Music, without a doubt, plays a major role in the life of many of our Eastbourne churches. That is not only in the regular Sunday services, of course, but also for special events, for the blessing and benefit of the congregations and the people in the communities around.
Mandy Bartlett, St Elisabeth’s, tells of great plans at the church: a production of the well-known musical ‘Joseph’. “I play flute and drums in the music group. During one of our rehearsals, a friend who sings with us mentioned that she had seen photos from the last time I directed ‘Joseph’. Would I consider doing it again? It went from there really. I mulled it over for a while as it is quite a big commitment, but in the end it just seemed like the right thing to do.”
Some of the cast are from the church band and membership. Most of them, Mandy says, have acting or musical theatre experience, and many of the children are from nearby schools. “It is a great opportunity for the young people to grow in confidence through song and dance, and everyone is having a wonderful time. The production team is quite small at the moment and there is still lots to do. Anyone who is handy with hammer, paintbrush or needle and thread would be very welcome!”
Mandy is the ideal person to take the lead in all of this as she has directed ‘Joseph’ in a couple of other local venues. “As far as performing goes,” she remembers, “I have been on stage for the best part of my adult life
in one form or another. I was a Bluecoat for a few years, and we put on many cabaret-type shows; I was also a member of EODS and The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company.”
There are several reasons for mounting this production, Mandy explains. “I wanted to raise money for St Elisabeth’s building fund, but to involve the community in church life too. The telling of this Bible story in a
fun way gets God’s message to people who ordinarily might not hear it.”
What is it about the tale of Joseph that appeals most to Mandy? “I have always been a sucker for a story where the underdog comes out on top and right triumphs over wrong. Here the important point for me is the
brothers repenting from how they treated Joseph.”
The response in the church has been fantastic. Many positive comments, saying how good it is to finally use the stage. “St Elisabeth’s has a very fluid feel to it, a lot of activities happening in that space apart
from the week-by-week worship.”
Performance dates are Thursday 28th, Friday 29th and Saturday 30th April, all at 6pm. Ticket prices are £7 for adults and £4 for children, with a discount for families. Contact Mandy on (01323) 500070 to make
Okay, we’ll be there!
* The Watoto Children’s Choir, from Uganda, will be taking part in a Concert of Hope at St Elisabeth’s on Tuesday 22nd February at 7.30 pm. Free admission, but with an opportunity to purchase African merchandise to help cover travel costs.