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Silchester Players

We heard the very sad news last month that Trevor Dobson, the choreographer for our pantomimes for the last 25 years, has died.

Trevor was one of the unseen band of talented people whose combined contributions help to make colourful and successful productions. He may not have been someone recognised by audiences as by the time of performances his work was complete and he could remain in the background, but we owe Trevor a tremendous debt of gratitude. For over a quarter of a century he skilfully devised a great variety of dance routines. He was always well aware of the constraints within which we operate and invariably created engaging sequences, bringing movement and interest while at the same time ensuring everything attempted was within the capacity of talented and not so talented dance amateurs! Among the highlights, audiences may remember his routine for “Sleeping Beauty” in which the chorus sang “Food Glorious Food” while dancing with trays laden with rich offerings for an opulent banquet.

Trevor very ably organised all this inventive choreography even though he was immobile, having been confined to a wheelchair for many years. We would fetch him to rehearsal venues where he would patiently put our chorus through their paces, describing exactly what he wanted to achieve although he could not physically demonstrate the moves himself.

He was heavily involved with Newbury NOMADS and for many years was the theatre reviewer for the Newbury Weekly News. With this background, his remarkable commitment to our group was a real boon. Bringing flair and a wicked sense of humour, he was a familiar figure to cast and crew as a pantomime approached. He will be sorely missed.

Turning to happier news, we have now held auditions for the radio play Alchemy in Three Easy Lessons and will be starting rehearsals shortly. Although on radio actors can consult their scripts, rehearsals are nevertheless very necessary as it is important that characters are developed and the tone and pace is pitch perfect. We focus on nuances of expression and the emphasis on key words, as of course listeners can only hear the actors and have to use imagination to visualise the scene. We can help our listening audience by developing subtlety in delivery of speech, skilful sound effects and suitably atmospheric music linking the various episodes of the drama.

Our auditions were held out of doors in a large private garden, with fewer than the maximum of 30 permitted under current regulations. We remained socially distant at all times and ensured audition lines were delivered into a suitable open space. We enjoyed being able to get together socially and there was also one glorious moment when the bright, clear call of the cuckoo upstaged us all.

We will now be rehearsing the radio play until early August when recording will take place. Thereafter the work is handed over to our technical crew to add music and sound effects. Watch for further details of the proposed date of broadcast on HHCR Basingstoke’s community radio after which Alchemy in Three Easy Lessons will be held on our website www.silchesterplayers.org

Members of Silchester Players taking part in socially distanced auditions for "Alchemy in Three Easy Lessons"