Now they are delighted to be one of the first companies to return – with their production of The Sound Of Music by Rodgers & Hammerstein. Performances will be at Sedlescombe Village Hall from Tuesday to Saturday, August 10-14.
Directing the show will be Tara Buchanan who believes people are more than ready to have a little bit of normality back in their lives.
“Jesus Christ Superstar was incredible. Two of them, my Jesus and Mary, have both gone on to get places, and I am trying to think back, and I don’t think we had any idea that this was all going to end up being as bad as it has been. It just came quite suddenly, didn’t it. But I think we have been very lucky. We were the last to close and I think we are one of the first to open again.
“We made the decision after Christmas that we were going to do this. People said ‘You must be mad!’, but I was just confident it was going to happen. I am quite an optimistic person. I also did microbiology as a degree and I am married to a doctor. We always said that it would just have to run its course and then we will just have to learn to live with it. Life is always full of risk, but I just thought that that would happen.
“The auditions were all done by video which was a new thing for me. We always get people we don’t know. We have got quite a good reputation and we generally get lots of people auditioning. And we managed to do it online and then we have been rehearsing. We formed an after-school club to rehearse the children, and that was one of the reasons we chose The Sound of Music. We wanted something very different to Jesus Christ Superstar.
“We started rehearsals in April, and it has been fine. It has been great. The children have been so keen to do it. I think kids have had such a rotten time with this. They are all local schoolchildren who have all missed out on things. And with the adults we started on Zoom and then we did it in groups of six socially distanced in the hall. We have only just started to pull it all together. I have been doing them like in little pockets, and it has been an odd one. Usually everyone gets such a unified feeling but actually there are people that haven’t met each other yet. But literally everyone can’t wait to get started.”
The production will go to full capacity: “We have sold out pretty much and we are having to put in a couple of extra rows – and we will open our dress rehearsal for charity, for Great Ormond Street. I always knew that there would be an audience for it, just talking to people and to friends and seeing how keen people are to come back to something and have a little bit of normality in their lives again.” And The Sound of Music feels like just the right thing to be giving them, Tara says: “It is iconic. Everyone knows the music. We were wanting to do something that people would know. The story is so good. The songs are so lovely. We want people to go home happy!”