Season's Greetings

 

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Season's Greetings performed by Woodford Players November 2015

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Greater Manchester Drama Federation The Greater Manchester Drama Federation (GMDF) is recognised as one of the leading associations representing amateur theatre in the North West of England. The GMDF's affiliated network alone makes it one of the largest regional organisations of its type and it's Full Length Festival, is probably the largest drama festival to be held in Europe. Entries into this Festival are adjudicated by four adjudicators throughout the season and their awards across various categories of drama are announced at our prestigious Awards Evening during the summer. We also hold a long established, annual, high quality, week long, One Act Play Festival which, next year, will be held at Farnworth Little Theatre, Bolton. Details are on our website. GMDF aims include:    To provide a central organisation through which the membership can take co-operative and concerted action in all matters which concern non-professional theatre. To involve and encourage at all times, in every facet of the theatre, the youth drama movement in the Greater Manchester area . To promote 'live theatre' to the general public in, thus providing a cultural activity of acknowledged value in this modern era of increased leisure time . www.gmdf.org NATIONAL OPERATIC and DRAMATIC ASSOCIATION Serving Amateur Theatre since 1899 Inspiring theatre Our vision is that amateur theatre is successful and sustainable, providing a range of opportunities for people to develop their skills and enjoy taking part, at all levels. Mission We are here to support the education and information needs of individuals and organisations with high quality services and products that contribute to the success of amateur theatre, as well as encouraging appreciation of the sector by participants and audiences alike. We aim to:    Help amateur societies and individuals achieve the highest standards of best practice and performance Give a shared voice to the amateur theatre sector. Provide leadership and advice to enable the amateur theatre sector to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. www.noda.org.uk

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Chairman’s address Welcome to another season of plays at Woodford. We hope that you enjoyed last year’s performances and this year we hope to keep you even more mused. Season’s Greetings is the first Alan Ayckbourn play we have performed for some years. It is a hilarious portrayal of an “English” family Christmas awash with various eccentrics and misfits all coming together to make one chaotic and calamitous festive period, one which none of us would hope to emulate. Next year we are breaking with tradition somewhat, as in April we will be presenting The Titfield Thunderbolt and we will be performing this play “in the round”, this will present us with some interesting challenges, which I am sure our ingenious technical team will overcome with all their usual aplomb. Please note that in 2016 our Theatre Supper Evenings, at which, we will be presenting three one act plays will take place in June so please keep your eye on our website for further details. (www.woodfordplayers.co.uk) As ever, we are always on the lookout for new members so if you fancy, “treading the boards”, helping with props or costumes, set building, tea-making, lighting, sound, front of house—the list is endless, please get in touch, we don’t bite and we would be delighted to hear from you. Best wishes Derek Snowdon Chairman Woodford Community Players are members of Greater Manchester Drama Federation www.gmdf.org and National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA—serving amateur theatre since 1899) www.woodfordplayers.co.uk Woodford Community Players Registered Charity no: 1110155

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JTW-387-71726-Cheshire_NE-210x297-AUTUMN-from15-14oct15-PRINT.pdf 1 12/10/2015 10:56

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Director’s Notes We are invited to spend a few days in a bleak midwinter with Neville and Belinda at their home as they entertain their extended family over Christmas. Their relationship has unfortunately fallen into a rut and perhaps needs a little injection of excitement which will arrive from an unexpected direction. Belinda’s sister, Rachel is expecting her boyfriend, Clive, who is an up and coming new author. But she is trying to work out the meaning of the relationship; what she wants and what is needed of her. Confused? You soon will be! Especially when you factor in a frosty wind of moaning relatives amongst the festive fun and frolics. Meanwhile, Phyllis, Neville’s sister, has had a few too many drinks which causes consternation for her erstwhile but well-meaning husband who has a lot on his mind, namely Phyllis herself, and performing his annual puppet show for the children. After all Christmas is all about them, isn’t it? Tell that to Pattie. Heavily pregnant with a fourth child and having to put up with a fifth, otherwise known as her husband, Eddie, lifelong friend of Neville. How will Eddie react when she stands her ground with an iron resolve? Oh and we forgot Harvey, uncle of Neville. He loves…..well you’ll soon find out about Harvey. You’ll hear him too! Just be careful you don’t upset him. I can hear you saying, “That’s nothing on our family. You should come to our house at Christmas!” And that is the beauty of Season’s Greetings as Ayckbourn, such a prolific author, holds up a mirror on our lives; our petty squabbles and hopes, our fears and misunderstandings. He deftly draws the distinct disparities out of his characters, creating chaos and confusion. He throws a literary stone into water and we watch the ripples spreading out unsettling the apparent calm. Who will swim? Who will sink? As the snow falls on Christmas Eve, each guest brings something different to Belinda’s home-their weaknesses wisely provided and shepherded by the author into a series of revelations and mishaps. It all starts as Phyllis prepares her uncooked lamb, and each guest adds their own ingredients into the mix, from Harvey’s infatuation with security to Belinda’s big heart. Sit back, enjoy, and as you return to your homes, hopefully you’ll go home with one present from us, one joyful message ringing loud and clear this Yuletide – ‘thank the Lord we are not like them.’ There’s hope yet! A few of the many props for Season’s Greetings

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550 Chester Road, Woodford, Stockport. SK7 1PS If you haven’t visited this pub, put it on your “to do” list because you are in for a treat A warm welcome awaits you at The Davenport Arms (The Thief’s Neck). The Hallworth family, now in their fifth generation at the pub and the longest serving family of any pub in Robinsons’ 330-strong estate, have been pulling pints at the Davenport for more than 80 years. A considerable achievement indeed. Relax in this lovely pub and enjoy a pint of perfectly kept beer or choose from a large selection of fine wines. An extensive traditional food menu as well as a selection of delicious grazing boards will leave you spoiled for choice. Scrummy, locally sourced food and a great atmosphere always provides customers with the perfect setting for a cosy festive season celebration. Early booking is always advised as this popular pub gets booked up very quickly. A traditional, family run, country pub offering high quality food, drinks and perfectly kept Robinson’s beers. 0161 439 2435

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Synopsis of Scenes The action takes place in the home of Neville and Belinda Bunker Time ~ The Present Act One Scene 1 - Christmas Eve 7:30 pm Scene 2 - Christmas Day noon Scene 3 - Christmas Day midnight Act Two Scene 1 - Boxing Day 3:30 pm Scene 2 - December 27th 5:15 am Woodford Community Players gratefully acknowledges the vital support of the following: Christ Church Woodford for rehearsal facilities Mark Wilkinson for help erecting the raked seating All our advertisers, please lend them your support and those who have assisted with our publicity.

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The President’s Jottings Appearing on stage for the first time , aged 13, in “Quiet Weekend” in 1954, I made a somewhat unconventional entrance by jumping in through a window startling old Sam Pecker (Rene` Clayton) who was laying a wood fire. Fortunately there was a small stool off stage positioned below the window to assist my apparent athleticism! Both my parents Conrad and Nancy Hartley were in the same production and we had great fun with rehearsals which were held at Woodford School. Those waiting “off stage” used to huddle around the remains of a coal fire in the Headmaster’s office with the door ajar so as not to miss the appropriate cue. Sir Alan Ayckbourn Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE was born in Hampstead in April 1939 and it was at this point that Hitler decided that enough was enough. He declared war in the September. Sir Alan’s career in the Theatre began when he left school and was introduced by his French master to Sir Donald Wolfit, who employed him for three weeks at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as an acting assistant stage manager, sometimes known as a gopher. Shortly after that he met Stephen Joseph and went to work with him at the Library Theatre in Scarborough again as an AASM. Stephen Joseph was very much involved in the promotion and development of the then revolutionary (forgive the pun) theatre in the round and Sir Alan shared his enthusiasm. Sir Alan’s first opportunity to shine as a playwright came when he complained about the standard of a script they had just performed. ‘You do better’ was Joseph’s response. The result was The Square Cat and the rest is…….. He continued in Scarborough until 1962 when he moved to Stoke-on-Trent to set up the Victoria Theatre (now the New Vic). In 1966 he returned to Scarborough where he has been involved ever since. In 1996 the Library Theatre became the Stephen Joseph Theatre and Sir Alan was the artistic director. It is a lovely theatre with extensive facilities and is well worth a visit. There is also a very good restaurant about a mile down the road called Jeremy’s, where the great man himself sometimes dines. Sir Alan has written 87 (and counting, hopefully) plays of which our offering tonight is number 26. His list of awards is, to say the least, impressive, and his talents include acting and directing.as well, of course, as writing. His tremendous contribution to The Theatre was recognised in 1987 with the award of a CBE and in 1997 with a knighthood. Both very highly deserved. Despite suffering a stroke in 2006 he continues to work in Scarborough. Long may this continue. In a later production of Cry Wolf in 1962, I well remember Paul Brook playing the part of Jonah Mildmay ,an eccentric artist (complete with wig and false beard) jumping through a window but this time in the reverse direction to escape his girlfriend’s tiresome mother. All went well until the last night when Paul in his over -enthusiastic bid for freedom , misjudged the narrowness of the window opening and almost brought the flat down! As it was he eventually landed somewhat noisily against the off-stage “garden scenery” bringing much laughter from the audience. Heather Braddock

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bourn Season’s Greetings Cast April as at Harvey Bernard Neville Belinda Eddie Rachel Pattie Clive Phyllis Derek Snowdon Tom Dawson Bill Cross Catherine Eaton Peter Thompson Monica Wickham Nikki Baker John Lomax Pat Helicon that n the egan ench wn as Season’s Greetings Production Team Director Technical Director and Lighting Design Stage Manager Production Manager Continuity Set Design Set Construction Team and Stage Crew Sound Engineer Properties Wardrobe Publicity Programme Design David Carlile Trevor McKelvey Derek Manton Pat Snowdon Heather Braddock David Carlile Trevor McKelvey, Derek Snowdon, Tom Dawson, Derek & Carolyn Manton, David Trevor, Graham Ackers, Wilson Young, Barbara Starr, Melloney Lenk, Pat Snowdon, James Cawley, John Lomax, Bll Cross Graham Scurfield Pat and Derek Snowdon, Carolyn Manton Jude Craig Tom Dawson and Jude Craig Jude Craig in nce. ctor. urant plays Photography Ian M Butterfield, Amelia Begg and Derek Manton Graham Ackers, James Cawley, Carol Ackers, Teresa Dawson, Alan & Lindsay Statham, Margaret Roberts, Tom Helicon Teresa Dawson and Carol Ackers lents Front of House Team and rved. Refreshments

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Uncle Bernard’s P Pig 1 -(Hubert Pig) Richard ”Streaky” Bacon. Previous roles include stunt double for Babe in Babe the Movie he was also nominated for his role as Napolean in the film version of Animal Farm. Waggums - Rover Baskerville son of the famous Hound of the Baskervilles he has barked in many films including Dog Day Afternoon and The Dogs of War he has also directed many of the Andrex adverts on TV. Wolf - Lupus “Bonecruncher” Gristle is perhaps best known for his roles in many spoof horror werewolf movies including An American Werewolf in London, The Howling and the Wolf Man. He was also the voice coach for Robert Newton in the 1952 film version of Long John Silver.

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s Puppet Parade Pig 2 - (Wilfred Pig) Albert Loin is a relative newcomer to the stage but has played several cameo roles in Peppa Pig the musical. Pig 3 - (Ginger Pig) Hamish McGammon is fresh from his starring role as Hamlet at Stratford and has appeared in many soap operas on T.V. including Emmerdale Farm and provided voices for the Archers on Radio 4 Skeleton - The Late, Sir Tristran (Lovey) Dolittle famous for his many appearances in television adverts for slimming aids and weight loss programmes the success of which led to his premature demise. He willed his body to the Arts to be used whenever a cadaver is required on film ,TV or in a theatrical production. Postman - Catero Postino is best known in Italy and Spain where he dubs the voice of our very own Postman Pat. Puppet cast hanging out between rehearsals All the puppets are unique to Woodford Players as they have been entirely handmade by our very own “Uncle Bernard” aka Tom Dawson. Thank you Tom

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Christmas at the Bunkers Bill Cross - Neville Bill has been a member of the Players for 12 years, and has appeared several times on the Woodford stage in main productions and one act plays. When not taking part he has helped backstage, with set building and with front of house. In contrast to his last appearance for the Players (One Act Play) Bill will not be surrounded by four women bringing “Season’s Greetings”! Catherine Eaton - Belinda Catherine's debut on the Woodford stage was in Dick Barton Special Agent in 2012. Since then she has appeared in Outside Edge, Celebration and The Worst Day of My Life But her favourite role so far was as the psychologist in the studio production of Agnes of God. That said, Catherine is enjoying rehearsals and “being Belinda” but she’s not too sure she will want to decorate the Christmas tree at home this year!. John Lomax - Clive John is delighted to be return to acting on the Woodford stage for his first full length play for a number of years (apart from his Hitchcock like appearance in Celebration!) He is looking forward to a week of fun and mayhem in the Bunker household and would like to thank all the cast and David Carliile for making this production so enjoyable. As soon as the play is finished though John will be straight into preparing and directing Woodford's April production of Titfield Thunderbolt. Monica Wickham - Rachel Monica first appeared on stage at age 11 in productions at school and for her local amateur theatre group. Her appearances at Woodford include Viola the brash chorus girl in Pastiche and Samantha the nurse in The Worst Day of My Life. This will be her first full length play at Woodford and she is having great fun rehearsing the role of the emotionally confused and slightly batty Rachel. Will she finally get her man?

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Tom Dawson - Bernard Tom has played a variety of roles for Woodford over the years but perhaps this is one of the more unusual ones. As well as creating the character of Bernard he is also the village postman ,a dog , a wolf and three very distinctive pigs, hopefully all will be revealed during the performance. Nikki Baker - Pattie This is Nikki ’s third appearance for Woodford Players, her first being the slovenly Margo in Celebration followed by the very glamorous Maxine in Stepping Out and now the poor girl is pregnant for the fourth time!Not only is poor Pattie very pregnant but she gets to assist the hapless Uncle Bernard with his remarkable puppet show! Nikki hopes you all enjoy the show. Derek Snowdon - Harvey Derek still thinks of himself as primarily a backstage man and takes a great interest in set building and creating" interesting" props. For some years now he has been appearing on stage in full length and one-act plays. His favourite role was probably Michael in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me. The character (Harvey) he plays tonight is the very antithesis of Michael and Derek has really been looking forward to the challenge. Pat Helicon - Phyllis Pat started treading the boards in musical theatre with Our Ladies operatic society and in 1999 was approached by Woodford Players to appear in the Noël Coward play Kindly keep it Covered,. Since then on Pat has appeared regularly in many Players’ productions. Her favourite roles are Ruth in Blithe Spirit and Aunt Ella in Oklahoma. Pat is also the secretary of the society. Pete Thompson - Eddie Peter is “on loan” from Poynton Players. This is Peter’s second appearance for Woodford Players, his first being Jack Lucas in Celebration where Peter very sportingly wore an somewhat spectacular 1960s “Elvis” style wig. As Jack, Peter was footloose and fancy free but as Eddie Peter finds himself very married with three children and a fourth on the way—the ultimate Christmas present, or is it?. Peter is enjoying Season’s Greetings as he is a self-confessed Alan Ayckbourn fan.

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