To the Manor Operatic Society born...

manornf'Debbie and Pippa Crossland'(Mum and daughter)'Advertising and publicity and Snowchild
manornf'Debbie and Pippa Crossland'(Mum and daughter)'Advertising and publicity and Snowchild
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Many children dream of the fame and fortune that can come with acting but for others drama is just a great hobby.

Whether it is a love of the stage or the backstage bustle, theatre can be a fun way to break down barriers as families learn new skills together.

manornf'Paul, Lesley and Mollie Needham ( All acting Chorus members) Father, Mother and Daughter.

manornf'Paul, Lesley and Mollie Needham ( All acting Chorus members) Father, Mother and Daughter.

There are plenty of amateur dramatics groups in South Yorkshire and lots of families with a passion that stretches across the generations.

Manor Operatic Society is a perfect example and has tiny tots, grandparents, in-laws and siblings all working as part of the team.

Whatever their age, everybody is on-board tackling last-minute rehearsals for a production of the musical Carousel at Sheffield City Hall from May 11 to 14.

Richard Bradford and Linda Kelly have together clocked up over 50 years of experience with the group and now their daughter Evie is getting in on the act at the age of three.

manornf'Howard and Alice Mee (Father and Daughter)'Howard is the Society Treasurer and Alice is a dancer

manornf'Howard and Alice Mee (Father and Daughter)'Howard is the Society Treasurer and Alice is a dancer

By day Richard has a car sales business and Linda is an administrator at Owler Brook School but by night they are completely dedicated to drama.

The couple have previously taken on lead roles and are now balancing the positions of producer, director and choreographer.

Evie was on stage before she was even born, as Linda performed while pregnant, but this will be the first time she steps into the spotlight.

The youngster will act as a snow child – and she won’t be the only member of their family getting involved.

Following in mum and dad's footsteps: Linda Kelly, Richard Bradford and their three-year-old daughter Evie May Bradford.

Following in mum and dad's footsteps: Linda Kelly, Richard Bradford and their three-year-old daughter Evie May Bradford.

Linda’s parents Margaret and Frank Kelly are the Society house managers while Richard’s elder daughter Emily, aged 15, helps front of house.

There are also plenty of other families who encourage their youngsters to get involved, whether it is a starring role or backstage.

Linda said: “I think it is a great thing for kids to be involved in. It keeps them from hanging around the streets because it is so involved, especially at Christmas with the panto.

“It is healthy and fun and gives them a sense of pride to watch their own mums, dads or brothers up there on stage dancing and singing.”

manornf'Holly Parker Strawson ( Mrs Mullins) Adam Parker ( Chorus Hollys husband ) Fern Strawson ( Chorus Hollys Sister)

manornf'Holly Parker Strawson ( Mrs Mullins) Adam Parker ( Chorus Hollys husband ) Fern Strawson ( Chorus Hollys Sister)

The group stages two big productions each year and thousands turned out to see the 2010 panto. But as soon as the festive season was over, rehearsals and auditions began for Carousel.

There are parts for dancers and singers of all ages as well as challenges away from the spotlight in costume, make-up, music and scenery.

“We have got lots of families,” Linda said. “I think it is because it is something that is a hobby you can have, but it isn’t just yours and can be a ‘whole family’ affair.

“The children can get the bug for it and want to be on stage. You can share it between you and when you join Manor it is really your social life. There are people of all ages. The kids come and watch rehearsals and think ‘I’d like a go’ so they have a bash at it.

“Evie is always involved in rehearsals and down at the City Hall. She loves it and is a little actress really but she likes it because it is fun.

“I started acting at 16 and joined Manor. My older sister had joined a couple of years before and my mum has been involved ever since.”

manornf'Chris Keyes ( Chorus ) Ben Aitkin (chorus) 'Stepfather and Stepson

manornf'Chris Keyes ( Chorus ) Ben Aitkin (chorus) 'Stepfather and Stepson

Tickets for Carousel are available from Booking Line on 01709 365108 or via the City Hall Box Office on 0114 2233752.

Treading the boards - It’s a family affair

Keeping it in the family for Manor Operatic’s Carousel:

Howard and Liz Mee are treasurer and assistant treasurer while daughter Alice, aged 15, is a dancer and son Eddie, 17, works backstage.

Simon Hance plays the lead role of Billy Bigelow alongside 15-year-old daughter Ellie, who is a dancer

Paul Hill will be acting as Starmaker and daughter Georgina, aged 19, is a chorus member and dancer

Peter East will be Enoch Snow while daughter Charlotte plays the part of Louise

Ann Pitchford has been a member for more than 25 years and daughter Keeley is playing the lead role of Julie

Debbie Crossland looks after advertising while her nine-year-old daughter Pippa is a snow child

Lesley and Paul Needham, and daughter Molly are all chorus members and Chris Keyes and stepson Ben Aitken are both chorus members

Richard Foster is chairman while his son-in-law Tim Major is a chorus member and principal

Hannah Smith is a dancer while sister Francesca Smith is a snow child.

Pitching in: Mum and daughter Ann Pitchford and Keeley Pitchford

Pitching in: Mum and daughter Ann Pitchford and Keeley Pitchford