Chairman's May Blog


Many of you have heard of the Oscar Wilde story Lord Arthur Savile's Crime but, possibly have no idea who Lord Arthur was, what was the crime and what happened next. I recently found out, but don't worry – this is not going to be a plot spoiler.

Wilde's story was first published in late 1887. The principal character, you will not be surprised to learn, is the eponymous Lord Arthur, who is introduced by Lady Windermere (no doubt the one who had the fan?) to chiromantist Mr Podgers who reads Lord Arthur's palm and tells him that it is in his future to be a murderer.

Lord Arthur wishes to marry, but decides he cannot risk doing so unless he has fulfilled his inevitable destiny by actually committing a murder. That's all I intend to say about the plot apart from saying that Lord Arthur sets about finding a suitable victim and deciding upon a modus operandi with some comic results. You had better come along yourself on Friday 10th May to find out how this story is (or is not?) resolved.

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime is also going to be a new kind of experience for Davenham Players, being the first time dp has directly engaged a professional company to stage a show at our theatre.  Rocket Theatre, a Manchester-based company led by Martin Harris will present a comedy and fun adaptation of the classic Oscar Wilde full-length play performed by two actors. According to What's On Stage, "Martin has wisely kept many of Wilde's unforgettable lines resulting in "an hilariously funny black comedy" – "a cracking production of a witty play which brings pace and energy to the piece". Click here  for more information and booking details.


Thanks to all who helped The Curious Savage be a successful production with a deft comic slant and touching story. This was a real ensemble production involving most of the dp committee, which meant that there was no one left to run the Bar and Front of House. Fortunately, Ann Wilson organized the Bar rota and FOH. I am glad to say that Savage  brought in FOUR newcomers to dp. Kelly Cowley (Arthur Jones' daughter) George Ogazi and Richard Stanley joined the cast and Jerry Park from Nantwich Players was our guest Director. Using an outside director was somewhat of an experiment for all, but worked well (with a few learning points).


... promises to be different to any production of this William Shakespeare play I have seen before. Physical Folk present a community production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Helena loves Demetrius, Demetrius Loves Hermia and Hermia loves Lysander. The Fairies have fallen out over a stolen child and the Mechanicals want to put on a play at the Duke's wedding. Come back with us to the 70s and laugh at the magic, mischief and mayhem. Tickets available through www.danarts.org or 01606 784442


It has been a long-term failing of the Players that
  • ·         we don't schedule our drama programme far enough ahead and
  • ·         too often we leave Directors to find a play they like with no guidance from us.

We are fixing these problems by forming a small Play Reading Group who will compile shortlists of scripts ready for group Play Readings. Starting now, we will also be scheduling play weeks well into the next season. If you have any favourite scripts, or feel you would like to direct a future Davenham production, then get in touch with me or any of the committee.


Earlier in 2013, the dp committee authorised expenditure to pay an architect to prepare a Feasibility Report on how we can improve audience access at the theatre.  We have been aware for some time that our theatre has fallen behind acceptable standards, especially the toilets and awkward entry for audiences up and down stairs. We asked the architect to design a new foyer, box-office and toilet area with no-stairs access and make the experience of seeing a show easier and in keeping with modern disability standards. As a second priority, we also asked the architect to look at level access to an enlarged bar with improved service counter. The architect had to ensure that any changes would be
  • ·         compatible with the theatre's location within the Davenham Village Conservation Area
  • ·         sympathetic to neighbours' concerns
  • ·         in accordance with local planning and building regulations.

The Feasibility study has been produced, has been costed and has also been sent to the Cheshire West and Chester Planners for informal review.
One thing is certain – it is not going to be cheap and we don't yet know whether we will be able to find the money to pay for the building work. One thing we do know is that the theatre is paying its way much better than it has in recent years. The music events especially are bringing in some much-needed revenue and we are always looking for new ways in which our theatre can be used to promote the Arts – one example is our September Arts and Crafts day to be repeated this year on Saturday 7th September after a successful launch in 2012. I hope to have more news on the Theatre Extension Project at the AGM on Wednesday 5th June.


The Players Theatre is hosting one of the events in the Northwich Literary Festival. Sunny Ormonde, who has been playing the outrageous and raunchy Lilian Bellamy in Radio 4’s The Archers for the past 12 years and has become one of the listeners' most favourite characters is coming to Davenham on Saturday 29th June at 7:30pm. Click here for more details on the dsp Blog.


Adrian Sumner will give another of his excellent illustrated lectures on art at the Players theatre on Tuesday 18th June at 7.30 p.m. (Doors open at 7.00pm) in aid of MacMillan Cancer Nurses and Saint Luke's Hospice. This year's subject is Flights of Fancy - a History of Birds in Art. Tickets, at £8 each, can be bought or reserved from Caroline Stevens on 01606 42920 or from Eileen Moncrieff on 01606 784204 from Monday 6 May. The ticket price will include a drink and the entire proceeds of the event will be divided between St Luke's Cheshire Hospice and the local Macmillan Nurses' fund. All are warmly invited to what should be, as always,  a very interesting and entertaining evening.


If you have a child with leanings towards drama and in the age range 7 – 16, you may be interested in the Pocket Panto Summer School, which visits Davenham again this August in the week beginning Monday 12th August 10am to 4pm daily. Numbers are strictly limited, so don't leave it too late to enquire. Cost is £120/£100 per child. Click here for more details.


If you have read this far, then Well Done !

This has nothing to do with the Players, but I just wanted to recommend a film that came out in 2008 which I recently saw on DVD. The story is an adaptation of a Noel Coward play also called Easy Virtue – a comedy romance starring Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Ben Barnes. The settings are great and the musical score is 20's style and really makes the movie. Watch out for a superb scene-stealing Butler played by Kris Marshall !


Thursday 25th April 2013 - Jazz @ Davenham - Jeremy Sassoon. Click Jazz for info.

Friday 10th May 2013 -  Rocket Theatre, 
Lord Arthur Savile's Crime adapted for the small stage. A one-night opportunity to see a professional company at work in your local theatre. Tickets £8.00 direct from DAN www.danarts.org or 01606 784442. Click here for info.

Wednesday 22nd - Saturday 25th May  -  A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare in a new presentation directed by Tom Barry.

Thursday 30th May - Jazz @ Davenham - Karen Sharp & Trio. Click Jazz for info.

Wednesday 5th June 7:30pm – AGM - An opportunity for all members to voice their opinions and offer help. Any nominations for the committee to be sent to Paulette by June 1st .

Tuesday 18th June - Charity Art Lecture  - Flights of Fancy - The Bird in Art by Adrian Sumner. Given in aid of St. Lukes Hospice and MacMillan Nurses. 7:30pm Tickets and enquiries from Caroline Stevens on 01606 42920 or or from Eileen Moncrieff on 01606 784204 after Monday 6 May.

Thursday 20th June 7:30pm  Swap shop  Ladies, bring along up to 3 items of unwanted, good quality items of clothing or accessories. You pay £3 and get 3 raffle tickets to determine your turn. Items are displayed around the room and we take turns to choose the item we fancy. Please bring as many friends as you wish.

Saturday 29th June 7:30pm – Sunny Ormonde's One-Woman Show. Presented by DAN as part of the Northwich Lit Fest.  Tickets via the 
DAN website.

Thursday 4th July 2013 - Jazz @ Davenham - Phil Meadows Quintet. Click Jazz for info.

Thursday 11th July 7:30 for 8pm – Quiz Night   £1 per person.

Thursday 18th July 7:30pm  Play Reading - Moonshine by Jim Nolan

Monday 12th August to Friday 16th August 10am-4pm daily - Pocket Panto Children's Summer School for ages 7-16. For more details click here.

Saturday 7th Sept 10am - 4pm – Arts & Craft Day. Details tba

Wednesday 11th - Saturday 14th Sept  Tin Shed presents  Effie’s Burning and A Cream Cracker under the settee.

Friday 20th September 7:30pm - Folk - Andrew Whalley presents a concert by Neil McSweeney

Thursday 26th Sept - Jazz @ Davenham - Sally Doherty accompanied by Paul Kilvington. Click Jazz for info.

Thursday 24th Oct - Jazz @ Davenham - The Weave Sextet. Click 
Jazz for info.

Thursday 21st Nov - Jazz @ Davenham - Stuart McCallum Septet with Strings sectionClick Jazz for info.

Friday 6th Dec - Jazz @ Davenham - Djangologie. Click 
Jazz for info.

Saturday 7th Dec – Cabaret Evening - The Xmas party takes a different form this year. Paulette is organizing a ‘D-I-Y Cabaret’ evening (has been done in the past and was good fun). The programme is made up of anyone performing anything – e.g. singing, dancing,  reciting, playing an instrument, performing a party piece such as fire-eating or sword-swallowing .... more or less anything.  No entry charge, bring your own food and your friends to watch or perform too. Please let Paulette know by October what it is that you are doing so that we may have a couple of run-throughs to establish a running order.  Get your thinking caps on as, if there is a poor response, it won't happen. Register your interest with Paulette 01606 on 79779 by October.

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