Thousands of people across the country are spending their free time learning lines, sourcing costumes and painting sets.
There are a staggering 2,500 amateur dramatic groups in the UK putting on 30,000 productions a year.
Here in Derbyshire we certainly have our fair share – up hill, down dale and in the city – am-dram is flourishing in a huge swell of creative endeavour.
The groups offer passion, fun and friendship and demand one heck of a lot of commitment but above all they give people the chance to experience the thrill of performing in front of an audience.
It is not all like Ayckbourn’s celebrated send-up of the genre – A Chorus of Disapproval.
Yes, I am sure everyone has known at least one power-crazed director or demanding diva but in the main the groups are grafting so they can entertain the crowds who flock to the village halls and community theatres in their hundreds.
It is an enduring tradition which is part of our lives and long may it continue.
November is a busy month for groups in Derbyshire and some of the productions taking place – those in Quarndon, Belper, Allestree, Derby, Tideswell, Tupton and Buxton are featured here.
If you have a production coming up in December that you would like featured in artsbeat just contact the editor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buxton Drama League
Breaking the Code
Pavilion Arts Centre
November 15-16 at 7.30pm
Saturday matinee at 2.30pm
This powerful drama is based on one of the most fascinating figures in 20th century British history. It tells the story of Alan Turing, mathematician and computer pioneer whose work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War led to the cracking of the German enigma code and, arguably, hastened allied victory. However, in post-war Britain, Turing’s inability to hide his sexuality, at a time when being gay was still a crime, led to criminal conviction and his untimely death. Tickets from Buxton Opera House Box Office: 0845 127 2190.
Chapel Players Tupton
Old Tupton Methodist Church
November 12-16, 7.15pm
This is a domestic comedy revolving around a Christening. It is an age old story but one which stands the test of time. Daughter arrives home with husband, whom mother can’t stand, and by the third act inter-family relationships have reached boiling point. Just about all the cast members threaten to pack their bags and leave, then just at the 11th hour things are smoothed over and everyone lives happily ever after. Advance bookings on
Allestree Theatre Group
St Nicholas Church Hall, Allestree Lane
October 31-November 2, 7.30pm
This is a dotty look at life and love that takes place in Wanda’s flat and Howard’s second-hand bookshop. Wanda is growing older as is Howard and some movement toward a relationship is revealed. But Sir Michael arrives on the scene and is making moves on Wanda or is it her friend Carol? Mrs. Burlap sticks her nose in and creates some interesting conflicts. The imaginary lines are the things we wish we could say, or had said, usually to the opposite sex. Here, they are asides in the dialogue which provide amusing counterpoints to what the characters are really saying to each other. Tickets from email@example.com
Tideswell Community Players The Stirrings in Sheffield
on Saturday Night
Tideswell Parish Church
With a cast of over 30, drama, comedy and rousing songs, the play tells an exciting story of rebellion, murder, bombs and intrigue amongst workers in 19th century Sheffield. This intriguing play is based on true events, is not to be missed and will send you home humming. Book tickets for the show at £8 (£6 concessions) through firstname.lastname@example.org or 01298 871063 or buy from Tideswell Post Office or Litton Shop.
Caging the Wild Birds
The Strutts Centre, Belper
November 12-16 7:30pm
Belper Players are incredibly excited to be putting on this brand new play from Jeff Moule. It is a Richard Hannay shocker set in the First Word War. It’s a story of intrigue, valour, heroics and the upkeep of sheer British decency in the face of a deadly foe. Very much in the light-hearted style of the current West End production of The 39 Steps, this promises to be a really entertaining show. Tickets from the box office on the night or by phoning Joyce Towle on 01335 370827
At the Sign of the
Darley Abbey Village Hall
November 26-30, 7.30pm
The Crippled Harlequin, once an old coaching inn but now renamed Peak Lodge, is a small boarding house in the Peak District. Guests are arriving for a short but restful Christmas break. But it is far from restful as the proprietors, Sally and Bryan Lockwood, are soon to find out. The guests from hell have arrived in the form of Joan and Lionel Reece, one of the guests is found dead in suspicious circumstances, and Derek Tyndale, a regular to Peak Lodge, swears he saw the ghost of a harlequin commit a murder. Tickets from Marlowe-players.co.uk or 07961607372
Quarndon Amateur Dramatic Society
Pack of Lies
Quarndon Village Hall
November 20-23, 8pm
Set in a London suburb and based on true events, the play opens as the Jackson family greets their good friends and neighbours, the Krogers. The Jacksons are quickly thrust into the middle of an investigation by the mysterious Stewart, who tells them the Krogers are Russian spies. Suddenly even innocent actions take on sinister meanings as they struggle with deception and lies…
For tickets call 01332 550174
or email email@example.com