GADS – drama at the heart of the village 1958-1960s

I hope you have all picked up the details of GADS’ next production; Alice in Wonderland in just a couple of week’s time.

Click to enlarge

As we look forward to a new production, it is also interesting to look back, as we said we would, to that first decade of productions that followed the establishment of the drama society for the village.

Yes, this really is the Village Hall stage in November 1959 for the production of  ‘When we are married’ complete with stag’s head and aspidistra!

*************************************************************************************************************************

As a newly formed group still trying to establish their reputation, the group were quite careful about the plays they chose to produce, about the financial commitments they made and the still unresolved question of whether or not to have raked seating and raised levels to the stage!

The years from 1957 to 1967 brought Rock ‘n Roll, the Beatles, mini skirts, John F Kennedy and the Cold War to the world. In Geddington the tradition of two productions a year became established and a significant decision was made to purchase lighting equipment so that it would no longer be necessary to borrow it. The company had a healthy surplus of £37 11s 4d in their account as a result of their second production, ‘Such Things Happen’ where the profit was nearly £22!

Programme from April 1958

‘Fools Rush in ‘ and ‘Ghost Train’ were the 1958 productions and, as membership of the group had grown, the Society felt more confident about staging more ambitious productions. The audience however were not forgotten and the decision was taken to invest in 100 cushions at 3s 6d each to ensure the comfort of those watching!

The cast of Cat on the Fiddle 1964

By now the meetings and rehearsals were taking place in The Star, membership was strong and those joining paid a small subscription. In 1960 there were 2 new members, Mrs Sylvia Cook and Mr Michael Baker. The Star had also operated as a store for props but a new home for these needed to be considered because the local mice population found the material ideal for their nests! However the show must go on… and Mary Rowles’ production of ‘The White Sheep of the Family’ was opened up to the Darby and Joan Club on the Thursday evening of the run… at half price.

By 1964 the membership was around 25, subscriptions were 2s 6d and the Production of ‘Cat on the Fiddle’ had produced record ticket sales of over £50. Consideration was given to raking the seating in the Village Hall and to creating a tiered stage … but first the question of curtains to cover the kitchen window of the Village Hall had to be agreed. Mrs Rowles, as the Chair, gave the authority for them, Mrs Curtis was to make them, but a sample had to be shown first to the Village Hall Committee!

Fool’s Paradise 1965

‘Goodnight Mrs Puffin’ and ‘A Fool’s Paradise’ produced by Keith Tomlinson were both a success in terms of both audience numbers and ticket revenue. The productions were now more sophisticated; new lighting, costumes and stage management facilities were in place but the Minutes clearly show that the essential informality of a group of friends running the society for the purpose of entertaining villagers was at the heart of what they did and one of the main reasons they gave their time and expertise to the productions.

Goodnight Mrs Puffin April 1965

With 20 successful productions now under their belt the GADS company could look forward to the next decade with confidence and their audiences were assured of an evening of entertainment whatever the genre of the productions.

 

    No comments yet

    Leave a Reply

    Copyright © 2013 Geddington.net | Legal Notice | Website by Octagon