Clavering Players 1945 - present
Amateur drama took to the stage at Clavering Village Hall in 1945 with a group of local enthusiasts called the 'Cheerios'. Apart from providing entertainment, their objective was to raise money to help returning servicemen and women settle down to normal life after six years of war. In the following years to 1959, there were plays and pantomimes put on by local adults and children. The WI was a major influence in keeping things going.
By 1959, the group had become the Clavering Players, usually putting on two productions a year in the spring and autumn with the occasional village concert and children’s production in between. Most of the members lived in and around Clavering with everyone involved in both acting and production. Clavering Village Hall was the ideal venue both for stage productions and for audiences with ample parking. The stage was small but even then somehow it accommodated up to twelve actors at a time without looking overcrowded. In the sixties Diana Zurlinden, a professional actress, joined us and encouraged a wider choice of plays. In those early days, the stage was sometimes enlarged with the help of potato boxes and pallets supplied by Arnold Hitchcock. They were never exactly the same height of course so the performers became expert in where they stood. Now of course we have lightweight extension equipment which can be erected in minutes trebling the size of the stage. Along with state of the art lighting and sound.
The membership gradually widened in the following years as the Players' reputation spread attracting new people from surrounding villages. The Players began to get invitations to take part in drama festivals in towns in the surrounding three counties including Cambridge, Stevenage, Welwyn, Letchworth, Bishops Stortford, Sawston and Haverhill. They also joined the North West Essex Theatre Guild led by Jack Mitchley, a very experienced director, who directed several of our productions to a high standard which we have maintained to the present day. Recent productions include, 'Relatively Speaking', 'The Odd Couple (Female Version)' and a pantomime, 'Cinderella'. Last years festival production, 'Me & My Friend', won first place in the Cambridge Drama Festival, along with awards for Best Actor (Neil Bird), Best Stage Presentation and the Audience Appreciation Award. Consequently, Clavering Players took part in the All Winners Festival at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking at the end of July 2015 where we achieved the runner-up place. Our pantomime in December 2015 was 'Cinderella'.
This year (2016), we have already produced Noel Coward's 'Blithe Spirit', our festival play 'The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the Goldfish' by David Tristram, 'Blue Remembered Hills' by Dennis Potter and our annaul pantomime which, this year, was 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. Oh yes it was!
NB. In 2014, Clavering Players registered as a charity.
We welcome new members. We are a local activity for local people who would like to be involved in what we do, two or three times a year; be it acting, directing, stage management, lighting, sound, costumes, front of house, promotion or just supporting.
Any age, experience not necessary, just enthusiasm.
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