Latest news from CADS

November 2023 newsletter

(November 11, 2023)
Splish, splash
Things are hotting up for our much anticipated 2024 pantomime The Little Mermaid and it could be our biggest and most spectacular show ever! Auditions were held back in October and attracted a huge number of potential cast members. The panto has been written by Hertfordshire writer Warren McWilliams, who was also responsible for this year’s record-breaking Sleeping Beauty.  It tells the story of Mariel, the little mermaid of the title, who visits dry land on her birthday and falls in love with the human Prince Derek. When the Prince’s ship is wrecked by the evil sea witch Octavia, Mariel saves his life but cannot let him know who she is. He awakens with only the memory of her voice and determines to find her. But Octavia tricks Mariel into swapping voices with her in an attempt to win Prince Derek for herself and rule as Queen on land.

We've been lucky enough to find a new director for the show in the person of Duncan Moore. Duncan is relatively new to Royston – he and his wife, the acclaimed writer Kate Moore (who's also responsible for the show's choreography), moved here with their son just over a year ago - but has a wealth of experience in London and elsewhere directing amateur and fringe groups in everything from Shakespeare to Sweeney Todd! Duncan professes a lifelong love of pantomime. “I’ve always joked”, he says, “that if I were a famous actor, I would always do panto, as there are very few genres that connect with an audience so immediately and on such an honest level.”

The full cast for The Little Mermaid can be viewed on the here and with about 45 members in the show is one of the largest casts the group has assembled. There are, as usual, many familiar faces among them but, gratifyingly, there are also sixteen actors completely new to CADS, many of them among the juniors. And Duncan and the technical team are promising some magical special effects along with the customary songs, dances, dreadful jokes and slapstick nonsense.

The pantomime will be performed as usual at King James Academy Royston (Senior Site) during the last two weekends in January 2024, and once again this year we're putting on an additional matinee performance so that more children (and grown-ups, too, of course!) can enjoy the show. Performance dates are Saturday 20 January (2.00 and 7.30), Sunday 21 January (11.30), Friday 26 January (7.30) and Saturday 27 January (2.00 and 7.30). Tickets, which cost £15 full price and £10 for concessions (children, students and pensioners), go on sale as is traditional at the KJAR Christmas Market on Sunday 25 November and will be available online the following day. Just follow the link from the group’s home page for our booking partners Positickets or ring the Box Office on 07856 599039

Meanwhile, we are currently on the look-out for someone to help manage and run the bar at these performances. Our regular bar manager is unable to assist us this time round, though is available to advise on purchasing stock, costing, sourcing glasses and so on. If you'd like to be considered for this role, or indeed would like to help with the front of house in general, please contact the Producer by e-mailing [email protected]

CADdies time
Around this time of year we start to promote our two annual drama awards (one day we'll get the committee to agree to call them "Caddies"!). The Fred Sillence Award, named in honour of a former member and editor of the Royston Crow, is given "for outstanding contribution to the performing arts". It's open to anyone aged eighteen or over and living in Royston or the surrounding villages who has made a significant contribution to theatre or drama in the previous twelve months. Last year's winner was Peter Heppelthwaite of Limitless Academy.
The Lizzie Houghton Award, also named in honour of a former member of the society, is given "for outstanding contribution to youth drama". It is open to anyone up to the age of eighteen living in Royston or the surrounding villages who has made a significant contribution to theatre or drama in the previous twelve months - this could be in a school, a club, a theatre or dance group, on stage, backstage, or for music or scriptwriting. Last year the award went to Oliver Eather.

Nominations can be made for either award by anyone from the local area, and the committee will then vote on who should receive each award.  Award nominees do NOT have to be a member of CADS, or have been involved with CADS performances.  These awards are open to all comers.

Please let us have your nominations by the end of the year, so that we can present the prizes immediately after the pantomime ends. You should send us your name, the name of the person being nominated (with a note of their age if they're being put forward for the youth award), and a few sentences about why you think they deserve the award - easiest way to do so is by e-mail to [email protected]

French Fries
CADS stalwart Jill Buggey has asked me to give a quick plug to an event happening later this month. It’s the Foxton Twinning French film night on Saturday 25 November at 7.30 in Foxton Village Hall. They’ll be showing the classic seasonal French comedy, Les Bronzés Font du Ski [1979] (rated PG and known in English as "French Fried Vacation")

In the original Les Bronzés [1978], eight French tourists meet while on holiday in the Ivory Coast and become friends. The following year, the same studio made a Christmas version, complete with hilarious escapades such as encounters with Italians in a remote mountain lodge and a local wine tasting scene. It playfully makes fun of the stereotypes surrounding French ski culture. Almost everyone in this film went on to become well known in French cinema and the film itself has become a classic.

There will be English subtitles (of course!), popcorn, a French-themed raffle and a cash bar to allow you to buy drinks before the film and during the interval.  Tickets cost £10 for adults, £7 for under-16s. Cinema projection will be managed by CADS Secretary Michael Young in one of his other hats and tickets can be bought on the door or reserved in advance from [email protected]. Alternatively, you can call or text Jill Buggey on 07758 753792. We hope to see some of you there!

Radio silence
Circumstances have meant that our second play for Royston Radio, Emma Daintrey's own adaptation of Ben Lewis's Romance is Dead, has had to be shelved for now, but we're hoping to revive it at some point in the New Year. After that, Michael Young is hoping to direct a recording of a new Nick Warburton one-act play for the station but, with the panto season fast approaching, that might not now happen until some time in the Spring. Watch this space or the website for more news.

Our next meeting is on 10 January 2024; if there's anything you'd like us to consider or discuss then, please feel free to contact any of us at any time via the Contact page of this website!


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