The 1980s

An Actor’s Tale: 5 Decades of Saddleworth Players at the Millgate

Part 2 : 1980s in a series of memories from John Tanner

In the 80s I was involved in 15 plays (a record for me as I usually only do one play a season). If Poppy is reading this she will probably realise this may have coincided with Jennie being born in 1977 and David in 1980! Well it is a self indulgent hobby!

1980 ‘The Relapse’

What a play to be in – directed by Phyllis Noke with a cast of 25!! It was nicknamed ‘The Collapse’ as the original director dropped out!!

Everybody was in it ( John Gillespie as Lord Foppington)  – Wigs everywhere ( my hair was long anyway but I still wore one) costumes to die for, a crit that headlined ‘Comic Performances of Sheer Delight’.

1980Passion Play’ performed on tour at various churches

1981 ‘Say Goodnight to Grandma’ Very funnywith a group of us enjoying the contentsof a realbarrel of beer on set every night – directed by the much missed Terry Biltcliffe.  

1982 ‘Abigail’s Party’ I loved this playdirected by Patricia Redshaw who brought such originalityto how we should perform and a set by John Cook (one the best I have been on). NB all the rehearsals were performed in the bar up until the dress rehearsal.

Elizabeth Beech’s role as ‘Beverley’ was priceless.

1982 Abigail’s Party Elizabeth Beech, Eileen Godfrey, Margaret Thompson

1982 ‘Mid Summer Nights Dream’

Midsummer Night’s Dream 1982 John Hopwood, Ken Wright, Paul Bradbury, John Kenworthy

1982/83? ‘Bedroom Farce’ An Alan Ayckbourn special with memorable visions of 3 beds occupied by Miliicent Mallalieu and Des Flanagan, John and Tricia Kenworthy, and Pat Leigh and Ian Perks.

Sue Moore and I adding to the mayhem.

Directed by the wonderfully talented (and strict) Gwyneth Jones.

A Bedroom Farce : Ian Perks, John Tanner Sue Moore, Pat Leigh

1984 ‘Outside Edge’ worth doing again. (Remember John Hopwood? – very funny retired policeman)

1984 ‘Hay Fever’ an Am Dram favourite which we must have performed as a society at least 3 times.

1985 ‘The Two of Us’ by Michael Frayn ( chinamen). A two hander with me and Eileen Southard (plus a very young Kate) on tour for the Manchester Drama Festival of short plays – I played the part again some time later with Sue Moore.

Well worth revisiting.

1986 ‘if You should see us Now’ No comment!

1987 ‘The Rivals’ Now we are talking – Tricia Kenworthy as Mrs Malaprop (priceless) John Gillespie’s wig! And introducing our very own Duncan Ross as my manservant ‘Fag’ (see photo).

The Rivals 1987: Duncan Ross & John Tanner

1987/1988? ‘Importance of being Earnest’

1987 ‘Death Trap’ directed expertly by Muriel Greenhalgh; I am normally associated with comedies but I enjoy nothing more than scaring the audience every night!

I look forward to seeing us put the play on again when the time is right.

1989 ‘Deep Blue Sea’ Who wouldn’t want to play opposite June Holmes as her lover!

Directed again by Gwyneth Jones I seem to remember Anne Wright being outrageous as the maid/housekeeper! Happy days. And another clever set by Raad Hamdani.

John Tanner in Deep Blue Sea 1987
June Holmes in Deep Blue Sea 1987

Apart from 2 plays in the 70s at Shaw I have always only played for Saddleworth Players; maybe out of loyalty, or maybe that I feel totally comfortable with the audience I know.

No mention of forgotten lines but then I haven’t done the 90s yet!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *