Abigail’s Party: Meet the Cast – Christine King

Christine King plays Beverley in Abigail's Party

Christine King plays Beverley in Abigail’s Party

SJPs talk to Christine King, who plays the iconic part of Beverley in Abigail’s Party.

Looking back over almost 40 years, Christine has acted in too many shows to mention them all but they include, Move Over Mrs Markham, Don’t Just Lie There Say Something, The Opposite Sex, Habeas Corpus, An Ideal Husband, Local Affairs, The Edge of Darkness, Party Piece, Bedroom Farce, Takin’ Over the Asylum, One Man Two Guvnors and Elsie and Norm’s Macbeth, along with directing Shadows/Monkey’s Paw, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Up Pompei, The Vicar of Dibley and Seasons Greetings.

Of her long career with SJPs, Christine says, “Our Vice President Patricia Norris persuaded both myself and my husband Trevor to join after seeing SJP’s 1981 production of Not Now Darling – we joined a week later and here we are going into our 39th year with the group!  During my time with SJP, I have held every committee role and when not acting have worked backstage as Stage Manager, prompt, props organiser, lighting and sound as well as making the tea and coffee!  I feel truly honoured to have been part of such a wonderful group.”

Christine plays Beverley in Abigail’s Party.  “We all know someone like Beverly,” she says of her character, “but probably wouldn’t want to admit it.  She is undoubtedly a social climber but without the grace to go with it.  She is also quite a sad character when you look deeper into things, childless and very little direction in life and married to someone whom she admits she probably wouldn’t have married if they had lived together beforehand. ”

Christine is looking forward to bringing Beverley to the stage.  “The role is such an iconic one and a real challenge to get inside her character. I really hope I am able to do justice to the role.”

Tickets for Abigail’s Party are available now from Worcester Live Box Office.

Abigail’s Party: Meet the Cast – Julie Sadler

Julie Sadler plays Angie in Abigail's Party

Julie Sadler plays Angie in Abigail’s Party

Find out more about the cast of our forthcoming production, Abigail’s Party.

Julie has been in numerous plays with the SJP’s, too many to mention, but some of her favourites have been the dramas of Day After the Fair, The Little Foxes and Edge of Darkness and the comedies of Don’t Just Lie There Say Something, How the Other Half Loves, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Season’s Greetings & Outside Edge to name but a few among particular highlights have been fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play Annie in all 3 plays in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests.

She has also directed for the SJP’s, both comedies & dramas, of which she says, “my favourite production for the SJP’s has to be One Man Two Guvnors as I invested so much of myself in that show as I directed it, played the role of Dolly, designed the set and did the front of house photos – I consider it my greatest personal achievement with the SJP’s and I was so lucky to have the most amazing cast who realised my dream and brought it to life.”

Julie joined the SJP’s after completing her degree and returning to Worcester.  “The SJP’s were recommended to me by a friend, Paul Clarke, who I’d previously been in drama groups with at both Tech and at the Arts Workshop and who was a member of the SJP’s. I joined the group and Paul left it 2 weeks later as due to his work he was moving away from Worcester.”

Julie plays the character of Angie in Abigail’s Party, of which she says, “this is the second time I have played this role for the SJP’s.

“I would describe Angie as looking up to Beverley and having just bought her first house with her husband Tony, Angie is aspiring to achieve the same material comforts which she see that Beverley & her husband Lawrence have.

“Angie is incredibly tactless, however, I think this is born of naivety rather than malice and her mouth definitely works faster than her brain as she has a tendency to speak/ask questions before thinking about what she is saying/asking. However, although Angie appears meek & childlike and only interested in the mundane and commonplace, much to the annoyance of her husband, she comes into her own at the end of Act I and Act II where it is revealed that underneath Angie’s apparent silliness is the tough, practical reliability of an experienced working nurse.
She is great fun to play as she says things that most of us would only every think and never voice!!”

Tickets for Abigail’s Party are available from Worcester Live Box Office

Abigail’s Party: Meet the Cast – Adam Bullock

Find out more about the actors behind out latest production, Abigail’s Party.

Adam has been with St John’s Players for 9 years.  Previous acting credits: Last Tango in Little Grimley, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Up Pompeii, The Vicar of Dibley, Dangerous Obsession, Season’s Greetings, Yes Prime Minister and Elsie and Norm’s Macbeth.  Directing credits:  April in Paris and The 39 Steps.

Adam first joined St John’s players at the suggestion of his office colleagues who he says “politely suggested I needed an outlet for my sense of humour!  This was about the time we were casting ‘Allo ‘Allo and I have gone on to act frequently since, as well as branching out into directing, poster design, web admin, and anything else that needs doing!”

Of his role as Tony in Abigail’s Party, Adam says, “I’m enjoying the challenge of getting into a character whose surface simplicity actually masks a lot of complexities, finding ways to convey what’s going on inside someone who doesn’t necessarily say a lot – he’s very monosyllabic, and not really most people’s idea of a good party guest. The play’s quite unflinching in the way it takes a mundane situation and peels back the layers. There’s some quite honest portraits of people we all recognise – not least ourselves – in the characters.”

Tickets are available from Worcester Live box office

Abigail’s Party: Meet the Cast – Kerry Horne

Kerry Horne plays Sue in Abigail's Party

Kerry Horne plays Sue in Abigail’s Party

We introduce the cast of our forthcoming production, Abigail’s Party.

Kerry makes her St. John’s Players debut as Sue in Abigail’s Party, having previously performed in Aladdin, What I Did at School Today, Love and Money, Cinderella, and Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders with Ombersley Dramatic Society since 2016.

On joining St John’s Players, Kerry says, “As you can see I have been with ODS for 2 years having started amateur dramatics again in 2016. I was looking to challenge myself and perform in an actual theatre! My relatives saw SJP’s performance of The 39 Steps and gave rave reviews so I applied to become a member.”

Kerry plays Sue Lawson in Abigail’s Party.  She says, “Sue is a quietly spoken, polite “mousy” character who is clearly awkward in the social setting of the party and would rather be somewhere else!

“I am looking forward to portraying Sue’s awkward demeanour in Abigail’s party – contributing to the cringeingly funny black comedy and trying to reflect the typical social scenes and attitudes of the 1970’s!”

Tickets for Abigail’s Party are available from Worcester Live box office

Abigail’s Party: Meet the Cast – Barry Ellis

Barry Ellis plays Lawrence in Abigail's Party

Barry Ellis plays Lawrence in Abigail’s Party

In the first of a new feature, we get to know a bit more about the members of our repertory who are currently busily rehearsing our forthcoming production, Abigail’s Party.

Barry has performed regularly for St John’s Players over the past 9 years, including :- ‘Allo, ‘Allo, Bedroom Farce, Up Pompeii, One for the Road, Absurd Person Singular, The Opposite Sex, Vicar of Dibley, Takin’ Over the Asylum, April in Paris, One Man Two Guvnors, Season’s Greetings and The 39 Steps.

Barry has also been a member of other theatre groups, including the Swan Theatre Amateur Company (STAC). Barry joined St Johns Players at the suggestion of Christine King – his on-stage wife in this production.

Barry is very pleased to be part of St John’s Players’ production of Abigail’s Party.

“It’s a play I’ve wanted to perform for a number of years and I think it is particularly suited to the Vesta Tilley studio. The audience will feel like they are part of the gathering in Laurence and Beverly’s lounge.”

“My character, Laurence, is a hard working estate agent, who aspires to the finer things in life – and wants to be sure that everyone knows it. If only his wife and more recent incomers to the area could be more like him.”

“I’m really looking forward to sharing St John’s Players’ production of this 1970s classic with audiences in the Studio – and having an excuse to sport a dodgy bright shirt and facial hair !”

Tickets for Abigail’s Party are available from Worcester Live box office.

Happy 65th Anniversary

sjp65Today in 1949 was the inaugural meeting of the St John’s Church Drama Group – still going strong 65 years later as St John’s Players. Join us as we take a look back at that first crucial year in the group’s history!

Held at St John’s Infants’ School at 7.30pm, The vicar, Rev. John Mort (later to become Archbishop of Nigeria, as well as being elected the group’s first chairman that night!) led a meeting of some 27 people (with five apologies) to launch a drama group after so many in the community had shown an interest.

Among the attendees was local painter and decorator Hedley Coombs, who would go on to be a stalwart of the group’s early years, acting, producing and contributing many set designs.

Hedley Coombs  - in costume and make-up for 1966's Romanov and Juliet

Hedley Coombs – in costume and make-up for 1966’s Romanov and Juliet

An executive committee was appointed, who reconvened at the school the following Tuesday evening to decide that the group would work towards an evening of three one-act plays.

Dear Departed, Red Wax & The Lost Hat were eventually chosen and performed on 3rd and 4th May 1949. These seemed to go down very well, making a profit of £11.2.2d.

This was followed on 24th May when the Claines Drama Group visited St John’s to perform a play, followed by a social gathering and refreshments.

By now, the fledgling drama group were getting into the swing of things: Further one-act plays followed, with Hullabaloo, The Mock Doctor and Windy Wold (the latter of these performed by the St John’s Church Youth Group) being presented on 1st – 3rd November 1949. These raised £14.4.4d for the church funds, before being taken on the road, with Hullabaloo and The Mock Doctor being performed in Peopleton on 8th November 1949 and in Kempsey on 12th December 1949. In the days before everyone owned a car, a lot of effort must have gone into this mini-tour, a sure reflection on the enthusiasm and love the early players felt for the group.

From that point on, there was no stopping The St John’s Church Drama Group, with the first full-length, three-act play, Yellow Sands, being performed on 18th – 20th April 1950 in St John’s, and repeated at Ronkswood Hospital in May 1950.

Play after play followed, and in 1965, St John’s Players, as they had then become, were among the first groups to perform in the newly-built Swan Theatre – a venue we have loved returning to again and again, the main stage now the regular home to our autumn shows and smaller but incredibly atmospheric studio hosting our spring productions.

Minutes of the inaugural meeting, 15th February 1949

Minutes of the inaugural meeting, 15th February 1949


65 years and 142 productions later, it is perhaps surprising that looking back today, so much seems similar – we still meet regularly on Tuesday evenings, albeit several changes of venue later we are now able to use the facilities of Worcester Headway Trust at The Mill, Barbourne. Although our name has changed slightly over the years, reflecting our change of venues, we retain the St John’s moniker as a nod to our past. We are still a small, enthusiastic team numbering around two dozen, and everyone still rolls up their sleeves to help out with every conceivable aspect of putting on our shows – we even still build our own sets, often using techniques that have been passed down generations of players since Hedley’s time!

Indeed it is with pretty much the same ethos that work is currently underway on our next production. The Opposite Sex, an adult comedy by David Tristram, is in rehearsals now. In case you missed it, the director and cast recently introduced the play in this video (OK, perhaps they didn’t have Youtube and Facebook in 1949!)

You can keep up-to-date with all that is going on with the group on our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, and our own website – http://www.stjohnsplayersworcester.org.uk

Box office details for The Opposite Sex can be found at Worcester Live

desktop-65thDownload out 65th anniversary desktop wallpaper in standard or widescreen format.