Wilmslow Guild Players FAQ

Q. Where do Wilmslow Guild Players perform their plays?

A. Wilmslow Guild Players productions are performed in the main hall of the Wilmslow Guild. The main hall is a large multi-purpose hall which is used by various groups and societies within the Wilmslow Guild. Our acting area is in the very centre of the hall (about 20ft x 20ft), with the audience on a number of sides around the stage - either on one side, on three sides or fully 'in-the-round'. We use 8ft high screens to create a division between the front stage and back stage areas. We feel that this way of operating offers a great deal of flexibility for staging plays in new and creative ways. The audience are very close to the action which leads to an intimate atmosphere of which we are very proud.

Q. How many plays do Wilmslow Guild Players perform each year?

A. We hold five theatrical events in the season:

Q. How many performance are there of each play?

A. For normal plays (October, March and July), we do three performances - on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. The Christmas pantomime has a longer run of five performances: Wednesday through to Saturday with a matinée on the Saturday afternoon. The Festival of One Act Plays is generally held on four nights (Wednesday through to Saturday), but this is dependent on the number of entries.

Q. How many members are there in Wilmslow Guild Players?

A. We have about 30 regular, paid up members, with around 50 other people who receive the newsletter and participate from time to time.

Q. What is the size of our audiences?

A. The absolute maximum that we can hold is 85. Reducing this number slightly allows us flexibility for a greater acting area and more elaborate sets.

Q. How often do we rehearse?

A. Rehearsals are generally held three times a week. Most often they are held on a Friday evening, a Sunday afternoon and another night during the week. This mid-week rehearsal is chosen based on rehearsal room availability in the Guild and with agreement with the cast.

Q. How long will a play be rehearsed for?

A. Usually 6-8 weeks.

Q. How is the cast chosen for Wilmslow Guild Players productions?

A. Open auditions are held well in advance of each production to allow the Play Selection and Casting Committee to choose the cast for the play. Auditions are publicised in advance in the newsletter. Auditions are usually held on an evening at Wilmslow Guild, and last about an hour. At the audition you will be invited to read a small excerpt from the script for any parts that you are interested in. The decision is subsequently made by the Play Selection and Casting Committee, and you will be contacted within a few days to inform you of the result. Note that Wilmslow Guild Players consider it very important that auditions are conducted as fairly as possible. Casting decisions are NOT made in advance of auditions, and everyone that wishes to audition for a part will be given fair and equal consideration.

Q. What happens in the run up to a production?

A. Until the week before the production, activities consist of rehearsals and one or two scenery building sessions. The weekend before a production is 'set up weekend'. This starts with the Friday rehearsal 'on set' - i.e. in the main hall with the screens erected and the basics of the set laid out. Saturday is the main set building day during which all the set is put up, the lights are rigged and all other tasks are performed to get the set ready for the following day. All members of the cast are encouraged (expected, even!) to come along on the Saturday - it's very much a case of 'many hands make light work', and offers an opportunity for members to get together outside of the formalities of a rehearsal. Sunday sees the technical and dress rehearsals. The technical rehearsal is to allow everyone to familiarise themselves with the set and for the lighting and sound crew to rehearse those all important effects and scene changes. The dress rehearsal, as with all dress rehearsals, is run as a full performance - no stopping, no talking backstage, no saying 'sorry' when lines are forgotten! Finally, there is usually another rehearsal mid-week before the first night. This may be a full dress rehearsal or simply a 'lines rehearsal' to keep the cast going.

Q. If I take a part in a production, what am I committing myself to?

A. We fully accept that no one can commit to being at every rehearsal. If you cannot make it to a rehearsal the director should be informed as early as possible. Naturally you cannot, under any circumstances, be unavailable for the dress rehearsal or any of the actual performances! Before you agree to take part in a production, please ensure that you are available for all production nights and on the Sunday of the dress rehearsal.

Q. Why do we have an adjudicator for our productions?

A. An adjudicator will attend one of the performances of a production in order to write a critique (or 'crit' for short). This serves two purposes. Firstly, the crit offers (hopefully!) some constructive criticism for the cast, crew and Players to take on board. It is not always totally obvious whether an aspect of a production has 'worked', and having an experienced and impartial eye cast over the show can be useful to allow us to learn from our mistakes. Secondly, the adjudicator is provided by the Cheshire Theatre Guild, and an adjudication means entry into their annual awards. This offers the opportunity to be nominated and/or receive awards for 'best production', 'best actor' etc

Q. What's the Festival of One Act Plays?

A. Our Festival of One Act Plays is a competitive festival for plays of a maximum duration of 45 minutes, and is open to any theatrical group in the area. We generally have about a dozen plays entered by various groups, be they adult, youth or junior organisations. The festival runs for three or four nights, and will see different plays performed on each night. The plays are adjudicated there and then by our guest adjudicator, and at the end of the festival he or she makes the following awards: The festival always offers a great variety of theatre and is well worth attending. We are very proud of our festival, which has been running for many years and is known to the drama groups in the area as 'The Friendly Festival'.

Q. How long have Wilmslow Guild Players existed?

A. Wilmslow Guild Players were formed at the same time as the Wilmslow Guild, back in 1926. Our first production was King John by William Shakespeare.

Q. What is the Wilmslow Guild anyway?

A. Wilmslow Guild is an independent adult education centre which was formed in 1926. Education at the Guild takes three forms:

Q. What other events do Wilmslow Guild Players hold?

A. In addition to our theatrical productions, we hold a number of different events such as:

Q. Why are members expected to help out in the wardrobe?

A. We have a huge wardrobe, with some pieces being as old as the Wilmslow Guild Players themselves! We open the wardrobe on a Wednesday night between 7.15pm and 9pm in order to make costumes available for hire to the public. The wardrobe is run by Grace Reed, but she cannot staff the wardrobe every Tuesday night without help. This is where our members come in: every member is expected to help out in the wardrobe on two Tuesdays through the season. Sounds hard? Well it's not - we have lots of customers and they simply need help and guidance in trying on and selecting costumes. That's all there is to it!

Q. How much does it cost to be a member of Wilmslow Guild Players?

A. £30 per year. This consists of £7 to join the Wilmslow Guild and £23 to join the Players. If you choose to join other groups or classes at the Guild, your £7 Guild membership fee is only payable once. Joining the Guild Players entitles you to take part in our productions and also to receive one free ticket for each production throughout the year.