Saddleworth Players

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 doing a pantomime at University (Cinderella) and spent many happy hours at the Assembly Rooms in Durham. I even managed to fund a summer at the Edinburgh Fringe as the only male member of a right-on female company doing Whale Music by Anthony Mingella on one of the smallest of venues on the Royal Mile. I have spent years supporting my children and Verity on stage at the Little Theatre with The Company of Players in Hertford, and even managed a few trips down to the Minack theatre with Shattered Windscreen performing with children 10,12,14 years old, on the stage overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Lands’ End. I always lost the sword fights in Cyrano De Bergerac with Lulu aged 10!

I have been helping with publicity for Saddleworth Players for a few shows and Jon Comyn-Platt persuaded me to not only do that, but also stage manage She Stoops to Conquer and then get on stage in a small part. I must confess I have loved being a part of the company, and wanted to write a little bit of my story.

Verity and I moved to Saddleworth three years ago and have felt welcomed by the theatre community across the whole area: Guide Bridge, Lyceum, Uppermill Players, Shaw Playhouse, as well as the professional theatres: the Royal Exchange, Home, and the Manchester International Festival.

Saddleworth Players is a tight-knit company, but one that really allows people in the Saddleworth community to get involved in theatre in many ways, in a small part, or a larger part; on stage or back stage; old or very young. Watching Emma (a drama sixth former) showing off the theatre to another sixth former after only a week’s run in a show gave me a real buzz. Seeing people with experience stepping up or people coming back to acting after a break or just starting for the first time in this show shows what is possible on the stage (Darling).

This blog was prompted by a friend from University tweeting a photo this week of young men in the play “Another Country”, where he had directed and I had produced. We loved it. Richard’s passion went on to take him into a career at the BBC, and he become part of one of the UK’s biggest export industries. But it started doing drama in a theatre.

If you are interested in theatre and want to get passionate, come and take the first step. Before long it will be a lifelong passion, or even a career (it can happen to anyone).

Andrew Mann, Jun 3, 2016