General News

Thank you Kualo!

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Imagine a company that is powered entirely by renewable energy and gives its services to charities for free on a regular basis. Take a bow Kualo!

Running a charity like ours is more expensive than you might imagine.  As well as the essential costs associated with running our activities, we also have to pay for less direct, but still important, things such as insurance and website hosting. We’re delighted that Kualo has kindly helped us out with the latter, by providing us with Free Web Hosting by Kualo.

A huge thank you to Kualo for generously supporting our work.



KYDS receives 4 prestigious awards

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On Sunday 13th May, KYDS attended the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) East Region Awards Ceremony in St. Ives, Cambridge. We were delighted to come home with a total of FOUR awards!
Our 2017 Pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, was recognised with not one but two awards: Best Pantomime and Best Production overall in District 8 in the East Region. Even our programmes were recognised, with our Sleeping Beauty programme receiving the award for Best Standard Programme in the East Region.

Christine Davidson from NODA who presented the award said:

“When we saw this Society’s show we came out saying ‘wow’. They’re a very talented group, they make all of their own sets and costumes, and they’ve done so much for the youngsters in the community. Their show was superb!”

KYDS volunteers spent over 550 hours in total working on this production. Without their skills and commitment (on everything from choreography and set building & painting to chaperoning and front of house) this show simply wouldn’t have been able to happen.

KYDS Trustee James Stocker who directed Sleeping Beauty said:

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“A huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes to produce our shows and I’d like to thank all of our amazing volunteers for their hard work. I really enjoyed working with our youth members on Sleeping Beauty – they continue to amaze us with their talent and dedication and really show the community what young people can achieve. Congratulations to all of you.” 

KYDS youth member Ben Collins was also recognised as Best Youth Performer for his excellent performance as Joseph in our Summer Musical last year. Ben is currently a student at Thurstable Sixth Form in Tiptree and first started acting when he joined KYDS in 2013. Congratulations Ben!

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Ben Collins with his award for Best Youth Performer



KYDS recognised with Chairman’s Fund Award

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KYDS is delighted to have been awarded £2,500 for the Essex County Council Chairman’s Fund, along with an award recognising its valuable work with young people.

James Stocker, KYDS Chairman, and Alexandra Berriman, KYDS Artistic Director, attended an awards ceremony on Tuesday 17th April 2018 at Chelmsford City Racecourse to receive the award.

The ceremony was a fantastic opportunity for KYDS to meet local dignitaries, including the Chairman of Essex County Council and the Mayor of Colchester and to discuss the important work that KYDS is doing in the local community.

A number of other local organisations also attended to receive awards.

James said:

“We are delighted to have received this award from the Chairman’s Fund. This funding will help us continue our valuable work with young people which helps them to develop a range of skills including confidence, communication and teamwork.”

The funds will be put towards meeting the costs of KYDS’s next production, Oliver!

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Alexandra and James receive the award from the Chairman of Essex County Council


General News

Go Brad Go!

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KYDS is delighted that Bradley Cole, one of their Ambassadors, will be running the 2018 London Marathon for KYDS on the 22nd April.

Brad joined KYDS in 2009 for our very first production of Dracula Spectacular, where he played Father O’Stake. Brad also appeared in various other roles including as Widow Twonkey in Aladdin

Brad was also awarded the award for Best Young Actor by the North Essex Theatre Guild in 2011 for his performance as Fat Sam in Bugsy Malone.

Since then, Brad has studied acting and musical theatre and now works in the accounts team at local business DW Clark & Sons.

Brad said:

“Being a part of the group since 2009 (when the group was formed) I have come from performing myself in my younger days to now supporting and helping to put on productions in any way I can for the very talented bunch of kids that we have.

KYDS isn’t just a local drama group, it’s a family for both the kids and the adults that are a part of it! Being able to raise the money for this group will help it achieve some incredible things, like improving the quality of shows with scenery, equipment and props.”

Alexandra Berriman, KYDS Artistic Director, said:

“We’re really proud of Brad, he’s been training for this for months, alongside directing our next production of Oliver! which will be performed in Tiptree in June. We’re all looking forward to cheering Brad on in London in April!

We’re also hugely grateful to everyone that has sponsored Brad. If you haven’t already, please do make a donation and help Brad reach his target. Every penny will go towards the brilliant work that KYDS does with young people in the community.”

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Brad with his Best Young Actor award in 2011

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Tips and Tricks

Top tips for auditioning

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Auditions are an essential part of casting performing arts productions. At KYDS, we use auditions to help match our youth members to parts we think they will benefit from. It’s nothing to worry about and at KYDS everyone that auditions will get a part in the production, even if it’s maybe not their first choice.

As with most things, the more auditions you do, the easier it will become. So, be brave and give it a go, you might just surprise yourself!

Our top tips below will help you with preparing for your next audition: 

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Lola and Eva recognised with awards

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As has become tradition, following our recent successful production of Sleeping Beauty, we held an after-show party to celebrate. Unfortunately due to the snow our December date was rescheduled to 7th January 2018.

The afternoon was great fun and also saw two members, Lola and Eva being presented with awards for their hard work throughgout the production.

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Lola Emson – President’s Highest Achiever Award

During each KYDS production, our President Ray watches for the person who he considers to have achieved the highest standard of progress during the rehearsal run. Following Sleeping Beauty, Ray chose Lola. Lola was a key member of the ensemble for this show, taking on the role of a senior courtier. Throughout the rehearsal run Lola gave 100% and it was clearly noticeable that she took the role seriously on stage. Well done Lola! 

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Eva Guerra – Robert Greed Award for Commitment

Congratulations to Eva who was presented with the Robert Greed Award for Commitment at our recent after-show party.

Robert Greed was a committed KYDS volunteer who spent many hours creating and building props for KYDS shows. Sadly, Robert passed away in 2016 and in his memory, the Greed Family decided to create the Robert Greed Award which is presented after each show to recognise the member who has shown the most commitment and dedication throughout the show.

Well done Eva for showing fantastic commitment to this show and congratulations on your award!


General News

Ray Banks receives British Empire Medal for services to the community in Tiptree

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President of KYDS, Ray Banks, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in Tiptree in the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours List. 

A BEM recognises ‘hands-on’ service to the local community. This could be a long-term charitable or voluntary activity, or innovative work of a relatively short duration (3 to 4 years) that has made a significant difference.

Ray has been actively involved in the Tiptree community for 30 years, after moving to Tiptree in 1987. He has been Church Warden and currently serves as Verger at St. Luke’s Church in Tiptree and until recently was involved in Heartwatch (Tiptree First Responders’ Group). Ray has also been involved in a whole host of other community events and activities, such as raising money for  Friends of Tiptree Heath.

Prior to its closure, Ray was an active member of Tiptree Amateur Dramatic Society (TADS), performing in many productions and serving as Chairman.

When KYDS was founded in 2009, Ray was asked to become President. Since then, Ray has championed youth theatre in the community, actively promoting the society and contributing to our activities.

Ray also introduced his own award to KYDS, ‘The President’s Highest Achiever Award’ which he awards to young people in the group twice a year to recognise members that have overcome challenges or demonstrated exceptional personal development. Ray continues to mentor, encourage, recognise and inspire young people as President.

We are absolutely delighted that Ray has been recognised with this honour. It is a huge achievement which deservedly recognises a huge contribution by Ray to the people of Tiptree.


Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown (for East Anglian Daily Times)



Charlie is an outstanding achiever!

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Congratulations to Charlie Warner, who was recognised as an outstanding achiever with a Jack Petchey award in November.

The award was presented to Charlie between the shows of our recent pantomime, Sleeping Beauty. Following an open nomination process Charlie, who played Harry the Jester, was chosen by his fellow youth members as the deserving winner.

The award was presented to Charlie by Matthew and Ellie, who were previous winners of the award in July.

KYDS has been running the Jack Petchey awards since November 2015. It is a fantastic opporunity for youth members to recognise others who they consider to be role models.

Congratulations Charlie on your award! 

Some of the nominations received by youth members are shown below:

  • He is so entertaining and always puts a smile on everyone’s faces.
  • He always puts in 100% in every rehearsal and show, he is never in a bad mood and is easily able to bring people’s spirits up.
  • He always has a smile on his face and puts 100% effort into everything! He’s always happy to help or give advice if asked!
  • He always brings a smile to KYDS and is such a great performer.
  • I think Charlie should win because he puts in so much effort into rehearsals. He’s a very hard working member and he always gives his all in his performance.
  • Because he always is trying to improve and it makes being on stage with him easy in the way that he lightens the mood.


General News

KYDS comes first place in Bags of Help competition

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KYDS is hugely grateful to Tesco customers who voted for our project “Helping Our Young People Perform” during the vote between Saturday 1st July and Thursday 31st August in Tesco stores in Tiptree and Mersea.

We are delighted to have come 1st place in the competion, meaning that KYDS will now receive a grant of £4,000 from Tesco!

This funding will help KYDS to meet the rising costs of continuing its work, such as hiring venues to rehearse and perform, as well as a host of other running costs.

Without the generous support of the community and organisations like Tesco, KYDS would not be the successful charity it is today. The support we have received from the local community is inspiring and we are extremely grateful for it. 



Ben wins Best Young Actor award

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Congratulations to Ben Collins who won the North Essex Theatre Guild’s Best Young Actor award at their recent awards ceremony on the 8th September.

Ben was nominated for the award following his performance as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Ben was complimented on a very confidential portrayal with good body language and singing voice. Well done Ben!

KYDS was also delighted to 6 other nominations including Best Musical for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Best Young Actor for Charlie Warner and Best Young Actress for Ellie Russell. You can see the full list on our Awards page.

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