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The Newsletter of the Leicester Drama Society

November 2019

What's on in November?

You could, of course, hear them before you could see them. The sound of excited chatter and nervous giggling grew louder as I ascended the stairs to 52 down. (I know, I know me neither). Entering the rehearsal room, 14 young, nervous and smiley faces greeted me, and given that I probably looked like their Dad, I immediately became invisible.

Robin Hood A Pantomime Diary Sunday 20 October - 1pm

Not such a bad thing as I’d come to observe what was to be the first rehearsal of the junior dancers cast in this year's panto’; Robin Hood. Caroline (Cas) Walsh was in charge and was waiting for a further two to arrive. The 16 had been selected from over 80 who attended the open auditions in July. Now, with the panto season rapidly approaching, rehearsals were starting. “Who remembers the warmup from the audition?” said Cas. They all did and over the next 10 minutes went through it a couple of times to get warmed up. The missing two arrived with profuse apologies and tales of roadworks on the A47. Introductions were made by Cas who already knew their names off by heart. Two performance troops, Bow and Arrows with 8 dancers in each, were quickly formed with each girl given a group and a number. Two of them, Autumn & Lillie, had birthdays on the day; Happy Birthday was sung although the treats were held over for the break. And so, it began; the learning of the dance routine to announce the entry of the Pantomime Dame. Progress was swift and moves were learnt in a jiffy. Cas was excellent; channelling their boundless energy and insisting on quality, improvement and concentration whilst maintaining a fun, supportive and relaxed session. Inside “How many performances are you in?” I asked one of the dancers. “Well it depends if you are doing the charity Notes from the performance and the final show” came Trustees meeting the reply. I tell you – these youngsters 200 Club - 1st draw soon! 2 are all over it. Single Spies 3 Our Front of House teams 4-5 I left at break time when the treats were Daniel Cornish 6 handed out, gutted I didn’t merit a Panto' Diary 7 Halloween lolly. Season Show list 10-12 7-8 • The Panto' Diary continues on Page 7

The Little Theatre Dover Street. Leicester. LE1 6PW. Theatre Manager Phillip Royley t: 0116 254 2266 e: Box Office t: 0116 255 1302 w: Leicester Drama Society Limited Board of Trustees (elected unless otherwise stated) Chairman & Trustee for Productions John Ghent Technical Trustee Andy Crooks Treasurer elect & Trustee without specific responsibility Charles Moss Trustee for Membership Tim Hogarth Jones

200 Club Notes from Trustees’ meeting The first draw is this month! The Trustees met on Sunday, 29th September.

1. Following a suggestion by Dave Andrews, Radio Leicester, that LDS should be nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, a nomination has been submitted on our behalf by Richard Cadell, with accompanying supporting letters from two long-standing audience members. 2. The upgraded lift will be installed in the weeks immediately following the production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and leading up to panto. Please be aware that during these weeks a lift will not be available to use. 3. The pantomime for 2020-21 will be Cinderella, devised and directed by John Bale. 4. The theatre currently has four of its car parking spaces available to rent. If you need to park in the city centre daily and are interested, please contact Phil Royley.

The first draw of the recently launched LDS 200 Club is just days away! There are three fabulous prizes to be won and winning any one of them this month could really pimp up your Christmas. I'm thinking Champagne instead of Prosecco, fat sausages instead of chipolatas and a Grand Cru instead of a vin de table. However you have to be in it to win it. If you haven't already joined yet then it's time to get a wiggle on. It's just £60 per annum for a chance to win £250, £100 or £50 each month for 12 months.

Trustee for Facilities James Simpson

The Board will next meet on Sunday 27th October 2019.

Simply complete and return the forms that have already been sent to you or pop in to the office at the theatre!

Marketing Trustee David Kimmins

Lisa Thirlby, Minutes Secretary.

Bonne Chance!

Honorary Secretary Mary Jones Trustees without specific responsibility Dennis Cooper • Simon Dickens Phil Wintle (Co-opted) Russell Hughes (Co-opted) Other Board Attendees Company Secretary Rob Thirlby (Appointed) Development Programme Director Jenny Harding (Co-opted)

Contributions to Scene are invited. Articles, images & ideas for stories are most welcome and if you are a nervous writer Editors Emma (EB) & Colin (CH) can write it for you. Our deadline is a week before the end of each month - but if you have a story then let us know before then to guarantee that we reserve space for you! Contact us via email at All photos in each edition of Scene are by the fabulous Sally Evans, unless otherwise stated. If members use any images of Little Theatre productions in any social media post please give a photo credit to the person who took the photo. In most cases, for production photos, this will be Sally Evans.


Single Spies An LDS Production • 30 September -5 October 2019 Ellie Lomas played Charlotte/Shop Assistant/Student in Single Spies. She is one of our own, having been a member of our Youth Theatre for many years. This, however, was her first main stage production. We caught up with her before the iron curtain decended again. I see from the programme notes that you were a member of our Youth Theatre and then went to study for a degree in Acting & Creative practice at a local university we can't have put you off the theatre then? Not at all! I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Youth Theatre, so when I saw the call out for auditions to join the LDS I was eager to apply, let alone expecting to land my first role. Did you enjoy acting in your first main stage play? The experience was fantastic; everyone was so warm and welcoming. It was a great learning opportunity, not only because of the choice of play, but also working with the director Philip Wintel who was lovely and learning from the backstage crew. Charlotte was such a fun character to play and judging from the audience’s laughter I think they enjoyed it too. How did you find the subject matter of the play? Honestly, at first read through, the play went completely over my head. Although once I researched the history of the piece and through watching my fellow actors in rehearsals, it began to click that there’s a lot of symbolism in the lines, particularly with Burgess and Anthony explaining why they chose to carry out their spying. Tell us a little about your degree and what you studied. My degree was from the University of Northampton where I graduated with a first in Acting & Creative Practice. Over the three years, I not only trained in a conservatoire style as an actor, but also learnt how to create my own work on and off stage / in film and radio. I discovered my love for using verbatim and using theatre as a tool to advocate for others; a real highlight was my one woman show which I solely created using the true stories of sex workers to explore the law in regards to their profession. How do you think your studies helped you with your performance? I think without them the script at first glance might have scared me away, but using the skills I have learnt to analyse text, alongside the help of Phil and the rest of the cast, we really brought out the humour in the play and certain parts made us all laugh in every rehearsal. In terms of playing Charlotte I think learning accents and not being afraid to try new things in the rehearsal space really helped me. What's next for you now? I’m planning to stick around in the theatre, I want to learn as much as I can, which I am hoping to put to use when I apply for more training through a Masters' degree. I would like to keep creating theatre, develop my craft and I’m hoping one day to become a Director. Lastly, I would just like to say thank you to everyone for welcoming me into the theatre, it’s a really encouraging atmosphere here and I can’t wait to become more involved as a new member.


Introducing this season's Front of House teams Where would we be without our Front of House teams? Banging on the front door yelling "Let me in" most probably. Let's meet the teams that open the doors, welcome the audience and, with others, ensure the safety of all during a performance.

Monday Evening From the top & l to r John Leach Marion Morley & Aileen Orme • Dana Simons • Ian Simons Teresa Heaps • Susan Gee • Jeanette Robertson • Carol Rogers A team member unpictured - Fred Hyman Photo Colin Hide

Tuesday Evening From the top & l to r Colin Hide Maureen Vince • Kenneth Piggin Jennifer Forbes • Val Barber • Barbara Marvin • Sheila Askew Photo Phil Rowley

Wednesday Evening From the top & l to r Hazel Curtis • Fred Hyman Linda Goode • Barbara Corker • Denise Bergman • Georgina Holyoak Photo Sally Evans

Thursday, Friday, Saturday (Matinee & Evening) FoH teams will appear in the next edition of Scene.


Fran Harris Continuing our "Meet the Staff" series, Emma Bamford, Editor at Large, chats to Fran Harris, our new Front of House Coordinator .

What do you do at The Little and how did you get started? I am the Front of House Coordinator. I was on stage with Knighton Park Amatuer Operatic Society and Leicester Amateur Operatic Society for most of this century and got roped into front of house during that time. When I felt it was time to hang my hat up, I thought I would like to do Front of House (FoH) on a permanent basis. I had previously been with Co-Op Choir, Melody Sound, Jesters Variety Group, the Madhatters and I trained the Merry Folk … Not forgetting school choirs and playing Mistress Quickly in ‘Henry V’! I am currently President of the Leicester Theatre Group What has been your favourite show to steward / do Front of House for? This is a difficult one. With the diversity of the entertainment offered, how can you select one?! It has to be the pantomimes because everything about them is ours. John Bale writes and directs them. We make the scenery. Everyone who contributes in any way to make it what it is gives their all. We already have the FOH rotas in place as we need eight volunteers per performance. But I love full houses and you have to be on your toes the whole of the time. Any funny / touching stories from being at the theatre? This would have to be when I was in ‘The King And I’. For some reason the ladies were in the gents' dressing room, and we were so squashed that on one of the changes, two of us got into each others’ costume! Best thing - in your opinion - about working at The Little Theatre? The best thing is being part of the whole process because every area is working towards the same goal. From a Front of House view we have seven teams, but if there's a special event calling for extra cover, everyone gels together and works as one, regardless of their usual night. • EB

Presentation to Margaret Damant

Your invitation to join one of our Front of House teams. Our FoH teams are always looking for new members so if you, or someone you know, would like to join us you would be most welcome. The commitment would be one night a week for each of the 12 weeks a year we have LDS Shows plus some cover during the panto' season. Any dates you cannot attend are covered by others.

At the Front of House pre season meeting, Margaret Damant was presented with a bouquet by Jenny Page on behalf of all Front of House staff for her years as Front of House Coordinator.

Please contact our Theatre Office in the first instance for further details:-

We are glad to say that Margaret is still very much part of the team and is still contributing in an advisory capacity. • Fran Harris

t: 0116 254 2266 e:


Daniel Cornish Daniel Cornish will be a name more than a little familiar to many LDS members, as he was a very popular actor with us before he set off for drama school at the age of eighteen in 2014.

accepted, and enrolled at the Guildford School of Acting. Since graduating he has had several professional acting jobs, and now he has joined the London company of The Good Scout by Glenn Chandler at the Above the Stag Theatre, London. In this he has been receiving some really splendid reviews and it has now been announced that he has received an OFFIES (Off West End Theatre Awards) nomination for best male performance in The Good Scout.

Dan first came to us as a young boy when he took part in several of the LDS Speech and Drama Festivals as a private pupil of Jose Johnson. His talent was clearly apparent in those early days, and he invariably walked off with certificates together with one or two silver cups celebrating his success. Jose has supported him to the hilt over the years, and apart from the festivals he entered she also encouraged him towards playing parts in some of our main house shows such as The Winslow Boy, Little Eyolf, Our Town and Journey’s End.

Many congratulations, Dan! Your friends here at the Little Theatre send our love and best wishes for your continued success.

John Ghent

Dan had just turned eighteen when he did the last of these in November 2014, and after that he auditioned, was

Chair, LDS


Our Season Shows 2019/2020 Throughout the last few issues of Scene, we’ve introduced each play of our 2019-20 season in order. Here are the three remaining plays we’ve got coming up in 2020.

Robin Hood A Pantomime Diary Sunday 20 October - 3.05pm

I returned to 52 Down midway through the senior dancers’ first rehearsal.

Up n’ Under John Godber

There were fewer of them and many I recognised from “Legally Blonde” earlier in the year.

This rugby-based comedy should go down very well in Leicester, what with the Tigers being our brilliant local team!

They were rehearsing a gipsy number that was made more difficult by the music chosen not having a discernible beat. Still progress was swift, and quality quickly came, as you might expect from a more experienced troop. There’s still a long way to go to the dress rehearsal of course, but the panto season had definitely started!

the best fun” came the reply – “stick around and you’ll know.”

Monday saw the first rehearsal of the principal characters.

John Bale called order and the session began. He stepped the cast through the outline of the show using the stage model. Planning for that had started way back in May with a discussion with the set designer – Kevin Jenkins – about the setting needed for each of the scenes. The musical director also had a heads up on the setting and song suggestions for each Act.

At 6.50pm 52 down was locked, dark & chilly, 10 minutes later it was filled with laughter, warmth and light as the cast arrived.

Thereafter, the script was worked up and finished just days earlier so it could reflect the comedic value of current events.

Hugs, air kisses and chest bumps all featured as they greeted each other, some meeting for the first time, others greeting old friends from past pantos.

The Sheriff of Nottingham was booed as he departed – he was not needed for the rest of the session. “Get used to it” quipped someone.

For some it was tough to see where the person ended and the panto character began. “Why do you do it?" I asked a five time veteran. "It’s just

And there I left them as they began their vocal warm-up. There’s only so many fa-la-fa-la-las a man can take afterall. • CH

Robin Hood A Pantomime Diary Monday 21 October - 6.50pm


What is it? Ex-pro Arthur's only passions in life are his wife and rugby league. When he hears about the 'Cobblers Arms' pub team and their corrupt manager, Arthur bets his life savings with Reg Welch that he can train any team to beat them. However, the 'Wheatsheaf Arms' can only muster a side of four whose pride lies in their unbroken record of defeat. The pitifully unfit set of men have to accept the help of a coach, who just happens to be a woman. The Cast 6M, 1F. Interesting fact John Godber also scripted the film version of the play, released in 1998. To ensure the film got funded, Godber had to have three things in place – Griff Rhys Jones as the local radio commentator, Samantha Womack naked and the Wheatsheaf Arms had to win at the end of the film. (But do they win in the play version? You’ll have to buy your ticket to find out!)

Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare

The Secret Garden Neil Duffield

Family feuds, masked balls and star-crossed lovers all collide in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.

Based on Frances Hodgson-Burnett’s classic, this play set in the early -1900s is a beautiful end to our season.

What is it? As if you need to ask … ‘Romeo and Juliet’ centres on two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and along with ‘Hamlet’ is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers.

What is it? Orphan Mary Lennox, snobbish and aloof, is sent to stay with her reclusive uncle at Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire. When she discovers a secret garden that she can tend, Mary and everyone around her feel the powerful magic of new life and growth. The Cast 3M, 3F

The Cast TBC, as some casting will be gender-blind.

Interesting fact

Interesting fact In the 1996 Baz Luhrman film, Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo) gave such a good speech at Juliet’s death bed that it moved Claire Danes (Juliet) to tears. When Luhrman yelled, “cut!”, Danes smacked DiCaprio on the arm and said, “Don’t make me cry! I’m supposed to be comatose here!”

Frances Hodgson Burnett was a strong early believer in Christian Science, which holds that physical ailments can be cured by forcing positive thoughts into one's mind and reminding oneself that the illness (and the physical body itself) do not really exist. The power of positive thinking is a theme in many of Burnett's works, but in ‘The Secret Garden’, it becomes very explicit in the form of "The Magic." • EB


LDS Noticeboard - November Play Parade features two of our brightest young Directors directing three short plays in our Haywood Studio. It promises to be a fabulous evening experiencing new short plays in a more intimate environment than the main house and supporting our new young talent.

ROAD TOLL by Sarah Tighe

ONE FOOT UNDER by Jordan Handford


Directed by Leanne Walpole

Directed by Jordan Handford

Directed by Leanne Walpole & Jordan Handford

As Delma settles in for Christmas Eve in front of the TV for Carols By Candlelight, a knock at the door provides some surprising news and a mystery to unravel.

The day of a funeral was never going to be easy. But with the strained relationships with the in-laws, will the deceased get the send off he really deserves?

A nervous Peter awaits his first appointment with his new therapist. All would be fine if it wasn’t for the other patient. Why can’t she shut up and leave him alone?

A Big Thank You! Big thanks to the Bar Ladies who have raised £244.00 for the New Building from their Calendar sales.

Audition Notice • Beyond Reasonable Doubt In the Central Criminal Court of the Old Bailey Sir David Metcalfe, distinguished QC and Chairman of the Bar Council, is conducting the most important defence of his career – his own. Accused of the wilful murder of his terminally ill wife, Sir David finds himself locked in legal combat with his old rival, Anthony Blair-Booth QC, prosecuting council.

Thank you! A Huge “Thank-you!” to everyone involved in the Fundraising Shows in support of the New Building Last Season. Thanks to your efforts, these shows raised the following amounts for the new building during the 2018-19 season.

A play by Jeffrey Archer, Directed by Russell Hughes. Audition dates Audition dates Tues 26 and Wed 27 November 2019. Performance dates Mon 24 February - Sat 29 February 2020 Cast Member Sex Age Court Usher M/F Any Clerk of the Court M/F Any Mr(s) Justice Treadwell M/F Mid 60’s+ Anthony Blair-Booth QC M Late 40’s-mid 50’s Det. Chief Inspector Travers M/F 30+ Sir David Metcalfe QC M Late 40’s-mid 50’s Prison Officer M/F Any Mrs Rogers F late 50’s+ Dr Weeden M/F 40+ Lionel Hamilton M late 40’s-mid 50’s Mr/Miss Cole M/F 30’s Robert Pierson M 30’s Stenographer F (non speaking, may be able to double as Lady M in Act 2) Lady Metcalfe F Late 40’s Unless I have specified a gender or age range the casting will be flexible. The majority of cast are only in Act 1 as either court staff or witnesses. Only Sir David, Lady Metcalfe, Mrs Rogers, Lionel Hamilton & Robert Pierson are needed for Act 2. Scripts are available to borrow from the box office. If you are interested in auditioning please contact me on:t: 07922 979801 e: and let me know which audition you will be coming to. If you would like to audition but cannot make these dates then please let me know and I will arrange to see you another time.

Many thanks to everyone concerned. Please give your full support to Shiv and Julia for the two upcoming special shows for the new building. Raising the Roof Sat 23rd Nov @ 7.30pm (see more on Youtube at t/whats-on/raising-the-roof/) And Autumn Leaves Sun 24th Nov @ 2pm & 7pm

Audition Notice • Blue Stockings This show is about a group of Victorian university girls trying to get their degrees legitimised against a backdrop of misogyny and condemnation. There are opposition from the boys college and men in general. Set in the era of the Suffragette movement, it shows both sides of the dilemma and the start of the reduction of female oppression. I need a large cast. It will be an interesting show with a minimal, moveable set which creates the various lecture theatres/classrooms etc. There will also be doubling up of parts. Scripts will be available from the office for anyone wanting to read it. We start rehearsals on Monday 3rd February, so a good 8 weeks before we start once I have cast it for line-learning etc. Please get involved. A lot of large cast shows are a good way to meet new people and gain experience if you have not done a lot so far. Also a chance for experienced members to reunite with other actors. It will be fun, I can guarantee it. A play by Jessica Swale, Directed by Jane Towers. Audition dates Monday 25th November and Friday 29th November 7.30p.m in the studio. Performance dates Mon 16 March - Sat 21 March 2020 Cast The Girls (all need to look student age. approx 25yrs) Notes Tess Moffat Main student Celia Willbond Returning student. Fragile Carolyn Addison Posh student. Well travelled Maeve Sullivan More working class background student. The Boys (same ages as girls) Ralph Meyhew Lloyd Holmes Edwards Will Bennett

continued overleaf

Love interest of Tess Bullyish, mouthy Can see both sides/sympathetic Bit wimpy/cowardly/insecure Friend of Tess and not a student with the other boys, at another college

The Staff Elisabeth Welsh Dr Maudsley Mr Banks Miss Blake Professor Collins Professor Anderson Professor Radleigh/man in teashop/gardener (Mr Peck) Minnie the housemaid Miss Bott/woman in teashop

Head of Girton. Strict. Playing age 35-60 Renowned psychiatrist. Anti-suffrage, any age from 50 onwards Teaches at both schools. Friend of the girls. Playing age 50 upwards Teacher. Loyal to Girton. Playing age 35 upwards Lecturer of the boys. Ideally 60 upwards but quite old Lecturer. playing age over 60 60 upwards Playing age 20 upwards Severe chaperone to the girls‌.over 40

The Others Billy Sullivan Librarian/shopkeeper

In one scene. Brother of Maeve. 18-30 Playing age 35 upwards.

Apart from the students, I am open to changing ages where this will fit and looks appropriate so please come along anyway. You do not need to email if you are attending the audition, just turn up. Any problems with date or time, my email is:e: t: 07891167305

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Leicester Drama Society Ltd Newsletter: Scene November 2019  

Leicester Drama Society Ltd Newsletter: Scene November 2019  

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