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Newsletter – March 2024

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a good Easter and managed to dodge the showers. For this newsletter I am going to focus on our spring activities.

Key updates

The AGM on the 27th of March went well and the Minutes will be due out shortly.  I was delighted to be officially nominated and voted in as Chair of the Gage committee for 2024 – thank you!

Volunteer Vacancy – Is there anyone who would like to take on the role of Secretary? The Gage is in urgent need of someone with office experience and an interest in the theatre to take the minutes of the committee meetings (held via Zoom), and to help with other administrative tasks.  If this interests you or any of your friends, please email 

Annual Subscriptions – It is also the time of year for annual membership subscriptions.

Annual Subscriptions are £20 for adults and £10 for under 16s.

Payments can be made directly to the The Gage bank account:

Bank: Barclays

Account Name: The Gage Players

Sort Code: 20-29-90

Account Number: 00396907

As a reference, please use your surname followed by your first initial. (e.g SMITHJ)

If you do not have internet banking, you can make your payment directly at a bank or please send a cheque made payable to “The Gage Players”, to the address below.

Key dates


Lesley Crowther-Smith is directing our production of The Nightingales by Peter Quilter.   Performances will be at 8pm on 25, 26, 27 April 2024 at the Riddell Hall, Walton on theHill. Tickets will be £12.50 from the box office  or phone 01737 812703.

Please make a note of the dates to see our brilliant cast of actors perform this funny and at times touching comedy. It presents two generations of The Nightingales, an eccentric performing family in the 1950s, who appear to have more drama at home than during any show!

Front of House – Beryl will be wanting as much help as possible, so any volunteers will be very welcome to help – bar, raffle, programmes, and coffee/teas, etc. 

Set Construction – Martin will also need help to put up and dismantle the set.

To help for either or both of above roles please contact


The Gage will be manning a bottle tombola stall at the Walton May Pageant held on Saturday 18th. May. Please save and donate a bottle (s) – the more money we make the more wonderful productions we can put on. To give everyone plenty of time to collect all kinds of bottles,delivery dates for bottles will be given at the next newsletter.

I haven’t forgotten our informal Poetry and Prose evening – the next one will be held on 22nd May and If you would like to be with us, please contact us at for the link to join our Zoom get together.                                                                        

Spring Dates for your diary

  • The Nightingales by Peter Quilter – at 8pm on 25th, 26th and 27th April at the Riddell Hall
  • The Walton May Pageant on Saturday, 18th May
  • Poetry & Prose evening, 8pm via Zoom on Wednesday 22nd May

We look forward to seeing you at one or more of the above events.

Best wishes,


Chair, Gage Committee

MINUTES OF THE 71st (73rd year) ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE GAGEPLAYERS, held at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 21st March, 2023 via Zoom.

1.  Present 

Gay Weeden (in the chair) and 12 members of the company

2.  Apologies for absence

Received from Clare Smyl, Lorraine Wheeler-Smith, Eileen Debski, Lars Sawyer.

3.  Minutes of the 2022 AGM

The minutes of the 2022 AGM minutes were accepted as a correct record.

4.  Matters arising

There were no matters arising.

5.  Chairman’s report

Gay Weeden read out her report for the year: 

Good evening and welcome to the 2023 Annual General Meeting of The Gage Players.

Since our last AGM we have had an optimistic, more fulfilling year.  Covid had altered our way of performing and taken its toll on our finances, but it hadn’t dampened our enthusiasm to keep acting and entertaining our audiences.  The informal Zoom poetry evenings had continued to keep us connected.  Readings, poems and short plays were fun to perform via Zoom and those popular evenings will be resumed after our Spring 2023 production.  So do join us by contacting  for the link.  The April newsletter will give you the date for our next Zoom poetry etc get-together.

A popular local event in May 2022 was Walton May Pageant, at which we manned a busy Gage Players bottle/tombola stall.  We were grateful for generous donations of all kinds of bottles, which made an impressive display and brought queues of customers eager to win a bottle.  We made a good profit and this May we will have a similar stall but hope to raise an even larger amount of money for our funds.

We were thrilled to receive a £450 donation to our funds from the Pageant Committee, for which we are very grateful.  Also, we thank Tadworth and Walton Residents Association for their contribution of £300 to help cover the cost of our annual insurance.  We so appreciate these donations, as with amounts like these we are able to afford to go ahead with our full-length production in April – our first since before lockdown over two years ago.  A big thank you for the difference these donations have made. 

In September 2022 we presented two rehearsed play readings with a ‘bring your own picnic supper’ beforehand.  These informal and sociable evenings are always enjoyed by our audience of family and friends, and these two very different plays were no exception.  The first, Playgoers, a comedy by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, was set before the First World War and directed by Chris Slater.  The second, Under Milk Wood, by Dylan Thomas, was originally performed as a radio play in America, and Pip Rolls directed his own abridged adaptation in the same way.

In December 2002 a performance of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted and directed by Pip Rolls, really put us into the Christmas spirit.  This was enjoyed by the audience, cast and crew, though the latter had their work cut out for them to manage the challenging set changes and effects – which they did very successfully, I may add!

Congratulations go to Chris Slater, a stalwart director and actor with The Gage – and also a talented musician, conductor, organist and choir-master – who in December celebrated his 90th birthday.  In May 2022 Chris had performed a Gala organ recital as part of his celebrations at St Peter’s Church in Walton on the Hill and also conducted another concert there in August. 

We were keen to start rehearsals of our Spring production, Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders written by Derek Webb and directed by Lesley Crowther-Smith, and were pleased to be able to use the hall at Walton Primary School again.  It had been hoped to hold a matinée Pop-up Poetry competition and stage presentation with the children of the school this year, but that is on hold for now.  Instead, Lesley Crowther-Smith, our director and an author of children’s books, spent time working with the school’s children for World Book Day earlier in March, introducing drama activities based on traditional fairy tales, and including stories from her own books.  The children enjoyed working on their performing skills, and the event was a good link to The Gage Players.  Who knows, it may even have encouraged future actors to star in our plays!

Is there anyone who would take on the role of SECRETARY with The Gage?  Gill Gibbins is standing down at the end of this March after many years of dedicated support.  Please help us!

I would like to thank the Gage committee for all the unseen hard work that continues in the background to keep The Gage running smoothly, and for their enthusiasm now in supporting everyone to produce this full-length play – at long last!   Remember, Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders at 8pm on 27th, 28th and 29th April 2023 at the Riddell Hall in Walton on the Hill.  I look forward to seeing you all there!

6.  Treasurer’s report

Rod Lucas’s financial account report had been sent out to the committee prior to the AGM. He reported that it had been a reasonable year, with the help of some donations as noted in the Chair’s report and some programme adverts paid in advance for the Spring production. The current bank balance is £3191.00.

6.1 Payment of subscriptions

Subscriptions to remain at £20.00 for adult members and £10.00 for juniors.  Notification of subs due will go in the next Chair’s newsletter and include note that donations would be gratefully accepted. Payments can be made by cash, bank transfer or cheque to the Gage bank account as below.

Bank details:-
Account name ‘The Gage Players’
Sort code 20-29-90
Account number 00396907’

The accounts were accepted by all present.

6.2 Payment for cast copies of Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders by Derek Webb

To date. 5 copies purchased by The Gage have been paid for by cast members.  The director, Lesley Crowther-Smith, also bought some copies.  Lesley should remind the cast that the scripts need to be paid for and let them know if it is her or the Gage that should be reimbursed.

7.  Election of officers

Gay Weeden was re-elected as chair.  Proposed by Gill Gibbins and seconded by Chris Slater.

Rod Lucas was re-elected as Treasurer.  Proposed by Chris Slater and seconded by Martin Saul.

Gill Gibbins stepped down from her role as Secretary and a new one is yet to be found.  Thanks were given to Debbie Nichols for stepping in to take the minutes for the last few meetings as Gill was unable to do so.

Gay said that there were not enough words to thank Gill Gibbins for all her work as Secretary and support.  She and all present agreed and are pleased that Gill will still remain on the committee.

8.  Election of committee

The current membership of the committee were all willing to serve another term, and were re-elected unanimously en bloc by those present.

The committee comprises Gay Weeden as chairman, Gill Gibbins, Jon Laws, Gill Lucas, Rod Lucas, Martin Saul, Lars Sawyer, Clare Smyl and Beryl White.  There is also an effective (unelected) sub-committee comprising Eileen Debski, Pip Rolls, Chris Slater and Lorraine Wheeler-Smith.

9.  Election of auditor

Rod Lucas reported that Paul Spooner is no longer able to continue in his role as auditor.  Rod mentioned that we do not technically require an auditor – just someone to check everything is all in place and accounted for.  Debbie Nichols said she was willing to do this.

10.  Forward planning

10.1  Rehearsed readings with supper, 16th September 2023

Two short plays will be performed.  Chris Slater will direct one, though he is not happy with those he has read so far.  He thinks Separate Tables has too complicated a set for the backstage crew to get together for a one act play.  Gill Lucas said she will look out for another one-act comedy.

The second play will be written and directed by Pip Rolls.  It will be a short play based on evolution.

10.2  November 2023 play : 3rd, 24th, 25th

This will be Molly’s Calling.  Pip Rolls has been contacting those previously cast and others to replace those unable to resurrect their roles in this play and it looks to be fully cast now.  The cast will start rehearsals without Pip as a majority have already rehearsed this play to performance level twice so can help and direct the rest of the cast.  Pip will join at a later stage to advise and assist. 

10.3 Possible rehearsed readings with supper in February 2024

Plays to be selected and directors to be found for this event to go ahead.

10.4 April 2024 play: 25th, 26th, 27th.

The Nightingales or Death and the Maiden have been suggested but not agreed on or confirmed yet.

10.5 Rehearsed readings with supper 14th or 21st September 2024 an November play 2024 21st, 22nd, 23rd

No suggestions have been put forward for either of these events.

11.  Any other business

Rod reported that Martin Saul had done a lot of research regarding getting card readers for The Gage Platers to be used on show nights.  It was suggested that 3 readers might be required to run a show though Beryl White mentioned that would mean training up all of the individual volunteers we get across the run of a show on how to use the card reader.  Transaction charges and how the readers could be used, such as using mobile phones, all need to be considered before we come to a decision.

Chris Slater asked if we would be doing anything for the Coronation as a company.  Several suggestions were put forward including offers of bunting or playing God Save The King after the last performance of the Spring Production.  However it was decided that it was probably too soon after the Spring production for anyone to have the time or energy to organise anything.

Clare Smyl has sent the proof for the Spring show programme to Rod and Beryl to check.

There was no other business and the meeting was closed at 8.43pm with thanks from Gay Weeden to all for coming.

The Nightingales – April 2024

A comedy in 2 acts by Peter Quilter

It is the 1950s and this charming comedy introduces the Nightingales, members of a theatrical family who perform more at home than they do on the stage. Jack is a cabaret star, as in love with his piano as he is with his silk dressing gowns. His parents, Charlie and Beatrice, are old Music Hall stars, full of hilarious tales of life on the road. Maggie performs with Jack in the evenings and regularly visits his house to rehearse, drink tea, and tell the sorry tale of her latest romantic disaster. If only she and Jack realized that their true love was right in front of them. The sudden arrival of Charlie and Beatrice, asking to stay with Jack for a few days, throws his and Maggie’s lives into chaos. They promise to be gone by Christmas, but this provides little comfort given that it is only January 7th!
Jack’s housekeeper Geraldine copes masterfully with the ensuing disruption, but then Beatrice unexpectedly disappears. It seems that this was not a simple visit, but an opportunity for her to leave Charlie and run off to another liaison in France. The question is, will anyone find their true love? Are there such things as happy endings? And what do performers do once the spotlight goes out? This is a very funny, touching showbusiness comedy, bursting with one-liners and lovable characters.

Newsletter – February 2024

We are still at the beginning of February so still early enough to wish you all a Happy New Year!
For those of you who have not met me, I am Bernie Kemble, the new Chair of the Gage Players.  I used to be a member of the Gage many years ago and had the privilege to work with some of our present members, Gillie, Rod and Sharon and a wonderful person who is no longer with us, the legendary Margaret Hunter, who I know many will remember with immense pride.  When I returned to the Gage last year it was like walking through familiar doors, and I’m so glad to be back to what I call home.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Gay, whose emphatic qualities have not only shone but have provided me with a perfect role model of what the Chair should be and will be a hard act to follow.

As the new Chair I held my first committee meeting of the year and received such a kind, supportive and warm welcome – thank you!

Looking to 2024
Let’s now embark on our 2024 journey and begin some new adventures. We welcomed the New Year in with a sparkling Poetry and Prose evening spoken with love, passion and a twinkle in the eye. I do recommend coming along to the next one, which is set for Thursday 22nd February at 8pm. If you have a limerick or two that you have either found or written yourselves, please bring them along. Everyone is welcome whether reading, reciting or just sitting back and enjoying listening.  I enjoy the listening role but even if you do recite, they are both achieved in the comfort of your home – sheer bliss and it certainly beats telly!

If you would like to join, please contact us at for the link to join our Zoom get together.

The Twelfth Night meal took place on 3rd February.  The lunch was superbly organised by Jon and held at the Kingswood Arms for a thespian crowd of 17 with good food, sociable company and was a resounding success. There was so much chat and laughter that some of us didn’t leave until gone 3.30pm! 

Key Updates
We now come to some serious business; the AGM Meeting at 7.30pm on Wednesday 27th March at Walton school. For the first time since the Covid days we are holding an in-person meeting this year rather than online via Zoom. The meeting will precede rehearsals and if we start promptly at 7.30pm should last not more than half an hour.

Volunteer Vacancy
We do have a vacancy for secretary – a marvellous opportunity to meet great thespian people and learn new skills.  Duties include helping the Chair produce the newsletter, preparing the meeting agendas, taking minutes on Zoom meetings, helping with events and booking rehearsal and performance halls. If this interests you or any of your friends, please email 

Key dates
The April production has had a change of director as Chris has had to withdraw, but hopefully as the evenings become lighter, he will once again be back.
We have been fortunate that Lesley Crowther-Smith, who directed the recent production of Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders by Derek Webb, is available to bring her talents and expertise to direct our production of The Nightingales by Peter Quilter on 25th, 26th & 27th April.  For further information and bookings please email  
Please make a note of the dates to see our brilliant cast of actors perform this funny and at times touching comedy. It presents two generations of The Nightingales, an eccentric performing family in the 1950s, who appear to have more drama at home than during any show. 

It’s lovely to look ahead to May when the Gage will be manning a bottle tombola at the Walton May Pageant held on Saturday 18th May. So please save and donate a bottle(s)  – the more money we make the more wonderful productions we can put on.  Due to popular demand, we will be also having the guessing game to know how many sweeties are in the jar.

We have now confirmed Saturday 14th September for an evening of rehearsed play readings starting with your own picnic supper and drinks at 7pm, followed by two play readings.  These rehearsed readings are a good chance for anyone who likes to get on stage in a play, but is a bit nervous or shy, or maybe you’re experienced but don’t always fancy learning lines.  I was lucky enough to be directed by Pip Rolls in his premiere production of Evolution and had such a fun time.  We are delighted to announce due to popular demand that he is returning with a new play in his ‘Snapshots of History’ series.  Whilst he is scribbling away, we are busy looking for another play with a similar light theme to complement the evening.  If you know of a good one-act play or one that you’ve written, then drop us an email to

Winter production (dates 28th, 29th & 30th November).  Details have not been finalised – more news later.

Dates for your diary

  • Poetry & Prose evening, 8pm via Zoom on Thursday 22nd February
  • AGM, 7.30m on Wednesday 27th March at Walton School
  • The Nightingales by Peter Quilter – at 8pm on 25th, 26th and 27th April at the Riddell Hall
  • The Walton May Pageant on Saturday, 18th May
  • Saturday 14th September for an evening of rehearsed play readings with supper at 7pm, at the Riddell Hall
  • Winter production 28th,29th and 30th November – play TBC

Getting involved
It’s never too early to ask – as usual there are many jobs to be done on the days of the shows, so we shall need some willing helpers for selling programmes, raffle tickets, serving in the bar and the coffee/tea bar. If you can spare an evening, we will be delighted to hear from you.

We are always on the lookout for people to help behind the scenes especially with set construction.

To help for either or both of above roles please contact
2024 is looking set to be a brilliant year of creativity, community and fun and we look forward to seeing you at one or more of the above events.

Best wishes,


Chair, Gage Committee


Dear Friends and Members,

Season’s Greetings!  Now we have reached the shortest days, we can optimistically look forward to lighter evenings and warmer days.

I have been reflecting on the past twelve months of the Gage, and am very pleased with our achievements.  Our Spring production was Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders, by Derek Webb, directed by Lesley Crowther-Smith.This comedy ‘whodunnit’ kept the everyone guessing until the end and was much enjoyed by both the audience and the cast.  In May the Gage ran a bottle tombola stall at the Walton May Pageant, which raised some very much appreciated funds for us.

We always have a rehearsed play reading in September when we present two short plays.  This year we had two very contrasting pieces – Separate Tables (Table No 2) by Terence Rattigan, directed by Chris Slater; and Evolution, written and directed by Pip Rolls.  The first was a 1950s light drama and the second was a quirky look at how we adapted from ancient times until the present. 

At last our Winter play in November made its debut!  Molly’s Calling, written and directed by Pip Rolls, had been intended to be performed in 2020, but the Covid pandemic and lockdown/s prevented it from going ahead.  For various reasons we waited until this time, and it was a huge success – the second evening performance needed more seating to accommodate the audience queueing at the door for this world premiere!  Everyone loved the unusual theme of the elderly scamming the rich to help the poor!

By popular request we are reinstating our Poetry and Prose Evenings held via Zoom – Wednesday, 10th January at 8pm will be the first.  These evenings were intended to hold the interest and enthusiasm of Gage members and friends during lockdown/s, and they proved a real success, giving us the opportunity to read old favourite poems, snippets from plays or a passage from a book that people had enjoyed.  The variety was amazing and so was the laughter at silly limericks.  If you would like to join in on 10th January, to read or just to listen, please contact us at for the link to join our Zoom get-together.

The Gage is still looking for an administrative secretary, in the first instance to take and type up the minutes of our committee meetings, then circulate them by email, with other more varied things to do as well if you like being involved.  We are a friendly, supportive group who will make you very welcome – theatrical knowledge is not needed, and help will be given to guide you.  We’d love to hear from anyone who thinks they might be interested, so do please contact us on

Our Spring production next year, The Nightingales by Peter Quilter, will be directed by Chris Slater , performing on 25th, 26th and 27th April 2024.  Read-throughs will be held at Chris’s home in Bookham at 8pm on Thursday, 11th, Monday, 15th and Wednesday, 17th January 2024, for a cast of three ladies and two gents.  This laugh-out-loud comedy presents two generations of the Nightingales, a performing family who appear to have more drama at home than during any show!  If you’d like to attend one or more of the read-throughs please contact for Chris’s address, phone number and email address.

We are hoping to hold a late ‘Twelfth Night’ meal for a social get-together – it will be a lunch, possibly on Saturday, 3rd February (a Leap Year month next year).  We’ll confirm date and venue as soon as possible.

Our regular September rehearsed readings event, starting with your own picnic supper and drinks at 7pm, is scheduled for Saturday, 14th September, curtain-up at 8pm.  Pip has offered another of his Snapshots of History, which we are delighted to accept, and are looking out for another short to precede or follow it.  Do you have a favourite one-act or short play to suggest, perhaps one that you would like to direct yourself?  A rehearsed reading is the perfect opportunity to think about having a go at directing, without the extras involved in a main production.   Please contact if you have any suggested plays to offer and/or would like to try out at directing.

Diary dates

Poetry and Prose event, 8pm via Zoom on Wednesday, 10th January 2024.

Read-throughs for the Spring play at 8pm on Thursday, 11th, Monday, 15th and Wednesday, 17th January 2024, in Bookham. 

Spring production, The Nightingales by Peter Quilter on 25th, 26th and 27th April 2024.

Rehearsed play readings with supper on Saturday, 14th September 2024

And, looking well ahead, our Winter production on 28th, 29th and 30th November 2024. 

As I am standing down as chairman, I would like to introduce Bernie Kemble to succeed me.  She is a returning Gage member with much theatrical experience and both I and the Gage committee welcome her for what promises to be an exciting first year in her new role

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a peaceful, healthy New Year.


Gay Weeden, Chairman

Gage Players Committee


Dear Everyone,

Isn’t it wonderful to feel cool? I don’t know of anyone who enjoyed the intense
heat we have had – I even liked the thunder storm and rain at night. Let us see
what changes this week brings.

I’ll begin this newsletter with an appeal for someone to direct our Spring play,
which would be performed at the end of April 2024. We have a list of plays
that we would like to perform and have a large acting membership, but we need
directors. We have selected The Nightingales by Peter Quilter for the Spring
2024 production – set in the 1950s, this charming comedy introduces the
Nightingales, members of a theatrical family, who perform more at home than
they do on stage!

Our backstage team is strong, experienced and supportive. Maybe there is
someone who has their own choice of play that they would like to direct – we
are open to suggestions and would willingly read any play that is put forward by
a director. Please contact and we will be pleased
to hear from you. We would also like to know of a director for our November
2024 production, which may be Death and the Maiden, by Georgina Reid.

What a successful evening we had on Saturday, 16th September, which began
with your picnic supper followed by two very different rehearsed play readings.
Family and friends came to enjoy and support the Gage, and it was a sociable and relaxed evening seated around tables, with time to chat whilst enjoying our
supper. It was good to see new faces among the last cast and we hope to see
them again in future production.

Our first play reading was Table No 2 from Separate Tables by Terence
Rattigan, directed by Chris Slater and produced by Gill Gibbins. Set in the
early 1950s in a shabby genteel hotel, the many characters showed their true
selves as the story unfolded . . . In contrast our second play reading, Evolution,
written and directed by Pip Rolls, was the latest in a series of comic plays which
seek to clarify aspects of history in a nonsensical manner, and certainly gave us
some surprises and ridiculous explanations. It is a very clever play and the
audience were captivated, wondering how it would end – well, there was an
‘off’ switch – so, easy!

The Gage Invitational Trophy Quiz, which was to be held at the end of
September, has had to be postponed, as there were not enough local drama
groups able to form teams to make it a challenging competition. We will aim
for another date in the New Year.

We realise that holding an event on a Bank Holiday Monday was not a good
idea, as our Poetry and Prose Zoom evening was abandoned when only two of
us turned up. We will resume the evenings after Christmas, when more people
are at home from holidays and are looking for no-cost entertainment from their
armchair in the warm.

Very soon rehearsals will begin for Molly’s Calling, written and directed by Pip
Rolls, to be performed on 23rd , 24th and 25th November 2023. After Covid, with
lockdown and various setbacks, it is so exciting to be able finally to put Pip’s
play on stage. This is our fourth attempt to stage this cunning play, which is set
in a retirement home, with its wonderful residents and their mischievous plans
offering help to those in need by taking from those with plenty. The very
believable characters are colourful and endearing. Many of the original cast are
still available to resume their roles after this long wait, and re-casting has been
put in place for those not able to. However, we need a male for a small part –
do contact us if you would like to take on this character role of a window

cleaner/messenger – or perhaps contact Pip

We are still looking for someone who initially will take the minutes at our
committee meetings and type them up to be circulated amongst the Gage
committee, something which could in time evolve in to the role going by the
name of Secretary for the Gage. We are a friendly group who will make you
welcome and would offer you any guidance needed. Please contact

The dates for your diary are for Molly’s Calling by Pip Rolls – Thursday 23rd ,
Friday 24th and Saturday 25th November 2023, 8pm at the Riddell Hall. Our box
office number is 01737 812 703.

Have a good Autumn, everyone.
Best wishes,


Gay Weeden
Chair, Gage Committee


Dear Members and Friends,

I hope you are all well and enjoying a glimpse of Summer during this rainy, inclement season!

In July we had a large gathering at The Duke’s Head in Tadworth for the Gage Summer lunch.  The food and service were excellent, but once seated the space was tight for so many people.  Another time we’ll need a bigger table so that we can move around in order to chat with everyone!

Last week’s Zoom poetry and prose event started off our round of social evenings, and is being followed by a flurry of auditions for our Autumn rehearsed readings.  For anyone who had difficulty in joining our Zoom link, a new link was quickly sent round and we were soon enjoying ourselves with readings from plays and a huge variety of poems.  Another social evening is planned for Bank Holiday Monday, 28th August, at 8pm.  If you’d like to join in, to read or listen, here is our web link to click on and ask for the Zoom link:

Rehearsals will soon be under way for our two rehearsed play readings at 7pm on Saturday, 16th September in the Riddell Hall.  This is always a popular evening when you bring your own picnic supper and choice of drinks to enjoy before the curtain goes up at 8pm.  Because seating is placed around tables, there are fewer places available, so it is advisable to book your seat/s early.
The first play reading, in two scenes, is Separate Tables (Table No 2), a classic by Terrence Rattigan, directed by Chris Slater.  It is set in the early 1950s in a shabby-genteel hotel on England’s south coast and has wonderful characters who have much to tell as the story unfolds . . .

After a coffee and raffle prize interval our second play will be Evolution, written and directed by Pip Rolls.  This is the latest in a series of comic plays in which Pip seeks to clarify aspects of history in a nonsensical manner, and you will be amazed!

We are hoping that the resumption of The Gage Invitational Trophy Quiz will go ahead as planned on Saturday, 30th September, but it seems that more support is needed from other local drama groups and their supporters.  So far only Merstham Amateur Dramatic Society (MADS) has responded, and Christine from the current trophy holders, St Mark’s Players in Reigate, is chasing up other groups to form teams and join in the quiz.  We need at least one other team to make it a real competition and a good social event.  The planned venue is St Katharine’s Church Room, Church Hill, Merstham, Surrey RH1 3BH.  The cost is £5 a head and nibbles are included, but bring your own drinks of choice.  As usual, the event will generate a charitable donation to a local good cause.  A notification will be sent nearer the date to confirm.  Please support the return of our quiz after the prolonged Covid and aftermath interval.

The cast is now complete Molly’s Calling, written and directed by Pip Rolls, and playing at 8pm on 23rd, 24th and 25th November at the Riddell Hall.  I think most of you know that due to lockdown our first attempted production of this had to be cancelled only a week before the first night, the start of years of financial losses for us.   We are so looking forward to seeing it on stage at last.  The play has a clever, intriguing storyline, lovely characters and plenty of laughs, and it really deserves to be seen and enjoyed.

We shall be looking for directors for both our Spring and Winter 2024 productions.  We have several good plays earmarked for one or other season, but if there is someone who wishes to direct their own choice of play, we would be interested to hear from you and to read the play.

This is an important request: we are still looking for a secretary for The Gage.  The person would need to be able to take notes at meetings and type them up for circulation and actions, but no theatrical experience is necessary.  Please, if you think you can help us, contact us to find out more on

Dates for your diary:
Monday, 28th August at 8pm, poetry and prose Zoom; a further date will be set at our committee meeting on 7th September
Saturday, 16th September at 7pm, two rehearsed play readings after supper at the Riddell Hall
Saturday, 30th September at 7.30om, The Gage Invitational Trophy Quiz at St Katharine’s Church Room, Church Hill, Merstham, Surrey RH1 3BH
Thursday 23rd, Friday 24th, Saturday 25th November at 8pm, Molly’s Calling at the Riddell Hall

Best wishes to you all,

Gay Weeden
Chair, Gage Committee

Newsletter – November 2023

Dear Friends and Members,

I hope you are well and have avoided any problems that Storm Ciaran may have brought.  I am relieved that this part of Surrey seems to have come off lightly compared with the terrible flooding on the coast.

I’ll start with the really good news that Molly’s Calling, written and directed by Pip Rolls, is to be performed at last. You may recall that it was due to make its debut before Covid lockdown three years ago, and despite other attempts to stage this funny but thought-provoking play, obstacles have prevented us from going ahead.  At last we shall be presenting the world première of Pip’s new play on Thursday, 23rd, Friday, 24th and Saturday, 25th November, at 8pm at The Riddell Hall, Walton on the Hill.  Tickets are £12.50, box office number 01737 812 703.

This clever comedy takes place in a retirement home, with wonderfully resourceful residents who, despite their age, are surprisingly devious in their use of a phone and a computer – with unexpected results!  Please come along and enjoy an intriguing evening which will give you much to smile about, think about, and dwell upon afterwards.   The doors open at 7.30pm for the bar and raffle, with curtain-up at 8pm. 

Are you able to take minutes and type them up for circulation to the Gage committee?  If so, we would love to hear from you, as we really do need your help.  We are also looking for an unflappable person to be secretary, for general admin support, who need not be ‘theatrical’ or experienced in this field.  Help will be available from committee members to help you settle into the role – the Gage committee is very friendly, relaxed and supportive.  Please contact us on

Many folk have asked when we will be having our next Poetry and Prose evening – this has become a particularly popular event during winter when people are comfortably settled t home for the evening, but can tune into us via Zoom – there is no cost involved.  We will resume these regular meetings after Christmas, so please look for poems, short one-act plays, or snippets from a book that you have enjoyed.  The more variety we have the better our evening will be, and I promise it won’t be a dull one.  The date and time for this event will be given in our Christmas newsletter, so do make a diary note of it then.

Chris Slater is eager to direct our spring play next year – performance dates will be 25th, 26th and 27th April, 2024.  Read-throughs/auditions will take place at Chris’s home in Bookham at 8pm on Thursday,11th, Monday, 15th and Wednesday, 17th January 2024 – more details in the next newsletter.

Our regular September event is one that is always enjoyed – you bring your own picnic supper and drinks and after that we give a rehearsed reading of one or two short plays.  This is an informal evening for family and friends when you can relax over a bite to eat, a glass of something and a chat before the curtain goes up.  Probable date for 2024: 14th September.   If you have a favourite short play with no scene changes that you’d like to see again, do let us know on

Looking further ahead, we are scheduling our 2024 winter play for 28th, 29th and 30th November.  We have a play in mind, but are still looking for a director.  If you think you might like to direct with us, or perhaps already have a play in mind that you especially like, do get in touch with us on the link above. 

I hope you’ve all made a note of our up and coming play, Molly’s Calling, and I look forward to seeing you at the performance.

Diary dates

23rd, 24th and 25th November 2023 – Molly’s Calling, 8pm at The Riddell Hall, Walton on the Hill.  Box office 01737 812 703, tickets £12.50.

After Christmas our next Prose and Poetry event, 8pm Zoom.

25th, 26th and 27th April, 2024 – our spring play.

14th September, 2024 – our rehearsed reading with supper 

28th, 29th and 30th November, 2024 – our winter play. 

With best wishes to you all.


Gay Weeden, Chair

Gage Players Committee

Molly’s Calling – November 2023

Finally, after being cancelled twice, we will be premiering this fantastic play, written and directed by our very own Pip Rolls.

Performances are 8pm on 23rd, 24th and 25th November at The Riddell Hall, Deans Lane, Walton-on-the-Hill, KT20 7UL
Doors open 7:30pm


Molly’s Calling is a comedy about a bunch of oddities who take on the world and knock some sense into it.  From the outset, things are not quite what they seem.  Quiet, unassuming ladies turn out to be anything but.  They have a mission, or ‘calling’ to help the downtrodden and it leads them into some of the murkiest and most sophisticated activities on the planet.

Molly and Pauline are aided by their thespian pal Lionel, who has a penchant for shortbread fingers and a conviction that a return to medieval law would cure us of many of our woes.  Then there’s Molly’s destitute brother Donald from darkest Africa, who’s only happy when big game hunting, and there’s also a foreign care-worker whose grasp of English is amusingly quirky.

But don’t pass them off as cranks.  Their machinations are remarkably successful in managing to keep the Russian menace at bay and promising to bring back the Good Old Days, when fair play ruled.

Molly’s Calling is set in 2019, when there were a lot of things about Britain that seemed to be going wrong.  The UN had recently published a damning report, stating that a fifth of the population was living in poverty and that the government was making things worse.  Since then, the number of people going to food banks has doubled and our system of government has gone from being an admired beacon of good sense to one of incompetence and intolerance.

Don’t despair, the play presents these issues with humour and a possible way out of the current predicament.  The solution may seem bizarre but it points to the fact that, sensible people banding together, can make a change for the better.

Intrigued?  Why not come along and see it for yourself.


This is the fifth production that Pip has written and directed for The Gage, following on from two nights of Snapshots from History in the last year, Waiting for the Train in 2017 and The Junipére Affair, a musical, in 2002, for which he also wrote the music and lyrics.  He has performed locally with Leatherhead Operatic and in many productions with The Gage, The Heath Players, and at The Open-air Theatre at Polesden Lacey, where he is Chairman.   He has also designed and built sets for all three companies.  He sees writing, directing and building sets as easier options than trying to remember lines as an actor.  In his youth he worked as a professional actor on the London West End stage and in films, television and radio, as well as back-stage in a number of London Theatres.

Newsletter – May 2023

Dear Friends and Members,

The Gage is happily celebrating the success of our first full-length play since the beginning of lockdown three years ago.  Covid nearly ended our 70-year record of productions, as our financial loss was so much – but we have survived!

Our Spring production, Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders, was performed last week at the Riddell Hall.  This play, written by Derek Webb and directed by Lesley Crowther-Smith, was a huge success.  The good audiences were receptive, obviously enjoying the quirky comedy from various characters.  It is always uplifting for the cast to hear laughter when the audience responds heartily to the humour.  Often we forget how funny the lines are, having rehearsed them again and again for many weeks.  From the actors’ point of view, it is the audience response that makes the effort of learning and remembering lines worthwhile.  So – thank you.

We were pleased to introduce new acting members to our company in this play, and hope you will see them on stage with us many times again.  Please remember that we are always ready to welcome new members to the Gage, whether acting, front of house, set-building or helping generally with running things.  The committee is looking for two new members, and we also need someone to fill the vital role of secretary.  Is there anyone among you readers with spare time and admin skills?  Please contact us at to learn more about these not too onerous roles.

We now have a payment card reader, so we no longer need rely on you to bring  cash to pay for tickets – in future you may pay by cash or card, as suits you best.

Our next project will be running the combined Gage Players/Bottle Tombola stall at the Walton May Pageant on Saturday, 20th May to help raise money for our funds.  We are asking if you could please donate any bottles you can spare, from alcohol to cooking oil, fizzy drinks and squash to bubble bath or shampoo – anything you can think of that comes in a bottle.

Please ring Gill or Rod on 01737 812 703 if you wish to donate and deliver a bottle or bottles to them at Heather View, Dorking Road, Tadworth KT20 5SA.  The Pageant is a great day out, with amusements, various stalls, a May Queen, refreshments and entertainment for all the family, so please make a note of the date.  The Pageant Procession starts at Walton Pond at 2pm and walks through the village to the grounds at Howard Close.  We look forward to seeing you there.

On 16th September we will be performing two rehearsed play readings, with your own drinks and snack supper, at the Riddell Hall.  The first of the evening will be the second of Terence Rattigan’s renowned plays from Separate Tables, to be directed by Chris Slater.  After the interval there will be a new short play written by our talented Gage member, Pip Rolls – his second draft text will be ready in July.  This will be his fourth original short for rehearsed reading with the Gage (not counting a Murder Mystery evening where the audience at the end had to decide whodunnit).  An audition call will be sent out, with auditions to be held in July – dates, times and places to be confirmed soon.  If you would like to take part or help backstage please let us know at

We hope to hold the Gage Invitational Quiz one Saturday evening in September at St Katherine’s Hall, Merstham, hosted by the current trophy holders, St Mark’s Players.  More information on this will be available around the end of May, but if any of you are keen quizzers please let us know, so that you can join our team or teams – all the teams come from local amdram groups:

It is lovely to announce that Molly’s Calling by Pip Rolls will be performed at last on 23rd, 24th and 25th November.  You may recall that this will be our fourth attempt to stage Pip’s clever comedy, having been thwarted by Covid just one week before opening night.  Most of the original cast are able to continue in their parts, but there may be one or two roles still to fill.  Pip will direct for the last month of rehearsals, with original cast members revising their roles and guiding newcomers into the play up to that point.  It is such a good play, it deserves to been seen on stage!

Looking ahead to 2024, we have pencilled in two main productions for Spring and Winter: The Nightingales by Peter Quilter and Death and the Maiden by Georgina Reid.

I haven’t forgotten our informal Poetry and Prose Zoom evening – the next one, usually on a Wednesday, will be announced shortly after our next committee meeting later this month.

I hope you are enjoying these warmer Spring days.

Best wishes,


Gay Weeden,

Chair, Gage Committee