Spring 2023

Viva Bursts Into Spring

with awards, celebrations, and sell out shows
Talent Recognised At Spectacular Awards Evening

The Group came together on Sunday 26th February to recognise the achievements of everyone involved in this inclusive community Theatre Group.  250 members, Trustees, Presidents, Patrons, Dignitaries, Industry Celebrities and Supporters, gathered at the invitation of Viva Founder and Chair Daniel Schumann to celebrate. 
The event was attended by guests Viva President, Actor and TV Star, Mike Fenton Stevens, Viva Life Vice President, Gordon Smart. Viva Patrons, Dr Mark Billinge, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Caroline Bewes, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth.  Award Sponsors, Jennifer Eyres, Robert Barnes, Angela Bocking (Viva Trustee), Richard Hobbs (Viva Trustee).  Awards were also presented by The High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, Mrs Jennifer Crompton, DL, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Mrs Julie Spence OBE, Chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr. Alan Sharp, Olivier and Drama Desk Award Winning Actress and Television Star, Tracie Bennett, Caroline Bewes, DL, Jeremy James Taylor OBE, Britain’s Got Talent and Stage Star, Linda John Pierre, Olivier Award nominated Actress, Gabrielle Brooks, Viva Stalwart and Retired Trustee and supreme MC for the night, David Tickner.
The spectacular event, held at the recently renovated St Mary’s Church Ely, saw Members and Volunteers Awarded for their talent both on and off stage.  The first event since the pandemic allowed everybody to celebrate the Group’s achievements, recognising the incredible shows over the past few years including lockdown projects keeping the group together. 28 Awards were presented to our incredible youth and adult members.  We celebrated all the talent that is Viva Arts and Community Group, and in the words of our Chair, Dan Schumann, “everyone involved in Viva is a winner”.

Viva Welcomes New Patrons

Viva is delighted to welcome additional Patrons to support our work in The Theatre and Community.

We are proud to introduce to you:

Linda John-Pierre
An actress, singer, and television star of the West End Stage. Linda has done it all! Having trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama Linda has starred in Chicago, Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Showboat and countless pantomimes, to name just a few. She has also been in many TV shows including Eastenders, Doctors and the role of Mae in ITV’s ‘Archie’ starring Jason Isaacs. She has also featured in many films including Disenchanted (Disney+); Greatest Days (Elysian Film Group); Jungle (Amazon Studios); BAFTA winning Alma’s Not Normal (BBC2); Cinderella (Sony Pictures). Linda was also a finalist on Britain’s Got Talent and has recently published her first book, entitled ‘Still Laughing’. Linda is a well-known and respected industry wide champion for inclusion, diversity and neurodiversity.

Jennifer Crompton, DL
Jennifer has just completed her year as High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire. As the first Korean-born High Sheriff in the county, Jennifer focused on supporting projects in Cambridgeshire that promote inclusion and community cohesion. Jennifer was a derivates lawyer in New York for financial institutions including UBS, Sumitomo Capital Markets, and Sakura Global Capital, before moving to London in 2000 with her family. Since moving to the UK, Jennifer has been involved in a range of charitable activities, with a focus on the inclusion, education, and the arts. In 2016, Jennifer and her family relocated to Cambridgeshire, where she has since focused her efforts. In March 2023, she was announced as a Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire.

Christopher Walkinshaw, DL
Christopher has worked for Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings) Ltd since 1983.  Having worked in each of the Marshall businesses, he is currently Group Director of External Relations & Communications.  He is also a Non-Executive Director of Marshall Motor Holdings plc. Christopher is a Board Member of Cambridge Ahead and of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association in East Anglia, Chairman of their Regional Employer Engagement Group and a Member of the Cambridgeshire County Forum.  A Trustee of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and a Member of Anglian Learning (multi-academy trust), Christopher is also a Member of the Joint Assembly of the Greater Cambridge Partnership and a Vice-President (and former Chairman) of the Air League Trust and a Vice-President of Automotive Fellowship International. Christopher is also a Freeman of the City of London. Christopher was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire in 2021.

Matilda Wins NODA Award

Viva youth were celebrated for their incredible production of Matilda Junior winning the Best Youth Production in District 4S for 2022.  With our Matilda Olivia Brown being recognised for her leading role.  We were equally delighted to have been nominated for Best Musical Award in District 4S for We will Rock You.  Our congratulations to the entire cast and crew.

Viva Sell Out Spring Shows
Viva youth brought a delightful, vibrant musical show of the works of Dr Seuss in the fantastical Seussical this March.  The show was a hit with audiences young and old and we’re delighted to be continuing to bring new members and new audiences to the Theatre with such a variety of productions. 
April brought us The Darling Buds of May, a delightful production which left audience members wanting to be part of the family.  Again, the production welcomed new members and introduced new audiences to all that Viva has to offer!

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