Len had been awarded honorary life membership of the SSA in recognition of his years of distinguished service. He first joined in 1951 to play the small role of Bernardo in Hamlet. However his talents were soon evident and over the course of the next fifty years he acted in every play of the canon. K.E. (Peter) Gately, our founder, once referred to him as “our resident Henry” because he played Henry VIII and Henry IV (both parts), the latter several times. His roles tended to reflect his strong and noble character – Othello (at least twice), MacDuff (Macbeth), Enobarbus (Antony and Cleopatra), Brutus (Julius Caesar), Cominius (Coriolanus) – but he also played Buckingham (Richard III), Claudius (Hamlet), Bottom (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Warwick (Henry VI pt1/2/3), and Falstaff (The Merry Wives of Windsor), as well as many other supporting roles. He was one of the first trustees, with KEG and Terry Salmon, who ensured the continued survival of the SSA after Clifford Allen retired as director. He and his late beloved wife of 68 years, Jean (who died in 2014), were truly pillars of this unique company. Len died, after courageously surviving cancer well for some years, less than a week short of his 95th birthday.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep
But we shall remember him and the dreams he made transitory reality with admiration, gratitude and affection
Like a roll-on roll-off ferry of amateur theatre, no sooner have we offloaded the cargo of Richard III than we set sail again with a new, exciting and shiny production on board – The Tempest. Scheduled for arrival on Hayling Island in November, The Tempest will be directed by Aaron Holdaway and David Pearson and all the important dates are now available, just follow the link
Before saying goodbye to Richard III for good, however, let’s just pause and reflect – it was great fun to be in, with a lovely cast, and strong audience numbers. Rob Bartlett’s intent was to deliver a clear, pacy and authentic production, and he delivered – as the review said, “It’s great to see one of Portsmouth’s oldest and finest companies still producing Shakespeare of this quality”
The recent Portsmouth News “Guide Awards” saw November’s SSA production of Loose Cannon nominated for Best Amateur Production, a fantastic accolade for an original piece of work written by members of the company themselves. Although not succesful on the night, the team behind it can be justly proud of themselves. Huge congratulations also to Vin Adams and Sarah Parnell, who were nominees, and to Leigh Cunningham, a winner on the night, for their rightful recognition. Although these nominations were for work outside the SSA it’s lovely to see our members being lauded! Finally a big well done to Sean Ridley, who got the Best Actor nod in the awards – Sean has worked with the SSA a number of times in the recent past and was also the goalkeeper for a 5 a side team that was (extremely) loosely linked to the SSA (and which is sadly no more)!
Rehearsals for our March production of Richard III are well under way and the production is shaping up very nicely. Click here for more details and to get tickets – you really don’t want to miss it…………
Just a quick reminder that the expo for our March production of Richard III is Wednesday 22nd November, 19.30 at HQ. The auditions will be on Sunday 26th November, 15.00 at HQ and Wednesday 29th November, 19.30 at HQ. Don’t miss out!
What a lovely way to round off our 70th anniversary year! The productions of Loose Canon and Harlequinade were absolutely delightful, full of humour, pathos, timing and energy. Huge congratulations to the cast and crew of both, it looked like you were having a lot of fun. It’s just a shame that it means our company is over – as according to the folks in Loose Canon, our Will didn’t write any of the plays, so what’s the point of a Shakespeare company??
Anyway, we in the SSA never stand still, so time to look forward to our March 2018 production of Richard III at the Square Tower. The important information that you need to know now is that the expo is on Wednesday 22nd November, 7.30pm, at HQ. Rob Bartlett will be outlining his vision for bringing the ghastly Gloucester to life in full medieval splendour, so make sure you are there. The auditions will follow on Sunday 26th and Wednesday 29th November, times tbc.
Whilst the casts of Loose Canon and Harlequinade rehearse their way towards November’s productions, news arrives of our next presentation – Richard III. This wonderful play, directed by Rob Bartlett, will be at the Square Tower from Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th March, 2018, and Rob will be sharing his vision at the expo on Wednesday 22nd November, 19.30, at HQ. The auditions will follow on Sunday 26th and Wednesday 29th November, times for which will be confirmed nearer the dates. Rob is promising an authentic and visceral working of this classic text, so please come along and be part of it.
Whilst you are here, don’t forget to buy your tickets for November’s joint production. You can already get tickets for Richard III as well! How organised are we??
Ok I’m biased, inevitably, but Conflicts, Seduction and Attempts On Her Life was a bit special. It was one of those evenings where the SSA comes together at HQ and something great happens – in this case it was three experienced actors trying their hands at directing for the first time, and what the audience got was stillness, power, comedy, physicality, pathos, anger, lust, love, farce, all presented with a huge amount of thought about movement, timing and staging. Massive congratulations to Courtney, Hazel and Mike for their directing debuts, and to their skilled cast members, all of whom contributed a huge amount to this fantastic evening. Finally a big thank you to Amy for pulling all this together, from the original idea pitched at committee through to this wonderful execution.
Our Summer Showcase evening is fast approaching – Thursday 31st August will see our 3 experienced actors demonstrating their directing skills for the first time. Amy has been reaching out to the membership over Facebook and email for the past few weeks, so make sure you get your tickets for this fantastic members-only event
The time may be right for lovin’, it may even be right for dancing in the street, but it is definitely right for acting! Amy has been working hard on the Summer Showcase event, details of which are on this page – it all starts with the expo on Sunday 9th July, so don’t miss out.
Exciting news of our Autumn double header at the Station Theatre in November – the expo for Rattigan’s Harlequinade will be held on Thursday 15th June, click here for more details. All are welcome, so be there to be part of our final birthday event. There are also whispers that a certain Northern tyrant will be our focus in Spring 2018……………….. more to follow soon