KADS – the Unsung Heroes
By Beverley Westbrook….
KADS: The Unsung Backstage Heroes
Looking back at – Murder in Play
As KADS celebrates its 40th Anniversary, complete with trials and triumphs, love and laughter it is only right that along with the Producers, Directors and Actors we applaud those tireless troopers – the ones we don’t see. So here with love from KADS is our tribute to the Unsung Backstage Heroes.
For the past five years our first unsung hero is Carole Dovey. A lady of considerable talent and eye. Her ability to turn 2 coffee jar lids into a WWII flying Ace’s helmet, to recreate Renaissance man out of two ladies blouses and to spot a dress that will fit is outstanding. Carole’s latest challenge is to make the front half of a pantomime horse – knowing her quick wit it will probably be made out of a Blue Peter badge, mirrors and bits of string.
KADS hit lucky when John Davies joined the team. He is the man with the saw and nails, weights and pulleys, and bags of brick rubble to hold a prop strut in place. He has made all the mobile props for KADS & Bounders, and our super (mobile) Box Office. His speciality is making sets for living rooms – but that could be because KADS seem to choose plays that happen in living rooms!
It’s a brave man (or in KADS case – woman) that takes on backstage. Anyone with any connection to AM Dram knows that this is possibly the biggest and most fraught job of all. KADS would particularly like to salute the various ladies who have been brave enough to make this their world.
We honour Caroline Attwood, Diana Peek, Pat Muttrie and especially June Lucock who has been so instrumental in streamlining our productions. A word of caution though, backstage is not for the faint hearted. It’s dangerous back there in the twilight world of half blue lights and blackouts. Although so far we do not have a body count we do have a catalogue of falling ladders – so bruised noses, stubbed toes, sprained muscles and most spectacularly a broken wrist.
Small and large they are the headache of any production. Begging and borrowing; props are purloined from anywhere and everywhere. Drinks bottle – no problem, pictures, vases, mirrors, handbags these are small fry. But finding a throne, this is a more demanding challenge. Grateful thanks to June Lucock for sourcing it and to the W Club for loaning it.
How to fire a gun and shatter a glass decanter? Not just once but in rehearsals and in the shows? The decanters came from England, the shattering was devised backstage. This is a mystery that remains with KADS and is all part of the magic of theatre!
Sheila Owens has taken this job on with patience and humour, keeping everyone on the same page as it were. Her best riposte was driving away at the end of an after show party and offering to leave the words of the finale with the singer so that he might get them right for next year. Words that incidentally he wrote!
Front of House:
A cold, bleak, damp Saturday morning in January standing in the market trying to interest the public in the forthcoming KADS production. Yes, it’s a glamorous life being in KADS and Sarah Garsed has taken this on despite knowing what she was letting herself in for! Come the nights of the show she is the lady checking your tickets and dealing patiently and efficiently with everything you throw at her. Being shown jewellers receipts, concert tickets or even posters is all part of the course at the front door. Thank goodness we keep a list!
Video media at KADS has been brought into the 21st century with the arrival of Chris Elliott and Margaret Sheard of Cyprusscene.com onto the production team. Their interest and enthusiasm has ensured that KADS has a higher profile in the wider world with followers from Saudi Arabia to St Petersburg.
Videoing though does have its moments such as the time Chris was almost mowed down by the cast as they entered through the back of the house and sang their way down to the stage. A quick grab of camera and tripod and a sharp move into the seats saved the man and his film.
Posters and Programmes:
Tony Woods the man behind KADS has left the island. For years he was Chairman, Producer and the Creative Designer of both posters and programmes. A man of many talents who will be greatly missed. However, we have been lucky to have found John Redgate of Cartridge Island who has stepped patiently into place. It’s needed! Hours of perfecting the poster, then so easily undone by computer technology. Oh well! That’s the joys of AM Dram!!!