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Smash Arts ‘Technicolour’ triumph

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On the evening of Saturday 17 February, Smash Arts Theatre Company took to the stage at the Centenary Theatre, Berkhamsted School in aid of Spread a Smile for a very special performance of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

However, this was no ordinary production, as the cast and crew only found out 24-hours before taking to the stage on Saturday night which musical they would be performing. With everyone finding out their roles and rehearsals starting at 7.30pm on Friday 16 February, the team embarked on the huge challenge of staging the show in 24 hours, with limited time to sleep and working solidly through the night and resulting in a magnificent and joy-filled performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

As audience member Karen Jordan said, “It really was truly amazing and the talent of all the boy/girls/men/women taking part was outstanding. Their personalities shone through and the way they interacted with the audience was brilliant and just showed how professional they all are. I could have watched it for another hour, two, three, four hours more… in fact I could have watched it all night long. It was brilliant!”

The Smash Arts team and cast raised an incredible £15,927.31 to support Spread a Smile’s work bringing joy and laughter to seriously ill children in NHS hospitals and hospices across the country, with Smash Arts Co-Founder Alex Williams saying, “This was a challenge we will not forget for a long time, an experience for the entire Smash family to support an incredible cause. And what a show it was! I think we can safely say many smiles were spread and many tears shed on Saturday night, but every minute of tiredness was worth it for the final outcome.”

Smash Arts Theatre company was formed in 2020 by co-founders Alex Williams and Dani Acors with Dani also being a regular member of the Spread a Smile team of entertainers, using her performing talents to spread smiles across Spread a Smile’s hospital and hospice partners.

Dani said, “This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. Joseph is a very special show for me, so to combine that with working with an incredibly talented group of friends to create something so magical in such a short space of time for a charity so very close to my heart, is not only a privilege but an honour I will keep close with me forever.”

There was a magical atmosphere in the air as the evening unfolded, with the audience cheering and clapping at every opportunity and the performers obviously enjoying the experience as much as the audience, with everyone coming together for a standing ovation at the end and a final rendition of ‘Any Dream will Do.’

Lucy Jackson Spread a Smile Chief Executive said, “We are extremely grateful to everyone at Smash Arts Theatre Company – Dani, Alex, the cast, and crew – Berkhamsted School and everyone who bought tickets and supported this brilliant event for doing so much and helping to raise such an incredible amount for Spread a Smile. The show was an absolute triumph, and we feel proud to be the chosen charity for such an uplifting, positive, creative and empowering initiative.”

Thank you, Dani, Alex and everyone at Smash Arts Theatre Company.

Access Self Storage Christmas gift drive

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Over the last 10 years, Access Self Storage has collected over 18,500 children’s toys for charity through their annual Christmas campaign and this year, Spread a Smile is delighted to be their nominated charity.

Access Self Storage is encouraging local residents and customers to donate brand new and unwrapped toys and gifts at one of stores or storage locations around the country. The gifts will then be collated and sent to Spread a Smile HQ where our elves will deliver them to thousands of seriously ill children and young people either at home, hospital or via our virtual Christmas grotto

Jan Albert Fourie, Head of Operations at Access Self Storage commented, “Our stores work closely with their local communities and each year build upon this campaign.  We hope that this 10th anniversary year will enable us to smash the 20,000 donated toys ceiling, and that children in hospital across the UK will be treated to a gift this year from our Christmas collection.  If all our customers and our local communities get behind the campaign it will make a huge difference.”

Staff have already begun collecting toys and people are invited to bring their toy & gift donations in to store between 13th November – 11th December, ahead of the charity collection and distribution in time for Christmas.

Lucy Jackson, Chief Executive Spread a Smile said of the partnership, “Partnering with Access Self Storage, for the first time, for its toy collection will mean we can spread even more magic this Christmas.  It’s a precious time of year and we know the Santa visits create unique and lasting memories.  The support of the Access Self Storage teams, customers and their communities is truly priceless.”

We are so grateful to everyone at Access Self Storage and all of their customers for their brilliant support this Christmas. You can find a list of stores here.

Smash Arts 24-hour musical

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We are delighted to be the chosen charity for the Smash Arts Theatre Company’s 24-hour musical!

This exciting project will challenge participants to create and perform a musical to a full paying audience in just 24 hours. With limited time to sleep, the 24-hour cast, creatives and team will work solidly through the night and day to create the best version of a secret show possible.

Leading up to the project cast members will be sent a series of clues which could indicate what the show is going to be, be aware we could throw in some red herrings for fun! These could be parts of costumes or props which we may ask you to bring in.

Rehearsals will start at 6.30pm on Friday 16 February, with the performance taking place on the evening of Saturday 17 February at Berkhamsted School, who have generously allowed full use of their Centenary Theatre for this brilliant initiative.

Smash Arts Theatre company was formed in 2020 by co-founders Dani Acors and Alex Williams. Dani is also part of the Spread a Smile team of entertainers, regularly using her performing talents to spread smiles across Spread a Smile’s hospital and hospice partners. Smash Arts has partnered with Berkhamsted School previously to showcase some incredible productions such as their ‘Musical in a Week’ which saw a group of talented 8–18-year-olds stage and perform a musical in just six days. As if six days wasn’t already little time to produce a musical production, the 24-hour musical challenge will certainly be an exciting next step.

“When we thought of the idea for the 24-hour musical we knew we wanted it to be something very special, for everyone involved. Which is why we chose Spread a Smile as the beneficiary charity. I’ve seen first-hand just how important their work is bringing a little bit of joy and happiness to really seriously ill children and young people. I’m so excited about seeing our performers work together to create something amazing for the stage whilst also supporting this brilliant cause.” Dani Acors, Smash Arts Theatre Company Co-founder

As part of the process, performers will be encouraged to raise vital funds in sponsorship for Spread a Smile in recognition of all their hard work and effort, giving up their time and sleep over 24 hours to put on the show.

“Spread a Smile is so proud to have been chosen by Smash Arts as beneficiary charity for their exciting 24-hour musical. It looks set to be such an exciting initiative which will inspire everyone involved and can’t wait to see the final production. A huge thank you to Dani, xxx and everyone at Smash Arts Theatre Company for their support and for helping us to spread smiles to even more seriously ill children, young people and their families.” Josephine Segal, Spread a Smile Co-founder

Booking for the show will be via the website here and anyone aged 16 and over interested in taking part should take a look here for more information.

A huge thank you to Dani, Alex and everyone at Smash Arts Theatre Company and Berkhamsted School for making this brilliant event possible and for supporting Spread a Smile and our families.