A Year of Triple Triumphs

As we look back on an extraordinary year, WOW is excited to reflect on the sensational success of a year with three productions, instead of the usual two. Staging three acclaimed musicals allowed WOW to showcase the full breadth of talent across the group.

Final scene from 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie: Teen Edition'
Matilda takes on the Trunchbull
In Fagins's den with Nancy and Oliver Twist

April 2023 – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: Teen Edition
The year kicked off with a bang as WOW brought to life the exuberant and empowering ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: Teen Edition.’ Director and Choreographer, Martine Burt, did remarkable work with the senior members of WOW to capture the spirit of this contemporary musical, and her efforts truly paid off. This was reflected in the show report from NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association)

With Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, WOW produced yet another stunning show of professional quality, combining outstanding energy, power, emotion and what I might best describe as ‘attitude’ from the cast, to tell the story in a thoroughly engaging, enjoyable and moving way. Read the full report here.

Performing the opening number, 'And You Don't Even Know It.'
Jamie and class performing ‘And You Don’t Even Know It’ (photo – Paul Brewer)

WOW also received many positive posts and messages from audience members, including this one: ‘Where do you start when trying to convey how good this show is…… The performances from this cast are truly mature, measured, professional and of course talented. The leads are phenomenal, some of which in my opinion will be the top talent of their generation.’

July 2023 – Matilda the Musical JR
In July, the Bay Theatre at Weymouth College was transformed into the magical world of ‘Matilda the Musical JR.’ The members who were too young for our April production were thrilled at the opportunity to take on the challenge of bringing Roald Dahl’s characters to life alongside several senior members. With director and choreographer, Martine Burt leading a talented cast and crew, along with Nikki Budd as Musical Director, the result was enthralling and all five performances sold out in this 230-seat venue.

The Wormwood Family
Matilda’s family (photo  – Paul Brewer)

‘This production of Matilda the Musical Jr. offered yet another stunning experience from WOW, matching their usual, amazingly high standard….The quality of the direction, choreography, acting and singing shone out and a feeling of joy, humour and energy, along with dramatic tension pervaded throughout the performance.’
NODA Show Report.

November 2023 – Oliver! The Musical
Closing the year on a high note, WOW presented the timeless classic ‘Oliver! The Musical’ in November at the Weymouth Pavilion Theatre. This production showcased the versatility of all 36 of WOW’s young performers as they transported the audience to Victorian London with their atmospheric rendition of Charles Dickens’ iconic tale. A review in the Dorset Echo reported that,
‘The opening night saw a packed house and an appreciative audience who rewarded these performers’ hard work, stamina and talent with a standing ovation. The performance standard is so high that it feels churlish not to mention every cast member by name……..These are big themes and this young cast has demonstrated great maturity in its gutsy interpretation.’
Read the full review here.

Performing the number 'Consider Yourself'.
Performing ‘Consider Yourself’ (photo – Len Copland)

Over 3,700 tickets were sold for the five performances and once again WOW received several messages of praise from audience members:
‘I went to see the local WOW production of the classic musical ‘Oliver’ in my home town tonight. I have to say WOW! is the correct word because it was superb. Being a huge fan of musicals and theatre in general, and having seen the West End version at the London Palladium in the 90’s, I can say that this one is equally as good .. Hats off to all the performers, musicians, set designers and technical crew. Excellent job well done!

The show was directed and choreographed by Paul Madeley with Jessamy Bowditch as Musical Director. Paul was thrilled to bring Oliver to the stage with WOW particularly after the COVID pandemic had led to the cancellation of his Shrek the Musical in March 2020 just a couple of weeks before it was due to open at Weymouth Pavilion.

In March 2023, The 40th Anniversary WOW Show, staged in November 2022, was nominated for four NODA awards. All at WOW were delighted at this recognition of the overall quality of the production and in particular the excellent work of Director and Choreographer, Martine Burt with Nikki Budd as Musical Director.

Five members receiving NODA award from President Nick Lawrence
WOW members Hollie, Oliver, Ben, Erin and Mersey receiving the NODA award from President Nick Lawrence

In May, a group from WOW travelled to Plymouth for the Awards Evening and five WOW members were honoured to receive the Award for Company Movement and Dance for the southwest region from NODA President, Nick Lawrence. Read the report in the Dorset Echo here.

Supporting Other Charities
WOW continues to support other charities through donations from bucket collections at its shows and performances in the community. WOW is grateful to the generosity of audiences, which enabled donations of £375 to the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Programme after ‘Jamie’ and £740 to Weymouth Food Bank following Oliver!

At St Laurence Church for the Upwey Music Society Concert
Performing at the Hope House Open Evening.

Once again, WOW’s cabaret group was delighted to support Weymouth Rotary Club’s ‘Fayre in the Square’ fundraising event as well as providing entertainment for the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Christmas social. At the end of September, the group presented a well-received concert for Upwey Music Society at St. Laurence Church. Cabaret director, Martine Burt, creatively used the aisles for some of the numbers to overcome the limited performance space in front of the pews. This was not the smallest venue however, as six of the group rounded off the year performing on the stairs for the Hope House Open Evening in support of the work of the Lantern Trust. As always, the performers were extremely well prepared by Martine for the various venues, personnel and musical numbers.

Reflecting on WOW’s journey throughout 2023, Chairman, Alan McKechan said, “On behalf of WOW I would like to express our profound gratitude to our talented performers and creative professionals who enabled such incredible performances as well as the tireless work of all the volunteers who supported them. None of this would have happened without this wider team together with the invaluable support of our audiences.

The talented performers of WOW will be back on stage in April to kick off the 2024 season with a fabulous production of Footloose the Musical at Weymouth Pavilion. Tickets here.