Barefoot in the Park was staged at the Tivoli in February 2020
By Marilyn Barber
Whilst during the three lockdowns we have all been missing going to the theatre, spare a thought for the members of amateur dramatic companies for whom the production of plays is such an integral part of their life.
Wimborne Drama Productions, which became the resident amateur company at the Tivoli Theatre in 1994, has had to cancel three productions over the last 10 months, but hopes to be entertaining audiences later this year.
Over the past few years, the company, which was founded in 1928, has donated funds to local charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Friends of East Dorset CAB, Lewis Manning Hospice and Julia’s House.
The last production – reviewed by this magazine – was Barefoot in the Park in February 2020.
Publicity and business manager Richard Neal said, “We had started rehearsals for Sense and Sensibility, which was to be staged in the open air at Deans Court last summer, but of course we had to cancel because of the pandemic. However, we had hoped to stage Towards Zero by Agatha Christine at the Tivoli in October. When that didn’t seem possible, we moved the date to February, but now the new date is 21-23 October this year.”
Richard said they hope to be able to stage Sense and Sensibility on 6, 7 and 8 July this year in the grounds of Deans Court, but they would make the decision at Easter. A total of 15 actors, some of whom play more than one part, are in the cast.
“For most members it is our main hobby as it is quite a commitment,” explained Richard. “People are missing the performing, the twice a week rehearsals, and of course the social side. Some people have been with the group since the early 1990s.”
However, members have been meeting up – virtually.
“We have had play readings on Zoom, and just before Christmas some members rehearsed and staged a performance virtually. We have been trying to keep people engaged.”
Richard ended on a positive note.
“The only good thing to come out of the suspension of the productions is that people will have had 12 months to learn their lines.”
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