Variety extravaganza is a seaside special hit at Loughborough College

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A student variety extravaganza proved to be a seaside special hit at Loughborough College this week.

The capacity audience at the College’s Arts Academy Theatre certainly got that holiday feeling as The End of the Year End of the Pier Show delivered a classic blend of song, dance and comedy – and a poignant moment or two with a chosen charity in mind.

Performing Arts students were warming up the crowd in the Box Office café with a host of fund raising stalls before they reached the auditorium where Beccie Hales and Rachel Colquhoun took on compere duties for the night, offering an expert mix of quick fire ad lib and flair.

There was slick Sweet Charity and can can craziness, a hip hop heel dance and bee bop harmonies. Katie Grimley’s stand up debut focusing on her experiences as a new driver filled the theatre with laughter while Lizzie Hinds' powerful vocal performance of ‘Defying Gravity’ left everyone in awed silence.

Mary Brewin's moving spoken work performance told the story of her recovery from illness and her consultant and a representative from Nottingham Hospitals Charity were amongst the audience – with all proceeds from the show going to the charity.

“We held auditions for this show so it gave our students a taste of the industry and that also led to a performance of outstanding quality – my background is in variety performance and there is no question it could have held its own on a professional stage. We were extremely proud of the whole cast,” said Vicki Calvert-Gooch, who created and co-directed the End of the Pier show with fellow Loughborough College Performing Arts lecturer Melanie Potts.

“With so many variety routes into the business, such as on cruise ships, at holiday camps or hotels and in seaside shows, this was fantastic experience for our students.

“They had been researching these types of performance for months, we had been to see variety shows and watched recordings and there were workshops giving them a chance to have a go at things like puppetry and ventriloquism. This was a real challenge but everyone really stepped up.

“Katie was terrified before her stand up but everyone absolutely loved it. The audience were wonderful – they were applauding and laughing and joining in from the beginning, really swept along and there was a standing ovation at the end which overwhelmed the students – some were in tears.

“We raised around £250 for the charity, which is brilliant – the whole night was a resounding success and was a real tribute to the hard work and dedication of the staff and the students. We’re already planning how we can make it bigger and better next year!”

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