The mighty Boudica by Tristan Bernays closed to a cheering, appreciative audience in last month’s production.  When we confirmed the rights to perform this play the agent applauded us for staging such an epic production.  Never a theatre company to shy away from challenges, Libby Morris took up the gauntlet to direct this with confidence and met the mighty challenges head on.  We had a huge turnout for the auditions and brought together a talented cast and crew. They created a wonderfully atmospheric auditorium with imaginative lighting, costuming, stage design, haze and the sound of metal on metal of clashing swords, all with a specially composed musical score recorded with musicians and singers. A much admired method of getting multiple dead bodies off the stage was created too, with clouds of red dust and swirling red capes. We were so fortunate to have the skill of a combat choreographer for the extensive fight scenes.  A great spectacle, appreciated by our audience, who daily gave their positive feedback as they left the auditorium.

The playwright, Tristan Bernays was impressed with the excellent reviews and sent his best wishes personally to the cast, hoping the high energy required every night could be sustained by the company.  A real triumph for the theatre.  As he said “glad to see the old Queen back on stage.”

Following hot on the heels of the last night, within 24 hours we turned the auditorium into a concert hall, with new lighting rig, full orchestra and 20 singers to pay tribute to the life and work of Stephen Sondheim.  In the words of audience members it was… “a joyous night” “I genuinely didn’t want it to end”, “what a hugely impressive company who took the roof off to celebrate this amazing composer” “incredible” “felt very privileged to be in the audience”.

Next up is ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’, Jim Cartwright’s 1992 play, written for the actor Jane Horrocks and first directed by Sam Mendes at the National Theatre, transferring to the West End and then Broadway. It was inevitable that it would also be made into a film, where Jane Horrocks reprised her role. Hardly ever out of production, it is tricky to get the rights, so we are delighted to be staging this terrific play which is full of fun but also emotionally charged. A near perfect blend of comedy and heartbreak.  Viki Betts is in the director’s chair and she has a great company who are now in the final weeks of rehearsal.  Don’t miss the chance to see this wonderful piece of theatre. A summer celebration.

Since last writing we have held our AGM. This was the first meeting following our decision at the EGM last year to remove membership subscriptions and change our Articles to reflect this. In the spirit of a theatre community, we feel that volunteers should not have to pay for the privilege of volunteering and we want all those who volunteer with us to be able to come to the AGM and have a voice on the running of the theatre. We have many new actors coming to us each month, some of whom travel significant distances to play at the Loft. During auditions I know how many new auditionees ask if it is a prerequisite to join in order to act with us and I am delighted to tell them that it is free to play with us.  A step forward.    

 Last week we put the final touches to the Loft’s Centenary Film, which has been written, filmed, produced and edited by Mark Ellis.  Mark has much experience producing this kind of film and we have benefited from his expertise.  How he managed to distil the huge amount of filming into a manageable size I have no idea, but I am full of admiration.  This film is one of the important items on our list when we hit our 100 year celebration and it’s now ‘in the can’ (always wanted to write that!).We are making plans now for everyone who wishes to see it. More news will unfold anon.

Rehearsals will soon be underway for our autumn programme and booking has opened on our website.  With arguably Edward Albee’s greatest play, A Delicate Balance, Macbeth, which is the hot ticket Shakespeare this year and rounding out the year with Sondheim’s madcap glorious musical Anyone Can Whistle, there is something for everyone.

I am deep in planning for 2024 and we are auditioning for the first production of the new year next month.  It will be my hat trick directing Yasmina Reza’s plays, entitled Life x 3.  It’s all go…..

Enjoy the summer weather and I hope we tempt you to pop into our air conditioned theatre to witness ‘Little Voice’ in full flow.  Thank you, in advance for contributing to the arts and ensuring that the standards at your only local independent live theatre company can continue.  We are enormously grateful for your support.  As one audience member said to me last month “I can’t believe I am so lucky to have this theatre on my doorstep.”


JULY 2023