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Godalming Theatre Group - Join the club

PUBLISHED: 12:21 02 November 2011 | UPDATED: 16:30 20 February 2013

Every month, we introduce you to a different club or group in Surrey, and this time it's the turn of Godalming Theatre Group as they look forward to performing The Wizard of Oz. Here, we put director Mary Gallacher under the spotlight

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2009


Every month, we introduce you to a different club or group in Surrey, and this time its the turn of Godalming Theatre Group as they look forward to performing The Wizard of Oz. Here, we put director Mary Gallacher under the spotlight


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When was the club set up?
The late Desmond Holt founded the Youth Centre Theatre Group in 1964. The productions became grander and the youth got older, and so eventually the group was renamed Godalming Theatre Group (GTG). Nowadays, GTG is known for producing some of the finest community theatre in Surrey.


How often do you meet?
GTG performs three shows a year: a Christmas pantomime or musical, a spring musical and an autumn play. In the run-up to these shows, we usually start rehearsals three months before curtain-up and rehearse two weeknights, and then when opening night is looming, we rehearse on Sunday afternoons as well.


What is the best thing about being a member of the club?
The best thing about being a member of GTG is that it doesnt matter if you suffer from the worst stage fright, there is always something to do on and off the stage. It also helps build confidence, and you make some great lifelong friends from it.


How many members do you have?
Godalming Theatre Group has around 150 members, who tread the boards, build scenery, run the lights, do the sound, run the box office and serve ice creams.


Do you find being surrounded by like-minded individuals inspiring?
Being surrounded by like-minded individuals can be inspiring as I always say, two heads are better than one! When you join the group, you automatically know that you have something in common with the other members.


Do you have links with other clubs?
Community theatre is constantly getting bigger and better, so many members of GTG are also members of other local groups including Ghosts, Curtain Raisers and the Guildburys to name but a few. We all help each other out if ever someone needs a certain costume or an extra pair of hands!


What is the most interesting story in the clubs history?
Ben Elton is GTGs honorary president. He was a keen member of the group when he was younger and he is most remembered as playing the Artful Dodger with GTG in 1974.


and the funniest?
Its very hard to say because we strive to put on shows to a professional standard, so what is funny to the cast and people backstage would never be seen by the audiences. However, these are a couple of my favourites! In Hobsons Choice, one of our members, who was playing the lovable Willie Mossop, went to sit down, missed the chair and landed with a huge thud on the stage! Also, a young lady in Jesus Christ Superstar wearing a spangly bikini got completely caught up with another actor, so they had to leave the stage to get untangled! In fact, there are too many to mention!


When is your next event that is open to the public or potential new members?
Our next event is The Wizard of Oz which is on just after the New Year from January 2 to 9. We are doing 11 performances and tickets start from 11, so what are you waiting for! You can buy tickets by visiting our website www.gtguk.com, where you will find all the details you need. The website will also give you information if you would like to get involved with us on or off the stage.


Describe your club in five words:
Fun, professional, friendly, welcoming and community!

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