Tuesday 24 March 2020

Social Scene ~ Jan & Feb 2020


Throwing the blog into the social side of things - it’s been a busy couple of months for the group with various events in preparation for the upcoming show, ‘Happy Birthday!’ Which is to be directed by Peter (who previously directed our July 2018 production of ‘Relatively Speaking’) The read through of the play was held on a chilly January evening at our rehearsal but. It was well attended and the comical farce proved very popular among our members. 

The first round of auditions brought us once again to the hit with a fresh set of committee members as our audition panel, pens at the ready. Our auditions are always super laid back and chilled, which we think makes them much less stressful! Unfortunately, the stress manifested in a slight technical hitch meaning another set of audition dates was required.

Nevertheless, our social secretary was on hand to be everyone involved and what better way to do that than with drinks in the pub! Seeing as it is our traditional after-rehearsal-on-Thursday activity, we headed to the local. (The White Lion- near the green in Warlingham) Admittedly, we did have to commandeer the sofas around the coffee table because it was just so busy! It was rather tight and cosy night, but we were a big group too. What we love about a traditional pub night is the simple fact that everyone talks to everyone - like an interchangeable circulating group! 

The pub drinks got us to drum up some interest in the second cycle of auditions which was uplifting enough to get a cast confirmed. The parts of Bernard, Brigit 1, Brigit 2, Jacqueline and Robert were filled and prepped to start rehearsals later on in April, which is bound to come around like the click of your fingers. And just to clarify, yes, there really are two characters called Brigit 1 and Brigit 2 :) 

Fresh off of casting the next play, there was a new social event late-February, trying something new with a trip to a local Mediterranean restaurant called Med Kitchen (the original email was sent out late at the pub social and have ten responses within the hour, and counting.)  For a restaurant that is situated on such a small 'high street,' it's great to see that it's so busy despite opening early last year. The meal was absolutely delicious and the portions sizes were even better- ample even. Some of us might have take a little doggy-bag home to enjoy later! Hopefully the next restaurant we choose will be just as tasty. 

From the success of Med Kitchen, there was an unofficial social outing to attend the Miller Centre's performance of 'Blue Stockings,' to support one of our members in the production. It was a thoroughly enjoyable performance from an onstage and backstage perspective with over twenty various locations and scene changes occurring onstage. What hit home more to those who went was the surprising (and downright shocking) fact revolving around the women attending university back in the early 1900s - with the play specifically set in 1896 at Girton College, Cambridge. 

Women matched the men grade for grade and eventually garnered the right to graduate... nearly fifty years later.

Let's just say there was a murmured chorus of 'no!' among ATG-ers in attendance!

Hope to write again soon :)


Tuesday 4 February 2020

Silver Screen ~ December 2019

Hello! It's 2020! :O

Some of our members all dressed up :D
We were back with another post - and this time, we’re having a throwback to December when we had our annual Christmas party. The theme for this year came about in a slightly unusual year. Almost in reverse because we had members who wanted to come dressed as particular characters from a very large and popular franchise that has been around for almost as long as ATG! A team of our members redecorated our rehearsal hut into a mini studio. There were four photography backdrops used to depict a different genre or styles (under the sea, haunted house, pirate ship and an additional one that we decided to call mysterious fairy garden!) and even Oscar the Oscar came out to celebrate (he tends to only be used at our biannual awards nights, so this was a bonus outing.) 

Blockbuster posters with an ATG twist!
The walls of kitchen and entrance of the hut was plastered with about thirty film posters with an ATG twist. Some of the characters on the posters had had their faces switched with some of our members. From classic films to recent blockbusters, there were a couple that had us laughing. [It was another moment where we said Mori- our social secretary - has too much time on her hands despite having a full time job!] and one of them was even taken home by the member themselves ;) 

Like most Christmas parties, we had our traditional game of pass the parcel and musical chairs. The final round of musical chairs saw Darth Vader battling it out with Danny from Grease! Unfortunately the force must have been weak that night and our Danny was crowned the winner. Whilst traditions work well, there was an extra addition of charades to make those photography backdrops worthwhile. There were films relating to each of the four scenes to make it slightly more cohesive! 

ATG can't resist a game of Pass the Parcel!
What is great about our Christmas parties is how everyone throws themselves into the theme in the dressing up part - and it didn’t matter if you went all out with a spot of DIY, put an outfit together with what you had or bought one online. It was great to see such a several of characters that people had chosen to come dressed as- so much so that it would have been impossible to pick a best dressed! 

With another year over and another Christmas party celebrated, ATG turns its attention to 2020 of which marks another awards night year! Who knows what the theme will be? Definitely something to look forward to :) 

Challenge time - how many characters can you name?!

Thursday 23 January 2020

Introducing Members #1 : Mori

Creativity with ATG cards

 As part of a new bit of the blog - we're going to interview a random member of our group so that you can get an incite into our group and who we are. To kick it off, we introduce you to Mori. 

Now a little bit about Mori, who has been with the group for


 Wait, wait, wait... I can’t write this whole post in third person - *changing to first person!* 

 Hi! I’m Mori and I am the one who has been writing for the blog so far - or at least trying to! :) (Part of me thought I should just write this post in third person, but that would be weird, don’t you think?)

Friends that act together, stay together :) 
 So I’ve been a part of ATG for seven years in Summer and I don’t think I’d be the person I am today with the group. ATG has given me confidence, some unbreakable friendships and impressive skills that you just don’t get anywhere- who would have thought that an amateur dramatics group would be the one to teach me how to wallpaper a set? Little did seventeen year old me know how big a part ATG would play in my life- it instantly became one of those things I say when someone asks the dreaded “tell me five facts about yourself...”

How would you describe ATG to someone who knew nothing about it?
Antics of ATG at Blanchman's
 Where to begin?! ATG is a theatre group that is not only friendly and heaps of fun, but also incredibly inclusive and has been continually growing over the last 50 years. It’s where you will meet lots of new people that perhaps you wouldn't ordinarily talk to in another environment. What's brilliant about ATG is that there is always a place for you at the table, even if you don't want to be up on the stage! We are always on the lookout for any help backstage or social members, so everyone is welcome.

Playing the murderous Drusilla Tomb
What has been your favourite part to play?
 Like a lot of people will probably say, I couldn't pick just one as there are aspects of various characters that I like! And that’s true for me, but if I had to pick one (which I do!), it would have to be last year’s performance of "Prepare to Meet Thy Tomb" in which I played Drusilla Tomb, the youngest member of the murderous Tombs who had quite a rude and fiesty nature. Whilst it was quite challenging at first, Drusilla was an amazing character that I loved to sink my teeth in as previously I was used to playing slightly smaller parts. Ultimately, in the last year of so, I've been loving the parts I've had. I seem to be venturing into different accents which is all part of the challenge! 

How have you found being social secretary on the committee?
Handmade selfie props
 I realise that the blog hasn't mentioned any of our wonderful committee. The committee 
are a group of our members that help to keep the organism that is ATG alive! Each of these wonderful people are in charge of one vital organ of ATG and I'm sure you’ll get to know the man or woman behind each role of the committee in due course :) 
The wands during production :D
As for me, I am the social secretary which means every now and again, I organise little outings or parties for the group. Being social secretary has been an enjoyable experience and I am so happy that I get to give back to a group that has given me so much. Some years are ram packed in terms of social events, as some years have birthdays, awards night and Christmas parties

Personally, what I love most about being social secretary (aside from the partying!) is that it is perfect outlet for my creativity as I had so much fun putting together all of the decorations for the Christmas parties. For the Alice in Wonderland theme, I produced a rabbit hole photo opportunity and a tea pot spouting playing cards. A Harry Potter party was the most fun to prepare props for - imagine twenty plus handcrafted wizarding wands and wax sealed letters for each attending member. The most recent Christmas party also had secret projects and decorations - of which I'll probably write about soon :) 
Hermione Granger and her wand shop :D

 So I hope you have enjoyed hearing a little bit more about me and ATG!

 Mori x

Friday 17 January 2020

Cluedo is a game ~ November 2019


Nice to see you again - now it has been a while since our last post, but you've missed out on a performance. 'Murder is a Game' (just to clarify, Cluedo is a game, Murder is not!) We started auditions back in September after a gloriously sunny BBQ, with many members both young and old coming to have a stab at the roles on offer. 

Great turnout at the play reading in August
'Murder is a Game' centres around two mystery novel authors called Sloan and Toby Bigelow that have been invited to an old mansion that was previously used for a movie set. Their publicist has arranged for a couple of unusual characters to be present to serve as inspiration for the writers' next story - each one has been presented with an index card containing their character biography and notes. Ultimately, the question is, will the Bigelows be able to find inspiration for their next story?

The cast saw a lovely range of old and returning members - with Kelly returning fresh off the bat of Pirate Radio to take on the role of the resident ingenue and Jake coming back to the group after a six year hiatus (his last performance having been in a Jack and the Beanstalk style pantomime back in 2013!) 

Rehearsals were fully underway!
The rehearsal were off to a flying start and the cast bonded incredibly well over them. It's safe to say that there wasn't a single rehearsal that didn't start, have or end in laughter, which goes to show just how much fun we had. 

Knowing that we would be performing over five nights, we were keen to start Set-Build-Saturdays in order to produce the dream set. With lots of brick work being painted onto the flats, the earlier we started, the better. It's safe to say that it's very tricky to produce a unified wall when there are multiple members contributing over the weeks leading up to the construction day. Fortunately, it was decided that the fireplace would be wallpaper (nothing to do with saving on paint...!) ;) The set construction day was super helpful with the added new members that we met from Blanchman's fair and returning newbies being on hand to help. Take a lot at the photo of the finished set below!
The finished set, complete with actors onstage

'Murder is a Game' also produced some wannabe American accents - and like every amateur accent, there is always a word or phrase that they always struggled with. (One accent might have potentially slipped into an Australia during a performance!) Mori said it even felt like 'Pirate Radio' was accent practice for the American, BB Mink. 

Like every ATG performance, our social secretary Mori was prepared with the traditional afterplay activities. In her words; "Thursday Night, Pub Night. Friday Night, Panahar. Saturday Night, Party Night!" and to have a show running over two separate weeks meant double trouble! And let's just say that the first party continued the on-stage charades (much debate from the cast on the pronunciation- which wasn't helped by Jake and Mori joking about every potential way of saying the word to throw Kelly off!) The final party saw us singing and dancing into the early hours of Sunday morning which means it was a very successful party for ATG. :) 

The cast and director ~ Murder is a Game 2019
With 'Murder is a Game' acting as the book end of plays in 2019, it goes without saying that Christine deserves huge thanks due to her directing both Pirate Radio AND Murder is a Game. We hope to see her back on stage for 2020. 

The play finished in the first week of December, with a couple of weeks before the annual ATG Christmas Party of which the theme for this year is Silver Screen - which loosely translates into film characters - hopefully there will be a future post to follow in due course all about that!