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How to Join the Amateur Dramatic Society (A First Step Into Acting)

Nell always wanted to tread the boards on stage. Here's her review and findings of what it's like to be on the other side of the curtain!

Looking for more opportunities for performance and creativity in your life? Try a local drama group.

Looking for more opportunities for performance and creativity in your life? Try a local drama group.

How to Join a Theatre Group Near You

  1. First, go online or search your local newspaper for theatre groups. If you can't find it in the groups section, take a look at What's On? There you are bound to find a ttage production that's going to be shown soon in your town.
  2. Check out who and what it is, then find their site on Google.
  3. There is bound to be an email or telephone number. Ask if you can pop along and see if you want to join. I am sure they will be happy to see you.
  4. Each theatre group will be different, but many will ask you to work behind the scenes before allowing you to join in the acting. Trust me, this is great for learning your way. By the time you get to your first performance, you will have learned the ropes by watching and listening.
  5. What I have learned is that by sitting in at the rehearsals, you get to watch firsthand how it's done. You may even be lucky enough to 'read' a few of the characters if someone is away.
  6. In my local amateur dramatics group, I have a few funds that need paying, but not a great deal. First of all, we pay 20 pounds (approximately 35 dollars) yearly for various functions and bits and pieces. We also pay for the script, which is a few pounds/dollars. But nothing we can't afford. And don't be afraid to say, 'Sorry I can't afford that so I will have to pass'. There is always next time.
  7. The most important thing is to join a group that you feel comfortable with. I recently joined—you can read my story below—and trust me, they are great! But if you feel any pressure or just don't like how it's done, then leave and try another group. Never give up your dream just because you didn't fit in, okay?
  8. Why not read my story below and see what you think?
Darling Buds of May the Marlow Players

Darling Buds of May the Marlow Players

Darling Buds of May Marlow Players

Darling Buds of May Marlow Players

Amateur Dramatics, Here I Come! My Experience With the Marlow Players

Joining the local Amateur Dramatic Society was always on my list of things to do. I had been thinking about doing it for a while but kept putting it off, but then....

Sometimes its great to get out of the ordinary and do something extraordinary. Lets face it, most of us do the same old humdrum things. Going to work, being stuck in the same old routine.

We all need a hobby. But when we want to do something different its pretty difficult to find someone else to come along with you, so you just give up.

That's what happened to me. But I took the bull by the horns and went and joined my local Am - Dram society. In plain English, the local Amateur Dramatic society . The Marlow Players.

But was it the right decision?

The Marlow Players

The Marlow Players

Tons of Money the Marlow Players

Tons of Money the Marlow Players


Well for starters its a lot of fun. The group are lovely and friendly. And they are all different ages. So I didn't feel out of place.

Some work full time, a few are retired, and others have been acting for so long they can't remember a time when they haven't 'Trod the boards' so to speak.

The first time I got in contact with them was through email. I knew the name of the local group, purely because they were well known around my town. I remember a relative many years ago saying she had joined them. That made me think. How long had they been performing?

I recently bought a DVD which showed my town celebrating a number of different festivals and Royal engagements.

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And the Players were on there right from the beginning, around 1940! So they have been around forever or so it seems!

Laughter In The Dark the Marlow Players

Laughter In The Dark the Marlow Players

'Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made!'

— George Burns

“All the world's a stage.” - Shakespeare

Sending out that first email I was struck by nerves. I mean, what the heck did I know about acting? Okay, I did belong to an acting/dancing school when I was young, but come on, I was around twelve years old when I left!

The funny thing is, I kept dreaming I had joined this local group. So I thought, 'Why the hell not?' In for a penny.....!

So after sending the email, I arranged to go down to the local studio for my first sojourn into acting!

The first night I ventured into acting land, I was terrified! But everybody was so nice. And I had joined early on in the season, so the guys were only just getting into their roles.

The new play that they were rehearsing was only on the second week. So I joined them on the couch and just listened in.

Of course there was no role for me as I had just joined, and all the roles had been taken.

I now realise that this was good. As its given me a long time to learn what its all about. And how everything works.

Tons of Money the Marlow Players

Tons of Money the Marlow Players

So far so good!

What I didn't realize is just how much life teaches you in the first place. Back in the 90's I attended a writing class for a few months, and when it finished, a few of us decided to carry on writing and reading at various homes so that we could critic each others work.

On top of that I used to dance on stage years ago. So putting it together everything felt pretty relaxed and familiar. Which was a great bonus.

The first thing I noticed was how easy it all was. I have read about amateur dramatics and acting and drama before and was always afraid that everybody would be very 'Darling' if you get my point. But no, in fact everyone there is so laid back and have a great sense of humour.

'Allo 'Allo The Marlow Players

'Allo 'Allo The Marlow Players

Making a fool of yourself is part of the fun!

So, what goes on and what did I find to do?

Well this is the great part. Did you ever watch that film, Karate Kid? You know the part Wax on and Wax off?

It was a bit like that. I didn't know I was learning till, well, I had learned! A lot!

For example. Many times over the last few weeks I have had to 'Stand in' for someone who was ill or just away.

I may not have got up and strutted my stuff all over the studio, but boy did I make a big deal out of getting the voices right!

I sat on that couch reading out parts in my best Cornish accent, That was the cleaner, my best deep slow drawl of the Butler, and the sweet little voice of the ingenue!

Which was great when there were gaps between the part. But if I had to read three peoples part one after the other, it ended up a very comic scene with me trying to change voices!

But to their credit the actors were great and they didn't laugh at me! Just carried on in their perfect acting way.

I just hope I will be as professional if I get a part next time!

'Allo 'Allo the Marlow Players

'Allo 'Allo the Marlow Players

'Allo 'Allo the Marlow Players

'Allo 'Allo the Marlow Players

Script, act, mess up, then voila!

There are various stages to putting together the latest Play. The first few weeks tend to be just sitting around and reading their lines. And then after learning their parts with vigour the Director suddenly decides to cut lines, change names and so on.

Then it all starts again. This is typical of the first few read through's. They have to try to cut the script down so that it fits into the time frame. The scripts end up looking like a book full of half scrawled out writing leaving only the actors lines in the middle.

Next comes Blocking. This is when the Director tells the actors where they should stand, move too and get the best lighting on the stage. Each read through the actors will be told 'No, too far away' or 'Come closer to the front of the Stage' and so on.

This is the fun part. Well, it is when you are sitting watching it! And of course there is a lot of fun and laughter involved when the actors mess up. For example, getting in each others way or bumping into each other while rehearsing.

Rehearsals at the Marlow Players

Rehearsals at the Marlow Players

'Would you please...'

After the stage direction, comes the costumes and stage accessories. Chairs, tables, maybe a typewriter or two. Telephones and all the things you need to make it look like an office, home or anywhere the action is going to take place.

There is always a bustle about trying to find suitable clothing. Especially if the Stage Play is set in a different era. The play that's being rehearsed now is actually set in the fifties. So, no modern speak! So to speak....!

The next step is letting in a few of the other members or guests to take a look at the rehearsal, see how its going and whether its funny or not. I think this went well as one of the actors laughed so much she nearly choked!

I think one of the funniest scenes has to be when the 'Murderer' of the Play has to act out the scene where he is tackling someone for the gun. Hysterical laughter filled the room, as one of the actors who had done more Plays than little me could mention tried to get her voice higher and higher, finally screaming out,


And she waved her gun around as though daring anyone to argue with her!

That of course caused more hilarity!

Backstage pics, with permission

Backstage pics, with permission

Break a leg!

The next stage will be rehearsals at the theatre. All the weeks of preparation will be leading up to those three days when the general public can come and watch. After all the hilarious rehearsals, clothes changes and read through's, those performances will be perfect. As they always are.

And me? Well I will be sitting on the sidelines, probably mouthing a few stuck lines to the actors, or running around helping them change costume.

Was it worth joining? Oh yes!

For anyone who really wants to act, work behind the scenes or just generally help out, just give your local Amateur Dramatic Studio a ring. I am sure they will welcome you with open arms.

And don't be nervous. We are all in it together, helping each other out. And its great fun!

Court Gardens Marlow Shelley Theatre

Court Gardens Marlow Shelley Theatre

The Marlow Players

The Marlow Players Theatre Group have been established for nearly 80 years. They were first formed in 1937 to bring amateur theatre to the local community.

There are two productions a year which are performed at the Shelley Theatre Marlow Buckinghamshire.

The Players rehearse, create and build their own sets in the Studio in Liston Road Marlow.

If you are interested in joining or wish to buy tickets to their next production which is:

A TOUCH OF DANGER by Francis Durbridge.

Please click on the link below:

The Marlow Players.

(Thanks to Gloria for allowing me to use the photos etc)

© 2016 Nell Rose


Nell Rose (author) from England on June 20, 2020:

The great thing about Am Drams, is that age means absolutely nothing. There are people in their 70s in the group I belong too. The best way to start is to find your local group, where there will be an email for you to get involved. Send an email just saying your name etc, and 'Hi, can I come and join?' or 'Is it okay if I sit in and watch to see if I want to join?' they will be really glad to hear from you! people join and leave all the time, and there is always a place for everyone. Even if you are not in the first couple of plays, you will learn from the director just by listening, and join in the readings. Good luck! And go for it!

Danielle Taylor on June 19, 2020:

Iam pushing 40 but look surprising youug for me age? I am nevous as hell however woukd love to just into this with both feet and willing to put in the hard work!

I have very if not any experience but so much willingness

If i coild get some information on how go koin that would be amazin!!! Thanks for all your help.

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 27, 2019:

Sorry Valentino, I am in London. But good luck with your acting and learning English. I am sure there are many great local acting stage groups near you.

Valentino Valdes on May 27, 2019:

Hi, I´m Valentino and I be in NZ for english study, in Chile I was participed in Pandora Theater and I think what is a good form of learn english and be part of the comunity. I would like to be part of this copany, I can be assissten and help in whatever is necesary.

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 14, 2018:

Hi Doug, go for it! And good luck!

Doug Whyte on September 14, 2018:

I would like to join a local dram class that meets regularly!

Nell Rose on May 06, 2018:

HI Jennie Rose Quinn,

Thanks for your email. Yes just look through your local paper or facebook. And find out the email, then off you go! Good luck.

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 28, 2016:

Thanks Shauna, yes its a great laugh! we are having a break at the moment, but we will be back to it soon, thanks as always, nell

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 28, 2016:

Nell, it sounds like you're having a blast. I'm sure you fit right in, as you've been sort of a showman - or woman - for most of your life. One of my favorite things is to see outtakes of TV shows and movies, so I can see how your real-time bloopers would be a hoot.

More power to you for stepping out and actually doing something about your bucket list!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 09, 2016:

That sounds amazing Stella, and yes it makes sense too! I feel acting does make you pick up some of the character! thanks for reading, nell

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on April 08, 2016:

It sounds like you are having a lot of fun. I tried it one time in high school, and the longer I played the part, the less afraid I became and strange as it sounds, I became that person and got the best review. Great Hub, Stella

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 05, 2016:

Thanks phoenix, yes its great! but I am still not acting yet, we will see! lol!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on April 04, 2016:

I'm glad you're having such a good time. Putting a production together can be scary, hectic and nerve-shredding. All the ingredients for a good time. lol

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 27, 2016:

Hi Deb, yes I definitely will, thanks! just looking forward to making a fool of myself! LOL! thanks as always, nell

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on March 27, 2016:

Sounds like you have found yourself another niche. Definitely keep us posted on your progress and pictures, please, when the time comes that you are on the stage!

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 26, 2016:

Hi Flourish, thanks for reading, hopefully I won't make a fool of myself! lol!

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 26, 2016:

It's great that you pursued your passion. Sounds like a fun new hobby! I can see you on stage real soon.

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 25, 2016:

Thanks Faith, lol! yes its fun, and not done the dressing up yet but I will soon, and yes your daughter should give it a go! There is bound to be a local one somewhere. you don't have to pay lots of money to act, the am dram are the best way to learn and then maybe when she has more confidence the go to the drama schools, have a great Easter, nell

Faith Reaper from southern USA on March 24, 2016:

You go girl! That is so awesome and I'm proud of you taking the first step and getting to meet wonderful people and having a lot of great fun.

I need to suggest this to my daughter, as she always has loved to act, but she needs to locate something like this around here.

I have never acted, but in high school French class, I directed a play, which was supposed to be serious, "Le Duke de Guise." However, we had so much fun with our actors/students, it turned out to be hilarious and really a big hit because with it being in high school and all LOL.

In high school (also in French class) we had to dress up as Can Can Girls, so I was stepping out of my dreadful shyness big time in doing that! I believe there's a photo in my high school year book ...yikes.

It was fun, after it was all over.

Great hub, Nell!

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 23, 2016:

Thanks emge, glad you liked it, nell

MG Singh emge from Singapore on March 23, 2016:

Great information, though I don't wish to be an actor

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 23, 2016:

Thanks so much Peggy, yes I don't mind helping out if not acting, its great fun just being there, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 23, 2016:

Thanks so much Chitrangada, it is fun isn't it? I remember doing it back in the day too, now its lovely to be back, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 23, 2016:

Thanks DDE glad you liked it, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 23, 2016:

Thanks Vellur! yes its fun!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 23, 2016:

Good luck with your acting Nell. Even behind the scenes it sounds as though much fun is to be had. Thanks for sharing your new passion with us.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 23, 2016:

This sounds so interesting! I have done lot of dramatics in my student days. So much fun and it was really enjoyable. You took me back to those golden memories.

The amateur dramatic society that you describe here sounds so interesting and working with the actors sounds lot of fun. So happy to know that you are enjoying the experience. Have a great time and thanks for sharing this interesting hub!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 23, 2016:

A great opportunity and you shared an interesting hub.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 22, 2016:

So glad you are enjoying the whole experience. It seems like a lot of fun, have a great time and all the best.

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2016:

lol! Thanks Bill, not got to the acting yet, still in the background, we shall see won't we? lol! thanks as always, nell

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 22, 2016:

Nell, I'm going to leave this to you an wish you all the luck and joy in the and acting? Not happening in this lifetime. LOL

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2016:

Ah shame Miz, you should get back to it! If you loved it that much it must be yelling at you to rejoin! thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2016:

Thanks Ruby, yes i think its great! glad I joined, thanks again, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2016:

lol! that will be the day won't it? me a star, oh my! lol! thanks MsDora, always lovely to see you, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2016:

Thanks Alicia, yes its really fun and funny too, loving it! thanks for reading, nell

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on March 22, 2016:

Oh, what fun, Nell! This is a great hub. I know that you will enjoy yourself regardless of whether you have a role or are part of the production crew. I started acting in high school and became a Thespian then. Theater got so addictive that after my divorce, I found myself neglecting my elementry school age children. For that reason, I got out and never rejoined. Break a leg!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 22, 2016:

Good for you Nell. Doing what you have always wanted to do is wonderful! I know it took courage, but you prevailed and found a new love, that's amazing! Good luck and have fun. Life is making things happen. I admire you.....

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 22, 2016:

First, Congratulations for doing something you always wanted to do. It's good that you're having fun. Looking forward to the updates where you become the star (or something close) of the show. Enjoy it!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 22, 2016:

Good luck with the acting, Nell! The amateur dramatic society that you describe is interesting. Working with the actors sounds like great fun!

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2016:

that's right, I do think we all act, lets face it Frank if we all acted the way we are usually we would have no friends, no job.....LOL! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2016:

lol! thanks suzette, sounds like a great job that you had, play director? sounds fun! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2016:

Thanks Jackie, yes its great! glad I summoned up the nerve to join!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 22, 2016:

This is so helpful for aspiring actors.. I can't act even if you threaten me with stones.. I guess we all really act in life..... All the world's a stage... It had to be a great deal of fun... Nell Rose

suzettenaples on March 21, 2016:

Nell, what a great experience you are having! Thanks for sharing this and for your suggestions. When I taught, I was the play director for several of our high school plays. That was a hoot! A lot of work, but such a rewarding experience. I haven't tried the acting side of it, but I should someday . We have a local theater here. Again, thanks for sharing and "break a leg ! Lol!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 21, 2016:

I would never be brave enough, but it does sound like fun! I think I would rather watch!

Go for it Nell. Break a leg!

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