Saturday 19 September 2020, 16:09 GMT

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Drive 3rd - 7th May

On the air this week, we spoke to writer/director Gary Sullivan and Teresa Andrews from the Essex Group Parents Committee who were at Phoenix to talk about the upcoming production of Notre Dame, written and directed by Gary, and starring Teresa’s son who’s part of the Essex Group – a group of very talented youngsters from 8 to 21 who all star in the productions they put on. From what Gary and Teresa were saying, it all sounds like a very entertaining production on in a couple of months, in that the quality of performances by the group in the past have left people astounded, and audiences who’ve seen it have all said they've been blown away by the productions, getting “chills down the back of the neck” from watching it. The group auditions afresh every time it does a production for a new cast, so it always gets new people in who are right for the parts they play, and it means they get a cast wholly designed for that particular production, helping the performance to really hit home with the audience. Notre Dame is, of course, the story of hunchback Quasimodo, and the musical production has been given an update with a new script by Gary as well as the score written by fellow Essex writer, composer John Trent Wallace. The production has previously played around the world, but this will be the world premiere of the new version. This year’s Eurovision UK entrant Josh Dubovie is part of the group and production as well, having been in the Essex group for years. If you want to get tickets go to the website for the production go to its website or the Basildon Towngate Theatre’s website –
Performances are from 1st July to the 3rd at 7.30 with a Sat matinee at 2.30 Tickets are £16.00 adults, £14.00 children OAPs - or give the box office no. a call on 01376 567677. The group have to fill up the seats to keep the productions going in the future, so do head along if you can. As Teresa also says, it’s great for the children who take part as they get great enjoyment from it and that “I really want to spread the word about this show, for each and every child who performs in it but also so that as many people as possible can share the enjoyment of seeing a show which they will never forget as well as having a good night out - showing us all that we do not have to spend a fortune travelling to London because the exhilaration can be achieved at a fraction of the cost, on our own doorstep
Also spoke to Derek Ferridge from Rayleigh who just missed out on winning an NHS competition for cooking the best food for people who are looked after by the health service – Derek came 3rd out of the entrants from all over the South East, and it was great to speak to him – and Paul from the South Essex partnership University health trust who also came along to speak to us about the issue of food in the health sector as well – it’s been an issue in the past, of course – and the thing about having to cook great food for things like care homes is it must be tasty of course to get people to eat it, but it must be done to a budget – and be nutritious - as you’re cooking for people who need the goodness from food as much as anyone – so you can’t just lob a lot of great tasting stuff in, with no nutritional value. Derek treads this fine line on a regular basis, and it sounds like a very smooth working team with a very good set up, so was great to speak to the pair about the great work they do, and will continue to do in the future.
Among the local stories we looked at were – pubs and clubs in Essex saying new rules on helping pubs to deal with binge drinking didn’t go far enough and weren’t clear – as they were defined at people who were “too drunk” which might not be easy to spot.
The headline hits this week were!
Tues: The Darth Vader Sat Nav (yes, forget the election - we cover the big stories) Prince – Alphabet Street, Huey Lewis and the news, Stuck with you
Wed – The man who threw away a half a million pound winning monopoly ticket – Heal the pain – George Michael, a bit of the fat boys Wipeout, Everything but the girl, I don’t want to talk about it,
Thurs – protests about traffic in a Devon village involving a campaigner pressing the button of a pedestrian crossing over and over again to back up the traffic even more – Elvis – Rubberneckin’, Depeche Mode, enjoy the silence, Style Council, Shout to the Top and (of course) Sugababes – push the button
Fri – the election result! – we went a big mad for this one-off so lots of ‘em – Style Council, Promised Land, Tears for fears – everybody wants to rule the world – then we did – We Can work it out, Beatles, Badly Drawn Boy something to talk about, Elvis, a little less conversation……………
Drive weekdays 3 - 7

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