It’s been quite a year for the club – one that has taken us from a Beverley Hills hotel room (California Suite) to a seemingly cosy, quiet patch of ‘Little Britain’ (Neighbourhood Watch) via the pre-fabricated, industrious huts of Bletchley Park (Breaking The Code). Ticket sales this year have increased with every production and our Autumn show smashed through that magic number of 300 in online sales alone.
Now we want to take this momentum through to 2016 where two of our three plays are already in place – Mark Hebert will direct ‘The Madness of George III’ by Alan Bennett which will be our Spring production & for our summer show Josephine Hussey will make her directorial debut with ‘The Memory Of Water’ by Shelagh Stephenson. The autumn play will also be announced in the very near future & a director is already lined up to take charge of that one. In April I’ll be taking all three of our directors to a workshop at the Donmar Warehouse in London, where we’ll find out how the professionals run a rehearsal room.
The success of ‘Breaking The Code’ in July proved that there is an audience here in Huntingdon with an appetite for challenging theatre, who are prepared to take a risk and try something a little different from the norm. We have taken this on board, whilst always remembering that first & foremost we are here to entertain and that a night at the theatre should be interesting, thought-provoking & stimulating but most of all enjoyable. Our 2016 season will provide all those things.
Another very exciting project in 2016 will see us performing at the Cambridge Drama Festival in April. It will be a great opportunity & challenge for our cast & crew to perform in a new venue, to a wholly different audience. With our increasing ticket sales we are also adding matinee performances next year. We think the added choice of a daytime performance will be popular with local community members and it also offers our cast an extra performance. Many a time have I heard the comment “three performances just aren’t enough”!
So, lots to look forward to in both the immediate and long term future. Auditions for the Spring play are in January and you can find more info here. On the social front we are heading to Milton Keynes in February to see our good friend Richard James in the touring production of David Walliams’ ‘Gangsta Granny’. For now, have a wonderful Christmas & here’s to the ‘madness’ in 2016!
What a day! The latest of the club’s many social events proved to be arguably the best yet. Many thanks first of all to Josephine, our social secretary, for doing such a great job of organising the day – absolutely top notch. And thank you to our wonderful National Theatre for being the best place in the capital to enjoy a full day of theatre. Already a great venue, the NT’s recent redevelopment has taken the place to another level.
Twenty of us in total took the train into London on Saturday morning, including many new faces joining us for the first time. We arrived on the South Bank around 11.15am & headed straight for coffee in the new ground floor cafe, Kitchen, before beginning our backstage tour. I cannot recommend the tour enough – this was my third time. The tour guides are excellent – informative & entertaining and because of the constantly changing shows within the theatres, the tour is always slightly different. Beginning in the impressive Olivier auditorium, based on the Ancient Greek theatre in Epidaurus, the NT is a breathtaking combination of theatrical ingenuity, technology, creativity and ground-breaking artistic production. The most impressive feature is arguably the drum revolve on the Olivier stage – rather than try to explain it, take a look at this video here. The Olivier holds an audience of 1100 people, all of whom have an unrestricted view of the stage, a design which also means that an actor on stage, standing in the position known as the ‘point of command’ can see every audience member in his peripheral vision, without moving his head.
Another interesting addition to the tour is the Sherling High Walkway (above), where the public are offered a glimpse into the inner workings of the props department, set construction & paint shop, where plays are constructed on a truly industrial scale. On any given day here there can be up to a thousand people at work.
Emerging from our tour the theatre foyers were abuzz with activity & anticipation for the afternoon’s matinee shows. We were booked in to see Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Our Country’s Good” the story of a group of convicts shipped to the prison colony of Australia, who mount a production of Farquhar’s “The Recruiting Officer”. It’s a very powerful play, made all the more emotional by Cerys Matthews’ haunting original score. It’s inspiring story of the transformative powers of theatre left more than one or two of us a little teary-eyed!
The NT also houses several restaurants and so we decided to round off the day in the new Green Room, which as well as serving delicious food in a fun and vibrant atmosphere also houses recycled props & furniture from past productions. Suitably fed & watered we headed home inspired, entertained & eager to return to see more productions at this great national institution. Thank you NT!
A review of our Meet and Greet by Josephine Hussey
On 19 March we had our first social gathering since the AGM and the new committee were elected. We ventured to the Falcon in Huntingdon for a drink and a chance for everyone to meet the committee.
Our meet and greet was an enjoyable evening. Lots of members turned up and we spent the hours in the pub swopping ideas for what we want to happen with the club and productions over the next year.
It was great to see people were excited by some of the ideas thought up for social and the other aspects of our group. It was also fun to chat, get to know more people and feel the enthusiasm other members have for the club.
Our next social is a play reading of ‘Noises Off’ at St Mary’s Parish Hall in Huntingdon on 16 April. Come along and enjoy reading and listening to a very funny play.