HAWK Hoylake & West Kirby Theatre Group can trace its origins back to the 1800s, and through the years in various incarnations, it has put on performances for Wirral’s residents.
Rosemary Evans has been with HAWK for over 40 years and is its current President and is also in charge of the theatre’s wardrobe. She told birkenhead.news, “We do two shows a year – a panto and a summer show.” This years summer show is a lavish production of the energetic rock musical, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ to be held at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight this month.
When birkenhead.news visited, the group was rehearsing at The Parade Community Centre on Hoyle Road. There were, in fact, two rehearsals taking place with the musicians rehearsing downstairs and dance routines taking place upstairs. All this while Rosemary was busy making adjustments to the performers’ costumes and discussing the wardrobe requirements of the different characters.
Ami Clewlow, the show Director said, “I’ve wanted to do Jesus Christ Superstar for years, but the rights have never been available for amateur performances. Jesus Christ Superstar has been on my radar for years and as soon as it came up that amateurs could do it, I said ‘We need to do it!'”
The cast is heavy on male roles and Ami was unsure if she could find enough men to fill all of the roles, but she put out a casting call and “luckily when we put the auditions out, we did.” The 28 roles were filled by members of HAWK and people who came to open auditions.
“People will be shocked at how amazing our cast is – they’re not professional actors or singers and yet they dedicate their time and commit to the show because of their love of theatre.”, Ami said.
When people come along to see the performance, “they can expect to laugh, cry, and just enjoy the spectacle of live theatre.”, Ami said. “The band is incredible! This show is a musicians’ show, they love it – it’s rock music and there isn’t a minute to catch your breath.”
As well as having top-notch musicians and performers, the show will have very high production values when it comes to light and sound. “James, our sound engineer is currently working the West End and he’s taking a week off work to come and do the sound for us. James joined HAWK when he was a kid and he is currently working on ‘Back to the Future’ in the West End. so it’s good to have him back.”
Dawn Smith is Chair of HAWK “and has been for many years!” She said, “When Ami said she wanted to direct the musical this year, she chose Jesus Christ Superstar because it is her passion.”
“It’s been really difficult because we signed up for the show and then COVID hit. Over the last 12 months, we’ve been doing bits and bobs [of rehearsing] online or doing rehearsals with one or two people at a time. We’ve done miming rehearsals, where we’ve just had the backing track on because COVID restrictions meant we couldn’t sing as a group.”
“We like to pride ourselves in our philosophy that despite being amateurs, if someone is paying for a ticket, then you put on a professional show!” Dawn said. “We do have a really good reputation for our musicals!”
Jesus Christ Superstar is a good introduction to musicals for youngsters or anyone who hasn’t seen a musical before. “There was recently a production of Jesus Christ Superstar with John Legend, which the younger audience members can really relate to,” Dawn said. “All age groups can relate to Jesus Christ Superstar!”
Jesus Christ Superstar is at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight, 15-18 September 2021 at 7:30pm (doors 7pm) Tickets £14 from www.gladstonetheatre.org.uk