The Mitre Players present NEWSLETTER APRIL 2012 It is always sad when one of our own has some rotten luck, but all Mitres, will, I am sure, want to join in wishing John Bartle, the head of an entire Mitre dynasty, all the very best for a speedy recovery following his stroke in February. Our love and best wishes of course also to his wife Gillian, the Ascotts, Backways and of course the Chambers. We can’t wait to have you back, John and Gillian.
Return to the Forbidden Planet SHAKESPEARE’S FORGOTTEN ROCK
BY BOB CARLTON DIRECTOR: HELEN HARMAN MUSICAL DIRECTOR: COLIN WARNOCK
The Mitre Theatre, Trinity School Wednesday 18th to Saturday 21st July at 7.30 (£10.00) Saturday Matinee at 3.00 (£8.00) Box Office: 07914 763422 or firstname.lastname@example.org or mitreplayers.ticketsource.co.uk The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno: 20th to 24th August 01736 810181 or www.minack.com
The Clubhouse As some may be aware, a while back the TMWA – OMWA as it was at the time – was left a substantial sum by one of the true legends of the Association, Harold Longman, for which we are eternally grateful. Without Harold, we would hardly have an Association, never mind the clubhouse and playing fields that we all take for granted. Overseeing the improvements to our clubhouse and doing a superb job, (may it be noted) is former Mitre Chairman Andy Thompson, who keeps us up to date as follows: Those of you who have been at the club over the last few months will have noticed the paraphernalia and dust of building works over much of the old building. This is Phase 2 of the Clubhouse improvements, consisting of a complete revamp of the original changing rooms and new Ladies, Gents and Disabled toilet facilities, and a new shower room too. The Mitres are also to get a new indoor storage facility for our more precious items, in the old bath room. As you read this, pretty well all of this work, except the new shower room should be completed. We now have a new meeting room annexed from the Snug bar and a sound proofed wall between the snug and the hall, stopping the Mitre rehearsals from being broadcast to those in the Snug and meeting room and the noisy drinkers from being heard during our shows. The Mitres are organising another redecoration of the hall, with a lighter colour being applied imminently to the wall above the dado rail. The Club is now actively seeking lottery funding for Phase 3, which would see a similar upgrade of the old Ladies toilets and changing area, a new disabled entrance on the same end of the Club and a completely refurbished kitchen area with hopefully a snack area for the making of tea etc. when the bar is closed.
We hope all our members find the new surroundings more pleasant and conducive to the friendly atmosphere we try to nurture and will visit the Club for more social occasions or just a chat. It is our Club we need to support it and look after what is now the envy of similar clubs around.
And finally…. Fairly soonish you will be receiving the official notice of the AGM. Please take the AGM seriously – it is the most important meeting that we have. In the meantime, please make a note of the date:- 24th June at 6.00pm.
And now....…The Dinner In February, the annual Mitre dinner took place once again; and a merrier band of merry makers there never was. Our Mitre Annual Dinner correspondent, ‘Fabulous’ David Elder, filed his copy as follows:
Not only do we elect the Committee for the following year – any member can be nominated for election, But it is also an excellent forum for discussion and for deciding the future of the Mitre Players. Please make every effort to attend OR make your views known to email@example.com
With timing worthy of an Alistair McGowan play, the Mitre dinner took place 24 hours before the great snow storm of 2012 hit Surrey, and its National Golf Course. The welcoming warmth of the open fires was soon thawing out the hordes of shivering Mitres, their orange flames spookily reflected by the hue of Mr Warnock‟s shirt. On a night like this there are no real winners – save one! The Society showed its appreciation for years of unsung service by awarding Alan Bishop the Merlin Award, given annually to backstage heroes in memory of Martin Garnett. Les Freres Prix - Price Brothers to you! - ran through the many Bartle Award nominees with Mr Marriott claiming a surprising brace, Andy Holton maintaining a splendid tradition of family success, and Beci Sageman fondly remembered for a radar failure in nabbing the Eileen Coombs Award. Julian Chenery gave the traditional toast to the Society, claiming that the censors had robbed him of the guts of his speech, which reduced, but did not entirely, eliminate much slanderous comment. Perhaps expecting a hint of sympathy from his audience, Mr Chenery bemoaned the fact that Mr Warnock, throughout their long and creative history, had never once seen fit to offer praise to his partner. It was to the surprise of nobody that Colin did not break the habit of a lifetime when Mr Chenery sat down, immediately finding some solace (again!) at the bar. (That was Warnock – Ed.) The evening ended with the now customary exposure of the way in which Mrs Warnock‟s mind works. This is a subject which has taxed many talented professionals, not least her husband, but we are no nearer trying to find an answer. Poor Warwick Jones was tasked to explain the link between various Olympic host cities, after which our tables were named, and an individual seated at said tables. When one of the answers starts “Sydney is a city and Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Tale of Two Cities.......................” any attempt to unravel the unique Mme. Warnock brain was surely doomed. A great evening was had by all and much thanks are due to Julia Gibbs and Anna “Einstein” Warnock for their splendid organisation. Well - if there are any Mitres out there – about 600, it would seem – who have never been to a Mitre Dinner, then it is about time that you SORTED IT!! It really is fantastic fun.
And really finally... (For those old enough..) Now is the time to say goodbye (Goodbye…) Now is the time to yield a sigh (Yield it, Yield it) Now is the time to wend awayeeeeee…! Until we meet agaaaaiiinnn.. Some sunneeee dayyyeee… Well, you know how it goes. Probably. Or the AGM Or at a show sometime soon.
See you at the BBQ Or just stay in touch.
Situations Vacant Would you like to help with Publicity?
Can you spare some time?
Naturally we would like to see full houses at all our performances and fortunately that is often the case. However, all productions benefit from as much publicity as possible, particularly plays and musicals that aren’t too well known. We are looking for someone who can spare a bit of time now and again in the lead up to a production to help with some local publicity. The job would include organising the delivery of handbills to local libraries, railway stations, shops etc, as well as arranging reciprocal publicity with other local dramatic societies etc. The committee will be on hand to bounce ideas off. The job is not onerous and can be fitted in to suit you. If you feel you can help, please speak to Julia Gibbs tonight or call her on 020 8686 2693. Thank you! Calling all potential Directors, Choreographers and Musical Directors With a busy programme of shows, we are always looking for Directors, Choreographers and Musical Directors. As we perform both plays and musicals in various venues with casts of varying sizes, we would welcome “volunteers” with any amount of experience - help and guidance is always available. If you have any suggestions for suitable shows, we would also like to hear from you.
The Return of an Institution. Yes, folks – the near – no, not near – OK, near legendary BISH’S QUIZ NIGHT is back. Or will be on 21st September. And they say that civilisation has come to an end. Anyone called Neil O’Gorman especially welcome in case he wins again. Wait until you see the forfeit this year, old chap!!! And while on the subject of socials and the like… We would like to draw to your attention to our two tier ticket price for some of our social events. For instance, some of you may have noticed at the recent Mitre Dinner that tickets for members were £5 cheaper than for nonmembers. The reason for this two tier system is that the Mitre Players Committee has decided that, on some occasions, we would like to reward our members by offering them a perk in subsidising the cost of their ticket. We aim to continue this policy so that it will be financially more cost-effective to become a member even if you do not feel able to be involved in our productions. There are many non-members out there who support our social events and we hope this will encourage you to become a full member and take advantage of the subsidy. Paul Barclay. Older Mitres will be shocked to hear of his recent sudden death at the age of 55. Paul’s first appearance for the Mitre Players, though uncredited in the programme, was in the Clubhouse production of Man of La Mancha in 1994, where he stood in for Dave Price. Later that year, he appeared in our production of One Flew Over The Cuckoo‟s Nest. In 1995, he was in Swingers in the One Act Festival at the Stanley Halls, Little Shop of Horrors, and also played Wackford Squeers in our memorable production of Nicholas Nickleby. In 1997, Paul appeared in the Minack version of Quasimodo, along with his (by then) wife, Kelli, and followed this by playing Dame in our 1998 pantomime Robin Hoodlum. Paul and Kelli emigrated to Australia soon afterwards. Our deepest sympathies go to Kelli and to their children, Genevieve and Gerard. The funeral was held in Melbourne Cathedral. A memorial service is being arranged in the UK in the not too distant future. Membership and Changes of Address. Just a gentle reminder that there are still a few of you Mitres out there who have yet to pay subscriptions for this year - yes, I know it is hard to believe, but if you could rectify that now, we would be very grateful. Also, if despite the difficulties in the housing market, you have recently moved, please let Julia Ascott, our Membership Secretary know. In spite of all her many talents, clairvoyance isn’t one of them and we really would like to know where you live! Her contact details are:- firstname.lastname@example.org
AND – next year is the 40th year of the Mitre Players in its present incarnation. For those of you with an historical bent, the Mitre Players had a previous persona; it started just after the Second World War. But that is for another day. Next year’s dinner will be a special Special. It will be probably be at about the same time, but please, please, please put it in your diaries as a Must Do NOW. Travel from far - travel from wide. But come to the do. You will be reminded. Now, back to your actual theatre. In February, we presented ‘Is There Life After High School?’ at the Mitre Theatre, Trinity. It was the first show in many an age which sold out all three performances - ok, sold out - less 14 seats. A triumph even by Mitre standards. The Croydon Advertiser raved as follows: This musical with book by Jeffrey Kindley an music and lyrics by Craig Carnelia is perhaps more of a revue as it illustrates the lives of American students during their four years of High School. The show got to Broadway in 1982 and closed after 17 performances. But gradually it increased in popularity and was performed all over the country, achieving cult status. There is no person listed at choreographer and the music and movement by this talented cast was a delight to the eye and the credit therefore goes to Director Diane Jones. The band, under the direction of Colin Warnock, was placed behind the acting area and enabled us to hear and understand clearly, vital for this type of entertainment. Performing on only one level can often become boring and the use of the large dais to vary this added to the variety of performance. The American accent of all the players was extremely convincing, to my English ears, as was their ability to hold a tune. There were nine in the cast; five women and four men – playing a multitude of students in various stages of hope, ecstasy, misery and all the other emotions that adolescents suffer from. The ensemble acting was excellent and although it seems invidious to name individuals from the cast I thought Kevin Hayes‟ banner twirling alone was worth the price of admission) and among the ladies Karen Rapps has the ability to express poignancy without sentimentality. Kevin and Karen – all hail and well deserved praise. But it has to be said that this cast was rock solid, to a man and woman. The band – perfection as you would expect under Colin’s direction; and how wonderful to hear a cello, the sound of which fitted like a glove; and also so good to have a Trinity musician involved with us.
Next: The Minack!!! Now; seasoned Mitres will recall that we have done Return to the Forbidden Planet before. Eleven or so years ago, but done it we have; oh yes, we have done it. And brilliant it was, too; under Charles Marriot’s direction – then – at the club house – it was a true stunner. Years later…under the direction of Helen ‘Our House’ Harman we are away again. It will be sensational. Oh yes it will. Follow our website (please do!) www.mitreplayers.org.uk and do not fail to come to this production, at the Mitre Theatre, Trinity School from 18th to 21st July; and at the Minack from 20th - 24th August. Tickets for both shows are on sale now - full details are on the handbill on the back page of this missive. The fact that Colin W is MD’ing this show too should also make you drool at the thought of buying a ticket. Go on – you know it makes sense. All too often, it has to be said, the backstage Mitres go unsung. Without them we would have no shows. So – please name check and applaud – and this is not an exhaustive list – Alan Bishop who works the lights; James McLeod without whom we would have no sound and we’d all have to project; Alan Collins and Derek Lee – two Stage Managers of extraordinary talent; and there are many, many more whose names would fill this page and without whom, apart from the glory boys and girls (I’m one, by the way!) on stage there would be no shows. At all. And talking of which – sort of – we are running very, very short indeed of directors, and musical directors. We NEED new talent. Willing talent so please – if this is you, or you know anyone; please please, please make yourselves known. Please. Or we may have a teensy weensy problem. Mitres in the news Well – brace yourselves….Ann Bowden, a Mitre treasure, a legend of the theatre, a wonderful woman, THE QUEEN MOTHER HERSELF – is moving to Leicester. She is leaving us. On behalf of everyone who has ever met or performed with Ann, she will be seriously missed. Good luck, much love and fond memories go with you, Ann – and if ever back down this way, do not be a stranger to us. Mary Holton has become a house owner! After 54 years! Well done, Mary. What happened to your props stash?! Calendar Girls - Autumn 2012 Once again the name of Director Di Jones crops up. Calendar Girls will be doing the rounds; a few companies are doing it. Ours will be best. Di will make it a master or even mistresspiece. She writes:-
Ladies, you have no doubt seen or heard that we are performing the famous Calendar Girls this autumn. I just thought I would tell you a little about the play and what it will involve. Firstly, this is a fantastic, beautifully written play, both funny, poignant and powerful. Secondly, it is not just about nudity on stage, in fact the one scene that involves taking the calendar photos happens so quickly and is so carefully choreographed that the audience don‟t see a thing! The play is about how the ladies at a WI in Yorkshire come up with the idea of the calendar, how they are affected by promoting it and how friendships within the group are strained to breaking point by the whole process. As well as the five ladies who are photographed for the calendar, there are three other parts for women and three parts for men . For the men, one is the husband who dies of cancer, prompting the girls to shoot the calendar, one is another husband who helps out and the third is a young photographer who helps the ladies shoot the calendar photos. The other women‟s parts are the Local Chair of the WI, full of hot air and horrified at the thought of a nude calendar, a lovely local beautician who helps the girls prepare for the photo shoot and a cameo of the local „lady of the manor‟, genteel with a large hat! There are some hilarious moments, brilliant one liners and fabulous set pieces. There are also some really sad moments, tender scenes and fierce arguments. In fact this play has it all. So what happens next? Well, come along to the introductory meeting in on Wednesday May 30th at 7.30 pm, look at the script and talk to me about the characters. We will also be auditioning on Wednesday June 13th at 7:30; scripts will be available to peruse nearer the time. Our performance dates are Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th October at the Mitre Theatre. Interested? I hope so. Worried ? Don’t be. I look forward to seeing you. Socials Now your Committee has wracked – or is that racked – its collective brains to come up with some novel ideas for new and exciting socials, but for various reasons have been stymied. The most spectacular wheeze was Pig Racing at the Club. Brilliant. Check it out on YouTube. But it was felt in Certain Quarters that it may have caused damage to some of the grass at Sanderstead. As if…. So, reverting to the tried and tested - ALL are invited to the BBQ at the Club on 22nd June. Given good weather - fingers crossed- they are great fun and if we can get some volunteers THAT’S VOLUNTEERS to organise a softball game, French Cricket.. cook the food.. it’ll be a great night and so watch out for details soon via email and the website www.mitreplayers.org.uk that’s www.mitreplayers.org.uk.