CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Hampshire amateur drama group - Chris van Schaick column

PUBLISHED: 14:58 20 January 2015 | UPDATED: 14:58 20 January 2015

The smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd has Chris set for centre stage as he reveals his love for his local Amateur Dramatics Group

I’d pay good money to see an estate agent make a prat of themselves – and the other day that’s just what I did. The seven quid I shelled out was a complete bargain.

The realtor in question was in fact a friend and neighbour of mine called Mark. He was wearing a daft check suit and doing silly things brilliantly well as he played one of the character parts in the village Am Dram’s winter musical. The lead part was taken by a graphic designer called Ben. My mate Jeremy, who earns his crust creating online learning programmes, also played a leading role.

Afterwards I sat with Mark and Jeremy in the pub a few yards from the village hall where the musical action had taken place. They’d scraped off their make-up and were quenching their throats with pints of the local brew. We quaffed and analysed and chewed it over and as I said: “Loves, you were wonderful,” it occurred to me that what an adornment to Hampshire its countless Am Dram groups are; talk about binding communities into one. We all know about the school and the church and how they bring villages together. And there’s hell to pay at the prospect of losing a pub or a local shop. But I reckon that any village’s Am Dram group is a binding agent of a special quality.

In local thesping, everybody really is in it together, and everybody’s so game. The performers are game to get up on stage. The audience are game to show up on a Friday night not knowing quite what they’ll get. And the people who sell the tickets and serve the drinks are game to give up their time in exchange for not much glory. Everybody suspends a bit of something in the cause of togetherness. What’s more, I’m sure the fact that the players, backstage team and the audience get together in the pub afterwards provides part of the magic.

You may be wondering if I carry a bit of a torch for my local Am Dram group – and you’d be right. For reasons I now can’t quite remember, I went to the auditions a few years ago for our own local stage version of that old 70s sitcom Are You Being Served? I got the gig, played a couple of smallish parts and so it came to pass that I squeezed Mrs Slocombe’s boobs in front of the whole village wearing an improbable false moustache.

I can do culture too, you know, and followed up as a butler in an Oscar Wilde story.

But now the local players’ cycle has brought them back to 1970s tv cheese and by the time you read this I’ll know if I have been preferred for the spring production. Can’t say too much about what the show is. But it was a huge hit on tele in the 1970s.

So there you have it, dry old Meon Valley Man is, in fact, a luvvie; a complete sucker for the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd.

There was some loose talk in the pub the other night about a possible production of The Full Monty in 2016. But, as an actor, I’m with Helen Mirren. I only take my kit off if it’s absolutely necessary for the part.

***

READ ON

Chris van Schaick has a confession on his knowledge of local wildlife

Chris van Schaick on the DIY culture of the modern man

Chris van Schaick on the cycling species

More from Out & About

Blow away the Christmas cobwebs on a walk with fine views and a striking memorial

Read more
Yesterday, 14:07

Treat yourself to lunch and tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Hampshire tea rooms.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:06

Is there anything more refreshing than a stroll on a crisp winter’s day? We don’t think so! Here are a few of our favourite rambles across the county to enjoy this season

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With 100 years since the last guns were fired during World War One, we remember the sacrifices Hampshire made

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With the New Forest, South Downs and a picturesque coastline, Hampshire is an amazing place for a walk. We round up a few of our favourites

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

There is so much to see and do in Hampshire over the festive season, from carol services to markets and of course amazing food and drink and our day-by-day guide brings you the pick of the best

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

If you’re planning to add a new extension, remodel the internal layout or create a brilliant new kitchen overlooking a landscaped garden, a visit to the South East Homebuilding & Renovating Show (19-20 January 2019) at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre is a must

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

Huge Christmas markets, frosty countryside and cosy pubs; winter in Hampshire is second to none…

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

When it comes to celebrating the festive season, Winchester is alive with the sound of music. From Cathedral choirs to community singers and from family musicals to classical concerts, there’s something for everyone

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Get in the festive spirit with our selection of the Hampshire's top dining experiences this Christmas…

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

This thriving community in North Hampshire is a desirable location for residents and visitors alike

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Running a successful regional theatre means thinking beyond the bricks and mortar to reach out to the community. We ask four of Hampshire’s leading impresarios, how do they ensure that the show goes on?

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Savour spectacular views of the Needles and Alum Bay and discover history tales on this invigorating walk on the Isle of Wight

Read more
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory



Property Search