A Kick In The Baubles

Originally written by Gordon Steel for the Hull Truck theatre company A Kick in the Baubles is an edgy piece, combining the family chaos of Season’s Greetings with the dramatic discomfort of Abigail’s Party. There is humour, mixed in with a fair amount of tension and unease before an ending More »

Party Piece – Getting in the party spirit

Gainford Drama Club selected Party Piece to celebrate 70 years of the amateur dramatics club, and you have to admire the sheer work-rate and athleticism of the cast in this Richard Harris comedy which is riddled with chaotic situations. At times the humour is farcical and takes some swallowing.  The More »

The Accrington Pals

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War Gainford Drama Club performed 'The Accrington Pals' - an excellent choice to commemorate and remember all those who lost their lives in that most devastating of military campaigns. So many of the young men sent to fight More »

The Ladykillers

The classic 1955 black comedy film, The Ladykillers, was adapted for the stage by Graham Linehan (co-creator of Father Ted) in 2011.  It may or may not be the greatest of the Ealing comedies, but it is certainly the one that immediately suggests itself as theatrical. The story remains the More »

Not Now Darling

Not Now Darling is a traditional farce with all the regular hallmarks – people hiding in cupboards, spouses coming and going continuously and a wealth of mistaken identities and innuendo. Firmly based in the 1960s, the script by Ray Clooney and John Chapman reminds one of the “Are You Being More »

And Then There Were None

Ten strangers are summoned for a long weekend to the remote Soldier Island off the coast of Devon, under variously different pretexts. Characters arrive individually and in pairs, having travelled to the island to see Mr and Mrs Owens; the hosts of this group holiday excursion. They are assisted Fred More »

Spring and Port Wine

Spring and Port Wine is a domestic drama, set in the late 1960s, which centres on the attempts of Rafe Crompton (Allan Jones) to hold his family together by being a strict disciplinarian. He wants to retain old-fashioned values while his children, noticing that outside the world is changing rapidly, More »

Will You Still Love Me In The Morning?

Gainford Drama Club’s spring production of the Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner farce was certainly one to remember. From the first night to the final performance the company was almost word-perfect and handled the fast-paced, sometimes frenetic action with aplomb.  The audience were chuckling from start to finish.  The play More »

The Game’s Afoot

(or Holmes for the Holidays) Gainford Drama Club’s production of Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot” (or Holmes For The Holidays) is part mystery, part melodrama, part comedy, part farce as well as good, well-crafted entertainment. You certainly need a scorecard to keep track of who is dead, could be dead More »

Summer Newsletter 2016

I hope you are all enjoying this summer weather it is long overdue.

Looking back our spring production, which now seems long past, was a very successful “Will You Still Love Me In The Morning”.  This was directed by Lawrence Chandler, and this play introduced Alistair Burn, treading the GDC boards for the first time, as well as two new members, Melissa Rawlings and Jo Leversuch, helping back stage.

For a while we have talked about the possible effects of the Darlington road closure on ticket sales. It does seem to have had an effect, as the last two plays, both were on after the road was reopened, showed a significant improvement in seat occupancy, at 84 and 91 % respectively.

Will You Still Love Me In The Morning?

Gainford Drama Club’s spring production of the Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner farce was certainly one to remember. From the first night to the final performance the company was almost word-perfect and handled the fast-paced, sometimes frenetic action with aplomb.  The audience were chuckling from start to finish.  The play was well-directed by Lawrence Chandler, assisted by Maria Lowcock.

Peregrine Thelma Celia Jeremy

The plot is simple enough. Jeremy and Celia Winthrop return from their honeymoon a week early when their Spanish hotel isn’t up to scratch. Unfortunately Winthrop, looking for promotion, has handed over the keys of his cottage to his two bosses, and both decide to take him up on the offer. Even more unfortunately, both men are having affairs with the other one’s wife.  Mayhem ensues as the Winthrops try to keep the couples apart. The actors built the pace superbly with immaculate timing and mounting puzzlement at the situation.

The Game’s Afoot

(or Holmes for the Holidays)

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Cast-Photo

Gainford Drama Club’s production of Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot” (or Holmes For The Holidays) is part mystery, part melodrama, part comedy, part farce as well as good, well-crafted entertainment. You certainly need a scorecard to keep track of who is dead, could be dead or someone wants dead. Is it Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with a knife?  Maybe!
The play testifies to the enduring popularity of the world’s first consulting detective, however, the story does not feature Sherlock Holmes himself, instead it portrays the actor William Gillette, whose productions did much to cement the Holmes character, which we know and love, in the minds of the public, introducing the pipe, cape and deerstalker.

Newsletter September 2015

Hope you all had a good summer and hopefully found some sun.

The next production for autumn has now been cast and rehearsals start next week. The play will be “The Game’s Afoot” by Ken Ludwig, a comedy mystery which won the Edgar Allen Poe Award as the best mystery play in 2012.  Tom Brown is making his directing debut and cast includes, Allan Jones, Iris Hillery, Lawrence Chandler, Maria Lowcock, Jo Longstaff, Michelle Hope, Ronnie Lowery and newest member, Aiden West.  It will run between 18th and 28th  November and once again the first Saturday will be a matinee performance.   As usual, your help is needed, just let us know if you’re willing to assist backstage, front of house, set building, etc.

Looking ahead we need to put in place the directors for the next two 2016 plays so if you would be willing to direct either the Spring or Autumn productions, please contact Ronnie or myself.  This is open to any member so please have a think about it and let us know.

We now have  a new social secretary, Michelle Hope, and she is in need of your talent for the club’s social event a Talent Night on 16th October so please don`t hide it come and strut your stuff.  Let Michelle know if you would like to perform, or just come along for the night and enjoy the talent, your support is needed either way.

Plans for next year, we are hoping to refurbish the theatre with new seating when the Darlington Civic Theatre carry out their major improvements and, hopefully, once again we can purchase their old seating.  For this reason we will be selling programmes again to help boost the coffers!  We would also like to obtain sponsors for the programmes so if any members have contacts please let us know.

I hope this will put you in the picture as to our Club’s plans and, don’t forget we do need to hear from you all with your ideas, suggestions, offers of help etc.

Best wishes

John Lowery

SPRING NEWSLETTER 2015

Blithe Spirit our spring production, directed by Alan Jones, was a great success and saw the introduction of several new members.  On stage we had two new members making their debut for the club, Michelle Hope and Jo Longstaff, and backstage Aiden West and Rob Smith.  They all proved to be great assets to the Club during the production.  The Saturday matinee again proved to be very popular, overall we had 565 people who watched the play, and judging from the many comments, thoroughly enjoyed it.

The autumn production will be directed by Tom Brown and play readings have already started to help Tom choose a play.  The next play reading will be on Monday 11th May,7.30 pm, in the Green Room.    

Iris Hillery is planning a Talent Night as a club social event on Friday 9th October.   We know we have many talented people in the Club so please don`t “hide your light under a bushel” come and “strut your stuff”.

We are trying hard to publicise the Club and its activities via social media adding to our existing website.   We have now added Facebook pages, one for members only and an open page to get our message out there, so please have a look at them and contribute them. 

DURHAM DALES FESTIVAL FOR PERFORMING ARTS:

We have been approached to see if the club would wish to join in a festival.  An extract from an e- mail is as follows:-

 “We are currently working towards setting up a festival in the area and wondered if this might be of interest?  As well as our own two productions (COSI FAN TUTTE and the rock musical – ! – BEOWULF), which we would love people to join, the main idea is for any groups and other performers to put on shows under the umbrella of the Festival: drama groups/comedians/orchestras/dance schools…  Perhaps groups have performed i n their local villages and could do a ‘swop’ with others; thereby getting extra enjoyment out of their hard work and doubling entertainment opportunities for their audiences.

The Festival will take place over the first two weeks of August (in the hope that should it be something people enjoyed sufficiently to want to do it again, perhaps we could tempt visitors to Edinburgh to make a detour – thinking ahead a little!)”

If anybody thinks this is a good idea for the Club to take part at this festival, please let me know.

Gainford Big Weekend, in June, are having a scarecrow competition.  It might be fun if we created a Drama Club scarecrow (could we put it outside the Theatre?).  Would anyone be up for helping produce one?   Please let we know.

Well that’s all for now!

John  

Blithe Spirit

Audiences moved by the spirit of comedy

The Academy Theatre in Gainford has been rocked with laughter once again by Gainford Drama Club’s 150th production – Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit.  The play is a brave choice as it is a difficult play to pull off.  Not only do the leading actors have large parts to learn but they also have to maintain dialogue with characters that are invisible to others. Timing is so crucial when one of the threesome are not supposed to be there and this was pretty much spot on. Costumes as always were very good with the ghostly pale grey very effective.  An attractive set and period music set the scene with a good rhythm as the plot developed which became more comfortable as the play progressed.

Don’t Dress for Dinner

Well attended and well received play  (Northern Echo)

It was a “whirlwind farce of adultery and fine dining” for more than 750 theatre-goers as Gainford Drama Club staged its latest play.  Don’t Dress for Dinner by |Marc Camoletti, and adapted by Robin Hawdon, has been well received by audiences at the Academy Theatre, Gainford, over the last two weeks.Cast Photo

The play was a sequel to Camoletti’s populat play Boeing-Boeing, which reintroduced Robert and Bernard and relocated them to a weekend retreat outside Paris.

Director Lawrence Chandler, assisted by Fiona Minay, asembled the cast including Paul Richardson as the increasingly frantic husband, Bernard, while Jan Richardson-Wilde portrayed his mistified wife Jacqueline.

Sam Beamish-Young also made his debut with the club.

 

Gainford Drama Club’s autumn offering is a whirlwind farce of adultery and fine dining.

Don’t Dress for Dinner by Marc Camoletti (adapted by Robin Hawdon) has been well received by audiences at the Academy Theatre, Gainford over the last two weeks.  This sequel to Camoletti’s popular play Boeing-Boeing reintroduces Robert and Bernard and relocates them to a weekend retreat outside Paris.

DSCF3237Director Lawrence Chandler assisted by Fiona Minay assembled a talented cast that included Paul Richardson as the increasingly frantic husband, Bernard, whilst Jan Richardson-Wilde competently portrayed his mystified wife, Jacqueline. The cast deserve recognition for sustaining this high-energy French farce over ten performances including for the first time a matinee as well as an evening performance on the middle Saturday.

Bernard is anticipating an illicit weekend with his mistress Suzanne (played by Paris Lowcock) when Tom Brown enters the fray as the put-upon best friend, Robert Dubedat.  He is reluctantly persuaded into providing an alibi when Bernard’s wife unexpectedly cancels her visit to her mother in order to spend the weekend with her lover – Robert!  Further complications ensue when cook Suzette (Maria Lowcock) hired by Bernard to prepare a cordon bleu meal is mistaken by Robert for Bernard’s mistress, leaving the mistress to prepare the dinner.  Both men provoke some hearty laughter with their energetic attempts to distract Jacqueline while Robert devises ever more complicated aliases to prevent her from discovering the truth.  Add copious amounts of alcohol, several costume changes and increasing puzzlement from Bernard and Jacqueline and it doesn’t really matter if the audience can’t follow the machinations of the labyrinthine plot.

DSCF3257Sam Beamish-Young made his debut with the Club as a final complication to the evening’s antics arriving as the Suzette’s husband, George. Sami Nash of Vintage Tinsel deserves a mention for the hair styling with an outrageous Mohican for hard man George and progressively more dishevelled looks for Suzette and Suzanne.  Maria Lowcock’s matter-of-fact delivery and demands for more money every time the plot thickens delighted the audience.  Tom Brown received a well- deserved ovation for his deft handling of an outrageously complicated monologue.  Although the script is often silly and implausible, the cast works well together, allowing the audience to suspend disbelief and enjoy the visual and verbal gags. Overall a very entertaining evening.

Play Readings

In order to decide on our Spring production we will be undertaking a couple of play readings in the Green room of the Academy Theatre on Monday, 8th December.

Allan Jones will be directing the spring production, play and dates to be arranged, so he will need to know who will be available.  If you would like to be considered for a part in the next play but can’t make the reading, please let me or Allan know.

Also, the following Monday (15th), same time and place, we are having our Christmas get-together, with a play reading, mulled wine and mince pies.  Again, let us know if you can’t make it!

If you are interested and would like to become involved with Gainford Drama Club, why not contact us and come along.

TO ALL MEMBERS

The committee would like to invite all our members to come along on the 4th September at 8pm, (after the comm.meeting), to discuss the possibility of producing a third play end of January/February 2015.  As we now have lots of new members we are keen to keep up interest and get everyone involved.  The idea would be to cast a play end of October.

We need your thoughts on this so please come along.  Let me know if you can’t make it but would like to be involved.

Summer News

At the recent AGM our chairman gave a summary of the club year. Several play readings had been held, all with very good attendances, which resulted in two successful productions being staged, An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde, abridged and directed by our chairman and 3 one-act plays from Noel Coward’s Tonight at 8.30 series directed by Allan Jones.  There were good houses for both productions and all new members who had joined during the year were able to make their acting debuts.

Several social events had been held during the year culminating in our President’s 90th birthday party held in the theatre and attended by many past and current members. Enid Burdon has been a member since the inception of the club in 1949 and is still a great supporter.

The chairman had made good progress in updating the mailing list and intended to continue with the responsibility of sending out the forms, both postal and electronic.   She thanked Richard Stephenson and Viv and Mike Brown for their work in printing and dealing with the forms and the tickets and Allan Jones for his work in setting up and maintaining the website. Paul Richardson presented his financial report for the year which had been audited by David Maughan and they were both thanked for their contribution.

Play readings were being held in The Green Room, the next one being on Monday 30th June and new members would be made very welcome.  The next production to be staged at the end of November would be directed by Lawrence Chandler and Fiona Minay and it was intended that a casting meeting would be held before the summer holidays with rehearsals commencing at the beginning of September.

It was noted that the Spring Production next year would be our 150th, the longevity of the club is a splendid achievement not possible without the dedication and enthusiasm of members.

In conclusion our chairman thanked the officers and committee for their help and support during the three years of her chairmanship and handed the meeting over to the incoming chairman John Lowery.