A THURROCK Stage School has been slammed by drama bosses on the Isle of Wight over alleged unpaid debts and unfulfilled promises.
Kieran Woodbury, 29 and Chris Thompson are the Directors of Kidz Filmz and Stage 22 School of Arts.
In 2007, they contacted the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce with plans to make a film called “The Lost Son”, using local children as well as students from Thurrock.
At this point, Island People Agency (who supply actors) became involved, headed by the former Doctor Who and Casualty actress Dadina Saggers.
She said: “It seemed like an exciting project. I met with Mr Woodbury and was impressed with the plans for what could be a feature length film.
“I discussed this with other colleagues and contacts and felt this was an opportunity for the island and a great chance for children to get experience.”
“I was happy to set up auditions, rehearsals, sourcing locations, transport and halls. I also provided various contacts to the people involved.
Filming began in the summer of 2008. The plan was to make a promotional feature which could then be pitched to studios but it soon became beset by problems.
Award-winning film-maker Roger Lowe (owner of Diamond Films) was also on board.
He said: “I was happy to help as it seemed like a good idea but I soon became suspicious that Woodbury and Thompson were talking a good game and did not really know what they were doing.”
“I thought I would be there for technical support but I ended up editing the whole thing. That alone took sixteen hours.”
Woodbury and Thompson left the island with plans to get funding for the project and possibly enlsit “A-list stars”
They invited two of the actors, screenwriter and lecturer Tony Steyger and his son Max to join the Thurrock actors on a tour of the set of Holby City in Bristol but the visit raised Mr Steyger’s suspicions.
He said:” Woodbury said he had worked on Holby as a script writer/editor but I’ve been around scriptwriters for decades and he seemed an unlikely scriptwriter.
“When we went to the set, nobody seemed to know him. He seemed more like a fan.”
“We were invited to call-backs in London but we won’t be working with them again.”
Back on the island, personnel were awaiting payment.
Ms Saggers said: “At this point I and many others had spent a lot of time and money and wanted payment but this has never materialised.
“I e-mailed Mr Woodbury asking for payment but he replied citing harassment and said he would inform his solicitors.
“They made a lot of promises to children and adults and left many people bitterly disappointed.”
Mr Lowe has also not been paid.
He said: “I spoke to Mr Thompson who said he wanted to be there with the children to hand over the cheque, so they could see how a cheque is signed.”
“But like everything, it is all talk from two men, seemingly out of their depth.”
YourThurrock went to the UK Headquarters of Stage 22 and Kidzfilms. Unit 4, Curtis Farm, Fobbing. The office was a converted shed in a barn. The farmer informed us that Stage 22 no longer operate from his shed.
We spoke to Chris Thompson aka Nathan Thompson at his home in Lampits Hill, Corringham.
He said: “I have semi-left Stage 22 and Kidz Filmz. I have no knowledge of any outstanding debts.
“I cannot comment on any plans for The Lost Son. All I know is that Kieran just wants to serve the public.”
YourThurrock has attempted to contact Mr Woodbury in order to give him a right of reply but all his phone numbers are unobtainable.