“Extraordinary talent... A great achievement” “A celebration of initiative, drive and creativity” “Demands to be seen again” “Lashings of energy and enthusiasm... The Rondo was justifiably packed”
“Pencoweth is a hypnotic, breathtaking work and my only hope is that it transfers to London...” “…a fantastic example of how compelling new musical theatre can be” “…so gripping that you could feel the audience hanging on every word”
“Not with these knees…”
Dan is a writer and musician. He was born in Isleworth, Middlesex on 4th January 1976. He won a music and academic scholarship to St Paul’s School, London, where his performing arts career had an inauspicious start, debuting as ‘Josephine’ in his school’s production of HMS Pinafore. Things picked up slightly the following year when he won the audience award for ITV’s Wide Awake Club Young Entertainer’s competition.
He graduated with a medical degree from Southampton University in 1999 and has written, produced, directed and performed in fifteen medical comedy revues. With a group of fellow medics, he co-wrote and performed Aeneas Ran Away with the Bearded Theatre Company which enjoyed a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has written innumerable songs, comedy sketches and founded, managed and played guitar, keyboards and occasional didgeridoo in his band Hooper Minor.
He was lead actor and associate producer for the short film Top of the World, directed by Jonathan Bernstein. This had its debut screening at BAFTA and won the audience award at Manchester’s KinoFilm festival in spring of this year.
He has been firm friends with Rob Pratt since one fateful orchestra course at Cranleigh School in 1990. After being each other’s best men, The Decent Rogues was their next successful full-scale collaboration, winning the prestigious NODA awards for ‘Best Musical and ‘Outstanding Achievement’. Pencoweth was their next musical venture which was nominated for two further NODA awards including ‘Best Musical’.
In 2016 Dan wrote the nativity ‘A Christmas Story’ for his children’s primary school in Bath which premiered at Bath’s Rondo Theatre.
In 2017 he wrote ‘Busk’, a brand new, contemporary musical which will premiere in 2018, once again under the banner of Music is Life Productions. When not writing musicals, Dan has appeared on keyboards with West Country legends, The Wurzels – lovingly dubbed ‘Dr Dan Dribble’ by the more senior band members!
He brings in the rent by working as a GP surgeon and lives in Bath with his wife, Jo, and two children, Amy and Ben. His cat, Percy, is considerably less musical than his namesake in The Decent Rogues.
“Is there any gin in that trunk?”
Music has always been a huge part of Rob’s life, whether as a performer, writer, arranger or retailer. Born in Paddington on April 25th 1975, he made quick progress on clarinet and piano at prep school which saw him offered a Music Scholarship to City of London Freemen’s school in Ashtead, where he made his debut aged 15 as Professor Higgins in the senior school production of My Fair Lady. He was a multiple winner of the Chamber Music for Schools competition, a Soloist with Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, and achieved his Performers Diploma on the Clarinet aged 19 whilst studying Music at Birmingham University.
As a grown up, Rob has enjoyed success playing bass guitar and songwriting in various ensembles, composing for the piano and other instrumental groups, playing ukulele with his group SUSBUS at venues such as the Christchurch Festival, playing woodwinds in professional touring theatre pit bands, playing orchestral clarinet with the Westminster Philharmonic, and teaching instruments, theory and composition to various unfortunates.
Rob met Dan Lashbrook at band camp at the age of sixteen on the clarinet desk whereupon a lifetime of collusion on matters musical started. He owns a couple of musical instrument shops in Bournemouth, and is a husband to Jo, and father to Tessa, Henry and Barnaby. He owns a world class collection of bass guitars, some of which he occasionally plays.
“A princess in a Pilchard Palace!”
Petra grew up immersed in local theatre in Bath then left to study drama in London. After graduating she created the “Rough and Ready” Theatre company which toured venues around London, Bath and also the Edinburgh Festival. Following this Petra sang in many cabaret venues and appeared in the British premiere of Nine at The Royal Festival Hall with Jonathan Pryce and also sang on the recording. In-between singing gigs, Petra started to work within the Really Useful Group on various shows in the West End, including Aspects of Love and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; working on the production of Joseph lasted much longer than planned and resulted in a UK tour.
Following Joseph, Petra worked within James Grant Management Group and JGM Talent – assisting clients and casting photographic, extra and walk-on artists for leading TV productions.
On moving to Devon opportunities arose to work with The New Theatre Company undertaking directing and acting courses and whilst there Petra trained as a teacher and ran a drama department at a local residential school for children with little or no sight producing full scale musicals such as Bugsy Malone, Treasure Island and Oliver. The circle was completed five years ago with a return to Bath – in a short time Petra has produced, performed and directed for the award winning Encore Northenders Theatre Company in Batheaston and also appeared as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd at the Theatre Royal Bath and as Peppermint Patty in Snoopy at The Rondo Theatre both productions winning NODA awards for Best Musical.
Petra also wrote and directed Barry Hotter and the Half Baked Panto for the Merrimen Theatre Youth Company in 2011 and in 2012 directed The Jungle Book.
Currently working as a Freelance Director and Drama Tutor, Petra is also Production Director for Music is Life Productions Ltd. Petra has produced and directed the double award winning The Decent Rogues www.thedecentrogues.com and reviews theatre for the online publication Guide2Bath, RemoteGoat andWhatsonstage.com.
2013 will see a host of new projects including the launch of Magic Penny Productions – celebrating community events through bespoke productions. The first of these will be the centenary celebrations at Peasedown St John Primary School, working with generations across the community to capture and enjoy past memories of elderly pupils and residents.
Having adapted the classic Peter Pan for Merriman Youth Theatre to be seen in April 2013, Petra will also direct a new musical Pencoweth for Music is Life Productions (september 2013) and RENT! for BODS (November 2013)
Petra was made NODA rep for South West (region 10) and has recently started tutoring Drama, for Bath Dance College.