Downham Market drama group’s plea for more support

An award-winning drama group fears it could be gearing up to put on its last panto next year.

A lack of actors, volunteers and public support, could lead to the Downham Amateur Drama Society (DADS) folding after 65 years.

Peter Duhig, promotions secretary, said the group desperately needs 'new and enthusiastic help' ahead of the opening night of Aladdin in the Town Hall in February.

He said: 'Our committee has been working extremely hard for many years to bring good quality live theatre to the town. Unfortunately, we are all getting older and more and more pressed and in need of a rest.

'The joy of bringing the theatre to the public is becoming a not-so-happy duty as the lack of commitment from actors, back-room people and audiences alike make us wonder why we bother to work so hard for so little reward.

'When we look around at other theatre groups, they have a plethora of helpers, enthusiasts and even just friends who are willing to give, not only their time, commitment to the group.

'What are we in DADS doing wrong, not to get the same support from the populous of Downham Market? Even our schools seem reluctant to send budding actors to us.

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'Why do theatre-goers spend tens of pounds visiting other theatres and never step inside the town hall to see their own local award-winning productions?'

Mr Duhig continued: 'We are not elitist. We are here for anyone who wants to come along and have a go at acting, helping backstage, front of house or with technical expertise.

'Our sets, actors and productions have earned a reputation of being some of the best in the area. Time and again people tell us how much they enjoy our productions. So why did we only have 93 people come to our last play?

'Why do just one or two people have to do all the hard work to make it happen? Where are you? We need you now. Tomorrow is too late!

'If we do not get new blood on the committee and more support from the town, 2012 will see the end of 65 years of theatre tradition and the Downham Amateur Drama Society.'

The society's first show in 1947 was No�l Coward's Hands Across The Sea. In previous years shows have included Alice in Wonderland, Jack And The Beanstalk and Snow White and The Seven People Of Indeterminate Stature (pictured).

To book tickets to see Aladdin from February 3 to 5, or for more information about the group, call 01366 388188.

To visit the group's website, click the link on the top right of this page.

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