Robbie Williams gets help from Black Country theatre group

Robbie Williams - taking over The Palladium with the help of Central Youth

Robbie Williams – taking over The Palladium with the help of Central Youth Theatre.

Superstar singer Robbie Williams got help from a Black Country theatre group as he took over the London Palladium for a show with songs from forthcoming album “Swings Both Ways”.

Wolverhampton’s Central Youth Theatre (CYT), who were round the corner in Leicester Square recieving a national film award, provided him with more than sixty costumes from the 10,000 plus held by their Actors Wardrobe costume resource at The Arts Market, Salop Street, Wolverhampton.

The one-off show was a first chance to hear tracks from the album as the Staffordshire-born singer performed with his orchestra and guests including Rufus Wainwright, Lily Allen and star Muppets Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog on Friday, 8th November.

Robbie Williams: One Night At The Palladium was filmed for BBC1 in front of invited guests and fans and is due to be shown at Christmas.

His new single “Go Gentle” was out on Monday (11th November) and new album “Swings Both Ways” is out tomorrow (Monday, 18th November).

Also on the Monday (11th, November) he was on Mastertapes as returned to BBC Radio 4 for a third series.

Robbie, UK best-selling UK solo artist of all time,  joined presenter John Wilson for a two-part edition of Mastertapes involving an in-depth interview with him  (for the ‘A-side’), questions from the studio audience (for the ‘B-side’ on Tuesday afternoon) and exclusive live performances of songs from his debut solo album Life Thru A Lens.

He released the album after leaving Take That and it was the the foundation for a solo career that has, so far, included six number one singles and more BRIT awards than any other artist. It includes two of Robbie’s best-loved songs ‘Angels’ and ‘Let Me Entertain You’.

Meanwhile, on the same Friday of Robbie’s show, ten CYT members and Director Jane Ward were at the National Youth Film Festival Awards 2013 at Vue  Cinema, Leicester Square, to receive an award for their short comedy film about everyday goings on in a Black Country chip shop.

It won the Round My  Corner category hosted by actors from Horrible Histories.

Salt 'n' Malt

Ben Davies, top, consults the menu at Pennfields Plaice, Birches Barn Road, Wolverhampton, as Priyasasha Kumari tries to control the enthusiasm of Annabelle Evans, left, and Marcel Numez in a scene from Salt ‘n’ Malt, Central Youth Theatre’s film nominated in the National Youth Film Festival Awards on Friday 8 November

Salt ‘n’ Malt. was made at Pennfields Plaice, Birches Barn Road, Wolverhampton, this summer after a £5,000 award from First Light Film, the education arm of the British Film Institute.

CYT member Lauren Riley, aged 20, of Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, came up with the idea and devised, wrote and co-directed it with Kieran Bird, 20.

More than 20 young people were involved in making the film, premiered, with behind the scenes footage, at Wolverhampton’s Light House Media Centre in June.

All films nominated were shortlisted by an industry panel and the winning films were selected by a group of celebrity judges, this year including Toby Jones, Damien Jones, Mel Giedroyc, Jason Solomons, Danny, Leigh, Dan Zeff and more.

This slapstick comedy was filmed in the style of a Spaghetti Western with much fun and comedy being derived from the Black Country dialect.

Black Country filmmaker Mark Pressdee, who was the Film Mentor to the young people, has recently had great success with his short film Titanic Love which has been winning awards at film festivals all over the world during 2013.

CYT member Lauren Riley says: “I am very honoured to gain such a great experience with Central Youth Theatre, if it wasn’t for being a member I would never imagine attending a London film festival, let alone one where my film idea is being nominated.”

Central Youth Theatre Director Jane Ward

Central Youth Theatre Director Jane Ward

Jane Ward, of CYT, based at the Newhampton Arts Centre, Dunkley Street, Whitmore Reans,  Wolverhampton, said: “We are very excited about winning the award but also about the fantastic costume order from Robbie. It is a great tribute to the quality of costumes we hold.

“Like all charities and voluntary groups we are feeling the effects of austerity policies and cuts in funding. This year we are making the resource more widely available beyond theatre, film and television by hiring out making costumes available for the whole community to hire during Christmas and holiday season.

“We can costume Santas, Elves, Fairies, Victorian ladies and gentlemen and children, knights and damsels, pirates, very fashionable vintage – anything you can think of for celebrations and parties.

“We try and make the most of what we have got to help us cover costs and to continue working with young people developing their confidence, abilities and skills so that they can enjoy theatre work and stand a better chance of employment when they go looking for careers.

“Over thirty years we have worked with thousands of young people in the area, helping many into excellent careers, and we want to keep doing so.

“We realise that the council and others who have helped us with funding over the years are having a very tough time at the moment but our members and their families have always contributed to the running of youth theatre and we have always tried to raise funds in as many ways as we can think of.

“Recently we have bag packed at Tesco at Burnt Tree Island, Dudley, had two ex-members run the Birmingham half-marathon to raise funds and had a fun family quiz night at the West End Working Men’s Club, Wolverhampton – to help us keep providing a great service to young people in the area.

“As funders find it more difficult to help we are doing our utmost to draw on our own resources – and making our costumes more widely available to hire than just for theatre, film and TV seemed a good idea. It is also a way of helping others to have a really good Christmas celebration.”

Actors Wardrobe, based at  The Arts Market, Wolverhampton Market, Salop Street, WV3 0SF.

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