Winslow Players - News, Events and Productions
           Winslow Players -
It all started 50 years ago 
November 1967 
The Winslow Players 


Cast of Aladdin 1968(performed in February 1968) 
our first ever production 'Aladdin'

The first full season was in the Public Hall and the production of; three one-act plays, a pantomime ‘Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood’ and ‘The Linden Tree’.  This set the pattern of three productions a year, which has been maintained to the present day.

Over the years we have produced some outstanding and memorable performances, some range from ‘home grown’ plays such as ‘Don’t You Know There’s a War On?’ 1995 & 2016 and ‘The Winslow Story’ 2000 & 2008, to premiered amateur performances of shows such as ‘A Chorus of Disapproval’ 1989 and more especially ‘Calendar Girls’ 2012.

For the 2017-2018 season we are pleased to present the following programme of shows to celebrate 50 Golden Years

Our archives of the last 50 years will also be on display at every performance

Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters 
5, 6, 7 October 2017

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
a pantomime
1, 2, 3 February 2018

Trolls
by Peter Skellern
10, 11, 12 May 2018



Our annual pantomime 2016-2017 season was:-
Dick Whittington (and his cat)

Unlike many pantomimes the story behind Dick Whittington has some bases of truth as there was a Richard Whittington who became Lord Mayor of London, not just three but, four times.

He didn't, however, come from poor beginnings - he was just the 3rd son of a local landowner who, unlikely to inherit property, made his way to London to gain his fortune.

Thus he did becoming a successful Mercer, dealing in valuable cloths, he traded with the Court of Richard II, gained favour of the Crown even lending the new king Henry IV great sums of money and was appointed Alderman, Sheriff and eventually Mayor of London.  In his lifetime he financed a number of public projects and on his death bequeathed his fortune to form the Sir Richard Whittington charity which still helps people to this day.

Richard Whittington became a fairly well known character in medieval London but the first stories of Dick and his cat did not appear until around 1600s in 'The famous fable of Whittingon and his pusse' and the first pantomime recorded was performed in 1814 in Covent Garden.  The introduction of rats easily comes from the Black Death of the mid 1300s and the Great Plague of 1600s.  King Rat thus becomes the notorious villan!

Richard married Alice in 1402 the daughter of Sir Ivo FitzWaryn, a landowner from the south-west, but she died in 1411 childless.  However, as in all good pantomimes, the hero (and his cat) marries the girl and lives happily ever after!




Outlandish costumes, broad comedy, and audience participation – the now-familiar trappings of the classic British panto owe much to the enterprising Victorians, whose innovations cemented the popular art-form that we know and love today.




Calling all chaps ...
Message for men ...
Great gig for guys ...

We don't mean to be sexist
but this is a message to all male visitors to this site:

Ever thought about acting?
Able to spare a few evenings a week?
New to the area and keen to meet like-minded people?

The Winslow Players always looking for new members (especially of the male kind) so if you think you or someone you know would be interested in joining us, please use the Contact Us page which will connect you with our Chair or the Director for more information.




TOWER OF LONDON REMEMBERS 
NEW HOME FOR POPPY SOUGHT

The major art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, marked one hundred years since the first full day of Britain's involvement in the First World War.  Created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively filled the Tower's famous moat between 17 July and 11 November 2014.  Each poppy represented a British military fatality during the war.

All of the poppies that made up the installation were sold, raising millions of pounds which were shared equally amongst six service charities.  We are now seeking a new home for our poppy (which we purchased to coincide with our commemorative production of 'Oh What a Lovely War' in October 2014) formally on display at Jennie Wren's Tearooms, Market Square, Winslow



The poppy has been hand-made and each one varies by texture, colour and finish.  This variation was an intrinsic part of the installation.




The poppies encircled the iconic landmark, creating not only a spectacular display visible from all around the Tower but also a location for personal reflection.  The scale of the installation was intended to reflect the magnitude of such an important centenary and create a powerful visual commemoration.

Murder at Quay Cottage
by Simon Amberley and by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Ltd
Directed by Paul Ketteridge

The start of our 2016-2017 season in October saw the return of a previous member to direct a little known play but with mysterious appeal about the untoward happenings at an East Anglian holiday retreat ... very well received with many of the audience left shocked at whodunit! 



 
Don't you know there's a war on? (May 2016)

Congratulations must go to Chris and her wonderful team who recreated the atmosphere of Winslow during World War Two complete with historical anecdotes taken from many  interviews  with  people  who  were  in Winslow  at  that  time,  and  evoked  many  memories  among  those  in the  audience. 
 
The  war  brought  many  changes  to  Winslow,  with  the  young  lads going  into  the  forces  and  the  influx  of  strangers;  RAF  personnel, Land  Army  girls  and  evacuees  transforming  the  nature  of  every-day life  here.   The  devastation  caused  when  a  Wellington  bomber  on  its way  back  to  Horwood  aerodrome  crashed  across  the  High  Street into  the  Chandos  Arms,  finally  landing  on  Rose  Cottages  (which stood  where  the  British  Legion  Hall  stands  today)  with  much  loss  of life,  was  a  great  shock  to  everyone.    The  play  also  included  projected images  and  songs  of  the  period  with  a  chance  for  some  audience participation. 



http://www.winslow-history.org.uk/twentiethc-aircrash.shtm

http://www.winslow-history.org.uk/index.shtm

Beauty and the Beast
(February 2016)

Hope you managed to see our latest pantomime.  You may have seen a beautiful Beauty, a fantastic Beast, two popular poodles and stunning sets but did you spot our new lighting system or our newest director long-term member Andrew?  Wow what a treat!  It was all topped off brilliantly with modern music, that all the kids sang and clapped to, a stunning sound system, gorgeous costumes, hilarious comedy and fabulous singing.  Well done everyone.  Judging by the audience response it was another successful production!






IF YOU LOVE LIVE THEATRE ...

We love what we do and we hope you enjoy coming to see what we love to do!  However, many amateur dramatic societies struggle to get huge audiences these days as we compete in this modern world with round-the-clock TV channels, on-line entertainment, catch-up TV and professional theatre at Milton Keynes, Oxford or Aylesbury.  Therefore we have taken the initiative and collaborated with local am-dram groups to help raise awareness of amateur dramatic theatre that is just around your corner and hope that this way you have even more choice to enjoy live theatre !  Please visit our Local Am-Dram Groups page to see what else is going on in the surrounding area!




The Enquiry (October 2015)

Kate Walmer, in prison for killing her child, is driven to attempt suicide after being viciously attacked.  The subsequent enquiry uncovers surprising answers.  

Our autumn production in October was a stark contrast not only to our spring production but also to the attitudes and morals of today as it was set in a women's prison in the 1960's.  It was a tense hard-hitting play, with some distressing moments, that had the audience on the edge of their seats.

Brilliant!        Thought provoking....    Fabulous!         Brought tears to my eyes
**  some of our audience reactions  **

THE ART OF COARSE ACTING (May 2015)
 by Michael Green.

Cast - Coarse Acting Strikes BackProducing one play is a task in itself but to produce four in one is quite phenomenal.  We are so lucky to have such talented people within our company to direct, source props, change scenery, make costumes, as well as act - which often is the easiest part - that it is an utter pleasure to work with them all.  It is not easy to pretend that things are going wrong, although, sometimes they do; we had one moment when a chair - which was meant to fail - completely fell apart during one performance and our star of an actor held it together, quite literally, whilst sitting on it for the remainder of the scene as it was vital to the plot of the play.  I can quite honestly say it was the best moment I have witnessed and 'believe me, old chap, the audience never noticed anything wrong!'  -  editor.

In The Art of Coarse Acting, on which the plays are based, I give several definitions of a Coarse Actor.  The original was 'one who could remember the lines but not the order in which they come', but there is more to it than just incompetence.  Coarse Acting covers every kind of misplaced performance from people who do imitations of Laurence Olivier to frightened players in their first part.  Some are accident-prone while many have a compulsion to overdo it.  But one feature common to all is that they think every performance was a success.  'Believe me, old chap, the audience never noticed anything wrong'!  -  By Michael Green.



PUNCH AND JUDY (February 2015)
  1. Pantomime (informally panto), is a type of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is generally performed during the Christmas and New Year season.
The Winslow Players may have fooled some people in thinking that our recent pantomime 'Punch and Judy' was a puppet show but those that came saw there was nothing wooden about any of the performances!  All our audiences were very responsive and enjoyed the traditional joining-in of 'booing' and 'cheering' and 'animated singing' so much that everyone went home delighted they had seen a brilliant pantomime once again.

New to the star role was Rachel who made a joyous Judy helped up by our age-old Andrew as Punch (oi! not so old!) and two fabulous 'sisters'  File-your-nails-Jocelyn (Hélène) and Trim-your-hair-Jolene (Vicky) who were pretty darn cute in pink pinnies!

A big well done to all those involved on stage and behind the scenes.  You cannot beat live theatre and when it is so close to home, performed by a dedicated bunch of volunteers who give up their time and talent to bring us such wonderful performances, well, there is no need to go anywhere else!


WINSLOW COMMUNITY BUS
For anyone wishing to come along to see Beauty and the Beast but don't want to drive late at night the Winslow Community Bus  may run a service for the panto (except for the matinée performance).  So please make enquiries.
Call Sue on 01296 715786 for more details and to book.


SLEEPING BEAUTY   (February 2014) 
Fran made a beautiful Aurora - as did her elder self, Vicky -  with her adorable parents Basil and ‘Bewyl’ , her trusty friend Victor and her dashing Prince Valiant.  Not forgetting the feather-like fairies who performed a delicate dance of dainty drama and, talking of Feathers, well, what a ‘coo’ to have Rachel in the cast - she gave us such a laugh in rehearsals and was splendid on stage!
The Rainbows, Brownies and Scouts enjoyed the performance along with many others - ticket sales were up by nearly 16% on last year - but one little lad nearly went home after being thoroughly frightened by that scary fairy Zelda Blackadder.  However, it must be said that her alta ego, Jen, did manage to ‘cast a spell on him’ so that he and his family were much happier and were able to stay and watch the rest of the panto.  But as for that slimy toad Spaldrick …..


NEW SOUND SYSTEM

Some of our audience were very please with our improved sound system which greatly enhanced their enjoyment of our latest productions.  We are very grateful to our current sound man Phil for all his hardwork and dedication.

WINSLOW CHRISTMAS FAYRE
November 2013

We ran a very successful couple of competitions and the winners of the 'Name the Teddy' and 'Find the Spinning Wheel' were duly awarded their respective prizes: one Teddy Bear and a Family Ticket to see 'Sleeping Beauty' 
And now for something completely different……
WINSLOW COMMUNITY ORCHARD
The Winslow Transition Group is looking for sponsors for the Winslow Community Orchard - on land between the new multi-gym and the Baptist Chapel.  At our last meeting it was agreed that The Winslow Players would sponsor a group of trees to the value of £100.  This is an effective way of putting something back into the local community and showing our thanks for their continued support over many years.  David from Transition Winslow thanked us for the donation and said that he would be planting the trees shortly ‘Please pass on our gratitude and follow us on Facebook at Transition Winslow.’
THE POLICE SCHOOLS PROJECT 
at Newton Longville School
Rapturously Received
 
The Winslow Players were approached by PCSO Wendy Taylor to take part in the Police Schools Project.  We were asked to act as witnesses to various crimes and offences that were to be reported to the school’s ‘Police Station’.  Following the scenario of a robbery at the local airport’s jewellery shop we were each given a summary of our knowledge about the event and then interviewed by a group of children, with a police officer on hand, and our statements taken.  While some children were investigating this ‘robbery’ others were manning the ‘front desk’ and had to deal with us in various guises pretending to report missing handbags, lost dogs, car-alarms going off, or, to ask about protection from cyber-crime, tractor theft, or your violent neighbour!  It was quite a challenge, fantastic to see the children work together and, all in all, jolly good fun!
 
During Peggy’s questioning when she was caught speeding one young lad told her “you shouldn’t speed you know, you might kill a fox or a badger”  -  not a child then !
 
Some children have sent us ‘thank you’ letters and the Police and the School, themselves, have not been able to thank us enough.