Amateur Dramatics

I was originally asked to join the Betley Amateur Dramatic Society (BATS) fairly soon after moving to Betley by Ernie, our milkman. I only agreed because Philip Bailey joined at the same time. My first act was in a floor show written and directed (as many of the shows put on by the BATS were) by my next door neighbour, farmer’s wife, Pam Jones. I was incredibly nervous and couldn’t imagine going out in front of the audience until I had to.
Thereafter I acted in at least one show a year for a number of years until I agreed to direct. The show I enjoyed acting in the most was as the big bad wolf in Red Riding Hood. I was called in to replace an actor, Tony Parkes, who died before Christmas. The show was postponed and I had just a couple of weeks to learn and rehearse the part. I wasn’t a relaxed actor so never considered myself much good and very rarely was I given a major role but I did play the pied piper in one year’s pantomine. Directing was not easy because of the limited number of actors, most of whom were women, who put themselves forward, particularly in plays. I got to know Sue more when we were cast in a play together called The Rebus, in which she played Kissy and I played Buzzy. I didn’t think much of this meeting except that I always felt very comfortable in her presence. I preferred directing to acting and my swansong was a Towns Women’s Guild play with Sue and Pam in the two major parts. After the next play Visiting Hour, I decided I didn’t want to put on any more productions.