In a blog last week, I wrote about the connections to be found between theatre and the sci-fi TV series Doctor Who, following the casting announcement of stage and screen star Peter Capaldi as the twelfth Doctor. The musical fingers of the theatre industry reach out in many different directions to forge connections with varying aspects of life however, not just popular BBC television shows, and one area which theatre has always had a strong link with is charity. Stage productions and actors have supported many charitable organisations over the years, often fundraising through performance-based means, such as concerts and cabarets. I’ve attended many such events arranged/hosted by West End stars and been involved in the process of organising some myself. One performance event which has become a regular on the scene is that of Giggin4Good, the organisation which supports Great Ormond Street Hospital. In a few week’s time, the team are back with an impressive line-up of West End talent in tow to once again give audiences a night of quality entertainment in the name of charity.
Giggin4Good Summertime returns to St Pauls ‘The Actor’s’ Church on Sunday 25th August 2013, this time with the aim of raising funds for the renal unit and the heart and lung transplant team at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. They have gathered together a 30-strong company of performers for this summer concert, which also sees the return of some familiar faces from past G4G events, including Kelly-Anne Gower (Les Miserables, Blood Brothers), Stuart Matthew Price (Shrek, Parade) and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (Flashdance, Grease), the latter of whom is currently playing Diana in A Chorus Line, which closes at the London Palladium at the end of August. There are also some exciting first-time performers, such as Kira Morsley, who was most recently seen lighting up Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre as Christine Daae in the UK premiere of Maury Yeston’s Phantom. The full cast features Marcus Ayton, Matthew Barrow, Andrew Bateup, Natalie Blenford, Charlotte Bradford, David Brewis, Sabrina Carter, Rosie Clarkson, Lucyelle Cliffe, Joseph Connor, Matthew Croke, Jonathan Eio, Rosie Ladkin, Jordan Langford, Jordan Lee Davies, Hannah Levane, Nathan Lodge, Shaun McCourt, Christopher Orton, Katie Paine, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Ziggie Sky Ward, Joe Stering, Benjamin Vivian-Jones, Kate Winney and Gary Wood. Up-and-coming performer Ciaran O Driscoll (Geek! A New Musical, Ushers: The Front of House Musical) also earned himself a solo spot in the concert, thanks to an online competition ran by the Giggin4Good team on twitter. After submitting performance video entries, he was one of four finalists alongside Charlotte Bradford, Gillian Ford and Anna Haresnape and won the vote with his I’ll Cover You reprise.
Giggin4Good’s Summertime concert will feature songs from a range of material, including popular artist Josh Groban and Broadway leading lady and Glee star Idina Menzel. The cast will also be performing songs from such musical theatre classics as Pippin, RENT, Wicked, Spamalot, Guys and Dolls, Porgy and Bess, Peter Pan and West Side Story, as well as the MT-themed American TV show Smash. Teaser details of a few performances have already been revealed, which include a little bit of Simon & Garfunkel from Jordan Langford and Nathan Lodge, Kira Morsley singing ‘Meadowlark’ from the Stephen Schwartz musical The Baker’s Wife and Rosie Ladkin and Andrew Bateup performing a duet of composer Lance Horne’s ‘Last Day On Earth’. Incidentally, MTA graduate Ziggie Sky Ward opened the second-ever G4G showcase with a stunning performance of that song back in February 2012. She, and many of the other performers, are keeping quiet as to what audiences can expect from them at this event, but judging by the standard of talent in the cast, it’s sure to be a very special night indeed.
Giggin4Good was created in 2011 by children’s nannies Emma Howe, Hayley Guild and Karen Howe. They explain the origins of G4G on the organisation’s website, which was conceived in a car as they travelled home from a gig.
‘As a group of three nannies caring for children is a priority and when one of our charges was rushed to Great Ormond Street Hospital with a respitory infection needing urgent care we witnessed the crucial work that the hospital does in aiding the children back to health.
We all wanted to give something back to this magical place and as keen theatre goers it made sense to join forces with the theatre and produce Giggin4Good.’
A recent addition to the G4G team is Shaun McCourt, who will also be singing on the night. Having previously performed at G4G events, he offered further help and is now a listed co-producer; he helped to organise this month’s Summertime concert. Musical direction comes from Huw Evans, who won the Best Musical Direction gong in the 2012 Broadway World Awards for his work on RENT at the Greenwich Theatre, London, UK.
In the two years since that first gig in July 2011, Giggin4Good has managed to raise thousands of pounds for Great Ormond Street Hospital through its superb events. Cast member Kate Winney recently tweeted, ‘I feel so honoured to be performing as a part of @Giggin4Good raising money for such a great cause with some incredible singers.’ That is exactly what the night will deliver; performances from some incredible singers and the chance to raise money for a great cause. Having attended previous G4G events, I’d recommend it as an unmissable night out for any musical theatre fan and wish them luck in this upcoming venture.
By Julie Robinson (missjulie25)
You can follow Giggin4Good on Twitter: (@Giggin4Good)
Tuesday 13th August 2013