Play In A Week is an annual week-long fully inclusive project, which enables actors with learning and/or physical disabilities to enjoy the magic and benefits of participating in a theatre show and putting on public performances in a real theatre.
Play In A Week has been held in the southeast of England for 19 years, and is open to all.
Starting on a Monday morning each July, between 40 and 50 enthusiastic and talented participants, a raft of volunteer helpers, along with a team of specialist professionals start work at the Nomad Theatre in East Horsley.
The actors work hard everyday throughout the week to rehearse, learning lines, songs and dance routines from scratch. There are no “limitations” on who can be an actor at Play In A Week. Everyone is welcome regardless of (dis)ability. All we require is that people come along with enthusiasm, energy and team spirit, and are able to attend every day in order to learn their parts and be an equal part of the Company.
We engage a small number of specialist professionals to make all this possible for our actors! An experienced Playwright is commissioned to write our play each year. It is unique because of the large number of cast members involved and the goal of ensuring that everyone has a worthwhile part to play in the production. We also aim to include ever popular song and dance numbers, so these must form part of the storyline all of which is written and tailored to suit us!
Our Director then manages and drives the week’s rehearsals; inspiring cast, crew and volunteers to stretch themselves, achieve personal goals, and form a cohesive and supportive team having lots of fun!
The Choreographer designs and teaches both dance and movement routines, and helps to direct physical movement around the stage.
The Musical Director composes, writes and teaches the company several songs each year, usually done completely from scratch. He is also a sound effects wizard who provides “mood” music to order and well as whatever other noises, bangs, crashes, and bizzare sounds the Director decides to throw into every scene of the show!
Off stage other participants, along with volunteers, can be found hard at work all over the theatre during the rehearsal week making costumes, constructing and finding props and scenery to order! They are also making magic happen in the technical box by planning the customised sound and lighting which gives the final production a professional finish. Surtitling is written to help improve communication which is delivered live during each performance.
Even as the daytime activity dies down and the actors leave the building everyday, there is still a hive of activity going on. With the stage clear and safe, large items of scenery and backdrops are painted and put in place, lighting rigs can be built, and even the stage floor itself is painted.
At the end the busy week, everything somehow comes together beautifully as the curtain rises on Saturday night, and a paying public audience get to see the results of everyone’s hard work. We have a Sunday matinee show too, and without fail everyone goes home at the end of it all totally elated and justifiably proud of their achievements.
Work then starts straight away for the team of organisers to kick off the year-long programme of planning and fundraising for next time.
Presenting songs from their favourite shows, the Duffers & Gruffers Choir and their Musical Director, Martin Hall MA, GRSM, FRCO (CHM), IRAM, invite you to join them in a “Showtime Singalong” in aid of Play In A Week.
You’ll have the words so you can join in as much or as little as you like. There will also be a selection of special performances for you to sit back and enjoy!
This evening is open to everyone and will be raising funds for Play In A Week’s 20th anniversary production.