Little Theatre opens for TOADS’ socially distanced performance

A scene from Doubling at The Little Theatre, Torquay

A scene from Doubling at The Little Theatre, Torquay - Credit: Brenda Hutchings

There was no bubble, bubble toil or trouble at The Little Theatre, although, as if by magic, the theatre did suddenly come alive again.

It was lights, camera, action, but no toffee ice cream, for 50 lucky theatre members to watch Doubling, a very funny, theatre-themed play, which concerned the dilemma of trying to be in two places at once.

Doubling was written by local playwright, Eleanor Fossey, who was in the audience on Saturday, October 30.

Congratulations went to the cast, crew, front of house team and everyone involved in this paired back - due to Covid-19 restrictions - but exceptionally well-performed production.

Eleanor kindly waived any fees, which meant that all donations received in the bucket collection at the end of the show were added to the Toads Little Theatre fundraising mission.

In a time when all theatres are having a difficult time, a fantastic sum of £300 was raised and £50 of the total was donated to the local foodbank.

The cast of four - Di Davis, Jill Pettigrew, Maggie Campbell and Anna Reynolds - performed the play using script in hand and from memory.

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Although the cast were, like the audience, socially distanced, nothing detracted from the quality of the play or the set.

It was wonderful to be back in the theatre again and all credit must go to everyone involved for making the whole afternoon a safe, and exceptionally well organised experience.

Front of house manager Nichola Aldridge’s welcome speech was heartfelt and emotional. She said it all when she talked about how good it was to be back on the stage, and couldn’t wait for everything to be back to normal for everyone.

Unfortunately, that might take a while, as we all know. But, the response from the audience was one which showed how important theatre and all the creative arts are to everyone. It brings people together socially, lifts the spirits and does everyone a world of good.

For just a short while, watching the production unfold, Di, Jill, Maggie and Anna, (stage manager Gill Poore, aided by lighting technician, Paul Duffield), it was like normal times, before this virus turned our world upside down. It was great. We were all COVID-19 aware, but so happy to be there, and the time passed in a flash, or it could have been Maggie as she did some very quick costume changes. It made me wonder if she had a superwoman style telephone box hiding in the wings. (Has anyone seen one of those lately? I do miss them, especially when it’s raining…)

The stage was set very simply, but effectively, and somehow it made it so realistic, it felt like the stage was also an actor playing its part. Maybe it’s missed us too.

After the show, Anna thanked the audience. And then, each row in turn was safely escorted from the theatre; until, finally, once again, the theatre doors were closed. Until next time...

Thank you to Jon Manley, the TOADS committee and everyone involved, who made this event possible.