We are an amateur dramatic society based near Halesworth in Suffolk. On this website you should be able to find all the information about us that you need to know, including details of our forthcoming productions, the history of our society & contact information.
The 28th of April 2021 will see the curtain fall on the 41st and final night of Circle 67’s Lockdown Theatre. What started out as an attempt to keep our group connected during the dark days of the pandemic, has evolved to become a weekly Zoom performance that has debuted nearly 80 plays to our local supporters and a new international audience. Obviously it’s great news that we are slowly returning to more traditional ways of meeting (see our new Summer Shakespeare post) but I think it’s worth reflecting on what we have all achieved during this difficult phase in our lives.
At the beginning of March 2020 rehearsals for our spring production of Nell Gwynn were well underway but with news that the Coronavirus was spreading in the UK a decision was made to suspend rehearsals several weeks before the national lockdown started. However, as a very social group and keen to keep everyone together, we took the first tentative steps of meeting via Zoom. What started out as around ten members meeting once a week to simply read through a play has a year later transformed into our weekly “Lockdown Theatre” gathering of 40 to 50 members, friends and guests from all around the globe. Proceedings usually start with the weekly catch-up. This has enabled friends and families to meet up and exchange news. On Zoom this resembles that excited buzz you get in a theatre before the curtains are raised, or the first notes of an overture begin. And just like in a theatre, as the play starts an immediate hush descends. Only this time it’s me applying the mute button to silence our excited audience. I doubt I will ever yield such power again.
Theatre performed via Zoom is a challenging medium. Before the pandemic, I doubt anyone would ever choose to use it if they had alternatives. But we didn’t and I’m grateful that it gave us a platform to perform. I have to say that over time we started to get the hang of it. Our sound effects were always excellent (Thanks George). We often used original music (chapeau Bernard) and towards the end of the run, our imaginative use of backdrops, spotlighting and special effects was at least the equivalent of say Doctor Who in the Tom Baker years.
Over the last 13 months we have showcased many new plays written by a growing pool of writers. Who knew we had such talent hidden within our ranks? I really think that this has been one the highlights of LT. Some of our writers have had their work performed professionally, but for others LT was their first foray into creating drama. I’d like to think that we've built a safe environment for writers to debut their talent and I’m really hoping that all of our creatives continue to produce work for us to see. I’ve also realised that LT has allowed former members of Circle 67 to rejoin us if only for a temporary moment. It may even have rekindled the performing bug in a few and encouraged some to join theatre groups local to them. That’s great news.
What it has shown me is there is a need for online theatre even in something resembling a normal world. Therefore, I'm very pleased to confirm that Circle 67 will be continuing a form of Lockdown Theatre, post pandemic. Details will be confirmed in due course but I’d like to thank all our actors, technicians, musicians, writers and of course our lovely audience for supporting us through these times. We made it.
Now I need to think of a new name for Lockdown Theatre. Any ideas?
Chairman of Circle 67