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Archive for Past Shows


One Night in November at The Electric Theatre 15 – 18 November 2017

 
Would you sacrifice a city to win a war ? A touching love story set against a background of conspiracy. 

It is the Autumn of 1940 and Katie, a young Coventry clerk, waits on the station platform in Henley in Arden, Warwickshire. There she meets Michael, a language don working as a code-breaker at Bletchley Park. As their romance deepens, Michael is secretive about his work. But when he and a colleague work on deciphering a coded enemy message and deduce that Coventry is to be attacked and pounded into rubble, he faces an agonising dilemma.

Should he warn Katie and her family about the impending raid, risking disgrace and prosecution under the official secrets act ?

Underpinning Alan Pollock’s touching love story is a compelling and long held conspiracy theory. Did the Bletchley boffins warn Churchill of the impending raid ? Was the city sacrificed for the greater good to protect the code breakers ? With its dramatic staging this is a gripping and poignant play.

Produced by special arrangement with Josef Weinberger Plays. Age recommendation 12+

Special matinee performance includes an add on cream tea for only £4 !  Tickets: £15.50 Standard / £12.50 Concessions and matinee. 

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Click on the video to see the production images.

 

 

 

Nell Gwynn at Haslemere Museum 27 – 29 July 2017

‘All round, this would rank with the best open-air theatre experiences – professional or amateur – I’ve had’.  FARNHAM HERALD

‘This is an excellent evening’s entertainment by this accomplished Surrey theatre company. If you can get tickets don’t delay, you won’t regret it’ ★★★★★ ESSENTIAL SURREY

‘Fine casting, able direction by Laura Sheppard, great performances by all involved. Superb setting; majestic stage set with its back-drop of huge trees; picnic; bubbly; warm summer evening. Thanks Charles II for promoting England’s theatre! Guildburys at their best in this 5 star production.’   NODA 

Winner of the 2016 Olivier award for best new comedy, Jessica Swale’s play is a poignant, tender & rumbustious romp, liberally sprinkled with comedy, truth and musical delights. Perfect for Picnic Theatre ! Performed open air in the beautiful grounds of Haslemere Educational Museum – pack a picnic, uncork the wine and toast the summer in the company of Nell Gwynn and the court of King Charles II.

The story of orange seller, Nell Gwynn, is as colourful as a novel – yet it is true. Nell’s rise from the misery of Coal Yard Alley to become Britain’s first celebrity actress, winning the heart of the king along the way, is the stuff of dreams. But there is a price to pay.

At a time when women are little more than possessions, can her undoubted charm and indomitable spirit protect her from the court plotters and schemers? And what will be the cost?

 REVIEWS

‘The supporting cast were, as always with Guildburys, excellent, but special mention must be made of Eddie Woolrich, delivering a hilarious tour-de-force as the bewildered relic of a men-only stage, watching his treasured fake bosom getting completely outplayed.’ – Nigel Dams, Sardines magazine. Read the full review here

‘This play, so full of energy and lust for life, is also a great ensemble piece. The musical elements are charming, and in some cases real ‘ear worms’! I can’t get the frantic ‘One week to go’ out of my head, and the sight of the whole company rushing around the stage like demented dervishes. They seemed to know exactly what they were doing – is that what final pre-production week is like, then, Guildburys?!’ Pauline Surrey NODA read the full review here 

‘Guildburys’ Nell Gwynn – a delightful feel-good evening. Director Laura Sheppard must have thanked her lucky stars when Amy de Roche auditioned. She’s perfect as Nell; cheerful, expressive, cheeky – she seems great fun, the kind of person you’d want to hang out with. And she can sing and dance. (The ‘I can dance and I can sing’ ditty will not get out of my head!)’ Kat Wooton, Life in Farnham Magazine. Read the full review here   

 See what our audiences say here

Guildburys are a community theatre company and Nell Gwynn is an amateur performance by arrangement with Nick Hern Books. 

 

 

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Graphic design Phillip Griffith. Contains bawdy humour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nell Gwynn at Waverley Abbey House in Farnham 12 – 15 July 2017

Winner – 2016 Olivier Award for best new comedy, performed open air. 

Jessica Swale’s award winning comedy is a poignant, tender & rumbustious romp, liberally sprinkled with comedy, truth and musical delights. Perfect for Picnic Theatre ! Performed open air in the grounds of stunning Waverley Abbey House – pack a picnic, uncork the wine and toast the summer in the company of Nell Gwynn and the court of King Charles II.

The story of orange seller, Nell Gwynn, is as colourful as a novel – yet it is true. Nell’s rise from the misery of Coal Yard Alley to become Britain’s first celebrity actress, winning the heart of the king along the way, is the stuff of dreams. But there is a price to pay. At a time when women are little more than possessions, can her undoubted charm and indomitable spirit protect her from the court plotters and schemers? And what will be the cost? 

Become a Guildburys VIP subscriber here
‘Ribald, buzzy and thoroughly cheering’   THE DAILY TELEGRAPH ★★★★

Guildburys are a community theatre company and Nell Gwynn is an amateur performance by arrangement with Nick Hern Books.

See what our audience thought about the show in our video ! 

 

Waverley Abbey House – our stunning PicnicTheatre in Farnham

The Lady in the Van at The Electric Theatre 3 – 6 May 2017

 

SARDINES MAGAZINE  ‘The production was a shining example of the quality of British amateur theatre…I felt privileged to have been invited to share the experience’ ……  GUILDFORD DRAGON ‘This is not a tragedy to be avoided, but a slice of life to be savoured.’….. NODA ‘Eddie Woolrich took on the challenge of directing this play quite soon after the successful film version, and pulled it off wonderfully well. Far more emerged from this production, in terms of superb acting, thought provoking moments, and humour, than I personally found in the film.

When Mary Shepherd parked her home (a van) on a street in a trendy part of London no-one knew what to expect. She was cranky, smelly, infuriating and gloriously indomitable. The neighbours complained — but one took a particular interest and invited her to move her van onto his driveway where she remained for 15 years until her death in 1989. That neighbour was the renowned playwright Alan Bennett. Guildburys production of this iconic play was innovative, adventurous and full of comedy with outstanding performances and a star in the shape of a real yellow van in all her glory.

Sardines Magazine Reviewer Nigel Dams 

‘The production was a shining example of the quality of British amateur theatre, and director Eddie Woolrich and all the cast and crew deserve to feel proud of it. The gales of delighted laughter all through the show, and the heartfelt cheers afterward, show how well it came across.  I felt privileged to have been invited to share the experience and I’m very glad I went.When Diane Nichols began her ‘farewell’ soliloquy towards the end of the show there was no coughing. There was only the intense silence of an audience taken out of themselves and into complete sympathy with a not-very-likeable character. You could have heard a gnat cough. It was truly moving and a fitting climax to a treat of an evening…….I felt privileged to have been invited to share the experience. 

The older Bennett was played by Andy Wiggins, also captivating in word and gesture, bringing a finger to the lip and tilt to the hip worthy of the most subtle and adroit of professional actors.

And the younger Bennett – Maxwell Hayes – brought forth a spontaneous round of applause for one speech delivered with such epic timing and force that I almost cheered. It’s the only time I remember a speech being applauded like that. You should have been there, it was excellent. Jill Coles as the social worker was especially delightful, with her zany do-gooder smile beneath outrageous specs, and showed evidence of great comic talent.’

Read the Sardines magazine review here

NODA Reviewer Pauline Surrey 

“Diane Nichols made the part of Miss Shepherd entirely her own.” ….. “How the Guildburys managed to find a) two such look-alike actors, b) two who were able to be TOTALLY Alan Bennett, accent, voice intonation, gestures, facial expressions, c) two who had the timing just right, well that was also amazing. Excellent performances both.”….

A superb, evocative set used photos of North London scenes to denote Alan’s street, and of sofas etc to denote his house. Otherwise a desk, 2 chairs and a rather important waste paper bin did the rest. Simple, so effective, leaving plenty of space for the Van and room to move around it. …..There was so much here. And pots and pots of crushed mimosa yellow paint, sploshed on the van at regular intervals by Miss Shepherd! How sad the team will doubtless be to say goodbye to her!

A wonderful evening I would like to repeat. Luckily I have the short-story version at home, so I will be able to relive the play as I read that. Thank you, Guildburys!

Read the NODA review in full here

Guildford Dragon Reviewer Tricia Marcotti   

‘The Lady in the Van, aka Mary Shepherd, capably played by Diane Nichols, was full of bravado, and yet, at times came across as vulnerable that you couldn’t help but be sorry for her….. This part, was truly the heaviest undertaking by a single actor… while there was a large amount of pathos about during the evening, there were also times of hilarity. This is not a tragedy to be avoided, but a slice of life to be savoured. The play splits Alan Bennett in two – yes, quite literally. Two actors, Maxwell Hayes and Andy Wiggins have the task of relaying the complete personality of Alan to the audience…. when I closed my eyes during one of their interactions, I did feel that they were as one.

Alan’s neighbours, Pauline (played by Gilly Fick) and Rufus, (read by Graham Russell-Price), started the play by wanting rid of Miss Shepherd. By the play’s end, they had come round to the idea of having her as a neighbour.

Graham took over the part which was to have been played by Kim Ferguson, who had to withdraw just before curtain up last night. For all that he was reading, Graham quickly made us treat his script as a piece of stage furniture.

The parts of Alan’s mam and Miss Shepherd’s sister were played by Barbara Tresidder. Small parts, but necessary to the viewer’s understanding of the play as a whole, Barbara was believable in both roles.

Read the Dragon review in full here

Graphic design Phill Griffith.  Production Photography Kevin Malam.

 

On the Razzle at The Electric Theatre 30 November – 3 December 2016

‘La Wow! Wot a great delight from one end to the other and everything in between. Wicked word play…farce at its very best. Great direction and a great cast giving it all they got with great gusto….and enjoying it immensely themselves. A treat for the mind and you will leave the theatre thoroughly thoroughly pleased with yourself for going to this great play. Non-stop laughter all the way……This is what I want theatre to do to me….change every molecule of me so that I am a different me when I come out….and a better me for all that! If I could go see this night after night after night…I would. Yes…it’s that good.’  Audience review 

Production photography and graphic design by Phill Griffith. Original music composed by Andrew Donovan

To view cast and production members click TEAM below.

 

REVIEW by Janice Windle. Read the full reviewESSENTIAL SURREY
‘ If you want a really hilarious evening at the theatre, “On the Razzle” at the Electric Theatre is the place to be this week!’

‘Robert Sheppard plays Zangler, their employer, with tremendous verve: pompous and larger than life.Dom Gwyther is brilliant as the extraordinarily assertive new servant who interviews Zangler before “hiring” him as his employer!

……Jason Orbaum as Weinberl has the serious, touchy charisma and expressive legs of John Cleese. Claire Racklyeft’s sense of comic timing as Christopher, a straightforward young hick just out for fun, is vigorous and infectiously joyous. They make a great comedy duo.

…..Of course, there’s a star-crossed young couple: handsome penniless Sonders (Michael Thonger) and pretty, “proper” Marie (Hana Bird) of whose love Zangler, her guardian, disapproves. Gilly Fick and Kathryn Attwood are flirtatious in beautiful hats as mature sexy Viennese women. Graham Russell-Price plays the lustful coachman to Louise Johnson’s frustrated Lisette, with great gusto. The whole cast is superb in ensemble scenes.

The evening is full of puns, double-entendres and witty wordplay, incidents of mistaken identity, mistaken gender, slapstick and even a pantomime horse! What’s not to like in this romp!’

 

REVIEW by Tricia Marcotti. Read the full reviewGUILDFORD DRAGON
‘A triumph for the company and for The Electric Theatre and I highly recommend a visit.’

‘Zangler (Robert Sheppard) tangles his speech with zeal, abetted skilfully by his new servant, Melchior (Don Gwyther)…..Zangler’s niece Marie (Hana Bird) has fallen for a young man Sonders (Michael Thonger), but Zangler is not happy with it, setting the scene for a whole host of laughs as he attempts to thwart the young couple’s intentions. Zangler’s employees, Weinberl (Jason Orbaum) and Christopher (Claire Racklyeft) decide they can play while the boss is away and go “on the razzle” to Vienna, with a number of hilarious close calls as they try to avoid their boss whilst enjoying themselves……… Zangler’s fiancée Mrs Knorr (Gilly Fick) and one of her clients Mrs Fischer (Kathryn Attwood) get caught up in the action between Zangler, his employees and his niece and her suitor.

…..The play is quite fast-paced and if the actors didn’t need the break, the audience needed one to recuperate from all the antics of the first half. The second half was as frenetic as the first, and I feel the audience couldn’t wait for the next hilarious encounter.

……The cast are very well rehearsed in their parts as the laughs came from the audience frequently. It was also obvious to me that they were enjoying performing the play as much as the audience enjoyed watching them.The Guildbury Theatre company should be very proud of themselves as they have produced a slick rendering of On the Razzle for Guildford to enjoy……..A triumph for the company and for The Electric Theatre and I highly recommend a visit.’

REVIEW by Pauline Surrey. N.O.D.A. Read the full review – NODA – reviews
‘A play the cast and production team so obviously delighted in……  Excellent in all respects…..A gem of a play……It really is the play that keeps on giving.’

On the Razzle is a rampaging romp of a farce set in Old Vienna, but having been written by Tom Stoppard, it is also a delight to the ear…..  The puns, the malapropisms, the witty remarks came so thick and fast, it was difficult to keep up….. A gem of a play.

I was absolutely transported back to Vienna, a city I love, by the 4 different skilfully crafted and authentic sets…..I have to say that not only the set, but also the cast with their finely-honed performances were able to transport me back to Vienna, that status-obsessed but yet charming city.  Robert Sheppard gave us a wonderfully over-confident Herr Zangler. Jason Orbaum has the deferent Herr Weinberl down to perfection….a brilliant performance!

….Gilly Fick makes a superb Madame Knorr, all flamboyance and Big Hat – one senses that she will make mincemeat of her future husband, Herr Zangler!  Kathryn Attwood is a fine Frau Fischer – eagerly taking up the reins of the situation in discovering her new ‘husband’ in the shape of Herr Weinberl.  She flirts very well with her eyes, and a genuine affection between the two ensues.  Claire Racklyeft romps through all the disastrous near-miss situations with a joyous depiction of Christopher, our newly promoted ex-apprentice, thoroughly delighted by these adventures on the razzle.  Graham Russell-Price, the opportunistic randy coachman, and Louise Johnson as Lisette, his catch, the French maid, produce much hilarity.

Seamstresses must have spent weeks sewing the wonderful costumes, and hats… a superb effort by Diane Nichols and her team, which really enhanced the audience’s enjoyment of the show. Of course, Ian Nichols, the Director, is to be lauded as always for his fine touch, a wonderful piece of work.

…..So, a play I will never tire of watching, a play the cast and production team so obviously delighted in.  Excellent in all respects.

The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Minack 22 – 26 August 2016

Guildburys triumphant return to Cornwall’s beautiful Minack Theatre! 

Guildburys at the Minack 2016

2013 saw Guildburys production of ‘Tartuffe’ play to packed houses at The Minack and in August 2016, fresh from a successful run at their summer home open air at Waverley Abbey House in Farnham, Guildburys Theatre Company returned to perform at The Minack Theatre, bringing The Merry Wives of Windsor to life on its spectacular stage.

The cast and crew are shown in this spectacular aerial image designed and photographed by Phill Griffith.

The show sold out before it opened and we had a fantastic run!
MWoW sold out
See the Minack show images and review  here 
review1

Jenni Balow – Minack Theatre critic.   This production by the Surrey based Guildburys, directed by Rob Sheppard, looks and feels absolutely right. It is fast-paced and its actors clearly relish their traditional comic roles, with Welsher-than-Welsh parson (Mike Lawrence) sparring with a leek as Frenchman (Phill Griffith) comes at him with a baguette!

Mistress Meg Page (Laura Sheppard) engages all of us with her gleeful skipping as she ‘tee-hees’ with her close friend and ally Mistress Ford (Tessa Duggleby) over plans to get their own back, when Falstaff targets the two married women, ” looking for entertainment and sovereigns”.

Costumier Diane Nichols has chosen an array of toning tunics and robes ranging from peach to cherry red to match the shining nose and cheeks of Sir John (Ian Nichols) who looks the part as the “fat knight” in fine brocade, swathed in white as the Witch of Brentford, and finally with quivering antlers as he realises that he’s not really a deer, but an ass.

Frank Ford (Jonathan Arundel) makes us laugh with more disguise as Brook, along with George Page (Dave Ufton) and the dashing Fenton (Oliver Bruce) in orange ribbon breeches.

Ian and his team also designed the simple set, persuading us that we are in Tudor Windsor, with oak beams in the background, and a very fine castle indeed.

A chorus of Elizabethan-sounding songs composed by Tamara Douglas-Morris is tunefully sung by Amy de Roche, Hatty Lawrence, Lizzie Burton and Kim Ferguson.

This is a very Merry production, enhanced by Rob Sheppard’s programme full of historical information, and is a fitting fourth play by Shakespeare to be presented at the Minack this season, reminding us of his remarkable writing 400 years since his death.

 

A view of the glorious setting in which we performed – simply stunning ! 

The Merry Wives of Windsor at Waverley Abbey House in Farnham 13 – 16 July 2016

Picnic Theatre is special – the perfect summer evening Open Air at Waverley Abbey House, Farnham.
“A fantastic production with plenty of humour! Thoroughly enjoyed by the whole family.”

MWoW web portrait

 

With excellent reviews, and huge enjoyment all round our audiences toasted the summer in the company of some of Shakespeare’s most colourful characters, including the infamously lovable rogue, Sir John Falstaff whose schemes and plots are spectacularly foiled by the wit and the guile of two of the most merry of Merry Wives.

A SELECTION OF COMMENTS ON THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR FROM OUR AUDIENCE SURVEY 

‘Guildburys Theatre Co. put on excellent shows with fine acting, clever staging and sets and amazing costumes. The Picnic Theatre is always enjoyable, come rain or shine and the grounds of Waverley Abbey House are the perfect setting for such events.’

‘We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening to be outdoors and rewarded with such a great performance of ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’. What an impressive cast and so delightfully performed.’

“The performance was excellent and the setting was perfect’

‘Magical experience. First time attended Guildbury play and found acting excellent and spoken so clearly. Enjoyed relaxed atmosphere and being able to enjoy picnic on grass whilst watching play completed a memorable day. Thank you.’

 

 

 

 

review1

An excellent cast as always gave a great performance. Guildburys presented this masterfully plotted comedy that storms ahead at a furious pace, with excellent characterisation, wonderful accents, great fellowship of women, and believable young lovers triumphing over mercenary interests. A merry night was had by all!  SURREY ADVERTISER

 

 

 

review1

‘Under the direction of Robert Sheppard all the players fully developed Shakespeare’s large array of colourful characters…..Ian Nichols is every inch the perfect Falstaff, both in looks, stance and demeanor. Laura Sheppard’s Mistress Page is indeed a merry soul while Tessa Duggleby’s Mistress Ford is a rather more restrained lady, but then who wouldn’t be with a possessive and humourless husband’  FARNHAM HERALD

 

Production photography John Sherringham – Front of House Photography

Original music composed for the production by Tamara Douglas-Morris

Click on our video to see more !

Waiting for Godot at The Electric Theatre 6 – 9 April 2016

Guildburys Waiting for Godot

 

With 5 star reviews, innovative staging set against a post apocalyptic backdrop, Guildburys stylish interpretation of this fascinating play added to the intrigue that is Beckett’s masterpiece. A play that famously bemuses and amuses whilst challenging every answer the audience comes up with certainly lived up to its reputation. Described as a play where nothing happens twice, plenty happened constantly and it won over a whole new audience – as it never fails to do.

REVIEW – Essential Surrey

“Don’t wait! Go to see the Guildburys Theatre Company’s brilliant production of this classic Beckett play at the Electric Theatre….. The back and forth between Didi (Dave Ufton) and Gogo (Tim Brown) is brilliantly handled by both actors. …… Phill Griffith as Pozzo delivers a masterly performance…. Tom Kent as Lucky, unusually performs the important ‘thinking’ speech with bravura and eloquence……. The power relationships amongst the characters are handled by Oli Bruce the director with tremendous humour and much slapstick.”  Read the Essential Surrey Review in full here

REVIEW – Surrey Advertiser

“The Guildburys production of this intriguing play allows a fine cast to perplex us, to amuse us, and to make us think. About all kinds of things. About relationships; about being alone; about who is dependent on whom; about nature; about fate; about being happy; about being bored; about being needed; about the passing of time; about memory; about existence. It is a very comic play, but also a sad glimpse into 5 lives. Beckett described it as a tragi-comedy.

Director Oli Bruce has achieved a long-standing dream of staging Godot, aided by the reliably excellent Guildburys team of actors we have come to expect. A fine evening, great fun, and I’m still thinking about it now! Not to be missed. I look forward to the Guildburys next production at the Electric Theatre in November -Tom Stoppard’s hilarious ‘On the Razzle’.

REVIEW – Sardines Magazine

Ufton and Brown were a brilliant double act, particularly in their moments of slapstick but also during more sombre moments.Griffith brought a manic urgency to the (lack of) proceedings, commanding the barren wasteland like a steampunk circus ringmaster and having Gogo and Didi engrossed in his tales. 

Kent has a truly beautiful speaking voice, no doubt made more appealing following the incredibly long silence that preceded it. Contrasted with Griffith’s more egomaniacal presence, this was another pair that worked very well together. The final member of the cast, Jordan Gunner as Godot’s messenger boy, well-spoken and more youthful than the rest. A fine young actor who, based on his two brief appearances, will no doubt go on to more prominent roles in the future.

But this particular production in the hands of Oli Bruce was absolutely excellent and a real triumph – I can’t wait to see what he does next… (I’ll get my own coat)  Sardines Magazine review in full here

Production images Mike Lawrence – click to view our video

Jamaica Inn at The Electric Theatre 18 – 21 November 2015

Guildburys production of Daphne Du Maurier’s iconic tale, adapted for the stage by Lisa Evans, received rave reviews, and was thoroughly enjoyed by the large numbers who came to see it. With strong performances from the principles, supported by a talented ensemble and an innovative narrative chorus, this was a brave and exciting production with a clear vision. The striking set, original music and evocative lighting combined to make this a really memorable show.

Jamaica Inn A6 port

Mary Yellan’s journey across the bleak Bodmin Moor, fulfilling her dying mother’s wish that she stays with her Aunt Patience at Jamaica Inn is the start of a nightmare. She finds her Aunt a broken woman, married to the brutish Joss Merlyn. Jamaica Inn exudes a brooding malevolence, drawing Mary unwillingly into the dark deeds of her Uncle Joss and his murderous accomplices as she falls dangerously in love with a man she dare not trust.

Essential Surrey 

“Great Clarity and atmosphere….. wonderfully inventive, stepped beyond the cautiousness of many amateur productions”

Surrey Advertiser

“A brilliant evening’s entertainment… exemplifies the best of amateur dramatic productions…. the ensemble scenes are faultless…. an experienced and talented dramatic group”

 

All show image photography Phill Griffith

 

 

Twelfth Night at Haslemere Museum 29 July – 1 August 2015

With some of the Bard’s most oft quoted lines and many of his best loved characters, this production was a delight, as Guildburys TN at Haslemerereturned to perform in the gardens of Haslemere Educational Museum – a wonderfully intimate venue with a picturesque outlook over Black Down. The area is all grass and the formal lawn offers a great picnic area. The play itself is a classic –

A cross-dressing, ship-wreck surviving, poetry-loving girl who finds herself at the centre of a not-so-average love triangle.
What’s not to love ? Who’s not to love?
Who could not fail to be entranced ?

 

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” 
“If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it….”
“Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit.”

 

 

 

Twelfth Night followed our tradition of

Plays with Picnics, Pimms and Pure Pleasure.

Guildburys were delighted to return to perform again at Haslemere Museum

To see general information for Guildbury audiences at Haslemere Museum including picnic details,opening times, weather policy and more please click here

 


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