Lucy Ambleside Below Stairs

Shows and productions

The premiere of the amateur musical comedy Below Stairs opened on 16 May 2002 at the Elgiva Theatre, Chesham

lucy ambleside below stairs

And when the audience spontaneously began clapping to the closing rousing march When our boys come marching home, writers Trevor and Alan knew they had a success on their hands. Word quickly spread and people had to be turned away on the sell-out last night. The press were delighted too. So Alan set about looking for other societies and venues.

Riverside Players stage 15th production

riverside players 2014 below stairs show

June 2014 saw the 15th production – and their second bite of the cherry after exactly ten years – by The Riverside Players. The venue this time was the Memorial Hall at Old Windsor and once again the production was outstanding, with Vicki Arnold reprising her lead role as Lucy Ambleside and in the process being nominated for the NODA Molly Harle Trophy for the best female character in a musical or operetta. Both the writer and composer were in the audience on the last night and agreed it was the best production to date.

Uckfield Theatre Guild stage 14th production

uckfield theatre guild

On 12–14 April 2012, the Uckfield Theatre Guild staged the 14th production. The venue was Uckfield Community Technical College, with a sponsored and signed charity matinee on the Saturday. The local radio were most enthusiastic after their reporter saw it and on the Saturday were encouraging everyone not to miss it! Musical director was none other than John Marsh who used to read the news on Terry Wogan’s Radio 2 morning show.

Huddersfield welcome Below Stairs - February 2012

lindley church amateur operatic society

With a large stage and everyone miked, the Lindley Church Amateur Operatic Society's production in the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, on 7–11 February 2012 was generally very well received, with MD Natalie Davies adding some excellent touches of her own.

The College Players, Stamford - November 2011

The 12th production of Below Stairs was staged by the College Players in Stamford Arts Centre, Lincolnshire, on 9–12 November 2011, with a matinee on the Saturday. Again, cast and audiences were enthusiastic and the five performances raised an excellent £750 for cancer research.

Mytholmroyd St Michael's Amateurs - May 2011

below stairs show

The 11th production – by Mytholmroyd St Michael's Amateurs on 17–21 May 2011 in the 200-seater St Michael's Parish Hall – was a great success, raising £1400 for Yorkshire Cancer Research. The show also resulted in a NODA North East District 10 award for best female performance for leading lady Felicity Dargan-Bell as Lucy and a NODA award for best choreography by Rowena Sweeney.

The show's tenth outing was a superb production by Wantage Stage Musical Company - October 2010

below stairs show

For four nights in October 2010. Fans of the show – which included the authors – voted it one of the best so far, with strong characterisation from everyone involved.

Following some advertising in 2009, there were three productions in rehearsal at the same time!

First came The Apollo Players on the Isle of Wight where the show was presented as a play with music for TEN performances, raising £1500 for Cancer Research UK.

Then in April 2010, there was a two-night community production in Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys and the same month saw the ninth production by the Hitchin Young Thespians, whose ages ranged from 10 to 18.

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Have you seen Eliza do little? See Lucy do the lot!

After the first production in 2002, Jennifer Dewar's reaction was “I'd pay money to take the part of Lucy again! It's my favourite role of the many I've played”. (see below pic)

lucy ambleside below stairs

Next, Gillian Hodges, Lucy in the Spanish production, said: “Below Stairs is a lovely show, a great experience. Although I have portrayed some really wonderful parts, including Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady and Dolly in Hello, Dolly! I now have a very special place in my heart for Lucy, who is truly the 'new kid on the block'!”

Danielle Winter of the Utopian Operatic Society, who played the leading role in 2003 and 2007, adds “Lucy is a fantastic role. If you enjoy getting your teeth into something, you can't go wrong. It was great to play such a lovable character. I am certain Lucy will go far and am looking forward to hearing my grand-children whistling the tunes”.

leading lady amateur musical

In July 2004, Vicki Skelley of Riverside Players said “I have never enjoyed a role as much as I enjoyed playing Lucy. And if I could give up my full-time job and perform as Lucy every night, I would!”. (see above pic)

leading lady amateur musical

And Storth's Marie Herron agrees. “It's a role to die for, with so many rewarding challenges. I'd do it again tomorrow!” (see above pic)

leading lady amateur musical

NODA winner Felicity Dargan-Bell. “The more I got to know Lucy the more I loved her. She is ambitious, daring and seductive but with that comes a naive vulnerability and I have to say she got under my skin. I thoroughly enjoyed playing Lucy Ambleside and I would do the part again any day” (see above pic)