November & December 2023 Edition
Artistic Director Blog
First of all, I must give a huge thank you to all those involved with The Vagina Monologues. It was a great show with an important political message – just the sort of thing modern theatre should make its business. I would love to think that we have more strong statement pieces like this in future – LGBTQ for example or more works by authors of colour.
And having got that off my chest, we need to talk about pirates (see what I did there?). Peter Pan is a wild rollicking ride with a big ship, teddy-bear threatening sequences and great set pieces. It’s the Youth theatre on one side vs the Adults on the other and each night, we’ll see who wins. In fact, it’s precisely the sort of production you ought to come and see – and bring your family too. Katie is directing at her high energy best and it’s got some super songs in too (courtesy of Jon Shone).
I hope you were able to rock up and audition for Bleak Expectations. It’s a crazy take on Dickens and very, very funny. Casting news on this and Elsie & Norm’s Macbeth later in this edition.
Well as the good ship QMT comes into the harbour of Christmas, its nearly time to get your quizzing hats on and join us for the annual Xmas Big Fat Quiz. Details re dates are to be found elsewhere in this learned journal.
It’s time that I prodded you to let us know about shows you’d like to see at the QMT for next season. We like to announce things just after New Year so we are meeting soon to draw up a shortlist. Want us to do Les Misérables – let us know. Mad to see The Trojan Women – and who isn’t – send us an email. Got a thing about whodunnits? Give us bell. Or catch me and whisper in my shell-like if you like. As long as the message gets through…
Our amazing production of Peter Pan is only days away from opening and the tickets are selling fast!! This production brings together both Big Spirit and members of the adult Bancroft Players in perfect harmony.
An evening (or afternoon) of pirate-filled adventure aboard The Jolly Roger with the villainous (and jewel-encrusted) Captain Hook, with comedy shenninigans from the members of the pirate crew and The Lost Folk, a sprinkling of fairy dust from Tinkerbell.
A Christmas show not to be missed!
Peter Pan opens on Friday 8th December until Saturday 16th December.
Saying Goodbye to Robin and Peter
Over the last few months we have said goodbye to two of our long-term and committed members; Peter Russell and Robin Lilly.
Peter Russell, long time member of the Bancroft Players passed away peacefully at home on Sunday 15th October in his 97th year.
Peter appeared in numerous productions over the course of more than thirty years, including such shows as Cabaret, Separate Tables, Lark Rise to Candleford, Lock up Your Daughters, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Macbeth and Julius Caesar.
Not only an actor, singer and dancer, he also penned countless sketches and comic songs when required for other occasions. From St Anne’s Hall to the Queen Mother Theatre, Peter was always involved. In his later years, no longer able to perform, memories of his friends in the Bancroft Players and the productions they staged, brought him great happiness.
Peter is survived by his three children, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Robin passed away on Sunday 19th November following a long illness.
Robin first appeared with The Bancroft Players back in 1976 in Sweet Charity and went on appearing in many productions right up to 2009, when he last appeared on stage in Gigi. Included in is vast repertoire with the society was Company back in 1982 appearing as Larry and Cabaret alongside Peter Russell. Two of his most notable roles were as Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls and Mr Bumble in Oliver!
Robin’s funeral is on Tuesday Dec 5th. The service at the crematorium is family only. There will then be a memorial service 1.15pm at All Saint’s Church Willian and afterwards at Letchworth golf club.
Our thoughts and prayers are with both Peter’s and Robin’s family.
Edith Pratt & Elliott Bunker
Casting News – Elsie & Norm’s Macbeth
AFter an exhaustive search and audition process – we have a wonderful cast for the first studio show of 2024. We also have a new director as Allie Marie Hunter takes the reins so Russ can step in to Norm’s shoes…so your cast for this production is:
- Norm – Russ Hurn
- Elsie – Dee Lovelock
Studio Production Manager
As we are rapidly (too rapidly possibly) approaching Christmas, that means only one thing – as far as the 200 Club is concerned – our mega Christmas draw. Yes, £50 will be going to one lucky person. If you read this before the beginning of December, then go onto our website and join to be in for a chance to win this bonus. Of course our normal four numbers will also be drawn out
Many congratulations to this month’s winners.
- £25.00 – Ken Burton
- £20.00 – Maureen Nobes
- £15.00 – Sue Mellor
- £10.00 – Andrew Piggott
200 Club Manager
Casting News – Bleak Expectations
IN other casting news – Brian has been busy casting Bleak Expectations for the main house and we see a lovely mix of familiar faces and a return of some we haven’t seen for a few years.
Here is the cast:
- Sir Philip – Charles Plester
- Agnes and Flora – Natalie Clayton
- Thomas, Bakewell & Broadly – TBC
- Pip – Jon Brown
- Pippa – Emily Mills
- Gently Benevolent – Matt Gray
- The Hardthrashers – Keith Swainston
- Poppy and Ripely – Leanne Campbell Phillips
- Parsimonious and Harry – Paul Stevens
- Crutch person, Mrs Convenient Exposition, Court official, Vicar, etc – Alison Hancock
Yes it’s that time of year again! The annual QMT Christmas Quiz is once more upon us! Wednesday 20th December 2023 at 7.45pm. With the first question at 8pm!
Bring your family, friends and maybe a potential new member! Everyone is welcome!
Hosted by Matt Gray and Elliott Bunker (who promises to make the questions easier this year!)
Mince Pies, Christmas Jumpers, Teams of upto 6 …and a little present from Santa for the winning team!
Elliott & Matt