Our Players may be apart for now but - in a new series of blogs - they're sending each other messages of support, sharing memories and generally keeping doing what they do best: inspiring each other to get involved in as much nonsense, creativity and planning of shenanigans as possible. Read on for a glimpse into the creative and sparkly world of the Downsview Players.
First up is our Secretary and, to be honest, anchor! Michele Charles. A member for 24 years, she sets us off on the theme of friendship.
"I never could have imagined what an impact joining the Downsview Players would have on my life. Yet here I am, 24 years later, still a member, the group’s secretary, married to one of the actors and with a wonderful network of friends.
"I remember my first night vividly. Walking through the doors and meeting the loudest, posh talking, swearing individual I had ever met! Anne Bassi turned out to be the kindest most giving person who is now my best friend. We have been through some tough times together and she is always there for me and she is also still at drama.
"She had a flat mate I met a few weeks later and I definitely remember Simon Charles as I instantly liked him and, after a few years, he became my husband and nearly 19 years later we are still very happily married.
"Being part of the Downsview Players is like having another family to me and the group has opened up so many new experiences and created long-lasting friendships that I really treasure."
"During my time with the Players, I’ve acted in many shows and pantos (Alice in Wonderland, backstage, pictured below), I’ve been responsible for props, painting scenery and sourcing costumes, and I wrote my own play, The Big Audition, for the Players' 75th anniversary in 2006 which I directed.
"Through the Players, I am also now involved in other groups at Downsview Church (which is where we rehearse) such as the Boys’ Brigade, Girls’ Brigade, luncheon club and Parchmore food bank.
"I love being part of something that I give to and get so much more back."
Find out more about becoming a member of the Downsview Players when we re-open (date TBC!).
Pictured top to bottom, left to right, Michele has starred in many plays and pantos with the Players: Garlic, the rat, in Dick Whittington (2019); Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz (2017); Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (2015); Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's A Murder is Announced (2000); Aladdin in Aladdin (2001); Mrs Fairfax in Jane Eyre - pictured with Anne Bassi (1997); Stage manager during A View from the Bridge (2016).
See more images in our gallery.