BackStagers and Thespians

Saturday Girl checking in on Saturday 1497 – 19th November 2011

A little over 3 years ago I made changes in my life. A relationship I was in ended and I decided if I was going to move then I would move to be near my daughter in Cambridgeshire.

The only person I knew in this part of the country was my daughter but I was lucky enough to meet a lovely woman called Gill and she mentioned that she was in an Amateur Dramatics group called BacStage, who just happened to be based in a village less than 10 mins drive from where I’m living.

Now I loved drama and performing when I was at school but hadn’t acted in anything since I was 17 and as I reckon I only have 1500 Saturdays left ( well 1496 now ! ) you will realise 17 was a loooooong time ago, but I had determined I wasn’t going to sit about at home and mope so I joined the group when they were well into rehearsals for one of their productions.

On the first night I attended rehearsals a member of the cast was unable to take part and I was asked if I’d like to read in… Oh my word how nervous was I but I needn’t have been because everyone was so friendly and I really enjoyed it. In fact I was well and truly hooked.

So my connection with BacStage was firmly established and I have taken roles in several productions since; including the front end of a Pantomime Cow called Daisy. How much fun was THAT !!

Saturday 1497 just happened to be the final night of the current production, How Does Your Garden Grow by Geoff Bamber  (which had nothing to do with gardens but everything to do with the goings on in Lakeview Hotel )

I didn’t audition for a part in this play as I’d been in the previous 2 and was “resting dahling” ( probably wouldn’t have got in anyway as the competition was fierce! ) but helped by being available for reading in when a cast member was unable to attend rehearsals and on this Saturday helping with “front of house” ; selling raffle tickets etc ( and attending the after show party of course!)

It’s hard to explain, to anyone who has never acted, how much is involved in producing and preparing for an Amateur Dramatic production including that often daunting task of learning all the lines ( increasingly difficult with advancing years!)  but it’s all worth it as there’s nothing quite like the sound of laughter when you have delivered a perfectly timed comic line or indeed like the applause at the end of the night. It’s what keeps Amateur Thespians coming back for more!

BacStage is very fortunate because as well as those who like to act we have excellent people in the group who build and paint the most amazing sets ( Nick and his team) as well as some who are prepared to direct; in this case most ably done by Peter. The whole group takes responsibility for costumes, props, for building and dismantling stage and lighting for each production; a real labour of love.

I thought I’d show you a few pictures of what it’s like back stage as this is a view rarely seen by an audience; with wigs, hats and helmets going on and look out for make-up artist Jo (making the young look older and the old look younger ! ) , the all important lighting and sound wizard Martin and prompt for this night Carol (thankfully little used) ending with a view of the after show buffet.. ( food may well feature a lot in this blog!)

Enjoy!

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I will end with what for me was one of the most memorable moments of the play, when Tessa, who played a senior bank official !, came out from hiding behind the hotel counter wearing the most amazing tights ( and red velvet knickers!) which elicited a gasp from the audience. She’s a great sport!

That’s it from Saturday Girl for this week. Come back next week to see what I get up to on Saturday 1496!

Ps  I ordered my new camera today so hopefully the quality of the photos will improve! I really could have done with it today with the low lighting levels.

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11 comments on “BackStagers and Thespians

  1. Geoff Bamber says:

    Helen
    Have belatedly come across your blog references to BACS production of ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’ in November. I hope you enjoyed your involvement and will continue to do so in further productions. Best wishes to yourself and all at BACS.

    Geoff Bamber
    Writer – How Does Your Garden Grow?

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Thank you for stopping by Geoffrey, this was posted in the very early days of my blog… Bacstage had the best fun performing your play as it’s so well written and has some killer lines that had our audience roaring with laughter 🙂

  2. mimo khair says:

    It sounds like a great adventure! I loved peeking into the backstage world through your photos too! Way to go!

  3. scillagrace says:

    Brava! Having worked for a non-profit children’s theater group for the last 7 years, I totally understand the lure of the stage. The last production I did with them included my husband, my son and my youngest daughter in the cast. That was about 6 years ago. Great fun, and you’re never too old for it!

  4. Tessa says:

    thanks for your kind comments – the photo is flattering – well for me it is, for despite the rather large thighs I’m sporting, it takes years off my age – I fear your new camera may not be so flattering. I was amazed to learn you hadn’t acted for so many years – you are such a natural at it

    • mary haren says:

      well done Helen. that reminds of the 12 years we spent doing the shows in cavan from 1989 to 2001. I was on the committee for the first 2 years and ended up making costumes, doing make up, painting sets and prompting. For the next 10 years i was in the chorus as a nun, a member of the salvation army, an egyptian, a cow girl, a maid, the list goes on. It was a great time in my life and we had such fun. I hope your Backstage group continues to thrive.

      • hellenjc says:

        I remember seeing you and the 2 Carmel’s in some of them Mary ( even though I hate musicals…unless it’s West Side Story of course !) Annie Get Your Gun particularly sticks in my mind for some reason 🙂
        Bacstage has been going for many years, long before I joined and I’m sure will keep going for many more..

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