Our production of “My Old Lady” has been nominated in the Best Drama Category for the National Operatic and Dramatic Association 2018 Awards. It is indeed a high accolade to get just a nomination and we are all excited to find out in May 2019 if we have won this wonderful award. The plays director, Robert Naylor Stables, is delighted to hear the news and if you wish to see more of his fabulous direction please come and see our February production ‘That Good Night.

My Old Lady

A bit about WDS:

We are a small but friendly group, established in 1947, which puts on three productions each year, February, May and October, at the Memorial Hall, Wheathampstead. Summer is a quieter period so our next production is now October, the cast for which have just started rehearsing.

If anyone is interested in joining our group you are welcome to come along to a rehearsal as this can be a good time for you to meet others of us and get to see how we operate. We are also always in need of people who can help backstage in any way including props, costumes, stage sets, sound, lighting or front-of-house. We all help or take on these back stage roles when we, either do not have a part in a play or some members just prefer to help backstage rather than actually perform. Everyone is most welcome.

If acting is your main interest, then In general, rehearsals usually number about 20 before the start of the play. Then there is a technical rehearsal (sound, lighting) and 2 dress rehearsals in the week of the production. Rehearsals are usually on mid-week evenings, frequently Tues & Wed, of up to 2 hours each (8-10pm), with perhaps two Sunday rehearsals the week before a production. The Sunday before the play is used to collect the scenery and “props” from our workshop and erect the set on the Memorial Hall stage. Rehearsals are held locally in Wheathampstead.

Our October production is “Wait until Dark” (a gripping thriller) followed by another well known thriller by Agatha Christie in February next February. At the very beginning of the process, when we are about to start the next play, those interested in the play or wish to see if they would like to be involved, all come along to a read-through of the whole play. It is always friendly and good fun (with often wine, cold drinks and nibbles) where people take it in turns to read characters in the script (but feel free to just come along and listen). Anyone interested in an acting role then borrows a script and reads passages selected by the director at an audition, which usually follows a week later.

Our programme for next year (2020) has not been fully agreed yet but in addition to the Agatha Christie play we have discussed the possibility of staging “The Railway Children” and this will require a whole range of ages. So we will soon be advertising for some much younger members very soon. Incidentally, membership subscriptions are minimal, £10 or £15 each year payable on June 1st .

We have some 50 members, of which about 20 are interested in acting, whilst others deal with various aspects such as costumes, lighting, sound, publicity, photography, set building, props, or help with Front-of-House duties or the bar at productions, etc. A proportion of our members just come along to watch our plays or take part in one of our social events. Our youngest member is currently 18 with most falling into the 40-70 age range.

If you’re uncertain about what areas interest you it would probably pay you to come along to a play or other event just to meet other members until you feel more comfortable about the roles people play in the society. There are usually several social events throughout the year. The next one is our annual BBQ at the end of July at The Elephant & Castle at which most of the active WDS members get-together to chat and catch up.

Please contact our Membership Secretary Len Skilton for more details about social events or rehearsal dates so you can meet the WDS clan at len.skilton@ntlworld.com and let Len know if you are also interested in joining our lovely ‘Small, yet beautifully put together’ group.

Sarah Leadbetter
Chairman of The Wheathampstead Dramatic Society

The Wheathampstead Dramatic Society was nominated for the Wheathampstead and District Preservation Society Annual Awards in 2017 in recognition of the numerous productions and pleasure the society has given to the people of the village over the past 70 years.

National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) Awards

  • Malcolm Hobbs – Best Actor Nomination: The Weir
  • Robin Langer & Pip Dowdell – Best Duo Nomination: Relative Values
  • Irene Morris & Julie Field – Best Duo Winners: Ladies in Retirement
  • Julie Field – Talking Heads: Best Actress Nomination
  • Jonathan Field – Talking Heads: Best Actor Nomination
  • Sarah Brindley – Losing Louis: Best Actress Winner
  • Sara Payne – Time of my Life: Best Actress Winner
  • Pip Dowdell – Helen: Best Comedy Actress Nomination
  • Viv Fairley – Calendar Girls: Best Actress Nomination
  • WDS – Best Play – East District 3 – Entertaining Angels
  • Pip Dowdell – Entertaining Angels: Best Actress Winner
  • Len Skilton & WDS Set Builders – Entertaining Angels: Best Set Nomination
  • WDS – Best Play Nomination – East District 3 – 39 Steps
  • Sarah Brindley – 39 Steps – Best Actress Nomination
  • Steve Leadbetter – 39 Steps – Best Actor Nomination
  • Jonathan Field & Irene Morris – Best Duo in a play – Double, Double
  • WDS – Best Play Nomination – East District 3 – Double Double

The Wheathampstead Dramatic Society joined NODA in 2008
Nova Horley, our local NODA representative’s website;