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The Theatre group where Anything Goes

Manor Theatre Group

On the Manor Theatre Group website, there is a promotional poster for the group’s next production, a musical
comedy based on James Bond. ‘Shaken and Stirred - A Secret Spy Musical’ takes Manor Theatre to new levels’, it says.  But it then adds:  ‘Warning: levels can go down as well as up.’

To a degree this sums up Manor Theatre Group; even at a time when amateur dramatics audiences are dwindling, they just can’t resist the opportunity for a joke, even if it could potentially deter people from watching!
But then Manor Theatre Group is not like other amateur dramatics groups...

The group started out in Manor House in the Causeway, formerly used by the RSPCA, and for a time the actors used the Old Town Hall for rehearsals. Now Manor Theatre is based at North Heath Hall in St Marks Lane, where they put on a number of productions involving singing, dancing and acting.

Whereas groups such as HAODS (Horsham Amateur Operatic and Dramatics Society) tend to focus primarily on musical theatre, Manor Theatre also write their own comedies, murder mysteries and writes its own very silly pantomime every year. A lot of the current members are in their thirties, making Manor theatre an energetic and diverse group.

Laine Watson said: “It’s really only been in the past year or so that many of the younger members have joined.  We did ‘Cash on Delivery’ and some of them watched that and came along. The younger membership is now one of our strengths, but we’re always looking for new members of all abilities and ages.”

The group are now rehearsing for the James Bond farce, written by Roger Kidd. The play finds secret agent Tim Bond ageing badly at the Secret Squirrel Old Spooks Home while his old adversaries have risen again to threaten the world. From the obscure depths of the slightly strange MI9 comes James Blonde, a body double in need of training. They plunge into a secret world supported by Em, Manypony and QE plus other agents, Blonde girls and villains.

Roger said: “The aim is to take as much fun out of the genre as possible given only the constraints of imagination, CGI, health and safety and the lack of a helipad at North Heath Hall.”  

For more on the Manor Theatre Group of Horhsam click here