By Adam Burgan, the arts and entertainment manager at the Octagon in Yeovil.
AS our Summer School programme continues at the Octagon we are also busy preparing for our autumn season of shows.
We have just sent the new Yeovil Literary Festival brochure to the printers and details will be unveiled next week. Staff are also getting ready for a packed autumn season of shows that will see many new faces at the Octagon along with the return of some popular friends.
One of those we are looking forward to welcoming back will be Ben Langley. Ben starred in our pantomimes for six consecutive years and then, after three years of performing at other theatres, made a triumphant return last year to direct and star in Aladdin.
Ben was discovered by my predecessor Grant Sellen and our deputy manager Kate Wigmore, who saw him performing in a Shakespeare 4 Kidz production and thought his huge energy and superb comic timing would be perfect for pantomime.
Ben developed his skills at the Octagon and, in my opinion, is one of the best panto comics in the country. He regularly performs street theatre at Covent Garden - another great place to develop those comedy skills - and has his own touring show with the Ha Ha... series.
It all started Ha Ha Hamlet! which was created and premiered at the Octagon. The latest in the series is Ha Ha Holmes! which stars Ben and his long-time comedy friend Andrew Fettes. Andrew also starred in one of our pantomimes when he played the role of Abanazar a few years ago.
In a major coup Joe Pasquale has been cast as the third cast member of Ha Ha Holmes! and as you can imagine casting Joe has meant venues around the country have been clamouring for a date.
Joe takes the role of Sherlock Holmes with Ben as Doctor Watson and Andrew as, well, everyone else. This ridiculous and hilarious show is sure to delight and we are so pleased that Ben's career continues to go from strength to strength.
Ha Ha Holmes! is at the Octagon Theatre on Monday and Tuesday, September 9-10.
Our big talent competition Let Me Entertain You is nearing the auditions, so if you haven't got your application form in, what are you waiting for? Whatever your talent is we want to see it. This is your chance to take to the Octagon stage in Somerset's biggest talent competition so don't miss out.
We've had a lot of singers and bands enter but still no sign of any dancing dogs so far, much to my disappointment! The auditions will take place on August 23-25 and we will also accept auditions via video for those who are unable to make the audition dates. You can download an application form from the Octagon website or fill out the one on Page 31.
Tickets have now gone on sale for Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society (YAOS) and its production of the brilliant musical Guys and Dolls. The show will be directed and choreographed by Alan Spencer with musical direction by Matt Holmes - two very experienced and highly accomplished professionals.
The musical is set in New York and follows two couples: wheeler- dealer Nathan Detroit who is trying to earn a dishonest living finding a place for his illegal gambling and his long-suffering fiancee of 14 years Miss Adelaide, and Salvation Army Missionary Sarah Brown and big time gambler Sky Masterson.
Cue some of the greatest musical songs including Luck be a Lady, Sit Down you're Rocking the Boat, Guys and Dolls, I've Never Been in Love Before and If I Were a Bell. YAOS has enjoyed huge success recently with a string of sell-out productions so don't leave it too late to book your tickets.
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