Newsletter – March 2023

Dear Members and friends,

I hope you are well.  Although it is very cold the sun is shining as I write, bulbs are flowering and Spring is nearly here.

We are delighted that rehearsals are well under way for our Spring production.  Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders written by Derek Webb is directed by Lesley Crowther-Smith, and is due to play at 8pm on 27th, 28th and 29th April 2023 at the Riddell Hall in Walton on the Hill – our first full-length production since Covid arrived early in 2020.  This play had been fully cast to stage in Spring 2022 and after another Covid delay most of the cast were still available this year to play their roles.  But the search was on for new actors where they were not, and we are proud to welcome five new and experienced players to the Gage for this production.  This is an hilarious comedy thriller, with such interesting country-life characters!  You will be guessing ‘whodunnit’ right till the end, and then you’ll be in for a surprise!

We are desperately looking for a new secretary on our committee.  Gill Gibbins has wonderfully fulfilled this role with the Gage for many years, but last autumn said she wished to stand down from the end of March.  We most urgently need someone to take the minutes at our committee meetings, and then type them up and circulate them to the committee members.  The meetings are held via Zoom about once a month and last about an hour.  Please help us if you can and contact us at

Would you like to join our committee, to bring fresh ideas and interests to our team?  No theatrical experience is needed, just enthusiasm!  After all, there’s no business like show business!  We are a friendly group and would welcome new faces at our Zoom meetings, so again do contact us about trying out at

The Walton May Pageant, with the theme ‘Music’ will be held on Saturday, 20th May 2023 and the Gage will be running a bottle tombola stall.  We will be collecting bottles of every kind between now and 20th May, and would also be grateful for donations, so please buy an extra bottle of something when you do your weekly shop and save it for our stall.  You would also be welcome to drop bottle donations off at the home of our treasurer, Rod Lucas, so when you’re ready to deliver, please let us know by leaving your preferred contact information at our address

Our stall will also have a large jar filled with wrapped sweets for a children’s competition to guess the number of sweets it contains.  We aim to raise as much money as we can for the Pageant and for the Gage.

Each September we like to hold a rehearsed reading evening with supper for Members, family and friends and we will be having this at 7pm for 8pm curtain-up on Saturday, 16th September at the Riddell Hall.  These evenings are very sociable and popular – you bring your own drinks and snack supper, and we provide tea and coffee in the interval between readings; there’s also a raffle.  We already have a shortlist of plays to choose from, including one-acters by Noel Coward and Terrence Rattigan.  Chris Slater is scheduled to direct one of these,  as he has done for many a year, and there is also a very good chance that Pip Rolls will have written another of his mischievous sketches for us: he’s having a sneak peek at a committee meeting gathered to decide upon the future of evolution – that should be interesting!

The long-awaited production of Molly’s Calling by Pip Rolls is yet again under way and on course – we are determined that it’s going to happen at the fourth attempt, the previous three having been ‘kiboshed’ by Covid delays. The last time it was only a week from opening night and it was incredibly disappointing for us all.  Almost all the original cast are still available and willing to go ahead, and Pip will direct his play himself.  It is such a good play that it really does deserve to be seen – the première will be on 23rd November, and two more performances after that on 24th and 25th.  Please make a note of the dates in your diary.  Thank you.

Looking ahead to 2024, we aim to give a rehearsed reading with supper in February.  For our Spring play in April we are planning a play by Peter Quilter. Then there will be a September rehearsed reading with supper, and we are planning a play by Georgina Reid in November.

Please check your diary now for our 2023 attractions:

Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders by Derek Webb – at 8pm on 27th, 28th and 29th April 2023, at the Riddell Hall

The Walton May Pageant from around 2pm on Saturday, 20th May, 2023

16th September for an evening of rehearsed readings with supper at 7pm, at the Riddell Hall

Molly’s Calling by Pip Rolls – at 8pm on 23rd, 24th and 25th November, 2023, at the Riddell Hall

I look forward to greeting you at our very own village hall for Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders . . .

Best wishes,


Gay Weeden,
Chair, Gage Committee

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