Cabus Players have been making their own entertainment for more than 65 years and they are calling on more wannabe thespians to join in the fun.
Rehearsals are already under way for their May production, the comedy ‘Straight and Narrow’ – a comedy by Jimmie Chinn. It is the first of two performances the drama group produce and bring to the local stage each year.
It is quite the achievement, after a loss of five members in 2015, leaving chairman Rob Knowles uncertain for the future.
“We were in grave danger of folding last year following the departure of five members due to changing work patterns and people moving out of the area.”
Nonetheless they were able to put on two highly successful productions, ‘Ladies Day’ by Amanda Whittington and ‘Ghost Writer’ by David Tristram.
Rob adds: “Both plays were comedies and the audiences had a great time. The plays had complicated sets which required a team to behind the scenes to not only construct but also operate during the performance so that the special effects were used to their full advantage.”
The work involved underlined their need for more members and a recruitment drive got under way. Since then new faces have been welcomed but Rob would like to cast a few more.
The Cabus Drama Group was founded in 1948, beginning as an evening class in Cabus Village Hall, near Garstang, under the direction of Mrs Ellen Nelson.
Rob, who has been involved for the past 32 years, says: ”They produced a series of one-act plays in the old wooden Cabus Village Hall.
“At this time the population really did ‘make their own entertainment’ as the television was not to make any significant appearance until the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
“As a result there were lots of people willing to get involved and there was a ready audience for the plays that the group produced.”
The name was changed to the Cabus Players in 1967 and a series of drama lecturers / producers were paid to lead the group and direct the plays.
In 1975, with some experience behind them, it was decided several of the groups members were equally capable of producing plays and since that time all the producers have been members of the group.
The group over the years have built up quite a collection of props, costumes and sets, which Rob says left them with a bit of a problem on discovering the old Cabus Village Hall was to be demolished in 2001.
The group has also inspired and help promote amateur dramatics across the area, Rob adds: “ About 30 years ago a group of members decided they wanted to move in a different direction artistically.
“This led to them leaving the Cabus Players, and they eventually started the Garstang Theatre Group and later on The Garstang Light Opera Group, both of whom based their performances at Garstang Community Academy.
“Over the last 68 years many people have come and gone from the group, several went on to Drama School and roles on television and in the professional theatre.
“Many of the younger members were lost to the group when they went off to university or started new lives in other areas.”
Rob says the fun in amateur dramatics occurs both off and on the stage. Not every performance will go quite to plan.
“There was a play about Samuel Pepys, which involved an actor hiding inside a blanket chest.
“On one night when it was particularly hot in the hall, the actor nearly fainted for lack of air and on the second night the bottom fell out of the chest so he was dumped unceremoniously on to the stage in full view of the audience!
“It was also in this play that motorists got a shock when one character crossed the A6 in full 17th century costume, including a periwig, on his way to milk his cows!”
Now the group are concentrating on getting things right for the May production
Member Christine Godfrey makes her debut as producer.
Rob adds: “No experience is required – all you need is enthusiasm!”
Anyone interested, please contact the chairman Rob Knowles on 01995605608. Visit the website www.cabusplayers.com and www.facebook/cabusplayers
The Cabus Players meet in Cabus Village Hall, Lancaster Road, Cabus, at 8pm on Tuesdays.