THERE is always something special happening at The Brewhouse and last week was no exception.

While much of our (Taunton Theatre Association’s) work is very public, there are many elements that are less so but of equal quality, value and entertainment.

Last week Matthew Bourne’s internationally acclaimed company New Adventures was in residence delivering dance courses to young people based on their award winning all male production of Swan Lake, that originally starred Royal Ballet Principal Adam Cooper.

The production which debuted in 1995 has stood the test of time and is currently performing in Shanghai before a season in Beijing. It was made more famous when it featured in the final scenes of the film Billy Elliot when a young lad from County Durham overcame prejudice and bullying to pursue his dream to dance.

Children attended the courses from France, Bath and Wales as well as many from the West Somerset and Taunton areas, including one boy who had been in the touring version of the stage show Billy Elliot.

It was a privilege to welcome dancers from the company to inspire future generations, the delight and gratitude of the children and their families was palpable.

There was a surprise in store for me too, as one of the teachers was an old friend of mine who I had danced with many years ago touring arenas internationally in Harvey Goldsmiths production of the opera Carmen with the likes of Willard White and Cynthia Hayman.

Talking of opera stars, Lesley Garett is coming to The Brewhouse this autumn. I worked with Lesley many years ago at The Royal Opera House on a production of The Merry Widow. Lesley was an inspiration to work with and determined not to be out danced by the professional dancers, she worked tirelessly to perfect her cancan as she masqueraded as a Grisette.

I note in a film version from 1968 this part was played by Jill Martin from Redruth in Cornwall, who went on to understudy Julie Andrews in the first West End production of My Fair Lady before taking over the lead role. Many years later she was a regular feature in the popular TV series Acorn Antiques.

We can only surmise where the talented children who took part in last week’s dance courses will end up, all we can do is wish them well and provide inspiring opportunities for them to develop their skills and passion.

Vanessa Lefrancois, CE Taunton Theatre Association