Musical Mania, April 2013
25th - 27th April at the Carnegie Room, Thetford
The Thetford Players recent production, “Musical Mania”, took place to a packed house on the evenings of Thursday 25th, Friday 26th and Saturday 27th April.
The enthusiastic audience were treated to a collection of 24 uplifting songs with inspirational meaning and dance sequences from musicals dating from the 1950’s through to the present day, with small scenes performed from some of the featured musicals. These were carefully selected by Director Mandy Davis and Assistant Director Amy Reader, both who had solo parts during the show.
There were solos performed for the first time by junior members Charlie Jeffries, James Barrow, George Davis, Lilly Connaughton and the youngest aged just 8 years old – Henry Bennett, who sang “Little People” from Les Miserables, whilst new member Amanda Frost sang “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked. Other songs were performed by established members, supported by a very committed and hard- working chorus, and included “One Day More (Les Miserables), “Bright New Day” (Blood Brothers), “I’m a Believer” (Shrek), “We Once Were Kings” (Billy Elliot), “It’s a Fine Life” (Oliver), “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (Lion King) and “I Whistle a Happy Tune” (The King and I), to name but a few.
The whole evening was compered by Thetford Players member Mark Jeffries.
The Thetford Players were the first community group to use the new rake (tiered) seating in the Carnegie Room, along with the sound and lighting systems recently installed by Thetford Town Council, adding to the professionalism and success of the show; further enhanced by the Players fantastic sets accompanying many of the songs.
Aladdin pantomime 2013
10th to 12th January 2013 at the Carnegie Room, Thetford
Aladdin marked the Thetford Players third pantomime, written and produced by former Players' Chairman Bob Waple (who also played the evil Abanazer) and directed by Jo Cooper and Jo van der Hulks.
The pantomime opened in Abanazer's sinister Egyptian lair with 'dear old uncle' Abanazer, Zelda and the Spirit of the Ring, progressing onto the hustle and bustle of Peking where Aladdin, son of the poor Widow Boudica Twanky, was joined by several Peking residents (the chorus), his brother Wishee Washee, the Pong Emperor and Empress and their three children (Sic Lee, Stin Key and the 'beautiful, gorgeous, deliciously aromatic' Princess Jasmine), the Vazir ('who was 'ere!'), Fab Reese, Rick Shaw ('looking fab in his cab'!), Ying and Tong, long-lost Frankie, a very vain often 'inconvenienced' Genie ….. and of course a lamp, a magic carpet, a Chinese Dragon and even a few Angry Birds!
Along with the expected cheesy jokes, sweet-throwing and audience participation, the pantomime witnessed the exhilarating 'Great Peking Race' …. and the employment of a new 'scrubber' in Twanky's Laundry ('ha ha ha ha ha ….. curses'!).
The action was enhanced with dance routines to several popular songs including Gold, Starmaker, Dance with me tonight, Reach (for the stars) and not forgetting the enchanting duet, A whole new world.
The pantomime was professionally recorded so if you missed out then why not order a copy on DVD? For further details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thetford Historical Character Walk, 28th October 2012
Over 40 people from as far as Swaffham and Kings Lynn made the pilgrimage to Thetford to join the Thetford Players Historical Character Walk where Thomas Paine - English-American political activist, author, political theorist, revolutionary and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States - met and guided the party around the most historic parts of Thetford. The Walk started at what is now known as Whitehart Street (formerly Bridgegate Street) where Paine was born in 1737, ending at King’s House in King Street, fittingly by the golden statue of Paine.
Many characters that played a part in the town’s remarkable history were introduced along the Walk and shared enlightening factual stories. Characters included Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Radcliffe (former owner of the Bell Inn), Father John Brame of St. Mary’s Priory (who famously chronicled the miraculous healing powers of the Priory’s statue of the Virgin Mary in 1414), Housekeeper of Duleep Singh (the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and friend of Queen Victoria), Susannah Gill (sister of Garner and Thomas Gill, merchants and joint tenants of the Water Mill, 1775-1865), Susannah Holmes (wife of Henry Cabell, one of the founding families of Australia), Sir Robert Williamson (MP in 1669 and great benefactor of Thetford) and perhaps the most famous of all – Boudica, leader of the British Iceni tribe.
The wheelchair-friendly round walk lasted approximately 90 minutes and may be repeated throughout summer 2013.
Last Night of 'THET' Proms, September 2012
A heaving Carnegie Room, steeped in red, white and blue, magically came alive like never before with plenty of union flag waving at this one-off event which saw the Thetford Players perform a number of favourite songs from shows successfully produced since its establishment two years ago. There were renditions of ‘As Long As He Needs Me’, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, ‘Spice Up Your Life’, ‘Colours of the Wind’, ‘Any Dream Will Do’, ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ to name but a few.
After the interval the Players were delighted and honoured to present their very special guests - The Wattisham Military Wives Choir (some of who featured on the number one Jubilee song ‘Sing’, written by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber, performed to HRH Queen Elizabeth II as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations earlier in the year). The gorgeous ladies, in their distinctive black dress outfits, put on a fantastic and truly-inspirational performance singing several favourites, including ‘Follow Him’ (from the film ‘Sister Act’), a medley of Queen hits, a very moving version of ‘Wherever You Are’ and of course ending with ‘Sing’. Michael Dann, choirmaster to the Wattisham Military Wives, charmed the audience with anecdotal interaction with the ladies in between numbers.
To top the evening off, the grand finale saw a traditional Last Night of the Proms performance, starting with John Moorman (regular Musical Director for the Players) performing ‘Nessun Dorma’, followed by the Thetford Players and 70 members of DISCORD (singing groups based in and around Thetford) singing ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Jerusalem’, and ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’. The Wattisham Military Wives Choir returned to the stage to end the night with the Players and DISCORD to sing along to the ‘National Anthem’, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and finally ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – all to a very delighted participative audience.
The whole evening was professionally-recorded so if you missed out on this unique event why not order a copy? For further details please contact email@example.com
‘Another Three in the Air’, August 2012
As part of the Thetford Festival 2012, the Thetford Players performed three plays under the name “Another Three in the Air” . This comprised of two comedies and a drama; the three plays were:
Comedy written by Frank Vickery, 1992
Directors: Jo van der Hulks & Bob Waple
Set in the modern day, Nancy and Cyril are to meet Susan, their son’s new girlfriend, for the first time. Susan is a petite young lady with an enormous appetite. Cyril is bald and feels more comfortable wearing a wig; this disappears so Cyril decides to wear a disguise on Susan’s arrival. Unfortunately worse is to follow for him when Susan loses her contact lens, and so the farce continues. Rehearsal photographs follow below.
Drama by George MacEwan Green, 1985
Director: Katie Jones
A hillside, Germany, Summer 1938….. four English students gather for a picnic. Esther appears, she is a Jewess being hunted by Karl of the Hitler Youth Movement. Thunderclouds form over what had previously been a fine day when Esther is dragged away by Karl. A narrator tells us of the fate of those at the picnic - we can only guess as to Esther's fate. Rehearsal photographs follow below.
Comedy by Diana Raffle, 2005
Directors: Caroline Foot & Mike Hamilton
Lacking in self esteem? Overwhelmed by the issues facing you? Then enrol in Camp Confidence. That’s what Maria (terrified of birds), Blanche (agoraphobic), Donna (single mum on probation) and Cherry (an obsessive cleaner) do. Led by the skilled but harassed Julia and her uncertain assistant Fiona, the four learn a great deal about each other and themselves and emerge happier and more secure. Rehearsal photographs follow below.
20th to 21st April 2012 at the Thetford Academy South site (formerly the Charles Burrell High School)
SHOWTIME was an evening of musical extravaganza with songs and dance from the Musicals and Screen, including The Lion King, Copacabana, West Side Story, Rocky Horror, Priscilla, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph, We Will Rock You, Annie, Oliver, and many more! Interspersed between songs there were a number of popular comedy sketches performed and a magic act by the Thetford Players’ resident magician, Mark Jeffries.
12th to 14th January 2012 at the Carnegie Room, Thetford
15th January 2012 at Mundford Village Hall
The Thetford Players second pantomime saw Cinderella joined by Buttons, the Ugly Sisters (Heather & Shirley), Baron and Baroness Hard-up, Prince Charming, Dandini, and the King and Queen of Pantoland, along with special appearances by other much-loved fairytale characters - Snow White, Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty to name but a few.This production was written specially by Bob Waple, Ray Kurn and Nicola Hall, all members of the Thetford Players. It also featured Thetford’s very own pantomime opening song, “The World of Panto”, written by Pete Mitchell.
Three in the Air
1st - 4th September 2011
Three in the Air was a series of three one act plays performed outdoors by The Thetford Players as part of the Thetford Festival 2011 and were held at The Thomas Paine Hotel, Mundford Village Hall, The Riversdale Centre and The Forgotten Garden, Ford Place.
The plays were:
"Last Tango in Little Grimley" a comedy written by David Tristram and directed by Nicola Hall.
"After Midnight - Before Dawn" a drama set in the 1700's, written by David Campton and directed by Katie Cartwright.
"A Talk in the Park" was a comedy written by Alan Ayckbourn and directed by Jo Cooper.
14th-16th April 2011 at the Carnegie Room, Thetford
Tavern Time was a cross between a cabaret-style show and a variety show. An informal setting with seating around tables made for a more intimate feel. The production began with Gosforth's Féte, a one-act play that starts as a drama and then develops into well-choreographed chaos as everything goes wrong, culminating into a full-blown farce; originally part of a production called Confusions which consisted of five one-act plays, written in 1974 by Alan Ayckbourn.
After the interval there were songs sung through the decades, starting in the 1940’s with the likes of 'Underneath the Arches' and 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square' and progressing onto numbers such as Lulu's 'Shout', Abba’s ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Dancing Queen’, songs from the hit musical Les Miserables and followed by the Spice Girls ‘Spice up your Life’.
The show climaxed with a show-stopping rendition by the whole cast of 'You Can't Stop The Beat' from the musical, Hairspray.Before the show and during the interval there was a magician circulating round the tables performing ‘close up’ tricks.
Dick Whittington Pantomime
13th - 15th January 2011
It takes a gullible soul to set off for London in the belief that the streets are paved with gold – but then young Dick Whittington is the first to admit that he's always been a bit of a cock-eyed optimist. And undeterred at finding they're really paved with stone, and very hard stone at that, he sets about making the best of a bad job. Based, however loosely, on the true story of the real Richard Whittington who DID become Lord Mayor of London, Dick Whittington is one of Britain's most enduringly popular pantomimes. This pantomime was an action-packed show with all the traditional characters.