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“Excellent - from the first phone call to the curtain call!”




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Pioneering Theatre, Music and Community Arts

 In Wolverhampton from 1980 to 2013



1982 - 2013

Zip Theatre gratefully

received support


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Colin P. Dixon proved a confident Lucky and was in superb voice, and Denny Ffrench as hassled nightclub manager Bunny was a hit with the audience straight away for his witty delivery.

First class support came from delightful Sue Pollitt as Lucky's new love Lily, Jon Lingard-Lane as tough club owner Mr. Crowe and Dyll Ferreday as tacky young would-be stripper Lady Lash. This has plenty of tension, loads of laughs and a stack of great soul hits belted out by the tight as anything Soul Survivors - you'll love it.

And judging from the rapturous reception the first night audience gave it, so did they (the majority abandoned their seats - and their cares - to bop in the aisles during the final blistering set from The Soul Survivors). This spirited show looks destined for a seriously successful run.

AdNews - 12.09.96 - At the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton


Zip Theatre's very successful play about arson.

Developed through an exciting and important partnership between the West Midlands Arson Task Force and Zip Theatre, Sparx! is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of malicious fires and the importance of fire safety for young people.

Originally presented in theatres throughout the West Midlands, this outstanding play has been adapted tour secondary schools.

The 45 minute performance is followed by

a 30 minute workshop.

The messages of Sparx! are reinforced with contemporary music and original songs and young people are encouraged to take a responsible attitude towards fire safety.

"Sparx! is a powerful and thought provoking play, which the children thoroughly enjoyed.

The play was pitched at exactly the right level -

hard hitting but realistic.

An adult topic delivered to a teenage audience and sinking in is a tall order - Sparx managed it.

The follow up pack has allowed us to continue working towards educating children about

the dangers of fire and continue taking preventative measures to stop arson before children consider it. The reality of the consequences really hit home in the final scene and the pupils were very enthusiastic about the play afterwards.

I truly believe this play has had an impact on our pupils and it will hopefully make a difference in their futures. Thank you, this really added another dimension to the fire safety work we have already done. Brilliant.”

Mrs Anne Parker, Assistant Headteacher, Churnet View Middle School

Recent Productions

Pioneering Theatre in the West Midlands

Behind A Smile is a programme which has been carefully designed for pupils in Years 6, 7 & 8 to raise awareness of the very real issues around the sexual exploitation of children.

“The content is very comprehensive,

many of the hidden dangers are revealed.

The use of language is excellent

and pertinent to the age group.

The performance was gripping

and entirely believable

and children's attention was held throughout.

The presentation was pitched at the right level and is entertaining as well as being informative. The follow-up workshop made children think, made them unpick what they had seen and heard

and gave them strategies to cope."

(Headteacher of a Wolverhampton junior school.)

Set in the heart of what was once the cradle of industry, the Black Country, Packers is about a bunch of women packing for an unscrupulous boss in a draughty warehouse, running up to Christmas.

Poignant and hilarious, it is a story of pain, pathos, severed digits, mad boyfriends, hypochondriacs, attempted murder, sex and parcel-tape.

But most of all Packers is a life-affirming story of ordinary people: their struggles, hopes and aspirations

Packers Behind A Smile Dying 2 Drive

Produced in association with West Midlands Fire and Police Services, this play raises awareness among young people of the dangers of becoming involved in vehicle crime.

The project focuses on the consequences of joyriding and other forms of illegal and unsafe driving. The harrowing consequences of vehicle crime affect young people themselves, crash victims, families of those involved and members of the emergency services.

Sparx! Sparx poster Eleanor Gray, Dennis Ffrench - Piratz!

Piratz! - an exciting play, featuring Zip Theatre's accomplished professional performing team, carefully designed to raise awareness of issues around drugs, bullying and personal safety.

Combining comedy and a gripping plot, this fine example of Zip's special brand of educational theatre will absorb young audiences, who will be entertained as they learn.

Piratz! includes popular music, colourful characters and explores the themes of peer pressure, personal safety and the potential dangers of the club scene, with particular reference to the availability of drugs.

Citz is presented as an accessible and humorous adventure story.

Another exciting piece of theatre featuring Zip Theatre's professional performing team. The play includes popular music, colourful characters and explores the themes of Confidence, Respect, Individuality, Self-Esteem and Power (C.R.I.S.P).

Lesley Beaumont, Eleanor Gray, Pat the Dog, Dennis Ffrench - Citz

Over 400 local people were involved in this spectacular community play, performed at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre in June 2004.

The Wolverhampton Mystery Cycle - Finale Dennis Ffrench, Lesley Beaumont - Behind A Smile Lesley Beaumont, Eleanor Gray, Kathy O'Connor, Dyll Ferreday - Rattling

Entertaining, hard hitting, humourous and thought-provoking theatre, with original music and evocative songs expertly performed by an accomplished cast of 9 professionals.

We are all affected, but what are the links between drugs, crime and prostitution?

This powerful play tells it how it really is. Four women relive the stories of their individual battles and downward spiral into drugs. Now they want to get free. From prison, crime and most of all addiction. But is anybody listening? And can they cope?

Rattling, commissioned by Nexus, was researched with the assistance of 54 young women in Brockhill Prison who shared their experiences through the use of drama, discussion and structured workshop activity. Much of the material in the play is in the actual words of those women.

Lesley Beaumont, Dennis Ffrench - Behind A Smile

A play for pupils in Year 10 and above which raises awareness of the very real issues around children being forced into prostitution. The play centres on Jenny, a 15 year old schoolgirl who is unwittingly lured into the world of drugs and prostitution.

Accurately researched with the professional input of experts working with young people in this situation, Crazy World clearly demonstrates the early warning signs of a new relationship which is potentially abusive.

Using a positive approach to address the issues, young people are encouraged to be aware of the very real dangers which do exist.

Live music and powerful performances underscore a very high quality piece of theatre-in-education which was originally commissioned by Barnardo's PHASE (Providing Hope Against Sexual Exploitation) Project in Wolverhampton.

The programme includes follow-up workshops, delivered within a structured and safe framework to address the sensitive issues raised in the play.

".....this should be seen by every young person in secondary schools." (Head of PSE, Walsall school.)

"The drugs thing, it's all about coping, and the crime's all about paying for the drugs.

And what's it all costing? And who pays for all of that?

Everybody. Everybody pays."

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This epic undertaking culminated in the first ever presentation of a mystery cycle in Wolverhampton, in celebration of our first year as a city in 2001.

Hundreds of local people of all ages and backgrounds joined with Zip to produce 2 different community plays in 2001 and 2004, based on the spirit and content of the original mystery plays.

The Wolverhampton Mystery Cycle included specially commissioned original music, contemporary dance and a multi-ethnic cast to reflect the strength and vibrancy of our modern community.

"The quality of Zip's original music is a testament to their high standards.

The offerings of Wulfrunians great and small, proves Zip is worth all the grants and funding it needs -

and sometimes gets."

Dennis Ffrench - Satan flies in - Wolverhampton Mystery Cycle Jenni Burke - Wulfdance

The smash-hit production for Wolverhampton in the Millennium Dome, July 2000, featured 80 young people working alongside Zip's team of professionals.

Out of darkness cometh the light
This is our town today
Wolverhampton is the town
We're all proud to call our home
Sharing, giving,
Loving, living,
In the furnace of life
That the people are tempered in!

Zip toured this brand new spectacular outdoor play, complete with live band and two Live Dragons 4 metres high, to villages around Staffordshire and Warwickshire during Summer 2002.

Wind Dragons was commissioned by Live and Local and audiences joined in with preparatory arts workshops to try something new and be part of the show.

Wind Dragons Dyll Ferreday, Dennis Ffrench - Hold Back The Night Tim Hubball, Sue Pollit, John Johnson - Hold Back The Night Hold Back The Night

National tour of mid-scale theatres in 1996

The opening night of this collaboration between Wolverhampton's very capable Zip Theatre and acclaimed soul supremos The Soul Survivors made for a truly inspiring evening of theatre and live music. Set against the backdrop of the mean and moody Crow's Nest Nightclub with The Soul Survivors as house band, the play follows the fortunes of Lucky - singer with the band whose finances are as tangled as his love life.

The small but talented young cast give some great performances, particularly Cathy Pemberton who doubles as bubbly cleaner Sally Lashford and Lucky's former lover Grace.