A Brief History
Kidz R Us began life in 1993 when Phil Barnett and Margaret Banfield of St Ives Operatic Society assembled a small group of local kids for a one off concert in aid of Save the Children. This was such a success that the audience begged for more, and Kidz R Us was born.
"It's been a privilege and in terms of making a contribution to the community in which we live, it's the best thing we'll ever do". Barry Cockroft (parent)
Over the past 16 years, Kidz has staged over 50 musical shows at our own theatre in St Ives and at the Minack, and even appearing in London’s West End. Two years ago we were selected by NODA to stage the Amateur World Premiere of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Likes of Us”, which opened in St Ives in January 2009 in the presence of Sir Tim Rice.
Kidz is a registered charity dedicated to developing young people through practical engagement in the performing arts, and helping to increase their confidence and maturity. We have welcomed hundreds of youngsters through our doors as performers, or to our workshop weeks and regular classes.
Though Kidz is open to all and doesn’t directly encourage young people to go into theatre as a profession, increasing numbers of Kidz graduates are making successful careers in the arts, and several have recently appeared in major roles in musical theatre both in the West End and nationally.
None of this would be possible without a small army of dedicated adult volunteers, providing all the support services for our productions, from costume making to chaperoning, front of house to stage management. Last year, the work of our volunteers achieved national recognition when we were given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Kidz R Us has become a formidable cultural force within Penwith and has been showered with awards and critical acclaim. The opening performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was staged at the internationally renowned open-air Minack Theatre and won the trophy for the outstanding production of the year.
"Sensational, sizzling, spectacular dream debut... there are five musicals in the Minack's full summer season - each of them will have to steam some, and then some more, to even get within sight of this one." Frank Ruhrmund (The Cornishman)
The following year Kidz were invited back for an even more spectacular production of “Will Rogers Follies”, followed by “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “The Magic of the Musicals”, “Les Misérables” and “Anything Goes”, and in 2003 Kidz were invited to provide a musical entertainment for HRH the Countess of Wessex, on her visit to the Minack.
Last year we created a new venture, a show for pre-school children, called “The Adventures of Soggy the Bear”, part of our new initiative to give young adults an experience of professional touring theatre, which played in St Ives and then toured to schools across the county.
“We’ve seen a lot of children’s theatre and I thought this was excellent in terms of everything: interaction, balance of songs and dialogue, staging etc – inspired.” (Mrs L Smith, Oxford)