On 1st November 2009 I formed The Green Room Productions. Our first play was The Collector, based on the book by John Fowles and set in Lewes. It was a two-hander starring Tim Bond and Leah Mooney. Leah is still an integral, and founding, member of the company - these days you will find her in our tech box, lighting our productions.
My first task was to find us a venue. The (then) Headmaster of Willingdon Community School along with the drama teacher very kindly allowed us to use their school drama studio to perform and rehearse in. We cannot thank their staff enough for the support and generosity they gave us in those early days, which enabled the company to grow and flourish.
I certainly didn’t make it easy choosing a play that was quite complicated to stage! This was definitely the start of things to come and I think that every member of the company now will tell you that 10 years later nothing has changed - almost every play I choose has something challenging about it.
At the outset I was thrown in at the deep end without a life jacket and quickly had to learn so much: how to build a website, how to design posters and flyers, how to make a movie (in my infinite wisdom I thought it would be a good idea to start the play with a small film), how to mix sound FX, how to set a lighting plot, how to work a lighting board, how to show projections within a production … it just seemed to be one ‘how to’ after another, most of which I had never done before! It was a very different experience for me to just treading the boards.
We rehearsed The Collector through a cold dark winter, where once or twice we almost got snowed in! On the 21st of January 2010, GRP opened our theatrical doors for the first time. Happily, we managed to get an audience to come and watch our efforts and we received our first ever review, "Thank you for a unique evening, my wife and I cannot remember quite such an unusual and indeed rewarding event. The play and its actors were superb and the whole experience quite unforgettable”.
I can remember now, as if it were only yesterday, sitting in the Wheatsheaf Inn after our last performance, with a car full of set and props, snow on the ground outside and the 5 of us (that made up the company at that time) with some friends and family toasting the production and saying “Here's to many more productions to come”. Sitting around that table I could not possibly have envisaged the road I was going to travel, the good friends I was going to make, the amazingly talented actors and crew who have since joined our company and the amount of fun (and hard work, and grey hairs!) I was going to have along the way in creating the past 23 productions.
Ten years later and we are now in rehearsals for our 24th production! Join us at The Lamb Theatre, December 11th – 14th for some Christmas fun, in the madcap comedy ‘Breeders’ by Ben Ockrent.
Here is the movie we made for The Collector. It played shortly before the play started: