SUE Tickner from Walkerburn is no stranger to the world of entertainment, stamping her larger-than-life personality on no fewer than nine sell-out annual pantomimes at the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles.
But after taking a three-year break from the rigours of producing and directing, the alternative therapist is making a comeback – forming her own production company in a bid to raise funds for Walkerburn Village Hall.
“I read in Walkerburn’s monthly newsletter that the hall is in urgent need of funds for maintenance and, coincidentally, I have been working on an idea for an amusing one-act play and itching to get back into local theatre,” said Sue.
“The hall is such a terrific asset to our community and, as a venue, it is very convenient and accommodating with a large raked stage, ample dressing room space and enviable seating capacity for audience of 220.
“There’s also a bus stop right outside the door with buses running every half hour to and from Peebles and Galashiels. I decided to take the bull by the horns, offer my services and put on the play to raise the cash so desperately needed for the hall’s upkeep.”
Sue has already set a date for her play, which will be staged by Oyster Productions on Friday and Saturday, July 6 and 7.
In a bid to recruit a cast and to assemble a strong and reliable production team, Sue has organised an open meeting in the village hall next Wednesday, April 11 at 7.30pm.
Her ambitions for the hall extend beyond the one-act play for she revealed she is hoping her fledgling company will be able to create an annual pantomime at the venue, with Alice in Wonderland tentatively pencilled in for later this year.
“I’ve been involved in theatre in various guises since the age of four, firstly through ballet and choreography, followed by acting and, more recently, producing and directing shows at the Eastgate,” explained Sue.
“It’s a wonderful buzz to encourage young people in particular to realise their potential on and off stage, understanding each individual’s abilities, strengths and inhibitions and, generally, bringing out the best in everyone.
“My forte, because it involves youngsters and adults, is pantomime which offers so many diverse roles and challenges for everyone.”
Anyone who cannot make it along to the hall next Wednesday but would like to be involved in the play or pantomime, or has ideas for future productions can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sue on 01771 934 965.
“We’re hoping there’s time for a brief run through of the play next week with the first auditions taking place on Wednesday, April 18, at 7.30pm,” said Sue. “I’m really looking forward to the rehearsals and productions. It’s been far too long since I worked locally in theatre and it’s great to be welcomed back.”