The Over Players - History

The Over Players
 

About Us

The Over Players was formed in 1984 by our President, Christine Turner, who placed a simple notice in our village newsletter asking if anyone might be interested in forming a group.  It soon became apparent that there were a significant number of people in the village who couldn't wait to get on stage and perform as well as help with the huge range of other tasks needed to run a group like ours.

Since those early days we maintain a membership of around 50 people who, in addition to performing, also direct and produce shows as well as turning their hands to set-building, painting, make-up, sound, light, front of house – in fact we all do anything needed to produce a show from scratch.  A number of our members have been involved with the group since day one but our membership ranges from age 11 to many older members who remain very actively involved.  Many have grown up in the Players and three generations of the same family is not at all unusual.

Under the guidance of our Musical Director Mike Bernard, the group has developed a particular strength in performing musical theatre.  We generally produce two large productions per year, a Spring Show in May/June and a pantomime in early December.  A glance at our Past Productions  page shows the variety and wide-ranging abilities of our members in the shows we have tackled. In addition we have undertaken several famous comedies and farces, as well as entering local drama festivals with "serious drama" to a great degree of success.  Building on these strengths, in recent years we have stretched ourselves further in performing a number of outdoor Shakespeare productions.

As well as scripted shows, we develop and perform our own variety revues as well as 'Old Time Music Hall' shows.  We have performed these on behalf of local charities in our own village of Over and in the surrounding area including Swavesey, Histon, Littleport, Fulbourn, Cambridge, St. Ives and, in 2014, Great Stukeley and we are always looking for other opportunities for such events in the future.

If all that were not enough, The Over Players have been 'On Tour'.  Our first trip overseas was performing at the opening of a local wine festival in Hustopeče in the Czech Republic in 1997, and performing a Music Hall for ex-pats in Mallorca in October 1999 – again both for charity and huge fun.  Return visits to Mallorca took place in 2003, 2005 and 2008.

The group has made good use of the talents of individual members including writing, choreography and on the technical side.  Sean Baker has written and directed a whole series of successful pantomimes and we are lucky to have had the help of a number of budding young technical crew members from the local area.  We remain particularly proud that several of our young members have gone on to make professional careers as actors, working back stage, and drama and ballet teachers.  Likewise, while much of what we do is about enjoying ourselves and entertaining our audiences, the educational side of what we do remains a vital component of a continually evolving and developing Society.

We are also immensely proud to see members who first joined the group as children now taking the helm as adults in directing our productions, our most recent being Alex Turpin and our 2015 pantomime, 'Jack and The Beanstalk'.  This was particularly special for us as he followed in his late Grandfather's footsteps, John Lamoon, in doing so, John also being our much-missed former Chairman and a stalwart of the group for over 30 years.

If you are interested in seeing our shows in future, please contact our Secretary and we'll happily place you on our mailing list.  Of course, if you feel that you'd like to go one step further and join us in one of our productions in any capacity at all, you'll be guaranteed a very warm welcome.  The Society enjoys a very active social side, particularly around the friendships that have developed and its not at all unusual to see members visiting and supporting other societies, whether on stage or in the audience.

We rehearse on Wednesday evenings in St. Mary's Church Hall, Over, and our shows are usually performed at the Over Community Centre, which we also use for weekend rehearsals when required.  If you are new to the area it's a great way to build new friendships that for many of us were first formed in 1984 and are still going strong today.

Stuart Bell, Chairman.

 

For further details please see our Contacts page.
 

Awards

Noda Award for Best Pantomime 2008 in Region 4s

Sawston Festival 2011: Best Junior Performance

South Cambridgeshire 2011 Arts Award for Village Drama

Cambridge Festival 2011: Best Junior Actor, Best Junior Actress,
plus nominations for Best Cameo (2), Lighting and Set Design

- Noda Award for Best Pantomime 2012 in Region 4s
 

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