I hope you all managed to see The Good Doctor and thus had your laughter medicine. It was most enjoyable (and I have it on good authority that David didn’t really drown, nor have his teeth pulled out. Frazer certainly made me appreciate my doctor’s ‘bedside manner’). A good time was had by all and it was pleasing to have a new cast member and a new director. Talking of which…any volunteers out there?
Your committee has been working tirelessly on your behalf and has two suggestions for the Spring Production: Lark Rise or Cider with Rosie. Any other ideas would be MOST welcome as would offers to direct or to help backstage. A bit of a sore point that last one. If we’re going to continue to mount two productions a year, we do need more members to offer help with costume, make up, props, stage managing and so on. It seems to have fallen upon the not particularly broad shoulders of a very small band of volunteers for the past few productions. There will be a gathering at the Conservative Club on Jan 16th at 7.30 for anyone who is interested in reading through one or other of the suggested plays, or to discuss any other ideas. If you have something you’d like to suggest please email me or call 01805623484.
For those of you who enjoyed the humorous, erudite offerings from Bill, prepare to be disappointed!
Should you be one of the rare members who don’t read every word of the newsletter avidly, may I suggest that on this occasion you read the bits in bold text.
Those of you who gathered at Madame of the Herons, will know what an enjoyable time was had by all. And we even managed to choose one of the hottest days. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the murder mystery ensemble was unable to attend. But I’m sure that the lovely duet (and the flowing wine) more than made up for that. Our thanks to Madame for the use not only of her gardens, but also her teacups and glasses and to Bill for the overall arrangements including organizing for the scones to be freshly baked Sunday morning. And great thanks to the weather fairy.
The new committee has met – minus a treasurer! Some members have been approached, but are not able to take on the role. So we are a society in need of a treasurer. Should you feel able to take on this role PLEASE contact me a.s.a.p. on 01805623484 or at (email address removed to prevent spam)
So summer is now over (stop snivelling and hoping that the weather will improve – it won’t!). Instead, put your thoughts to our autumn production. A new director has emerged from our midst: Neil Fordham. There will be a pre-audition read through for anyone interested in taking part by treading the boards (or rather the Plough’s blocks), assisting backstage, helping with publicity, making the tea at rehearsals etc on Sept 5th 7.30 at the Conservative Club. The play is ‘The Good Doctor’ by Neil Simon. It is based on a series of short stories which poke gentle fun at the human condition. Neil assures us that it can be produced with a cast of 4 or 24! So turn up and read even if you want only a small part. We need to hear from anyone who is willing to produce (or keep an overall weather eye on things) or help backstage or with costumes a.s.a.p. So see you all on the 5th. If you want further information please contact Neil at (email address removed to prevent spam – email via this website )
Some of you will remember the entertainment we put on for Great Torrington W.I a couple of summers ago. I can’t tell you how many times I have been stopped by W.I members who say that their lives have been transformed following Glenda’s knicker folding demonstration. Some members are, apparently, still receiving therapy following Chris Keeley and Jim Young’s moving rendition of Albert and the Lion. If you weren’t involved in that extravaganza, then now is your chance to do your bit for the W.I. Little Torrington W.I. would like us to provide some entertainment following their December 11th meeting at Little Torrington Village Hall at 7.30: Christmas poems, readings, songs, recitals. Note the words reading and recitals; if you haven’t got time or memory to learn words – you can still take part! Anyone prepared to participate and /or organize please contact Jean E-L on 01805623484 or (email address removed to prevent spam)
Come one and all and participate.
The Martians are coming!!…
They Came from Mars and Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in Time for the Townswomen’s Guild Coffee Morning – Plough Arts Centre – Wed 9 – Sat 12 May – 7.30. Just a reminder that tickets are now on sale at The Plough (01805 624624) for next week’s feast of culture, good taste and high quality writing and performances (or as Thelma Greenwood would say – “why are we doing this rubbish – why couldn’t we do a nice Aykbourn?”)
Rehearsals have been fairly incident free (ie no concussions, impalements or major fractures) in spite of the director’s attempt to introduce a rotting garden bench as part of the set. Visits to Westward Ho! Follies’ store to borrow set items have proved fascinating as have the questions “how does Christine Spry find space to live in her house as she turns up week after week with some appropriate prop or costume item she happens to have lying around?” and “is there really a fetish market in nylon overalls?” as Chris Keeley maintains from her trawls through ebay for tasteless items of costume. You’ll see some of the results on stage. Bet you can hardly wait! Hope you’ve had time to look at some of the rehearsal pics Tony Easton sent on to webmeister Ron (www.torringtonplayers.com)
We still need help with front of house if you can spare an evening to give out programmes. Please contact Bill on 01805 email@example.com/07504 298 559 with offers. You could get a free seat for helping out.
Early warning. Our AGM will be on Wednesday 4 July – 7 for 7.30 pm – Conservative Club
If you have hopes to direct the autumn production in November, please contact Jean on 01805 623484 or Bill on 01805 622594 asap. Otherwise we do have plans to unveil at the AGM. Please see further note at end of this newsletter
Our summer social will be on Sunday afternoon 22 July at Jean Tyler’s garden in Stevenstone (in the barns if wet) We are hoping to book outside entertainment in the form of a murder mystery company so we do need to know this is a runner. PLEASE EXPRESS AN INTEREST IN THIS EVENT BY SATURDAY 26 MAY as we have a planning meeting with the murder mystery company early the following week . See Bill’s contact details above. Friends & family are very welcome. No contact – no event!
HATS in Holsworthy are performing Allo Allo in late May. Interested? See the link to their website
Message from Bill Grainger
I will be giving up my place on the committee at the AGM in July. This has not felt a fulfilling year with the society for me, so I feel that someone with more energy can, hopefully, take the reins and carry the Players forward. We would value nominations for the committee from the membership, as it is likely that our treasurer, David will not seek re-election either as his health issues make it difficult to commit time and energy at present.
There have been times this year when I have felt that I was serving on a committee without a society to represent. Auditions for the spring production were almost disastrous; there was negligible response to our offer of a theatre trip and this was cancelled; requests for items to appear onstage next week mostly fell on deaf ears; there have been no responses for new directors so far (although we do have a potential production in mind). All of these concerns had successful last minute resolutions, but the wait was very nerve-racking.
The energy present in our workshop day at The Plough two years ago seems to have vanished like spring mist. It feels as though the Players are heading into an undeserved moribund state. We can no longer rely on the ‘old stagers’. We need some new input. Can you help; or are we to be consigned to the dustbin of apathy?
Please contact me with any comments/ideas or turn up at the AGM with fresh vitality! ‘Stiffen the sinews; summon up the blood’ Surely we can get through this together!
Vell, vell mein little pumpernickels (as Professor Einstein may say)
Rehearsals are coming on apace for our spring spectacular. We’ve had good drenchings practising the Martian tea party (including a cupful thrown over the director in retaliation for an unexpected soaking); the dance routine to zippety doo dah (it’s all the rage on Mars don’t y’know) is developing a cack-footed life of its own; something tells me that Chris Keeley’s falling off tables and crawling round the audience is based on first-hand experience of the Black Horse on a Saturday night? We’ve had to send the cast on training expeditions to the Alps to cope with the climbing on set – quite a few vertigo attacks and nose bleeds from the rarefied air on top of the village hall tables.
There is something you can do to help. Go now to your lofts and garages to see if you have any unusual items to help dress the stage. Thanks to Westward Ho! Follies we already have a boat, wishing well, palm trees etc; the Plough giraffe is set to make an outing; we also have offers of a doric column, an exercise bike, barbecue & golf clubs. So bring out that inflatable santa, umbrella stand, pogo stick, stuffed stag’s head & general knick-knackatory and ring/email Bill Grainger on 01805 622594/ firstname.lastname@example.org at once. Please don’t offer anything of enormous sentimental value – accidents can happen, especially in Farndale Avenue. We particularly need a working, but not too dirty, wheelbarrow and a garden bench. Tickets are now on sale at The Plough.
Next play reading will be Chez Madame Tyler’s Tuesday 17th April (Heronslake, Stevenstone – 01805 623233) when we will all be putting on our old school ties and mortar boards to read Alan Bennett’s History Boys
The summer social will be in June – again at the Tylerosa ranch – when we hope to have a murder mystery for you to solve as well as cream teas to eat (which one will be poisoned?) More details soon.
Autumn production is now beginning to loom on the horizon. If you have a burning desire to direct and a play to suggest, press reply NOW and send a message winging to our lovely secretary, Jean
Greetings thespians. Some news for you.
Rehearsals have finally started for the latest Farndale blockbuster -’They Came from Mars & Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in Time for the Townswomen’s Guild Coffee Morning‘. Some existing members, returning friends & new arrivals make up the small yet beautifully proportioned cast. Jean Evans Loude will take up the mantle of Mrs Reece, Linda Rawle will play Norah, Christine Spry will tackle Felicity (she has her own crash helmet you know), while newcomers Diane Sluggett & James Jarvie will doubtless clash as the perfectionist Thelma & the hapless stage manager Gordon. We’d still like to recruit backstage help if you’re availalble. Please contact Bill Grainger on 622594 or send him greetings to grainger.bill at btinternet.com. Most of the prop requirements are fairly eccentric. We’ve already been offered palm trees, a wishing well, a coffin & some wickerwork pigs. So think hard & open up your hearts & lofts to make any offers to Bill. The more unusual the better.
Play readings restart on Tuesday 20th March at Joyce Ridgwell’s house (186 New Street, Torrington) with a reading of Neil Simon’s New York comedy - Barefoot in the Park. Please ring Joyce on 01805 623588 if possible, so we know how many chairs to get out. The April play reading hosted by Jean Tyler at Heronslake will be Alan Bennett’s History Boys on Tuesday 17 April at 7.30 Please ring Jean on 01805 623233 to let her know you are coming if possible.
Jean has also kindly agreed to host a summer garden party and cream tea in mid June. More details soon. We are not planning a sedate affair, but there may yet be cucumber sandwiches.
Theatre trip. We have the possibility of a trip to the Hall for Cornwall in Truro on Saturday 5 May to see a matinee performance of Bette and Joan starring Greta Scacchi & Anita Dobson. This 2-hander tells the story of the meeting of Hollywood divas Bette Davis & Joan Crawford in the autumn of their careers to film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. The show is packed with tantrums & bitchiness and had excellent reviews on a previous tour. If we can amass a minimum of 20 playgoers (maximum 33) , we can offer best quality stalls seats plus a coach from Barnstaple & Torrington allowing 2 hours free in Truro before the show for £25 (thanks to a subsidy from the Players). This is a reward for your membership and support and a recognition that the last few productions actually made profits! Players’ guests are welcome at the same rate. We will need to book & pay for seats very soon to guarantee good places. Please ring or email Bill Grainger (details above) to book a place by Wednesday 14 March. This will hopefully resurrect a noble tradition of theatre outings
A Happy New year to all our readers.
Come on now folks! It’s time to get those vocal chords back into trim with one of our lovely, lovely play readings. No more gargling with Baileys and bathing the feet with warm brandy butter while eating Quality Street in front of a DVD!
Away with such frippery; hasten round to Chez Childs, 3 Apple Orchard, Taddiport on Monday 16 January at 7.30 to share in a reading of “They Came from Mars & Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in Time for the Townswomen’s Guild Coffee Morning”. Gasp at the majesty of the special effects; sigh at the blissful elegance of the dialogue; try to stay awake at the back there. It would help greatly for nibble & drink provision if you ring 01805 623382 to say you are coming, when you will be given details of the secret knock to gain admission.
This reading will hopefully confirm the play as our spring production
Auditions for aforementioned play, to be enacted at Ye Olde Plough Artes Centre in the week commencing 6 May, will take place at Taddiport Village Hall on Monday 6 & Thursday 9 February at 7.30. Parts for 4 women + 1man + offstage voices + stage crew with Pickfords Removals experience (and that’s just for the make-up) You can come to either or both of these or you could ring Bill Grainger on 622594 who will attempt to answer queries or make other arrangements for auditions; or you could go straight back to the last coconut caramels in the bottom of that tin. Rehearsals will be on Monday & Thursday evenings.
It would probably be helpful to read the play (see 16 January above) as it may involve a certain amount of climbing over furniture, dragging cast members bodily around the stage & improvised repartee with the audience – nothing new there then.
If you’ve nothing better to do after you’ve rung to book the playreading on 01805 623382, you may want to take a glimp at another society’s attempt to stage the space travelling scene from the play on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLKHs0XQe_M
We will of course, hem hem, be actually flying the Plough into earth orbit each night for our production. Secret building work is already under-way in the guise of work on the Plough cafe to build the launch pad.
We’re sure you’ll be pleased to hear that we now have a full company of actors – bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (what is this about tails being bushy? Sleek tails of the world unite against the oppressors!…) and raring to go when rehearsals start on 1st September for Hobson’s Choice. We’ll print a list of those miscreants involved very soon. Keep checking the website. We do still need offers of help for backstage and front of house especially as the backstage manager is a raw novice. So do contact Bill Grainger (email@example.com / 01805 622594) with any offers.
URGENT – Bookings for the Creative Movement workshop which the players are sponsoring at the Plough are distinctly underwhelming. Either your committee totally misjudged the need for this, or you’re all hanging back for the week before the workshop on Saturday 3 September. Either way, we will need to cancel this if there are not sufficient takers by Saturday 27 August. We thought this would have been a really enjoyable affair with Cathy Richards; quite a bargain for Players’ members too at £9 including coffee. Don’t be put off by the idea that this is about dancing!! It isn’t!! Movement covers a whole host of things. Learn and Enjoy. Booking at the Plough is on 01805 624624.
The Committee has also made tentative enquiries about a singing workshop and an improvisation/mime workshop(not in the Marcel Marceau way, more ‘acting off the ball’ way). It would be helpful to know if any members are interested in these before we go any further. Please let Bill or Jean know.
We await the torrent of responses.