Newsworthy amateurs: a mention in the Guardian

We’re delighted to feature in an article in today’s Guardian (Monday 28 September) on the importance of amateur dramatics during the current pandemic. You can read the whole thing here.

The article discusses the main ways in which amateur theatre groups across the UK and Europe have responded to lockdown restrictions, including online rehearsals, readings, workshops, discussions about plays and streamed performances – and Southside Players are proud to say we’ve contributed to this ourselves through our live-streamed Short and Sweet nights, alongside our recent rehearsed reading of two of Agatha Christie’s short plays.

Hilary Jennings, one of our members, spoke to the Guardian for the article, saying ‘the thing about drama is you start on your own with a book and end up with hundreds in a room sharing an experience – and you can’t replicate that [online]. But lots of stuff has been happening.’ The article mentions our previous Short and Sweet nights – alongside our upcoming December night too.

‘New writing’, the article says, ‘has … been at the heart of what south London’s Southside Players have presented.’

We’re delighted that our work to produce new, exciting work in an unprecedented time has been noticed and we encourage anyone thinking about submitting a piece for our next night of new writing, to just do it! You can find out more here.

In memory: Derek Mills (2 November 1954 – 17 January 2021)

Southside is sad to report that one of our longest standing members Derek Mills passed away earlier this month.

A Southsider for nearly 30 years, Derek was well known throughout our society as an actor, director and costume and props maker. His first performance with us was in No Way Out in 1994, and the work he did with us – in all areas of the theatre – showed a passion and understanding of the core values that underlie both community groups and theatre itself.

Battling GSD his whole life, Derek was a force of determination. His final main stage role with us was as the older Dracula in 2017’s Drakul – a role he had always wanted to play. His final performance was in our 30th anniversary rehearsed reading of Stags and Hens.

Derek is remembered by many of us in Southside and will be sorely missed.

Derek’s work with us at Southside Players included:

As an actor
No Way Out (1994)
Animal Farm (1996)
The Crucible (1997)
The View from the Bridge (1999)
The Wind in the Willows (2003)
Tartuffe (2005)
Drakul (2017)
Stags and Hens rehearsed reading

As a director
Epsom Downs (1997)
Cider with Rosie (2000)
Dracula (2004)
Wyrd Sister (2007).

Among many others. Derek also worked with other theatre groups including the Hambalt Players and The Players of St Peter. We extend our condolences to those who knew him there.

Derek onstage in Wind in the Willows; A View from the Bridge; Animal Farm

How it went: ‘Personal Call’ and ‘Butter in a Lordly Dish’

Our first rehearsed reading of 2020 with two short Agatha Christie plays went off with a bang!

Many joined us on Saturday night to see two mysterious stories about train stations, phone calls from long-dead people, unfaithful husbands, sensational killers in the news and one of the most brutal murders ever to grace a Zoom screen!

You can read more about the night and see other photos here.