A big cheer for Les Mis!

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The intensive rehearsals for the school edition of Les Miserables – Vivo D’Arte’s first summer production – are expected to pay dividends when the show opens on Thursday night.

George Watkins, Josh Pellegrini and Casey Bird, the three principals from Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company’s impressive January production at the Boxmoor Playhouse, have signed up for another shot at this daddy of all musicals and, together with the new cast members, are promising a great new show.

An intensive two-week workshop kicked off at the Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley at the beginning of last week with a Behind the Scenes Stage Experience course running in parallel.

And it will all come good tomorrow when the first of four public performances takes place at the school’s wonderful theatre.

Vivo d’Arte is a new theatre arts training group based in the Hemel Hempstead area.

Set up to complement rather than compete with other ventures that are already established the company’s three defining words are passion, commitment and excellence.

Founding member Kate Bellingham said: “We want to give people of whatever age the opportunity to work together and really lift and raise their game.”

The group, who will define their programme of workshops, courses and events depending on where they discover the gaps to be, recently ran a hugely successful, and open to the public, vocal masterclass where their patron Jeff Stewart, professor of music at the Royal College of Music, coached eight local singers of varying ages.

Other potential future masterclasses include ones in musical theatre, audition technique, dance and classical singing.

And Vivo D’Arte is also looking at the possibility of staging a Chamber Opera with a cast aged 16 to 20 – an age group thatd doesn’t normally get the opportunity to explore that genre.

There’s also the possibility of lighting and sound courses, classes in music theory for performers, and specialised small group performance courses.

Several courses will lead to public performances including large scale youth musicals, chamber musicals and operas, composer/writer showcase productions and student concerts.

The range of projects will be designed so that talented theatre performers and technicians will be able to work together to develop and fulfil their potential.

Vivo D’Arte presents Les Miserables School Edition at the Rudolf Steiner School, Kings Langley, from Thursday, August 2 to Saturday, August 4 at 7.30pm with an additional Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Visit www.vivodarte.co.uk to buy tickets and for more information about the group.