CATS – a Wonderful Achievement

Stuart and Andrew

Our students, Stuart Thompson (left) playing Munkustrap and Andrew Ashton (right) playing Mr Mistofelees pictured here in their character poses, when they came to visit us during rehearsals. Both boys played in the central cast and are members of the All Boy Dance Class and Further Stages. They were both simply amazing in performance and they made us all incredibly proud

Well the long – awaited performance of CATS at the NIA, happened on Sunday 24th March. We were up for virtually 24 hours by the time we crawled back into bed after our early morning start to catch the coach at 5.30am in Eaglescliffe.

Despite everything that the weather could throw at us, the show still went on. If you look me up on Facebook (Trudy Hindmarsh) and you are a parent I will `befriend` you and you can see whatever I have been able to round up about the event from there (Im afraid if you are a current student that I am not allowed to `befriend` you for child protection reasons). Our Stagecoach Darlington and Yarm Facebook page will carry the best photos and comments in our posting next Tuesday, when the dust has settled on the event.  If you have not visited our page then click on  and `like` and `share` a post and then you ll be the first to know when the update is released.

3000 performers were schooled through their rehearsals throughout the day and then an audience of 7,000 joined them for the show in the evening. And what a show it was. A central cast of dancers selected from across the network by audition, performed the whole show, whilst other sets of performers (anything up to 100 in each section) performed a part of the show. This is what I had to say on the Head Office`s Facebook page:-

I loved most:- seeing the immense creativity of all the schools involved; the impeccable behaviour of 3000 young people across a long and busy day; how my tiny ones coped with little sleep, no parents, staying in their seats, AND a show that STARTED after their bedtime for many of them; the tireless and positive commitment and energy that my staff and chaperones gave – often under extreme pressure; the way my older students looked after the younger ones without being asked; the stunning performances by our two students in the main central cast – Mr Mistofelees (Andrew Ashton) and Munkustrap (Stuart Thompson); Jonathan and Charlotte`s performance which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up; and, of course, the performance of Growltiger`s Last Stand by the All Boys Dance Class and students from main school and Further Stages in Yarm and Darlington. They were fantastic and so professional, particularly because they had to relearn their choreography ON THE DAY and during a rehearsal because we were not able to use our fantastic pirate ship, as part of our performance.   BE PROUD EVERYONE. A REAL SHOWCASE OF STAGECOACH TALENT!

Huge thanks must go to our staff and chaperones who gave up their own time to support the children and make sure that everyone had as good a time as possible. They were :- parents Dave Ryder, Maxine Couzins and Debbie Noble, who were patient beyond belief and Dave especially was a fantastic help with transporting the pirate ship materials. Teachers:-  Dancing Claire, responsible for the effective and highly narrative choreography, Singing Claire responsible for teaching Jellicle Cats and who was conducting up in the stands so that all the many different schools on the ground level had a chance to look good, Jane Jackson who had campaigned to get Claire to conduct at the opposite end from the orchestra – and succeeded,  and Janie Lavelle who tirelessly to the point of exhaustion made sure that our costumes, hair and make-up were some of the very best in the show. It was a devasting blow for us all when a whole week of Janie`s work was trashed by the venues Health and Safety team refusing to let us erect the pirate ship, as part of our performance.  We are so sorry Janie. Your work had been inventive in the extreme and almost miraculous when you considered that it was made of flat packed carton cardboard. Poor Natalie Glenister, singing teacher travelled down across Saturday evening to be with us but couldnt get in from where she was staying with relatives because it was sheet ice – and we know what that was like ourselves from coming out of the NIA at the end and trying to make our way to the bus. Natalie had a couple of near collisions and then decided that it was not a wise journey to be making. We`re sorry Natalie. We missed you.

Thank God that the students and some parents had seen how spectacular it could all have looked had we been able to go ahead with building the ship. The students coped so well with having to adapt their whole performance, on a whim, without any space or time where we could work it out properly. I dont think they showed it at all. It looked as if they had always danced it that way.  STAGECOACH DARLINGTON AND YARM`S FAMOUS ABILITY TO `WING IT` CAME TO THE RESCUE AGAIN.

If you would like to add a comment to this post then PLEASE DO NOT WRITE IT DIRECTLY INTO THE COMMENT BOX BELOW (there is a problem with it) BUT E MAIL IT INSTEAD TO and I will transfer it back to the site. Please attach any photos that you have of the event too and I ll choose a few to add to this post -so dont forget to check back so that you can `steal` them.

Andrew costume 2

Here is Andrew in his second costume of the night for his breathtaking performance of Mr Mistofelees. Andrew admits to being very upset when he had to hand his jacket back for the last time – and no wonder. You were definitely `magical` Mr Mistofelees, Andrew

5 thoughts on “CATS – a Wonderful Achievement

  1. received today from William Wilcox` mum

    Hi Trudy. Just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for allowing William the opportunity to appear in CATS at the weekend. What an amazing show and opportunity. William was not fazed at all and now thinks he is famous. LOL He is asking if he can join the boys only dance as well.
    The whole family really enjoyed the show and we were all amazed at how well William has done in such a short space of time. Credit to the excellent teaching he is receiving from Stagecoach.
    We did spot him both in the seats and the show itself. Very proud parents. Thank you for the support and opportunity. It has been an amazing journey and he only started in January!

    Thanks once again for letting us be a part of the 25th anniversary of Stagecoach – an amazing show!

  2. received via the Stagecoach Facebook page from Luke Scott`s mum

    Fantastic show on Sunday. Well done Stagecoach and a big thank you to Trudy and all the gang for such a fantastic opportunity. Luke is still buzzing!!

  3. received from Lucy Moss

    Dear Trudy

    I would like to say a big thank you for letting us all take part in an opportunity to perform in a show as big as cats!! I thoroughly enjoyed myself throughout the day!! I would also like to say a massive thank you to all the teachers and yourself

    Best regards

    Lucy Moss xxx

  4. This was what Andrew Ashton`s mother sent BEFORE the show, as a comment to rehearsal photos of Andrew and Stuart that we put up because she was acting as a chaperone during the rehearsal week.

    Arrived home late last night after spending the last 6 days with the ‘cats’, they were a joy to be with, just watching the 3 choreographers put the show together with them all was simply amazing, a week of my life I will treasure for ever. On the last day I got to see 2 full run throughs of the show, and it was jaw dropping to see just how much they had learned in 5 days!! Can’t wait to see it all come together with the voices from the choir, and the scenes from all of the other schools that are taking part, this is going to be one show you do not want to miss!!!!!!!!

  5. Hi Trudy

    Thank you for the opportunity to be part of such a spectacular show for the 25th anniversary of Stagecoach. We really enjoyed it. Madison is still singing the CATS songs! Its a shame about the pirate ship, after all Janie’s hard work, maybe you could use it again. Thank you to you and all the teachers. It was great to be part of such a truly amazing show

    Kind Regards

    Helen Parkinson


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