20 August 2007


I set up a drama society in my final year at university. They are still going strong, and produced two successful performances this year, Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia" in the Christmas term, and "Much Ado About Nothing" in the summer. All going well then, or so I thought.

I have received a number of phone calls from HSBC recently, but they wouldn't tell me what it was in reference to as I am no longer a signatory on the account. Eventually they got through to the old treasurer, a good friend of mine.

Apparently the account is £300 overdrawn.......

How this happened we're not sure. Whose fault it is, we're not sure. Who is liable to pay the overdraft? The three signatories, all of whom have graduated.

What a mess! Never work with children, or amateurs...

17 August 2007

Some new and exciting goings on

Since Oh What a Lovely War (more on that later), I've been "resting" in the sense that I've not been rushing off to a rehearsal every other night. It's been quite nice, but I've also missed being involved in something....That feeling didn't last long as I have auditioned for two shows recently and may be doing the sound for a third...

I recently auditioned for "Little Red Riding Hood", Byfleet Players Panto for January 2007. I have never done panto before, and I won't pretend that the script didn't make me cringe a lot, but I'm sure we can fiddle with bits to make it better. Anyway, excitingly, I have been cast as "Principal Boy", i.e. Prince Charming, which is one of the two leads. It's very exciting as I've not had a big part for sometime, and aside from being the Good Fairy in Pinocchio I don't think I've ever been a lead. Anyway, I shall update this with how we're getting on when we start rehearsing in September.

The other audition was for Ottershaw's Christmas production, "Treasure Island". I have to admit I was a little hesitant about this one. I'm sure Ottershaw will do it very well, and the set will be marvellous, but I wondered whether it would mainly be a lot of yelling "yaaarrrr" on stage. Anyway, I went to the audition for a bit of a laugh. The script is good and it should be a laugh. I'm waiting to hear as to whether I got in though, so watch this space. I've not been that successful in auditioning for Ottershaw shows recently, so I'll have to wait and see.

Back to Oh What a Lovely War... It was a success, we think we just about managed to break even. Some of the reviews were mixed, but the main things that were criticised were the costumes (which were dreadful and I wish we had just run up some more before the show started - at least some trousers that fitted!) and the lighting, which was a little unpredictable. The stage management was obviously exemplary (ahem), and all of Phil's 54 sound cues were on time and in the right place. For me though, it was just great fun to work with the people involved and I made some really good friends, which is more important to me than whether the show was a box office hit...After all, we do it for fun, don't we?

10 July 2007

Please come and see "Oh! What a Lovely War" if you're in Woking this week. It has some excellent people in (including, just in case they are Googling themselves again, Alan Arlington, Helen Imison and Tony Richardson!!) and we've all worked really hard.

Last night was the tech...not a lot to say other than we didn't get through it all. Sigh. Tonight is the dress rehearsal, so much less stressful for me - all I have to do it cue people, I don't have to organise them! (well a little)

I've really enjoyed stage managing, though it's taken some time for people to listen to me as though I know what I'm talking about and I'm not just a stupid kid. Some people still talk to me like that, but hey, what can you do.

Anyway, the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking, 11-14th June 2007, 7.45pm. Tickets available on the door, £10 or £8 concessions.

05 July 2007

The War to End All Wars

"If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England."
(from 'The Soldier', Rupert Brooke)

"Oh! What a Lovely War" by Joan Littlewood tells the story of World War I using songs and newspaper clippings from the era. Byfleet Players present their production of this thought provoking show at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking on 11-14th July 2007. Tickets are priced at £10 (£8 concessions) and are available from the Box Office 01932 844242.

07 June 2007

Oh oh oh what a lovely war...

I went to my first rehearsal in the capacity of stage manager last night. I wasn't there long, as I was doing front of house for "Whose Life Is It Anyway" (GO AND SEE IT), but it will be an interesting experience I think. There doesn't sound like there is a lot of backstage support, which is quite scary, but then there isn't a lot of set either...

I'm looking forward to learning new skills - though this is my 4th play since December (5th if I count doing FOH for "Whose Life..." (GO AND SEE IT)) so I am completely knackered. I think I need to take a break and start saying NO to things. Anyway, come July I'm giving up on all that's fun and concentrating entirely on my thesis for two months, so I might as well make the most of it!

All together now: "Oh oh oh what a lovely war..."

05 June 2007

Quick Plug

Ottershaw Players present...
Whose Life Is It Anyway?
by Brian Clarke
Directed by Peter Moore
Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking
6th - 9th June 2007
Tickets: £10 (£8 concessions)
01932 702091

30 May 2007

A learning curve

I've been an "amateur dramatist" for years. Probably seriously since I was 17 and joined Ottershaw Players, but before then I was in every school play going from the age of 5. I blame it on my dad, who is also an am-dram fan. Before now, I have almost always been on stage, with a few forays into producing and set shifting. But, in the last year I have learnt to direct (Teechers), do sound at the Rhoda (A Chorus of Disapproval) and DSM (The Wind in the Willows).

None of which were things I've done before. And now, I'm starting a new skill. I am stage managing a fairly large scale production at the Rhoda in July for a friend of mine. I have never stage managed before and frankly I'm terrified. But, it'll be a learning curve...A steep one!

10 May 2007

A Chorus of Disapproval

Being the AmDram whore that I am, I am now involved in another production, with another group. Pyrford Little Theatre are presenting "A Chorus of Disapproval" by Alan Ayckbourn at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking.

A diffident North Country widower attempts to escape from his loneliness by joining the local amateur light operatic society. By accident, rather than design he advances from a one-line part to the lead. As the play progress the author skilfully draws parallels between John Gay's The Beggar's opera and the day to day activities of the Society who are performing it. Ayckbourn goes on showing how painfully embarrassed are the British in the face of emotion and keeps us laughing in happy recognition.

The show is on tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, the sound effects are MARVELLOUS and everyone should come and see it!!

I have enjoyed working with a new group, it has to be said. I know every group has it's politics, but as a new person I'm not aware of these and it's quite nice really!


Ok so it's maybe a bit up myself to post this here, but hey, I'm proud... First of all, here is what Pete had to say about Teechers.
And here is what Mrs NODA (the National Operatic and Dramatic Association) said:

Clare Groome is to be congratulated on her very successful directorial debut, especially given the choice of play. It was not a ‘run of the mill’ piece but one which required imagination to make it a constantly moving and interesting entertainment for the audience. She achieved this most effectively.

Within the limited facilities of the Brook Hall, and perhaps almost because of them, the few props and furniture on stage created a perfectly adequate school setting and were all that was needed.

The three actors set the various scenes quickly and efficiently all as part of the action, and their being on stage the whole time worked really well. The fast pace never faltered.

All three of them are to be commended on excellent performances, and I should imagine that acting would continue to be an important part of their lives in amongst the other plans they have for their individual futures. I hope so.

They played a multitude of characters and all of them convincingly but I particularly liked Suzi Braggin’s Hobby, Thomasins Breslin’s Mrs Parry and Jack Breslin as Salty. Suzi also made a good gym mistress, very prissy, but it would be unfair and untrue to say that any one of them was more confident or capable.

Because the girls were older they were perhaps a little more credible in some roles but if the purpose of the play was that they should all take on all parts then they did this brilliantly. We met just about every one to be found in a school environment including a very unhelpful caretaker, a variety of teachers ranging from shy through encouraging to self-important and of course the school kids, mostly with ‘attitude’.

This was a challenging project for all concerned and, although hard work, I imagine the three actors had a great time. They had an enormous number of lines to learn and I don’t believe there was a prompt when I attended.

The music chosen and the sound effects were very good too. Although the lighting was limited it was nicely plotted and operated.

Congratulations to everyone involved in putting on the production. I’m sure that Suzi, Thomasina and Jack were delighted, and also appreciated the fact that Clare gave them the opportunity to present the play once more.

The young people of Ottershaw are fortunate to have someone like Clare who has an interest in youth theatre and it was good to chat with her in the interval.

Thank you for inviting me to see this unusual production. It was funny, a true reflection of school life and poignant at the very end when the children were leaving. I enjoyed it very much.

Just a little bit pleased with that :)

29 April 2007

All done

Well, that's it then. Bye then sir. Thanks. Yeh. Thanks a lot...

And so they left the stage. I've been rubbish at keeping this up to date, but now its all over. Last night was the second and final performance of "Teechers". I can't describe how amazing they were. I cried, I was so proud of them. Now I have to get over the post-show comedown, which will doubtless take some time. Just thinking about what I want to do next year now...

Photos up on Flickr....Sorry this is short, I think I've run out of superlatives...

25 February 2007


My kids that is. They were AMAZING tonight.

We started off finishing off blocking Act One. I don't know if it's cos they're bored of Act One, as that's what we did at the Festival, but it seemed a bit lacking in "oomph". Jack was tired as he's been playing Rugby today, Tommi still isn't well, I was shattered from driving to Oxford and back, so only Suzi had any energy.

Anyway, we finished Act One and I gave them a quick break. I was quietly dreading blocking Act Two as it's unknown territory. With this in mind, I asked them to start, and waited to see what would happen...

These kids don't need directing. They really don't. They worked most of it out on their own, with just a few places that needed a bit of help. Two or three times they did something I had noted down in the script as an idea without prompting, just off their own backs. They were fabulous. We managed to block right up to page 26 - very impressive stuff for a Sunday night!

And the Hut problems? We're now rehearsing at New Haw Library, until the Hut is sorted. Of course, even without the barge in the middle it'll still be freezing, but if they can keep up the levels of enthusiasm they had tonight, they'll soon get warm!

23 February 2007

Like a bad smell

I'm back again...

Yes Teechers is back in rehearsal for our "full length" outing in April. With a slightly smaller cast, and slightly different techinical team we're on our way to what should hopefully be a good show - if we ever get to have a decent rehearsal....

We've managed two Sunday rehearsals in the Hall where we're doing the show. This in itself is unusual, as we're not normally in the Hall until just before the performance week. Anyway, we've had two rehearsals there. Last Thursday I got a text from a member of the cast to say she "didn't think there was a rehearsal, as it was half term"...There are only three members of the cast and one of them is her brother, who was also under this delusion, so the rehearsal was cancelled.

Last night, we turned up at what Ottershaw Players generously call "The Hut" but is actually a glorified shed. It's an interesting place, with loads of bits of old set and paraphenalia tucked away so you never know what you'll find. I'll try to take a picture to show you what I mean. Anyway, when we turned up yesterday, the entire set of the winter show "The Wind in the Willows", was in the middle of the room. Including a barge. An actual barge. Consequently the rehearsal became a read through, which wasn't at all helpful.

We have two months to put on this show. It wasn't really my choice not to start til February, but two members of the three-man show were involved in a large scale production down the road until the end of January, and couldn't have done both. So, we started a few weeks ago and so far have been beset with problems.

I can't help but wonder if my production is just considered to be "a bit on the side" for Ottershaw. It's probably not going to be a huge money spinner, but it should be a really good show, and I do think it's important that we keep doing shows in the village hall - after all we are a village drama group. Anyway, I think I'm just bitter and feeling ranty!

A more positive post soon (and photos), I promise!