Players show their talents in a twin-town celebration

Performers from Dronfield Players who will be appearing in Up and Running at Dronfield Civic Hall
Performers from Dronfield Players who will be appearing in Up and Running at Dronfield Civic Hall

Wedding photographer John Pashley is a busy man, working hard to capture the big day in a couple’s life and playing a big role in the activites of a town’s drama group.

Between wedding shoots next month, he will be directing and acting in Dronfield Players’ latest show then driving his car and trailer, laden with the show’s scenery, to Germany.

John will lead a convoy of cars transporting fellow members on a 500-mile journey to Sindelfingen, where celebrations will mark the 40th anniversary of the town’s twinning with Dronfield.

“The players put on a show in Sindelfingen every three or four years and I have taken my car and trailer on every visit,” said John, who is chairman of Dronfield Players and on the town twinning committee.

Dronfield Players first started taking their shows to Germany 20 years ago at the suggestion of member Bernie Charlesworth, who chairs the town-twinning committee.

Although the logistics of transporting around a dozen performers and backstage crew and scenery via road, ferry and air is hard work, there’s plenty of fun to be had once the players reach their destination.

“In 1996, we were trying to do Shakespeare in the middle of a street festival where we had an oompah band on one side and a jazz band on the other,” said John.

“Comedy plays are always popular because they feature a lot of visual actions which help to deal with the language barrier,” he said.

“If you were to do a heavy drama by a nondescript playwright, they would be struggling to deal with it.”

Bridgette Rouse (47), an IT trainer, is looking forward to her third visit to Germany, where she will be playing the role of Jenny in this year’s production Up and Running. She said: “If we hadn’t been going to Sindelfingen, I wouldn’t be doing this play. The Germans really get the British sense of humour and you seem to get more applause over there.”

Paul Black (60), who plays the lead role in the show, and was part of the contingent on the first trip 20 years ago, said: “The thing that really struck me at the end of the performance was that they never stopped clapping.

“I am looking forward to going back and seeing some of the German folk I met, particularly some of the people I stayed with.”

Daniel Roberts (41), who is making his second successive trip to Sindelfingen, said: “I was impressed with how friendly and welcoming it all was. Dronfield Players have obviously got a lot of friends over there.”

Chairman John, who lives in Barlow, praised the welcome the players always receive from their German hosts. He said: “The hospitality is excellent. The council gives us the theatre for nothing as well as the ticket money.”

l The players will be performing Up and Running at Dronfield Civic Centre from April 5-8. Tickets cost £6 and £5; to book, call (01246) 417850.