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

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