"MEET THE CAST"
The Importance of Being Earnest
Here is the third of our series to introduce the members of the cast of The Importance of Being Earnest. This week we focus on Lady Bracknell, Canon Chasuble and Lane the Butler.
Check back each week to meet the rest of the cast.
Isobel Munday (Lady Bracknell)
Isobel is our Hon. Secretary and has served as such for many years. As well as taking minutes and looking after all the admin stuff for the group, she also doubles as Social Secretary and helps organise all of the things we do away from the stage. She joined Thorpe Players in 1982 and has taken part in 62 productions, either taking part in the action or directing, “ so I think that means I love being part of the Thorpe Players team!” she says. Her favourite character was as “Edith” in “ ‘Allo ‘Allo” and she cites her favourite drama as being “Separate Tables” by Terence Rattigan. Isobel is a hairdresser by trade and she says it “gives her the inspiration to do the cast hairstyles of the period of the play.”Favourite genre? “ Comedy, Drama, Musicals – they are all super avenues to explore and AmDram does it all!”
Glyn Bailey (Canon Chasuble)
Glyn joined Thorpe Players in 2006 playing a walk on part in High Society.
Since the he has taken part in over 50 productions, sometimes in the cast and sometimes backstage. Whilst onstage, he has played large parts and small ones including comedy, serious drama, musicals and sometimes, shows which are completely improvised. Off-stage there has been set construction, painting scenery, bar management and perhaps most importantly, looking after the groups finances. Before joining the group Glyn was a senior lecturer in computer science at City College and then worked with BT on the development of the mobile phone network. He is an unapologetic “techie”. Since retirement he likes to play bowls and be a grandfather to four of the loveliest grandsons in the world. He thinks that “Earnest” is Wilde’s attempt to mock the shallowness of contemporary (his) society and that our society as well as his, could do with a bit of mocking.
Brian Bridges (Lane)
Brian joined Thorpe Players about 9 years ago after he met his partner Lesley who is a long time member and Vice Chairperson. However he only started to take stage roles about 2 years ago. “It took me all that time to work up the courage!” he says. He has appeared in Oh What a Lovely War, Inside Edge, Khaotic and Wyrd Sisters plus our ‘pop up’ Music Hall but if not involved onstage, will be found lending a hand with Stage Management or running the Bar! Away from the Players, he has a busy life within the insurance industry, which requires him to travel the country on business, plus he has 5 children and 3 grandchildren! “However,” he says, “I very much enjoy my involvement with Thorpe Players and the friendly environment within, plus the work on stage roles allows me to get away from the tedium of Insurance!
Tabitha Woodgett (Gwendolen Fairfax)
Tabs has been a member of Thorpe Players since 2013 when her husband, Jonathan, joined the group and this encouraged Tabitha to become involved, taking on the role of props supervisor for Hickory Dickory Dock that same year. By day, Tabs is a Technical Expert in IT but has always had an interest in theatre and performance. “ I went to many outdoor productions of Shakespeare as a child. A highlight for me was getting to see Mark Rylance at the Globe Theatre as a teenager”, she says. Tabs has performed with a number of local theatre and performance companies and has taken a variety of roles with Thorpe Players. She has played a German prisoner in Journey’s End, Sharon in Outside Edge, chorus in Jack the Ripper,Edith in Khaotic! and Magrat in Wyrd Sisters. However, her favourite role to date was as Bella in Gaslight. “It was extremely challenging, not only due to the sheer volume of lines and the extended time on stage, but having to portray someone going through a very cruel and clever form of domestic abuse which needed a great deal of balance between drama and realism. Although the subject was fairly dark, the visual concept and direction were so clear from the start, that it was a labour of love.”
Favourite genre? “ I’ve always felt playing comic roles has suited me best and my facial expressions are probably the main cause for this. I love making people laugh without saying a word.”
Sam Willmott (Cecily Cardew)
Samantha joined us last November, making her debut in Wyrd Sisters. Sam is in the last few weeks of her training to be a florist at Easton College and has already taken the first few steps to establishing her own floristry business. She currently lives at home with her family, two dogs, Ella and Skye, and cat, Rosie. She says, “Home is one of my favourite places as having two younger foster siblings it is always a hive of activity and excitement!”
Playing the role of Cecily in this production is a great challenge but Sam is obviously enjoying it.
“Being a member of lots of different clubs, Thorpe Players is by far one of the most fun, friendly and thoroughly enjoyable and I hope to be a part of the group for a long time to come.”
Jonathan Badgery (Algernon Moncrieff)
Jonathan has been a member of Thorpe Players since 2012. By day, Jon is a science communicator, making live presentations and audio/visual resources to inspire the learning of science. Jon joined Thorpe Players because he had been looking for a group that worked with his teaching career. He really enjoys being part of Thorpe Players. “There is a great sense of community and it is very supportive group with opportunities for all.”
He has taken the roles of Raleigh in Journey’s End and Hugo in The Vicar of Dibley as well as many supporting roles. His states that his favourite production so far is Journey's End as it was his first serious drama and an opportunity for real characterisation. Jon has a great sense of humour and, unsurprisingly, states “I love performing comedies but particularly enjoy roles where I get to eat a lot on stage”. You might have seen Jon as the compere for our “Anything Can Happen” improvisation evenings (and also at this year’s TSATC St. George’s Fete). These productions, conceived by Jon and based on the TV series ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’ have been well-received and great fun for all involved.
He has served on our Business Committee and has performed a variety of backstage roles including Props Master.
He is married to Tabitha (who is playing Gwendolen) and in his spare time is an avid toy collector and is a Lego creative expert.
Justin Self (John Worthing- Jack )
Justin has been a member of Thorpe Players for 9 years. He says,” In that time I have been lucky enough to be part of an extremely diverse range of productions from heart wrenching dramas like Journey’s End to musicals such as Jack the Ripper and The Pajama Game not to mention all the comedies both classic and contemporary and a few thrillers to boot.”
Favourite genre? “To choose a favourite genre would be very difficult as each one has its own individual magic, however I really don’t think you can beat a comedy. The joy as a performer to deliver a beautifully written punchline and to receive a room of laughter truly is a great feeling.”
“Treading the boards Is probably the hobby I chose to throw myself the deepest into, though I also enjoy gardening, walking my two lovely dogs Juno & Bilbo, DIY, cooking and generally staying active.”
He currently serves on the Play Selection Committee.
During his spare time he works as a steelwork draughtsman for a company based in Dereham. “I find the mix of the triviality of steelwork and the seriousness of theatre a very rewarding life balance,” he says.
The Importance of Being Earnest is one of his favourite plays, and he hopes you will all enjoy our production.