Summer Production

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Having been knocked sideways after the last play, Anne would have been among the first to insist that ‘the Show must go on’ .

Therefore it is time to announce, and crack on with, the Summer production.

Dorchester Drama will be proud to present a couple of single act plays.

Out for the Count: – The Count, newly arrived from Transylvania at Dr. Sewer’s asylum, is hungry for more than Bridget’s fruit cup or Constance’s bloody Mary! Thwarted by a cross shaped birthmark and hounded by the Professor, the Count enlists obnoxious Rennet to help and nearly defeats the Professor and young Jonathan. But all have reckoned without Bridget’s escargots.

The Witches of Prestwick:- Three members of a local amateur dramatic society are rehearsing their roles as the witches in ‘the Scottish play’, with varying levels of competence. Bev, the ablest actress, has taken her role a bit too seriously and has been researching witchcraft to lend plausibility to her performance. Goaded by Jan and Lou, she gives them a crash course in magic!

Dates will be Thurs 28th  and Friday 29th July (and possibly Saturday 30th of July also).

Venue is to be decided.

Ann Ottaway


It is with regret and sadness that we must say goodbye to our longest-serving and most venerable member.

Ann Ottaway directed, acted, supervised, prompted and advised in many productions over many years, most recently directing ‘Generations Apart’ last year, and playing our favourite Moley in ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ in November. This year she was the assistant director for ‘Ladies Day’.

Ann was liked and respected by everyone in Dorchester Drama and her knowledge and guidance will be sorely missed.

All our thoughts go out to her family.

Ladies Day Final night

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So final night has finished, and DD wraps another production up, short of the packing everything into the store again, which I’m just about to do.

This has been a cracking little play to do and if the audience enjoyed it half as much as we have, job done. If you were not able to come to see it, that’s a real pity, but we’re already working on the next project. News to come.

We’ve got a couple of clips for you to watch, grabbed from the last couple of performances.


Ladies Day – Dress Rehearsal

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This week sees Dorchester Drama’s production of Ladies Day open at Sunninghill hall in Dorchester.

Tickets are still available, both to pre order and will be available on the door. The Cast and Crew have worked very hard towards this, and had a lot of fun as well. Lots of credit must go to Pete the director, who was there for the dress rehearsal, but is away for the next few nights as he’s appearing in another play as a favour to the Wool Players.

Below are a few quick rough and ready shots taken during the dress rehearsal.


Ladies Day Update

The Ladies of Dorchester Drama have been out buying hats, not for a wedding, but for the latest production “Ladies Day” by Amanda Whittington.

Leading Characters of Dorchester Drama's "Ladies Day" by Amanda Whittington.
Leading Characters of Dorchester Drama’s “Ladies Day” by Amanda Whittington.

“Work, love and life are just one long hard slog for the fish filleting foursome Pearl, Jan, Shelley and Linda. But their fortunes are set to change when Linda finds tickets to Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot the year it relocated to York. Out go the hairnets, overalls and wellies, as the four ditch work, do themselves up to the nines and head off for a drink, a flirt and a flutter. If their luck holds, they could hit the jackpot – and more besides!”

Meanwhile, downstairs, other Dorchester Drama members are getting together for a drink or two and to read through some other scripts, from Ayckbourn to Coward and beyond.

If you fancy joining in, helping out with the play or just the social side, come along to the Victoria pub in Dorchester on Monday evenings, 7:30ish for the next few months.


Toad Comes Home

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After an exhausting few days for the Cast and Crew, Toad of Toad hall comes to a close. The scenery and props are back in the store and costumes are being cleaned before joining them. A huge thanks to everyone who helped put this together, whether it was helping out with Front of House, painting a couple of flats on a Saturday morning, or getting up early and staying out late to help lifting, shifting etc.

Thank you.

There are some wonderful shots out there on the interweb of the set and players and some links are below.

First of all there’s some photos taken by a Friend of Badger’s, Mr John Boyle, capturing some quite unique moments of the play. – click Link –

A Different Kind of Rabbit…
“I knew his Grandfather…”


Secondly, there’s Marion Cox’s review published on their website. On the whole a good review, but she felt that the play was let down by the length and didn’t like Toad. It is worth noting that the version that was printed in the paper had some of the better points edited out and they applied an unsuitably negative headline. An edit that Mrs Cox herself was not happy with. This may well have put the opportunist Punter from coming out on the Saturday night.

And last, and showing that different reviewers can see different perspectives, there’s Anita Harris’s review featured in her Durnovaria diaries. See below.

Toad of Toad Hall

Wow!! Once again Dorchester Drama Club surpass themselves with their latest production, Toad of Toad Hall, the stage adaptation of one of my childhood favourites, Wind in the Willows. This had everything – music, song, dance, comedy and great acting. The props were simple but incredibly effective, clever use of smoke and lighting created wonderfully atmospheric settings, and the enthusiasm of the children taking part blended beautifully with the more experienced adults. And we were so smoothly transported from riverbank to court house, dungeon and finally the banqueting room at Toad Hall, the homes of Badger and Ratty adding to the mix to bring the story to life in a way even the youngest audience member could understand and appreciate. The Corn Exchange, for just a few hours, became the countryside as the tale of Toad, Badger, Mole and Ratty unfolded and drew you in.

Oh yes, I loved Toad of Toad Hall. As ever, the stage presence of Lee Stroud (Toad) was as amazing as ever, a Toad as good a one as you will find anywhere. Michael Staddon was an imposing Badger, Ann Ottaway delightful as the somewhat timid Mole, and Ian Farley made the role of Ratty his own. They bounced off one another perfectly, the humour at times subtle but never lost on those watching. I loved Fran Sansom as the Chief Weasel, so sinister, so menacing, as was the brilliantly lit scene in the Wild Wood. Loved the Down with Toad song, performed so well by young and not so young amidst a plethora of red light and swirling smoke. What an incredible touch. So many great performances. So good to see the hilarious Sue Worth and Lee Stroud pairing up to bring one of the most comical interludes of the whole show. Timing was great ……. And they are so funny when in full flow.

There wasn’t one moment in Toad of Toad Hall that I didn’t enjoy. The whole performance had me transfixed, from the delightful ducklings, ably led by Mother Duck (Dee Thorne), to the chaos of the courtroom and the banishing of the weasels from Toad Hall. Everyone who had a hand in this production, from the actors and producers to the stage crew, choreographers and costumiers deserves a round of applause and heartfelt thanks for creating such an enjoyable evening. I love being transported back to my childhood, a double delight when taken there by the talented Dorchester Drama Club. Thank you …….. and I am waiting with bated breath for your next offering. Make it soon, but please recover from this one first. Poop, poop, as Mr Toad would say!!




Copyright © 2015 Durnovaria Diaries, All rights reserved.



Toad News

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Rehearsals are needing bigger spaces as we’re running the full play, so we’ve got the chance to mock up the set dimensions. This gives the Actors a feel for the space they will be performing in. It also gives the Techies a chance to try to spot problems before the Tech rehearsal.

Last night we spent some time putting together the fight scene. Here’s a little taster.

The Children (& Dee) have been practising some dance routines as well. The children have a variety of different roles,  here, they’re ducks dabbling.

Publicity is out there, please spread the word around as much as possible and come to see the play. Watch out for some of the cast members handing out leaflets in town on Saturdays in costume as well. All help welcome.