STEP on Stage is an arts group set up by Heather Loughridge and Rebecca Calderwood, two music teachers from Cloughmills and Dunloy.
They began in Summer 2012 with a show choir workshop lasting a week with a concert at the end.
They had eight girls involved in the summer and so decided to attempt a pantomime at Christmas in the hope of building more interest...and more interest they got!
On the first night in September 2012, 105 young people from Dunloy and Cloughmills showed up at the hall eager to be part of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’.
The girls had a job on their hands with only 24 speaking parts they had to accommodate every child.
In the end there were 82 children taking part and all of them had their moment on the stage.
The show opened with Fairy Goodheart played by Katherine Mullan along with junior fairies Blaithin Herron and Orlaith McGilligan followed soon after by Professor Wonderwings and her junior fairies Charley Herron and Anna Kearns.
All these young girls brought a touch of magic to the proceedings.
Emma Kerr took the part of Snow White alongside Bronagh McIlfatrick as Prince Federick, both played impeccably and coping well with the fact they are both female.
Mary Kearns played a very convincing wicked Queen Caligula with a particularly chilling performance of Alive Cooper’s ‘Poison’. Her evil sidekick Blackwing was played by Rebecca McGowan, a stand out moment being when she turned into a crow, her portrayal of which was picked out by many audience members as a comical highlight.
Top Dwarf was played by Caiomhe McColgan who led her six colleagues in excellently in ‘Consider Yourself at Home’.
Solo parts for this were also taken by Cliodhna McCamphill (Cheerful) and Fiachra Martin (Grouchy). The other dwarves Eva Doherty (Sniffly), Oran McAleese (Dozy), Annie Martin (Snoozy) and Caitlin Crawford (Disney) were all played wonderfully given that they are all under 8 years old and gave us many comical moments throughout the show.
The token panto ‘Baddies’ were played by Sarah McIlhatton (Stinkwort) and Nicole Traynor (Bogwort) providing us with comical chases and a lot of the humour of the show.
Shauneen O’Boyle played the magic mirror (SpeakTrue), a dramatic performance with a quick change to play a bear and a black fairy, such a professional at her young age.
The panto Dame, Dolly Dumpling and her son Danny Dumpling were played by Catherine Ann Traynor and Stephanie Traynor respectively.
Big congratulations goes to these young ladies as they were in every scene and gave us a trailer load of laughs with their ad lib-ing!
The big chorus numbers delivered by separate groups of the 82 strong cast such as ‘Walking on Sunshine’, ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ and ‘Marry You’ were energetic and all the young girls and boys worked hard each Tuesday evening learning words, dance moves and places.
The finale number involving all 82 young people packed onto the stage and in the aisle was spectacular and brought a very successful show to an explosive end.
Throughout the show, all musical numbers were accompanied by a live band comprising Michael McGonigle (guitar), Nathan Murray (bass) and Jack Navin (drums).
Jack is only 11 years old but must be seen to be believed as his talent on the drums is amazing at such a young age.
Heather and Rebecca shared piano playing duties with backstage management.
Many people helped with stage crew, backstage supervision, props, make up, costumes, scenery and taking tickets and must be thanked for their help as it wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
However, the real reason behind all the hard work was to raise money for the chosen charity and the girls chose the Cystic Fibrosis as they know people affected by the condition.
After the dress rehearsal and the main performance along with a ‘Guess the Sweets’ competition, the final total raised for CF Trust was £1,391.
This sum was pleasing to Heather and Rebecca and to all involved with making the show a success, a real pat on the back to the kids for all their hard work.
Step on Stage are continuing their work and hope to have another choir workshop in summer. You can find Step on Stage on Facebook for more information about upcoming events.