• Patience
  • Silas Marner
  • The Merry Widow
  • Patience
  • Silas Marner
  • The Beggar's Opera
  • The Beggar's Opera
  • Little Grimley presents Strictly Sex Factor (on Ice)
  • Thespis by Gilbert & Sullivan
  • Thespis by Gilbert & Sullivan

History of the Society

The following information was compiled from an article by former BODS President Derrick Graham, and archive material including a Dorking Advertiser article for the 60th anniversary. There are photos and programmes for some of the early shows in the Past Productions section, but if you have other pictures or archive material then do please contact us

How it started

The society was started in 1936 by Commander Jack Hatch and his wife Norah, and their neighbour on Pebble Hill, Rachel Rundle. The first mention of 'Betchworth Dramatic and Entertainment Society' is in publicity for a performance of Baa Baa Black Sheep in the Village Hall by The Leatherhead Players on Weds 19th February 1936, with profits being devoted to improvement of the stage and the formation of a new society. The Memorial Hall had been built in 1926, but with the opening of the A25 Betchworth bypass it was now just a few yards from the new road, accessible to Reigate and Dorking. The hall had not been built for staging plays, having just a raised platform which stopped short of the wall at one end to allow access to a kitchen at the rear.

The exact date of the inaugural meeting isn't known, but there was obviously sufficient interest to establish the society, with acting members paying annual subscriptions of 5 shillings. The first President and vice-President were Mr Tritton and Mrs DuBuisson respectively. The very first production was The Ghost Train by Arnold Ridley (better known later for playing Private Godfrey in Dad's Army) , performed on 11 & 12th December 1936, although the venue was nearby Leigh WI Hall (now Abbots Pass Hall) rather than the Memorial Hall. Judging from the programme, the society was then known simply as 'Betchworth Dramatic Society', and this appears to have continued until 1938 when the name B.O.D.S first appears.

Early Years

The second production, in 1937 was Patience, after which Gilbert & Sullivan Operas were to become an annual event together with plays, although productions were of course interrupted by the Second World War. The Society re-formed in 1946 and carried on in the same pattern as before until 1951 when the chairman came up with the idea of a one-act play competition between the local drama societies, as part of the National Festival of Community Drama. Eventually seventeen companies became involved, providing a full week of theatre and, if they had adequate facilities they, in turn, hosted the Betchworth Drama Festival. Similar festivals started all over the country and soon Betchworth became the first round in the All England Drama Festival, when the winners from each area went on to compete against each other. 

 

Silas Marner

Director: Alison Cooper
Musical Director: Ian Stone
Performances: 9-12 November 2016

A unique new musical by Storm Productions, adapted from the original Victorian novel by George Eliot. Set in the early 19th century, it tells of the falsely accused weaver Silas, who, rejected by his fiancée and outcast by his religious fellowship, leads a solitary existence driven by his work and the accumulation of gold which becomes his only solace. The unexpected father/daughter relationship which develops between Silas and an abandoned child brings joy, friendship and respect back into his life. In the musical the story is retold in the late 19th century by a landlady and her son, to a traveller who has taken shelter at the inn.

This is a fairly dark tale but with an underlying theme of hope and redemption in a vivid portrayal of a sheltered rural community and its suspicion and mistrust of the unfamiliar.

Written by Phil Ryan and David Ford, with additional music by Denny Bertin

Cast (in order of appearance)

Traveller Roger Wilman
Tom Stuart Finlayson
Landlady Sarah Haswell
Silas Peter Thomas
Sarah Julie Bickerdike
Preacher David Longes
William Dane Stephen Tickell
Landlord Colin Bousfield
Dunsey Cass Julian Warner-Edney
Godfrey Cass Neil Mayall
Molly Lorraine Lawrence
Dolly Winthrop Jane Seymour
Eppie Lucie Francis
Nancy Lammeter  Fiona Radford
Aaron Rob Richmond
 Villagers

John Bryant, Diana Barnsley, Jane Johnson,
Brenda Judd, Diane Mayall, Margaret Longes
Pam Patch, Linda Slater, Ann Staddon

Production Team

Sound & Lighting David Ames
Set construction Martin Allitt, Brian Cooper, Neil Mayall
Stephen Tickell, Julian Warner-Edney, Neil Williams
Set painting Alison and Brian Cooper
Costume & Props Alison Cooper
Make-up Julie Bickerdike
Front of House Virginia King
Programme & publicity  Stephen Tickell
Box Office Linda Slater

Review by Jon Fox on behalf of NODA

Photos by Mick Mercer

 

Mixed Doubles

Director: Diane Mayall

Performances: 18-20 May 2016 (also excerpts at BRBAC Harlequin Arts Festival, 14 April 2016)

Photo by Mode Images LtdMixed Doubles is a compilation of short plays and monologues on the theme of marriage and relationships. It features works by accomplished authors: Alan Ayckbourn, John Bowen, Lyndon Brook, David Campton, George Melly, Alun Owen, Harold Pinter, James Saunders and Fay Weldon which are as pertinent now as when they were first performed in 1969. The sequence of plays presents a progression from a young couple just married (A Man's best friend), to an old man and woman sitting in a cemetery (Resting Place)

Cast

The Vicar   Julian Warner-Edney
Score Sheila Linda Slater
  Harry Stephen Tickell
Norma Woman Jane Seymour
  Man Julian Warner-Edney
Permanence Helen Julie Bickerdike
  Peter Neil Mayall
Countdown Husband Ian Stone
  Wife Tracey Hulf
Silver Wedding  Audrey Jane Seymour
  Julian Neil Mayall
Resting Place Old Woman Linda Slater
  Old Man Stephen Tickell

Production Team

Director Diane Mayall
Sound & Lighting  David Ames
Costume Alison Cooper
Front of House Virginia King
Publicity Stephen Tickell

Photos by cast members

 

The Yeomen of the Guard

Performances 11-14 November 2015

Director Virginia King
Musical Director Ian Stone
   
Sergeant Meryll Trevor Allen
Leonard Lloyd Walsh
Dame Carruthers Brenda Judd
Wilfred Colin Bousfield
Phoebe Jane Johnson
Lieutenant Peter Grove
Elsie Selena Hegarty
Jack Point David Longes
Fairfax Neil Williams
Kate Carolyn Burnley
1st Yeoman David Clark
2nd Yeoman Stephen Tickell
Yeomen Milos Machacek, Julian Warner-Edney
Villagers Pam Patch, Mary Grove, Margaret Longes, Carol Coslett
   
Stage Manager Stephen Tickell
Lighting David Ames
Front of House Julie Bickerdike
Set Design Gini King
Construction Stephen Tickell, Julian Warner-Edney, Neil Williams
Painting David Clark
Costumes Gini King (Yeomen by Lois Hatt)
Poster design Stephen Tickell
Photos Mick Mercer

Yeomen is perhaps the most emotionally engaging of the Savoy Operas, ending with a broken-hearted main character and two very reluctant engagements, rather than the usual numerous marriages. The libretto contains considerable humour, including many pun-laden one-liners, but Gilbert's trademark satire and topsy-turvy plot complications are subdued in comparison with the other Gilbert and Sullivan operas. The dialogue, though in prose, is quasi-Shakespearian, or early modern English, in style.

Many believe that the score is Sullivan's finest. Indeed, some enjoy Yeomen particularly because of its ever-changing emotional balance of joy and despair, love and sacrifice.

Photos by Mick Mercer

 

Dates for your diary

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The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol will now be performed November 2020 if possible. Check here for updates

News (most recent first)

Postponed events
Friday, 20 March 2020
We now hope to perform The Government Inspector in November, and the Quiz Night will take place when circumstances allow.Regular supporters will be invited to join a phone conference in place of the planned AGM
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Remembering Brenda Judd
Wednesday, 01 January 2020

BODS members past and present will be saddened to hear that Brenda Judd passed away on 27th Dec, after a long illness, and we send our sympathy to her family and friends.

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Remembering Derrick Graham
Saturday, 07 December 2019
Long-serving BODS member and former President Derrick Graham has sadly passed away, at the age of 93. Seen here at a celebration of his 90th birthday, Derrick was involved both backstage and as a performer in many productions from the 1970s onwards
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