Four years ago, the Wyre Forest & District U3A embarked upon its first full blown theatre style show… ‘Raise a Laugh’. it was for one night only and a sell out with 208 members and friends supporting the endeavours of around 40 participants.
We decided to ‘tread the boards’ again in 2017 with an ‘Old Time Music Hall’ style offering acts such as the infamous Sand Dance by Wilson and Keppel as well as monologues by Stanley Holloway and Maidie Scott.
After 18 months of preparation, this April saw no less than 89 members take part in our third show… ’60’s Recall’ which, by popular demand, was staged over two nights at the local Wolverley Memorial Hall and a sell out on both occasions.
For many, the 60’s is an era recalled with great fondness for the music, the characters seen on our TV screens and heard on radio, and the many unforgettable events that occurred.
In this innovative show the participants remembered so many of these including the UK actually winning the Eurovision Song contest in 1967 with Sandy Shaw (Chris Vass) singing Puppet on a String; remembering the very cheeky Terry Scott (John Watkins) staging ‘My Brother’ and The Goons, as five of our members acted out and played on ukulele the Ying Tong Song, U3A Style.
Other acts included: recalling Morecombe and Wise , John Cleese with his ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ and singing duo Sonny and Cher performing ‘I got you babe’ as seen on Top of the Pops in 1965.
Our various talented musicians, singing groups (Satellite Singers and Singing for Pleasure Group) together with plucky ‘walk-on artists’ to make the scenes visually more enjoyable, staged memories of the Beatles, Cliff Richard, Ban the Bomb protests and the Moon Landing of 1969.
The two Ukulele Groups under the direction of Martin Delahay, played unforgettable songs from that era. Our fourteen strong Dancing Group brought back many wonderful memories by strutting out in full 60’s style dress to ‘The Locomotion’ and twisting the night away in ‘Lets Dance’.
The finale celebrated World Cup in 1966 was staged. Eleven members in full England Football kit graced the stage, singing along with 30 Satellite Singers the football song, ‘We were there’.
The whole show was skilfully held together by compere Geoff Bayley with sound, lighting and audio skills of Ralph Bramley who displayed in the background on a large screen he had made especially, footage of the many events we were staging.
So many have learned so much from being involved in these productions. Several people had never been ON the stage in their lives, just proving that it is never too late to have a go. Those who had been on stage before proved that they still have what it takes to perform and entertain, and self-esteem has been rekindled.
When creating each show boundaries have been pushed in an attempt to do something a bit different. Sometimes it works and occasionally it is not as you would like it to be, but the word is to ‘try’. And we will keep on trying to push boundaries and encourage one another, and perhaps enjoy local stardom in our own right in our later years.. After all we are just recycled teenagers at heart!.
Being a part of our wonderful U3A is making all of this possible and so many of us wonder what on earth we would be doing if we hadn’t got it in our lives.