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Brierley Hill's Community Players celebrate 50 golden years on the stage
5:00pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
Buy this photo » L-r Becky Randle as Sgt Campbell, Greg Wilde as Sidney Floyd-Pucker, Peter May as Roland Dickerby, Thelma Harper as Olivia, Claire Lax as Julia Dickerby. Buy photo: 361316MH
THE Community Players based at Hawbush, Brierley Hill, are celebrating 50 golden years of treading the boards.
Based at The Oakfield Centre (formerly Hawbush Community Centre), off Brettell Lane, the group has continually raised the roof with its comedic outings and the curtain shows no signs of falling on the popular society anytime soon.
Formed in 1963 - the Players share their milestone birthday with fellow acting greats Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt who are also 50 this year.
Two of the group’s original members Thelma and Brian Harper continue to be at the heart of the society - even after five decades, with Thelma still directing and acting in many an outing and Brian, who used to take to the stage, content to build sets.
Seasoned stage star and long-time member Greg Wilde said: “Over the years many excellent amateur actors - young, old and in-betweens - have come and gone and the life of the group has waxed and waned correspondingly.
“But with the stability provided by the Harpers, the Community Players have always put on a great show.”
Comedy has for a long time been the group’s forte and the favourite genre of its loyal audiences so for the last ten years - the Players have concentrated on what they do best.
Greg said: “Members still look back with fondness at their 2007 production of Situation Comedy by Jonnie Mortimer when they laughed their way through the rehearsals and the audience did the same during the performances.”
The modest thespian said the group is “no more or less remarkable than the majority of amateur dramatics groups around the region” but he added: “What it does, it does with great flair and commitment.
“It embodies the idea of live entertainment for local people by local people.
“The spirit of amateur performance for the sake of having fun, and nothing more, lives large in this company.”
The group, which stages two shows a year at The Oakfield Centre, will be marking its milestone birthday with a production of Dave Freeman’s frantic farce Kindly Keep it Covered.
Running at the centre from September 11 to 14, the comic caper directed by Tony Misiolek sees 17-year-old Peter May taking on the lead role of health farm owner Roland Dickerby while seasoned society star Claire Lax plays his wife Julia, who used the insurance payout after her first husband’s ‘death’ to set up the farm.
However, things go topsy turvey when Sidney, Julia’s late husband (played by Greg Wilde), resurrects himself and turns up at the farm.
Meanwhile Roland also struggles to deal with his formidable mother-in-law Olivia (Thelma Harper) and Vanessa (Tracey Riley) - his ex-boss’s wife who also checks in at the farm.
Performances start at 7.30pm. For ticket enquiries call 01384 394349.
Anyone interested in acting or taking on behind the scenes roles with the group is invited to get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 07730 813058 or 01902 652735.
The group meets most Wednesday evenings from 7.45pm to 9.30pm.
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