Cranbrook Operatic and Dramatic Society

Newsletter April 2002




The Annual General Meeting took place on 27th March when proceedings were somewhat subdued following the sad news about Nick Clarke.


The following were elected as Officers and Committee for the coming year:

President:  Doreen Beardsmore                             

Chairman: Lesley Whitwood

Vice Chairman: Sue Wightman

Secretary: Dennis Russell

Treasurer:  Alison Parsons

Show Selection Chairman: Robin Harrison

Business Manager: Maurice Wilkins

Social Secretary: Marian Cumberland     

Committee Members:

Sheila Kent

Bill Marshall

Chris Welfare

Nicola Wookey

The Current Director of a show would be co-opted.


Thanks to Gerald Mann and Barbara Gray who decided not to stand for committee again this year.          


Contributions for the next newsletter to the editor Tina Gallagher by 1 June 2002 (01580 211989), 3 Beech Drive Bedgebury Park, Goudhurst, Kent, TN17 2SJ; e-mail




A thrilling play by Charlotte Hastings

11-13 April -7.30pm

Queens Hall Theatre

Directed by Peggy Latter

Sponsored by Peter Jones & ABC Consultants


Tickets £5 from Phillips Mans Shop



Some Enchanted Evening

This proved to be a most successful charity concert and although not all the bills have yet been received it is hoped that we will be able to donate a sum in the region of £800 to Demelza House, the Children’s Hospice.  It may prove possible to present a cheque to their representative during the interval of one performance of Bonaventure.


 Dennis Russell, the Director, agreed to take up the challenge very late in the year and had only five weeks from first rehearsal to first performance and he wishes to use this Newsletter to thank the cast for a near 100% attendance record at rehearsals and for the concentration displayed to enable the curtain to go up on schedule.


Priscilla Titford (NODA representative) attended a performance and her crit for the NODA magazine follows:


“I was delighted to accept the invitation to attend this charity concert of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs and wondered if there would be any I didn’t know… and there were! Some Enchanted Evening is a ‘ready made’ compilation which I understand is written for 5 principals, whereas CODS adapted it to include a chorus and to share a number of songs around the company.


With about 50 songs from at least 7 shows, I can’t possibly mention everyone who took part.  The 5 ‘Principals’ were Robin Harrison, Keith Hedley, Rhiannon Johnson, Alison Withey -Harrison and Sue Wightman.  The opening sequence must have been particularly difficult to learn, with snippets of so many familiar tunes strung together; it was tackled with confidence.  Early on we had an opportunity to hear the first unknown song ‘The Gentleman is a Dope’, very effectively sung by Alison.  The Company then joined in with ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ and Rhiannon sang ‘ A Wonderful Guy’ making the most of her lyric soprano voice.  Then we saw some new faces with Lesley Whitwood singing ‘Something Wonderful’, a lovely comedy interpretation of ‘I Can’s Say No’by Joan Eade, ‘I Enjoy being a Girl’ performed by Stephanie Beeken and Jo Levett and a lovely unfamiliar song ‘In My Own Little Corner’ beautifully sung by Isla Campbell.


Act 2 saw the ‘Don’t Marry Me’ sequence particularly well portrayed by Sue and Keith.  Roger Marchant and Alan Hodge made ‘A Puzzlement’ a very effective duet, Laura Carey gave us a sweet ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ and Mark Whitwood sang ‘Younger than Springtime’ extremely well.  Robin Harrison had a huge amount o do but the highlight for me was the Soliloquy from Carousel; not only was it sung with consummate ease – out of character and costume- but jumping through many cuts from the original must have been very testing.  The final arrangement of ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ was very effective and worked brilliantly with the company giving their all!


Stephen Pusey as MD and pianist, very ably assisted by Bethan Jones, certainly worked tirelessly throughout the evening.  The prescribed arrangements did not exactly support the singers on a number of occasions.  And I wondered if input from some drums might have helped give many items a bit more ‘umph’?


I did feel a little more co-ordination of ‘costumes – even for a concert – would have benefitted the overall effect.  It would have been nice to know where some of the less well-known songs originated, perhaps by the occasional introduction?


CODS have a number of very good singers who obviously enjoyed themselves giving us such an entertaining evening.  What was particularly encouraging was the number of young voices who, with a little coaching have great potential.  Nurture the next generation CODS!”







We welcome the following to the Society:

Patron: Mr Robin Inches; Member: Mrs Sally Gook; Junior Members: Miss Annell Jackson, Miss Katy Kember and wish them many happy years with the Society.



Many congratulations to Mr and Mrs Wightman (Sue’s parents) on their Golden Wedding anniversary in February (apologies for omitting these greetings from the last newsletter – ed.)


OBITUARY – Betty Swann

We were sad to hear of the death of Betty Swann who was a patron for many years and was a faithful supporter of all our shows until ill health prevented her from coming.  We send our condolences to Brian and all the family.



Congratulations to our own Quiz Team who finished 9th out of 50 in the Mayor’s quiz evening in Tunbridge Wells.



We would like to record our thanks to Ian Wookey for the donation of a long, strong work bench complete with vice which has been installed at Flishinghurst.





Concert at Batemans

19th May


CODS are staging 3 half hour slots at this event – set in the Edwardian Period.  Cast and rehearsals are organised but if you would like to be involved contact Lesley Whitwood (01580 892005).







If you have ever dreamt of performing on a West End Stage, then the Creative Masterclass Company can offer you the ultimate, unforgettable experience.  There are Masterclass courses available for Cats and Les Miserables.   They are three and a half day non residential courses and the cost is £264.37 for Cats  or £252.62 for Les Miserables.  Interested??  Dennis Russell has application forms please contact him on 01580 712283.









Please support drama and music in your area



3-6 April

OLIVER  - Rye Players Tel. 01797 222453


4-6 April

SHOWCASE –Yew Tree Theatre School Te. 01622 873358


18-20 April

LOVE  BEGINS AT FIFTY   -Frant Panto & Dramatic Soc. Tel. 01892 515253


23-27 April

GUYS & DOLLS TWAODS – Assembly Halls   - Tunbridge Wells- (Robin Harrison is playing Sky- please support him!)


25-27 April

STEEL MAGNOLIASTODSTenterden Town Hall  - tickets from Travelux (Tina Gallagher is playing Clairee – please support her!)


27 April – 4 May

THE DRESSER  - Tonbridge Oast – Tel. 01892 723459


4 May

MR DICKENS IS COMING! – The great great grandson of Charles Dickens takes an entertaining and sometimes irreverent look at his life and times. – Goudhurst Village Hall  - Tickets £10 – Including Supper – Tel. 01580 212179 or 211295.


9 – 11 May

BEYOND  A JOKE – Paddock Wood Magpies – Tel. 01892 835715


MOVE OVER MRS MARKHAMStaplecross A T Soc. – Tel 01580 830562


16 – 18 May

‘FARNDALE MURDER MYSTERY’ – Ashford Dream Dragons – Tel. 01233 629921


18 May

GENUINE GEORGIAN – A comedy by Sally George – Tenterden Town Hall


18 – 25 May

RELATIVELY SPEAKING – Tonbridge Oast – Tel. 01892 723459


22 – 25 May

ME AND  MY GIRL  - Kentainers – Tel. 01435 873650


23-25th May

THE ODD COUPLE (FEMALE VERSION)- Wadhurst Drama Club – Tel: 01892 782057 – Directed  by  none other  than our own Bill Marshall


31 May and 1 June

TWO AND TWO MAKE SIX  ( a  farce)- Stonegate A D C – the first production of this newly formed club!


1 June

CELEBRATION REVUE  - Egerton Players – Tel. 01233 840607


16 June

CONCERT BY INVICTA SINGERS – Teston Church – Tel. 01233 633157


27 –29 June

‘FARNDALE’ CHRISTMAS CAROL – Horsmonden Players – Tel. 01892 722626


30 June – 5 July

LONDON ASSURANCE  - Tonbridge Oast – Tel. 01892 723459


20 – 27 July

DEAD GUILTY – Tonbridge Oast – Tel. 01892 723459




It is with the deepest sorrow that I have to write of the sudden and unexpected death of a very dear friend.  Nicky Clarke was taken to hospital on Monday 25th March.  He had suffered a brain haemorrhage, lapsed into a coma on Wednesday and died without regaining consciousness on Saturday March 30th.


I first knew Nicky as a Cranbrook School teenager when the Clarke family moved here in the 1950’s.  The whole family, keen amateur actors, became actively involved with the C.O.D.S as soon as they arrived.  On leaving school Nicky went on to the Rose Bruford Drama School, later becoming a professional actor with the Library Theatre Manchester.  On his return to this area he joined again with all the C.O.D.S activities.


To say that the C.O.D.S will miss him greatly is a gross understatement.  Nicky with his artistic “professional” approach covered so many aspects of the drama scene.  He was an excellent actor as well as a talented director, he designed sets, made intricate model sets, turning his hand, when working at Flishinghurst, to set building and scenery painting.


Some of you may remember the C.O.D.S exhibition in the Cranbrook Library a few years ago called ‘Faces in the Wings’, all Nicky’s work and ideas.  As our archivist he arranged and mounted displays of C.O.D.S past activities on various occasions to the delight and interest of many members and friends.  He supported every show as a front of house usher, as well as turning up every time to the ‘Scrubbers’ Barbecues to do his bit in scrubbing flats for the next show.


I know he was delighted to be made Vice President last year.


Since his retirement a few years ago he was just beginning to enjoy his leisure time, catching up with reading, making regular visits to the theatre, art galleries and historic houses, all activities in which he was greatly interested.  How sad that he had such a short time in which to enjoy them.


Nicky’s wit, humour, bonhomie will be missed by so many people who came to know him.  Speaking personally I shall always be glad I knew him and enjoyed his company over so many years.


Our sympathies go to his brother Tim, sister Jenny and all his family at this very sad time.                                                                                     Doreen Beardsmore












30th October – 2nd November 2002


Director – Sue Wightman

Assistant Director – Peggy Latter

Musical Director – Bryan Gipps

Choreographer – Rachel Elliott


A show for the WHOLE FAMILY and we need the WHOLE FAMILY


We are looking for singers, dancers and actors from BABIES to GRANDPARENTS to create  real families on stage!


Sing Through                    Monday 20 May at Queens Hall 7.30 pm


                 Help Night                        Thursday 23 May at Angley


                 AUDITIONS                     SUNDAY 26 MAY AT ANGLEY


For further information please contact:

Sue (01580) 715483

Or Peggy (01622) 871636



Saturday 11th May 9.30 am


Everybody welcome!

Many hands make light (and enjoyable) work




The after show dinner for ‘Bonaventurewill be on Sunday 21st April The Chequers Tree in Goudhurst 7.00 for 7.30 pm - £11 (including tip!). To book contact Marian on 01580 715580 but hurry there are only a limited number of places!!



My One and Only


Marian has organised a trip to see this acclaimed show in the West End on Saturday 11th May leaving Cranbrook at 5pm SHARP.

Cost for ticket and transport £34 – contact Marian (715580).


The Kent Drama Association (KDA)

This has been re-formed and a completely new committee voted into office.  The CODS committee has agreed that we should become members of the new Association.


The KDA wish to organise 2 workshops before the end of July in areas of Kent suitable to the take up.


1.      The first is on PUBLICITY



Each will be conducted by qualified professionals in their particular skills.




The new KDA will be re-starting the full length play festival in 2003 under a new format: