Thursday, 17 May 2012

A grand theatrical tradition at Goldsmiths Community Centre

The Goldsmiths Musical Theatre Company offers acting, dance, singing and voice projection for adults and children over 12 years old. The Company was formed by Ray Giles and former members of the Lewisham Operatic Society, to offer musical theatre skills to young people in the local area.

Last year's show, 'A Musical Journey'
Every Friday from 7.30 - 10 pm the company rehearses in the venerable George Green Hall (constructed 1939 - more later). It costs £1 per week to join or £3 a year. You can't say fairer than that!  Last year Levi and Elijah from the Friday night youth club interviewed the directors and performers as part of the Community Voices project supported by the Media Trust.

The company pose for a group photo

Each year the company works towards a show which is usually performed during the October school half-term. In 2010 the company performed 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' and in 2011 they performed 'A Musical Journey', a selection of songs from West End Shows. The shows raise money for the George Green Hall fund. Tickets for the show are £5 and £4 for concessions, with discounts for groups of 10 or more and evening and matinee performances. Please support this wonderful local resource by booking tickets when they become available in October.

As you can see from the photos the cast is predominantly female. The next show requires a male cast. If you are a male aged 12 and over and interested in drama, why not join the company on a Friday evening? Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult on the first visit. 

This year they are auditioning for 'Scrooge'. Auditions will be held on Sunday 20 May at the community centre, Boundfield Road entrance. Registration is at 10.30 am and auditions start at 11 am. Why not come along? They are all very friendly!

Here's Ray, recruiting new members at the Phoenix Festival in Forster Park
For further information please contact Ray on the following numbers or come along on a Friday evening. 020 8244 2151  or  07903 405 525.

Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington

Grand opening, 11 May 1939
The community centre opened in May 1939 and the theatre company, then called Goldsmiths Amateur Dramatic Society (GADS) was formed in the autumn. In 2009 on the the centre's 70th anniversary the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant, as part of The Story of London, to find out the history of the centre, record local people's memories and to set up a community centre website. You can listen to their stories here.

The George Green Hall, with vaulted ceiling and stage

Dickie Eagle kindly shared his memories of the centre and the main hall via the Downham Online discussion forum:
My cousin Bert Crosk and I were regulars at Goldsmiths right through from the beginning of the war almost. Basically it was a local club that attracted youngsters from Downham, Sydenham, Bromley, Hither Green, and had regular Dances with Band etc, sometimes a performer in the form of a comedian although there were enough locals who could have qualified for that role can't remember all the names, It was also an ARP post and local Wardens etc from the Civil Defence used the offices. It had "soft" drinks only (A bar would have made a bomb too!) Plus I joined the Navy in ‘43 but never went to the club in anything but Civvies, as with my old chums I would have felt uncomfortable 

The Goldsmiths Community Players, who succeeded the amateur dramatic society, were the social hub of the centre. Putting on plays, musicals and Christmas parties for pensioners their members also sat on the committee along with the Goldsmiths Gardeners Society, organising dances, socials and clubs including the Caged Birds' Society meetings! Peggy Spencer's formation dance team used to practice on the sprung floor of the main hall on Sunday mornings in the 1960s and 70s - strictly come dancing.
Goldsmiths Community Players, playing to a packed hall in the 1980s
The hall is much loved and used by local people, from under 5s activities to festivals and fairs, weddings and wakes. It is looking its age now and needs a lot of investment to bring it into the 21st century. We have plans and ideas, encouraged and supported by the local community - who protested loudly when we suggested removing the stage! Will you help us make it a creative and social focus for the south of the borough by supporting the theatre company, the groups that use the centre and the community association to realise this vision?

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