This week we’ve saved #meetusmonday for #TheatreThursday and are introducing you to our member of the week! Andrew Reed is a regular on the Horsehay stage as well as being well known on the Shropshire AmDram circuit. Here Andy talks about becoming involved with AmDram and the types of roles he likes to play…
What made you become involved in AmDram and why did you join HADS?
At the age of 11, shortly after starting secondary school, my music teacher asked me to sing ‘Where is Love’ from the musical Oliver in a concert. On the evening of the show, I was pacing up and down backstage when I slipped on the top step of a flight of 6 stone steps and stumbled to the bottom landing on my head. I walked out into the spot light with my left eye swelling up and feeling really shaky. The show must go on so I looked at my music teacher, seated at the piano, he nodded and I sang my song. After the short performance, I distinctly remember the applause and an elderly lady in the from row who was in tears. I was hooked.
About 40 years later at Church Aston, my Scout Master character Stuart Stokes, in the play Gosforth’s Fete, was piggy-backed off stage in a drunken stuper by Gosforth himself. As I alighted backstage, I fell 3 feet off the back of the temporary stage onto a concrete floor. As I lay there in a daze, I thought about that 11 year old lad from the school concert and smiled.
In 1994, I played the part of a beggar in Jesus Christ Superstar. I had to sing a couple of lines in Act 2 and remember how nerve racking it was, waiting all that time to deliver those two lines. Why do we do it? For me, it is the enjoyment of rehearsing, the discipline, the sense of achievement, the unsure outcome of particular scenes during the run of the show and the team spirit of my fellow players.
I was invited up to HADS in 2001 by former member, Paul Sykes, to read for the play ‘When We Are Married’. I ended up on stage with such characters as the late Margaret Stephan. I have always enjoyed my times at HADS.
What is your favourite HADS play that you have been in or directed?
I enjoyed being in Fur Coat and No Knickers. I can’t remember exactly why but I do recall ending up on stage beside Stephen Davies with both of us clad only in our boxer shorts and white vests.
Who is your favourite character that you’ve played at HADS?
I always like the most recent shows because I can remember them best. So, I guess my favourite part at HADS has to be Col. Kurt von Strohm from Allo Allo … and that viglet.
My favourite character that I’ve played outside HADS is undoubtedly Fagin from Oliver, a part that I felt I was born to play. I enjoyed it so much at the Belfrey Theatre in 2002 that I returned to the role (and the very same wig which I found abandoned in a drawer at the back of the dressing room) 13 years later in 2015 at Donnington Little Theatre.
What’s your favourite non-acting activity that you like to do at HADS?
Eating the Horticultural Society’s ginger snap biscuits in the communal kitchen.
Which character(s) from any tv/film or stage play would you most like to play?
Parts that I would love to play are the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (all free today), the Master Of Ceremonies from Cabaret, Thénardier (the Inn Keeper) from Les Misérables and either King Herod or Pontius Pilate from Jesus Christ Superstar.