Synopsis

Show
Laura's Star
Dates
9th November - 26th February
Runtime
50 minutes approx
Adapted and Directed by
Tina Williams
Designer
Jane Linz Roberts
Suitable for ages 4+
Laura's Star

Laura has always wanted someone special to share her secrets with.  One night she finds a star lying broken, on the pavement.  Tenderly, she takes the star home.  As it glows warmly in her hand she knows that she will be able to tell it all her secrets.  But when she wakes up the next morning, the little star has disappeared.  Was her friend just a dream?  In this magical story a lonely girl learns that friendship sometimes means letting go of your most precious treasures. Pied Piper’s acclaimed production brings to live this much loved children’s book with live music and puppetry.

Victoria Denard
Victoria Denard
Laura

Victoria is thrilled to be involve in 'Laura's Star' and to be taking Laura on her journey once again.

Theatre includes: Tobias in Sweeney Todd, Mikey/Michelle in 'Little Boy' at The Union, London, and for a festival in Liverpool. Ana in  'The Apple Journey', Lisa in 'Windermere', Mandy in 'Madonna & Me' and Maria in 'Twelfth Night'. Film and TV includes Molly in 'Knowing  and Cristina in 'The 13th Day'.

Christopher Ashman
Christopher Ashman
Dad / Star

Christopher graduated from Drama Centre, London in 2008. Theatre credits include 'Arms and the Man', 'Loves's Labour Lost', 'Black Snow', 'Measure For Measure', 'The Professor and the Soft Machine' at The Wolsey, Ipswich and 'Sleeping Beauty' at Exeter Northcott Theatre.

Film credits include: 'Diary of a Railway Clerk', 'Move Ahead', 'The Watcher' and a video for Ruth Render Films.

Christopher is delighted to appear in his first production with The Pied Piper Theatre Company.

Carole Carpenter
Carole Carpenter
Mum / Violinist

Carole is an actor, musician and composer. She began studying piano and violin at the age of seven and later trained as an actor at Mountview.

Work as an actor /musician has included touring her acclaimed solo Jane Austen show 'The History of England' nationally (in association with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), 'The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch' for Falcon Grange Productions and 'Grimms' at Trafalgar Studios. Work as a musician includes 'Spring Awakening' and 'The Wiz'. Carole has recently composed the music for Pied Piper's production of 'Great Gran's Great Games' by Mike Kenny.

Tina Williams
Tina Williams
Adapted and Directed by

Tina Williams is the Artistic Director of Pied Piper Theatre Company, which she set up in 1984 having trained as both an actor and a teacher. Tina has written, adapted, directed and produced over twenty five plays for the company including a large scale national tour of Anne Fine's "The Book of the Banshee", a community tour of "A Little Princess" involving eight actors and eight young people and her recent new plays "The Big ENORMOUS Present" and "Robin's Winter Adventure".

In 1994 Tina set up the Education Department at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford, which ran until 2008. As well as directing several co-productions with the Yvonne Arnaud she wrote and directed ‘Flash! Bang! Rabbit! for the youth theatre as a creative and cultural exchange with the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff.

Tina has been engaged as Artistic Director for several co-productions throughout the UK and internationally in Singapore. She also directed several seasons at The Fortune Theatre in London’s West End. She is currently writing two new plays for age four upwards.

Jane Linz Roberts
Designer

Jane enjoys designing a wide range of theatre and film. She has worked for companies throughout the UK and spent several years based in Wales as the Resident Designer at the Sherman Theatre.

She is an experienced interpreter of theatre for young people having designed many plays for leading companies in the field of young people’s theatre including the Unicorn Theatre, Theatre Centre, Nottingham Playhouse and the National Theatre.

Other recent work for adult audiences has included My Family and Other Animals for York Theatre Royal and Soul Exchange for the National Theatre of Wales.

Jane has designed a number of films and drama documentaries including Deep Water, and September which received the Bafta for Best Short Film in 2009.

Roman Stefanski
Roman Stefanski
Puppetry Direction

Roman completed a postgraduate course at the Drama Studio London and entered into the world of professional acting in 1977. His forté has always been visual and physical theatre with a strong understanding of the technical aspects as well.

He joined Polka Theatre as an actor in 1980 and has mostly worked with Polka now for more than 31 years, first as staff and now as a freelance director, producing over 55 shows, helping it to become one of Britain's leading theatre companies for children along with international recognition. Over these years he developed his puppetry skills and with the experience of many years of directing and performing has been able to help and teach actors how to lose their doubts and inhibitions of puppetry, developing their own skills in object manipulation.

Roman is a qualified PTLLS teacher and has been coaching students in acting, and teaching/directing students at drama colleges in England (The Academy of Live and Recorded Art, East 15, Drama Studio London) as well as giving various master classes in puppetry /design for puppetry (Central School of Speech and Drama, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Little Angle Theatre). He is a puppetry consultant for various theatre companies as well as Pied Piper, (Watershed productions, Birmingham Stage Co, Mid Wales Opera, Pied Piper Productions, Thousand Cranes Co, All Aboard Productions, Polka Theatre - guest directors)

Having directed a very successful production of Lauren Child's characters Charlie and Lola in "Charlie and Lola's Best Bestest Play" for Polka Theatre, Roman is now BBC Worldwide exclusive director for this play which is now touring Britain as well as having played in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia including the Sydney Opera House. In Sao Paulo, it was performed in Portuguese and also played in Rio de Janeiro before touring major cities in Brazil. 

Roman has received "members award" for his years of work in children's theatre by Action for Children's Art.

Lawrence Evans
Lawrence Evans
Movement Director

Lawrence works as a director, movement director and actor. Nominated for an Olivier Award for his work with Tony Harrison at the National Theatre he has worked with the poet on all his site-specific theatre pieces. He received a Best Actor Award from the Liverpool Echo and Daily Post Northwest Arts Awards and his work as an actor includes many of the regional Repertory Theatres throughout the UK as well as the National Theatre, NT studio, Cheek by Jowl, the Young Vic and Northern Broadsides. Directing work includes Associate Director at Theatre Centre 2001/2, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Irish Chamber Orchestra & Storytellers Theatre Co., The Soldier’s Tale with the internationally renowned violinist, Anthony Marwood and the Orchestra of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and The Big Enormous Present for Pied Piper. Other directing work; Polka Theatre, Oxfordshire Touring Theatre Company, London Bubble, the CDS New York Agents showcase, and several fringe companies. As a Movement Director his work includes the National Theatre, NT Studio, Northern Broadsides, Hampstead Theatre, Tamasha Theatre Co., and Bristol Old Vic and his co-written play Lives Worth Living is published by Heinemann Educational.

Brendan Murray
Brendan Murray
Dramaturge

Originally from Manchester, Brendan trained as an actor and worked for ten years in schools, fringe, Rep and commercial theatre.  From 1982 to 1985 he was Head of Theatre-in-Education at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and later writer-in-residence at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.  Since 1990 he’s divided his time between writing, directing and teaching - principally at Drama Studio London. In 2002/3 he was the Visiting Gulbenkian Fellow in the Department of Palliative Care at King’s College Hospital and, from 2003 to 2008, Artistic Director of Oxfordshire Theatre Company. His plays are regularly produced throughout the UK and abroad and have won both Brian Way and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards. Like the good northerner he is, he lives in Brighton. For more details visit www.brendanmurray.co.uk

Carole Carpenter
Carole Carpenter
Music

Carole's collaborations with theatre companies as a composer / musical director have included Grimms and A Christmas Carol for Horla (Trafalgar Studios and New Wimbledon Studio), The Gingerbread Man (Tricolore Theatre Company, UK and Italian tour), The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch (FalconGrange Productions) and Measure for Measure (Barefaced Theatre).  She also collaborates on film soundtracks, recent projects having included multi-award winning short The Furred Man, shown on Channel 4.

As a violinist and pianist Carole regularly plays with professional ensembles, recent shows having included The Boyfriend (Her Majesty’s Theatre),  A Man of No Importance (Arts Theatre, Leicester Square), Spring Awakening (Bull Theatre, Barnet) and The Wiz (Palace Theatre, Southend).  Carole also plays with up-and-coming acoustic rock band Cellarscape.

As an actor/musician, Carole's credits have included touring her one woman Jane Austen show The History of England (produced by the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford), and playing Mum / Violinist in last year’s Pied Piper tour Laura's Star.  She is delighted to be continuing her association with Pied Piper as composer / musical director.

Review of Laura's Star in The Stage!

It is quite refreshing to watch a production aimed at under-eights. The actors are slightly larger than life but enunciate clearly and there is a complete absence of cynicism. In Tina Williams’ production, a revival from 2006, the audience - whatever their age - aren’t given the opportunity to get restless or bored, the cast enthusiastically acting their way through Klaus Baumgart’s children’s story. It’s only a small space, yet they use as much of it as possible and the enforced economies of a touring production are used to good.

Victoria Denard is totally believable as she reprises her role as young Laura. She is beguiling whether playing with her toys or throwing a (small) tantrum. 

Christopher Ashman is similarly charming as Dad, but his work with the puppets, particularly the star, is a masterpiece of economy. And the seamless changes - losing the beanie hat and slipping on glasses and a plaid shirt - are spot on. 

Carole Carpenter (Mum) largely stays put, but there are several reasons for this. She is pregnant, though little Laura doesn’t know it yet. She is also a concert violinist and needs to practise. Rather neatly, her practice becomes the incidental music for the production, adding atmosphere to the action and accompaniment to the songs.

- By Graham Gurrin.

The Surrey Advertiser reviews Laura's Star!

Last week I went to see Laura’s Star at the Mill Theatre. A few yards away the Yvonne Arnaud’s panto pulsated with the noise of a few hundred children having a great time. Here, in the small intimacy of the mill, all was peaceful.  Pre-school children had brought their parents to see one of their favourite books brought to life.

They were completely engrossed as the Pied Piper Theatre Company told the familiar story, simply, clearly and without any razzmatazz. Laura, an only child, dreams that a star with pointy bits has come into her bedroom to be her friend.  In the morning it has gone and Laura is sad, even though it’s her birthday and there are presents and cake. There’s a happy ending, though.  Of course there is.

You might think that a play for the very young, with few laughs and no audience participation would be a recipe for disaster. Not at all. The children were bewitched by it all. They identified with Laura, alone in her bedroom, making excuses to get mummy to come back. And with daddy in the park, sulky, missing her star. Blessed with much better imagination than ours, they happily accept the visible manipulation of the sparkling star and they know it’s all true. Children’s entertainment is often loud and brash. This was quiet and gentle and the single violin provided atmospheric incidental music.

A real treat and if you want to find out where they’ll be in January and February check out their website www.piedpipertheatre.co.uk

By Margaret Burgess.

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Extract from the Laura’s Star Script
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Spot the Difference - Laura's Star
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Laura's Star Panda Finger Puppet
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