Play Reading Plus
Group Leader - Jennie Radley
This group started in September 2015, so we've had a year to explore what we can do as a Group.
The idea behind the group is as its name suggests – to enjoy reading plays as a group, discussing the characters and events in the play, and how it could be staged. The “Plus” part of the group’s name would allow us to take our play reading a bit further – perhaps occasionally present a rehearsed reading of a play to a small audience – either fellow U3A members, or even to an outside audience – perhaps in a community centre, or a residential facility or similar. So far, we haven't done anything to justify the 'Plus, but we have read a variety of plays, from 'The Importance of Being Ernest' to a little-known family drama called 'Wolfsbane',and everyone enjoys the activity.
Initially,I expected that we would be able to read a different one-act play each meeting. But although there are plenty of one-act plays around, they tend to be fairly trivial, and so don't present much of a challenge to the readers. So we turned to longer plays, but then we are faced with the problem of 'continuity'. Meeting twice a month, I've aimed at reading the longer plays over two meetings, but often at the second meeting, some of the people who attended and read the first half of the play, are unable to attend the second meeting - and some present at the second meeting weren't at the first, so need to be put in the picture before we can proceed!
From the start,members were very interested in the possibility of a Theatre Festival for Older People, which had been publicised at the time we were starting, and a group attended several events at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. They found some of the activities challenging, but after the events, most admitted to having enjoyed, and gained confidence from, their experiences. So far, I've heard nothing further about an actual Festival, but will be pursuing the idea.
When the Group started, I was concerned about the cost of royalties on plays, and tried to use plays out of copyright. But I've since learned that WU3A is licenced to use certain literature materials for educational purposes, so as long as we are only studying the plays, and not presenting them in public. This has been a relief, and certainly made things easier!
The Group will have our first meeting of 2016/17 on Wednesday 14th September at 1.30 pm in the lounge at Bold St. Methodist Church (2nd. Floor). Thereafter, we will meet at the same time and venue on the second and fourth Wednesday of most calendar months.
If you are interested in joining this Group, please contact me via WU3A website, (See link at the top right-hand side of this page) or at the Registration Meeting on Weds. 2nd September at the Winmarleigh Rooms.