An update from our Commitee Chair, Debra.

Orpen players Spring update



So Panto is well and truly over as we start preparations and rehearsals for our Spring production.

Panto Poster JanMany thanks to Ricci Mussi…..Not only has Ricci been our resident dame for the past few years, but this year he directed for us for the first time, and he used a script written by our very own Phil Hurst!

This panto was a very happy group of people, established AND new supporting each other and bringing the show to life. It was great to welcome some new faces who were ably supported by some very experienced actors.

Sadly our Dame, Peter Cox  was very unwell the second week of the show, struck down by the awful virus that had spread throughout panto-land. With Peter on doctors orders to stay in bed,  Ricci stepped in at last minute to become dame, with Nicole and her ladies sorting costumes and accessories literally overnight – we cannot thank them enough, or Ricci for being such a hero!  Commiserations to Peter, who had not only worked hard to create a Dame, he had also designed all the brochures, leaflets, boards and set  as always, and missed out on the second week of the show, and the all important aftershow party!  We had bought him a gift for his wonderful artistry, and that has been passed on to him now!  Thank you Peter for your continued dedication to the group.

We were able to purchase some new lights this year thanks to a bequest from Joyce Lucking (a founder member of the group), and we are delighted to think that both Joyce and Fred, although no longer with us, will be lighting up our stage for years to come.


We already have Spring in rehearsal process, a Murder Mystery with a great twist at the end!  Peter is directing ‘Prescription for Murder’ by Norman Robbins, and the cast alongside me is:

Colin Downer, Anne Sexton, Robin Warnes, Chrissie Wenden, Mike Brown, and new to the stage – Mary Weindling!   We are delighted to have Mike back on stage after such a successful panto, having ditched the goblin wig and ears, he is trying his hand at a straight play, and I am sure he will love it!  Mary is already showing us that she will be a great addition to the cast. Mary has helped out with painting and FOH whilst daughter Delphine has been in our pantos, but she is now venturing into the world of acting and hopefully will enjoy it as much as we do!

Production week is:  Thursday 17th, Friday 18th and Saturday 19th May 2018 – put it in your diaries and don’t forget to book tickets!

I think the group is in a really great place right now.  We have a tight knit dedicated nucleus of Orpen Players, plus a lot of enthusiastic new members, all of whom are keen to help both on and off stage.  We have a group of youngsters who love returning year after year.  We have a group of supportive parents who are happy to help us in any way they can.  We are encouraging panto parents to get more involved throughout the year, and we are encouraging our newest ‘acting’ members to keep involved and come along to rehearsals whether or not they are in a play.

There’s always a long list of jobs  for any production, and we are happy to accept any offers of help, if you would like to be involved, please let us know. The earlier the better so Peter can work out who is doing what! Contact us via the website and we will get back to you asap.


White Hart Inn exterior

After the disappointment last year when we had to postpone, and then cancel our usual January Christmas Dinner, Saturday evening saw a large group of us congregate at the White Hart.  It was a great get-together, with 22 of us meeting for a very chatty evening! It was SO nice to see so many of us there, and especially great to see our newer members joining in the fun   It has been a long time since we had such numbers attend, so I am delighted to see our efforts from last year’s membership drive pay off so well.


Margaret  stepped down as Membership secretary, and off the committee during  last year, and Norma had stepped into the role.  Our grateful thanks go to Margaret, who has been a stalwart committee member for more years than I care to recollect (It must surely be at least 25).  She always hosted our meetings, and that in itself deserves a reward!  Thankfully she is still involved and could be found both FOH and serving teas and coffees during the panto.  It is always sad to see a longstanding member take a step back, but we totally understand and would just like to thank Margaret for all her years of hard work, both as a props lady and our membership secretary.  This does mean we are one short on the committee, and with that in mind we approached Holly to see if she would like to come on.  She has accepted the offer and will be joining us at the next committee meeting.  I think you will all agree that its about time we had a ‘youngster’ round the table, and Holly has been with the group since she was 8, so I think she has a good idea of how we run, and what is needed to make is even more successful.  Im not sure that she realises what she has let herself in for – but I know she is passionate about the group, so I think we have made a great choice!


We are always happy to welcome new members, whether you want to be on stage, backstage, front stage, or in the wings…..we have something for everyone.  If you just don’t know what you can offer, but are happy to help and get involved, GET IN TOUCH!!!  The more the merrier!!

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