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Silchester Players

We have three activities to report on this month:

1) Alchemy in Three Easy Lessons

Our recording of this radio play by John Quinn is now complete. The stage version having won the script writing competition in the Creative Writing Section of the Basingstoke Music and Arts Festival 2021, the author has skilfully transformed it into an amusing radio drama.

Because of Covid restrictions and the need to observe strict guidelines, all our recordings had to be done outdoors. We planned this over two weekend days, using as our ‘studio’ the well-enclosed garden of one our members. Having leafleted neighbours advising of our plans, we were disconcerted on the first day when some builders chose a crucial moment noisily to unload patio material! No sooner had this ceased than rain started. We rapidly erected a gazebo but could not record because of the sound of rain hitting canvas. When the shower passed we got going again only to encounter unexpected aircraft noise. We appeared to be underneath a flight path for light planes and were frequently disturbed by their droning as well as the deeper noise of higher Heathrow traffic.

On the second recording morning the heavens opens, making any outdoor work with electrical equipment unsafe. We rapidly changed plans and rearranged for the remaining scenes to be recorded one evening. Yet again we were disturbed by aircraft noise and the persistent crepuscular cooing of wood pigeons. However we persevered and have captured sufficient raw material to take forward to the editing process. Our technical director will add sound effects and original music, composed specially by Tony Oliver, completing a high quality production.

We invite everyone to listen Alchemy in Three Easy Lessons when it is broadcast on HHCR Basingstoke’s Community Radio on Sunday 19 September at 2 p.m. To tune in log on to: www.hhcr.org.uk. Thereafter the play will be available on our website: www.silchesterplayers.org.

We are grateful to Spratleys of Mortimer for sponsoring this and our other productions.

2) Aladdin.

As previously reported, we are considering a return to the stage in January 2022 with our pantomime Aladdin. There will be additional challenges if this production can go ahead because we are required to follow the guidance set out by the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) to keep both our members and our audiences safe while there is still a threat from coronavirus. Because we await clarification of what is and what is not possible, we have deferred a final decision until our next committee meeting on 25th August.

If we go ahead auditions are likely to be held on Tuesday 14t.h September As usual they will be open to all comers. If you are interested in joining us, whether as one of the principals, a member of the chorus, or as part of our backstage crew handling props, costumes, scenery, sound or lighting please come along. However firstly remember to check our website: www.silchesterplayers.org for the latest news and full details.

3) Chaperones

As our regular audience members will be aware, a charming feature of our pantomimes is the participation of junior performers. However, what may not be generally known is that we are legally required, for safeguarding purposes, to have a team of chaperones in charge of juniors during dress rehearsals and performances. We are now actively looking for someone to take the role of lead chaperone. This is a very important function which can also be rewarding as it is a pleasure to see the commitment and enthusiasm of younger performers. Anyone interested or requiring further details should contact our secretary Sarah Oliver on [email protected].

Members of Silchester Players recording Alchemy in Three Easy Lessons