Sunday, 5 February 2017

Nautical Style | LittleEllieMae

On my shoot with the lovely Katherine Mcmorran we shot some photos in the harbour in Penryn. One of my favourite trends is nautical so it seemed a fitting setting for this outfit shoot! 

The nautical trend is one that never goes out of fashion. The trend dates back to Queen Victoria's (obviously very fashionable) reign as the style was said to evoke national pride and solidarity. Since then the style has continually evolved from the introduction of Breton stripes in 1930s to Westwood's pirate collection and the modern minimalist stripe inspired by Chanel.

My favourite way to style the nautical trend is to add a vintage twist. I'm a massive fan of 50s fashion with high waists and fitting silhouettes- I think its the perfect combination to mix nautical with 50s fashion! Here I am wearing striped high neck top from Primark, red high waisted capri pants from ASOS with my Clarks monochrome shoes. 

Thanks again to Katherine for the lovely photography!

How do you style the nautical trend? Let me know by commenting below or tweeting me @LittleEllieMae :)

Ellie Mae x

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Embroidery Trend | LittleEllieMae

I was lucky enough to shoot with the very lovely and extremely talented Katherine McMorran last week in Penryn. Katherine is a third year Photography student at my university and we collaborated on shooting her final project as well as a look book for my blog. Catch Katherine's write up on her blog here

I wanted to shoot my favourite trend at the moment: embroidery. I've been a little bit obsessed with floral embroidery in particular for a while, taking inspiration from my favourite designer Dolce and Gabbana who nail the trend. 

Its a great trend to either go full out (like I have here) or add subtle hints to an outfit with the odd embroidered accessories. Embroidery is so detailed and adds a really interesting element to any outfit. My embroidered clothes items are always being complemented, even by random strangers on the street!

Shirt: M&S 

Shoes: NEXT

Jeans: Glamorous
Belt: Primark

Its a great trend to take from season to season to effortlessly inject some colour into any outfit. There's so much on offer on the high street and designers alike so anybody can adopt this beautiful trend! 

Thanks again to Katherine for photographing me!

Ellie Mae x

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Making West End History: TRH Masterclass runs London Marathon | LittleEllieMae

For the first time in their history, the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust (Masterclass) has been offered a place in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.

As one of only 500 charities with the opportunity to have someone running the famous 26.2 mile on their behalf, today Masterclass has announced that playwright Poppy Corbett will represent them at this year’s marathon. Corbett holds strong ties with Masterclass having staged the West End debut of her play, Hatchling, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket as a winner of the prominent ‘Pitch Your Play’ scheme. Ahead of the marathon, Corbett will return to the Haymarket in February to host a Masterclass with fellow playwright Polly Stenham on 7th February.

Speaking about the opportunity Corbett commented;

"I've always believed in helping people further down the ladder and running the marathon for Masterclass would give me the opportunity to do so in a practical way. Masterclass changed things for me and I'd like to change things for them too."

The arts have been one of the sectors most affected by government cuts. As youth groups close and university fees go up, it is encouraging to see organisations such as Masterclass, The Lyric and Chickenshed featuring in the largest fundraising event of the year.

All of the opportunities available through Masterclass remain free for young people aged 16-30, allowing them to fully realise their potential regardless of income or background. However the only way organisations, such as Masterclass, are able to continue their work is through the generous in-kind and financial backing from our supporters.

Blayne George, Programme Director at Masterclass, added;

“We are delighted to have finally secured a place in the London Marathon and are equally overjoyed to have Poppy run for us! Masterclass stands firm as a place which will always support young people in the early stages of their theatrical career.”

For more information on the campaign, please visit the Masterclass website here or follow their updates on twitter here.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Moving Stories at Theatre Royal Haymarket Announcement | LittleEllieMae

Mel Giedroyc will host the all-star cast of ‘Moving Stories’ at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 26th February to raise funds for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Moving Stories is curated by actress Emma Manton (RSC Love’s Labour’s Lost & Much Ado About Nothing) in response to the current global refugee crisis and was first performed at the National Theatre in 2016.

Emma Manton comments on the project, "I have been blown away by the response of the theatrical community to this event. All the writers and performers have offered their services for free to show support for refugees around the world. It’s very humbling.”

Some of the UK’s finest writers have written and donated material for the event, including Richard Bean, David Edgar, Phil Porter, Michelle Terry and Jenifer Toksvig. The cast will include Adjoa Andoh (Doctor Who), Edward Bennett (RSC), James Bolam (New Tricks), Anna-Jane Casey (Mack and Mabel), Natalie Casey (Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps), Lisa Dillon (RSC), Ray Fearon (Coronation Street), Rufus Hound (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Evelyn Hoskins (Sound of Music Live), Andy Nyman (Hangmen), Caroline Sheen (Mary Poppins) and Zubin Varla (Dara). All appearances subject to availability.

All profits from the performance will be donated to the UNHCR to provide much needed support and assistance to refugees caught up in the current global refugee crisis – the most overwhelming since the Second World War. 

Catch this wonderful event, showcasing exciting theatre pieces as well as supporting the UN Refugee Agency charity at the Theatre Royal Haymarket at 4pm on 26th February. Tickets, priced from £15, are available from the Theatre Royal Haymarket box office- call 020 7930 8800 or visit

Sunday, 1 January 2017

My 2016 in Theatre | LittleEllieMae

Last year I posted my 2015 in theatre and with my ever-growing passion, it seemed only right to continue this year. 

Each year theatre is becoming more and more important to me and this year is no exception. As cheesy as it sounds, I now know its my life calling. This lead me to finally apply and successfully begin studying Music, Theatre and Entertainment Management at Falmouth University, hoping to get into the theatre industry myself one day. Its been one of the best decisions I've ever made- Falmouth University and my course is so perfect for me and I am beyond happy there. I cannot wait to continue my time there in the new year. I'm looking foward to seeing what else it brings me in 2017. 

Alongside the stress of applying to university, of course I kept up my passion of attending as much theatre as I can. This year I hit a personal record of seeing 42 different theatre productions and attending the theatre over 53 times. (That's nearly once a week!) I've experimented with so much different theatre this year which is what I'm most proud of. As someone who is most definitely musical theatre orientated, this year I have immersed myself with other genres such as plays, dance, comedy, new writing and youth productions which has been so refreshing and I have a new found love beyond musical theatre.

I have also had some fantastic experiences working in theatre this year. Continuing my fantastic work with the Theatre Royal Plymouth, next year brings more exciting opportunities which I cannot wait to talk about!
 Another highlight was spending the week working with Masterclass at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and TheatreCraft. I had been planning this work placement since the beginning of the year so by the time it came around in November I was delighted. It was so great to experience the working of such a large event such as TheatreCraft and the day to day running of one of the most legendary theatres in the West End, the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Check out my blog post here.

I also had the completely surreal opportunity to attend the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Far from my usual student and work- riddled life, I felt like Cinderella as I dressed up in a fancy dress, was ushered into a room full of glitzy celebrities and handed a glass of champagne which just kept getting topped up and up. It was a complete dream to be part of such an evening and I left feeling absolutely inspired and excited about the future of theatre. Read my blog post here.

In the past years, my theatre experience has generally been confined to my hometown theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, as its just the easiest and cheapest option. Although this year I made sure to push my boundaries and explore more. I've visited London more times this year than I have the rest of my life! By making so many trips to London this year, I've become so comfortable there and it has further strengthened my desire to work on West End one day. I also visited theatres in Cardiff, Cornwall and Birmingham and although they were all completely different, I fell in love with them all.

My Top 10 Shows of 2016:

Billy Elliot The Musical

Billy Elliot The Musical quickly became one of my favourite musicals ever, let alone of this year. Having never had seen the show on West End, I was thrilled when the first UK tour premiered in Plymouth. I was lucky enough to attend their dress rehearsal, followed by press night and closing night. I have also since travelled to Cardiff to catch the show again this summer, totalling six visits to the show this year. Its a truly beautiful show and this UK tour is one of the best shows you will ever see. Check out my review here.

The Wind In The Willows

The highly anticipated world premiere of The Wind in the Willows The Musical made its debut at the Theatre Royal Plymouth too. It was a stunning show, with some of the best set I've seen all year. It was perfectly staged and the quirky performances were right up my street. I would love to catch it as it hits the West End next year! Check out my review here.

Miss Saigon

In February I was lucky enough to attend the last West End performance of Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward theatre. It was my first (and last) time seeing this show and it quickly became a firm favourite. This performance was particularly outstanding as the actors put 110% effort and emotion into their last show, and with special guests Cameron Mackintosh, Alan Boubil and Claude Michel Schonberg, it was the cherry on top. Miss Saigon is a complete theatrical masterpiece and I really hope I get to see it again someday. Check out my review here.

In The Heights

2016 has well and truly solidified my obsession with Lin Manuel Miranda- he is a true genius. Whilst waiting for the highly anticipated Hamilton to hit West End, I was eager to check out some of Miranda's other work. As well as watching his mini-musical 21 Chump Street, I quickly became obsessed with his first ever musical In The Heights. I saw the show three times in 2016, including a very exciting first birthday party for the show. In The Heights explodes with passion and vibrancy and includes some of the best music and dance routines I've seen. Its easily one of my favourite shows of all time- I'm very sad to see it leave London! Read my review here and my interview with Sam Mackay, who plays lead Usnavi, here.

Half A Sixpence

I was ecstatic to be invited to the press night of Half A Sixpence in November. There has been such a buzz about this show since its opening at Chichester, and now its found a firm home in the West End at the Noel Coward Theatre. It was a surreal evening as Shaun Nolan and myself were seated in our own box in the stalls and were surrounded by the likes of Queen Elaine Paige and Cliff Richards themselves. Half A Sixpence is a hugely impressive show and I was so eager to see it again, I quickly made a return visit in December. The remodelling of the classic musical with stunning choreography and fantastic performances from the actors, especially new leading man Charlie Stemp, is totally refreshing and I've fallen in love with it. Read my review here.


Rent is a revolutionary piece of theatre and one that will stay with me for a very long time. This UK tour embarked on a month long run at St James Theatre in London and I managed to see the show in December. To say that I was blown away is an understatement, It was visually stunning, with fantastic choreography and staging alike. The music is beautiful and it portrays such a hard-hitting and emotional story through Jonathon Larson's stunning melodies and lyrics. The casting for this production was perfect and the chemistry on stage was electrifying. I'm desperate to see it again.

The Last Five Years

The music from The Last Five Years is some of my favourite music ever. I could listen to its songs day in, day out, and never get bored (in fact, that's exactly what I already do!). So I was thrilled to catch the new production at St James Theatre this November. I adore the structure of this show, with Cathy's story told in reverse chronological order and Jamie's story told in chronological; Its a really interesting concept and not everyone can warm to it, but personally I think it makes a great show. The staging is very simple and all focus is put on each performer (Samantha Barks and Jonathan Bailey) who perform separately, bar one song in the show, as the emphasis of the whole production is mainly the beautiful music. Its so simple and beautiful- I absolutely loved it.

Phantom of the Opera

Although its such an old classic, my love for Phantom of the Opera has excelled this year. At the start of 2016, my friends and I were lucky enough to go backstage at the beautiful Her Majesty's Theatre before and after the show which was the most magical and insightful experience. To stand on that iconic stage and look out into the auditorium was a dream come true. I saw the show twice during the year and it blows me away every time. The heart- wrenching orchestrations and mysteriously seductive story never fails to amaze me. It celebrated its 30th birthday in the West End this year which I think is a fantastic achievement, and long may it reign. 

Guys and Dolls

I had the pleasure of seeing Guys and Dolls both on tour and in the West End during 2016. This iconic old musical has been given a new lease of life with this upbeat new production. It is the definition of a feel- good show, and both the tour and show at the Phoenix Theatre in London proved this with its impressive choreography and classic toe- tapping songs. A particular star for me was Richard Fleeshman who blew the roof off the theatre as he performed as Sky Masterson, he oozed with charm and ridiculously strong vocals. 

The Red Shoes

In November, Matthew Bourne (one of my favourite choreographers) premiered his latest show, The Red Shoes, at Theatre Royal Plymouth. I attended its sold-out opening night and was astounded by his new production. Bourne's choreography is gripping and so beautifully coveys even the most complex of story lines. A really impressive dance show. Read my review here.

As you can see, its been such an impressive year of theatre- some really revolutionary pieces continue to brace the UK stage which is delightful to see. I can't wait to see what 2017 brings!

Happy New Year!

Ellie Mae x

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

TheatreCraft 2016 | LittleEllieMae

TheatreCraft is a free careers event open to all 16- 25 year olds, presenting opportunities to work in theatre beyond the stage. The theatre industry is such a massive market and there are so many routes in other than the traditional performing route, but it can be difficult and overwhelming to say to least to search out these prospects. This is where TheatreCraft comes in: it presents a vibrant marketplace of theatre and education exhibitors, workshops lead by theatre professionals, one-to-one advice in the Ask The Experts zone and the best chance to network with others in the industry.

This year's TheatreCraft was held on Monday 14th November, when thousands of young people gathered at The Waldorf Hilton hotel. Situated at the heart of the West End 'Theatreland', The Waldorf was the perfect location to host such an event and provided the most gorgeous backdrop for the day. 

Other iconic West End venues provided space for workshops and tours throughout the day: the Lyceum Theatre, Novello Theatre, Aldwych Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Dewynters. It really was a West End takeover for the next generation of directors, producers, writers, designers, managers, marketers.

I was lucky enough to be a part of the Media Team for TheatreCraft this year which meant that I handled the social media for the day. The @TheatreCraft Twitter account was buzzing the entire day with enthusiastic attendees, volunteers and experts sharing their experiences of the event. I loved it.

The day kick started at 10am with speeches from some of our ambassadors, including Adam Kenwright, Executive Vice President of ATG who delivered a touching and inspirational speech to the younger generation of theatre-makers. He spoke about his personal connection to theatre, mentioning his delight in watching people captured and blown into a new world, allowing them to leave their troubles behind when watching a performance. I think this is something the audience of young people could really resonate with- it is ultimately our joint interest and passion in theatre that bought every single person to TheatreCraft that day. Kenwright also explained his career background in theatre, explaining how he started out in producing alongside marketing at AKA for eight years before leaving to work at his current role at ATG. He ended his speech by urging everybody to ask five questions a day to promote curiosity, and sent the crowd on their way to do so. 

The Marketplace teemed with enthusiastic theatre- lovers. The Waldorf's Palm Court held nearly forty stalls of a variety of theatre exhibitors including Society of London Theatre, The Stage, Stage One UK, National Theatre, Global Marketing Group and many many more. Next door, the Adelphi Suite was full of theatre institutions at The Education Hub, these included Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Plymouth College of Art, University of Winchester and East 15 and many more. The Marketplace was the perfect place to network with representatives of the industry and learn more about the different opportunities they offer. Personal favourites of mine include playing with VR headsets with Technicians Make It Happen and flicking through beautiful backstage photos in the Curtain Call book!

I also had the chance to visit some workshops myself. There were a whole range on offer, from producing, directing, choreography, backstage tours, casting, wardrobe and even virtual reality and many more. The first workshop I attended was at the gorgeous Lyceum Theatre, currently home to The Lion King. The workshop was with James Quaife and focused on developing as a producer both Off West End and West End. 

As an aspiring producer myself, I found it very interesting to hear from James, who has produced Barking In Essex, Good People, as well as Lady Chatterley’s Lover and French Without Tears with English Tour Theatre. He spoke in an extremely honest manner, pointing out every aspect of the industry in a matter of fact way. For an industry that so often gets swept up in the glitz and glamour of it all, it was refreshing to hear James' no- nonsense approach. He taught us the ins and outs of funding, networking and how to survive in such a competitive industry. 

My next workshop to follow was PR and Marketing in London and On Tour with Target Live, one of the major design and advertising companies for theatre. PR and marketing is something I thought I was fairly familiar with due to my experience working as PR assistant for an arts organisation alongside my blog work. However Target Live presented new ideas and processes for marketing a show- they talked through traditional paper methods as well as technological advancements such as social media. It was the creative ideas that interested me the most, including decorating theatres with key branding, plastering advertisements on unsuspected locations (such as ATMs) and even branded cars to carry the message! I loved finding out more about such large scale marketing for the world- renown show Dirty Dancing, of which Target Live handle. 

After chatting to a few exhibitors in the marketplace, including Curtain Call, White Light and National Theatre (check out TheatreCraft Twitter and Facebook for the live interviews we recorded).

 I headed to my final workshop of the day which was about Making a Career Out of Creative Freelancing with Roundhouse at the Novello theatre. Linda Bloomfield from Roundhouse chatted to the group about what it takes to be a creative freelancer, from freelance producing to designing and everything in between. Linda was so informative on the subject, pointing out everything from registering as self employed to how to do your taxes. She taught us the real-life skills that are essential for surviving in the industry that there's no way I would find out about off my own back. It was super useful and showed me another potential career path for my future.

And that's where my extremely busy but exciting day at TheatreCraft ended. The whole experience was very inspiring and has opened so many doors for me, in terms of future career prospects in theatre. It makes you realise the vast opportunities on offer in the sector and there is so much help and support to get you where you want to be. We're so lucky to have an event such as TheatreCraft to help. It was a fantastic experience. 

I'm so grateful to Masterclass and TheatreCraft for involving me in this awesome event. I can't wait to go back next year!

To find out more information about TheatreCraft, visit their website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Ellie Mae x

Disclaimer: I worked with TheatreCraft/ Masterclass on this event but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Red Shoes by Matthew Bourne World Premiere Review | LittleEllieMae

I've been fascinated by Matthew Bourne's work for years and completely fell in love with his choreography after watching his production of 'Sleeping Beauty' a while back. I've also witnessed his fantastic work in hit musicals 'Oliver!' and 'Mary Poppins' which I adored too. So to hear that his latest production of The Red Shoes would be premiering at my hometown theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, I was ecstatic!

Last night I attended the opening performance of this new show at Theatre Royal Plymouth. The house was buzzing and for the first time in a while it was completely sold out which was absolutely lovely to see. 

The Red Shoes brings the Powell and Pressburger's 1948 film and Hans Christian Anderson story to stage. The show, much like the film, employs a story within a story device, and tells the tale of a young ballerina, Victoria Page, who joins an established ballet company, leading their new ballet called The Red Shoes. She and the struggling composer, Julian Craster, fall in love but is overshadowed by Boris Lermontov, the ballet impresario who also catches feelings for Victoria and controls their relationship and careers. The red ballet shoes are a motif of control, as once they are put on they will not allow the wearer to stop dancing and similarly off stage, they control Victoria's urge and desire to dance. It tells a story of the extremes an artist will fight for their work: with the composer's intense descent into some sort of madness to achieve perfection, the developing evil of the impresario and ultimately what leads to Victoria's tragic and melodramatic death. 

Its an utterly intense and gripping story that is conveyed through Bourne's choreography beautifully. I find that in some dance shows, its easy to lose the plot but this story was clear and easy to follow, even with the complex 'story within a story' structure that is so well executed by Lez Brotherston, associate designer who depicted onstage and backstage in different locations seamlessly.  

The set and staging was breathtaking. It has transformed the Theatre Royal Plymouth's Lyric stage into a glorious grand, vintage theatre with impressive red velvet curtains which revolve to depict onstage and offstage. Projections are used well to portray the array of locations in the show, from Monte Carlo to Covent Garden. My favourite use of projections was during The Red Shoes ballet at the end of Act 1: silhouettes of almost Tim Burton-esque trees and houses as well as movement of wind projected onto a massive blank canvas acted as a backdrop to the chilling story. 

Matthew Bourne decided against using the Oscar award- winning score from the 1948 film but instead chose the music of celebrated Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann. Throughout the performance, extracts of Herrmann's film scores and concert music is used. The Currier and Ives Suite from 1935 provides perfect waltz music as well as Concerto Macabre from Hangover Square of 1945 and The Ghost and Mrs Muir. The orchestrations are powerful, beautiful and accompany the dance routines perfectly. 

The costumes are just as dazzling, with impressive traditional ballet tutus onstage (which I am obsessed with!) as well as contemporary 40s/50s fashions incorporated for the backstage segments of the show. They act as a real asset to the performance as they gracefully move with the dancers which add an extra impressive visual element to the spectacle. 

The performers were incredible. Although I think it took them a couple routines to fully warm up on opening night, they soon presented Bourne's choreography in the most impressive, beautiful and synchronized way. The routines are totally complex and the performers were completely mesmerising to watch. 

Overall, I really adored this new production of The Red Shoes. It is Matthew Bourne's ability to present such an engaging, clear story, humour and intense emotion through the power of dance that makes it what it is. The design was spectacular and the talent onstage was very impressive. It definitely deserved the standing ovation it received! I would totally recommend. 

Ellie Mae x

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.