Category Archives: About

NEWSLETTER – APRIL 2022

The Gage Players newsletter, April, 2022

 

Dear Members and Friends,

 

What a lovely Easter we’ve had and I do hope you enjoyed the weekend in the sun.

 

Whilst we have been unable to perform a spring production this year, due to Covid and our dwindling funds, applications have been made for grants, but they unfortunately take time.  It is a waiting game.  However, there are many interesting events in the pipeline, one or two of them by fellow local community groups:

 

Gala Organ Recital at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Tadworth

Saturday, 14th May, 2022 at 6.30pm

By Simon Johnson, one of the world’s leading organists, including music by Bach, Liszt, Vaughan Williams and Franck.

Wine and soft drinks at 6.30, concert at 7.00pm, and at 8.15pm adjourn to the Church Hall for a finger buffet, wine and soft drinks.

Admission is by pre-purchased tickets at £15 per person, which includes refreshments, but there is no charge to accompanied children under 18.

On-line: www.ticketsource.co.uk/goodshepherdtadworth

By phone: 01737 556 219

 

The Walton May Pageant, 21st May, 2022

The procession from Walton Pond starts at 2pm.  We are running the Gage Players/bottle tombola stall and would be grateful for help and donations, not only of alcohol but bottles or jars of anything from ketchup, jam, marmalade and lemonade to gin and fizz, so that there is something for all winners.  This promises to be a very popular and busy stall, so if any of you members, friends and family can join in, please let us know, then we can set up a rota of helpers to set up the stall, run it throughout the day, and dismantle it at the end.  Please help – thank you. If you can help, please email us at  friends@thegageplayers.co.uk

 

 

Platinum Jubilee Tea Party, 3rd June 2022

Friday, 3rd June, 2022 at 2.30pm in Jubilee Wood, Tadworth (Tadworth Street next to the railway bridge)

All users of the woodland are welcome.

Bring along your own rugs or seating and any additional food you may require.

Sadly no dogs except guide dogs.

gbockmeulen@hotmail.com

Tadworth and Walton Residents’ Association

 

The Gage midsummer lunch out of doors

We would like to hold a midsummer lunch, probably in a pub garden, either a barbecue or from the pub’s main menu.  We will let you know the venue, date and time as soon as possible.  It would be good to meet up.

 

A 90th birthday celebration, 14th August, 2022, St Peter’s Church, Walton

Our active Gage member, Chris Slater, who directs for us, has also had a very successful career as a professional musician – he is an accomplished organist, pianist, choirmaster and conductor, as well as having taught at the Royal College of Music.  His most recent distinctions include a master’s degree in conducting from Chichester University, achieving a 2021 sponsored play-through on the organ at home of hymn music in Hymns Ancient and Modern (completed by Whitsun 2021, raising over £1,200 for his local organ fund), and in October last year being made an honorary Associate of the Royal School of Church Music at a ceremony in Durham Cathedral.

 

Chris is planning to hold a concert to celebrate his 90th birthday on 14th August, 2022 (though the actual day is in December).  This will be held at 3.15pm at St Peter’s Church, Walton on the Hill, followed by tea at 4.15pm at Breech Lane Community Hall in Walton.  There will be no charge for concert or tea, though a retiring collection will be made after the concert to benefit St Peter’s.  Although this is an event personally organised by Chris, the Gage Players will be supporting him wholeheartedly in the audience, and we hope you may join us.

 

Gage Players rehearsed reading with supper, 24th September 2022

This will be Playgoers by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, directed by Chris Slater.  This has been deferred since lockdown, so we are delighted to be staging it.  We hope the original cast are still available, but if not everyone is, a call for auditions/read-throughs will go out a bit later on, dates to be during September at Chris’s home, with a couple of rehearsals there as well, before transferring to the Riddell Hall.    Please put the date in your diary now.

 

Gage Players rehearsed reading with supper, 3rd or 10th December 2022

Christmas may seem a long way off, but we are looking forward to early December when we will present scenes from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which should put everyone into the true Christmas spirit (some of you may remember The Gage’s full production of this, back in 2003!).  A firm performance date, as well as audition and rehearsal dates, will be notified nearer the time, so please keep some space in your December diary

 

Joint event with Walton School, March 2023

It has been agreed with the school that our first planned joint event – a pop-up poetry matinee with interval tea – should be delayed from this March to March 2023.  I sincerely hope that this dreaded Covid virus is over by then, or at least that life will be much more manageable.  More information on this show later in the year.

 

Gage Players spring play, April 2023

Hoping that we receive some grant monies and that we ourselves have raised funds throughout this year, we are planning to perform Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders by Derek Webb, directed by Chris Slater.  This play was already partially cast before Covid problems hit us again, but a call for auditions will go out once we know we can safely fund the production and that we have put all the practicalities in hand.

 

We hope to have some interim activities during 2023, but then we look forward to:

 

Gage Players winter play, November 2023

We are determined to make a fourth attempt to perform Molly’s Calling written by Pip Rolls.  This clever, funny play so deserves to be seen.  Anyone who saw our performance of Pip’s What Really Happened in February will share our enthusiasm for his work, I’m sure.

 

Enjoy our lovely spring.

 

Best wishes,

Gay

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Newsletter – March 2022

Dear Friends and Members,

While enjoying this sunny spring day, I’m reflecting on our first Annual General Meeting in two years, held on 22nd March via Zoom. We now enjoy freedom from lockdown, and the Gage is looking forward to summer events, when we hope you will be there with us.

The Walton May Pageant, on 21st May, is an interesting and deservedly popular event, where we look forward to running our Gage stall and the bottle tombola stall next door to it. Donations of bottles would be appreciated, please, as the tombola is a great draw for people, so the more, the merrier!

However, the Pop-up Poetry matinee performance with Walton on the Hill Primary School has been deferred to March 2023. So many Surrey school children are now unwell with Covid, plus their families and teachers in many cases, that a September date would have been the earliest feasible one – but then the children in the top two classes would have changed at the start of the school year, leaving little time for all the preparation involved, and then closely followed by a very busy November/December getting ready for the school’s Christmas events. So they have agreed that next March would be best, and we look forward to that.

Our active member, Chris Slater, an accomplished organist, pianist, choirmaster and conductor, is planning a concert to celebrate his 90th birthday. His proposed date is 14th August at 3.15pm at St Peter’s Church, Walton on the Hill, followed by tea at 4.15pm at Breech Lane Community Hall. The programme is chosen but Chris is looking for more tenors and basses. The music would be rehearsed at 2pm ahead of the concert, so singers would need to be good sight-readers. Please contact the Gage if you can help. Although this is an event personally organised by Chris, the Gage will wholeheartedly be supporting him in the audience.

A rehearsed reading with supper is planned for 24th September – Playgoers by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, directed by Chris Slater. Audition dates at Chris’s home will be set nearer the time.

Once again, our hoped-for winter production is going to be Molly’s Calling by Pip Rolls, performance dates planned as 24th, 25th and 26th November. Due to Covid and lockdowns, this would be our fourth attempt to stage this wonderful comedy and we will be so happy to see it performed on stage at last.

Two grant applications are in progress for funding to tide us over until we have built up our reserves to pay the very considerable up-front costs for a main production, and our winter play this year is partly contingent on our receiving at least one of these grants, so we eagerly await news .

Looking ahead to 2023, we hope to put on another main production in April, directed by Chris Slater, audition, rehearsal and production dates to advised at a later date.

Wishing you all a happy Easter when it comes, and looking forward to seeing you soon.

Best wishes,

Gay

Gay Weeden
Chair, The Gage Players

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Newsletter – February 2022

Dear Friends and Members,

I hope you are keeping well and are enjoying a bit more freedom now that most Covid restrictions have ended. I am writing this on a bright, crisp day, looking forward to the coming of Spring, with longer and warmer days ahead.

The Gage were delighted to tread the boards last Saturday with our first stage event in two years, an informal occasion for Gage members, their families and friends. Five short, historical comedies written and directed by Pip Rolls made up an evening of rehearsed readings, and they were hugely enjoyed by everyone – Pip, cast and crew, and visitors. The audience were amazed by the quirky twists and turns, altering the outcomes of history, and said what a clever concept it was and how much they’d relished it all. We were pleased that in the end more people came to enjoy the fun than was initially anticipated, and also that we were able to recoup a small part of the losses made in March 2020 when we were obliged to cancel a full show days ahead of opening.

The show that never opened was Molly’s Calling, also written and directed by Pip Rolls. In fact Pip brought the play to the point of performance twice more during 2020-2021, but two lockdowns and the continued risk of low audience numbers made it impossible to risk. Pip has now chosen a caretaker director, Val Anscombe, to lead on what we all hope will be a triumphant staging later on this year – we will keep you posted on dates, of course, and trust that all our stalwart supporters will return to enjoy a good story and a lot of laughs.

Unfortunately, due to the rising numbers of Covid cases among pupils and teachers in schools locally, we have had to postpone our planned March Saturday matinee, Pop-up Poetry. This is a joint Gage Players/Walton on the Hill Primary School event, for which children have a competition to write their own, or choose a favourite poem, and the best three from the top two classes will join the Gage on stage to read them out. A number of Gage members will also take part on stage, and currently we are hoping to put this event back in the calendar for September.

We are greatly looking forward to taking part in the Walton May Pageant on Saturday, 21st May. The pageant theme is ‘Our precious planet’ and as usual will begin with a costumed procession starting opposite the Blue Ball pub, up to the Pageant Green Arena in Howard Close, Walton on the Hill. The Gage will have its own stall and will also be running the tombola, so we look forward to welcoming old friends and making new ones at what is always a very popular day out for people, with or without their dogs, but generally with.

For now, we are hoping to stage some more one-off events, with people bringing their own choice of supper and enjoying the Gage’s additional catering. As we found on Saturday, these are very popular, and make a light-hearted and sociable evening out. We also have another full play in the planning, and one which we believe will be an instant draw for audiences, but more of that another time.

On 22nd March at 7.30pm we shall be holding the Gage AGM via Zoom, to review the period
gone by since the last one, and to outline forward plans. That is also the time when we ask members, old and new, to pay their subscriptions – £20 for full membership and £10 for juniors. The Zoom link will be sent round nearer the time, and if you are not already a member and would like to sign up to receive this, please visit our website:

www.thegageplayers.co.uk

I hope to welcome many of you to the AGM. Meanwhile, keep safe and stay well.

Very best wishes,

Gay

Gay Weeden, Chair, The Gage Players

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Newsletter – December 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

Season’s greetings to you all. Hoping Christmas will be happy and that 2022 will be a much better year than the last!

It was with great disappointment that we had to cancel our November play, Molly’s Calling by Pip Rolls. We found that with the possible Covid risk, our ticket sales were too low to enable us to cover the cost of the production. It was a tough decision to make. In order to keep The Gage alive we need our performances need to do a bit better than break even – and of course to enjoy large audiences – but we couldn’t do anything like that this time.

However, undaunted and with increased enthusiasm, we plan to go ahead with a February 2022 evening of rehearsed play readings, a collection of short comedies written by Pip Rolls entitled What Really Happened. These are hilarious tales re-arranging the course of historical events with amazing outcomes! A fun evening to be enjoyed when all the Christmas and New Year festivities are over. There is nothing like live theatre to lift the spirits and we are looking forward to entertaining you during the drab winter days.

The evening will begin at 7.00 pm with a fish and chip supper (and vegetarian option), followed by three short plays – The Pyramids of Giza, The Battle of Hastings and The Reformation – then an interval when coffee/tea and cakes will be served, followed by two more short plays (The Battle of Waterloo and Giants of Science), with the evening finishing at about 10.00 pm. Please bring your own wine or beer or drinks of choice and glasses will be provided. The date is 5th February, the time 7.00pm and the place The Riddell Hall in Walton on the Hill. Food booking information will be circulated nearer the time. Do come along to support us and to enjoy laughing and rolling in the aisles!

In common with professional theatres and other indoor venues, following current Covid regulations, we will ask our audience members to wear a mask when not eating or drinking, unless they are exempt.

Because our social Zoom evenings of poems and short plays were so successful we thought it would be a good idea to make a programme of them for a matinee – a completely new and different kind of event for us, and one which will involve children too. The head of the junior school where we now rehearse has agreed to hold a poetry ‘competition’ for the children of the top two classes, to present a reading of their chosen poem and even perhaps to write their own. Those who do really well will perform on stage with The Gage Players company, in between our members reading poems or presenting short sketches. The matinee will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, 12th March. There will be an interval for afternoon tea, and a presentation of small gifts with a certificate for all those children taking part. If this proves a success, matinees may become a regular feature for us, so please come along and give all of us your support – do put the date in your diary now.

Our planned spring 2022 production in April is Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders by Derek Webb, directed by Christopher Slater. The performance dates for your diary are 28th, 29th and 30th April. The audition notice has gone out and is also on our web site, with audition dates in January plus contact information for Chris; rehearsals will start on Monday, 7th February, with Wednesdays and Mondays thereafter. This is a comedy thriller with a twist in its tale, so do step forward to audition for one of the great characters on offer, and put the playdates in your diary.

Looking further ahead, we will take part in the Walton May Pageant, but will send more details on that nearer the time, as well as for other social events during the late spring/early summer, and early autumn.

We plan to have our winter production next year on 24th, 25th and 26th November, 2022. The choice of play has yet to be decided, but please make a note of the performance dates in your diary.

We are looking forward with optimism to all the events planned for 2022, and won’t allow this variant of Covid to get us down!

I look forward to seeing you at our supper evening production on 5th February and wish you all a Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year!

Merry Christmas and good wishes,

Gay

Gay Weeden
Chair, The Gage Players

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Newsletter October 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

I hope you are well and enjoying these bright days before the clocks go back!

As summer gives way to autumn, we at The Gage are looking forward to our November production, Molly’s Calling, written and directed by our own Pip Rolls. Rehearsals are well under way in our delightful new rehearsal hall at Walton Primary School – it has been so good to see everyone face to face after many months of Zoom meetings – and rehearsals are going well, with everyone enjoying the play’s clever humour. We are wrapping up warm while rehearsing simply because we are keeping the windows open for good ventilation – still, most of us have rehearsed in far worse conditions, so we can make light of it.

I hope you have all made a note of our performance dates: 25th, 26th and 27th November, with an 8.00pm start. Tickets are bookable now at our box office – 01737 812 703. Everyone ringing will be asked to remember to wear or bring layers of clothing, or other means of keeping comfortable, as the windows of the Riddell Hall will also be open for fresh air during performances. Hand sanitation will be available on entry and at other points in the hall and cloakrooms. If you wish to wear a face covering, please do, but it will not be compulsory, unless regulations change beforehand.

Looking ahead into 2022, we have lined up a really hilarious evening of short plays on Saturday, 5th February to get the year off to a good start. Step forward again Pip Rolls, who has devised some wonderfully whacky alternative takes on history that might have been. What if The Pyramids of Giza were really built by the Marrinot Hotel Group in a bid to capture the long-term market? What if The Battle of Waterloo was really fought at Waterloo Station during the day, to avoid rush hour? These and three other uproarious scenarios from across the ages will be played out for you in fast-moving, full-blooded comedy.

The evening will begin with supper at 7.00pm (to be pre-ordered in due course), followed by three plays and then an interval for coffee and cake, then two more plays to round the evening off by about 10.00pm. A call for auditions will go out in December, and booking information for members and friends will be sent early in the New Year, so keep the date free – remember, 5th February.

Our main spring production in 2022 will be Agatha Crusty and The Village Hall Murders by Derek Webb, with playdates of 28th, 29th and 30th April. More information next time, but you won’t want to miss this one, so do keep a note of the dates. The call for auditions will go out in January.

We have other events in view for the first half of the year, including our anticipated participation in the Walton May Pageant, and other plans (perhaps even including a matinee) at the Riddell Hall. Please let us know your views on matinee performances via our website – if lots of you are in favour of these we will do our best to comply.

In the second half of 2022 there will be the Gage Invitational Trophy Quiz, on 17th September at St Katharine’s Hall in Merstham, hosted by the previous winners, St Mark’s Players, and The Gage helping with admin. More about this in due course.

Our winter production dates will be 24th, 25th and 26th November, auditions in July, with rehearsals to start in September.

Back to this year – we are planning to hold the next informal Gage meeting on Zoom for play- and poetry-readings among friends on Tuesday, 2nd November at 8.00pm, and we hope as any people as possible will join in.

We are looking at suggestions for fund raising to help us cover the unavoidably increased costs of rehearsal space, so if you have any ideas you would like us to consider please get in touch via our web site.

We also look forward to welcoming you back to The Gage next month to enjoy Molly’s Calling, so do book your places soon, and help us ensure that live performances continue in our community.

Very best wishes to you all.

Gay

Gay Weeden
Chair, Gage Committee

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National Poetry Day 2020

At the Gage, we celebrated a day early at our weekly Poetry and Prose Zoom evening. At the previous evening we asked the participants to come up with a Limerick for this one. Here are some of them:

There once was an amdram theatre
That performed every play to the letter.
They became all the rage,
Their name was The Gage,
And they kept getting better and better.
by Gill Gibbins


There was an old fogey from Cheam
Who, of reading, really was keen,
He read Orson Scott Card
And the Marques de Sade
But the latter found rather obscene.
by Lars Sawyer


There was a young woman from Kent,
Who never could quite pay her rent.
Filled her landlord’s belly
With grub off the telly
He said, ” Nigella, my dear, you just ain’t!
by Franki Gray


There was a young lady from Surrey,
Who seemed,always, to be in a hurry.
When asked what the rush was,
She got in a tiswas
Which really became quite a worry.
by Franki Gray


Also read and/or performed during the evening included:
On Aging  by Maya Angelou
Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas
Father William by Lewis Carroll
Bat by D.H. Lawrence
Death by Dollars by D. M. Larson
Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

If you would like to join in on any Wednesday evening for an hour, starting at 8pm, please join our mailing list http://thegageplayers.co.uk/mailing-list-signup/ and then send us a message at friends@thegageplayers.co.uk and we will add you to the Zoom invitation list. If you have already signed up to the mailing list but do not yet get an invitation and would like to get one, please email as above.

The variety of contributions during the evening has been wonderful and extremely entertaining.

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Good Things – Winter 2019 Production

Our Winter 2019 production

Our play was Good Things by Liz Lochhead.

Set in a charity shop on three different days in one year – Twelfth Night in January, Valentine’s Day in February and Christmas Eve in December – Good Things is a poignant and funny play with a lot to say about finding love later in life.

Performance dates at The Riddell Hall were 28th, 29th and 30th November, 2019.

 

Click on image to expand picture.

 

 

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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.
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