November 9, 2023

Director Debbie joins farce cast

Our theatre director Debbie Thompson is stepping in to tread the boards for the first time in 13 years to plug an 11th hour cast vacancy.

The former professional actor, will be seen on stage in an amateur production of the Alan Ayckbourn farce Season’s Greetings.

She has had just a few days to learn the part after a local actress had to pull out because a recovery from an operation is taking longer than anticipated.

But Debbie should have no problem gelling with the show director, who is her daughter Katie, making her professional directing debut with the Little Theatre Players’ production.

Debbie said: “It’s quite a small part but we needed to find somebody Katie already had a working rapport with – so it was the right thing to do.

“I love the play and one of my favourite roles from my 10 years as a professional actor was another character in the cast – Rachel, a lonely and bookish spinster – who I played for six weeks during a repertory season at Oldham Coliseum back in 1993.

”Then I had four weeks of rehearsals and a six-week run so I know the play well,” she added.

This time she will play highly-strung, tipsy and accident-prone Phyllis.

Debbie said: “The key thing is learning lines, which I do by sitting in a room and learning one line at a time – covering it and saying it, over and over again. And one of the reasons I volunteered was because Katie and I can work on it at home.”

Debbie is able to slot the role into her day job in a relative lull before the theatre begins rehearsals for its Cinderella panto.

It is the first time Debbie has been on stage acting since 2010 when she again slotted into an emergency vacancy after an actress had to return home to care for a sick child. The she played a bored housewife Pauline Cain in Willy Russell’s One For The Road, and had a whole two weeks to rehearse. That time the director was her husband Simon!

“I am really enjoying rehearsing with the cast who are lovely – but the director has already given me a bit of feedback about over-acting!”

Katie added: “One thing drama school doesn’t teach you is how to work with your mum! But, in all seriousness, it is a lovely thing for us to be able to share. Mum is the reason I grew up surrounded by theatre and she has always supported me in following it as a career, so I’m excited to now be able to support her in this role.”

Season’s Greetings, which is a fundraiser for the theatre, runs from November 16-18, 7.30pm nightly and a 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Tickets £15 by clicking HERE or calling the box office 01263 822347.

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