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£1,340 raised for St David’s Hospice Care by Cwmbran stage academy

group of children and adults on a stage with arms in air
The cast of Inspirations Academy during final rehearsals (Photo: Cwmbran Life)

A Cwmbran stage academy raised a staggering £1,340 for charity from their latest show and dedicated the event in memory of the woman who made all their costumes but passed away in June.

The Inspiration Academy, where most of the members have a disability, put on Musical Mania at Cwmbran Workingmen’s Club in early August. The money is being given to St David’s Hospice Care. Before the show started Sarah Hayward, director of the academy, lit a candle for Carol Edwards, who made costumes for the cast on every show for the last seven years.

‘Now I’m not scared to be on stage’

After the curtain came down Cwmbran Life spoke to a few of the cast members. Colin Bick, 46, said: “I had no confidence. All I was doing was singing karaoke. Sarah said ‘come on, give it a try.’ I came for the pantomime. We did Cinderella. My confidence has grown and grown. We are like a family now we are.”

Phoenix, ten, said he joined Inspirations as it supports anybody who has a disability: “I felt I had no confidence. When I joined, my dance teacher, Miss Sarah, built up my confidence and now I’m not scared to be on stage. This is a message to anyone who thinks they can’t do anything, just follow your dreams, you can do whatever you want. Anything is possible.”

Cwmbran Life asked Keira, 15, what she felt like coming off stage after the show. She said: “Amazing.”

Oceania, 12, said: “The reason I joined is because I love dancing, I love singing. Inspirations and Miss Sarah have brought me out of my comfort zone. I’m not scared to do shows on stage anymore.”

group of young people on stage sing and dance
The cast rehearsing a song from Grease (Photo: Cwmbran Life)

Jas Ball, 35, said: “This is actually my first show.  If it wasn’t for Sarah Hayward’s confidence in me,  I wouldn’t be here today. I managed to get through the full show because of her patience. I plucked up the courage and got up on stage. It was nerve-wracking to begin with, but by the second number and when I got the mask off on Beauty and the Beast, the nerves went.”

Lisa Jeffries, 34 said: “I joined three shows ago. The best decision I ever made. Miss Sarah and Margaret are the best people ever. My confidence grew from there (she held her hand low by her waiste) to there, right up (she raised her hand high above her head). I actually loved every single minute of it.”

Annabelle, 48, said: “This is my fourth show. I wouldn’t get out of the house, a hermit basically. Since I came here, Miss Sarah and Margaret, they’re both the most brilliant people you will ever meet. It brings you out of yourself. I wouldn’t know what to do without them. You come out on stage, bit nervous at first, but then all the nerves go.”

Sarah Hayward, director of the academy, said: “I’m proud of each and every one of them. Absolutely phenomenal, emotional and spectacular to be honest. Emotional, because Carol as you know passed away. We did that one for her. She was our beloved wardrobe lady, a family friend, Rhys’ mum and the cast got to know her as well. I’ve known her for over 30 odd years. It’s hard but we did it for her. She was with me from the start, for seven years. This was hard for all of us. She was an amazing lady, amazing.”

Rhys Edwards, Carol’s son who also did the sound and lights for the show, said: “Her house was full of costumes and sewing machines and it was just immense coming up to a show. She would have them everywhere. She would be working pretty much from when Sarah designed the show to the show, then she’d have a break and then carry on again. She enjoyed it. It kept her going. She was 78 and she was still making costumes.”

Margaret Hayward, Sarah’s mum who took part in one of the songs and worked backstage, said: “It builds their confidence and they take it back to school. Because they would never get up in school and do a concert but now they’ve been doing this, they’re the first to put their hands up. They come back and say ‘excuse me Miss Sarah, I got a part in school now’ and it’s brilliant.”

Musical Mania featured around 25 people on stage and was compered by Richard King

Inspirations Academy

Rehearsals are every Thursday at Woodland Road Sports and Social Club from 6pm to 8pm.









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£1,340 raised for St David’s Hospice Care by Cwmbran stage academy