For theatre... online, non-professional, amateur


If your society has done something special, gone the extra mile or perhaps one step beyond! then please let us know and you could be featured in Sardines.

Email us here at: and please don’t forget to take plenty of photos…

Our second One Step Beyond! features a strong never-say-die attitude and should serve as an example to us all that we shall not fade away but will, instead, come back stronger than before!

Based in Essex, Early Doors Productions has been going for just over ten years. Non-professional in status, the theatre company is headed up by LAMDA-trained, ex-professional actress, vocalist and dancer, Amy Clayton.

Amy likes to surround herself with fellow ex-professionals (such as her husband, Justin Cartledge, who often collaborates with Amy on adapting films into plays and/or musicals) but is also very keen to push new ideas at festivals and fringe events and give aspiring amateur actors in the area the chance to develop their skills with them.

Arguably like a myriad of other theatre companies across the country, EDP is determined to pick up where it left off before the pandemic so rudely burst on the scene and put a stop to the performing arts on 16 March last year.

Just before the worst fifteen months of our lives began, EDP performed the controversial and violent A Clockwork Orange at the start of March 2020 to great acclaim at regular venue – The Brentwood Theatre (read Michael Gray’s review for Sardines).

Rather than wait for the world to wake back up, Amy has been steadily becoming more and more active theatre-wise this year. After live-streaming two original one-act dramas (Caillte Lighthouse and Paperclip) back in November 2020, EDP doggedly continued to push on through the craziness with a live-streaming week of Raft (a one-act musical) and reduced audience performances of Alfie at the start of 2021. Raft – is also being taken to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next year (where West End hits, such as Six first breathed life). Justin Cartledge is also coming to The Brentwood Theatre on 21 Aug (for one day only) with Alfie. So you may wish to see one of the two performances on that day. According to the blurb… “After a special request from the rights holders for the show to air a repeat, the ultimate swinger is excited to return – but beware: this time when he’s gone, he’s gone!”

Elsewhere, the EDP crew have put their writing talents to the test and are planning to debut Blue Morpho, another one-act original musical written by Justin Cartledge and starring Amy Clayton. This challenging piece will be performed on 16-17 Sep 2021 and will be co-directed by Neil Gray, Laura-Leigh O’Donoghue and Darren Matthews. A venue is still to be comfirmed so the website will hopefully let you know as soon as details can be confirmed.

Halloween (EDP’s favourite time of the year for a classic horror – mild or otherwise!) sees Sleepy Hollow galloping across Brentwood Theatre’s stage from 28-30 Oct. Expect humour, hilarity, horror and ‘headlessness’ (is that even a word!). Some new blood is welcomed to the EDP cast for this one, although not literally. Colin Richardson and Jack Dobre will be joining Early Doors’ ranks for the run in Essex.

Finally for 2021, EDP’s NHS charity music night of Soul, Jazz & Blues will be held in Chelmsford at Ingatestone Hall on 12 & 13 Nov. 100% of ticket profits will go towards the NHS whose staff have played the biggest part in making all of the above possible. Here here! For the special concert, Amy Clayton will perform with Jennifer Bell, Ben Martins and Victoria Russell, faithfully accompanied by Darren Matthews.

Limited tickets are available by emailing EDP at

YOUR NEWS – LAMDA Degree Decree

YOUR NEWS – LAMDA Degree Decree

Photo: LAMDA

By Francesca Hoare

LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art), one of the country’s most prestigious drama schools, has announced that it has been granted full Degree Awarding Powers.
Since its inception LAMDA has been recognised as a pioneer in its field and is now regarded as one of the world’s leading conservatoires, providing exceptional training to actors, directors and technicians.
Graduates of LAMDA have gone on to have enduring and successful careers in the creative industries and beyond, with alumni including Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Wilson and David Oyelowo.
Degree awarding powers recognises the quality of LAMDA’s training and will build on the drama school’s history and reputation.
In order to be granted full degree awarding powers, a provider must demonstrate that it is a self-critical, cohesive academic community with a proven commitment to the assurance of standards supported by effective quality systems. All the underpinning criteria must also be fully met, so the QAA scrutiny covered academic governance; regulatory frameworks; academic standards; the quality of the academic experience; staff scholarship and pedagogical effectiveness; the environment for supporting students and an evaluation of performance.
LAMDA currently offers these accredited degree level courses:

  • BA (Hons) Professional Acting
  • MFA Professional Acting
  • MA Classical Acting for the Professional Theatre
  • FdA Production and Technical Arts
  • BA (Hons) Production and Technical Arts
  • MA Directing


By Francesca Hoare

LAMDA slashes first round audition fees, widening access to drama school training

London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art has announced its new audition process and audition fee structure, which will see the cost of first round auditions slashed for all applicants.
This is the first initiative under the leadership of acclaimed theatre director Sarah Frankcom as she takes up the helm as Director of LAMDA. Applications are open now, via LAMDA’s website:

A new simplified process comes into immediate effect for UK and EU applicants for LAMDA’s acting courses. A £12 administration fee will drastically cut the upfront cost of auditioning by 75%. A remaining fee, would then only be payable by candidates invited back for a full-day recall audition, ensuring that those who benefit the most from the process pay a more proportionate amount.

LAMDA Director, Sarah Frankcom, said: “This is about removing the barriers to finding the best talent across the country for our acting schools. It is all about creating greater opportunity. For too long we have talked about removing barriers to students from challenging and low-income backgrounds, but the cost of the first audition for these aspiring actors has too easily been a barrier to them seeking their chance to audition. LAMDA wants to demonstrate the importance to the industry of slashing the cost of that vital first audition.”

The Rt Hon. Shaun Woodward, Chair of LAMDA Trustees, and the former Labour Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said: “This is all about giving real opportunity to students across the UK. We were set the challenge of how to respond to concerns that ‘the cost of having a go’ was ‘discouraging to would be actors from poorer backgrounds.’ So today we meet that challenge. We want to play our part in removing barriers to young people getting the chance to have their first audition. From the experience of my former constituency of St Helens, I am certain that expensive fees for a first audition really do prevent students from these tougher backgrounds taking the chance on that first audition. This decision by Sarah and our Board is a vital next step and hopefully LAMDA’s lead will encourage more of the industry to act accordingly. We must put our noble ambition for greater access into practice. Slashing first audition fees is about giving the break to opportunity.”

Benedict Cumberbatch CBE and President of LAMDA added: “I am so excited to see that Sarah’s first step as the new Director of LAMDA has been to open up the doors to greater opportunity for students from the toughest backgrounds. We need to make sure that training for the stage, film and television is opened up and that we take down barriers to young people with enormous talent and potential who might have been put off by a first audition fee that was unaffordable.”

LAMDA will continue to hold first auditions regionally, visiting eleven cities across the UK, Ireland and France, with regular dates in London. Audition places will be capped at 4,200 and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

LAMDA will maintain its system of UK audition fee waivers and travel bursaries. Financial support will continue to be available at both stages for candidates applying via LAMDA’s Access and Widening Participation programme.

For further information on funding available, course details and applications visit