Whilst usually we hear about pantomimes around Christmas, an amateur dramatics group in Horsham performed their rendition of Treasure Island in February this year. The ‘Trinity Church Players’ worked tirelessly so that their performances on the 16th and 17th of February could be as entertaining and vibrant as in past pantomimes they have produced. With four directors giving different perspectives, and a group of writers named ‘The Brothers Dimm’, they revamped this classic tale for the amusement of people of all ages.

One of the group leaders, Jane O'Sullivan has been a member for around forty years.  She helps source and make the costumes.  She oversees the production and said the thing she enjoys the most is ‘seeing everyone have such a good time and being kind to each other’. Regarding costumes, much is reused, or found at jumble sales, to get the most value out of the budget. This is especially important as none of the money collected from ticket sales goes towards running the productions, but instead, is split between a charity (this year’s was the Cirdan Sailing Trust, fitting of Treasure Island’s theme) and the Holy Trinity Church where they host the productions. By giving to smaller local charities, one of ‘The Brothers Dimm’ said, ‘you can see the impact’. The group has raised over £35000 in the last ten years alone.

What’s being in an amateur dramatics group really like though? John Bartlett, who played multiple roles in this year’s production – Mad Mythering, Sailor, Pirate and Kraken – came to the group after doing improv comedy. He shared how much these amateur dramatics groups can improve confidence and help with anxiety, even giving an example of attempting a tough mudder and using his acting skills to overcome a ladder obstacle by imagining he was a sloth. Others within the group mentioned how much of a sense of community and teamwork there is, which is vital when the shows they perform have many actions and songs.

In addition to acting, writing and directing, there are other roles within the production to ensure everything runs smoothly. One such role is controlling the sound effects and music, which John Mildred did this year, and he discussed the challenges of such a task, saying that with only a script and cues, if there were ad libs or lines missed, he had to adapt to this quickly, especially in a production with so many splash sound effects!

One of the best aspects of the group is that there are no auditions or membership fees; open membership in Trinity Church Players (to anyone aged fifteen years and over) means that there is a friendly atmosphere and feeling of unity throughout the process of creating and performing these productions. Everyone contributes whilst having fun and this is clear when watching the end production.