• Patience
  • Silas Marner
  • The Government Inspector
  • The Merry Widow
  • Patience
  • Silas Marner
  • The Beggar's Opera
  • Murder on the Nile
  • Little Grimley presents Strictly Sex Factor (on Ice)
  • Thespis by Gilbert & Sullivan
  • The Matchgirls
  • The Government Inspector
  • The Mikado


This is the website of Betchworth Operatic and Dramatic Society, commonly known as 'BODS'. We are a friendly society with a long tradition of high-quality music and drama productions at Betchworth Memorial Hall (between Reigate and Dorking) as well as varied social events. Feel free to explore information here about our history, past productions and future plans. Then come and join us !

Last Woman Working

Performance: Southern Counties Drama Festival, 20 Feb 2024

Book now on Ticketsource

Director: Stephen Tickell

This one-act play by Michael Pearcy is set in an ordinary town in the not too distant future, when AI and robots have taken over almost every job. Desperate to save hers, Barbara confronts her MP Peter at the weekly surgery. He and his agent Vanessa try to persuade Barbara to settle for 'end of work training', however she is determined to make a stand and has some surprising tactics up her sleeve, as well as unexpected support. The consequences are entertaining, but there's also an underlying serious and topical message. Contains strong language

Presented by arrangement with Lazy Bee Scripts


Peter Warrington Gerald Hulf
Vanessa Broad Linda Slater
Barbara Wooley Tracey Hulf
Joan Pickle Diane Mayall
Fred Pickle Roger Nelson
Lilly (Barbara's daughter)  Kelly Cross


Stage Manager Julie Bickerdike
Sound Stephen Tickell


The Matchgirls

Performances: 15-18 November 2023, Betchworth Village Hall

Director: Alison Cooper

Musical Director: Ian Stone

A rarely-performed musical by Bill Owen and Tony Russell. In 1888 female workers at the Bryant & May match factory in one of the poorest areas of East London went on strike for fair pay and safer working conditions. Many had been seriously affected by contact with white phosphorus (causing conditions such as ‘phossy jaw’) and the low wages were reduced even further by frequent fines. For more historical background visit matchgirls1888.org

Written in the 1960s, The Matchgirls dramatizes their struggle which attracted public support and resulted in historic new rights being established - eventually the use of white phosphorus was banned. Despite the subject and the grim setting, the musical contains plenty of humour and upbeat songs, as the traditional Cockney spirit rises above the darkest moments

Presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. on behalf of Samuel French Ltd.

The production was reviewed for NODA by Graham Botterill


Kate Kelly Cross
Polly Jane Khan
Mrs Purkiss  Sarah Esser-Haswell
Old Min Diane Mayall
Jessie Christina Usher
Maggie Joanne Packham
Beattie Julie Bickerdike
Winnie Linda Slater
Nell Emoke Soproni
Dot Tracey Hulf
Louie Georgia Bishop
Mrs Harris Jane Johnson
Ruby/Scots girl Dee Coutts
Joe Stephen Tickell
Perce Peter Telford
Bert Gerald Hulf
Fred Roger Nelson
Tom/Mr Mynel  Peter Thomas
Mr Potter David Eccles
Annie Besant Jane Seymour
Paula Westerby  Jane Flanders
George Bernard Shaw  Julian Edney

Production Team

Lighting David Ames
Stage Manager Julian Edney
Set & costume design Alison Cooper
Set construction Julian Edney, Gerald Hulf, Tracey Hulf, Stephen Tickell
Set painting The Company
Makeup Julie Bickerdike
Front of House Julie Bickerdike, Selena Edney, Jane Flanders
Neil Mayall, Lynda Barrett-Mercer
Box Office Sam Stevens
Poster design Stephen Tickell
Programme Josh Packham
Dress Rehearsal photos  Geoff Martin


New here ?

BODS is a small society and we always welcome new members, whether you want to appear on stage or help backstage and front-of-house.. For those wishing to perform, the questions+answers below may be useful.  You can also find out more about our history, past productions and how to join us

Will I have to audition ?

Auditions are held after the initial introductory evenings so that a cast list can be finalized as quickly as possible - although we always try to accommodate anyone who can't make the introduction/audition evenings, and on occasion parts may be filled by invitation afterwards. 

For plays, the audition is usually combined with one or more open script readings, where all those interested are invited to take different parts in turn so the director can assess them. 

For musicals, those auditioning for principal roles are expected to sing a solo with accompaniment, (sometimes reading passages of dialogue as well) and you can be considered for more than one role if you wish. There is usually a 'chorus' of people singing together, which anyone is welcome to join without audition.

We appreciate there are often some who will be disappointed not to get the singing or speaking part they wanted, but feel that the process is as fair and open as we can make it, with no special preference given to long-standing members. In all cases the director has the final decision on casting as they are responsible for the artistic standard of the production

Do I have to read music ?

For a musical everyone in the cast will be provided with a vocal score to borrow or buy, so it certainly helps if you can follow this, particularly where there are harmonies such as SATB (Soprano Alto Tenor Bass). But not all shows involve harmonies and there are plenty of other ways to learn the music - often with popular works there are rehearsal tracks for each part readily available, or we can help with recording your own tracks

Where do you perform ?

Productions are nearly always at Betchworth Village Hall which can accommodate an audience of up to 100. In common with many other halls the dressing room facilities are quite limited - basically the back room - and the stage is not very deep. But we're able to store scenery and build an extension for most shows, it has proper curtains, and there's good provision for stage lighting. There's also comfortable seating and facilities for a bar to serve the audience, an important part of any show !

Where and when do you rehearse ?

Rehearsals usually start at least 3-4 months before performances, and are held once or twice a week. Normally they will be Tuesday evenings in the back room at Betchworth Village Hall and/or Wednesday evenings at Reigate Methodist Church. It's not expected that everyone will attend every rehearsal, but in the week of the show there will be at least a technical and a dress rehearsal which are the first opportunity for a full run on stage - so all cast are required. At the start of rehearsals the director distributes a schedule showing who is required on each date, taking into account availability, and in a musical there will be fewer rehearsals for the chorus than the principals

Do you have an orchestra ?

BODS hasn't had an orchestra for many years, with recent musical performances instead being accompanied by piano or keyboard, and occasionally one or two other musicians. This is quite adequate for the size of the hall and also allows more space for the audience

Will I have to wear make-up ?

Nearly all our productions involve at least some stage make-up, which makes features and expressions more visible to the audience at a distance and sometimes allows the actor to significantly alter their appearance. There will be make-up provided and someone backstage to help apply it if you wish

Can young people take part ?

Because of safeguarding regulations we can't have any performers under 18 at the time of the show. Apart from chaperoning requirements, there would have to be separate segregated dressing rooms which is impossible in the space available at the hall. There are other local groups such as Youth East Surrey Performing Arts who are specifically organized to accommodate children and young people


Next event

BODS is performing a one-act play Last Woman Working, at the Barn Theatre on 20 Feb. Book on ticketsource

Our next full production will be a play The Enchanted April to be directed by Jane Hogg and performed 15-18 May. Auditions will be 13th February, 7.45pm at Betchworth Village Hall - please contact us for more details