We have been gathering together some memories people have of their time with Saxlingham Players.
If you have any memories or anecdotes you would like to share, please contact us and we will be happy to publish them!
The following was written by a Friend and ex member of Saxlingham players, Peter Hinton.
SAXLINGHAM PLAYERS - SOME RECOLLECTIONS
I was inveigled into joining the Players in 1972 by Bridget Heighton a little time after we went to live in Topcroft and I finally left when the job moved me to South Gloucestershire in 1983. Having spent a little time on the amateur stage several years previously I had thought that a small part might come my way in time, but Mike Anderson who was directing "Not Now Darling" in its first amateur production was not one for hanging about and I found that I was playing opposite Oliver Cross, which is one of the more daunting stage experiences; the photo in your gallery shows Oliver with a good head of dark hair! He was always pretty quick to assimilate a rough draft of the script but unfortunately it rarely developed into an accurate rendition! Playing opposite him for most of the play kept me on tenterhooks - would he remember that his speech should conclude with my cue, and even if he did remember, would I be able to remember it as such and respond accordingly as the author intended? Frequently not, and the play progressed in a series of paraphrases which kept to the general direction but explored many by-ways along the route!
Mike Anderson was small of stature but with boundless energy, and as a Director had a huge gift of finding and exploiting a laugh which we often had not even recognised. The double-take was his forte and he was at his best when working on a farce. We all learned hugely from his professional skills and I felt that we attempted (usually successfully) to undertake many plays that we might otherwise have thought well beyond our technical competence; this enthusiasm continued long after he left the Players.
Around this time we received some useful help and criticism from the County Drama Adviser, Hubert Mitchell; always perceptive and always kind. I don't suppose that post exists any more. We also had occasional visits, and rather sharper comments, from Charles Roberts, drama critic of the EDP.
"Black Comedy" I remember chiefly through Susan Cross' Miss Furnival who was always getting onto the outside of a large drink and falling asleep and by Stanley Wooderson's inability to remember his own name, which as it was Schuppanzigh was perhaps understandable, but that did not help extinguish his short fuse!
"Miracle Worker" was indeed a miracle and not just through the intensity of the story. Somehow we managed to create a set including an upstairs bedroom and staircase - no small feat on the old Saxlingham stage!
And thinking of creating sets reminds me of our regular stage manager and designer, Derek Ulph. So great was his concern for the finances of the company that much of our valuable construction time was spent straightening bent nails so that we did not have to buy new! He had a great sense of the ridiculous and was found collapsed in laughter backstage during one performance; apparently Bridget Heighton (who was between diets at the time) was doing a rapid change and Derek was struck by the thought that she must be the only person of his acquaintance who had to buy her tights by the acre! Luckily Bridget also saw the funny side!
When Lena Heighton stepped down from the chair I was thrust into it and for a few years thoroughly enjoyed the tasks of motivating, money raising and chivvying, as well as acting, directing, set building and whatever else came along. The single best word is FUN. Sad to say, I have not set foot on the boards since - pressure of work, pressure of family lack of a group to join and more recently complete inability to remember two consecutive words - back to Oliver Cross again!
The following has been provided by one of our members, Susan Cross, who has been a member for more than 50 years.
25 Years of Saxlingham Players-Saturday 6th December 1975
To celebrate 25 years of the Players, we held a dance at Mangreen Hall.
Ed Boulter made a large vat of hot punch and everyone received a glass on arrival, including the band-a West Indian steel band from Ipswich, who played and beamed non stop!
Christine Boulter and I did all the food (3 courses) and spent most of the time in the kitchen!
At midnight we cut a cake made by Duncan Masters-iced to represent a stage, and drank sparkling white wine.
Over 70 people attended and we actually fed between 70 and 90!