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, and as such, this is my first time here as director.
In the course of a relatively late and limited am-dram career, I feel that my most ambitious and rewarding experiences have been performances of four productions at the Ellenroad Steam Engine Museum in Newhey. The plays were presented in the nearly round (“the thrust”!) and were especially written for the purpose, concerning aspects of the local history or legend of Milnrow. It was not just the challenge of performing in such an unusual environment, it was the fact that everything about the productions was local and community based. They were informative, they each had a message, and, most important, they made the audience laugh.
Going to the theatre, amateur or professional, can and should be an informative or educational experience, it can be challenging, for the cast, the crew and the audience, but most of all I like it to be entertaining. Nothing compares to laughing out loud at something funny said or done in live theatre - the way a pause or the slightest change of timing can turn an innocuous word into an hilarious belly laugh. It should mean that you can leave the theatre feeling satisfied, knowing you’ve enjoyed yourself, smug in the knowledge that you managed to switch off the tele’, make the effort to come out, and it was more than worth while.
Jon Comyn-platt is directing She Stoops to Conquer with Saddleworth Players, from May 28 -June 4. Tickets are available at our Ticketsource booking site.
Jon Comyn Platt, Apr 24, 2016