Windy City………..

The Tempest has come and gone, carried away on the winds of change (see what I did there – tempest, wind, wind, tempest…………….. oh never mind), and what a fantastic production it was.  Full of originality, sound and colour, with a stage full of talented actors, the play garnered praise from everyone who saw it.  To top it off, we’ve now got 3 nominations in this year’s Portsmouth News Guide Awards!  The entire production of The Tempest has been nominated for “Best Amateur Production”, whilst Sarah Ash (Prospera) and Susie Rowland (Ariel) have picked up nominations for “Best Amateur Actress”.  Huge congratulations to everyone involved, to Sarah and Susie, and to Aaron and David for creating and presenting such a wonderful piece.  Please get voting, it would fantastic to see the SSA pick up some awards – link here

To prove what a talented lot we are in the SSA, I must make mention of our members who have picked up nominations for work with other theatre companies in the area – Vin Adams and Nick Downes for Waiting for Godot, Katie Watson for Hedda Gabler and Faye Williams for Constellations.  A massive “well done” to you all.

Meanwhile back in SSA land, rehearsals have already begun for our March 2019 production of Besieged, Vin Adams’ original work about Portsmouth in the English Civil War.  It’s shaping up to be an excellent production, and tickets are already on sale, so please get buying.

On a final, year-ending note – it was great to see so many members at last week’s Christmas party, with several acts demonstrating acute comedy timing, finely tuned singing voices and a complete mastery of the crafts of magic (I may be exaggerating a tad here….).  A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who are in, who watch or who simply like the SSA.  It’s been a great year, and we’ll see you in 2019 for some 17th century shenanigans

When The Wind Blows………….

After a busy few weeks the team is now settling down for an autumn of rehearsing and staging The Tempest.  Aaron, David and the talented cast have been working together since the end of August and it’s already showing signs of the magic to come.  Click here for more details and to buy tickets.

Before bidding the final farewell to summer, however, let’s just take a moment to look back on the New Director’s Showcase, which happened on the 22nd and 23rd August.  Like last year, this was a fantastic night, full of stagecraft and impressive performances.  A huge well done to Amy, Mary and Sue and to their casts for such a great evening.

Knock Three Times

It’s Summer, it’s scorchio, and everyone is looking forward to, or are currently on, or are miserable because they are back from, their Summer holidays.  Does this mean the SSA is in a seasonal slumber?  Well obviously not, or I would have nothing to write about!  In direct contrast to the soporific feelings induced by the heat, we are busier than ever, with three major events in the mix;

Number 1 – the New Director’s Evenings on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd August.  Such a huge success last year, and this year promises to be equally wonderful.  Just follow this link.

Number 2 – The Tempest.  Our main production for Autumn 2018 is about to start rehearsals and tickets are available online, so get buying.  Details of the Station Theatre presentations here

Number 3 – Besieged is our Spring 2019 production at the Square Tower, with Vin Adams’ original work about the Civil War siege of Portsmouth now fully cast.  Ticketing details will be released later this year.

Crazy Crazy Nights

It’s all go with the SSA at the moment.  Not only are Aaron and David starting to get The Tempest together, but we also have the ongoing workshops for Vin’s Besieged original production – don’t forget to check our Facebook pages for that one.  On top of these two, we have the New Directors production – following on from the huge success of last year’s event, we are again asking members who have never directed before to stage scenes that explore a particular theme.  The expo for this production, which will see the new directors outlining their visions and discussing their cast requirements, will be on Tuesday 12th June, 7.30pm at HQ – make sure you don’t miss it.

Finally (as if there isn’t enough already!) a big “good luck” to the Songologues crew, who are reviving this SSA favourite as part of the Front Room event at Southsea Castle on Thursday 28th June – happy non-singing to you all!

We’ll Meet Again

A few dates for the diary

The SSA AGM will be held on Wednesday 16th May, 19.30 at HQ.  All members should already have received an email about this from our secretary.  I’m not going to lie, it isn’t the most exciting event in the SSA calendar, but it is really important and it gives all our members the chance to have a say in how their company is run – so please come along

In March 2019 we will presenting Vin Adams’ original work about the Siege of Portsmouth during the English Civil War.  The expo and auditions will be held in July or August (tba), but there will also be a few sessions where SSA members will “road test” some scenes.  The dates have already been put out on our Facebook page, so have a look there if you’re interested.

Leonard Russell (1923 – 2018)

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

Timothy Suffolk

The Winds of Change

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”

Some You Win, Some You Lose

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…………

Loose Cannon and Harlequinade

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.