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The Gage Players’ Newsletter Summer 2015

The Gage quiz team put in a creditable performance in the quiz at the Dukes’s Head on 27th May. We were 3rd… until the last music rounds, where we depended very heavily on the younger members of the team… the BBC Top 100 will come out on Fridays now, instead of Sundays… so, ears glued to Radio 1, please!  We’re now looking forward to another appearance at the Dukes Head on 29th July.

Preparations are well in hand for the rehearsed reading of Knightsbridge , directed by Chris Slater,  on 19th September. Audition is on 26th July, for which there has been quite a good response and Chris believes he will be able to cast from those responding. We look forward to hearing all the news from the audition. If you have not yet responded to Chris’s email to you, inviting you to audition, please would you do so, so he knows who to expect!

Auditions for The Teahouse of the August Moon were held at Christchurch Hall on 6th July, with a good turnout. We could still do with more men (as always!). The evening was very promising, with some new young people taking part and we now await Gill’s casting decisions.

Plans are going ahead for a special exhibition about the Gage at Tattenhams Library, organised by our redoubtable secretary, Gill Gibbins. If you have any memorabilia, photos, programmes or press cuttings from past Gage Productions, no matter how long ago- in fact we should like some older ones- please do get in touch with Gill as soon as possible.  gillgibbins@btinternet.com   01737 813245.

We’re always looking for new ways to expand our audience and our membership and particularly to draw in younger people.  If you have a Facebook page, do think of “ liking” the Gage page: “ The Gage Players”- or asking to be a friend and share our posts, please!  The same goes for our Twitter feed  : @TheGagePlayers. Please “follow” us & re-tweet from our page!

Looking forward to all our Autumn activites and wishing you a very happy Summer!

Franki Gray

 

September Rehearsed Performed Reading

On Monday, 27th July 2015 we shall be holding an audition at 7.45pm for our September rehearsed reading play, Knightsbridge by John Mortimer, famous for his television series, Rumpole of the Bailey, the film script for Tea with Mussolini, plays like Dock Brief and A Voyage Round My Father, and numerous books and radio programmes.  Performance date is Saturday, 19th September.

There are three main roles, two ladies and one gent, and a smaller role for another man.

The play is a comedy set in the home of widowed Muriel Stokes ad her daughter Francesca, situated just behind Harrods.  Francesca brings her intended, Henry Bulstrode, a well-known television interviewer, home to meet Mother, who is not at home to begin with.  In the course of the visit Henry comes to the astounding conclusion that Mother is a member of the oldest profession and becomes wildly keen to interview her, to Francesca’s understandable consternation.  Through a wonderful series of double entendres and blunders Henry decides in fact that Mother is simply dealing in antique furniture to make ends meet, and he and Francesca depart, leaving Mother to take another of the mystifying telephone calls that led to Henry’s suspicions  in the first place . . .

The audition and early rehearsals will be held at the home of the director, Christopher Slater, in Bookham: 12 Crabtree Lane, Great Bookham, Surrey KT23 4PF.  Please contact Chris if you would like to audition: christopherslater@ntlworld.com or 01372 454 963.  Dates of early rehearsals will be: Sunday, 2nd and Sunday, 30th August, both at 3pm at Bookham, but Chris can be flexible on dates if the cast need him to be.

After that rehearsals switch to the performance venue, The Riddell Hall in Walton on the Hill (Deans Lane), and will be held on Sunday, 6th and Sunday, 13th September at 3pm.  There will be a further rehearsal at Riddell Hall on Friday, 18th September at 7.45pm, and at 3pm on the afternoon of Saturday, 19th September.  The performance will be preceded by supper at 7.30pm for audience and cast, with the play going up at 8.15pm.

So, please come along to the audition and try out for the Gage.  This is our 65th anniversary year, so you’d be joining a company with a fine tradition for putting on great entertainment.

Remember: audition on Monday, 27th July at 7.45pm, 12 Crabtree Lane, Great Bookham, Surrey KT23 4PF.  For further information contact the director, Chris Slater, on 01372 454 963, or christopherslater@ntlworld.com

PUBLIC FORUM

As we are passionate about local, affordable theatre, we have set up this newsletter feature providing information about shows by other amdram groups in our area – with their agreement, of course.  There will also be web links on the Gage Players’ website.

The Chipstead Players

www.chipsteadplayers.org

In July we shall be producing The Crucible by Arthur Miller, directed by Julie Cumbo, performed on Monday, 13th July to Saturday, 18th July.

All performances at the Courtyard Theatre.  For tickets, please go to the website and click on ‘how to book’.  Evening performances at 8pm, matinees at 2.15pm.  Tickets are £8.00 for Monday and Tuesday evenings, and the Saturday matinees; £10.00 for Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings.  Doors open 45 minutes before curtain-up.

The Gage Players

www.thegageplayers.co.uk; member of BRBAC; friends@thegageplayers.com

2015 is our 65th anniversary year!

Autumn 2015 Production

Our November play will be The Teahouse of the August Moon by John Patrick, based on the novel by Vern Sneider.

The play is a comedy about the American occupation of Japanese islands after the Second World War; it features a misfit captain sent to ‘Americanise’ a village and the wily village head man assigned to him as interpreter, who runs rings round him.  Instead of building a pentagon-shaped school, the villagers inveigle the captain into building a teahouse, and instead of touristic merchandising, the captain happily comes up with a plan to mass-produce the local hooch, and sell it to the American bases.  Fun and games ensue, amid the attentions of a graceful Geisha, and it is an open bet how the ‘Americanisation’ pans out.

Performances will be on Thursday, 26th November (evening), Friday, 27th November (evening), Saturday 28th November (a possible matinee if there is enough demand, and evening) at the Riddell Hall, Walton on the Hill.  Cast and crew would normally have a pub meal between the Saturday performances if there is a matinee.

For further information contact the director, Gill Lucas, on 01737 812 703 or heatherview@virginmedia.com

 September 2015 Rehearsed Reading with Supper

The audition on 27th July and early rehearsals will be held at the home of the director, Christopher Slater, in Bookham: 12 Crabtree Lane, Great Bookham, Surrey KT23 4PF.  Please contact Chris if you would like to audition: christopherslater@ntlworld.com or 01372 454 963.  Dates of early rehearsals will be: Sunday, 2nd and Sunday, 30th August, both at 3pm at Bookham, but Chris can be flexible on dates if the cast need him to be.

After 30th August rehearsals switch to the performance venue, The Riddell Hall in Walton on the Hill (Deans Lane), and will be held on Sunday, 6th and Sunday, 13th September at 3pm, plus two further rehearsals at Riddell Hall – on Friday, 18th September at 7.45pm, and at 3pm on the afternoon of Saturday, 19th September.  The performance on 19th September will be preceded by supper at 7.30pm for audience and cast, with the play going up at 8.15pm.

This is not a ticketed event; cost will be for food, bring your own drinks and nibbles.  Box office 01737 812 703.

Gatton Community Theatre

www.gattoncommunitytheatre.org.uk

GCT operates as a fully inclusive organisation – anyone who would like to take part may join the cast or crew regardless of experience or age, although children must be over the age of eight, as all the performances are in the evening.  There is no membership or production fee.

 July production

Times have changed since John Bunyan wrote his classic Pilgrim’s Progress, telling of Pilgrim’s journey up Hill Difficult and through the Slough of Despond to the Celestial City.  Adapted by Anna Thompson from the book by Simon Parke, Pippa’s Progress will follow the journey of Pippa, a 21st-century Pilgrim.  This moving and modern-day story follows the original’s premise of a pilgrim’s journey to heaven, but this time through the trials and temptations of our secularised, multi-cultural society.

There will be nine open-air performances at Gatton Park, Reigate at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 15th July; Thursday, 16th July, Friday, 17th July; Sunday, 19th July (signed performance); Tuesday, 21st July; Wednesday, 22nd July, Thursday, 23rd July; Friday, 24th July and Saturday, 24th July.

Adults £12, children £8, family ticket £30, group discounts for 10+ available.  Tickets from www.gattoncommunitytheatre.org.uk/tickets from the beginning of May.

The ground at Gatton Park may be uneven; appropriate footwear is advised.

The Heath Players

www.heathplayers.co.uk

The Heath Players Drama Group is looking for actors and actresses to join them for the Autumn 2015, and Spring and Autumn 2016 performances, and would like to invite anyone interested to contact Caroline Siggins (destination.caroline@btinternet.com) or via the Heath Players’ web site (www.heathplayers.co.uk) to discuss their involvement.  We will be holding reading sessions as we prepare for Autumn 2015 and Spring 2016.  Their input would be most welcome, as we consider possible scripts, and we look forward to meeting them as guest members.

Autumn 2015 production dates will be Thursday, 19th and Friday, 20th November, 2015.

Spring 2016 production dates will be Thursday, 28th and Friday, 29th April, 2016.

Autumn 2016 production dates will be Thursday, 24th and Friday, 25th November, 2016.

 Kingswood Amateur Drama and Dance Association (KADDS)

www.kingswoodvillage.org/kvca-amateur-drama-dance/

William Mckee will be directing our autumn play, Curtain Call, a comedy by Bettine Manktelow.  The play depicts an amusingly chaotic day in the life of Alec Partridge, manager of the Thurlow Playhouse.  He has a lot to deal with.  Doreta Mason, director of the playhouse’s an amateur production of Oklahoma!, upsets the stage crew with her demands for real horses in the show.  Ms Murdstone, the far from genial agent from the Arts Council, arrives to assess the theatre’s eligibility for a grant.  The front of house manager’s flirty ways upset Alec’s secretary, Val.  And worst of all is Doreta’s husband Clarence, bringing negotiation skills reminiscent of Attila the Hun to bear on the ever-worsening situation. And yet, all ends happily (for most of them), but not before a few home truths have been uttered.

The cast is 5 female and 3 male roles.

Auditions for the play will take place on 27th June, 2015 at 2.30pm at Kingswood Village Hall, Waterhouse Lane, Kingswood.  Rehearsals will mostly take place on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons.   Performance dates are 29th, 30th and 31st October, 2015.

This is an open invitation to all who would like to act or work behind the scenes.

Merstham Amateur Dramatic Society (MADS)

www.mersthamdrama.org.uk

In the autumn we shall be performing Wife After Death by Eric Chappell, directed by Toby Jones, playing on 21st, 22nd and 23rd October at Merstham Village Hall.  There are six good parts; a reading of the play will take place 7.45 for 8pm on 1st June at the Church Room Church Hill, Merstham, with auditions to follow at the same time and venue on 8th June.  Scripts can be requested in advance on 01883 742 708; other information from Tony Jones on tobyjones5@hotmail.com.

Mirror Image Theatre Company

www.mirror-image.org.uk

More information next time.

The Oxted Players

www.oxtedplayers.co.uk

www.barntheatreoxted.co.uk

The Oxted Players are affiliated to NODA and are members of BRBAC.

Autumn 2015 production

Performances will be 14th – 17th October at the Barn Theatre.

Lord Arthur Savile is engaged to the lovely Sybil Merton.  However, her chiromantist, Podgers, has read Lord Arthur’s palm and foretold that he will commit a murder.  Lord Arthur’s only wish is for a peaceful and blissful marriage.  He feels it is his duty to get the murder over with before the wedding.  But, despite help from his butler, Baines, and the anarchist, Winkelkopf, every attempt to do the deed fails.  Then, news arrives that Podgers is, in fact, a charlatan so Lord Arthur is free and the carriage awaits to take him to the wedding rehearsal.  Unfortunately, the coach contains Winkelkopf’s most recent bomb.  Lord Arthur saves himself by throwing it into a horse trough.  As the dust settles, two policemen appear and march the unhappy young man away and another postponement notice has to be sent to The Times.

Further details from secretary@oxtedplayers.couk or 01342 893 217.

Polesden Lacey Shakespeare

www.polesdenlaceyshakespeare.co.uk

Our summer 2015 production will be Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Helen Hardwick.

For more information, please email: communicando@hotmail.com

St Marks Players

www.stmarksplayers.co.uk

In June we shall be putting on two comedies: Little Grimley presents Strictly Sex Factor (on ice) by David Tristram and The Luvvies by Lynn Brittney.

Performance dates are Thursday, 25th and Friday, 26th June, 2015, at St Mark’s Church Centre, Alma Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 0DA.  Doors open at 7.30pm for 8.00pm start.  Tickets cost £14 to include a fish and chip supper or £9 for a non-food ticket.  Box office 01737 764 504 (Val Haddon).

Sutton Amateur Dramatic Club

www.sadc.co.uk

More information next time.

 West Horsley Independent Players (WHIPS)

Website: www.horsleyamdram.org

Autumn audition

The autumn production will be We’ll Always Have Paris by Jill Hyem, a reunion in Paris of three school friends now in their sixties.  More information next time.

Woodmansterne Operatic and Dramatic Society (WODS) and Junior WODS

www.wods.org.uk

More information next time.

Murder In Play by Simon Brett

The first production of the Gage’s 65th year was a resounding success. Congratulations to the cast, crew and Leslie Parker’s excellent directorship.

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Boris Smolensky’s budget repertory production of Murder at Priorswell Manor is looking decidedly shaky, being mostly held together by long-suffering stage manager Pat.  The cast, and the director, are more interested in their egos than in the play, and life imitates art when Boris’s wife, Renee, is murdered on stage.  So whodunnit?  Could it be dimwit Ginette, Boris’s current mistress?  Or Ginette’s ex-boyfriend Tim?  Or professional jealousy from Christa or Sophie?  And is Boris completely guiltless?  This play within a play provides bewildering clues, hilarious gaffes from the inept actors and red herrings galore to keep the audience guessing right till the end.  Simon Brett is well known for his radio plays, his Charles Paris series of theatrical thriller novels, and his crime series of Fethering mystery novels, so to have a stage play by him is a treat.

Murder in play poster copy-page-001

The Gage Players’ Newsletter January 2015

Welcome to the New Year.

It’s now 2 months since “Our Man in Havana”, which was a great production to be involved with, and from the feedback that we have received, it went down very well with the audiences as well. Many thanks go to everyone involved as always, but especially to our director Gill Lucas, whose vision it was.

Christmas dinner at “The Grumpy Mole” in Tadworth went down very well again this year. If you missed it, then you really missed out and we hope you can join us next year.

April’s production will be “Murder in Play” by Simon Brett, which will be directed by Lesley Crowther-Smith. Auditions will be held very shortly on Wednesday 4th and Monday 9th February. The play itself is a contemporary Mystery/Comedy/Thriller and looks like it will be as much fun to be in as to watch.

Later in the year, we a thinking of organising a trip to the close up show at the Epsom playhouse, an evening of close up magic performed by 3 magicians. Dates are not available yet but it will probably be planned for some time between June and August.

We are always on the lookout for people to help, whether it is behind the scenes, front of house or on stage. If you can spare an evening on any of the performance dates to help with tickets or refreshments, please contact Beryl White on 01737 217565 or by email on ber.white@ukgateway.net

To help with set construction, please contact David Wilson by email david.j.s.wilson@btinternet.com

If you are interested in helping and/or learning about lighting and sound, then Rod Lucas is your man and he can be contacted on 01737 812703 or by email heather.view@virginmedia.com

 

PUBLIC FORUM

As we are passionate about local, affordable theatre, we have set up this newsletter feature showing information about shows by some other amdram groups in our area – with their agreement, of course, and we expect others to join in later.  There will also be web links on the Gage Players’ website.

 

The Chipstead Players

www.chipsteadplayers.org

In February 2015 we shall be performing Wife after Death by Eric Chappell.

More information online.

  

The Gage Players

www.thegageplayers.co.uk; member of BRBAC

Our spring production will be Murder in Play by Simon Brett. Dates are: 23rd to 25th April 2015.  An auditions are Monday 4th and Wednesday 9th February.

 

Gatton Community Theatre

www.gattoncommunitytheatre.org.uk

GCT operates as a fully inclusive organisation – anyone who would kike to take part may join the cast or crew regardless of experience or age, although children must be over the age of eight, as all the performances are in the evening.  There is no membership or production fee.

 

We are looking for adults and children to take part in an open-air promenade production of Pippa’s Progress: a Pilgrim’s Journey to Heaven.  This is an adaptation by Anna Thompson from the book by Simon Parke, updating John Bunyan’s classic A Pilgrim’s Progress. This moving an modern-day story of Pippa, a 21st-century pilgrim on a journey to heaven, but this time through the trials and temptations of our secularised, multi-cultural society.  Pippa’s challenges along the way include the Rock of Subconscious, the Cliff of Hopelessness Headspin’s Hallucinatory Mental Circus, the Garden of Sadness, the City ofSocialmeja, the Fabulous Fame Game, the Sea of Identity and, of course, Heaven – all brought to life in true GCT style in the dramatic setting of Gatton Park.

If you would like to join us on this journey, whether as an actor or backstage help in any way, come along to our drama workshops at Gatton Hall on Saturday, 21st and Sunday, 22nd March, 2015 at 2.30pm.  There are no formal auditions.

 

There will be nine performances during the weeks of 13th to 26th July, with further information on them, and ticket prices, to follow.

 

The Heath Players

www.heathplayers.co.uk

Our next performances will be on 26th and 27th March, 2015 – production details to follow soon.

 

Kingswood Amateur Drama and Dance Association (KADDS)

www.kingswoodvillage.org/kvca-amateur-drama-dance/

Our February 2015 production will be two one-act plays: Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations with a young cast; and Hands Across the Sea with an adult cast, produced/directed by Eileen Hannah and Jill Gunn.  Performance dates will be 19th, 20th and 21st February, 2015.

 

Merstham Amateur Dramatic Society (MADS)

www.mersthamdrama.org.uk

On 6th March, 2015 at Merstham Village Hall we shall be performing Intruder by Barry Lambert and What Shall We Do With The Body? by Rae Shirley, both directed by Barry Lambert.

 

Information on ticket prices, performance time and contact details will follow.

 

Mirror Image Theatre Company

www.mirror-image.org.uk

Our spring play will be September in the Rain by John Godber, directed by Sheila Carr, at The Meyers Studio, Epsom Playhouse from 18th to 21st March, 2015.

 

This heart-warming comedy tells the story of Jack and Liz (played by Chris Butler and Sara Watkins), as they recall their annual holidays in Blackpool, from their first trip as newlyweds to their final visit in old age.  Come and share their memories, filled with tears and laughter, in a golden age of donkey rides, talent contests, ice creams, rolled-up trouser legs and stripey deck chairs along the wet and windy promenades during September in the rain.

 

Tickets available on line from www.epsomplayhouse.co.uk or from the Playhouse box office on 01372 742 555.

 

The Oxted Players

www.oxtedplayers.co.uk

www.barntheatreoxted.co.uk

The Oxted Players are affiliated to NODA and are members of BRBAC.

 

In January we are performing Babes in the Wood at the Barn Theatre, directed by Chris Bassett with music from Jamie Cordell and choreography by Aimee Marie Bow; playdates 9th – 17th January.

 

With their parents away at the Crusades, Jack and Jill must rely on their uncle, Sir Guy of Gisbourne, to look after them.  But Sir Guy is more interested in the children’s money.  Protecting Jack and Jill from their wicked uncle and getting them home safely is obviously a job for a hero, but the only local hero has not been seen for many years.  If they can find him, will Jack and Jill be able to persuade Robin Hood and his Merry Men to come out of retirement for one last adventure?

 

Matinees are full but tickets are still available for 7.30pm evening performances except 10th, 12th and 13th.  Tickets are £8 children, £10 adults, available on 01883 724 852 for cheque/cash payments or book online at www.oxtedplayers.co.uk or www.barntheatreoxted.co.uk for all card payments (a booking fee will apply).

  

Polesden Lacey Shakespeare

www.polesdenlaceyshakespeare.co.uk

Our summer 2015 production will be Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Helen Hardwick.

 

Auditions will be held on Sunday, 11th and Sunday, 18th January from 2.00 to 5.00pm at Follett Hall, Behind the United Reformed Church in West Street, Dorking, Surrey RH4 1BS (the entrance is on Church Street).  For more information, please email: communicando@hotmail.com

 

St Marks Players

www.stmarksplayers.co.uk

More information next time.

 

Sutton Amateur Dramatic Club

www.sadc.co.uk

More information next time.

 

West Horsley Independent Players (WHIPS)

Website: www.horsleyamdram.org

More information next time.

 

Woodmansterne Operatic and Dramatic Society (WODS) and Junior WODS

www.wods.org.uk

More information next time.

 

 

Our man in Havana in pictures

This was a sell-out production, and we’re planning great things again for our 65th anniversary year in 2015.

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Jim Wormold, an under-employed vacuum cleaner salesman living in 1950s Cuba, is struggling to pay for his teenage daughter’s increasingly extravagant lifestyle.  So when the British Secret Service asks him to become their ‘man in Havana’ he can’t afford to say no.  There’s just one problem . . . he doesn’t know anything!  To avoid suspicion, he begins to recruit non-existent sub-agents, concocting a series of intricate fictions about them.  But he soon discovers that his stories are closer to the truth than he could ever have imagined . . . in a darkly comic tale, how will ‘our man’ come out on top?

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The Gage Players’ Newsletter June 2014

Firstly, thank you to all who came to see our Spring presentation, “Yes, Prime Minister”. We were starting to wonder if there would be an audience at one point, but it was very well attended in the end.

Thanks go to David Wilson in his first role as director and all the cast. I would like to make a special mention of Yasmine (‘Yaz’) Nixon, who stepped in to take the place of Sharon Laws who was taken ill a week before the performance.  She did a great job. I would also like to send Sharon our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I would like to have been able to put a review into the newsletter, but as I am usually a member of the cast, it is rather difficult for me to write. If anyone else would like to submit reviews of our future productions, then please feel free to do so and send me a copy for inclusion in the newsletter, on our website and on our Facebook page .

I am told that our murder mystery evening went off very well indeed. Thank you to Pip Rolls for organising the event and to all of you who helped as actors and with the preparation and clear up.

July is starting to look a little busy. There are auditions for both our November play “Our Man in Havana” as well as our September rehearsed, performed play reading.

Auditions for the September rehearsed reading with supper, Pastiche by Nick Hall, directed by Christopher Slater will be 16th and 28th July at Chris’s home. If you are interested in attending, please contact Chris directly on 01372454963 or by email christopherslater@ntlworld.com.

Rehearsals will be on 25th and 27th August at Chris’s home and on 1st and 3rd September, 8pm at Christchurch Hall, Walton on the Hill.

The performance itself will be 6th September, 8pm, Riddell Hall, Walton on the Hill.

To book your ticket for the event, please call the usual ticket office number 01737812703 or by email friends@thegageplayers.co.uk.

Auditions for the November play, Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene, adapted by Clive Francis and directed by Gill Lucas will be held on 9th and 14th July, 8pm at Christchurch Hall, Walton on the Hill.

Rehearsals will be on Mondays and Wednesdays as usual, at 8pm in Christchurch Hall, starting from 8th September.

The Performances will be 28th, 29th and 30th November.

On Sunday, July 13th, Jon and Sharon Laws will be hosting a Gage Barbeque at their home in Tolworth. The price is just £5 which will include hot dog, burger and salads. Please feel free to bring along anything else that you might like to stick on the BBQ as well as a bottle or two. If you would like to come along, please call the usual ticket office number 01737812703 or by email friends@thegageplayers.co.uk

Click here for a map to Sharon and Jon’s

 

Murder at the Fair

MURDER AT THE FAIR

A dastardly murder was performed at Riddell Hall on 7th June by The Gage Players. The tragic death was re-enacted, private letters and pertinent newspaper articles were made available and an eccentric detective was seeking your help.

The jam, sold by Middy the French wife of ne’er do well Sam, is spiked and the local toff is killed.  Was it Sam trying to get money, or his wife who can’t keep away from the bottle, or someone else?  What exactly did happen on that bicycling holiday in France all those years ago?

 

Yes, Prime Minister – Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn

The Gage Players put on a successful production of Yes, Prime Minister in the spring of 2014. A brief synopsis follows, as well as some photos.

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As the play opens, in the Prime Minister’s study at Chequers, Humphrey and Bernard are scheming. It’s been a rough day for P. M. with the “government in crisis.” The economy is suffering, jobs are at an all-time low, debt is high, and it is all his fault. The way out Humphrey tells the P. M. is with the Kumranistanis who will loan 10 trillion dollars for an agreement to buy their oil. But joining the Euro is part of the deal and the P. M. will not agree. Humphrey has leaked the deal and his bank is buying up Euros. To counter and do damage control the P. M. threatens Humphrey with Civil Service Reform. Egad, there goes the home in Province.

Meanwhile a Kumranistani official has a request that threatens to topple the deal. Seems he wants sex with an underage schoolgirl or the deal is off. Procuring women for sex is against the law. Sutton sizes up the issue. “Better for one girl to get screwed than the whole European economy.” Will they procure a prostitute? Will the deal be on? The climax is brought about with a bolt of lightning and a thunderclap with such real sound effects and a downpour of steady rain. The P. M. is sure it is God speaking to him!

 

 

Semi-Detached – David Turner

In November 2013, the Gage Players put on a successful production of this comedy by David Turner, directed by Gill Lucas.

The play itself concerns Fred Midway, a pillar of society and a model citizen. One Sunday his house is threatened with disaster when the love-lives of his three children come to an unfortunate and simultaneous crisis. Eileen’s boyfriend turns out to be a married man. Avril wants to divorce her husband. Tom is about to father a contraband baby. Something must be done about all this and only Fred has the necessary low cunning to do it.

 

 

The Gage Players

THE GAGE PLAYERS

ENTERTAINING THE TADWORTH AND WALTON COMMUNITY SINCE 1950

The Gage

Our theatre venue

Early days –the 1950s and 1960s

The 1970s and 1980s highlights

The 1990s and the Noughties

Up to the present day

We like to challenge ourselves . . .

On the social side . . .

Our charitable work

The unsung heroes

And into the future

 

 

The Gage

The Gage Players?  So – what’s in the name?  You could say that sexual equality is at the root of it all!  In 1950 the local Women’s Institute, with their usual radical fervour, got into all sorts of trouble when they dared to cast MEN into the men’s parts of a play production they entered for a competition!  It was none-so-tactfully suggested that these reforming spirits might like to set up a separate amateur drama group in Walton on the Hill, and then were told: ‘You’ll never succeed – there’s not room for two drama groups in the same area.’  

That was the challenge – the gage, or gauntlet, had been thrown down – and that gage has remained our symbol ever since.  All these years later, here we still are, putting on shows three times a year. We’re very proud of our roll of past productions listing plays, authors and directors, which takes centre stage on our website home page, and proud of our reviews, too.

Our theatre venue, The Riddell Hall, Dean’s Lane, Walton on the Hill

In 1911 the late Lord Riddell transformed a gravel pit into a drill hall for the Territorial Army, complete with miniature rifle range and a Mess, which later became Walton’s Men’s Social Club.  The hall was used for training during The Great War but on Lord Riddell’s death it was put up for sale – and then generously offered by Lady Riddell to the village as a memorial to her husband.

Local fundraising ensured that the hall could be restored for public use, and it was officially opened in October 1936.  However, it was taken over by the War Office in 1940 and used by the Canadian Army troops until 1946. Once again the hall had to be restored – a teak floor was laid in 1940, a new boiler installed, kitchen and stage facilities improved and a false ceiling introduced to aid acoustics – and The Young Vic Company performed here in 1950 to celebrate the fact.  Aspects of the hall are upgraded regularly, and many local clubs, organisations and private hirings make use of it for daytime and evening events.

Early days – the 1950s and 1960s

In our first years it was not common for everyone to have television for entertainment or to think of travelling up to London to a play.  So from the start we aimed to give our audiences the opportunity to see a wide range of productions – classic plays, whodunnits, thrillers, comedies, even musicals – we do them all.

Our first review for our first production in 1950, The Chiltern Hundreds by William Douglas Home was uplifting, to say the least: ‘The Riddell Hall was filled to capacity.  Encouraged by a receptive audience, the cast, some of whom were making their first stage appearance, gave a performance which fully justified the entry of these newcomers to the field of amateur theatricals.’

In our first two decades, our productions included:

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare (‘The most spectacular success achieved by this comparatively young society in the post-war years of its happy existence . . . a production of almost professional level in presentation and performance.’);  The Chalk Garden by Edith Bagnold; She Stoops to Conquer, by Oliver Goldsmith (‘achieved just the light, scintillating touch needed . . . an enjoyable and fast-moving production.’); Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie; Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier; Separate Tables by Terence Rattigan; and Hay Fever by Noel Coward

The 1970s and 1980s highlights

Boeing-Boeing by Marc Camelotti (, . . nothing but high praise can be meted out for the polished end-product . . . The Gage may well be proud of this outstanding production.’); How the Other Half Loves by Alan Ayckbourn; Dracula by Ken Hill (‘The cast really sank their teeth into the parts they played . . . superb lighting and sound effects . . . the whole thing was splendidly done.’); The Beaux’ Stratagem by George Farquhar; The Diary of Anne Frank, dramatised by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (‘The Gage Players performed with such powerful immediacy . . .  People come from long distances to see The Gage Players, and for this they were well rewarded.’); Sweeney Todd by Brian J. Burton; The Odd Couple by Neil Simon (‘The Gage . . .presented a powerful production with forceful, well-rounded and marvellously funny performances.’); A Murder has been Announced by Agatha Christie; An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley; Cabaret by Christopher Isherwood; Habeus Corpus by Alan Bennett; Trelawny of the Wells by Arthur Pinero; Pack of Lies by Hugh Whitemore; and A Chorus of Disapproval by Alan Ayckbourne.

The 1990s and the Noughties

1990 was our Ruby Anniversary and that year we celebrated with, among other things, The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Ken Hill; The Slipper and the Rose adapted by Pip Burley; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; and Vanity Fair by William Thackeray, adapted by Constance Cox; Dangerous Obsession by N. J. Crisp.  From 2000, our Gold Anniversary, the next decade included Dear Octopus by Dodie Smith; The Hollow by Agatha Christie; A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, dramatised by John Mortimer (with The Heath Players) – ‘All the ingredients for success – and full houses proved it was . . . a brilliant production.’; Daisy Pulls It Off by Denise Deegan; The Railway Children by E. Nesbitt; Toad of Toad Hall (with the Heath Players), 2006: ‘ . . . gave young members the chance to show their stagecraft . . .’

Up to the present day

2010 was our Diamond Anniversary, and we produced two winners that year: The Weekend by Michael Palin and Come on, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton.  Then we went on include The Titfield Thunderbolt by Philip Goulding; The Drunkard by Brian J. Burton (with The Heath Players); Dangerous Corner by J. B. Priestley; Yes, Prime Minister by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn;  Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene; The Teahouse of the August Moon by John Patrick and Vern Sneider (in which we famously cast a dog, and had people turning up on the night for tickets asking ‘Is this the play with the dog in it?’); Murder in Play by Simon Brett (‘The cast interplayed with one another exceptionally well, a true ensemble, and the effects and pace of the play were admirable . . . the audience clearly relished the fun, and the buzz in the interval and at the end of the evening showed how much they had got into the spirit of the occasion.’); Bedroom Farce by Alan Acykbourn; and Over My Dead Body by Derek Benfield.

More recently, our hits include A Touch of Danger by Francis Durbridge; Waiting for the Train by Pip Rolls; Vintage Hitchcock: a live radio play by Joe Landry (‘. . . an interesting and innovative production that includes three classic stories from Hitchcock films . . . I would have to rate this as one of the slickest productions I have seen from the Gage’); and Ladies Who Lunch by Tudor Gates.

We like to challenge ourselves . . .

Over the years we’ve supported numerous theatre festivals, with all the extra commitment that involves for casts and crews.  So we’ve supported the Tadworth and District Arts Festival, the British Drama League Festival, the National Festival of Community Theatre, the Banstead Arts Festival, and done rather well at some others:

At the 1954 Betchworth Drama Festival, The Gage won the Festival cup for Barbara’s Wedding Day by J. M Barrie, and in 1988 won the Committee’s Cup for stage presentation (The Pool by the Dragon Gate by E. G. Andrews).  And in the 1991 All-England Theatre Festival, Robin Sebastian Hunter, in our production of Come into the Garden, Maud by Noel Coward, won Best Supporting Actor.    Robin has gone on to make a successful career in theatre, television and radio.

On the social side . . .

Theatre people are sociable people, and we like to enjoy ourselves off the stage as well.   So we have a range of things to appeal to one and all – it could be a murder mystery evening, a Mid-Summer Day lunch, a pub quiz night, taking part in the Walton May Pageant, a rehearsed play reading with supper, or a Twelfth Night Supper – at which Gage members, their family and friends are all welcome.  So when you see something you fancy joining in with on our website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – just contact us.

Our charitable work

As well as regularly contributing the upgrading of The Riddell Hall, The Gage has given donations to organisations like the local air ambulance service, and our production of The Drunkard in 2011 enabled us to donate £1,500 to Help for Heroes.

In September 2016 we launched The Gage Invitational Trophy, a charity quiz championship held between a local grouping of a dozen amateur drama societies, known as The Public Forum (which we also started up).  The Forum helps to publicise each other’s events, enlarge our audiences and even share actors from time to time.

Gatton Community Theatre were the 2016 trophy winners, and together the groups’ teams raised £150.00 for our chosen charity, The Invictus Games Choir.  Gatton held the trophy until 2018, when it was won by St Mark’s Players of Reigate and a cheque for £230 was sent to Combat Stress. St Mark’s Players will host the next quiz competition in 2020 – watch our website for updates.  If you want to join the quiz but don’t belong to one of the drama groups, don’t worry – just get in touch with the contact person to see about fielding a team, or joining one.

The unsung heroes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that you cannot put on a great show without a great crew of backstagers, the people who do sets, lighting, sound, wardrobe, makeup, props and ‘front of house’ – oh, and make the tea at rehearsals, of course!  We hold three open auditions each year, not just for actors and actresses but for people who’d like to learn and try out new skills, or offer existing ones, to help each production work – see our website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for details through the year, and get in touch.

And into the future

Just think how far technology has changed entertainment options since we started in 1950; these days you can watch what you choose more or less when and where you like on any number of platforms.  

BUT – actually being at live entertainment gives a buzz like nothing else, so come and enjoy the fun of living theatre for two or three evenings a year!  Not too much to ask, we hope, to help keep The Gage Players on-stage in your community. We look forward to welcoming you.

Our Spring 2019 play is the thriller Curtain up on Murder by Bettine Manktelow, playing on 2nd, 3rd and 4th May at 8pm.  Tickets £10, box office 01737 812 703, doors and bars open at 7.30pm.

 

 

 

This is the Riddell Memorial Hall, there is no real car park so please park in the streets paying respect to the neighbours drives and cars.
This is the Riddell Memorial Hall, there is no real car park so please park in the streets paying respect to the neighbours drives and cars.