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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Adventures in Amateur Dramatics

I often don't give a full account of my working week in these blogs - I might mention in passing that I'm directing something somewhere and then don't say much more.  Well, this week I will only talk about the world of amateur dramatics (forever known on my CV as 'community' productions) rather than about progress on Storyteller 2012.  This is partly because I haven't got very far yet (I've mostly been re-reading things) and because other than arty stuff I've been mostly doing admin work and getting the accounts ready for the end of the financial year.  So, amateur dramatics.
In my mostly year round exile in Suffolk, amateur dramatics is the only extra outlet for drama available to me.  Storytelling is a mostly solitary pursuit, so getting the chance to act in or direct a play with a cast of people in it is fairly novel for me these days.  There are two local groups I promiscuously flit between, the Lavenham Players and Sudbury Dramatic Society.  They are two good examples of the amateur sphere as they demonstrate the two poles between which societies exist.  Lavenham Players is a proper community group, run for the village and by a committee with strong ties within the area.  It performs in the Village Hall when it seems appropriate and puts on plays that will appeal to the local community.  Sudbury Dramatic Society (SDS) is a based in a theatre (a theatre it founded) and produces six plays a year, operating more like a repertory company than an amateur society for a far larger constituency.  With a regular number of plays each year SDS makes an effort to programme a balanced season, including a Pantomime, comedies and serious drama which it risks losing money on; so a season can fluctuate wildly between a Francis Durbridge and a Howard Barker.
I am currently in a production of A Woman of No Importance for SDS, am about to audition a cast for The Admirable Crichton (no relation) for Lavenham Players and in March audition a cast for The Passion for SDS (again).  So, a percentage of my time at the moment is engaged in rehearsing with a company (woo-hoo!) and preparing for two sets of auditions and the productions that will follow.  That's what I do when I'm not writing, re-writing or editing etc, which is my current occupation.
That said, this year will be my last in the amateur sphere - I knew that this year, until the Olympics finished, I wasn't going to get a major production up and running in London or further out, so I'm indulging in a last orgy of community entertainment.  The Passion will be my last directorial bout for SDS, with whom I have performed and directed a lot over the last decade plus, but next year I'm planning to do a few more shows of my own and won't be around to produce anything locally.  In fact, if 2012 goes well I will leave my economic exile and return to London early 2013, so I won't have much choice but to move on.
Until then, lines to learn, scenes to block, crucifixions to organise... and you should see the risk assessment on that last one.

A Woman of No Importance performances from Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th March at 7.45pm at the Quay Theatre, Sudbury.  Box Office: 01787 374 745

The Admirable Crichton: Auditions will be held on Thursday 2nd February at 7.30pm at the Angel Gallery in Lavenham. Scripts available on request via email.  Performances 27, 28, 29 April 2012

THE PASSION:  Auditions are on Wednesday 14th March at 7.30pm in the GKR at the Quay Theatre in Sudbury.  Audition scripts are available from the Quay Box Office, or on request via email.  (This is the audition script, there is a slight possibility I will re-jig the text following the auditions to adjust to larger/smaller cast size.)  Performances 10 - 14 July 2012
Any enquiries email:

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