Welcome to Studio61.org.uk
We are Studio 61, an amateur theatre group based in west Wolverhampton, performing a wide range of drama and we welcome new members and new audiences.
Following our move to The Victory Hall in Lower Penn we are presented with some new challenges and opportunities in our stage sets. We perform a wide variety of drama, favouring ‘black box’ and ‘in the round’ presentation so if you are experienced in, or have a particular interest in, innovative set design and construction we should be excited to hear from you.
Well, what a few months it has been for the society!
June saw the impressive production of All My Sons by Arthur Miller. Sarah led a very talented and committed cast and crew in a thoughtful, memorable show, with rave reviews from many audience members.
We are fortunate that, having a comparatively large acting pool, we were able to simultaneously rehearse for another production. The Newhampton Arts Centre is enthusiastic to set up an annual amateur drama festival, and at the ‘small beginnings’ in July we performed ‘But Yesterday‘, an enigmatic short play by Jimmie Chinn as our contribution. It was well received by the albeit small audience, but plans are well in train to get more societies involved next year, and for workshops to be held in January. The project is called ENACT and will hopefully lead to some productive networking between groups.
August saw a very successful innovation, a Patrons’ evening, meticulously organised by Sarah Carter. We hope that it was a fitting ‘thank you’ for all the support which our Patrons give to us and also might persuade some of you who have not yet taken that step to do so! It was, above all, very convivial, with plenty of chances for patrons and members to meet and chat over wine and cheese. However, what made it special was that the patrons (and not members!) were given the chance to decide on part of next season’s programme. We are fortunate that at the moment we have no shortage of prospective directors eager to put on a play. We therefore asked three of these to each put on a ten minute rehearsed reading of their proposed production and invited the patrons to vote for their favourite. The result was an entertaining evening and the choice was for Jane Alsop to direct Neighbourhood Watch by Alan Ayckbourn in June. We shall definitely be repeating the event next year!
We can therefore now announce that our next year’s programme will be:
- Bombshells by Joanna Murray-Smith
- February 2016 – Directed by Martin Smith
- This is a collection of sometimes outrageous, sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant monologues by ‘women on the edge’.
- Neighbourhood Watch by Alan Ayckbourn
- June 2016 – Directed by Jane Alsop
- In this comedy a brother and sister arrive in a new neighbourhood, and as their concerns over local security mount, events, influenced by the usual collection of Ayckbourn oddball characters, escalate out of control.
- Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett
- November 2016 – Directed by Sue Hay
- A comedy with not just twists, but spirals, in true Bennett style.
However, before all that we have this November’s production, The White Devil by John Webster, directed by Suzanne Smith, the flyer for which is attached/enclosed. It has involved a large cast including one or two ‘guests’ and will provide an intriguing, colourful, energetic evening including some interesting use of technology. The plot may be complicated, but just enjoy the language and costumes and go with the flow!
2014 in Review
We started 2014 with a radio play of Jekyll and Hyde by Leonard H. Caddy. This adaption of the Robert Louis Stevenson short story “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” was directed by Maggie Smith and transported our audience back to a 1935 radio broadcast studio featuring an array of radio actors, sound stagehands and, during one performance, a scene-stealing butterfly.
Embracing the summer, our June production featured seven of our actresses in four one-act seaside plays in Jean McConnell’s Deckchairs II directed by Martin Smith. The comedy plays introduced our audience to two factory-workers on a company trip to a nudist beach and two actresses verbally spar on the beach by the pier. The two dramas followed two sister’s bickering and playing cards on the beach by their manor house and a retired head teacher and a social worker discussing her prospects of her admittance to the retirement home. It was a very well received production, with particular praise extended to Patricia Boyd, who mastered challenging roles in two of the four plays.
We rounded off the year with our November production paying tribute to the centenary of the start of the First World War. Moving slightly towards the operatic, Ian Howarth directed Oh What a Lovely War by Jean Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop featuring all manner of singing and dancing. As a very ambitious project, this production included TV screens featuring pictures, videos and information about “The Great War”, a very large cast of pierrots and live music from Martin Fox and guest singers Ron Beardsmore and Leuan Parry Jones.
2013 in Review
We began 2013 with a February double bill of one act plays, A Man of Letters by Tim Firth and A Respectable Funeral by Jimmie Chinn. A duo of new directors for Studio 61 were found in Ray Manning and Sarah Carter and two small but strong casts told the stories of both sign-mounting, amateur crime writer Frank and three sisters, Joyce, Greta and Evadne, mourning the passing of their mother.
In June we performed the last of Alan Ayckbourn’s “The Norman Conquests” trilogy, Round and Round the Garden. Andy Alsop directed this cast of six in the story of Norman’s misguided attempt at a saucy weekend away with his sister-in-law, as seen from the garden.
And finally, in later November Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The School for Scandal was dragged out of the 1700s and launched into the 21st Century, helmed by Jane Fosbrook. Gossip spread via BlackBerrys and the potential threat of Lady Teazle’s rumoured philandering airing on Twitter helped bring this classic restoration comedy right up to date.