In the third entry in our blog series, Dear Players, we find out from our very own Membership Officer, Julie Nye, what being a part of the Players means to her - especially when family is far away.
Julie joined us in 2018 after moving down from Oxford to seek her fortune in the capital. Yes, you could say she was type-cast when she landed the lead role in our festive panto Dick Whittington in 2019.
But it's no underestimation to say Julie brings a huge energy to the Players. Not only is she our official meeter-and-greeter as Membership Officer, she has also won 'most enthusiastic member' for the past two years at our annual awards! Going for the hat-trick, she's tells us what her adopted London family means to her.
"I moved to London from Oxford around six years ago to go to drama school, but then decided upon graduating that an acting career just wasn’t for me. My love of performing, however, has never left me. Then around three years ago, my work circumstances changed, giving me more free time and my housemate suggested I looked for local dramatics groups. And that's when I realised the Downsview Players was right there on my doorstep!
"They welcomed me with open arms (literally!) and gave me something I didn’t even know I was missing...yes, a chance to perform again and get involved backstage, but also real friends to laugh with, cry with, and turn to when I need support or advice."
"Within four months of joining, I was cast in my first role as Shirley Holmes in our murder mystery dinner, Murder at the Music Hall. It was the first time in years the Players had put on a dinner evening and everyone worked really hard to make it a huge success. Indeed, a whole new audience of murder mystery fans joined us from across London, dedicated to solving the next mystery!
"I’m now Membership Officer for the Players. New members are so important as they bring a wealth of talents as well as new audiences. I’m their first contact with the Players and welcome them on arrival. I'm also now a leader with the local Girls’ Brigade, who meet in Downsview Church every Friday.
“The members of the Brigades take part in our panto every other year, which is always such good fun and a professional quality show. Our most recent panto was Dick Whittington, and I was delighted to be cast as the lead. Acting, dancing and singing...who could ask for more?!
"The best part of the panto for me was having my little niece come to see me perform for the first time; it was so special!"
"I’ve joined numerous drama groups over the years (in Oxford and London), but to find a group of people you love like family and know they want you in their lives - with and without rehearsals or performances - is rare and very special indeed.
"The Downsview Players are a family we choose to be part of and a precious gift to its members, past and present. And while I've missed seeing them all in person each week, our weekly Zoom calls, quizzes and themed costume challenges have kept us all entertained! I can't wait to get back and know we'll all value our time together more than ever."
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Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Julie wins most enthusiastic member of the Downsview players for the second year in a row!; Julie backstage with the cast of A Bunch of Amateurs, 2019; Julie with the newly cast team for Murder at the Music Hall, 2018; Julie plays daughter of Hollywood star Jefferson Steel in A Bunch of Amateurs; the cast of A Bunch of Amateurs gets ready to present King Lear; Julie plays Dick Whittington in our bi-annual pantomime, 2019.
See more images in our gallery.