Newsletter : November 2018

“LETTICE AND LOVAGE”: Performance week is nearly upon us. Tickets are selling fast, so if anyone you know needs a ticket, don’t leave it too long.

If you took flyers to distribute locally, please can you return any unused ones to the Barn by Thursday 8 th November, as they will be needed for the street promotion on Saturday 10th.

Lots of help is needed for set construction, set dressing, flat painting, tea making…. We shall be in the Barn on Saturday 10 th November from 10 am papering and painting flats for use, and then on Sunday 11 th assembling them in the Hub from 10 am. If it sounds like hard work, you will get a couple of minutes off at 11 am… If you’d like to help in any capacity, or just be part of it, please come along. I always reckon it beats cleaning the bathroom any day!

FUTURE PRODUCTIONS: March 2019: Annette is directing “The Actress” by Peter
Quilter. There will be a reading of this in the Barn on Tuesday 27 th November, with
auditions on Tuesday 4 th and Thursday 6 th December. As usual, if you’d like to be involved but can’t make any of these dates, please contact Annette.

November 2019: Roger Gotts will be directing “Ladies in Lavender” for us. More details later.
Summer 2019: We still have no offers of a play or director for this slot. Does anyone have a desire to do something, or any ideas?

OTHER PRODUCTIONS The Village Moonlighters panto is on January 10th – 12th , and includes a few past and present members of ALP, and also a REAL LIVE DOG (who will undoubtedly steal the show). Tickets aren’t on sale yet but don’t forget the date.

AND FINALLY It would be nice to have some playreadings in the New Year. Does anyone have a play that they think might be possible for production? Or just one that they would like to read for fun? If you do, or if you have any ideas, please contact me (Jean J).

Sat 10 Nov Painting flats in Barn
Sun 11 Nov Set assembly in Hub, also rehearsal 2.30 pm
Mon 12 Nov Technical Rehearsal
Tues 13 Nov Dress Rehearsal
Wed 14 – Sat 17 Nov Performances
Wed 21 Nov Trustee meeting
Tues 27 Nov Reading of “The Actress”
Tues 4 Dec } Auditions of “The Actress
Thur 6 Dec }
Wed 16 Jan Trustee meeting
9 – 16 Mar 2019 Play week for “The Actress”
6 – 13 July 2019 Summer play week
10 – 16 Nov 2019 Play week for “Ladies in Lavender”

Lettice and Lovage – Ticket Announcement


Tickets are now on sale for our next production, running from the 14th to 17th November see link below:

Box Office 0844 804 5354

Lettice is the daughter of an actress who toured with an all-female company playing Shakespeare’s plays. She has inherited both theatricality and eccentricity, and is now employed as a tourist guide in a shabby stately home, where she enlivens its dull history with her own over-imaginative fantasies. She is caught in the act and promptly sacked, but is later visited by the starchy Preservation Trust official who fired her, and an unlikely friendship develops between the two.

Newsletter : September 2018

“MIDDLE AGE SPREAD’’: Our audiences enjoyed the play, the NODA report thought it
was good, and we made a very creditable profit, somewhere round £1000. Congratulations and Thankyou to everyone involved with this. One little quibble: Sandy’s white sheet still hasn’t returned home. If you lent any bedding for the set, please could you check carefully that you don’t have an unfamiliar sheet in your cupboard.

“LETTICE AND LOVAGE’: this has been cast as follows:
Lettice Douffet Barbara Johnson
Lotte Schoen Annette Toms
Miss Framer Sue Baker
Mr Bardolph Stuart Martin
Surly Man John Gordon
Tourists ALP members, led by Sandy McIntosh
The Production Manager is Pat H., who may be contacting you at a later date to ask you to volunteer for something!
First rehearsal is on Tuesday 4 th September, and the director is Sylvia (07505 449185).

60 TH ANNIVERSARY (now 61 st ): The date for our celebration is Saturday 8 th September (now fast approaching.)
It will be open to all current and past members and partners, all of whom will receive a specific invitation. This will be sent separately, as this newsletter goes on Facebook and is public, and the event is not open to everyone.
All the details will be on your invitation.

If you don’t get one, and feel you should, please
contact me, Jean J (

PETER TOMSON: We will be dedicating our November production to the memory of our President, Peter Tomson, and in the play programme we would like to include some pieces about him. More longstanding members will have many memories of Peter, so please may we have contributions from as many of you as possible for inclusion? They don’t have to be long compositions, maybe just an anecdote. Please send anything to me, Jean J. (contributions may be edited due to space restrictions.)

PLAYREADING There will be a reading of “The Actress” by Peter Quilter on Wednesday 19 th September. Please come along if you can, as this play is a contender for production at some point.

Tues 4 Sept First rehearsal “Lettice and Lovage”
Sat 8 Sept Alp’s 61 st anniversary beanfeast
Wed 19 Sept Reading of “The Actress”
Wed 26 Sept Trustee Meeting
11 – 17 Nov Play week “Lettice and Lovage”
9 – 16 Mar 2019 Spring play week
6 – 13 July 2019 Summer play week
10 – 16 Nov 2019 Autumn play week

AND FINALLY Well, there isn’t anything really, except to remind you that we need to
know who will be coming on Saturday 8 th . ASAP so we have a clear idea of how much food to provide.

Sylvia Poole aka Emily Baines


You’ve been both acting and directing for the Kings and Abbots Langley Players for more years than you might care to remember! Do you know how many plays you’ve acted in and how many you’ve directed in that time?

Oh crikey! I’ve directed about half a dozen and acted in a baker’s dozen!

Which ones have been the most memorable for you?

Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me which I directed for Abbots in March this year, Lettice and Lovage which I appeared in for the Company of Ten in St Albans in the early 1990’s and directing Daisy Pulls it Off at Kings Langley about 20 years ago.

Are there any particular types of play you prefer to be involved in?

Shakespeare and the classics.

You play the awkward resident, Emily, in Summer End. What’s she like?

Cantankerous, bloody minded but frightened of approaching infirmities.

You have a busy life outside the drama world. What sort of working life have you had? Is there any time left for other interests and hobbies?

I spent many years working as a House Mistress in boarding schools followed by a few years working in the county court before retiring. It may sound prosaic but I enjoy reading, particularly books with an historical background, knitting, crossword puzzles and holidaying with family!

When you’ve finished Summer End do you have any plans or ambitions for future productions?

No immediate plans but I would like to direct the play ‘A Busy Day’ by Fanny Burney written in the late 1700’s but it has a large cast – and of course I’m always available for Lady Bracknell!

Laura Tomlinson aka Sally


How did you get involved?
It was all a bit random really, I saw a post on the Abbots Langley Matters group on Facebook saying the annual meeting was taking place, so I went along and ended up signing up.
Have you done much in the way of acting before? Are you enjoying it?
I was actually a part of YPDC (Young People’s Drama Centre) until the age of 18 and was involved in a show they took up to the Edinburgh Festival, which was an amazing experience. Since then I haven’t really had the time to be involved in much, so I was thrilled when this opportunity came about. Acting has always been a passion of mine and I am really enjoying getting back into it again.
If you had the chance, are there any particular plays or types of play you’d like to get involved in after this one?
I have a love of musical theatre, I sing and dance, so anything in that genre would be amazing. Aside from that I generally like things that are a bit different, such as surrealist theatre, or plays with dark themes.
You play Sally in this one, an assistant carer in the retirement home. What sort of character is she?
The first direction I was given was ‘think of Kevin from Harry Enfield’ which has really helped me to shape her. She basically is a sullen teenager, very immature and quite thoughtless at times. I wouldn’t say she is exactly the best employee, she would much rather sit and have a chat then actually do her work. But she is not a malevolent character, she has her flaws like everyone else, but I think deep down she is quite caring really.
How do you get on with learning the lines? Do you have any particular method of learning them?
I actually have a really bad memory, so I do struggle a bit, but I just keep reading over and over them until they stick in my head. Rehearsals help, as once you see how everything fits in with the other characters and your characters movements it helps me to memorise them.
Apart from the acting, how else do you like to spend your leisure time?
As previously mentioned I am quite musical so enjoy singing and also attending gigs to watch some of my favourite bands. Other than that I like spending time with friends and have to admit I am a bit of a TV slob at times.

Stuart Martin aka Alan Baines


You were involved with the Players quite a long time ago. What sort of things did you do?

I started initially when I was in my teens. I got involved with the sound system in the Barn, so that must have been 1977/8. I used to get involved with the set building as well.

You’ve been on stage for us several times as well haven’t you?

Yes, I was in Waters of the Moon, Under Milk Wood, Dancing at Lughnasa, You’re only Young Once, Guards!Guards!, and Catherine Howard. I acted alongside my son in Dancing at Lughnasa, a good thing to do.

You’ve been away from acting for a while because of work commitments. Are you enjoying being back?

Oh yes, and I like the play Summer End. There are some lovely bits in it and it’s good for a laugh. It’s quite close to home life too – thinking of my mother-in-law, I could almost have written the lines! I suppose at least that makes learning the lines a bit easier!

Are rehearsals going well?

They are, yes, and my fellow-actors are a good bunch. We’re starting to gel together well and have a good feel for the play.

Any particular challenges?

Yes – this will be the first time I’ve done a matinee, so that will be interesting!

Shirley Watts aka May Brewer

shirley_watts_blog_photoYou’re a newcomer to the Abbots Langley Players aren’t you? How did you get involved?

I had a message from a friend in the King’s Langley Review Company who’d heard about the play. I read the script, auditioned – and here I am!

Have you been involved in many plays? What sort of characters have you taken on?

It’s been a good number of years since I last did a play, but I have been in a couple of farces more recently, which I enjoy immensely. The last one was “Run for your Wife”. I’ve been more involved in ‘variety’, song and dance, comedy and panto. When I moved to Spain in ’98 I joined a large showgroup that performed for charity. I did over 100 shows with them, usually with large audiences, but strictly as an amateur.

In Summer End, you play the part of May. Who is she and what is she like?

May is a middle class lady who finally realises that she has been dumped in a retirement home. She has a highly nervous character which leads to her being taken advantage of by other people. It’s an enjoyable part as I like the emotions edged with dry humour.

Apart from Drama, what sort of interests and hobbies do you have?

They are many and varied. I joined a Community Choir; I love easy walking in the countryside (I used to ‘adventure walk’ in Spain, – that’s rough tracks, taking on caves and rocks or whatever you come across); I go to the gym; I enjoy craft activities; I’m a support volunteer for Homestart; and more…

Annette Toms aka Mrs Lang Interview

annette_summer_endQ People have been enjoying your performances for some time now. How many plays have you done for the Players now?

A I’ve been in over 100 plays for ALP. My first one was Relative Values by Noel Coward in 1965.

Have you played for other Companies?

A Before joining ALP I belonged to the Brow Theatre Group for eight years.

Q What would you say was your favourite out of all those, and which was the most difficult?

A With so many wonderful parts it’s very difficult to choose, but I would have to say the Shell Seekers. Another favourite was Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream. The most demanding one was Kindertransport.

Q Is there any character or type of play you’d like to take on in the future?

A I do love comedies, but I would really like to act in another Shakespeare play.

Q You must have seen some significant changes in the world of acting over the years?

Yes, people don’t seem to enjoy acting so much today. We had so much fun years ago and it really came over across the footlights. Audiences knew we were enjoying ourselves and they responded, sometimes shouting out, clapping and, of course, laughing.

Tell us about the character you’re playing in Summer End. Are you enjoying it?

My character, the manager of the retirement home, is not a very nice character at-all. I seem to get to play a lot of not very nice characters – is someone trying to tell me something? After an absence from acting for a couple of years I’m finding it hard to learn it again, but I always enjoy it.

As well as acting you’ve directed a number of plays. Which ones do you feel most satisfied about?

I loved directing Acrington Pals and Our Country’s Good. I was very lucky to have an excellent cast for both.

Interview with Brian Hibberd, Publicity Director, Summer End

‘Summer End’ in July!

Eric Chappell’s murder mystery set in the ‘Summer End’ retirement home.

Emily and May are reluctant residents in the care home “Summer End”. Both feel that their families don’t really want them. The manageress, Mrs. Lang, is trying hard to cope, not really helped by care assistant Sally’s somewhat hostile attitude.

To complicate matters, Emily’s previous room-mate Bella has died unexpectedly, and Bella’s sapphire ring is missing. Was she murdered for her money and possessions? Is this a conspiracy involving a member of staff and another resident? Probably not, but Emily is convinced that Bella didn’t just die of old age.

The problem is, not only does no-one else believe this, but also both Mrs. Lang and Emily’s son Alan think that Emily has memory problems and possibly also dementia.

However, why did Bella have bruises on her face when she was found? What has happened to her sapphire ring? And how can Sally afford to pay so much for her fitted kitchen on a care assistant’s meagre pay?

Who knew all this went on in a care home? Come and see this comedy with much darker moments and find out what else is going on!

Jean James, Director