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PARTY 2022


Celebrating SBS in Performance!

Sunday 18th September, 4pm

To recognize the amazing achievements of the past 12 months- with shows starting with The Hobbit and Into the Woods, and then proceeding to mega-productions of Oliver! and Cats- we are holding a joyous, informal party at our open-air theatre at the Orchard Café & Gardens in Chudleigh this September.


The party is open to every class from Stage by Stage, with attendance diplomas being awarded to all members who have been in attendance through 2021-22.  Like SbS Oscars, we also award trophies for:


uuu Best Senior Performance of the Year uuu         

uuu Best Junior Performance of the Year  uuu

uuu Best Newcomer (Senior) of the Year  uuu          

uuu Best Newcomer (Junior) of the Year   uuu

uuu Most Improved Senior of the Year uuu

uuu Most Improved Junior of the Year uuu

uuu Voice of the Year uuu                     

uuu Dancer of the Year uuu


Certificates and trophies will be awarded by our special V.I.P. guest!  Alongside these presentations, there will be music and a change to enjoy the beautiful surroundings with our bar open until 7pm


Tickets are likely to be in high demand and space is limited, so early booking is advisable.  Seating/ standing is informal and unreserved - there are several areas around the complex- you can bring a picnic rug if you wish!


Please sir, can we have some more?

At long last we are on stage indoors (we managed some open air shows last Summer).  Now Oliver! has dodged all the obstacles to get to the stage of the Corn Exchange!


With a cast of 60, directed by Chris Jones and Will Trafford, the musical favourite is proving to be a lovely Easter treat- especially for audiences who have been waiting for one of our shows since 2019- Annie had to be cancelled at the last minute due to the pandemic and we've been waiting ever since.  Well, now we're back, LIVE ON STAGE, where we belong!


What a Beauty!

Congratulations to our 4 amazing teams who performed alongside a top professional cast his Christmas in BEAUTY & THE BEAST at the Exeter Corn Exchange.


It was fun, it was safe, and it was absolutely loved by the packed audiences!



Junior Academy made a long-awaited return to live performance with THE HOBBIT.  


With spiders, dwarves and a golden dragon, it was a roaring success- and totally SOLD OUT!


It's been a long time coming, but we've done it!


GRIMM TALES has now opened at the charming open-air Orchard Theatre in the Teign Valley.


The shows were socially distanced, and were totally sold out!

ALL SEATS £7-50!



We are now back for in-person sessions face to face!!.
This term we will focus on recording the show material for 'Chicago' and 'Joseph'.
We are preparing two open-air shows for the Summer with our Academy classes: THE HOBBIT and FAIRYTALES DON'T COME TRUE and tickets will go on sale shortly for socially distanced performances in July.
Fingers crossed that we have now said goodbye to the Zoom era!


We are thrilled that West End regular Daniele Coombe is joining our team as Senior Vocal Coach!


Daniele's West End credits include The Sound of Music, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Oliver!, My Fair Lady and Acorn Antiques!


More recently she has starred in the title role in THE WIZARD OF OZ at Exeter Corn Exchange, working with Ian and Tanya again.


Once we are back in-person, she will be working with our senior classes to develop the distinct West End sound!

Junior Academy will return to live performance this July with open-air performances of THE HOBBIT at our specially-prepared venue in Chudleigh!


Tickets go on sale 17 May 2021!


We are thrilled that 32 of our students will be performing live on stage this Christmas in THE WIZARD OF OZ at the Exeter Corn Exchange.


The Exeter Panto show provides financial support to numerous Stage by STage projects every year, so do come along and enjoy the great show if you can!


It could be the best live show you've seen in months!


Tickets are still available at




What a glorious show at the Corn Exchange!


Three days of mess and mayhem delighted audiences at half term.  With as cast of nearly 80, BUGSY MALONE was big, complicated and technically demanding for the cast, but it paid off with hugely entertaining shows!


Check out the photos in our new gallery!




Another year passes and once again we celebrated twelve months of performances and learning at the Exeter Corn Exchange on Sun 29 September.

We enjoyed a whole range of performances from 'The Wizard of Oz' to 'Headless Horseman' plus a host of prizes were awarded by our special guest, Christopher Edward, who starred in 'Aladdin' last Christmas.


Winners of trophies included:



Mia Davies



Jim Sheen



Tom Currie






Emma Jinks






Darcy Hedden



Jena Bentley



Archie Benham



Cerys Wiliams & Grace Broderick





Stage by Stage has appeared twice in the new Exeter Fringe Festival!  We performed at the Barnfield Theatre and Phoenix Arts Centre for our 2 shows: SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD and LIAR LIAR. 


We had some of the best audiences of the whole festival and received great feedback!


What an honour!


Stage by Stage has been awarded the Lord


Mayor's Commendation for services to


individuals and the wider community on behalf


of STAGE BY STAGE's 25 years as Exeter's


theatre school.


We felt very humble to stand alongside some


amazing people who work hard to make life


great for the people of Exeter!

A Message from the Directors


So many thank you's after the epic CHILDREN OF EDEN 25th anniversary. Firstly, thank you to everyone who came to the show: a show without an audience is just a rehearsal.


Secondly thank you to the magnificent chaperone team: so well-organized and so kind, especially with a huge age range to deal with. Also many many thanks to a production team who are at the very top of their game, including Dominic Jeffery who lit the show, Mike Reddaway who production managed, Jon Matanle who mixed sound, Riannon Cheffers-Heard who designed and painted the set including the rainbow floor for the fifth time!


And of course, huge congratulations to the entire cast, all working at a phenomenal, no, a truly exceptional level. CHILDREN OF EDEN is an ensemble musical about the fact we have to live and work together in harmony to truly prosper: all the members of Stage by Stage brilliantly demonstrated this truth live on stage. We feel very proud of you all!




It's a hit all over again!


CHILDREN OF EDEN has won over a whole new generation!  We are tremendously proud of the whole cast for their incredible performances of the heart-warming show. 


We've never known audience reaction like it, with people coming to see every single performance!


Here's to the next 25 years!



Stage Acting- our Drama only group, swept the board with 3 wins at the All England One Act Play Festival with its production of 'Liar Liar'.  


With wins for Best Actor, Outstanding Technical Achievement and Best Director, we covered all the categories!


Lots of laughs and very nice compliments from the packe audience, too!

Once again SbS members have come up trumps as the youth team in the Exeter Corn Exchange Christmas pantomime.


This year, over 40 Stage by Stage members have been selected to be part of the youth chorus alongside top West End stars in this year's ALADDIN!


Reviews have been spectacular so dont miss this magical show!


'Believe in the magic' (Western Morning News)...



We've had a lovely week at the Barnfield Theatre performing 'The Wizard of Oz'!


The three teams each brought their own style to the performances and it was lovely to see them grow in confidence from show to show.


There is a new selection of photos from the show on our Gallery page.






Great performances of the all-singing, all-dancing rock'n roll musical, THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at the Exeter Corn Exchange.


If you missed it, you missed a real treat!




Huge congratulations to the group of senior students who appeared alongside such stars as Dani Harmer (Tracy Beaker), Graham Seed (The Archers), Derek Frood (Poldark) and Miles Western (Olivier Award-winner) in the Exeter Rep production of 'TWELFTH NIGHT'!


What a great opportunity to learn the craft of acting in a lavish professional production! 

We are comfy and cosy in our new studios in South Street!

It's been a really hectic half term moving from the old building after 23 years, but we are ready and eager for a fresh start!

All classes now take place in our new home:


Stage Studios

36A South Street


EX1 1ED.

Stage by Stage first went to the Edinburgh Festival in 1997- 20 years later it's time for another hit show: THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.  


Fantastic responses and daily clap-alongs have accompanied our high-octane slapstick production.


We hope Shakespeare would have loved it! 

We can't express how proud we feel of the entire cast, crew, backstage helpers, chaperones and front of house volunteers who made this show a highlight- even with our incredible history of shows.  


Sixty-five Stage by Stage members were involved in the show, working as one brilliant team to create a very special production.  A new legend is born! 



Once again we produced one of the biggest shows Exeter has ever seen with the UK youth theatre premiere of 'SPAMALOT'.  The audience were on their feet cheering for all six performances and the whole show was a fantastic testament to the company spirit, teamwork and superb professional approach of every member of the cast and crew!


We are proud to say that no other youth group in the South West stages shows with such elaborate physical productions, which enable our students to really learn how to perform at a professional level and with full professional technical teams; no franchise school would ever dream of budgeting their so-called "showcases" on the scale of our full stage shows!  




STAGE SENIOR presented three enchanting musical shows this term, featuring characters from Horton Hears a Who, The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.


Wonderful singing and energetic non-sto dances!  Congratulations to a very committed cast!




We've had highly appreciative audiences for the Junior Academy performance of stories such as the tales of Jeremy Fisher and Jemima Puddleduck!


It's a lovely variety show which even includes ballet and tap dance- great work and very nice diction from all the young actors!





Two packed houses enjoyed great performances from our Junior Stages on the last day of January. 


Lovely singing and some great comic performances made for a highly entertaining show at the Exeter Corn Exchange!  Special commendation for George Saunders who played Grandpa Joe only 3 days after a major operation on his knee- very brave and very committed not to let his friends down.  Hats off to you and the whole cast!



Huge congratulations to the Stage Acting group for amazing results in recent drama competitions:

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD at Teignmouth Drama Festival

BEST YOUTH PRODUCTION at Exmouth Drama Festival

- plus 5 acting nominations for the cast of 11!


Huge congratulations to former SbS member Fletcher Dobinson who has just been cast as Coricopat in the world tour of CATS!  Fletcher took many lead roles with us from Judas in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' to the Young Prince Nak in 'The King & I'.  We can't wait to see him in full cat make-up!


Edinburgh 2014

Rave Reviews for

Candide and She Loves Me!!!




Back at the Edinburgh Festival for the 17th year, both our shows received 4-star reviews and great audience responses!!!




This is a bold, high energy affair. The well-drilled young actors of Stage by Stage re-tell Voltaire’s classic tale of optimism and despair in just 50 minutes, and while the pace is breakneck, the show is focused and fun.

There are no weak links in this cast of talented young people. Alex Zawalynski is a sweet, fresh-faced Candide, suitably bemused as life hurls him from crisis to catastrophe. Erin Santillo delivers an excellent performance as the Old Lady – the mono-buttocked walk is a particular highlight. Will Trafford makes the most of a small role as Cacambo, Candide’s genre savvy companion, and steals most of the laughs in his scenes. The ensemble plays its part to the hilt, doing an excellent job of setting the scene and never shying away from the (highly stylised) sex and violence that Candide encounters along the way.

The staging is simple, relying on nothing more than hand props and a couple of flats to transport the audience from Schloss Thunder-ten-Tronckh to Lisbon and Latin America. There’s a classy selection of Baroque favourites on the soundtrack, but most of the sound effects are created by the cast themselves.

The adaptation is robust and high-spirited, though Voltaire aficionados may not appreciate the decision to cut the story off before the very end. However, in the context of this production, allowing Candide’s story to end on a high note makes sense and the whole thing is charming enough to forgive the decision to dispense with much of the philosophy.

Candide runs at Greenside@Nicolson Square until 22 August at 22:00. Running time is 50 minutes.







“Good morning, good day!” So begins the best classic musical you’ve never heard of. And to quote a musical you probably have heard of: “And what a lovely morning!” (cue tap dance). If you do know She Loves Me, you love it. It’s just that kind of show. This lovely production from Stage by Stage youth theatre group does justice to Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s fledgling musical, (written prior to their smash hit Fiddler on the Roof).

She Loves Me is based on a Hungarian play, which became the classic film The Shop Around the Corner, later remade as You’ve Got Mail. The plot’s a classic: perky shopgirl Amalia Balash and nervous clerk Georg Nowack both join a lonely hearts club. They write letters to “Dear Friend,” whom they’ve never met in person. Sparks fly in the shop where they both work—and who should “Dear Friend” turn out to be? What makes She Loves Me such a gem is the truly gorgeous, hummable music and warm, idiosyncratic characters.


The accompaniment here is just an arrangement for a single piano, but it’s more than serviceable. The set is a bit of a mess—there’s nothing to give a show an amateur flair like poorly applied glitter—but otherwise things look very good. Care’s been put into the costumes and all the choreography fits in neatly, though the young cast is sometimes a bit too frenetic and shuffling in their movements.

Jon Bisby has a fine, mature voice as Georg. For some reason, the cast seem divided on the issue of accents. Some of the actors (Bisby among them) seem to believe all musicals require American accents, while others (the leading ladies among them) stick to their natural English accents. Luke Malone is convincingly elderly as shop owner Mr. Maraczek and all the male cast members in general do a good job of speaking and singing with voices that are still developing. Will Trafford is an absolute standout as bumbling clerk Sipos. He’s got perfect comic timing and can parlando with all the aplomb of Rex Harrison. Slightly younger cast member Louie Pollard makes an adorable Arpad (the delivery boy). Abby Purdy does a fine job as Amalia. She’s got a difficult soprano part to sing and it’s reassuring to see that Stage by Stage haven’t pushed her too hard—her voice is natural and supported. Laura Porter is absolutely wonderful as the ditzy, loveable Ilona Ritter. Porter knows how to sell the character both in song and dialogue. She’s immensely likeable and Alex Jackson is appropriately menacing as Stephen Kodaly. The chorus does their best with some admittedly tricky parts though overall some numbers need more balance and blend. Erin Santillo’s willowy, wild-eyed maître-d makes the café scene absolutely crackle with energy; he’s superb.


On the whole, it’s a thoroughly commendable production. Anyone who loves She Loves Me (in other words, anyone who’s seen it) will be thrilled to see young actors handling the show with such warmth and grace. 



An incredible week of success at the Exeter Dance Festival!



1ST PLACE- 'Cabaret' performed by Senior Academy in the Under 21 section!



2ND PLACE- 'Joseph' perfomed by Junior Academy in the Under 15 section!



1ST PLACE= 'Winnie the Pooh' performed by Stage Debut in the Under 10 section!



Doesn't that show the incredible strength in depth across the generations in each of our Stages!!!



(Also special mention for the 'Les Mis' group who also scored 87 marks and a distinction in the senior section)

Edinburgh 2013

It’s impossible not to have a good time at Little Shop of Horrors - the music is so uplifting, the characters so fun and the story so oddly compelling. Stage by Stage do an apt job of capturing the mood of the piece in an exuberant fashion


Hi Ian,
I just wanted to say how lovely your chaps were yesterday.  They all behaved beautifully, were charming, polite and I think had a lot of fun!
Thank you so much for finding them for me and organising the licenses - I understand from the lovely Sarah that you had lots going on at school last week, so thank you so much for finding time for us too!
Hopefully speak to you very soon - and your chaperones Sarah and Nicolette were brilliant too!
Thanks again Ian!
Best wishes,
Ali x

Alison Fraser

Bryony and Scarlett Impress the Best!

Bryony Buckingham and Scarlett Dobinson won the Performance Award 2011 at the Exeter Dance Festival in half term, beating over 30 other winning dances in the finals.  Here they are with the judge, Adam Cooper, one of the country's top ballet dancers and musical theatre stars!