W12 Actors And Actresses Take To the Stage

Amateur dramatics society celebrates 45th anniversary


Theatre West Four

The Questors Theatre


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A West London amateur dramatics society, which has several Shepherd's Bush residents as members, is celebrating its 45th birthday with a new production.

Teechers, by John Godber, is currently performing at the Questors Theatre in Ealing, with three budding actors and actresses from W12 taking to the stage.

“At the moment we have three actors in the cast of 10 who live in W12 and our Lighting Director is a Shepherd's Bush resident as well,” explained Joanne Hemingway, who both lives and works in Shepherd's Bush. “Although the group have been performing at Questors in Ealing recently we are always on the lookout for new venues so if there is a space in W12 that would work we'd been keen to check it out! As the group has been going for 45 years this year, its reputation in West London is pretty established but it's always good to bring in a new audience so we like to do a variety of plays but I think we excel at comedy!”

The new show, about three school leavers who perform a self-written play about their last year at a struggling comprehensive school, has allowed the cast to be children again: “The current play Teechers is great fun. It's a comedy by John Godber and has some wonderful lines. All the cast are playing children who in turn are playing their teachers in an end of term production. I think we have all enjoyed releasing our inner child! Emma Charnley, our director, has really encouraged us to let go of our inhibitions and remember what it was like to be on the verge of leaving school and the excitement that entailed. The audience have to use their imaginations though as the cast all play different parts and some of the casting might not be obvious - for instance I play both Mrs Whitham and Doug the Caretaker!” said Hemingway.

Jimmy Smallwood, who is also from Shepherd's Bush, has one of the lead roles: “Jimmy plays Mr Nixon who is the teacher at the centre of the play. The play is basically the story of his year at Whitewall High as told by three of his pupils. It has been commented that Jimmy has a certain Hugh Grant-esque quality which he brings to the role!” Hemingway added.

Theatre West Four, which is based in Chiswick, was set up by a group of teenagers in 1964 and since then has won numerous local awards and competitions. Hemingway says the society attracts budding actors and actresses of all ages and from a wide variety of backgrounds.

“We have active members from 18 to 80 and a typical cast will usually represent at least four decades of ages. Even Teechers, which has a primarily young cast, spans an age range of 20 years! I think this is one of the key things about the group: on the surface we might all seem very different but we are united by a love of theatre which makes for a very amicable group!” said Hemingway.

Hemingway herself says she has been involved in the amateur dramatics society for about four years after being introduced by a colleague: “This will be my 7th production and despite the exhausting rehearsals which can take over your life, I find it a great way to escape from day to day stress. The adrenalin of the play week and the pride in a job well done make all the line-learning and late nights worth it!"

Teechers is playing at the Questors Theatre in Ealing from 4th – 9th November 2009.

November 2, 2009

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