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Archive

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Jun 2016 - KDA Play Festival
We are pleased to announce that our entries into this year's Kent Drama Association Full-Length Play Festival have resulted in the following awards:

Hay Fever
 RaTS :Most Effective use of Limited Space (Alan Birch Award) Runner-up
The Importance of Being Earnest
 Kathy West (Miss Prism) :Best Actress in a Supporting Role (TODS Trophy) Runner-up
 Kathy West :Best Set Design (Jean Grice Trophy) Winner
 Claire Feekings :Best Wardrobe Achievement (Marian Baldwin Trophy) Runner-up

The Awards Presentation Evening took place at Detling Village Hall on Saturday 18th June.

Congratulations to all of our winners and nominees.

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February 2016 - An Evening With Sunny Ormonde
We were pleased to welcome Sunny Ormonde to the theatre for an evening of anecdotes from her long career. Sunny has played the outrageous and wayward Lilian Bellamy in BBC Radio 4's The Archers' since 2000 and has loved every minute of it! She was already a seasoned radio actress with well over 400 radio play credits to her name when she was asked to join The Archers cast. Aside from radio, she is a prolific performer in other media. She trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has appeared in theatres the length and breadth of the country. TV credits include Casualty, Waiting For God, Why Can't I Go Home?, Grange Hill, Life of Shakespeare, Hope It Rains, Framed, Jupiter Moon and Brookside.

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2015 - Milestone achievement for our President
An important milestone in the RaTS history passed relatively unnoticed when our President, Keith Sheepwash, celebrated 50 years as a member of the society. This is probably typical of Keith who is happy to remain in the background and during the past 50 years has only appeared on stage on a few occasions perhaps for an appearance in a potted panto or a Revellers concert. However, his contribution to the society has been invaluable and his knowledge and passion for the Oasthouse is respected by the Executive Committee.

Keith joined the group in 1965 and worked backstage and helped develop the theatre in the early years. He soon took up the post of Treasurer and then 1979 became Chairman. He held this post until 1997 when Dean Caston took over the role and Keith was elected as our President.

During his time with the society, Keith has directed pantos, worked as a lighting technician, and now often serves behind the bar during a production. His long association with the theatre means he is able to share his knowledge of the building and the running of our limited company with the committee which is invaluable. He is currently working behind the scenes to research land ownership of the lane outside the theatre. The society is extremely grateful for his enthusiasm and dedication to the theatre for the past 50 years and hope this continues for many more years to come.

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Jun 2015 - KDA Play Festival
We are pleased to announce that our entries into this year's Kent Drama Association Full-Length Play Festival have resulted in the following awards:

Death By Fatal Murder
 Jo Godman :Best Supporting Actress Winner
 RaTS :Most Effective Use of Limited Space Mention
 RaTS :Best Lighting Mention
 Bill Beck :Best Actor Mention
Lilies On The Land
 RaTS :Overall Competition position 3rd place (Weald Cup)
 RaTS :Ensemble Acting (RaTS Trophy) Winner
 RaTS :Best Sound Runner-up
 Dean Caston :Best Director  Runner-up
 Claire Feekings :Best Wardrobe Achievement Mention
 RaTS :Best Set Design Mention
 RaTS :Best Stage Presentation Mention (for historical accuracy)
 Chas Alder ukelele arrangements :Adjudicator's Special Award  Mention

The Awards Presentation Evening took place at George V Memorial Hall, Bearsted on Saturday 13th June.

Congratulations to all of our winners and nominees.

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March 2015 - A Little Bit More Of Me – another evening with Keith Jack
We were pleased to welcome Keith Jack back to the theatre on Sunday 29th March for another intimate evening of music. He was joined on stage by Katie and Georgia, and was accompanied on piano by Scott.

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March 2015 - Little Theatre Guild AGM

The RaTS were pleased to host the Little Theatre Guild Southern Region AGM and conference on Saturday 14th March 2015. The day included talks given by Paul Harris and Dean Caston, a fish and chip lunch, AGM and an Open Forum. The afternoon closed with a variety showcase performed by members of the Guild. Some guests also remained at the theatre to attend a performance of 'Death by Fatal Murder'.

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Jun 2014 - KDA Play Festival
We are pleased to announce that our entries into this year's Kent Drama Association Full-Length Play Festival have resulted in the following awards:

We'll Always Have Paris
 RaTS :Most effective use of limited space Winner
 RaTS (Helen Caston) :Best Sound Runner-up
The Wilde in Wild West
 Sam Fish (for creativity) :Adjudicator's Special Award Winner
 RaTS :Most effective use of limited space Runner-up
 
 Brenda Pearson :KDA Lifetime Achievement Award 

The Awards Presentation Evening took place at Benenden Village Hall on Saturday 7th June.

Congratulations to all of our winners and nominees.

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May 2014 - Up Close & Personal – an evening with Keith Jack
We were pleased to host a special guest performance featuring Keith Jack on Friday 30th May. Keith is best known for his appearance in the BBC1 television show 'Any Dream will Do', in which he finished as runner up. He has also recorded two albums and has appeared in numerous musicals and pantos. He was joined on stage by Jennifer Keegan and Anthony Irwin.

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November 2013 - Oasthouse Theatre Golden Anniversary Celebrations
The Golden Anniversary celebrations reached a climax in November with 3 special events to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Oasthouse Theatre. On Saturday 2nd November, glitz and glamour was the order of the day as 69 members and guests gathered at Hempstead House looking gorgeous and glamorous (the ladies scrubbed up quite good as well!). After a drinks reception, guests were invited into the dining hall by the host for the evening, Dean Caston. Members welcomed the Officers into the room and then ...GRUB'S UP!
During the meal toasts were proposed to past and present members. At the end of the meal our Chairman, Helen Caston, spoke about the future of the Oasthouse commenting..

"The current success of the Oasthouse theatre is down to our current members who work tirelessly week after week to ensure we continue to build upon past success. Each and every one of us gathered here tonight can take pride in their contribution to the theatre whether that be supporting productions as an audience members, serving on the Executive and sub committees, directing, acting, working back stage or organising social events the list is endless. Of course a lot of work is unseen by many and is carried out at home such as writing newsletters, making costumes and taking bookings.
A lot has been achieved over the past 50 years and with the commitment shown by our current members I am confident that our success will continue to flourish".

On Friday 8 November, the actual anniversary of the opening of the theatre, was marked with a gala reception and performance of 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The evening was attended by past and present members including Brenda Pearson, the society's longest serving member. She was joined by the Mayor of Medway, Cllr Josie Illes, local Councillors Barry Kemp and Mike O’Brien, former treasurers of the society, Peter Gray and Val Warn, to name but a few. During the interval the cast assembled on stage and were joined by The Mayor of Medway who invited the audience to re-create the round of applause that rippled through the audience when the curtain opened for the first time 50 years before. Brenda cut an anniversary cake which was in the shape of an Oasthouse!

The final event to mark our anniversary year was another resounding success. The variety show featuring excerpts from past productions was performed by a cast of 34 and lasted 3 hours! But what a show! Music from the RaTS Revellers, comedy from 'Allo Allo' and high drama from 'Rough Justice' and the opening words from the first production of 'Billy Liar' spoken by Brenda Pearson were just some of the items on offer. Directors Steve Berry and Phill Willing may have had doubts about how this would work but it certainly worked and everyone had a great time with the show both on stage and in the audience. This was a perfect way to end our year of celebrations and a great way to reflect on just a small sample of the variety of entertainment provided at the Oasthouse over the past 50 years. Here's to the next 50!

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July 2013 - An Audience with Roy Hudd
It was great to welcome our Patron, Roy Hudd and his wife, Debbie to the theatre on Sunday 28 July.
Prior to the show Keith Sheepwash and Dean Caston hosted a tea for Roy and Debbie who were joined by Ken Joy, Past Prince Rat from The Grand Order of the Water Rats and his wife, Lady Ratling, Ann.
A packed audience (all seats were sold a week before the show) were treated to a wonderful evening of anecdotes and humour from Roy’s long career in showbusiness.
He spoke fondly about how his grandmother used to take him to the Croydon Empire to watch variety shows which is where his love of the theatre started. He also recalled stories from his days with the News Huddlines and Coronation Street which kept the audience enthralled for 2 hours.
After the show he spent over half an hour signing copies of his autobiography 'A Fart in a Colander' and chatting with members of the audience, as well as posing for photographs. Roy kindly donated all proceeds from the show to theatre funds as a thank you to Dean Caston for the work he did in organising Roy's show for the British Music Hall Society in June. Roy is President of the British Music Hall Society and works tirelessly to keep Music Hall alive. Proceeds from the show will be used to purchase a star cloth to be used during concerts, pantomime and variety shows. Thanks to Roy for his generosity and a great evening of entertainment

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Jun 2013 - KDA Play Festival
We are pleased to announce that our entries into this year's Kent Drama Association Full-Length Play Festival have resulted in the following awards:

Pygmalion
 Carly Caller :Best Actress Winner
 Beryl Lacey :Best Actress in a Cameo Role Winner
 Liam Feekings :Best Young Player Runner-up
Murdered To Death
 Jo Godman :Best Actress in a Supporting Role Winner
 RaTS :Most effective use of limited space Runner-up
 
 Jack Homewood :KDA Lifetime Achievement Award 

The Awards Presentation Evening took place at Whitstable Playhouse on Saturday 22nd June.

Congratulations to all of our winners and nominees.

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Dec 2012 - BMHS Christmas Ball
On Sunday 2nd December, 12 members of the Society attended the British Music Hall Society Christmas Ball at the Kensington Royal Garden Hotel. Guests of honour were Rosemary Squires and Pete Murray who received the Lifetime Achievement Awards. Members also took the opportunity to meet our patron, and BMHS President, Roy Hudd.

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Nov 2012 - Charity Show
On 23rd and 24th November our 3rd annual Charity Variety Show was held and raised £600 for The Grand Order of Water Rats. The Society was delighted that King Rat, Joe Pasquale, came along to the theatre to accept the cheque on behalf of the theatrical charity that was founded back in 1889. He was accompanied by past Prince Rat, Ken Joy.

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July-Sep 2012 - Oasthouse Renovations
In summer 2012, it was necessary to undertake some major repair works to the theatre, specifically, to the cowls (which are a lot larger than you think). This work cost in the region of £20,000 and needed the skills of a specialist company and a large crane. The work saw the cowls removed and repainted, and the bearings and seating cups that allow the cowls to rotate and stop water ingress were replaced. For safety reasons the theatre was closed for around six weeks.

In addition, we took this opportunity to fit new ceilings and lights in the foyer, Green Room and kitchen, as well as decorating many areas. We also extended the lighting box slightly and installed new control equipment to provide greater scope for future productions.

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Feb 2012 - Charles Dickens
On 7th February, a small group were asked to provide entertainment at the Charles Dickens Birthday Show at the Britannia Theatre in Dickens' World, Chatham.

Dean Caston also appeared on the BBC1 programme 'Inside Out' that was filmed in Chatham Dockyard about Charles Dickens.

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Dec 2011 - BMHS Christmas Ball
On Sunday 4th December, 7 members of the Society attended the British Music Hall Society Christmas Ball at the Kensington Royal Garden Hotel. Guests of honour were Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson who received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bobby Crush. Members also took the opportunity to meet our patron, and BMHS President, Roy Hudd.

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Oct 2011 - Lighting Rig
A new scaffolding rig was erected above the stage that will allow better positioning of stage lighting. It also makes hanging the lights easier and safer.

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Oct 2011 - StageTalk TV
The RaTS were recently featured on StageTalk TV. The September production of "Ghost Writer" coincided with the Halloween edition of the programme and this, together with a psychic investigation into our resident spooks, made the Oasthouse Theatre a perfect choice for inclusion. The programme aired on Sunday 2nd October but it can be viewed here.

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Apr 2011 - Recognition Evening
A Recognition Evening was held at the Theatre on Sunday 3rd April 2011 to celebrate long service by several members and to reward the effort put in by members that fulfil roles behind the scenes but who do not always get the recognition they deserve. Details of the awards can be found here.

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