Latest news from CADS

February 2024 newsletter

(February 16, 2024)

AGM changes
There's a change of venue for our annual general meeting, due to the current unavailability of KJAR. We shall, instead, be meeting at 7.00 p.m. on Monday 25 March in The Old Schoolhouse on Market Hill, Royston. The meeting itself will be followed immediately by a read-through and audition for yet another of our proposed radio plays - see below.

As previously announced, Michael Young, who has been Secretary for a few years and has doubled as Chair during 2023, is resigning from the committee, and Ruth Durrant, who has been Vice Chair and Safeguarding Officer, is also standing down so we'll need to find replacements for those roles. We'd also, of course, welcome anyone else who'd like to join the committee. We meet roughly once a month in someone's home and meetings generally last about an hour and a half. Most of the actual work of the committee gets done by the officers (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer) but we do rely on our "ordinary" members for their insight and their opinions on what we're doing, what we plan to do, and even what we should be doing instead! If you can spare an hour or so every month or so, do please let us know that you're interested.

Just to remind you - anyone is welcome to attend the AGM but if anything gets put to a vote (including the appointment of committee members), then only fully paid-up members of CADS are eligible to vote (see below). Nonetheless, we'd be delighted to see you there whether or not you're a member and everyone's voice will get a chance to be heard, so if you have any thoughts on the present or future of the group, do please join us...

Coming to a radio near you...

We've now (nearly) cast not only a second but a third radio drama for Royston Radio (and are planning a fourth)!

One is a new Nick Warburton one-act comedy called Losing the Plot, set on an allotment and in the meeting rooms of the Allotment Association. The characters and actors for that one are as follows:

The other is The Hitchhiker by Lucille Fletcher, which was first broadcast in 1941 on the Orson Welles Show on CBS. It's a spooky tale about a man driving across the United States, who keeps seeing the same mysterious hitchhiker wherever he goes and becomes obsessive about him to the point of near insanity. CADS has performed the play twice before - once in 2000 at the ADC Theatre in Cambridge as part of a late-night double bill, and once in 2004 at the Haverhill Drama Festival.
The cast for this one is as follows:

  • Ronald Adams - a young New Yorker - Patrick Key
  • Mrs Adams - Ronald's mother - Angela Sassoli
  • Filling Station Attendant/Mrs Witney/Telephone Operator - Pauline Rowe
  • Roadside Stand Proprietor - [tba]
  • Wife of Roadside Stand Proprietor/Telephone Operator - Rachael King
  • Female Hitchhiker/Telephone Operator - Cate Hall

We're hoping to record both plays during the next month or so. We've also got plans to start work on a fourth radio drama - the one-act thriller Sorry, Wrong Number, also by Lucille Fletcher - which formed the other half of the double bill at the ADC in 2000. We're holding a combined read-through and audition for this immediately following our Annual General Meeting which takes place at 7.00 on Monday 25 March at The Old Schoolhouse on Market Hill, Royston. At present we have no director lined up for this one so, if you fancy your chances at directing a short radio play, we'd love to hear from you - please e-mail [email protected] if you'd like to know more...

There are a number of roles in the piece, some of which may well end up being doubled up as with The Hitchhiker and, like that play, it's set in the States. The roles are:

  • Mrs Stevenson - elderly, neurotic
  • Telephone Operators (6 separate roles including Chief Operator Miss Curtis)
  • 1st Man - heavy-set criminal
  • 2nd Man - also criminal, possibly with foreign accent
  • Information
  • Hospital Receptionist - middle-aged, practical
  • Western Union Employee
  • Sergeant Duffy - experienced police officer
  • Lunch Room Attendant - young, could be either male or female

The audition is, as always, completely open to anyone over the age of 18, whether or not you've performed with CADS in the past, and you don't need to prepare anything beforehand - just turn up on the night. (We can probably even supply tea and coffee!)

Sub due, d'you see?

This is the time of year when our Treasurer starts to hassle everyone about paying their subscriptions. To remind you, full membership is £15 for the year (£10 for full-time students) and this entitles you to a free ticket for any one performance of any show we put on during the year (transferable to a family member or friend if desired); it also entitles you to vote at the AGM should you wish to and it ensures that you're covered under the terms of our insurance policy if you're cast in a production. It also gives you access to the "Backstage" pages of the CADS website.

As the Treasurer likes to remind us, there are always expenses associated with the running of a group such as ours, including things like insurance (it costs us about £1,500 a year just to exist!) so we're more than grateful for your financial support to help keep us afloat.
You can pay your subs by bank transfer - the account name is CADS, the sort code is 40-39-22, and the account number is 91389149. It would help if you could use "Membership" as your reference. Alternatively, you can simply pay cash to a member of the committee. Any problems or queries, please get in touch with [email protected]. Thank you.

Looking forward

We've recently been discussing, as we always do, what to do next and have come up with a few suggestions based on the radio plays mentioned above. One idea is to perform The Hitchhiker and Sorry, Wrong Number as staged versions in Royston, possibly this Summer. We've done them this way before and they'd make a very neat double bill. The current unavailability of KJAR does raise a challenge as to venue but we're working on that...

Another idea is to submit one or both of those plays to this year's Cambridge Festival of Drama in September. Alternatively, if anyone out there would like to come up with another suggestion we should, as ever, be delighted to hear from you! Please contact us in the usual way by e-mailing [email protected]

And we're still thinking about a full-scale musical at some point, again dependent on a suitable venue...

CADS on film?

CADS member Amadeus Hall is currently working on a short (15-minute) film called Mascot, using a script he's written based on a true story relating to one of his own relatives.It tells of the trials and tribulations faced by a father who learns that his son has brittle bone disease and is torn between allowing the boy to pursue his dream of becoming a rugby player and persuading him to accept the reality of his condition.

Amadeus has already recruited some of the actors, though there are still a few small parts going. There will also be certain days when he'll need non-speaking parts to appear on camera in backgrounds etc.

As far as the technical staff are concerned, he's looking to fill the following roles:

  • Producer -- would work alongside the director, provide scheduling for production team and documentation, contact and communicate with potential locations, organise dates and times, prepare casting auditions, contact agencies and/or voluntary advertisements, schedule and attend pre-production meetings with the production team
  • Administration - DBS checks and/or managing chaperones, signing actors, managing volunteering, posting to social media, location scouting alongside the creative team, risk assessments, call sheets, release forms.
  • Assistant Camera (Gaffer) - would work alongside the director and DOP in planning lighting rigs/sets for on-location shoots, attend production meetings to adequately plan camera/lighting rigs before the production phase using appropriate documentation techniques; should be prepared to work full-day shoots and travel to required locations, and to manage lighting rigs and safety around lights
  • Audio Director - would work alongside the DOP, managing boom mic, recorders, and balancing audio on the day, attending production meetings to adequately plan before the production phase using appropriate documentation techniques;.should be prepared to work full-day shoots and travel to required locations; should be familiar with audio technology and available for location scouting to familiarise and prepare for possible problems; would be responsible for storing recorded footage appropriately
  • Production Designer - managing and collecting props and small set pieces for on-camera use; should be prepared to work full-day shoots and travel to require locations; responsible for creating and/or supplying authentic props for actor’s use as well as on-camera set pieces, ensuring sets appropriately match the scene’s description, working closely with the director attending meetings to discuss what should go where etc.; would be responsible for the safety of all props and possible set pieces.

It's hoped that filming will take place during February and March and possibly early April so that the finished film is ready by May, which means that the timescale is pretty tight. For that reason, Amadeus really needs to have the whole cast and crew sorted by the end of next week (23 February) if at all possible. If you're able to help in any capacity, please contact him directly (and as soon as possible) on [email protected]

Listen up

Our good friend, sometime CADS member, and former professional actor Martin Maynard has recently launched a brand new drama-related business.

The Cambridge Meisner Studio aims to take participants on a journey through each stage of the Meisner Technique, developed by Sanford Meisner in the mid-twentieth century, Meisner along with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler all developed their own method of acting, based around the teachings of Konstantin Stanislavski, and his work with the Moscow Art Theatre company. Meisner’s technique is very much based around active listening, acute observation and responding accordingly.

The Studio offers two training options: the Long Form which gives a rich, in-depth look at every aspect of the technique, and shorter introductory trainings thta take place over a day or a weekend.

In collaboration with Corkscrew Theatre, Martin is offering a one-day introductory workshop for anyone over 18 at which you can learn the fundamentals of the technique. It takes place at Trumpington Meadows Primary School on Sunday 3 March between 2.00 and 5.00 p.m. and costs £30 per person.

Martin presented a similar brief evening session on the technique for CADS a few years ago and it was very well received. We strongly recommend that you check out this exciting new venture by visiting his website at

Panto praise

Finally, some lovely feedback for our 2024 pantomime The Little Mermaid, which was performed last month to sell-out audiences. As well as being honoured by a visit from author Warren McWilliams (who seemed to approve of the production!), we were also visited by Scott Welch, the regional representative for NODA (the National Operatic and Dramatic Association). He was kind enough to write this review of the show:

"I have never seen The Little Mermaid performed as a pantomime before, so I was really interested to see how it would work as a pantomime, I was really impressed with the script, it was genuinely funny and some of the fish puns were ingenious.

"Louise Atkins as the Musical Director made some inspired and original music choices that worked well.

"Rachael King played Bastian the crab who played the audience friend and she worked the audience very well.  Dame Dusty was effortlessly played by David Atkins, his pace was excellent, and the delivery of every single joke was on point, as cliched as some of the puns and jokes were, I found myself laughing because of his delivery and pace, there was no time for me to think of the punch line first!

"Barbara Perry portrayed Captain Aargh and her characterisation was lovely and the partnership with Dame Dusty was a real highlight, especially the gardening slapstick routine, which I understand was written by the director.

"Abi Daniels who played Mariel had a lovely voice, which really suited the song choices especially Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls.  Amadeus Hall played Prince Derek, he had charm and held himself well as the Prince, I did feel that Defying Gravity was an ambitious song choice for a male voice.

"Octavia was evilly played by Alison Bass, she worked the audience well, but I felt there were missed opportunities for audience participation, which would have given her more chance to revel in the boos.  Emily Rowley continued in the evil vein well after cleverly transforming into a younger Octavia.  I really enjoyed Callum Masterson and Kathy Young as Corky and Crusty the dim double act, they were funny and worked well as a pair, the children and adults in the audience clearly enjoyed the banana routine!

"Patrick Key gave Triton the authority needed for the role and his costume was excellent and enhanced his performance.  The six mermaids played by Zoe Nesteriuc, Rebecca Noble, Emma Battom, Michelle Marks, Willow Harman and Kelly-Marie Hathaway, had some lovely lines and looked great as a group, at times I found it difficult to hear all of their lines, however this could have been because of where I was sitting.

"I liked the set; it was designed well by Anna Fraser-Medcalf, and the director had clearly thought about setting and how to cover without multiple blackouts, this is something that really helped with the pace.  The underwater set with the wavy backdrop and fish sliding across stage, had lovely detail and was very clever.

"I must make a special mention to the costume team, Sarah Beadle, Beth Davies, Paula McQueen, Beth Moorley and Laura Willmott, the costumes were all made, and they were very effective, special mention for the Dame’s costumes, always tricky but they were beautifully accompanied by lovely wigs.  This was a real strength of the show and an obvious strength of the society.

"Thank you to CADS for their hospitality, and once again congratulations on a good pantomime."


Our next meeting is the AGM on Monday 25 March 2024 (see above); 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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