April 2019 – April 2020
At the time of writing CADS 2020 AGM, scheduled to take place on 2 April, has been postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19
Since April 2019 CADS has performed 2 large scale productions, hosted 1 free workshop and 3 informal meetings. We have also welcomed several new members to the Company.
The Committee has worked hard on your behalf and our meetings have been well attended and good humoured as always.
In June 2019 we hosted a voice workshop led by Emma James (LAMDA Associate and vocal coach) and Jennifer Scott-Reid (GODA adjudicator, co-founder of two theatre companies and experienced actor and director). The workshop was free of charge and well attended.
In September 2019 CADS extraordinarily successful contribution to the Royston Arts Festival was Flare Path by Terence Rattigan. Directed by Brenda Cottis and produced by Emma Daintrey there were four performances over two weekends which attracted a record audience number. A wartime drama set in 1942, the play focused on the lives and relationships of a bomber command team stationed on the Lincolnshire coast. The outstanding static set depicted the foyer of the Falcon Inn; lighting was designed by new company member Steve Hawkins (assisted by Emily Harman). The players were Rebecca Aloneftis, Mark Hamblin, Matthew Harrison, Claire Hogan, Rupert Jordan, Martin Maynard, Rebecca Seakins, Joe Symonds, Patricia Phillips, and Michael Young, with technical and stage management support by Joe Daintrey, Phil Rowe & Jill Buggey.
During the year CADS held several informal meetings at the Coombes Community Centre. These are free to attend and open to members and non-members. Meetings included:
Oct 2019 - Play reading My Left Nut hosted by Emma Daintrey
Nov 2019 – ‘The Meisner Technique for actors’ hosted by Martin Maynard
Jan 2020 – ‘Theatre on film’ hosted by Michael Young
Further meetings are planned for June, July and September 2020; details are on CADS website.
Following an approach to Kathy Young by the Friends of Royston & District Museum & Art Gallery, in early December CADS performed a one-off fund-raising evening of songs, poems, readings and sketches entitled A Christmas Miscellany. These were interspersed with news items gathered from the Royston Crow of Christmases past.
Later in December we gathered in the Old Bull for festive pre-Christmas drinks and enjoyed a good old catch-up.
January 2020 was pantomime time. First-time director Nicky Paton, with musical director Louise Atkins, directed Jack and the Beanstalk by Tom Whalley. Nicky also designed the unconventional and colourful set and played a lead role. Plenty of pre-show publicity saw another year of record audience numbers (over 1400). With challenging scene changes – an unforgettable circus tent, flying balloons and an actual balloon ride - CADS backstage and production crew, led by Joe Daintrey and Phil Rowe, rose to all the challenges once again.
The 2020 CADS drama awards were presented in February. The Fred Sillence Award for outstanding contribution to drama was presented to Shaunaid Crosby "for her extraordinary commitment to music and drama in the town through her work as Leader of Performing Arts at King James Academy Royston".
The Lizzie Houghton Award for outstanding contribution to youth drama went to a team of Year 10 pupils at KJAR Senior School who made up the technical team for Little Shop of Horrors (Nov 2019); some of them also worked on Seussical, performed in June 2019 on the KJAR Junior Site.
Also in February 2020 rehearsals began for Strangers on a Film by Stephen Wyatt, a radio play adapted by Roy Maddox. This 50-minute, two-hander was CADS intended entry for the Sawston Drama Festival (Mar 2020), Welwyn Drama Festival (May 2020), Cambridge Festival of Drama (Sep 2020) and Royston Arts Festival (Sep 2020). Directed by Michael Young, the play examines the troubled relationship between Alfred Hitchcock (Martin Maynard) and Raymond Chandler (Michael Young) during the writing of a screenplay. It also features a small silent ensemble of supporting characters. Before Covid-19 changed the world the cast and crew had literally just completed their successful Technical Rehearsal day at Sawston. Then everything stopped.
However, all being well, Strangers is due to be revived in September for its ‘world premiere’ at both the Cambridge Festival of Drama (ADC Theatre, Cambridge) and the 2020 Royston Arts Festival where it will be performed with 6 Dead Queens and an inflatable Henry, a one act play devised by Foursight Theatre and to be directed by David Atkins. The Committee are hoping to organise a read through of 6 Dead Queens, perhaps using some kind of ’meeting place’ software and have asked that the script be made available. Further developments will be communicated to members by newsletter/social media.
CADS continues to support Performing Arts in our Royston School Community and has provided loan of equipment, set, costumes and props on various occasions. Throughout the year CADS members have participated in other drama productions including Oliver with Limitless Academy of Performing Arts, and various shows with the Settlement Players in Letchworth.
Looking forward to the year ahead we are keen to hear from anyone who would like to direct the 2021 Pantomime, or from anyone with a script to submit. Initial planning by the Committee generally starts around May/June. Performance dates are already confirmed (22/23 Jan & 29/30 Jan 2021).
As always more detailed information on all CADS activities can be found at www.cadsroyston.org.uk.
Finally, I would like to thank the current Committee for their excellent work this year, and am appreciative of their continued support during this difficult period. For the time being, as we are unable to hold our AGM, the Committee have agreed to continue in post and work on behalf of our company in any way possible pending further developments.