved abysmal ‘A’ level results and so ended up at drama school. 10 years of treading the boards was followed by the realisation that man cannot live on baked beans alone. This led him to meeting the woman of his dreams and then, shortly after, his wife! Tim has three beautiful daughters (that he is aware of) and has used his drama training to great effect and now owns his own Estate Agency, Jackson Waite of Olney. Tim’s resume is far too short to be of any interest but he has appeared in plays by Berkoff, Checkhov, Brecht, Ibsen and a chap called Shakespeare. Insomniacs can catch him on old reruns of Escape to the Country and Wheel Clampers. Tim joined Sharnbrook Mill Theatre in 2015 and has enjoyed previous roles in Macbeth, Abigail’s Party, Cheshire Cats and The Crucible (as John Proctor) as well as Barrie and Toby in our recent production of Duets.
This is Gordon’s first appearance on stage since 2019, prior to the Covid-enforced absence. His recent shows include principle roles in A Doll’s House, Wait Until Dark, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, Spamalot, Grease and Footloose, among others. He has also performed at the Edinburgh Festival as the title character in Jekyll and Hyde and two world premieres in Danny Hero and Frantic Assembly’s No Way Back.
Gordon is very excited to be back creeping the boards and hopes you all enjoy the evening’s entertainment.
Jess began performing in musicals when she was 5 years old, participating in a range of local community productions including Emperor’s New Clothes and Whistle Down the Wind (Castle Theatre, Wellingborough). Jess played a range of roles from Frenchy (Grease) to Scaramouche (We Will Rock You) before taking a step away from the stage and getting involved in backstage and assistant directing opportunities for a range of productions including Our House, Grease and The Addams Family. Jess was delighted to be invited to be a tutor at Sharnbrook Mill Theatre’s Youth Theatre Summer School 2021 and looks forward to future projects.
Jess has enjoyed every moment of rehearsals and is delighted to be part of the Mill family.
John started performing in local theatre productions way back in the late 70’s, so has many credits under his belt. Previous roles at The Mill include: Stefan (Cloud: A New Musical), Jackson (The Hired Man), Larry (Company), Macheath (The Threepenny Opera), Jesus (Godspell), Rapunzel’s Prince (Into the Woods), Tom Watson (Parade) and the very silly Sir Galahad (Spamalot).
Elisabeth lives in Great Barford with her husband Simon and two rabbits. Outside of rehearsals, she works in Recruitment for the NHS Ambulance Service and enjoys tending her garden & allotment. She studied Ballet & Tap at The Crescent Academy in Bedford. Elisabeth usually spends the festive season singing with the East Beds Chamber Choir, but is delighted to return to The Mill stage this Christmas!
Previous theatre: The Pirates of Penzance (Turvey Amateur Theatre Society/TATS); Meg in Merrily We Roll Along; Parade (both Sharnbrook Mill Theatre), Fay in Personal Call, Agatha Christie Radio Play (The Place).
Other performing highlights include singing the national anthems for Canada & France at the Rugby World Cup 2015 with Danesborough Chorus (at MK Stadium) and singing with The Pasadena Roof Orchestra at her wedding in 2018.
Once Upon A Christmas Song is Scott’s first show at The Mill and what a beautiful first show to be part of! The first of many hopefully! He hopes the show leaves you feeling sparkly, jolly, twinkly and jingly (keep watching, it’ll soon make sense!).
Scott trained in Musical Theatre in his younger days then took the natural side step into training as a Mental Health Nurse and in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy… there’s more similarities across these fields than you’d think!
Theatre credits include: Max Garber in Lend Me A Tenor (Courtyard Theatre), Emmett Forrest in Legally Blonde (The Polish Theatre), Robbie Hart in The Wedding Singer (Edward Alleyn Theatre), Buddy in Elf The Musical (The Cresset) & George Gershwin in Thoroughly Modern Millie (Adelphi Theatre, London).
Kaye has been a member at Sharnbrook Mill Theatre since 1990 and has been involved in almost every backstage role as well as performing, directing and writing for the Mill. Her favourite roles include Emily Tallentire (The Hired Man), Aldonza (Man of La Mancha), Amy (Company), Lucille (Parade), Grace (Entertaining Angels), The Baker’s Wife (Into the Woods) and on a theme, The Baker’s Wife (in The Baker’s Wife). More recently, Kaye enjoyed performing in the Mill play Duets, covered in copious amounts of spilt coffee (aka gravy browning, as it’s easier to wash). She’s quite pleased not to smell of Sunday roast tonight or have to launder her costume at midnight for this show. Kaye is delighted to be appearing in Once Upon A Christmas Song, sharing a little festive cheer. Having co-written two of the Mill musicals, Chase Dark and Cloud with renowned local composer Kaye Tompkins (your MD tonight), the two Kayes are reviving one of their previous musical productions here on this stage next year: Wired, under its new name Rewired. Watch out for that production 3rd-8th October 2022. Kaye’s first straight play, Keeping Mum, will be performed at Bonkers Theatre in Kettering 14th-18th March 2022.
When at school, Becky took part in school plays but as an adult she has performed with several musical theatre groups over the past 30 years in show such as NMTC’s Blitz as Mrs Blitztein, Miss:Creates’ A Man of No Importance as Margaret Grace, Sharnbrook’s Cloud: a new musical as Var and Avenue Q as a Bad Idea Bear. In the last few years, she returned to plays: Bonkers Playhouse Theatre productions of The Vagina Monologues and Ibsen’s A Dolls House, The Mill’s The Crucible as Goody Nurse and just before the world got messy, in Entertaining Angels as Ruth.
Having returned to the Sharnbrook Mill Theatre stage in October this year in Duets, Becky is now excited to be part of this Christmas show, although she knows her nerves will be jingling all the way to the theatre.
Mark has almost 30 years experience of performing in plays, musicals and choirs with Northampton Musical Theatre Company, the Miss:Creates Team, the Masque Theatre Group and The NMPAT Community Choir. He joined Sharnbrook Mill Theatre for Merrily We Roll Along, Cloud, Spamalot, Avenue Q, Entertaining Angels and October’s production of Duets.
He loves Christmas and has been Father Christmas for many years, including for Wicksteed Park last year.
Mark is so happy to be on stage again, with friends old and new, to give our audience a happy Christmas celebration.
List of Songs and Scenes in Once Upon a Christmas Song
|Overture||…||Band, Julie, Jess & Tim|
|It’s Today / We Need a Little Christmas (Mame)||…||Julie & Company|
|Little Women / Four Dollars & a Dime (Little Women)||…||Jess, Elisabeth, Heather & Imogen|
(Songs for a New World)
|Let It Snow||…||Scott & Elisabeth|
|Baby, It’s Cold Outside||…||Mark & Becky|
|It’s Beginning to Look a Lot
|The Pickwick Papers (Charles Dickens)||…||Tim|
|That’s What I’d Like For Christmas (Pickwick)||…||Michael, Gordon & Company|
|Children Will Listen (Into the Woods)||…||Kaye & Company|
|In My Own Little Corner (Cinderella)||…||Jess|
|A Christmas Fable (Anon)||…||Julie|
|Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
(Meet Me in St Louis)
|The World (George Bernard Shaw)||…||Tim|
|Christmas is My Favourite Time of Year
(Catch Me If You Can)
|…||Graham, Gordon & Elisabeth|
|The Christmas Song||…||Tim|
|Once Upon a December (Anastasia)||…||Heather & Company|
|Help Wanted (Timothy Tocher)||…||Tim|
|Sparklejollytwinklejingley (Elf)||…||Scott & Company|
|Happy Holidays (Holiday Inn)||…||Michael, Becky, Heather & Jess|
|Saturday Night at Bethlehem Inn
|Merry Almost Christmas
(A Year with Frog & Toad)
|…||Graham, Mark, Elisabeth, Kaye & Leisa|
|The Nativity (Gervase Phinn)||…||Tim, Gordon, Graham,
Mark, John & Heather
|Hard Candy Christmas (Carol Hall)||…||Julie, Kaye, Becky & Leisa|
|A Visit from Santa (Mike Dahlmeier)||…||Tim|
|A Christmas Story (A Christmas Story)||…||Becky, Mark, Imogen & Company|
|A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)||…||Tim|
|Turkey Lurkey Time (Promises, Promises)||…||Elisabeth, Heather, Jess & Company|
|Love & the Weather (White Christmas)||…||Gordon & Leisa|
|Believe (The Polar Express)||…||Scott|
|The Christmas Eve News (Anon)||…||Tim|
|A Christmas Song (Elf)||…||Scott, Jess & Company|
|Let’s Start the New Year Right
|…||Becky & Company|
|Promise (Jackie Kay)||…||Tim|
|The Perfect Year (Sunset Boulevard)||…||Kaye|
|One Christmas Wish?
|Finale||…||Graham & Full Company|
Creative Team biographies
Kathryn Rose – Director
Having been born into a theatrical family, it’s no surprise that Kathryn ended up working in the Arts! After graduating from Bretton Hall, University of Leeds with a degree in Arts Management, Kathryn worked as a Stage Manager in London’s West End, across the UK and internationally on productions including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Adelphi), Let It Be (Prince of Wales/Savoy/Garrick), Soho Cinders (Soho) and The Lion King (Lyceum), Rigoletto and Falstaff (Opera North), Jeeves & Wooster (UK Tour), Tribute To Glee (Madinat Theatre, Dubai) plus several World Premiere musicals and many more plays and musicals over her 11-year career including Brass (NYMT) which won Best Musical Production in the UK Theatre Awards 2014 and a couple of ‘big screen’ projects such as ‘Run For Your Wife’ (with Danny Dyer and Denise van Outen).
After deciding that she missed ‘treading the boards’ (and having a work-life balance!), Kathryn moved into a 9-5 job meaning she could perform again. Theatre credits include: Susy in Wait Until Dark, Minstrel/Laker Girl in Spamalot, Bangle in Cloud: A New Musical, Helen in Parade (SMTT), Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Janet in Two Across and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (all at Bonkers Playhouse).
Producing and Directing credits: Lettice and Lovage (for Certain Age, The Place), Our Time! (The Place, Bedford), Summer Day’s Dream (The Finborough, London), Glitz & Glam, Echoes In The Arches, Another Handful Of Songs (The Union, London)
Kathryn has had a wonderful time creating and developing this show with the most fabulous cast, creative team, crew and band. It’s a joy to finally get this production in front of an audience and she hopes you enjoy your evening at our festive party!
Kaye Tompkins – Musical Director and Vocal/Band Arrangements
Kaye has been working as a professional musician, accompanist, composer and musical director since completing her music degree at Leeds University. She also spent nine years running her own successful music, art and drama centre, The Arts Barn.
As Musical Director, Kaye has worked with many companies, on shows as diverse as Sweeney Todd, Man of La Mancha, Assassins, Little Shop of Horrors, Fame, West Side Story, Company, A Little Night Music, Parade and many more.
As a composer, she has collaborated with writer and friend Kaye Vincent and together they have produced five full-length works for Musical Theatre.
On her own, KT has written and produced her debut choral work According To Mary, touring it to venues including Peterborough Cathedral and The Actor’s Church, Covent Garden. Also, the evocative Waiting For Snow, written as part of the commemorations to mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War One.
Davina Beegoo-Price – Movement Director/Co-Director
Davina has been dancing pretty much all her life, starting with ballet from the age of four and trying her hand at everything from Belly Dancing to Salsa and everything in between since! She has been choreographing musicals since 2019 after retiring from competitive Latin Ballroom dancing and is now a bit addicted. Her first two shows with Toffe Apple Productions (Funny Girl and Chicago) received critical and audience acclaim, with the choreography by her and her dance partner Christopher Duncombe-Cooper receiving special mention in the respective NODA reviews. Funny Girl went on to win Best Musical and Best Production awards at the 2019 NODA East awards, and Chicago was one of the only musicals to be performed in the area in 2020 before the pandemic. Davina went on to create the choreography for a new and original musical, Love or Money, which should have been performed with the Bedford Marianettes in March 2020, but Covid had other ideas!
Davina has fallen in love with choreographing musicals as it gives her the opportunity to tell stories through movement and to utilise her eclectic dance and performance experience, as well as her psychology background. It also gives her the chance to use her Product Management skills to plan, organise and problem-solve (she loves a spreadsheet!), so having the opportunity to Co-Direct this show has been a wonderful learning experience which she hopes to build on in the future.
Having grown up at a time when the arts were not particularly inclusive or empowering for many groups of people, Davina is passionate about creating positive and fun environments that enable performers to shine, and gives everyone a safe space to explore their potential.
Production Team biographies
Ricky Johnson (Lighting Designer and Stage Manager)
Ricky began his theatrical career at the tender age of ten when he starting helping at Rushden Amateur Operatic Society, learning how to build sets from scratch.
Since then, he’s worked on a wide range of shows with Team Eventex for Wellingborough Operatic, Wellingborough Panto, Kilburn School of Dance and other local societies, starting as crew and climbing the ranks to Stage Management. These shows have offered him great opportunities to learn more skills and most recently he was invited to be trained to fly actors for The Wizard of Oz, just before the pandemic.
In 2006, Ricky joined Sharnbrook Mill Theatre to assist with set building and he hasn’t looked back since. He’s had the joy of building plain and simple sets plus more technically challenging designs including the lift for Thoroughly Modern Millie and the water feature in The Secret Garden but his proudest moment was (almost!) single-handedly building the multi-level set for Wyrd Sisters.
In 2019, Ricky was asked to be Lighting Designer for Wait Until Dark and has lit every show since… and for anyone who doesn’t already know, he won (with the help of Mark) NODA’s Best Technical Award for the appearance of the train in our 2019 production of The Railway Children!
Despite hating Christmas, Ricky has loved being a part of this production as Stage Manager, Lighting Designer and overall production support.
Mark Luckin (Sound Designer and Engineer)
Mark’s first play at Sharnbrook Mill was Wait Until Dark, in Spring 2019. Since then at The Mill, he’s also designed sound for the Canadian folk duo Madison Violet, and the productions Daisy Pulls it Off, The Railway Children and, after a COVID-induced break, Duets.
His hobby when not at The Mill is running sound for local bands, and small local festivals and events.
Mark is a member of the Production Committee at the Mill, and works in a small software company in Milton Keynes.
Mike Kilsby – Drums and Percussion
On a seasonal theme, it is often quoted that music is the gift that keeps on giving. It is with that thought in mind that Mike is thrilled to be back on drums for this spectacular Christmas show and the long-awaited return of ‘live’ musical theatre to Sharnbrook. As a drummer of some 40 years standing, there have been so many joyous occasions spent within these four special walls. Over the years, Mike has been privileged to witness an endless flow of talent emerging from its stage. Covid has caused such chaos and hardship among the musical and theatrical fraternity, so to be playing again this evening, and to be re-united with long-standing, talented, musical friends and cast, it is, without doubt, the most gratifying seasonal gift of all.
Andrew Longland-Meech – Keys 2
In his own words: “Bah Humbug!”
Andy Stewart – Saxophone, Flute and Clarinet
Andy has worked previously for many years as a peripatetic woodwind teacher.
UK National tours include Me and My Girl (with Faye Tozer from Steps), Hello Dolly! (with Anita Dobson) and Anything Goes (with Angela Rippon).
Further afield, Andy performed on the tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in Singapore and an Elvis tour to Holland.
Andy is a regular with Eastbourne Theatres and is about to head off to panto for the 18th year (oh yes he is!) for their production of Sleeping Beauty.
Recently, Andy started working on a new venture performing solo at weddings and corporate functions and with The Tibbs Dementia Foundation and he is about to undertake a series of concerts in care homes.
Lee Wong – Double Bass and Bass Guitar
Lee started playing the Cello at nine years old and progressed onto the Double Bass when he was 15. This significant decision has enabled him to play all genres of music – from recording Folk with Kathryn Tickell through to Orchestral, Gospel, Jazz, Rock and Swing (with a one-off gig accompanying Jasper Carrott placed somewhere in-between!).
Based in Market Harborough, Lee is in great demand and, pre-Covid, regularly played in the pit for several Musical Theatre companies throughout the East Midlands both on Double Bass and Bass Guitar.
During the day, Lee is a Director of a large Architects’ practice. He is married to Sue, a Brass teacher, and unsurprisingly has two very musical children, the eldest of which is an Army Musician.
He is delighted to be back playing live music once again!
Other members of the Production Team
We also wanted to thank, by crediting them, the other people who have helped to bring your evening to life!
|Production Manager||…||Sue Lander|
|Assistant Stage Manager & Props||…||Alison Moles|
|Lighting Operator||…||Isaac Richards|
|Design Assistant||…||Condoleezza Hankins|
|Set Building||…||Ricky Johnson, Kevin Beirne,
Gerry Stafford & Brian Wood
|Followspot 1||…||David Russell|
|Followspot 2||…||Elaina Waterhouse|
|Followspot 3||…||Josh Bambridge|
|Followspot 4||…||Condoleezza Hankins|
|Production Photography||…||Firesparkle Productions|
|Rehearsal Photography||…||Simon Thorne|
|Bar||…||Ron Johnson and our Volunteer Team|
|Front of House||…||Andrew Knight and our Volunteer Team|
Thank You to…
Arthur Hollomon and Simon Peacock
Amy Thomas, Laura Thomas and Josh Bambridge
Malcolm & Maureen Summers at Matthews
All those who donated baubles, decorations and boxes for the set dressing!