Bath Light Operatic Group makes a welcome return to the Theatre Royal Bath this autumn with a large company of local talent to perform the divine musical comedy, SISTER ACT, appearing from Tuesday 3rd November to Saturday 7th November. A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, this uplifting, family-friendly show is packed with infectious musical numbers inspired by Motown, funk, soul and disco, written by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar Award winner Alan Menken.
Based on the hit 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith, Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a crime and is put in protective custody in the last place anyone would think to look – a convent! Under the suspicious eye of Mother Superior, Deloris, disguised as a nun, transforms the convent choir into the hottest musical act in town. Whilst helping her fellow sisters find their voices, she unexpectedly rediscovers her own, but their singing success puts Deloris’s cover in jeopardy.
The musical Sister Act received its premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in California in October 2006. It opened in the West End in June 2009, where it was seen by over a million theatregoers and was nominated for four Olivier Awards; a Broadway production followed in 2011.
Played to professional standards by a forty-strong company from Bath Light Operatic Group (BLOG), Sister Act has been produced by a dedicated team of professionals working alongside cast members from the local area, accompanied by a live orchestra. The company, aged from 15 to 70 years, hail from Bath, Trowbridge, Bradford-on-Avon, Midsomer Norton, Corsham, Melksham and Saltford. The show is directed by David Tucker, with musical direction by Matthew Finch and choreography by Alison Pritchard.
Performing the lead role is Aimi Kuhlke, whose previous credits for BLOG include Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Kate Monster in Avenue Q. Aimi grew up in Bath, where she was a long-standing member of Bodlets, before training at the London School of Musical Theatre. Aimi says, “I know Whoopi Goldberg’s shoes are big ones to fill – and the heels are very high – but I can’t wait for the glitz and glamour that comes with playing Deloris Van Cartier”.
At 16 years old, George Miles will be the youngest member of the company to take on a principal role in Sister Act, when he plays the role of Pablo. His previous stage credits include playing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Ryan in High School Musical 2 and Doody in Grease for Curtain Up Theatre School. George says, ‘This is one of the liveliest shows I’ve had the chance to be a part of, with some hilarious comedy moments. It’s a privilege to work with such experienced performers, like Jacquie Buck – who marks her 40th year with the company in this production.”
Jacquie Buck has played numerous principal roles for Bath Light Operatic Group and her performance as Mother Superior in Sister Act will mark four decades with the company. Jacquie first performed as a child with Bath Unity Players, before landing a role with Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society (BODS), at the age of 9, in Fiddler on the Roof at the Theatre Royal; and she hasn’t looked back since. Jacquie says, “I’m humbled to receive recognition for something that has given me so much pleasure over the years – god willing, there’s a few more left in me yet!”
Geoff White is no stranger to Bath audiences having previously performed many lead roles at the Theatre Royal with both BLOG and BODS – from Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music to Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls. This time he prepares to play the villain, as he performs the role of gangster Curtis. Geoff is joined by Tristan Carter as Eddie, another actor well known to local theatregoers for his performances in both BLOG and BODS productions; as well as being an accomplished director and co-founder of Curtain Up Theatre School. Tristan last performed at the Theatre Royal Bath in February with BODS playing Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, and last September he directed BLOG’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Director David Tucker was a founder member of the acclaimed Stothert & Pitt Drama Group, later to become Bath Phoenix Players. Since the mid-1970s, David has split his time between performing and directing, working with a number of theatre groups across the region. He returns to work with BLOG after previously directing many of their Songs from the Shows performances and their critically acclaimed production of The Sound of Music in 2012.
Musical Director Matthew Finch will conduct the Orchestra. Matthew teaches Music, Theatre and Singing at the City of Bath College. He is also a composer and has written six musicals. Matthew started working with BLOG in 1997 and first took on the role as BLOG’s Musical Director in 1999. He has worked with the company ever since, most recently on their productions of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2014, South Pacific in 2013, The Sound of Music in 2012 and Disney’s Beauty & the Beast in 2011 – all at Bath’s Theatre Royal. Choreographer Alison Pritchard has performed professionally with Images of Dance and the National Dance Company. She is currently director of Little Dances, where she teaches dance to the next generation of performers.
Bath Light Operatic Group first performed at the Theatre Royal Bath in 1956 when they staged The Geisha. Over the years the group has achieved much critical success, winning Bristol Post Rose Bowl Awards for Pickwick, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, West Side Story, Kiss Me Kate and Barnum. BLOG has also won the N.O.D.A Award for Excellence for its productions of South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Disney’s Beauty & the Beast and Sweeney Todd.
SISTER ACT appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 3rd November to Saturday 7th November. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk