About Gatepost - In The Beginning
The award-winning Gatepost Theatre Company was formed in 2004 by Kate and Jim Baker following their retirement from long-serving teaching positions at Heanor Gate School. Kate, who taught music and had also been Head of Performing Arts, was awarded an MBE in November 2004 for her services to musical education. Jim had been Deputy Headmaster at the school, where he also organised and played in school concerts and productions.
The couple recruited a group of their talented performing pupils and Gatepost’s debut show, The Swinging Sixties, was staged in 2004 at Derby’s Guildhall Theatre – a venue that the fledgling company would make their home over the following years. Under the leadership of Kate and Jim, the success of this inaugural production was followed by a wide variety of musicals. These included Eleanor Rigby, Summer Holiday, Godspell, We Will Rock You, Fame, Footloose, The Wedding Singer, Whatever You Want and Out There.
The quality of these performances was recognised by several nominations for Eagle Awards, Derby’s answer to the Oscars. Both Summer Holiday and Footloose were shortlisted for best production of a musical, while Chris Collington and Luke Grainger were recognised for their individual performances; Chris for Best Performance in a Musical and Luke for Best Newcomer.
A New Era Begins
In 2015, Kate and Jim took the decision to move on to other projects, therefore ushering in a new era for Gatepost. A new production team was formed, including many original members of the group, and they rose to the challenge of continuing to create top quality musical theatre.
With Chris Collington at the helm as Artistic Director, the first show under the new regime was Jonathan Larson’s hard-hitting and thought-provoking RENT. Running from September 16-19 in 2015, the show proved a huge success, earning rave reviews and a standing ovation for each performance.
Gatepost’s fast-growing reputation as one of the premier amateur theatre groups in the Midlands was further enhanced with a sell-out production of Rock of Ages in February 2016 – wowing audiences with the cutting edge comedy musical. October of that year and Gatepost brought Return To The Forbidden Planet to the Guildhall stage. Shakespeare’s ‘forgotten rock n roll’ show proved once again how versatile and committed the group are.
The Eagles Are Landing
Made In Dagenham, a musical based on the true story of the fight for women’s equal pay rights, was another roaring success in February 2017. Gatepost next turned their hands – quite literally – to puppetry as they performed Avenue Q in October 2017, an hilarious comedy based around the lives of 20-somethings and their struggle to survive post university. Kirsty Vastenavondt was shortlisted for an Eagle Award in The Gwen Taylor Award for Best Performance in a Musical category.
In February 2018, Gatepost once again showed its willingness to tackle the most difficult of musicals that few others dare to try. The Who’s Tommy was a huge success and won two Eagle Awards for the company; Best Contribution by a Young Person for Harrison Ince and The Jo Davison Award for Best Newcomer for Chris Collington for choreography, as well as being shortlisted for Best Production of a Musical.
All Shook Up was brought to the Guildhall stage in October 2018, earning plenty of plaudits and further Eagle Awards nominations. Director Richard Pearson was up for The Jo Davison Award for Best Newcomer and Dan Collington for The Gwen Taylor Award for Best Performance in a Musical.
Going From Strength to Strength
With many more exciting shows already in the pipeline, Gatepost Theatre Company continues to set the standards for musical theatre in the region and to produce the highest quality entertainment.
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