Category Archives: News

Curtains Up! 2019 – The Video

What an amazing year CU!2019 was – we moved site (again) , changed to a slightly different age group and had an AMAZING time!!

Hopefully this video will give you a glimpse into what we got up to this summer and for those who came I hope it brings back many happy memories !!

Centre Stage – The Video

So as you may have spotted I didn’t quite manage to get an update out during the last two days of Centre Stage 2019!

It was an amazing couple of days and a brilliant way to end Centre Stage 2019.

Day 5 saw us head into the brilliant onsite theatre to do prepare to share some of the things we had been working on during the last few days. It was great to be in the theatre and for the Cast (and Crew) to be on such a lovely well equipped stage! We put together a really great sharing – the cast did an amazing job! Especially as most of the pieces we had only worked on in a few workshops so probably only had about 2-3 hours of rehearsals!

Day 6 was our last day onsite – the Cast and Crew did an amazing job of tidying and cleaning up the site – before the final sharing. It was so great to be able to welcome family and friends into the theatre to see what we have been up to!

One of the things that we chose to do that we also do at Curtains Up! was a summary of the week in pictures. As this is a new holiday we picked a new bit of music. This track is quite special to some of the Crew as its by a band called The Bright Expression. Two of the members are Ex-CU!-Crew from a few years ago.

So here it is – hopefully it will give you a snapshot into what we got up to at Centre Stage 2019

Centre Stage – Day 3+4

We have packed so much in to Centre Stage 2019 I haven’t had chance to sit down and update you all ! Sorry about that !

Day 3 was a most wonderful time of the (CS2019) year … as it was CHRISTMAS !! We had such fun ! The Crew were up slightly late putting up the Christmas Tree and decorations. Even the in house catering team got in on the action with more decorations and a FULL Christmas Dinner for us all !!! It was amazing !!!

The afternoon saw Rachel lead us through our 1st Theme Day (Christmas obviously!!) Packed full of great Christmas themed games and costumes!

This was followed by our Main Event where again Rachel and the Crew led us as we spent time looking at the Christmas Story. We went on an actual journey ourselves around the site as we met various characters from the Christmas Story. It was a great way to explore the story that we all know so well.

Following the fabulous Christmas dinner – once again the Crew may have wanted a nap – but they battled though to provide a packed evening of entertainment and chill out time. Including a great time outside playing frisbee as the sun was setting !

Day 4 was another (obviously) great day ! The weather is definitely a lot cooler and wetter than when we arrived – but as most of what we do is inside it isn’t causing issues !

We have started to finish off the pieces we want to share to the folks coming to pickup the Cast at the end of Centre Stage on Sunday. We are also having some great time hanging out and playing games, chatting and consuming slightly too much sugar from the tuck shop together!

We had workshops in Dance, Drama, Singing and Visual Arts. As well as a set of extra workshops in tech, chill out and Drama games.

This afternoon’s main even was a really moving meeting looking at the Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus. It was a really great example of what the Centre Stage Crew do so well. We had Drama, Spoken Word Poetry, Sung Worship, Song, creative responses and further explorations. All wrapped up with some creative Tech to really enhance the meeting. It was a really special time for the Cast and Crew. We really felt God moving as we explored it together.

Day 5+6 bring the last days at Centre Stage 2019. We have had so much fun already – but we are really excited about the last 2 days – not only for what we have got planned but also to see what God does.

Points for Prayer

  • Day 5 is our 1st ever Centre Stage Dress Rehearsal – we are really looking forward to getting into the theatre. Prayers for a smooth and positive process as we put the final touches to the little snapshot that we want to show at the end of the week would be great.
  • Energy – especially the holiday draws to its end. Some of the Crew have been on site for over 2 weeks now and we also have a couple team having to leave slightly early. So energy for those that are still here as we finish Centre Stage and then pack everything up. / clean the site to handover to the next holiday!
  • God’s voice – that we will all hear it clearly as we rush around in the last few days together.
  • Health – protection or the Cast and Crew that illness won’t affect the last of our time together .

As you can probably guess – activities at the end of the holiday may mean I won’t be able to update this until we are all home safely! I will try ! But I will send and update once we are all home!

Thanks again for all of you support

Matt and the Centre Stage 2019 Crew

Centre Stage – Day 2

Day 2 brings the 1st full day at Centre Stage! It was a great day!

We had a great time in our workshops where we all got chance to try out singing, drama, dance and musical theatre. On Day 3 we will pick our options to start putting something together for the sharing on the last day.

Alex took us on a whistle stop tour through the bible in the Main Event with a great drama and a wide range of ways to get involved and explore the message afterwards. The Lego and Plasticine were particularly popular!

The food again was … AMAZING … however the pulled pork followed by chocolate sponge pudding may have resulted in many Crew wanting a post dinner nap !!!

The evening saw the Centre Stage debut of the frankly life changing event that is …. Chocolate Pizza … yep pizza , with chocolate .. and cheese …. Sounds wrong but is so, so right … !

We are having a great time here and can’t wait to see what else this week has in store for us! Of course Day 3 brings our Theme Day …

CHRISTMAS

We may be slightly excited about this …

Points for Prayer

  • Energy for Cast and Crew – again to make sure we get to enjoy the amazing week that God has planned for us to the full!
  • Sleep – directly connected to point 1 … Some of the cast are not exactly keen on the whole sleep things (we get it Centre Stage is a VERY exciting place to be!) but when lack of sleep means that it’s keeping others awake or even being late for breakfast … Not so great…
  • Study Group Times – that God will really guide the Crew to ensure that the best possible chats and discussions can be had during the times these groups are meeting – and also in the times when we are all just hanging out together !

Thanks again for your continued support!

Matt and the Centre Stage 2019 Crew

Centre Stage – Day 1

As I’m sure you have spotted – this year the Curtains Up! team have launched a new holiday called Centre Stage. It is running at the same site as Curtains Up! with a younger age group the week after CU! This year the team is made up of a mix of CU!2019 Crew, CU!2018 Crew, New Crew and for the 1st time Jr Team. We are going to be doing daily updates on here during Centre Stage. So if you are here for the CU! content – don’t worry you haven’t missed a secret second week of CU!2019!

Day 1

Day 1 at Centre Stage was amazing! As this was the 1st ever day, on the 1st EVER Centre Stage it was a packed day full of new things. For the team who also did CU! last week – it was also a day of “old” things in a new holiday – But we have managed to have 24 hours off between the holidays so its not quite as odd as we thought it may have been !

The morning of Day 1 saw Rachel and Em leading the CS Crew in their final preparations and training ahead of the Cast arrival in the afternoon.

Lunch was another fantastic salad and sandwich combo from the in-house catering team – quickly followed by the final preps for the Cast arrival!

With all of the Cast on-site we kicked off the VERY FIRST Centre Stage in the meeting room with our “Main Event”. The Main Event is a slot in the day where we spend time together looking at the topic for the day. This could include drama, dance, games singing with Susie and the band or anything else that is helpful to explore the topic.

Day One saw the tech team exploring the topic of Creation. We sent some time is our small groups working on creating a Team Logo, Team Theme Song and a Team Creation from Lego Blocks.

This then led into us spending a bit of time thinking about how long it must have taken to create some more complex lego creations and how amazing they were. We then looked at the Creation God has built and thought about our place within it – finishing by all creating something one creation from the blocks we had used within our teams creations.

After the Main Event we had a bit of chill out time before another awesome meal provided by the fantastic Luckley House Catering Team. Seconds were had… and even thirds …

The evening saw the 1st of our sessions in our small groups looking back on the day and praying for each other if we wanted to. We then had a great set of chill out activities and games in the Green Room. Before heading off to bed!

It was a fantastic start to Centre Stage 2019 !! We are all really excited to be here and play our parts in this amazing event !

Points For Prayer

  • That the Crew who have been here for CU! continue to have the energy they need to run CS
  • That the Cast and Crew really enjoy all of the activities that we have got planned and that the Crew will adapt things as needed as we work out the details of that what Centre Stage looks like.
  • For the Cast that they will not get too homesick. Also that the Cast and Crew will be a great support for anyone that is missing home.
  • That the weather doesn’t dampen our spirits – we are inside for most of the week – but rain is always … wet ….!
  • That Centre Stage will be the week that God wants it to be and if that is not the path that we are leading the holiday down then we will hear and follow His guidance!

Thanks again for all of your support

Matt and the Centre Stage 2019 Crew

CU!2019 – Day 7+8

CU!2019 is now over – it has been a fantastic year – hopefully that has come across in these posts!

As I mentioned the busyness of the final two days meant that I didn’t get chance to update this – really sorry about that!

Day 7 – was our last full day here at CU!2019 – it was a packed day with our tech rehearsal in the morning and then our dress rehearsal in the afternoon. Followed by our fantastic Murder Mystery Theme night and final evening meeting.

The Tech and Dress rehearsals was our 1st chance to get into the awesome purpose built theatre that we have onsite here at Luckley House. It is a really great, well equipped venue that we are SO happy to be using! It was fantastic just to walk in and within 30 mins be welcoming the Cast into the space to start the tech.

Considering the tech team hadn’t seen the venue before – we managed to get the tech done without too many issues, the dress then also went really well. It was so good to see the pieces that the Cast and Crew had been working on during the week coming together so well!

We then went into our final theme night – it was a murder mystery run by Susie and her team! It was great evening of puzzles, games and action! The Cast and Crew looked great in their “posh” outfits that they had brought to attend dinner at “Luckley Manor”. In what is a recurring theme Alex’s character was again the victim of the murder… don’t take it personally ….

Em, Naomi, Salome and their team ran the evening meeting around the theme “Jesus is Alive”. We started off in the theatre and then moved around the site. We watched through the glass wall of the Theatre Foyer as some of the Cast and Cast did a fantastic movement piece around Jesus rising from the tomb. It was a great evening meeting that had lots of creative ways to respond and explore deeper.

Day 8 – our final day at CU!2019. The morning is always a slightly mad rush as we get the site cleaned cleared and tidied. We aim to get as much done before the final performance which starts at 11am. This year the Cast and Crew did a great job and the site was looking really good when it came to us all heading over to the theatre.

The Final Performance was a great snapshot of what we have been up to this year at CU!2019. Being in the theatre space was fantastic – but the quality of the workshops this year really shone through. Especially some of the optional ones or the B workshops that only run for a few times in the week.

Its always hard to get to the end of CU! and this year was no exception. The community that forms during the week is such a special and supportive place – its a community that keeps going throughout the year. But the time together in the summer just can’t be beaten!

As a member of the Crew and and one of the three overall leaders it has personally been such an honour to serve with this fantastic Crew this year. Moving sites again and running with a smaller team had the potential to make things more difficult – but the crew have worked together fantastically to run another fantastic year.

When we have confirmed news about CU!2020 we will post it here – at the moment we only know that the theme will be CU!2020 – The Journey

Points for Prayer

  • Safe travel for all of our Cast and Crew (some traveling back overseas)
  • Rest and recuperation for the Crew staying onsite as we prepare for Centre Stage
  • That God will continue to work in the lives of the Cast and Crew as they emerge from the CU!2019 bubble.
  • That the post-CU!-blues will not hit hard! That the CU! community will be a great support for each other and that we will all find the support communities local to us at home.
  • For Centre Stage as we start the final preparations before the Crew Arrival on Monday Afternoon
  • For CU!2020 – planning has already started – prayers for wisdom for the Communication team and Her office as we start to put things in place for next year.

Thanks again for your support this year, till next time

Matt and the CU!2019 Crew

CU!2019 – Day 6

How are we already at Day 6 ?!!! It’s very odd as it feels like we have been here forever and life outside CU! is but a distant memory – but at the same time it seems like we are barely 1/2 way through the week – not preparing for our final full day together!

Today was (as you probably guessed) another packed and brilliant day at CU!2019 !

Today was also our last “normal” day – Day 7 (Saturday) brings the Tech and Dress Rehearsals and the final theme night!

But before we get to that – Day 6 !! This morning we had a great set of workshops putting the final touches to things that we want to share during the final performance. The Crew are really positive about this as things seem to be dropping into place really well.

This morning we also had another of our study group times – this has been a great time to spend in smaller groups discussing and learning more around our theme of the week. These also seem to be going really well with some great questions being asked – most of the relevant to what we are looking at during the sessions !

This afternoon we packed in three workshops. It was a great mix of finishing off pieces ready for the final performance – vegging out to veggie-tales in The Green Room (possibly the only time the TV has been on in there .. ), sing-along-a-musical and then some great seminars.

This evening Heidi, Lucy and Saira have been leading us through the difficult journey Jesus went on towards his Crucifixion. They led us on a journey around the site before arriving back in the meeting room at the foot of the cross.

As I write this my phone has just pinged a notification for todays bible verse – it seems quite timely so I thought it would be worth sharing here:

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Matthew 6:34 MSG

Point For Prayer

  • That the Tech and Dress rehearsals will go smoothly tomorrow – its a new space for everyone so it may take a little while to get used to it. But hopefully the process will still be valuable for those that haven’t yet experienced it – but also that it will help create a great snapshot of what we have been up to this week at CU!2019.
  • For Em, Naomi and Salome as they put the final touches to the last evening meeting – “Jesus is Alive”
  • For the Cast that they will choose to listen to what God has to tell them in these last few days here.
  • For the Crew as we prepare the final things and start to tidy up and shut down the site. That we will have the energy to cary everything through and that we will have the Grace we need when stress levels go up and caffeine levels drop !
  • For the final performance – that it will be a great snapshot of the week we have had here at CU!2019.
  • For Susie and her team as they finalise the final theme night – our murder mystery ….

Thanks again for your support this week – we will hopefully be posting updates tomorrow and Sunday but with the busyness of these times it may be that we might miss one. But we really appreciate your prayers – without God this wouldn’t be possible.

Matt and the CU!2019 Crew

CU!2019 – Day 5

Today was another packed day at CU!2019 ! as a result this update will be slightly shorter than normal!

Today saw the return of one of our most popular one off workshops – The One Shot Music Video!

This year our long standing (suffering?) camera operator couldn’t make it to CU! but he was there in spirit as we named the Camera we used “Rick” … We had great fun with nearly all of the CU!2019 Cast putting together this years video! It will be shown for the 1st time in the performance we put together at the end of the week for the people coming to pickup the Cast.. It’s looking good ..

Today was also the second of our three theme nights – History Night. Naomi and her team ran a great evening as we traveled back in time through the various eras of time – back to the present day just in time for the evening meeting! As always the costumes that the Cast created were outstanding! Some of the cast were genuinely unrecognisable!

This evening Mel, Mark and the Understudies led the evening meeting. The Understudies is the name we give to the Crew who have joined us for the 1st time after being Cast with us in the previous year. They get a separate time together during the week to help them with the transition from Cast to Crew.

It has been a fantastic day but with thoughts already turning to the the end of this year we are very aware we want to make the most of the time we have here.

Friday brings our last “normal” day and then on Saturday, in a 1st for CU!, we move over to the fully equipped theatre onsite to put together our final performance. We are really looking forward to it as it’s a beautiful little venue.

Points For Prayer

  • That the preparations for the end of the week go well and that we listen for what God wants to happen in the last few days together.
  • For Heidi, Lucy and Saira as they prepare Day 6 (Friday’s) evening meeting looking at the Jesus’ Trial and Crucification
  • For the Cast as they come towards the end of CU! – that they will take time to spend learning what God wants to teach them this week.
  • Energy for the Cast and Crew!!
  • For the Mini Crew Team (an amazing bunch of folks who come to look after the children of the Crew who are too young to come along as Cast). Sue and her team run a fantastic set of activities for the Mini-Crew for the whole week – its an exhausting task but we are so blessed by the work she puts in.
  • For the site staff – they have looked after us so well (no plumbing miracle yet)

Thanks again for your continued support

Matt and the CU!2019 Crew

CU!2019 – Day 4

Today it rained … Actual wet rain .. for about 5 minutes … so apart from the start of an outside Drama workshop warm up that quickly turned into a “find some shelter” drama exercise … its didn’t really affect what we were doing!

Today was a “normal” day here at CU!2019… Well I have to be honest there is not really such a thing as a “normal” day at CU! but today was about as normal as it gets !

We had our Workshops As and Study Groups this morning and then this afternoon some of us continued our Workshop B or had some time in another set of workshops – Workshop C is our final set of workshops for the day where the Cast get to pick what they want to do. We had a wide range of options including Pizza making, making props for our next theme night and a monologues masterclass.

It is all still going really well. As I have been saying the site here has been fantastic! We have a small issue where the showers on the boys corridor don’t have any hot water due to building works – we have got alternative showers for them elsewhere! But the lack of convenience isn’t great – especially for some of the boys who need no excuse to not shower… The site are working really hard to fix it and keep us updated. That said prayers for a miraculous plumbing event would be great!

The food is again fantastic – the biggest issue is that its so good that some of us need a post dinner nap due to the amount of great food provided!

The study groups seem to becoming a great place to share and discuss – with some great conversations happening. There wasn’t any bread making in todays study groups (unlike yesterdays) that said they did get to eat the bread they made yesterday! Well … I’m not sure the “Romans” study group managed that. They somehow appear to have made a brick rather than a loaf of bread ….

Tonight in the evening meeting Rachel, Sue and Sam are exploring Matthew 18:1-4, 20:20-20 – “Who is the greatest?”. As I write the meeting is still going on but I can hear the sounds of the Cast and Crew being led in Worship by Susie, drifting across the site. Really wonderful.

Its really great to be spending time with the fantastic Cast and Crew of CU!2019. They are an amazing bunch of people and it is so good to see God working in and through them this week.

Prayer Requests

  • For a miraculous plumbing event resulting in hot water for the boys showers.
  • For Mark, Mel and the Understudies – sadly not the name of a band – but actually our team leading Night 5’s evening meeting “The Rich Young Man”
  • For Naomi and the team as they prepare the “History” theme night … which may have a “horrible” theme ….
  • For energy for the Cast and Crew – we pack so much in and people have so much fun – often people get quite tired due to not wanting to miss out. Energy and also wisdom for working out when it may be best to head for a nap or early bed!
  • That we will all make time to listen to what God wants to whisper in our ears week. Also that we will have the wisdom to discern that it is God.
  • For the Crew who are going onto lead on Centre Stage our sister holiday that runs immediately after Curtains Up! Not just for energy so that we can make Centre Stage as awesome as it can be but also for wisdom to help us as the final things are put in place for the week

If you would like to support Centre Stage in prayer and keep up to date with what we get up to the remember to sign up for the Centre Stage prayer email.

Thanks again for your continued support!

Matt and the CU!2019 Team

CU!2019 – Day 3

Today it rained…. FUN …

Sorry the exhaustion is starting to set in!! It did actually rain but only for a little bit and only during the second part of our 80s theme night – which actually helped to cool us all down a bit!

Not to sound like a broken record but it has been ANOTHER great day here at CU!2019 !!

The Cast and Crew continue to have a great time. We are all settling into the site and are not getting lost as often! The site continue to be really supportive and the food continues to be fantastic.

This next point may come as a shock for any parents reading this … but tonight we asked if they could cook us some MORE vegetables as we realised during dinner serving that we were about to run out! Apparently the CU! Cast and Crew consume a surprisingly large amount of vegetables … !

The workshops continue to go really well and lots of fun seems to be being had! Our study groups have been going really well – I have heard lots of positive comments from the Crew. It was great today to wander about the site and see it scattered with our awesome Cast and Crew sitting in small groups, Bibles out, chatting things through together. The study groups session today started with bread making ! It was a great team activity – and will hopefully have a tasty outcome !

Today was out 1st theme night. Alex was in charge for the awesome 80s night. Depressingly for some of the Crew a significant chunk of the Crew have not experienced the 80s in person … but we think tonight the Cast and Crew were given a taste of some of the highlights of the era! Alex put together a great evening with an observation round based on the film Back to the Future, there was a human version of Pong … match the song to the intro … and of course a mini 80s disco !!

This being Curtains Up! we turned the meeting room around and within 45 mins of the end of the 80s night we were back in the meeting room for the evening meeting. The sounds of the Cast and Crew dancing and singing along to some 80s classics were replaced with the Cast and Crew singing along with Susie and the band worshiping God together. Great stuff.

Points for Prayer

  • For the final issues with the site to be resolved easily tomorrow.
  • For continued energy for the Cast and Crew to make sure they have the best possible CU! that God wants them have this week.
  • For the study groups – that they will be a really special time to spend together learning more about God and how we can continue doing this after we leave this week together here.
  • Thanks for all of what God has done in the lives of the Cast already – and praise for what he will still do.
  • Wisdom for the Crew so that we create the CU! that God wants this week – not just the one we want.
  • For Rachel, Sam and Sue as they put the finishing touches to their Day 4 evening meeting “who is the greatest?”

Thanks again for your continued support

Matt and the CU!2019 Crew