Bringing the benefactress to life
Hi everyone. I am Lorraine Reynolds and will be playing the role of Helen Sutherland in this production of the Pitman Painters. This is a very different part from the previous tomfoolery assigned to me via the Farndale Murder Mystery, and the Bronte spoof which both took place at the Millgate earlier this year.
Helen Sutherland, who was a real person, heiress to the P&O shipping line, h...
Nov 7, 2018
The Pitmen and us
I should probably start by saying I know nothing about art! However, the Pitmen didn’t to start with either, so that’s ok then.
What this has meant though is that throughout rehearsals we have been able to go on the same journey these men started 84 years ago. It has felt like we have been doing it right alongside them. So often during rehearsal we stop to simply discuss the art/issu...
Nov 7, 2018
Cut from similar cloth
This play has particular resonance for me. My grandfather left school at 10 years old and my father left at 13. They were both highly intelligent men with a rich inner life which was hardly explored during their early lives. They were voracious readers and found cultural fulfilment through sport and the theatre.
The pitmen in the play are cut from similar cloth and their release from a h...
Nov 7, 2018
I wouldn't be here today if my great-grandfather hadn't injured his leg!
Hi, I'm David Plowright, responsible for lighting, projection and sound for The Pitmen Painters. This excellent play about a real-life group of miners and their search to expand their world reminds me that I wouldn't be here if my great-grandfather hadn't injured his leg, which meant he was not down the pit on 12 December 1866.
His family - fourth generation miners at least - had only j...
Nov 4, 2018
The Young Lad
Wae’aye man! My name is Chris Richardson and I will be causing mischief in the upcoming performance of ‘The Pitmen painters’! My character is simply identified as ‘Young Lad’ . . . I know, charming! Although strange at first not having a name, you quickly realise that there is a clever purpose to it that keeps the themes and events firmly rooted in the social reality of the younger gener...
Oct 31, 2018
Breathing passion, opportunity and desire into The Pitmen Painters
According to Wikipedia, a blog is a “…discrete, often informal diary style text entry.” Dear Lord, how dreadfully dull.
I have an aspiration, therefore, not to provide you with what the definition suggests, as the only thing in which I will succeed is to provide the reader with the most hellishly boring diatribe possible. I have many friends who are able to affirm that I need no f...
Oct 30, 2018
New kid on the block
Hi everbody, I’m Siobhan Ebden and in Out of Sight, Out of Murder, I play Minna the American neighbour come housekeeper. I’ve been a member of SaddleworthPlayers for a couple of years now and you might have seen (met) me doing the coffee’s or on the bar. I have been backstage on a few productions, making the beds four times a night on The Graduate, knocking on the door and making the scenery...
Oct 5, 2018
Review – Out of Sight, Out of Murder
If murder mysteries are a genre of their own Fred Carmichael’s play is one of the stranger examples of the form. It has everything that a thriller should have – a sinister, isolated mansion, dramatic flashes of thunder and lightning and a cast of dodgy characters, any one of whom could be the killer. What makes this play different is that said character, mostly pillaged from the pages of Aga...
Oct 1, 2018
An English butler in an American play
In the days of yore which comprised my youth, there was an American singer called Harold Lloyd Watkins. As he feared that he might not rise to fame and fortune bearing the name of Harold, legend has it that he consulted a road map of the Southern states, where he found a town in Arkansas called Conway and a town in Texas called Twitty. With amazing perspicacity he twinned the two, and once Harold ...
Sep 23, 2018
Playing the lawyer ... once again!
And once again a lawyer. I am Colin Watt and I am playing Jordan Dillingham, the lawyer, in the play ‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Murder’. Being a man, and able to multitask, this is how I start World War 3, I will also be stage managing this show. The last time I played the lawyer was in ‘Laughter in the Dark’ at Greenfield Methodist Players way back many years ago. Since then I have played many...
Sep 20, 2018
Sophisticated, brittle and a wicked flirt!
Hi all, my name is Alayne Whitworth and I’m playing Lydia in the Saddleworth Players upcoming comedy murder mystery ‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’.
This is my third ‘outing’ with the Saddleworth Players. Playing Mrs Reece, the doyenne of the Farndale Dramatic Society in the ‘Farndale Murder Mystery’ and then reprising her in the one act play ‘Sisters, Sisters’ was enormo...
Sep 13, 2018
Moments from Montreux
I am Margaret Thompson and I am playing Miss Fiona Babcock in ‘Out of Sight, Out of Murder’. My character is described as a feisty Agatha Christie type spinster. In other words 'the old character lady'.
When I was asked to play the part of Fiona, I was given a bit of a reality check - me? - playing the old character lady! It only seems like yesterday when I was playing a page boy and...
Sep 6, 2018
A madcap mystery
Hi, I’m Verity Mann and I’m directing Saddleworth Players’ first production of the Season, "Out of Sight, Out of Murder" by Fred Carmichael. We’ve been rehearsing for a couple of weeks now and have had a blast.
At this stage it is all about getting to grips with the characters and relationships and this play is a gift. With the exception of two, the writer and the housekeeper, a...
Sep 4, 2018
‘We are Three Sisters’ – review
We Are Three Sisters by the Yorkshire poet and novelist, Blake Morrison, is an unusual take on the Bronte story. We are invited into the Haworth parsonage which is full of guests, a doctor, a teacher, a curate, and Branwell’s married lover, Lydia Robinson, as well as the Bronte family and Tabby, their faithful servant. The stage is permanently packed – this is not the isolated parsonage of pop...
Jun 4, 2018
The nightmare of three siblings
Hi, my name is Sam and I’m playing the role of Branwell in the Saddleworth Players’ upcoming production of Blake Morrison’s ‘We Are Three Sisters’. My last role here was Pip in ‘Great Expectations’ in December, and before that I was Benjamin in ‘The Graduate’. This time I’m being seduced by another Mrs Robinson!
As we enter the final week of rehearsals before show wee...
Jun 4, 2018
I think we can all agree that Haworth in the 1840s was a pretty terrible place to live. By all accounts it's much improved these days, but it does leave me with a bit of a conundrum. How do I convey what it must be like to reside in such a gloomy place? In order to fully understand this, I took a trip to California.
No, not that one.
Very few people know that there's actually ...
May 24, 2018
Introducing our latest innovation …
Hello. I’m Keith Begley, set designer for We are Three Sisters. I’d like to introduce our latest innovation: the back projection screen! No prizes for guessing that, after its successful introduction for our production of April in Paris, directors are already thinking of how they too can make use of it.
Our next production is about the Brontë sisters and though they lived relatively...
May 20, 2018
Bringing laughter and warmth to the Bronte home
“Cold and dreary”, “The wind never stops blowing!” “and there are midges”. So say the Bronte sisters about their home in Haworth in Blake Morrison’s We Are Three Sisters. Writing at twilight and sewing dutifully during the day, they live surrounded by gravestones, chauvinistic men and consider the immortality of writers.
Our own Bronte girls, Kate Davies, Maye Battersby and...
May 18, 2018
On playing Lydia - the green-dressed monster
Hi, I’m Verity Mann and I’m playing the role of Lydia Robinson, Branwell Bronte’s mistress in We Are Three Sisters by Blake Morrison. It’s a perfect part for me. Lydia flounces on at the end of Act One, flounces off in Act Three and is seen no more. That means that while the rest of the cast are strutting and playing, I’ll be in the Green Room with my feet up and a nice cup of tea! L...
May 13, 2018
Lighting up Paris
Hi, I'm David Plowright, and I've been delighted to have the fascinating role of designing the lighting, sound and projection for 'April in Paris'. Together with the set designer, we've been creating the visual and auditory surroundings for our actors' voyage of discovery from Yorkshire to Paris and back.
The vision of the original director, Melvyn Bates, who sadly had to drop out of t...
Apr 11, 2018
The more we see, the more we don’t know
John Godber’s two-hander April in Paris is the latest offering from Saddleworth Players and runs from 7th-14th April 2018 at the Millgate Theatre, Delph.
Al (Paul Dawson) and Bet (Liz Travis) are a couple whose relationship is marked by boredom, bickering and a lack of joint interests. Unemployed Al’s passion for painting in his shed irritates his long-suffering wife, Bet, and simila...
Apr 10, 2018
April in Paris: a blog by co-director, John L Matthews
Well it’s been a roller coaster week of final rehearsals, two dress rehearsals done in the last two nights. Both shows, even though they were completely different performances, would have been great live shows.
It has been fascinating how much the play has changed in four days. Liz and Paul, the actors, are able to change things really quickly. All I am doing as the director is sitting...
Apr 8, 2018
You don’t get this good at being bad without having a great team
Murder at Checkmate Manor is a play within a play put on by the ‘Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomens’Guild Dramatic Society’. As with all of the Farndale plays, this one doesn’t always go right. The problem is that the rights have to be wrong and the wrongs have to be very right, which requires talent and timing.
The very hard working cast of five produced quite possibly t...
Jan 28, 2018
Felicitations to you all
Hello I’m Felicity. I am excited to be taking part in this Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Murder Mystery.
Married for many years to her husband, Giles and with daughter, Lucy, yet to leave home at the tender age of 36, I enjoy the challenge and escapism which I find in my acting pursuits. My other hobbies include macrame and writing to the Queen. I am yet to recei...
Jan 19, 2018
Hello I’m Thelma. As a founder member of FAHETGDS - and I do take exception to the acronym Fatheads!- I am always excited by our annual production and this year, we have excelled, as I'm sure you'll all agree.
Playing the leading role is a challenge, as always, but one to which I am delighted to rise, based on my extensive experience. I trained at the Trixie Tappy Toes School of Dance...
Jan 18, 2018
I do what I am told
My name is Gordon and I am Stage Manager for the forthcoming ‘Farndale Murder Mystery’.
I have been asked to write this ‘bog’ as apparently it helps bookings and is cheap advertising; and to give some background information about myself (although why anybody would want to know about me is beyond comprehension).
I got involved (actually dragged in kicking and screaming) ...
Jan 17, 2018
Ice and a slice? Of course
Hello there. I’m Audrey and I’m pleased to announce that ‘Murder at Checkpoint Manor’ marks my stage debut with the Farndale Avenue Estate Town’s Women’s Guild. I have, of course had bags of experience with equally reputable companies (my Gigi is still remarked upon in some circles) and I think I can stake a claim to stardom having listened to each of my children practice their LAMDA...
Jan 16, 2018
Welcome from Mrs Reece
Hello dear friends.
My name is Mrs Phoebe Reece and I am the doyenne and Chairwoman of the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society.
Isn’t it a mouthful!
My role(s) within our Dramatic Society are that of Actor, Director, Producer and Writer. Quite the ‘busy bee’ aren’t I? Before I tell you a little bit more about myself, I shoul...
Jan 15, 2018
Becoming Phillip Pirrip
Hi! My name is Sam and I’m playing the part of Pip in the Saddleworth Players’ production of Neil Bartlett’s ‘Great Expectations’. It is the second time I am performing at Millgate Arts Centre after I played the part of Benjamin Braddock in ‘The Graduate’ last March. I’m thrilled to be back and to be taking part in such a wonderful play.
Most of you will be familiar with ...
Nov 30, 2017
Fighting with a recalcitrant wig
'Great Expectations’. At last, my opportunity for an acting role; to appear on stage; to experience the smell of the grease paint; the roar of the crowd. Well, to date it's been weeks of learning lines, fighting with a recalcitrant wig and constructing and unwilling dress. Oh, not to forget the creation of a pair of shoes suitable for a jilted lady of advanced years, to wear for her dramatic dem...
Nov 30, 2017
We’re looking for an actor to play two characters for a show in six weeks’ time ...
If I were to tell you all about the slapping, beating, and whipping I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I was about to introduce a stage re-make of 50 Shades of Grey, but you would in fact be wrong. I am actually introducing a very exciting modern take on Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.
My name is Jake Talbot and I play Herbert Pocket and Mr Wopsle. By accepting the challenge of t...
Nov 30, 2017
Review: Great Expectations, Fulfilled
Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is a sprawling coming-of-age story, a a tale of poverty and wealth, rejection and love, sin and forgiveness, full of colourful scenes and colourful characters that have entered popular culture, and the tale has been translated into many languages and adapted into many media....
Nov 27, 2017
Uncle Pumblechook – overbearing and sanctimonious but a joy to play!
Well, this will be my third Dickensian outing. Many more years ago than I care to think about I played Mr Bumble in a student production at Chester College. Much more recently, but still a year or three ago, one of the parts I played in a Saddleworth Players adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ was Scrooge’s father, who is not to be found anywhere in the original. And now I’m going to play Un...
Nov 27, 2017
“We’d like you to play an oafish snob …
… and also be part of an ensemble.”
When I got this call from Saddleworth Players’ casting, while the first part intrigued me, the second left me uncertain. Not only had I not been on stage for years, the last ensemble piece I had been involved in was probably back in secondary school, for some drama club performance, where the audience most likely consisted of a few enthusiastic t...
Nov 20, 2017
The burning of Miss Havisham, and other sundries
Neil Bartlett's play Great Expectations raises a great many technical difficulties. How do you show an audience Miss Havisham's wedding feast in a confined space; a desperate hunt for an escaped prisoner on the Kent marshes at night; a paddle steamer running at full steam on the river Thames or indeed how do you burn one of your actors when you require her services the next night?
Nov 20, 2017
Looking forward to some great expectations
Hello. I’m Neil Bamford and I play the character of Mr Jaggers in the forthcoming production of Great Expectations by the Saddleworth Players.
Mr Jaggers is first introduced as the man that tells Pip he can look forward to some "great expectations". He is a lawyer who is known in London for never losing. Jaggers is a hard-working, self-made man, who is direct, true to fact, and a good...
Nov 13, 2017
Review: We did give a damn
What an absolute joy to watch! Having come not really knowing anything about the play, and having not been to this particular theatre before, I did not know what to expect. I certainly did not know that I would laugh quite as much as I did for such a prolonged period of time!
My husband and I have been quoting the lines ever since and laughi...
Oct 5, 2017
The nearest thing to real life
Hello, I am Lorraine Reynolds and this is my first time performing for Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre.
I play Miss Poppenghul, the long-suffering secretary to David O. Selsnick.
Miss Poppenghul tries her best to cater to his every whim, whilst feeling perplexed and somewhat irritated by the antics of the men who surround her ... Not much different to real lif...
Sep 22, 2017
A gangster with a typewriter
Hi! My name is Phil Clegg and I play the part of Ben Hecht in the Saddleworth Players’ production of Moonlight and Magnolias.
This will be my fourth appearance at this delightful theatre which is always a favourite of mine. Hecht was considered, at the time, to be Hollywood’s greatest screenwriter. With his fast-paced dialogue and style of writing he was credited for completing sever...
Sep 21, 2017
Prompting for a pacy play
Ciao, I’m David Lyons and I joined Saddleworth Players at the tail end of last season in April.
Here I am now, writing this blog, letting you know about the play I’m prompting for, called Moonlight and Magnolias. At its core the play is a comedy, with an outer shell of farce. Yet, beneath these comic elements is a tragic undercurrent of social commentary. The play is set in 1930s A...
Sep 17, 2017
From Duckling to Northern Ballet to Bagpipes
Hello I’m Colin Watt and I’m stage managing Moonlight & Magnolias.
I started in theatre at the ripe old age of three, as a duckling in the pantomime Mother Goose, at Rochdale Road Methodist Church, mainly because both my parents were involved in theatre, and now 70 years on I am still treading the boards. Through all these years I have played many parts, from chorus to principle, I ...
Sep 12, 2017
Frankly, my dear ...
Hi, I’m Verity Mann and I’m directing Moonlight and Magnolias, our first play of the season, and one of my favourite comedies.
The premise of the play – the re-writing of the screen play of Gone With The Wind is loosely based on fact and the characters all legendary Hollywood greats. Central to the play is David O Selznick, the Producer’s, crazy desire to put Margaret Mitchell...
Sep 11, 2017
Could you give a damn? 1930s Hollywood hits Delph
Saddleworth Players new season at Millgate Arts Centre opens with Moonlight & Magnolias, a delightful screwball comedy that is also a valentine to the golden days of Hollywood.
Legendary film producer David O. Selznick is five weeks into shooting Gone With the Wind when he realizes the script is awful, and that the director doesn't have a clue. He has five days to replace them, and r...
Sep 10, 2017
I never thought I would be Prissy the maid ...
Hi. My name is Mark Rosenthal and I will be playing David O Selznick in the forthcoming production of Moonlight and Magnolias.
This is the first time that I will be performing at Millgate Arts Centre and can't wait for the play to start. Selznick was the notoriously demanding and short fused, Jewish Hollywood producer of Gone with the Wind. The film took three years to make and threatened...
Sep 10, 2017
Style and insanity
Here we go, another season, another play and what a humdinger this one is to start off with!
This extraordinary interlude in the big story of Hollywood is one of those "lift the corner and see what's underneath" tales. I suspect it started off as an anecdote told at dinner parties (no doubt embellished at each telling), the core of the story is historical fact and the rest is more than lik...
Sep 10, 2017
Sahar International Short Film Festival
Just as summer arrives, with its fresh atmosphere, SAHAR will arrive once more in Saddleworth, for the SAHAR international short film festival, taking place on June 24th, at the Millgate Arts Centre.
The Millgate Arts Centre will, for the third year running, turns on its lights as SAHAR spreads its wings to host the pure ideas and creative thoughts of emerging and new filmmakers.<...
Jun 4, 2017
A man of many hats
Hi, I’m Ian Shepherd. I've never acted on stage, but I've spent 42 years at Millgate Arts Centre working on everything from sound and lighting, stage management, to front of house and the bar. My job here at Millgate Arts Centre now is in charge of ticket sales – the lifeblood of an organisation such as ours.
I started this aspect of work when the management committee took the bol...
May 30, 2017
A good story with believable characters
Hello. My name is June Holmes and I play the part of Letty Harnham in the forthcoming production of ‘The Day After the Fair’.
I've been a member of Saddleworth Players for more years than I care to admit to, and over those years have been in a variety of plays, but ‘The Day After the Fair’ is a favourite. It has a good story, with believable characters and a truthful ending. Base...
May 22, 2017
Getting into character
My name is John Tanner and I am playing the part of Arthur Harnham in Saddleworth Players forthcoming production of ‘The Day After the Fair’ at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph. My character is introduced in the script as red faced and solidly built; he is the third in line to hold the chairmanship of Harnham’s Brewery; he is pompous and a bore, so nothing like me of course!
To get ...
May 9, 2017
Cumbersome clothes as a metaphor for life
Hi. I’m Rosemary, playing the part of Anna in ‘The Day After the Fair’. I'd been looking forward to playing love-struck servant, Anna, for a few reasons: the play is based on a short story by Hardy, whose tragic characters I love; it's a story of romance, which I'm inclined to indulge in now and again; and, (and this is the biggie), it's a period drama, and I haven't done one of those in yon...
May 4, 2017
When the magic really starts to happen!
Hello, I’m Verity Mann and I’m taking the part of Edith in The Day After The Fair. As I write we are in our third week of rehearsing, with less than four to go before curtain up. The scenes have been blocked and now it’s a case of learning the lines, fitting the costumes and finessing the action. Edith is a lovely character to play. She’s a refined, charitable vicar’s daughter living...
Apr 29, 2017
Props: 30 seconds of sheer terror!
In order to put on five appealing plays per season, the play selection and casting committee have been busy working up to two years in advance. With casting so far out, and most people’s circumstances fairly fluid, anything can change. Health issues, work commitments, family dramas – all keep the casting committee on their toes and actors on the lookout for plum parts going second time aroun...
Mar 8, 2017
Act one, scene one, scene two, scene ... 14!
It can be quite a challenge to adapt a novel for the big screen, but to adapt a movie for the stage is a whole new ball game. And it’s a brave director who takes on the task of producing a play with a multitude of scenes.
Enter Melvyn Bates who determined how it could be done, but his main concern was the need to make these numerous scene changes quick and easy.
Enter the hap...
Mar 8, 2017
A fabulous role to play
Hi. I’m Samuel Reid, playing the part of Benjamin in ‘The Graduate’. I was first asked to play Benjamin back in August of last year, when I was in Edinburgh performing in a new musical at the Fringe Festival with Samantha Griffiths (Mrs Robinson). I was a little overwhelmed as most of my experience with drama has been in musical theatre – I’ve haven’t acted in a proper play since I was...
Mar 7, 2017
Stage-struck from an early age
Hello! I’m Jill Woods playing Ben’s mother and this will be my fourth production for Saddleworth Players since my first play ‘All in Good Time’ in 2014.
Stage-struck from an early age, I started with dancing classes before moving on to my first play aged 15, when I played Yvonne Chartreuse (a French stripper) in ‘Cat Among the Pigeons’, directed by my dad (fortunately no fles...
Mar 4, 2017
Two down, five to go
Hi. I’m Melvyn, director of the stage adaption of ‘The Graduate’ for Saddleworth Players.
Initially, I was asked to direct Mike Leigh’s comedy ‘Abigail’s Party’ for the March 2017 production at the Millgate Centre, Delph. However, when the society applied to Samuel French for a performance licence, their application was rejected. Apparently, a new professional production of...
Feb 19, 2017
Funny and fast-paced drama in Delph
John Godber’s ‘Teechers’ at Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, is a multi-character play set in 1980s ‘special priority’ Whitewall, a tough comprehensive school where the kids are disengaged and the staff refer to it as Colditz, as they desperately seek an escape route.
Here we meet Salty, Hobby and Gail – about to leave Whitewall and inspired by new drama teacher Mr Nixon to give ...
Jan 30, 2017
The view from the props cupboard
Hi, I’m Emma Hulmes. I am responsible for props in the production of ‘Teechers’. Although I took part in many shows and pantomines as a member of Oldham Theatre workshop as a child, this is my first show with Saddleworth Players, and I am relieved to say I’m not on stage.
‘Teechers’ is a fantastic play and had me in fits of giggles even from the initial script read through wi...
Jan 25, 2017
Getting the measure of school
Hi, I’m Verity Mann and I’m production secretary for Teechers by John Godber, which we’ll be bringing to the stage 26th January–4th February.
Being production secretary means that now, with just two weeks to go, I’m in the happy place of having done the initial ringing round and sending out of the production schedule, so I can now sit back and enjoy the rehearsals with nothing ...
Jan 23, 2017
Ten days and counting
Ten days to go and director, the inimitable Colin Green, phones me up and asks me if I’d be interested in a part at Saddleworth. I’m always interested – it’s a great place to work - but this one’s in 10 days’ time and I haven’t seen the script yet. (9 days and counting…)
To be fair, I have seen Teechers before so I know what’s involved: Lots (to pre-empt the obvious que...
Jan 19, 2017
Duck for cover
Hi, I’m Melvyn, the prompt for Teechers by John Godber.
In the early 1950s I attended Hathershaw Infants/Junior School situated on Ashton Road, Oldham. At the time, the school had an excellent reputation academically/sporting/and behaviour wise and I can remember spending some very happy days there.
However, something that has stuck in my mind over the years is one particula...
Jan 19, 2017
Hi, I’m Keith Begley, the stage director and set builder.
In bringing Teechers to life, the cast and crew have been reminiscing about their school days. My school memories are a bit different to say the least! I went to seven different schools in various parts of the country and the longest ‘stay’ was 3 years in South Wales back in the 1850’s. Actually it was in the 1950’s, but...
Jan 17, 2017
Getting ready for the world
Hi,I’m Colin Green and am the director for the forthcoming production of John Godber’s ‘Teechers’ for Saddleworth Players.
I have been involved in amateur theatre since 1983 in the Oldham area, initially in musicals and then plays at various theatres across the North Manchester area.
I have a particular fondness for John Godber’s plays as they are written to be extrem...
Jan 17, 2017
Teechers – all about remembering your queues
Hi, I’m Verity Mann and I’m production secretary for Teechers by John Godber, which we’ll be bringing to the stage 26th January–4th February.
Being production secretary means that now, with just three weeks to go, I’m in the happy place of having done the initial ringing round and sending out of the production schedule, so I can now sit back and enjoy the rehearsals with nothin...
Jan 14, 2017
Back to my school daze
Hi I’m Liz and I am playing Hobby in the forthcoming production of Teeachers at Saddleworth Players.
As a cast and crew we have been asked to write a blog about our school days. This was met with groans from a number of us along with the phrase ‘I hated school!’ Not me, I loved high school. I went to the local comprehensive which I treated as my local youth club not being particul...
Jan 9, 2017
We need a hero! (Preferably a physicist)
Hi all. My name is Jason Sharp and I have been asked to write a short blog for Saddleworth Players having stepped into the role of Salty in their upcoming play Teechers by John Godber. The play was written in 1984 when I was already too old to play a 16-year-old, so as the play says ‘you will have to use your imagination’.
In an attempt to aid your imagination, we have been asked to s...
Jan 7, 2017
Fast-moving and highly entertaining, Teechers evokes life at a comprehensive ‘sink’ school in the 1980s. Using the format of an end-of-term play, the new drama teacher's progress through two terms of recalcitrant classes, cynical colleagues and obstructive caretakers is reviewed. Disillusioned, he departs for a safer private school, but not before making his mark on three classmates whose inte...
Jan 7, 2017
Secrets and angels
Entertaining Angels opens in the garden of the vicarage with Grace, the widow of the late vicar, Bardy facing up to the reality of having to give up her home of 30 years to a new incumbent, Sarah, and increasingly irritated by her missionary sister, Ruth, who has travelled from Uganda to be with her. Even her daughter, Joe, a psychotherapist, seems at this stage to be more of a hindrance than a h...
Dec 1, 2016
Deep into the rehearsal period now, we are all enjoying exploring the many issues affecting our characters and debating the themes of the play. Having always had a thing for ancient mythology and religion, half hoping in some cases, but preferring to stay open minded about the whole thing, my mind took a wander down the mystical route today so I thought I'd share one of my many ponderences (my own...
Nov 30, 2016
Entertaining Angels – a view from the audience
What a good play with an interesting plot. Four women coming together, sharing confidences and wanting reparation. The two sisters, Grace and Ruth, played by Elizabeth Beech and Sue Radcliffe were excellent. They were supported by a brilliant Rev Bardolph (Andrew Wilson), Jo (Kate Davies) and Sarah (Jill Woods).
I found myself getting quite cross with some of the things the sisters said...
Nov 28, 2016
A matchmaker made in heaven
Hi, I'm Elizabeth Beech playing Grace in Entertaining Angels.
I have been a member of Saddleworth Players since I was 17 so you could say I'm a veteran. I joined the Junior Players when it was at the old theatre across the road. I was 3rd witch in a production of Macbeth complete with black bubblegum on a front tooth. (Bubble gum features in this play too so a bit of a theme going on the...
Nov 28, 2016
The beauty of change
The cast and I have been rehearsing this play since the middle of September with the intention of getting to know the characters. We've looked at the relationships within the story.
It's a beautiful play that addresses the way in which we deal with change. It has moments of seriousness, sensitivity and, because it deals with human behaviour, there and is also much laughter.
Nov 19, 2016
Our happy little band of people
We are well into rehearsal time for Entertaining Angels as I write this. I am enjoying the rehearsals very much. The cast consists of only five actors. Two of them I already knew well and I have often enjoyed working with them before. The other two I did not know at all and it has been so nice to get to know the lovely Jill and Kate.
We are a happy little band of people who are all worki...
Nov 17, 2016
Just wait until art can imitate life
As I watched the other night sipping my Sanatogen and brandy in a torpor of disbelief, I realised in a numb kind of way this was a disaster unfolding, on a Cecil B DeMille scale (cinematic ref here I realise, but you probably get my drift). “Teflon” Trump (I lay claim to this as I’ve just made it up) has won the Presidential election by a convincing margin. This, ladies and gentlemen, people...
Nov 15, 2016
Set, game and match
Hi, I’m Keith Begley, the set builder (I do have help for which I am very grateful, because without it I would be very hard-pressed to complete the job in time for curtain-up).
We set-builders enjoy the work for a variety of reasons: we like building things, we like the challenge of meeting the specification and we like having something useful to do. Mainly we like being involved in t...
Oct 6, 2016
Overcoming the challenge
Hello My name is Cameron Kennedy.
I am a 17 year old college student from Droylsden, studying Graphic Design, Media studies and film studies at Ashton Sixth form. I am also an acting student at the Manchester School of Acting.
This is my first play with Saddleworth players. I have previously preformed with several other theatre companys such as Guide Bridge theatre, Hyde Litt...
Sep 29, 2016
Feeling terror at your entrance
Hello, I'm James. I could start this by telling you a bit about me and how I got involved in the theatre, but instead I thought I'd start by explaining a word which hasn't really been used for about 200 years or so. Bear with me.
Feague is a term from around the 18th century that means to put a live eel up a horse's bottom. Apparently, this was a horse dealer's trick to make an old horse...
Sep 27, 2016
I can't stand the confusion in my mind
How do you do? My name is Andy Hoyle and I adore writing blogs. That’s right, I love them. And I also love the theatre. So what a coincidence that my two favourite pastimes have dovetailed nicely together for me today. I am beside myself with joy. With that being said, I now face a challenge. What to right about?
Should I introduce myself and my chequered history in amateur theatre? Um...
Sep 25, 2016
At home in the part
Hello! I'm Esther Weetman! And for those who have been coming to Saddleworth players for a number of years, yes, I am John and Jo Weetman's daughter!
I've been acting since I was about 7 years old, with one of my first plays being at Saddleworth Players called "The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew" which featured the whole Weetman clan - including my grandad, Philip Weetman (you may know h...
Sep 23, 2016
Preview: Spring and Port Wine
There has been quite a lot of pungent cooking in the theatre lately. The Saddleworth Players revival of Bill Naughton's family drama features a plate of herring. Perhaps there should be a new term for this kind of gritty culinary realism - kitchen stink drama.
Spring & Port Wine is a northern comedy set in Bolton. A family play about a family. A play about relationships between siblings....
Sep 22, 2016
Our family - whatever that is …
Hello I’m Edwina Rigby and I’m playing Mother in Spring & Port Wine.
I was asked to present a picture of my family, but which one? We all belong to lots of families, and this is exactly the point Andrew Mann is making. He is encouraging us to focus on the relationship we have with each other when we come together to produce a play, and also to engage with our extended family, our am ...
Sep 21, 2016
Rob Fitton - directing a swan song
Hello I’m Rob Fitton.
Welcome to the first production of the new season. This is my 46th year in amateur theatre and during this time I have met hundreds of the nicest people you could wish to meet.
I was a relatively late starter in the amateur dramatics. My first production whilst in my late twenties was joining the cast of The King & I playing seven (7) parts (including a ...
Sep 19, 2016
Work to be done in the summer
Close to the end of a very successful season, our thoughts turn to using the summer period (our "dark" time) for DIY and building improvements.
We have tried, over the years, to do something in the way of building renovation every summer, and this year we hope to have builders swarming all over the building from mid June to September, and be ready to open the theatre doors in time for our ...
Jun 17, 2016
I confess: it all started in a theatre
Hello. I’m Andrew Mann and I have a secret confession: I love the theatre. I love the storytelling, the creative buzz through the rehearsal period, designing the show, costumes lighting sound and set. The publicity stories and the adrenalin rush as you get into show week. The teamwork and the audience reaction. But most of all I love the PEOPLE involved in theatre.
I met my wife Verity d...
Jun 3, 2016
She Stoop to Conquer – review
by James Sheard
Saddleworth Players bring Oliver Goldsmith's play alive in the Millgate Theatre. The play is set in rural Lancashire, which is really brought home by the wonderful acting and entirely convincing Lancashire accent of Helen Dawson. I tried to categorise the play; a parody? a farce? a pantomime? The truth is, it’s a mixture of all these things, either way it’...
May 30, 2016
A servant to the gentry
I’m Ian Crickett and once again I’m a servant to the gentry in a Saddleworth Players production. I’ve been Lord Goring’s urbane manservant Phipps in ‘An Ideal Husband’, the tortured conscientious objector Maitland, household servant of Mrs St Clair in ‘The Chalk Garden, and as well as playing a doctor and a Regency fop, I was Squire Allworthy’s unnamed lackey...
May 24, 2016
Getting dramatic? You bet
Hello! I'm Sam Rowlands, you probably haven't seen my face before, as I'm relatively new to Saddleworth Players. I'm currently cast to play George Hastings in She Stoops to Conquer, which starts way too soon! (May 28th)
Having studied Drama at college (on a bet, with a friend who is now starring in Legally Blonde with Ellesmere Port Musical Theatre Company!), and through school shows, se...
May 13, 2016
Devilishly clever or desperately thick?
Hello there! I’m Andrew D. Wood, and I play Tony Lumpkin in ”She Stoops to Conquer” at Millgate Arts Centre, May 28-June 4.
I have been with Saddleworth Players, on and off, for about seven years now, and have acted in a variety of plays, but I have to say, She Stoops is possibly the oddest one I’ve been involved in. I have acted in farce as Clem Pepp in Alan Ayckbourne’s “Impr...
May 9, 2016
Love is in the air
Hello, I’m Andrew Wood, I have been a part of Saddleworth players for about eight years now, and I am currently playing Tony Lumpkin in She Stoops to Conquer, May 28 - June 4. If you would like tickets to come and see us click here.
A long time ago, before I joined Saddleworth Players, there were a lot more things to get ...
May 1, 2016
From panto dame to Saddleworth Players director
Having abandoned a 30 year interest in local politics in 1999, I returned to the amateur stage two years later, after a 30 year break. Following an initial appearance as Pantomime Dame in Milnrow, I have since been involved in over 60 productions, in Milnrow, Oldham, Saddleworth, Droylsden and Guide Bridge. Eleven of these have been in productions for Saddleworth Players, but always as an actor,...
Apr 24, 2016
She Stoops to Conquer: preview
Written by Oliver Goldsmith in 1773, She Stoops to Conquer is a comedy, bordering on farce, which still makes audiences laugh out loud almost 250 years later. Its underlying message, concerning the role of women in society, and the hopeless inadequacies of man, are still relevant, but it is the fun and entertainment of the play which has appealed to audiences since the time it was written.
Apr 20, 2016
The Handyman: review
The Handyman by Ronald Harwood is a play with two themes: a did-he-do-it mystery with a deeper thought provoking pondering the question of guilt and retribution for acts committed during the Second World War.
In The Handyman, the crime (participation in the massacre of 817 Jews in 1941) is a potentially tricky business because of the 55 year time lag. It was written in 1994, just after t...
Apr 2, 2016
Preview of The Handyman
Cressida and Julian Field live comfortably in the English countryside with their elderly Ukrainian odd-job man and friend of the family, Romka. Suddenly the police arrive. What has Romka done? Is he guilty? Is there a time limit on revenge and punishment?
The Handyman by Ronald Harwood is a play with two themes: a real did-he-do-it? drama, but also one that ponders the question of guilt ...
Mar 28, 2016
Musical Society perform in May
Saddleworth Musical Society will be performing Haydn’s “Creation” at Uppermill Civic Hall on Sunday 8th May from 7:30pm.
The Society is delighted to welcome guest soloists, George Hulbert (bass), Chris Dodd (tenor) and Marie Louise Lane (soprano), to join the choir in singing this wonderful piece, accompanied by full orchestra. The oratorio celebrates the creation of the world...
Mar 28, 2016
A play with special resonance
Hi, I'm June Holmes. I've been a member of Saddleworth Players for nearly 50 years, during which time I've done stage management, prompt, costumes and acted in more plays than I can remember - farces, tragedies, comedies, pantomimes and even a couple of musicals!
The Handyman, however, is a play with a special resonance for me.
At the age of 8, I moved house and went to a new scho...
Mar 28, 2016
Hello, I'm John Hoyle.
Last time I was on stage at Saddleworth, I fell over and pulled the back wall of the set down with me because I'm an idiot. I knocked out two old dears, a small child and a dachshund. I hope said idiocy doesn't extend to this production which is arguably a more sombre affair (though I am aiming for major belly laughs). Maybe it'll be another six years before they i...
Mar 26, 2016
My passion with theatre started with Elaine Sugden …
Hi. My name is Steve Bennett and I am the director for The Handyman by Ronald Harman.
I discovered theatre at thirteen when I decided that being in the school play was my best chance of spending time with Elaine Sugden. Turned out Elaine had other plans, but it didn’t matter because I was hooked.
Fast forward 10 years. I was walking past Playhouse 2 in Shaw when a bloke with ...
Mar 24, 2016
The mother of all hobbies
Hello, I am Stephen Hendren and I'm playing Detective Mather in Saddleworth Players' production of The Handyman, from 2-9th April.
My involvement in amateur theatre began at the grand old age of nine, when my mother, desperate to cure me of chronic shyness, packed me off to the “Happy Kids Theatre Group.”
My first appearance on stage was as the white rabbit in a musical ad...
Mar 22, 2016
Setting the scene – the different faces of the stage
Hi, I am Jan Wieringa and I joined the team of set-builders at Saddleworth Players in February 2015, after only a few of weeks into my retirement from the NHS following 32 years of service. I must say, so far, it has been very enjoyable.
Whilst getting into the swing of things I thought of taking a series of pictures along the way as we were building the sets. A kind of work in progress...
Mar 17, 2016
My ageing recollection things thespian are usually joyful
Hello I’m Ian Perks, playing Roman Kozachenko (Romka) in The Handyman from 2-9th April.
I was introduced to amateur theatre by my much loved Dad in 1958. (I always did what he told me.)
In 1970 I joined Saddleworth Players when performances were in the Mechanics Institute which is now the car park. I helped in a small way to convert the Co-op building into the current theatr...
Mar 16, 2016
So you can act, can you?
Hello, I’m John Tanner.
“So you can act, can you?” were the words that first welcomed me to Saddleworth Players when I handed in my membership form in 1973! Words that still haunt me 60+ plays later over the next 43 years.
I had a small role in the opening play ‘Italian Straw Hat’ a French Farce; playing butler to John Kenworthy who taught me everything I needed to kn...
Mar 14, 2016
I’m Nobbut an owd Moorender from t’Dales
Asked to write a blog, I’m sure Tommy Dixon would reply, ‘I’m nobbut an owd moorender from t’Dales and I don’t rightly know what a blog is.’ But then Tommy was only a character in a play and he supposedly lived around 1810.
I’m Ian Crickett, who played Tommy in ‘The Cracked Pot’ at Saddleworth players and it’s 2016. However it’s the first time I’ve been asked to wri...
Mar 5, 2016
A story that inspired a lifetime interest in theatre
Hi I’m David Plowright.
The BBC reports this week that, 50 years ago, the world's then most famous celebrity couple descended on an English university to star in Marlowe's Dr Faustus, alongside a student cast and crew. Richard Burton took the title role and his new wife, Elizabeth Taylor, made her st...
Feb 16, 2016
The view from a drama student
Hi, I'm Emma Sykes and I've played Meg in our performance of The Cracked Pot and I'm studying A level drama at Oldham Hulme Grammar.
I have been involved in two other plays here before, the first one being All In Good Time and the other, A Passionate Woman but this is the first time I have had an acting role and there's one word for it – amazing!
Even though I've only had a s...
Feb 15, 2016
The morning after the night before
This hobby of mine is hard work but I wouldn't be without it.
Sunday morning... the one after the final performance of a production you've just been involved in. I'm specifically referring to 09:00 am 7th February 2016, the one after the final performance of Saddleworth Players production of 'The Cracked Pot'. I'm exhausted!
Hello I'm Tracey Rontree and being battle axe, Martha...
Feb 8, 2016
Why don’t you try it?
How do? My name is Andy Hoyle and I am playing Leslie Dixon in Saddleworth Player’s production of The Cracked Pot.
I’ve been in two other productions here; I played the Arthur Fitton in All In Good Time, a young newlywed struggling to consummate his marriage (don’t ask me why the casting committee thought of me, I’m sure it wasn’t personal). I also played Tom in Accrington Pal...
Feb 6, 2016
View from another first time Saddleworth Player - Jo Hough
Hello, I’m Jo Hough and I have been playing Eve in The Cracked Pot at Millgate Arts centre in Delph … and what an experience it’s been! I can honestly say I’ve loved every second of it.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been testing moments where I felt like this ‘Yorkshire guff’ (as Judge Walter so eloquently put it!) would never stick in my mind! But with such an amazing and s...
Feb 6, 2016
Two firsts for Alex as Judge Adam at Saddleworth Players ...
Hello, I'm Alex Farkas and I think that I would like to say how much I have enjoyed playing at Delph.
The Cracked Pot has seen two firsts for me - my first lead role, and what a challenge that has been!, and my first time at Delph. I have absolutely loved both!
Playing Judge Adam has by far been the biggest part I have ever played and it has been a tremendous challenge learnin...
Feb 5, 2016
Instantaneous culture shock
Hello , I’m Stuart Coleman and my Indian Travel Expedition is on at Millgate Arts Centre.
As some of you know, my wife Charlotte and I recently spent seven weeks touring Northern India. As independent travellers we followed a rather circuitous route through Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim.
I'd been to Nepal before so expected a degree of familiarity bu...
Jan 27, 2016
Can you hear me at the back?
We have recently undertaken some improvement work to our induction loop system which is a facility available at Millgate Arts Centre for hearing aid users. Simply by switching hearing aids to the ‘T’ or T-coil position, you can take advantage of the system which relays on-stage audio directly into hearing aids.
We are also now taking a proactive approach to testing the loop system...
Jan 26, 2016
The Cracked Pot dialect
Are you a gawky fustylugs, or a flappytonged dunderknowle? Would you take offense if someone called you a crammly drabbletail or a caufheaded gammerstang?
This is no whiffle-waffle or blish-blash for the rafflepack, nor is it an early version of Lewis Carroll’s Jaberwocky. This is a taster of the rich vein of Yorkshire dialect mined to bring the translation of Heirich von Kleist’s Der...
Jan 24, 2016
Creating the illusion
Hello, I’m Edwina Rigby and I’m doing Costumes for “The Cracked Pot” with Saddleworth Players.
There are actors who have to first get the "voice" before the character will come, there are those who have to consider their motivation. I like to have a little of the set around me, before I can imagine myself in another life, but for many it is the costume, or the wig or even the sho...
Jan 22, 2016
A view from a first time Player
Hello I’m Chris Morris, and The Cracked Pot is the first play I have been in with Saddleworth Players.
Walking in to rehearsals for a new production is always a little nerve-racking. Reading the script for the 1st time, stumbling over the lines, you naturally feel self-conscious. When it is with a new society this is somewhat more intensified, so I was glad that Alex Farkas would be ther...
Jan 21, 2016
The Cracket Pot - a director's view
Hello I’m John Rhodes , and I am directing “The Cracked Pot”; my first time at Saddleworth Players but with lots of other directing experience.
You never know when you come to an amateur dramatic group for the first time just what you will be faced with. There are so many variables. So much can go wrong but equally so much can go right. In the case of Saddleworth Players it is the ...
Jan 15, 2016
Yorkshire vs Lancashire
In a small town, a family heirloom is smashed. Its owner, Martha, believes the guilty party to be her daughter's fiancé, and she wants the local judge, Adam, to have him convicted. But there are strong hints that Adam himself is to blame, and we watch him desperately shifting suspicion away from himself. Unfortunately for Adam, a visiting magistrate from Manchester is watching, too – will Adam...
Jan 13, 2016
A passionate play
Hello. I’m Melvyn Bates and I directed Saddleworth Players production of “A Passionate Woman”.
The most satisfying aspect of my production was the strong support I received from everyone at Saddleworth Players. I have previously worked with three of the four cast members so I was familiar with their capabilities. On meeting Shane, who was cast as Craze, it was apparent that he was ...
Dec 13, 2015
Setting a passionate woman alight
Hello, I’m David Plowright and I designed and ran the lighting for Saddleworth Players production of “A Passionate Woman”.
Set a play in an attic, on the roof, and even above it, it premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, with the house on a revolve and where effects such as - well, a balloon against a blue sky - can be flown to a height of 10 metres.
Now adapt the pla...
Dec 11, 2015
I went off in a balloon a long time ago
Hello, I’m Sue Radcliffe and I played Betty in the recent “A Passionate Woman” by Saddleworth Players.
My daughter and grand children live in New Zealand. I returned from my latest trip out there on 23rd September. On the 24th September I was at the first rehearsal for A Passionate Woman. I'm glad to say that I didn't start to fall asleep by 9 o'clock at the rehearsals that foll...
Dec 10, 2015
Go you passionate Players
I haven’t experienced the range of emotions that I felt when I watched Saddleworth Players' performance of Key Mellor’s “A Passionate Woman”. I laughed out loud, and then the next minute was stunned into a silence by the thought-provoking insight into the tensions of a secret family life.
The community of cast and crew at Saddleworth players took Kay Mellor’s script and create...
Dec 9, 2015
A débutante at Saddleworth Players
Hello I’m Shane Barry.
I'd always known of the reputation that Saddleworth Players had. So, after nine years since my last performance, I thought I would see if they would be interested in taking me on as an actor. Being at the right place at the right time, there was a part due to be cast in Kay Mellor's A Passionate Woman.
First I met up with Edwina (the Chair), who ...
Dec 7, 2015
A shattering secret changes family life forever in this funny and heartfelt comedy
It is hard to say which is more remarkable, the play itself or the story behind it. A Passionate Woman is the captivating tale of Betty's loveless marriage, her "bit of a thing" with the Polish neighbour in the flat below, and the grief she kept secret for 30 years after he was shot dead.
But it is the "back story" that makes it even more poignant. Veteran TV writer Kay Mellor based it on a...
Dec 7, 2015
It's a pretty straightforward set …
"It's a relatively straightforward set" they said (is there such a thing?). Then they ask for the fiddly bits and all of a sudden it becomes another set of problems to solve.
Set building is a very satisfying experience, not especially arduous and with enough people not especially time-consuming. And when you are working with people like Jan and Verity it is especially rewarding, as our jo...
Dec 7, 2015
New ticket agency
We are very pleased to announce that Delph Library is now a fully equipped ticket agency for all Saddleworth Players events at Millgate Arts Centre. You can telephone or call in at any time during normal opening hours. The booking number will remain 01457 874644. The library is open 5 days a week: Tuesdays 2pm–5pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays 2pm–7pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30am–1...
Aug 26, 2015
Charity night remembers Greg Sherrington
Playhouse 2 in Shaw will be remembering Greg Sherrington – a regular at Saddleworth Players as well as numerous other local theatres – with their forthcoming production of Two, by Jim Cartwright.
Greg was a regular in the Pace Egg, performed as a street play every Easter, which raised money for Springhill Hospice in Rochdale. After his recent death, it was decided to dedicate the cha...
Aug 26, 2015
New season announced for the Players
Saddleworth Players has announced the plays and dates for its 2015-16 season.
The season starts with Theft, by Eric Chappell, a light-hearted farcical comedy about what happens when a couple get home mid-burglary. Following that, will be Kay Mellor's A Passionate Woman, a heartfelt drama about how life and love may not be how it was remembered.
2016 kicks off with The Cracked P...
Aug 26, 2015
Lighting up the MAC
Millgate Arts Centre staff are currently in the process of upgrading much of the lighting in the bar, foyer and other areas to LED technology. LED’s have revolutionised lighting in recent years using a fraction of the energy and giving very long lamp life. The work is intended to reduce the centre’s carbon footprint, reduce energy consumption and reduce maintenance.
The upgrade f...
Aug 26, 2015
American Express good to go
For the new season, customers will be able to book tickets using American Express cards at the box office, in addition to most other debit and credit cards.
American Express options have previously only been available to customers purchasing tickets via our website....
Aug 26, 2015
MAC is now a free WiFi zone!
We have recently upgraded our WiFi system to provide improved coverage throughout the building. It is available to all visitors to Millgate Arts Centre, but please remember to switch mobile phones to silent during performances.
In line with our child protection policy, a content filter is in operation and will block access to certain sites....
Aug 26, 2015