To be or not to be...
and other frequently asked questions
Have a question for us? Well, we have answers for you! Simply browse our commonly asked questions and find out more about the Dulwich Players inner workings.
And if this does not do the trick, you can get in touch with us from our Contact Us page.
1. How long have the Dulwich Players been established and how many members do you have?
The Society has been going for 50 years and was formed by the amalgamation of two groups local to Dulwich. Our membership numbers fluctuate but are usually around the 90 to 100 mark.
3. Where are your productions performed?
For our main productions, we usually hire the Edward Alleyn Theatre at Dulwich College, a fully-equipped studio theatre with an audience capacity of around 130. We have also staged open-air performances in various Dulwich locations – Dulwich Picture Gallery gardens, Dulwich Park and Bell House gardens. Other venues used in the past include St Barnabas Parish Hall in Dulwich Village, The Michael Croft Theatre at Alleyn’s School or other smaller venues.
4. How many productions do you have each year?
The Dulwich Players usually stage three main productions per year. This may include an outdoor production (often a Shakespeare play) or a Christmas pantomime, though some years have four main productions or additional smaller events. We are sometimes asked to stage more informal entertainments for other local groups. For information on our recent productions, click here.
6. Where do you meet?
We don’t have our own premises, but members get together at social events (play readings, theatre outings, etc.), committee meetings, casting auditions and, of course, during productions. We produce a quarterly newsletter and members are kept regularly informed of events and opportunities via email.
7. Do you welcome new members and do I have to have experience?
We are a very friendly group and always welcome new members. You certainly don’t need to have any past or recent experience in theatre, but we hope you will bring enthusiasm, commitment and a willingness to participate in all aspects of a production.
8. Will I have to act?
While the majority of our members want to act at some point, we are always short of people with practical, technical or organisational skills, who are just as much part of a production. Every play we put on requires set-builders, lighting and sound operators, production managers, backstage crew and front-of-house teams, in addition to the director and actors. You certainly don’t have to act.
9. I only want to act, is that OK?
You may be lucky enough to be cast as soon as you join and or even in several productions in a row. But we do expect our members to lend a hand in other roles, as and when they can. You may have a leading role in one production and then take on stage management or lighting in the next. We encourage members to try their hand at all aspects of production, and will provide mentoring or guidance where needed.
10. How do you do your casting (including in terms of diversity)?
Auditions are open to all members and also to recent enquirers, though everyone involved in a production must be a fully paid-up member of the Society. You are not expected to have prepared audition pieces and will be able to try out for various parts as appropriate. The director will choose his/her cast based on suitability for the role, so new members have as much chance as established members.
11. Where do you rehearse and for how long?
We have several rehearsal venues around Dulwich. At present we use two halls in East Dulwich Grove. The rehearsal period is usually around 12 weeks leading up to production week and involves two nights a week plus a couple of Saturdays. The cast are expected to be available for all or most of the rehearsal period, but may not be required for every rehearsal. Everyone involved must be free for the whole of production week, from get-in to the theatre on the Sunday to get-out the following Sunday.
13. How many performances do you do per production?
This is at the director’s discretion but productions in the theatre usually have four performances (Wednesday to Saturday) and some have a Saturday matinee as well. Open-air productions may have more performances, including Saturday and Sunday matinees.
14. What technical resources do you have?
We use the theatre’s resources when we can, but have our own lighting and sound equipment for staging plays in other venues. We also have a store of stage scenery and props. Most of our productions are costumed in full or in part from our own extensive wardrobe.
15. Do you run workshops?
Yes, we do run workshops from time to time, delivered either by our own members or an outside tutor. Through our involvement in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Open Stages” initiative, a number of our members have participated in RSC workshops and weekends covering acting, directing, designing, etc. and the knowledge they’ve gained is passed on in the rehearsal process.
16. Will you keep my personal data safe?
We keep your name and contact details and these will be used to send you information about the Players activities. Additionally, you may opt-in to receive occasional emails that are drama-related but not specific to the Dulwich Players. We do not pass any of this information outside the Dulwich Players.
2. How is the group run?
We have a committee of 9 people, including a Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. This changes regularly to make sure that different people with different ideas are able to make decisions about our plays, social activities and other aspects of the group. Any member is welcome to run for the committee, and we are keen to make sure that the makeup of the committee reflects out broader membership.
5. How do you choose your plays?
We are a director-led group, where any member can propose and direct a play, provided the committee agree that it is feasible and appropriate. We aim for a varied programme of productions so the more interesting the proposals, the more interesting the productions! We suggest would-be directors spend some time with the group as an actor and/or as a member of the production team to get to know our membership and performance spaces. As a member, you will be able to find out when we are looking for proposals and put yours forward.
12. How accessible are your rehearsals and performance spaces?
We do our best to meet access needs as far as possible, however one of our rehearsal spaces is not currently wheelchair accessible. We are looking into how we can improve this.
We appreciate the diverse range of access needs that people may have and support the social model of disability. If you have any questions or concerns related to physical/ learning disability/ difficulty, neurodiversity or sensory impairment, please contact Philippa Watts, a member of the committee who has professional experience in adapting activities to meet diverse needs. She is also a qualified mental health first aider.