CHESTERFIELD: Directions Theatre Arts roll out the red carpet in glittering showcase

Ashton Harkness and Josh Crowther in The Red Carpet Show
Ashton Harkness and Josh Crowther in The Red Carpet Show

After picking up awards at festivals across the region and entertaining holidaymakers at Disneyland Paris, it was time for Chesterfield’s young ambassadors for performance arts to bring their top-class routines back home.

The young pupils - and former pupils - of Directions Theatre Arts showcased their skills in The Red Carpet Show on a night which resembled a glittering gala.

Carly Hopkinson at The Red Carpet Show

Carly Hopkinson at The Red Carpet Show

Civic leaders including the Mayor of Chesterfield, Cllr Paul Stone, and the chairman of NE Derbyshire District Council, Cllr Ken Savage, school heads of dance and drama and Directions patron Bernie Clifton were among spectators watching a colourful mix of dance, gymnastics and song.

Last night’s performance at the town’s Pomegranate Theatre featured compositions which had earned the students first and second prizes at festivals.

Dance highlights included El Tango de Roxanne, inspired by the Moulin Rouge film, which conjured up the passion and warmth of Spain, a achilling routine entitled Where Have all the Children Gone performed to Joseph Kerschbaum’s spoken word and some of the youngest performers tap-dancing to Candyman, the latter so popular with the audience that it was repeated again when a technical hitch hit the running order.

Guest dancers Simon Cox and Emma-Joy Hopkins performed a flawless and physically demanding interpretation of Pink’s angst-ridden hit Just Give Me A Reason. Simon, the son of the show’s director and principal choreographer Julie Cox and producer Geoffrey Cox, trained at Directions and is now a dancer on a cruise ship.

James Morgan and Dominic Stevenson brought tap dancing and comedy to the stage in an awesome interpretation of Moses Supposes from Singing In The Rain - undoubtedly one of the best performances of the evening.

Gymnastics featured in the show, too, with a particularly exciting and impressive routine to Live and Let Die which included a tower of male performers balanced on each other’s shoulders.

Directions is obviously very proud of one of its former students, Carly Hopkinson, who has been signed up by Cliff Richard’s management. Carly is giving something back to the school where she first trained and is now a singing teacher at its base on Sheffield Road, Chesterfield.

The Red Carpet Show gave Carly a platform to demonstrate why she is a superstar in the making. Not only does she have a divine voice but she oozes sophisticated glamour. Carly performed a clutch of songs including Unchained Melody, sung in Italian, in which she was accompanied by dancers in stunning apricot-coloured dresses; Ave Maria in which she looked like a beautiful bride in a dazzling white gown and an awesome version of Bring Him Home from the smash-hit musical, Les Miserables.

Ensemble work saw lively selections from Matilda with scrapping schoolkids, cheeky words on a blackboard and the performers giving it large in the personality department for the opening song Revolting Children. Equally entertaining was the selection from Annie, the ragamuffin orphans banging their buckets to add a percussive elements to It’s a Hard Knock LIfe. Older students brought the swinging Sixties back to life with a medley of songs from the musical Hairspray.

style to the show with a medley of songs from Hairspray.

A very special night which showed that Chesterfield can be proud of its young representatives in the world of performance arts.

GAY BOLTON