Feb 24 2011 By Joe McGuire
GLASWEGIAN reporter Joe McGuire decided to tread the boards with local amateur dramatics group Theatre Park Productions - and was blown away by the camaraderie in the camp.
FOR 2011 I've made it my goal to try out new experiences and see what Glasgow has to offer.
The city enjoys a rich cultural scene, our theatres always filled with big-budget performances from national companies.
But something I’d only recently discovered was the thriving amateur scene Glasgow boasts.
So when I was invited by a local drama group to join them on a weekend away, I jumped at the chance.
Theatre South Productions (TSP) is a south-side amateur drama club founded 19 years ago dedicated to putting on professional-standard shows whilst cherishing the social aspect of theatrical life.
With big name productions like Copacabana, Jesus Christ Superstar and even Broadway phenomenon Rent part of their 23-strong back-catalogue they doubtlessly aren’t afraid to tackle the most challenging of shows.
And as I was to discover over the course of the weekend away they most certainly have the social side of things covered.
When chatting to club spokesman Danny Sedgwick he explained to me how important the ethos of the club is.
He said: "We pride ourselves on being a bit different to other clubs out there.
"While others have presidents and committees, at TSP the cast call the shots.
"Important decisions like what show we’re going to do next or what charities we’re going to donate to are all made by popular vote.
"We joke we’re the communists of the amdram scene."
Twice every production the cast cloisters themselves away in some remote location to perfect their art, and, as I discovered, indulge in a spot of partying.
This show round it was a scout chalet in Auchengillan to put the finishing touches on The Wedding Singer, a hilarious stage reimagining of the 1998 Adam Sandler movie, that’s coming to Eastwood Park Theatre next month.
I can report that audiences are in for a real treat.
I watched for two days as the cast ran through a dazzling variety of dances, serenaded me with their superlative singing and had me bent over double with laughter at the on-stage high jinks.
And as one club member, Christopher Glasgow (watch for him onstage in a wedding dress playing the comically camp George) so eloquently put it: “When rehearsals finish for the day, thespians come out to play.”
As I’m typing this I’m still feeling a little fragile from the partying.
I’d been worried that I’d feel a bit of an outsider, but if anything I felt overwhelmed by the warmth of every club member I talked to, in increasingly slurred tones, as the night went on.
Vicki Greig, who in her first show with TSP is playing leading lady Julia Sullivan, put it best.
She said: “Joining TSP is like finding a whole branch of family you never knew you had.”
Overall my lasting impression of the weekend away was that of laughter.
Yes I have no doubt The Wedding Singer will be a delight for both the cast and the audience, but it struck me that TSP members aren’t just in it for the stage.
There was an overarching sense of camaraderie that permeated the whole weekend, a sense of mutual purpose and affection that embraced this reporter without reservation.
Where do I sign up?
The Wedding Singer is at Eastwood Park Theatre from Tuesday, March 15 to Saturday, March 19.
Tickets cost £10-£14 and can be booked by phoning 07511 343 971 or the box office on 577 4970 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit www.theatresouthproductions.co.uk for more information.