We speak to Liam Brelsforth and Jade Hollingshead about their latest roles in Footloose

In real life they’re firm friends - but Liam Brelsforth and Jade Hollingshead are portraying a
rather more awkward relationship on stage in
Footloose - The Musical.

Jade Hollingshead and Liam Brelsforth

Jade Hollingshead and Liam Brelsforth

"I play Rusty, a confident High School girl,” says Jade. “But she gets tongue-tied whenever she’s near this boy called Willard, because she really fancies him!”

“And Willard has no idea Rusty fancies him,” says Liam of his character. “He’s a bit…slow…”

“Typecast!” laughs Jade.


Jade and Liam first met 7 years ago on the Performing Arts Course at Queen Mary’s College.

"As you can probably tell from that laugh, I heard Jade before I saw her" retorts Liam. “But we hit it off and now we’re best friends!” assures Jade.

Jade persuaded Liam to join BATS for Anything Goes in 2012. They’ve both played a variety
of roles in most shows since, including opposite each other as lovebirds Jan and Roger in
Grease. Both are loving Footloose.

“The songs are great,” enthuses Jade. “There’s Holding Out For A Hero, Almost Paradise and
my big number is Let’s Hear It For The Boy where we’re all line dancing. It’s really energetic
and I’ve got a massive note to reach at the end so I’ve got to be fit!”

And Liam’s biggest challenge in the show? “Trying to do press-ups in a dance routine set in
the gym. I just can’t do them!”

Both agree Footloose is a feelgood, upbeat show that will have audiences singing as they
leave the theatre. “If you liked the film you’ll love the musical!” promises Jade.

Footloose is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 15th-Saturday 25th
November. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 18th & 25th.

Tickets: £18.50 - £23.50 (adults) £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-
65s and groups. All prices include a booking fee.

Buy tickets: www.anvilarts.org.uk Call 01256 844244 or visit the Anvil Arts box office.

Luke Sayers talks about his first lead role with BATS

It’s the film that gave Kevin Bacon one of the most iconic roles of the ‘80’s.

Footloose follows teenage rebel Ren McCormack, who fights to bring rock music and
dancing back to the small town that’s banned them.

Luke Sayers - Palying Ren McCormack

Luke Sayers - Palying Ren McCormack

Now Footloose – the Musical is heading to the Haymarket in Basingstoke for the first time ever - and the performer inheriting Kevin Bacon’s attitude, dance moves and white vest/jeans combo is 19-year- old Luke Sayers from Oakley. But he’s got a confession.

“I never saw the whole film before auditioning! I think I watched maybe half of it before, but I didn’t really know it at all. I was persuaded to audition and I thought, “Oh well, I’ve got nothing to lose” – and here I am playing my first lead role for BATS!”

Since being cast Luke’s had to get up to speed fast!

“Ren is a troubled young man. His dad walked out so his mum has moved them from Chicago to this town in the middle of nowhere. He hates it as there’s no excitement and dancing is a crime! But he’s got a lot of passion, he’s very driven, and that causes conflict – especially with the priest who sees him as a big threat.”

With blistering dance routines, big songs and intense dramatic scenes, the energy on stage
doesn’t let up. But Luke says he’s prepared.

“I’ve been dancing ever since I joined the Basingstoke Tappers aged 4! I went on to other
local dance schools, before studying performing arts at Queen Mary’s College. I’ve just
started a foundation course at Kingsclere Performing Arts College, so at the moment my life
revolves around singing, dancing and acting!”

Luke says fans of Footloose the film won’t be disappointed. “I’m really excited to see the
audience reaction when we perform songs like Holding Out for A Hero, Let’s Hear It For The
Boy and Footloose of course. I hope they’ll be up and dancing!”

Luke Sayers in full swing during a rehearsal

Luke Sayers in full swing during a rehearsal

Sounds like the perfect feelgood night out? “It is! The whole company are working really
hard to make this a great show. We’re loving it – and I know audiences will too!”

Footloose is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 15th-Saturday 25th
November. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 18th & 25th.


Tickets: £18.50-£23.50 (adults) £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-
65s and groups. All prices include a booking fee.

Buy tickets: www.anvilarts.org.uk Call 01256 844244 or visit the Anvil Arts box office.

BATS brings Footloose to Basingstoke

Everybody cut loose and kick off your Sunday shoes – as the sizzling rock ‘n' roll musical Footloose explodes onto the Haymarket stage for the first time ever!

Based on the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose features classic hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Let's Hear It For The Boy, Almost Paradise and the unforgettable title track, Footloose.

BATS are staging Footloose in November

BATS are staging Footloose in November

The story: Moving from Chicago to a small Midwestern town, teenager Ren McCormack is
in shock when he discovers dancing and rock music are illegal there. As he struggles to fit in,
Ren faces an uphill battle to loosen up this conservative town. He wins the help of new
friend Willard and defiant teen Ariel. But Ariel's influential father, Reverend Moore, stands
in his way…
Footloose features an incredible cast of local talent, including 19-year- old Luke Sayers in his
first lead role for BATS as Ren. Rhianon Mone plays Ariel, Liam Brelsforth plays Willard and
Reverend Moore is played by Stephen Westwood with Sally Manning as his wife Vi.
With a live rock ‘n’ roll band, exuberant dance routines and the fervour of teen rebellion, Footloose will certainly bring the feelgood factor to the Haymarket this November.

Footloose is directed and choreographed by Martyn Knight (whose previous BATS shows
include The Full Monty and Sister Act) and the musical director is Julie Dance (Grease, The
Full Monty).

Footloose is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 15th-Saturday 25th
November. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 18th & 25th.

Tickets: £18.50-£23.50 (adults) £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-
65s and groups. All prices include a booking fee.

Buy tickets: www.anvilarts.org.uk Call 01256 844244 or visit the Anvil Arts box office.

Come and Join Us for Footloose!

BATS' next show will be Footloose. Come and join us for this exciting Rock 'n' Roll musical, filled with great songs and lots of dancing.

Based on the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose features classic hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Let's Hear It For The Boy, Almost Paradise and the unforgettable title track, Footloose.

BATS are staging Footloose in November

BATS are staging Footloose in November

The pre-audition workshops start this week and these are your chance to come along and meet us, find out about the show, the music, the roles available and other important information such as rehearsal dates.

A link to the audition materials, including male and female audition pieces, can be found here on our Google Drive.

You will to be a member of BATS in order to audition. See our Join BATS page for more information.

Pre-audition workshops will be held on 31st May, 5th, 7th and 12th June at 19.30 at Christ Church, Reading Road, Chineham, RG24 8LT.

Auditions are on 13th and 14th June from 19.00 at Market Chambers Performers Together, Church Street, Basingstoke, RG21 7QE.

We look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday. Come along and bring your dancing shoes!

Spamalot Review, Newbury Weekly News, May 2017

Laughsalot a BATS’ Spamalot

This was the first time that I had seen the musical Spamalot and I was unsure how the typical Monty Python madness would transfer to the stage in such a way. I have enjoyed their Holy Grail film many times and was looking forward to Eric Idle's offering with book and lyrics. 

I was not disappointed.  Director and choreographer Gary J. Myers did a splendid job with a talented cast, capturing the Pythons' unique blend of humour and mixing it well in the well-choreographed musical numbers. 

Colin Flaherty as King Arthur and Pete Chandler as the (almost armless!) Black Knight

Colin Flaherty as King Arthur and Pete Chandler as the (almost armless!) Black Knight

This slick and well-rehearsed musical was complemented by the hard-working MD. Neil Streeter, and his band, who at times probably felt like they were playing until their arms dropped off - although, in fact, it is only the Black Knight who loses his arms in the show. 

There is everything you can imagine in this musical and I am sure that Eric Idle will be very proud to have thrown in every possible cliché, pun, and slick argumentative dialogue between ridiculous characters as humanly possible.  It would be easier to mention what wasn't in the show than to list what is. Nonetheless, we had the delightful and infuriating French taunter Ed Branch and a wonderfully funny I Am Not Dead Yet, led by Stuart Baker as Dead Fred. 

Stuart Baker as Dead Fred

Stuart Baker as Dead Fred

Edward Branch as the French Taunter

Edward Branch as the French Taunter

Nick Brannam (centre) as Prince Herbert with Peter Chandler as Sir Lancelot

Nick Brannam (centre) as Prince Herbert with Peter Chandler as Sir Lancelot

Kirsty Kingham as Lady of the Lake

Kirsty Kingham as Lady of the Lake

The chemistry between a gay Prince Herbert, Nick Brannam, and his strict, brazenly, old-fashioned Yorkshire father; David Izzo, was fantastic.  This, too, was seen between a straight-played King Arthur; Colin Flaherty, and his poor worthless sidekick (or horse) Patsy - Richard Bond - working well in I'm All Alone.  But special mention goes to Kirsty Kingham, playing The Lady of the Lake, an absolute fantastic performance, showing off both comedy and a brilliant singing voice in The Diva's Lament

The show was gifted with energy and vibrancy and was great entertainment, whether a Python fan or not. For those of us who are, we had a great fix of Fish Slapping, Spam and always looking on the bright side of life. 

Well done.

Daniel Maskell

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