Blog May 27th “The Premiere Staged Concert of Theophilus -The Musical”

A Time For Everything featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “The Season of Singing” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

Last week I shared Bishop Philip’s review of the Staged Concert of Theophilus -The Musical which took place on Saturday, May 14th. Today it is my turn and I begin with a huge thanks to all who took part.
First the incredible cast who worked so very hard with so little rehearsal time:
Theophilus-+ Priscilla- Natasha Bain
Luke + Aquila – Edward Baker- Duly
Peter – Richard Mellion
Paul – Mark Bernard
Mary Magdalene- Katie Forge
John and Ananias – Andrew Dovaston
Crippled man and Simon the Sorcerer- Casey Lloyd
Stephen the first Martyr and Julius the Centurian- Sam Townsend
Philip the Evangelist and Barnabas – Adam Collins
Tabitha- Mei-Ling Thomas
Lydia – ChiChi Uzodinma
Woman from Ephesus – Amy Millar
Imprisoned woman – Evieanna Mullane

Our amazing Musical Director – Joffy Girling
Our fantastic Tech team led by – Adam Kemp
All the support staff of the Gosport and Fareham Multi- Academy Trust
Chris Carter and the Gosport Music Festival for their financial support
Les Heyhoe for sponsoring the printed programmes
Bob Ellis of the Gosport Shed for providing the interval drinks
Kathleen, Freya, Tina, Darren and Ash for their brilliant behind the scenes help
We only had the Friday evening and Saturday to rehearse before the one- off evening performance. Friday evening’s rehearsals were challenging to say the least so to go from where we were Friday evening to Saturday evening’s performance was nothing short of miraculous!

Many of the issues that arose will be sorted with movement added, face mics rather than standing mics used, a stage set created, professional lighting, adequate rehearsal time, the script refreshed and the musical fully orchestrated.
So please watch this space!

Quote of the week

All you need is a mustard seed of faith and nothing is impossible

Theophilus The Musical (taken from Matthew 17:20

Blog May 19th Theophilus -The Musical – A Review from Bishop Philip

Next week I will give you my take on the Staged Concert of Theophilus -The Musical which took place on Saturday, May 14th. I definitely have to wait until next week as a Bishop’s review obviously takes precedence!

Last Saturday evening, Canon PJ and I were invited to a première staged concert at Bay House School, Gosport, of a new musical currently in development. Written by Ken Shearsmith, with music by him and Joffy James, it is called Theophilus, based on the character referred to by St. Luke at the start of the Acts of the Apostles. It basically retells many of the events of Acts and is designed as a youth opera in the line of West End hits such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours. In Theophilus, the Gospel writer Luke is reunited with his patron Theophilus, describing how the Gospel has spread far and wide, yet not without many challenges along the way and some difficult questions such as how a good God can allow such suffering and how one can receive forgiveness and salvation. The musical comprises over 50 songs, many of which are truly catchy – I said to the composer afterwards that some would be great to sing at Mass or in Prayer and Praise. The event on Saturday was a trial sing-through before an invited audience, involving a cast of fifteen professional West End and Broadway singers and so it was top quality. There is now more work to do over the weeks ahead as the songs and stage-sets are designed for youngsters in schools and groups to take on. It was a great evening before a packed house, and the applause clearly shewed that everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

Click on the picture to listen to one of the many songs.

Quote of the week

Mark 9:24 and used in “Theophilus- The Musical ”

Blog May 5th “Moments of Sunshine Part Four”

How Can I Love You More? featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album Love is the Way recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

In the blog of April 21st, I shared a video of Loren Allred singing “Never Enough” on “Britain’s Got Talent.” Her performance was amazing and she received the “Golden Buzzer” from Amanda Holden.
I shared the story as I genuinely believed that no one before had realised that she was the voice behind Rebecca Fergeson’s lip syncing performance in “The Greatest Showman.” It really did appear that BGT had provided her with an opportunity to show the world “the face behind the song.”
However, it turns out that Loren was already well known as the singer of The Greatest Showman’s “Never Enough.” In fact, in early 2019 she joined Michael Bublé for a duet of “Help Me Make it Through the Night.” She also joined Andrea Bocelli for selected performances on his 2021 USA Tour.
So not quite the “fairy-tale “we were led to believe and, in any case, not in the same class as the one featured today, which although now 13 years ago, still never fails to delight.

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Blog April 28th “The Staged Concert of Theophilus – The Musical”

Oh Lord Hear My Voice featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Where Would I Be Without You?” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

So, it’s just over two weeks now before the Premiere Staged Concert of Theophilus- The Musical. All are warmly welcomed to be part of an invited audience to watch and give feedback on this, Mustard Seed Songs’ new project. The venue is Bay House School and Sixth Form, Gomer Lane, Gosport starting at 7.30 pm on Saturday, May 14th.
West End and Broadway actor, Edward Baker- Duly, who has been helping me with the script for the past two years plays the part of Gospel writer Luke and in today’s featured video encourages you to attend with tickets by donation available from

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Blog April 21st “Moments of Sunshine – Part Three”

So here is the third part of my series of “Moments of Sunshine” to hopefully help lighten up our often dark and troubled world.
There are three “moments” I wish to share. The first took place on Easter Saturday when Risen! – The Musical was shown on the amazing large screen at Waypoint Church, Park Gate. It was just like seeing it in a top-class cinema – I and many in the audience were really moved, so many thanks to Jim and Waypoint for making it happen.
Second was when both the Manchester United and Liverpool supporters, historic rivals, stood as one in the seventh minute of their derby match on Tuesday to applaud Christiano Ronaldo and his partner Georgina Rodriguez in a moving show of support on the death of their new born baby. Gary Neville used the word “class” of the Liverpool fans – I totally agree with him.
The third moment was on “Britain’s Got Talent” and as it the featured video – I won’t say anymore.

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Blog March 30th “Moments of Sunshine – Part Two”

So here is the second part of my series of “Moments of Sunshine” to hopefully help lighten up our often dark and troubled world.
My brother Jack, whose lovely wife Eileen happens to be 90 years old this weekend- congratulations to her and looking forward to travelling to Hucknall this weekend for a small family reunion – sent me today’s featured video.
At first, I was convinced it was a scam – a set up with two West End singers taking part – one dressed up as a busker to create the “illusion.” I had seen similar “spoofs” one in which Christiano Ronaldo dresses up as a homeless person to take on people at football in the street.
However what Jack sent me was authentic and here is the story:
Steve Barry was singing songs from the musicals in London’s Covent Garden when he was approached by a woman to sing a duet.
The song she wanted to perform was ‘All I Ask Of You’ from Phantom of the Opera. Weary from randomers looking to perform with him, Steve was inclined to say no, when she suddenly volunteered some surprising information.
Steve explains ‘Busking in Covent Garden one evening, when a lady (who was pretty easy on the eye to be fair) in the audience asked me to sing ‘All I Ask of You’.
‘I had just sung a number from Phantom of the Opera.
‘With my most withering, scathing tone I informed her I can’t be doing two Phantom songs in a row (like duh). She replied with ‘if you do I’ll sing it with you’.’
‘Given my previous duet earlier that set was an enforced rendition of Flower of Scotland with a drunken Scotsman in a kilt I set my gaze to highly sceptical.
‘Obviously, I asked if she was any good – at which stage she casually dropped in ‘I’m currently Christine in Phantom at her Majesty’s Theatre.”
‘When I removed my foot from my mouth…. we did this…’
His singing partner turned out to be Celinde Schoenmaker who made her West End debut in 2013 in the role of ‘Fantine’ in ‘Les Misérables’ at the Queen’s Theatre in London.
She won the role of ‘Christine’ in Phantom of the Opera in September 2015.

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CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 75

Blog March 23rd “Moments of Sunshine – Part One”

In Times of Trouble featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “I Look UpTo The Heavens.” recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

The world is facing very troubled times of which today’s featured song “In Times of Trouble” is a reflection. However, in spite of so much darkness in the world, especially the tragic and horrific images we see of Ukraine, there are still “moments of sunshine” or to quote last week’s song “little bits of heaven keep breaking through.” So, for the next few weeks I want to celebrate some things that have made me smile and realise, despite everything, that there is still so much good in this world.
While Head of PE at Crofton School I tried to encourage an attitude of “play hard but play fair” and for a long time the PE noticeboard displayed a photograph (as featured) of a wonderful piece of sportsmanship by Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, now of Top Gear fame, but then an English cricketer. It was back in 2005 when, in the Ashes, “Freddie” famously consoled Brett Lee after he and the Australian team had been narrowly defeated.
And fast forward to 2022 and the Wales v Italy Six Nations Rugby Union match in which Italy won by one point -21- 22. Welsh winger Josh Adams won the “player of the match” award, but he made the wonderful gesture of offering his award to the Italian fullback Ange Capuozzo, whose stunning break in the final minutes of the game led to Italy’s first Six Nations win after 36 straight defeats- they also had not beaten Wales since 2007.
Adams won man of the match for scoring a try which had put Wales 21- 15 ahead and earlier in the game he also made a superb tackle to deny Italy a certain try.
You can see how much x appreciated Adam’s gesture and even though he felt he could not accept the award it was still what the sports media are calling a “classy act of sportsmanship.”

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Blog March 17th “Suffering”

This is not Heaven featuring Lucy Stimpson-Maynard from the album Uplifted recorded and produced by Bob Ross

When we take a long look at the world, especially the horrors of war in the Ukraine an obvious question is “Why is God allowing this to happen?” This question is pretty much the same as “Why does God allow suffering.” Back in 2016 I wrote about 12 blogs offering some ideas on this most difficult of issues.
During a recent sermon, the Vicar of Holy Rood Church, Stubbington pointed out that we, in the West seem to expect to have a life that is epitomised by “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”- this is our right and something is fundamentally wrong when we don’t get it. In other parts of the world, however people are much more realistic and accept that suffering is a part of this life and we should not be surprised when it happens. This does not mean that there is no God or that He does not care – it just means that “This is not heaven” – things will go wrong and His promise is not to take bad things away but to stay close to us through life’s challenges and yes, the sufferings.
Back in January 2016 I made a similar point referring to a chapter in John Young’s book “The Case Against Christ” (not be confused with Lee Stobel’s “The Case for Christ”)
Young writes that we live in “a world that makes itself”. He says that as science has shed more light on our world, we have discovered that the finely tuned processes which enable and sustain life are inevitably fragile; good outcomes contain risks. The movements of the continental plates- an essential aspect of our eco system- can also cause earthquakes. The weather system on which life depends is extremely sensitive and climatic events in the Artic can lead to hurricanes in New York.
God, continues Young, has created this amazing world with a life of its own – “a world that makes itself”. Accidents happen, they are not “sent”. We live in a beautiful and exciting world but it is unpredictable, often dangerous and sometimes downright terrifying. Perhaps the act of creation inescapably involves the fact of suffering. Can we have one without the other? Jesus Himself accepted suffering as an inescapable ingredient of life.
It would seem that it is impossible to come through this life without experiencing some form of suffering – so perhaps we should not be surprised when it does come our way- and perhaps also appreciate the good times more than we do.

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