Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Blanchman’s fair


Earlier in June, ATG headed up to the Warlingham Fair up at Blanchman’s Nature Reserve with the hopes of drumming up interest and new members. As a drama group that isn’t just specialised to performing, we like to show that we are a creative and social bunch both on and offstage.
Some members ready to meet and greet at Blanchman’s 

Our little gazebo was pitched up in the early hours of Sunday morning, completed with a couple of tables (including one that may have been borrowed from the food tent nearby...), a carefully crafted set model and one of our lighting desk. To add to the silliness of the group, we also had an array of different wigs and hats for people to joke about with! Some of which may have been used during our last performance of “Pirate Radio” back in May. 

The fair itself was full of different stalls - whether it was creative people selling their own produce, cakes or cards, or various groups that were also recruiting for new members. Not to mention there was also a large space in the centre of the field where people were able to watch the parade, dance performances, falconry and an agility course for dogs throughout the day.

A small team of our members were ready and armed with advertisement flyers and a clipboard for potential members details. In reflection of our previously mentioned silliness, some of us were all decked out in fancy dress of which may or may not have acted as a deterrent! Only time will tell on that one, but if anything, it did land us a photo in the CR2 magazine! 
A glimpse of ATG in the CR2 magazine! 

Unfortunately, and in true typical British weather, we were hit by the odd occasional burst of rain, but we refused to let it dampen our spirits! (Yeah, there was some lovely sunshine in the morning, although short lived obviously!) 

As always, we are constantly on the lookout for new members both onstage, backstage and socially. If you are interested in finding out a little bit more about the group then check out our website at https://www.atgdramagroup.co.uk/ where you can check out our backlog of past shows, social events and upcoming dates for your diaries.

Hope to hear from you soon,


Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Avast me hearties!

Cue cards for the crew and Cut Throat Bill

Can you believe it’s already June?! More importantly, we have just finished our first show of 2019 - Pirate Radio. A play that centred around a drama group called TWADS who are about to broadcast a radio drama that has been written by the chairwoman of TWADs, but it was never going to be plain sailing. The group experience various issues, technical faults and having to rely on members of the audience to fill in for the crew of the Black Gherkin and the ship’s parrot called Cut Throat Bill!

You may not have heard of a play called Pirate Radio and there is a good reason for that too - we are fortunate enough to have incredibly talented writers in our group and this particular play was written by Christine and actually marks the eighth play hat she has written for the group(!!) 
Kelly on stage as Calliope

Wellies, bonnets, hats and wigs in rehearsals...

Pirate Radio saw us welcome new member Kelly to the stage. She told us she wanted to join a drama group - to try something new - and once the cast had been announced, she couldn’t wait to get started on rehearsals. Playing the part of Pamela/Calliope got Kelly to jump into ATG with two feet and she cannot wait for the next performance that ATG puts on later this year. 

The rehearsal period went by like the click of your fingers... (made even more enjoyable with the extra trips to the pub for a quick tipple after rehearsals on Thursday!) and before the cast knew it, they were standing on deck waiting for the curtain to go up. 

One thing that proved challenging/funny was the voices and accents that the cast had to use in order to differentiate between the many different characters within the radio broadcast of ‘High Winds in Tortuga.’ Hats off to Adam who was not only TWADs member Edgar, but also... wait for it and take a big breath!... The narrator, Old Hugh, Ben Pistol, Pestilence Pete, Bulk, Gnasher, Foul Old Tomaso (originally just Tom, but it was amended mid rehearsal), the Great Giant Clam, the Siren, the shrunken heads and Captain Blaggard. 
Introducing Vera the Voodoo Priestess

After the shows were done, ATG partied late into Saturday and played some comical games - including a returning yet challenging cereal box game. What is this game? I hear you say. Ultimately it’s torture for the less flexible of us! Imagine an empty cereal cardboard box that you must pick up using only your mouth and only your feet can touch the floor. With each round that passes you rear off a strip or the cereal box until it’s just a small slither of card on the floor. 

So what’s next for ATG? Well at this current moment in time, we are looking at a couple of plays to put on at the end of November. For now, we have a couple of social events coming up including a trip to Blanchman’s fair and our annual BBQ and AGM.

That’s all for now :)

The cast of Pirate Radio

Looking back at 2018


It has been a while, hasn’t it?

Having realised that we’re nearly at the halfway point of June, it seemed only right that we cast our minds back to 2018 and share our favourite moments with you. Twenty eighteen saw us celebrate our fiftieth anniversary, hold our biannual awards night and put on three enjoyable performances.

Taking a bow with Cat's Cradle
Kicking off a cold 2018 and hot off the success of Billy, we were set to put on Cat’s Cradle  as our March production - a play set in the Creswell Arms where Detective Inspector Frost finds himself returning to, set on solving a peculiar mystery that happened many years before. Cat’s Cradle saw us welcoming new and returning members to the stage in Peter and Amy (Amy joined us last year in September so it’s safe to say we didn’t scare her off!) 

Exactly a year ago, (or at least it will be by the time this post is uploaded) we celebrated our fiftieth anniversary of which you can read about the laughs and memories we shared in one of our previous posts. At the end of the event, it was safe to say we all looked forward to the next however many years the group continues to grow and thrive. 

Dress rehearsal for Relatively Speaking
Shortly after came our second show of the year - Relatively Speaking, a hilarious comedy full of misunderstandings and confusion. For a cast of four, it was amazing to watch them have fun on stage and see how well they bonded over the rehearsal period (of which we’re sure they were glad that the temperatures were warmer than for the March production!) 

ATG Awards Night 2019
Before we started auditions and rehearsals for the final performance of the year, the group held its biannual awards night. Having had the fiftieth anniversary of the group in June, there was some debate as to whether or not we should push the awards night back a year... but ATG members love a good party and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity for an awards night. The theme for the night was “The Greatest Show” and it certainly embodied that! (Make sure to check our older posts if you haven’t read about the awards night!)
Part of the PTMTT cast backstage
Rounding off the year was the performances of “Prepare to Meet Thy Tomb” and it certainly played to one of the group’s strength of murder mysteries. With Drusilla and Hecuba being the only surviving members of the Tomb family, they’re ready to modernise the Monument House into an alternative health farm (“whatever that is!”) but when some unwanted guests start appearing, new plans needed to be set in motion... Seeing ATG put on a show with a big cast made the experience all the more exciting and we had a lot of fun at the after play activities! 

Speaking of after play activities, ATG is super traditional and normally has shows running from Thursday night to Saturday night with something to do after each performance. Thursday night - pub night (we have a choice of two well loved pubs just further than a stone’s throw where we perform!) Friday night - curry night - this may sound bizarre but it’s actually quite fun being able to have a meal after a show! Saturday night - party night (need I say more?!) 😉

And thus concludes the year of 2018 for ATG seeing as we kind of had the Christmas party in January! 

Hope to write some more posts soon!


Monday, 4 February 2019

Potter Party!

 Happy New Year! 

Time to fill you in on our Christmas party, but first- here's a snapshot of some decoration, any guesses??
Our beloved hut was transformed into a floating letter haven!
Bellatrix was a popular character!
  This year, ATG had to celebrate Christmas a little later than usual and earlier in January. The hut was adorned with floating letters, flying keys and magical wands. In case you haven’t guessed, the theme was Harry Potter, and after last year’s Alice in Wonderland extravaganza, the magical world was about to hit ATG in incredible ways!

ATG's Ollivander's shop!
  Our social secretary and a small team of helpers tidied up the hut of all the numerous props and leftover wood from the last show, “Prepare To Meet Thy Tomb” and armed with an array of material, transformed the beloved rehearsal space into an almost unrecognisable space.

  Like any ATG Christmas party, we all have a lot of fun getting all dressed up as various characters and with a franchise like Harry Potter, we were sure that our imaginations would run wild. Although nobody came dressed up as Harry, we have some fantastic costumes - Voldemort, Ron, the Grey Lady and a Professor Sprout with a home made mandrake to name a few. Even those who weren’t familiar with Harry Potter got stuck in :O 

Each member got a unique wand
  The eagle eyed amongst our members were quickly keen to know the significance behind the letters that had been hidden around the perimeter of the room. Letters that were addressed to each attendee, with a Hogwarts seal on the back. On opening the letters, members were invited to visit a pop up Ollivander’s where a number of wand boxes were waiting. Everyone had their unique combination of wood and core that their wand would be made up of so it just depended on what kind of wand they would choose. 
Once we got to the games, we were intrigued to find that we would be playing a modified, health and safety appropriate game of Quidditch. Based on who we had all come dressed up as decided who would be on what team - whether that was Gryfinndor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin. (It’s important to note that Bellatrix Lestrange was a very popular character so Slytherin was healthily filled!) Members took turns at thrown bean bags into three various sized holes in a stack of three boxes, points varying based on which “hoop” the bag was thrown through. There was a three way tie for second place, but pipping them all to the post by one point was Slytherin... there must have been some dark magic in the air!
Slytherin took first place in the Quidditch game

  In ATG’s eyes, it isn’t a party without a game of musical chairs - some of us knew just how surprisingly violent a game of musical chairs with a bunch of adults can get and chose to sit this one out... there has been know to be a few bruises in the past when it can to musical chairs!

Luna or Harry's glasses? 
 Towards the end of the night, Harry Potter inspired selfie props were on hand to mess about with and create some funny photos- with Hedwig, a death eater mask, some butter beer and lots of other props, it is clear to say we have some creative minds in the group.

  Looking back at the night, we only wished that we had taken the chance to give a prize for the best dressed! 

Obviously we are past saying Merry Crimbo and a Happy New Year, seeing as we are in February now!

So here's to wishing you a magical 2019, 


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

This is the Greatest Show


 Back in October, we celebrated our bi-annual awards night and after many of our members fell in love with the film, the theme just had to be “The Greatest Show” in homage to The Greatest Showman.

 The awards night is a fun celebration where we look back at the productions over the last two years having previously voted for our favourites in a number of different categories. Categories that include best and supporting actor/actress or best female/male newcomer. It isn’t all about the acting onstage, we also have three additional shield awards (the Grimwood, Wooderson and Davison award) that are awarded to individuals who have contributed to the group backstage or contributed above and beyond to the group that we want to celebrate and thank for their hard efforts.

 A helpful team of members decorated the hall with balloons, a drinks table and colourful bunting to create a twist on the circus environment. Traditionally, attendees receive a cocktail on arrival that links to the theme. Last year at our Casino Royale themed awards night, the obvious drink was a margarita - accidentally strong ones too! This year we were treated to a Pink Elephant. The drinks table was complimented by two cardboard cut out pink elephants that almost reminded us of the Pink Elephant Parade in Dumbo (You’d never know that the cutouts were made and decorate the night before/early hours of the morning!!)

 Entertainment was also on hand as well in between the dinner courses and awards. The opening number was headed up by the committee members who each dressed up as a wacky circus performer and it seemed only fitting that our chairman became the ringmaster. Our other cabaret acts included a beautiful rendition of ‘Never Enough’, a gymnastics and poi routine, a guitar solo and not forgetting the ATG anthem. It is always interesting to see the hidden talents that’s are buried within the group, some people are full of surprises.

 You would think that we would all be pretty tired after a delicious three course meals (which included a circus top cake that tasted amazing!) and all that entertainment and excitement, but it wouldn't be an ATG event without some dancing! As a typical ATG tradition, you can be sure of a couple of standard ATG favourites like Love Shack and Bohemian Rhapsody- we are a silly bunch sometimes!

 The 2018 awards night was a pleasant success and we cannot wait for 2020 when we will have our next awards night!

 Let us know if you have any questions at all,


Sunday, 25 November 2018

Our 50th Celebration

Hello again- it’s been a while!

 Lots has happened since we last posted, but the biggest thing has to be ATG’s 50th celebration! Yes, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of our little drama group and we all love a good party!
ATG turned the big five-o

 So much has happened since the start of the group... Rewind fifty years back to 1968, and ATG started with a leaflet drop in houses around the Selsdon and Forestdale areas asking for anyone who was interested in joining a drama group to attend a meeting at a local church. The meeting was well attended and fast forward through a few names changes, a couple of different rehearsal spaces and many enjoyable performances and ATG has blossomed into one heck of a group. 

Planning for the 50th started months ago, and no doubt that it was going to be upon us before we knew it! With a pre-prepared selection of delicious food either from Cook or our members, and the hall adorned with an array of decorations, we were ready! Our new tradition of having some hand made selfie props made another appearance and has proved humorous once again! They’re great fun, and we even had a photo opportunity with our chaise lounge (it should be mentioned that this particular piece of furniture is part of ATG as well - it’s been used in so many of our plays!) 

Baby ATG members both new and old
 Along with the selfie props and photo opportunity, we also had a guess the member’s baby photo for people to get all fourteen photos correctly identified. After all of the entries were marked and counted, we were surprised to find that only two members managed to correctly identify all of the photos correctly! (Even if they were working together, but teamwork makes the dream work, right?!) It’s always interesting to see who actually looks similar to their baby photo :) 

 It was an absolute pleasure to see our newer members mixing with the established or older members over the shared interest of ATG. One thing that is amazing about ATG

is the variety of different people that are a part of it - from all different walks of life that share ATG, whether it’s performing or being backstage. 

 Celebrating fifty Years was an absolute delight and we all hope that we will continue for another fifty!

ATG :)

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Constructing the Cat’s Cradle set

The Creswell Arms, ready to advertise!

The construction of the Cat's Cradle set!
So last Saturday, we started on constructing the set that would be home to the Creswell Arms for the performance of “Cat’s Cradle” this week. (Yes, the curtain is going up today!) It feels like only yesterday that we were announcing the auditions and then the cast!

The mini model of Creswell Arms

With every performance, the lovely Shep creates a small model of the set - for which is our reference/target for the finished set. Complete with multiple doors, a reception desk and staircase, the set was looking rather technical to begin with.

Like every set, it requires a specific combination of flats (these are the thick, large “planks” of wood that vary in length from 1ft to 6ft) to be decorated and painted over in the weeks running up to the performance- which sometimes requires multiple layers of paint to get rid of the previous set’s work. Let’s just say ATG is incredibly lucky to have some amazingly artistic members when they have a paintbrush in hand! 

Once we’ve got all the flats transported from their holding space (otherwise known as the hut!) to Warlingham Church hall where we perform, it’s time to start building. Drills and screws at the ready! 

Nailing the art of wallpaper paste!
But it isn’t all technical handiwork and power tools at an ATG set build day. It’s very common to find that there’s a few last minute jobs that need to be done. Every performance always has a scrap of wallpapering or painting that can only be done right at the end! (There is definitely an art involved in making a wallpaper paste...) 

What’s great about an ATG set build day is not only the fish and chip lunch from across the road, but the fact that there’s something for everyone to do, irregardless of experience, knowledge or strength. 

The Creswell Arms taking form
Seeing the finished set after a long day is a rewarding feeling. You can see for yourself just how much can be achieved in the space of a day by a bunch of ATG members. Curtain goes up tonight, tomorrow and Saturday night - there’s still time to buy tickets in case you haven’t from here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/atg

ATG :) 

Thursday, 11 January 2018

A Look Back at 2017

Happy New Year!

 It's already 2018 and we thought it would only be fair to look back at 2017 and all of the lovely moments that have happened! 

There has been a murder on stage at the music hall!
 Twenty seventeen kicked off in January with the play reading for our March/April performance for a play written and directed by one of our members, Christine, called "Murder at the Music Hall." Fueled with cakes and coffees, we delved into the script, a murder mystery that takes place in the less than illustrious Empire Theatre with a twist - an added audience participation that sees the cast members interrogated by the audience. Something that seems like a daunting process, because believe me, you can never predict the questions the audience will ask no matter how much you practice in rehearsals. Come March and April, the curtains went up to sold out audiences who really got into the nitty gritty details when it came to the interrogation stage... "Why did you say *insert completely irrelevant throwaway line?" "What happened to the monkey?" (Yes, a monkey was mentioned!) But I'll let you in on a cheeky little secret, depending on which evening you went, the killer may have been different to the previous night ;) 

 At the AGM, the committee was re-elected and we welcomed Mori to the committee as our social secretary. As the new social chair, she threw herself into it and organised various social events for the year. Hot off the success of the run of "Murder at the Music Hall", Mori arranged for us to participate at the Horseshoe's pub quiz. ATG were fortunate enough to have not one, but two teams competing in the quiz - and boy, were they pulling out all the stops and little nuggets of knowledge to do us proud. Both teams finished in the top three (out of sixteen teams) taking third and first place! With a rematch to follow up in July...

"Playing with Shadows" set
 Shortly after we came out on top at the quiz, we had the second performance of the year cast. Two short one-act plays - "Playing with Shadows," and "I Never Thought it Would be Like This," which a linked theme creating a title for the evening as "Family Ties." (And we weren't just referring to the fact that the directors were married!) Having two plays in one night meant that during the interval, it was action stations to transform the stage from A) a pristine and comfortable looking living room into B) a deserted desert island - you can see the contrast in the pictures above! 

 Then it was July/August time, and in the summertime (when the weather is fine...) that means the BBQ was just around the corner. In true ATG tradition, Nicky and Martin threw open their wonderful home to the extravaganza that is the ATG BBQ. The BBQ acted as a great way to begin Summer and prepare us all for the next performance, a musical to be performed over two weeks rather than the usual one. 
On stage for Billy Liar ~ November 201

 That musical being Billy Liar, the well known musical that starred Michael Crawford in 1974 (although some of our younger members needed to do a little bit of extra research to learn more about Billy Fisher and his fiesta of marriage proposals!) It was this performance that saw a number of established and new members taking to the stage in a cast and chorus filled musical. It's safe to say Billy Liar was thoroughly enjoyed on stage and off stage - we hope that our new members stay with us and more members join :) 

Check out the teapot at the table!
Down the rabbit hole!
 Our jam packed year was rounded off with a fantastic Alice in Wonderland themed Christmas party. Our beloved hut was decorated from floor to ceiling with red and our team of creative minds rustled up a Mad Hatter’s Table, a rabbit hole and card guards. The night was a great success with a round of pass the parcel and a ever so slightly aggressive game of musical chairs!

 So what next? Well as we are well into January 2018, auditions have started for our March production of Cat’s Cradle - if you fancy taking part on stage or back stage, then let us know :)


Sunday, 24 December 2017

Presenting the ATG Blog!

Greetings, hello and hey!

 The first post is always the hardest so I will try to keep it short and sweet! 

Play Readings take place at the hut

 This little corner of the internet is the blog for the amateur dramatics group in Warlingham which goes by the name ATG. We put on three performances throughout the year at around April, July and November at Warlingham Church Hall, and just now, you’ve caught us fresh off the last performance we did of Billy Liar a few weeks ago!
Any excuse to be silly! 😜

Our pool of members is growing and we really are one big family. You can definitely gain a few siblings, parents or uncles and aunties with us! Our growing gang of lovable individuals includes teachers and managers, both young and old, so there’s no shortage of eccentric individuals in our group :) At the heart of ATG, we all like to have fun - to the right, you can see what happens when you leave your scarf at the pub after a rehearsal! We can thank our social secretary, Mori, for delighting us with this cheeky collage 😋

 But we’re not just about the performing - thanks to our committee, we have social events happening througout the year. The Summer BBQ and Christmas parties are definitely not to be missed! 

ATG Xmas Party 2016 - Under The Sea
We are always looking to have new members, interested in any aspect of Theatre (acting, singing, directing, choreographing, stage management, set design or front of house- the list goes on!) We also have social members to support us at rehearsal or join us at planned events. Do you fancy joining us for an outing to see another group's play? Or perhaps you have some little nuggets of information that might come in useful at the quiz night? (We have managed to win on one of the two weeks that we have been to the pub quiz!)
Christmas Jumper evening at a rehearsal

 You can find more information about us on a number of different platforms: 
Twitter: @ATGDramaGroup
Instagram: @atgdramagroup

And of course, here!

Don’t forget to check in with us again soon! 
ATG Drama Group :)