Welcome to the Adel Players website
Founded in 1945, Adel Players is an amateur drama group with at present around 40 members. We put on three plays a year in our own theatre space at the Adel Memorial Hall in north Leeds as part of the Adel Sports and Social Club. Find out more at About Us. For our next production, please see below, or if not there just click here: Forthcoming Productions.
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STOP PRESS: Our first live audience post-Covid!
Adel Players perform "Gosforth's Fete" at St John's Church, Adel 26 June 2021
It is with great pleasure that we announce the first piece of live theatre from Adel Players since before we were forced to cancel our production of Going Straight in April 2020. St John's Church, Adel, had asked us to help them mark the Patronal Festival of St John on 26 June and the vehicle chosen was Gosforth's Fete, a short comedy by Alan Ayckbourn. Directed by Mike Andrews, this was an outdoor production staged in the church grounds just in front of the historical entrance archway. The play was part of an afternoon of celebration with a range of stalls and activities. Courtesy of our member, Ron Darby, here is a picture of the assembled cast and crew:
Everyone enjoyed the production and we have received many comments about how this felt like returning to some normality: sitting in the sunshine and watching Adel Players performing a play! So far, with more to be counted, the whole event has raised over £1,150 for Church funds. Our thanks to all who helped make the production happen and to all those who kindly supported the event.
Here's to our next show! (More to follow on this shortly...)
The Future of Theatre
As we wait to be able to welcome audience members back to our own productions, we are conscious that the professional theatre is facing grave challenges. If, like us, you believe that theatre in the UK is a vital part of our cultural heritage we would be grateful if you could consider signing the following petition "Save the UK’s Arts and Cultural Industries":
Needless to say, the more support we can get behind it, the better chance there is of succeeding. Many thanks for your time.
As many patrons are aware, Adel Players are frequent entrants in the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre. This year we put forward our January play, How the Other Half Loves, and we are very pleased to be able to confirm that we have received nominations for awards in the following categories:
Best Supporting Actress: Pauline Ashworth
Best Programme: Shell Peart
Our hearty congratulations to both Pauline and Shell and we will be rooting for them when it comes to the awards evening: whenever that might be!
"Going Straight" by Richard Harris, directed by Beth Duce (See above for update on season dates).
As young men, Michael and Ray were East End villains, working together on a series of lucrative crimes. Today Michael is living a more than comfortable life in Spain while Ray, married to sharp-tongued Brenda, is struggling to make ends meet back in Britain. After two years without any contact Michael has invited Ray and Brenda over to Spain for a visit, but Brenda is suspicious: what are Michael's true motives? And is their visitor, Polly, the studio researcher she appears to be? Tensions mount in this ingenious thriller by Richard Harris and we suspect you will have great fun trying to guess the plot twist (or twists...). Book here soon to avoid the rush. (Please note: In context with the characters, there is Strong Language used in this play).
"How the Other Half Loves" finishes sell-out run
by Alan Ayckbourn, directed Mike Andrews 22-25 January 2020
Adel Players were very pleased to present this farce which follows the consequences of an adulterous affair between a married man and his boss’s wife and their attempts to cover their tracks by roping in a third couple to be their alibi. Inevitably this results in a chain of misunderstandings, conflicts and revelations. Just the stuff to brighten the dark January nights and we were delighted that well over 500 audience members came to the show. Thanks as always for this tremendous support! As usual production pictures and reviews are posted below as a reminder of all the fun.
Thanks to Mike Andrews and Tony Zigmond for these excellent production stills.
Audience reaction to "How the Other Half Loves"
We have been inundated with very kind comments and here is a sample of some of our audience feedback:
“Congratulations to you all. What a brilliant, outstanding, amazing production from all concerned. Every actor played their part to a high standard. We four on the front row enjoyed every minute. The two males in our foursome cried with laughter. We all enjoyed it so much and waited in the bar to be able to congratulate some of you. We all thought that was one of David Pritchard’s best performances. Thank you all so much for a wonderful evening”.
“We just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the play last night. It was absolutely brilliant!!! We always enjoy them but we all said last night how outstanding it was. The acting was exceptionally good, especially Mary?!!! It was the best one ever”.
“Thank you very much to the Adel Players for last night’s performance. The feedback I have had since the play has been very positive. The acting was really good and the timing of the actors and comedic effect was brilliant. A few of our members said they had been to professional performances that were not nearly as good as your play last night. We thoroughly enjoyed last night's production. Great performances and many laugh out loud moments”.
“Wow, what can I say that would encompass everything that was brilliant about the play last night? It was very, very funny, superbly acted and would have done the West End proud. We had 5 newcomers in our group and they were astonished at how good our local AmDram were (we had warned them). Definitely one of your best yet. I think you'd have had Alan Ayckbourn himself chuckling had he been there…The set was very clever. How the cast managed to keep straight faces sometimes as the farce unfolded all around them was a feat in itself. All just so well done. Congratulations to everyone involved (I know it's a team effort). Some of us talked after about knowing people similar to some of those portrayed -e.g. Mary Featherstone and Frank especially. Thank you for providing us with such a great evening's entertainment”.
“Another great performance by Adel Players in How the Other Half Loves last night. Fantastic comedy timing from all the cast playing to a packed house. So well cast and beautifully directed by Mike Andrews”.
Our sincere thanks to all of you who have taken the trouble to let us know how much you enjoyed this production.
Review of "How the Other Half Loves"
Our thanks to Ann and Donna for this review which will apear in "Adel Bells":
This was a superb production of a much-loved and very funny play, first produced and performed in Scarborough in 1969. Naturally it is “of its time” (and how we all enjoyed the choice of music from the time period, perfectly encapsulating the era), but the many themes within the play still resonate with today’s audience. The comedy is partly drawn from the situation – two couples, one young, one middle-aged – but drawn by not just a work connection, but also by romance - the young husband having an affair with the boss’s wife - “a rich old boot”. To cover their tracks they use the names of a third couple, the Featherstone’s, who unwittingly get drawn into the action. Naturally much comedic confusion arises. But Ayckbourn’s script is so witty and the dialogue so plausible – this play appeals on lots of levels.
It is by all accounts a very difficult play to put on. The dining scene in particular calls for split second, synchronised timing. Naturally, the Adel Playesrs’ production was faultless. The scenery – two separate rooms in separate homes was indicated by different wallpapers, furniture and telephones, of the period, cleverly reflecting the different ages and social status of the couples. The dining table was a brilliant example – the ends, the mahogany wood showing, with sophisticated table-settings – tablemats, glassware and silver. The middle section, the young couple’s table, covered with a cloth, soup bowls and with a central casserole dish containing the soup. As usual, the wardrobe section backed up the distinctions between the couples. The boss’ wife had sleek outfits, and had regular hair appointments. The young mother struggled to fasten her pyjama buttons accurately.
The actors, Dianne Newby & David Pritchard (boss & his wife), Jane Gorton & Bardia Ahmadi (young couple), Pauline Ashworth & Alan Foale (third couple – the Featherstone’s) were totally believable in their roles...excellent acting skills matched by a skilful script. Pauline is new to the Adel audience and Bardia appearing for the third time, but one was not to know by their performances. Bardia was a young, toned and physically handsome husband but mentally rather cruel. He had a superb swagger and often wore a sulky expression. His bored, resentful wife was tied to the home by their demanding baby, Benjamin, unable to cope with shopping, cooking, cleaning and much else. Mary Featherstone was the nervous mousey character - brilliantly played – she had totally believable mannerisms, posture and voice. The other actors are well-known to an Adel audience and all delivered superb performances...each role having its own demanding aspects. I found Alan’s facial expressions so telling and who could not laugh at the wink from the boss’ wife to her young lover at the end of the play?! David played a character who was getting older, and the audience found much in his performance that could be associated with married life and the ageing process.
Special mention must also go to the director, Mike Andrews, who put together a wonderful performance, and the programme highlighted that he had played the young, handsome husband in an Adel production from 1981. I don’t think there was anyone who left the hall without a big smile on their face...a real tonic for a January night.
Ann Lightman and Donna Shoe-Smith Evans
"Wait Until Dark" ends its run with capacity audiences
By Frederick Knott, directed Dianne Newby 16-19 October, 2019
Once again all of us at Adel Players are very grateful for the support of so many our patrons which helped to make our latest production such a success. Over 500 of you came to see the show and the feedback we have had has been extremely gratifying, the following being typical:
"Wow. That was some performance last night. One of my friends rang this morning and said the staging could have been at the West End. It was superb and very detailed. The acting was outstanding and the plot kept us mesmerised. The Dial M for Murder film has always been one of eeriest, spine-tingling I've seen and this script was in the same league. Adel Players really did so well with all the complexities of producing this. Very well done to everyone involved. We were all very impressed."
"A really outstanding production, superbly produced, directed and acted by everyone as usual, but especially so by Laura Romanowski. So thank you very much for another great evening".
Please see below for production stills along with reviews as we receive them.
Review of "Wait Until Dark"
Our thanks to Jenny Jones for taking the trouble to provide this review of the production:
Set in 1966 London, with no modern technology, short phone numbers using a phone with a dial, and £1 notes to do the shopping, we were immediately transported back in time. Take a combination of a blind woman, three criminals, a doll stuffed with heroin, and a geeky teenage neighbour, and you have the recipe for a life-threatening game of cat and mouse. A difficult play to act in when the main subject doesn’t make eye contact, but it was beautifully performed and directed, another Adel Players triumph.
Sam and Susy Henderson, played by Bardia Ahmadi and Laura Romanowski, live in a basement flat in Notting Hill Gate. Recently married after a whirlwind romance, shortly after Susy lost her sight in an accident, they are young and in love. Sam is an up and coming photographer with a studio quite close by. He is trying to persuade Susy to be more independent, but Susy relies on Gloria from the flat above for help. She’s a teenage girl who likes to play tricks on Susy but, as the play moves on, she proves to be Susy’s biggest ally.
After a flight home from Amsterdam Sam returns with a musical doll he’s been asked to carry back by a mysterious woman. He’s unaware that three ruthless criminals are trying to take it from her for the large amount of heroin the woman has stuffed inside it. Sam goes off twice to take photographs of clients, but no-one turns up as both are invitations designed to get him out of the way so the criminals can con their way into the flat to retrieve the doll when Susy is there alone. Add to this scenario the body of the woman who the criminals dump nearby in a rolled-up rug and the tension builds as, disguised as police, they suggest that Sam had been having an affair with this woman and may have murdered her.
The set was cleverly designed with a short staircase to the front door, and a small area there where the criminals would stand so as not to be observed, but they hadn’t accounted for Susy’s heightened senses, especially her hearing, since becoming blind. Two Venetian blinds high in the wall were used to flash signals to the criminals waiting in their Dormobile parked next to a phone box (remember, its 1966) so they can ring Susy, posing as police. They start searching the flat determined to find the doll but it’s obvious that it isn’t there and Susy keeps her cool to protect Sam, insisting she doesn’t know the doll’s whereabouts.
The criminals were constantly in and out of the flat, one pretending to be different people, all to add to Susy’s confusion. Beautifully acted, a chase scene was performed when Susy took out the fuses, so the criminals were in the dark and unlike her were at a disadvantage. Lots of tension built up as Susy began to get the upper hand; she realised that the policemen were fakes and she could sense when there was more than one person in the room with her. In the
meantime, the young neighbour, Gloria, revealed that she has the doll. She confessed that she had stolen it but then had felt guilty and returned it, so Susy stuffed it into the washing machine to hide it from the last and most dangerous of the criminals, who by now had killed the other two. A frantic chase ensued round the flat with Susy lunging at him with a kitchen knife in the dark, as the whole audience held its collective breath. In the final scene Sam returned together with Gloria and the real police. Gloria’s comment? “I wish something as exciting as this happened every day!”
~ ~ ~ Jenny Jones
Murder Mystery makes a killing!
After last year's great success, Adel Players was once again proud to present our annual Murder Mystery entertainment. Penned by our resident thriller writer, Pat Riley, it was performed at the Robert Craven Hall in Bramhope as well as at the Memorial Hall in Adel. Over 160 attended the two events and a grand total of £2012.50 was raised for AWMA as well as additional funds to help renovation work at the the Robert Craven Hall. Thanks to all our loyal supporters for helping make it such a success. See below for pictures and reviews.
Review of "Murder in the Spotlight"
Our sincere thanks to Ann and Donna for this review of our latest Murder Mystery:
The annual murder mystery evening with pie and peas (or vegetarian option) is always well supported and this year was no exception. Written by Adel’s Pat Riley and performed by members of the Adel Players it is a major fund-raiser for the Adel War Memorial Association. The catering was undertaken in Adel by the A.W.M.A.’s Badminton section and in Bramhope by members of their community.
One of the delights of these productions is that snippets of local information are woven into the script – this year the spotlight shining on the Association itself. One wonders how Pat manages to come up with such a great variety of plots set in our locality! To set the scene the audience, gathered on tables of ten, tackled a couple of crime quizzes which helped break the ice as memories were coaxed into action. The compere for the evening was Mike Andrews as the archetypal Northern club host…which he did with aplomb.
As the action unfolded on stage we watched the characters attentively until, just before the interval, the “star” of the show, Electra, was electrocuted – a very dramatic ending to conclude the first half. Over our suppers, we debated who could have committed the murder, why and how. Almost all appeared to have motives. Our answer sheets were collected, the raffle took place and then we found out, via the second part, who the murderer was. All the clues to the correct answer are in the script…so it is perfectly possible to identify the culprit – the winners are the table who list the most clues.
Of course an excellent script isn’t enough to guarantee a good evening – it needs to have a talented cast to make one believe in the characters and the situation they find themselves in. Fortunately Adel Players has no problem in that regard - one felt the play had been written for the actors, the casting was so good.
Dianne Newby played the ageing nightclub singer to perfection – her singing of ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘Fever’ was superb.
She was ably supported by Owen Carey Jones as her ex-husband and manager, who was proud of her singing ability and career. Jane Gorton was Electra’s daughter and make-up artist – again, proud to support her mum’s career, but both having their own thoughts and agenda on Electra too.
Andy Sneddon as the younger lover/sound engineer gave a wonderful comedic performance, whilst David Lancaster (press reporter) and Digna Sindin Rodriquez (photographer) added very different characters and dimensions to the plot, linking back to the past, when Electra’s career was at a high point and Electra made her own decisions which suited her, regardless of others.
Alan Foale and Anne Andrews had smaller, but essential, roles in delivering the plot. The play captured our imagination, was extremely entertaining and created much discussion on the tables.
The evening seemed to be over all too quickly….it seems a long time before the next production “Wait until Dark” on 16-19 October, which we are already looking forward to.
Ann Lightman & Donna Shoesmith-Evans
SPIRIT LEVEL DRAWS THE CROWDS!
Our latest main production had its final performance on 13 April. We had an audience of just shy of 500 in total over the four nights and as always, we are very grateful to all our loyal patrons for their continued support. "Excellent, definitely worth going, haven’t enjoyed myself so much in months..." was typical of audience reactions and it was nice also to get the following feedback: Just wanted to congratulate Pat on a wonderful performance last night. Did not realise she was “starring” in it until we got the programme! We both loved the play too. We needed a good laugh… it was a very funny play and of course superbly acted by all. Good to see some talented newcomers too".
As usual pictures, reviews and other audience reactions will be posted here as we get them.
"Spirit Level" by Pam Valentine, directed Alan Foale 10-13 April, 2019 7.30 pm at Adel Memorial Hall
Production photos for "Spirit Level"
Our thanks once again to Tony Zigmond for the equipment and expertise that contributed to this lovely record of the show.
First produced in 2010, our third play of the season was a light comedy with a strong streak of fantasy and moments of classic farce. Jack and Susie Cameron drowned in a boating accident while on a holiday in the Italian Lakes. They now haunt their old cottage, staving off boredom by tormenting the local estate agent and the various tenants who rarely stay long. Then a young couple arrives and Jack and Susie decide that they really quite like them and start to get involved in their lives.
Director, Alan Foale, told us before the show: “Spirit Level is a light comedy about couples young and old and the strange ways in which human relationships develop. It is indeed a play to lift your spirits. I was enchanted when I first read the play and it was so fresh that it held my attention throughout, as well as making me laugh out loud! And it left me to reflect on human nature without ever feeling that someone was lecturing me”.
Review of "Spirit Level" by John Hartley
Our thanks to John Hartley for this review of the production which will appear shortly in "Adel Bells":
"Coming Home to Blighty" performed to great acclaim
Our tribute on the 100th anniversary of the armistice (see below for details) was performed on 11 November at the Adel War Memorial Association to an audience of over 120 from the local community. Huge thanks go to Pat Riley for her work in compiling the piece, aided in research by Bernard Riley, Val Crompton and Ann Lightman and of course to all who came, all who took part and the staff and Executive members of the AWMA who helped with preparation. All those who attended agreed it was a very fitting way of marking the anniversary, as well as reminding us of the origins and purpose of the AWMA itself.
"We will remember them..."
A commemoration of the end of World War One
Coming Home to Blighty
On the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the guns finally fell silent after a bloody global conflict that had been billed as the war to end all wars. By then there had been 40 million military and civilian casualties and 6 million British and Irish men had been sent into battle, 82,000 of whom were from Leeds and its surrounding villages.
18 of those who died in the Great War were from Adel. Most communities chose to erect conventional war memorials but the people of this village had a different idea about how they wanted to commemorate the lives of those who weren’t coming home. Find out what happened in France and Leeds from the hour the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918 until 14 November 1928 - the day when determined fund-raising by a small farming community of 400 households enabled Adel Memorial Hall and its many acres of sports fields to be opened as a charitable trust and a vibrant living memorial to the brave young men that Adel had lost.
Coming Home to Blighty, an hour of stories, popular songs and poetry from the time when Leeds laughed, sang, cried, and fought its way back to peace, and its soldiers came home to a changed world.
8.30 pm on Remembrance Sunday, 11 November, at Adel Memorial Hall, Church Lane, Adel, LS16 8DE
A big thank you to Professor Mark Seaward for this review of our commemoration:
"[Remembrance Day] emotion was further aroused by the Adel Players’ performance to a packed house in Adel Memorial Hall of ‘Coming Home to Blighty 1918-1928’ – a moving experience for the players and a tour de force for the audience. For one hour, through memories, poetry and songs, the local story unfolded from the ‘time when Leeds laughed, sang, cried and fought its way back into peace, and its soldiers came home to a changed world’. Eighteen of the Adel men sent into battle never returned, and the local community at that time chose not to erect a conventional memorial, but to commemorate their lives in a different way. In consequence, this small farming community of 400 households, through determined fund-raising, enabled Adel Memorial Hall and its many acres of sports fields to be opened as a charitable trust and a vibrant living memorial to the brave young men that Adel had lost.
It would be wrong of me to pick out particular contributions as every one of the Adel Players put their hearts and souls into their performances, but the beautiful rendition of the folksong ‘The Green Fields of France’, the words and music composed by Eric Bogle after his visit in 1976 to the battlefields of northern France and Belgium, at the conclusion of the presentations, followed by a recording of theBenedictus from Karl Jenkins’ oratorio ‘The armed man – a mass for peace’ sung by the soloist Haley Westenra left us all spellbound. Even a prolonged round of applause could barely do full justice to the thought and effort by both the cast and production team to research, write and deliver such a heartfelt programme. The significant sum of money raised for the British Legion and AWMA charities at the performance is duly acknowledged, as was the time for reflection.
Remembrance Day 2018 was indeed a day to remember!"
This from another audience member:
"I just wanted to say what a fantastic and informative performance the Adel Players did tonight. I thought they were brilliant".
And thank you to Alison Garrett for this:
[Thank you to] Adel Players for producing such a memorable show to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1. In Adel we feel so lucky to have Adel Players and everyone I spoke to marvelled at the performances on Sunday. Also, some people did not know the history of the club, the Memorial Hall and the significance of the large boulder outside the hall. So, thank you for including all of that in your 'Peace and Remembrance in Adel' evening.It was a treat and the hall was packed. The displays, the propelers, the naming of The Blighty Bar and the singalongs were all greatly appreciated. It was truly a great end to a memorable day and Adel Players marked the occasion with, we thought, the right balance of solemnity and humour. Bravo!This type of event really helps to bring our community together. Special mention must go to Pat who ended the evening so appropriately and the song she sang was word-perfect. We were in awe. What a way to end such a moving evening.
Video clips from 'The Importance of Being Earnest'
Watch highlights of our April 2014 production - click here for more clips and further information.