Havering performing arts charity taking to theatre stage for first time
PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:04 12 January 2016
A charity born out of the belief that all children should have the opportunity to express themselves through theatre is set to take on its biggest challenge yet.
Members of The Habbit Factory are making the final touches to their Magic of the Musicals show for Queen’s Theatre, which marks the first time they have ever performed in such a venue.
The charity, which works with youngsters aged between seven and 17, may come from small beginnings – having started with six members just over a decade ago – but is fast making itself known in the community.
Artistic director Lee Giles, 24, of Hornchurch, said: “This is something we have always dreamed of.
“It is our first time performing in a theatre which is really great for us, as this will double the size of our audience.
“It will be hard to contain the children’s excitement!”
The Habbit Factory, which became a registered charity last summer, was founded under a different name at Abbs Cross Academy, Abbs Cross Lane, Hornchurch, with the number of members totalling half a dozen.
But it now has two other meeting places, Whybridge Junior School and the myplace centre, and approximately 150 youngsters attend, paying just £2 a week.
The Habbit Factory was the chosen cause for the mayor’s appeal in 2005 and has relied on the proceeds since.
At its heart is the belief that all children should be able to develop their passion for theatre and its members include youngsters with disabilities.
Lee said: “If the child enjoys performing arts and wants to come along they can.
“We wanted to break down the barriers and make it accessible for all.”
Through Magic of the Musicals, audiences will be treated to some of their favourite West End tunes, but with a more unique format than perhaps they would expect.
It features 10 main cast members – five youngsters and their adult counterparts – who spend their time bickering about which musicals they want to perform.
As their suggestions crop up, the audience is treated to interpretations of those very shows, which include Shrek and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Lee said such productions are only possible thanks to the volunteering team, which he hopes to expand.
“We have a very strong and creative team here, who we call the Blue Tees as they wear blue T-shirts.
“Without them we wouldn’t be able to run.
“Hopefully with this show we can raise more awareness of what we do.”
Magic of the Musicals runs at 7pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday at Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch.
To book, call 01708 443333 or visit queens-theatre.co.uk.