Amdram group that's still going strong after four fun decades
Former nursery nurse Bridget Calvert still can't believe it's four decades since she and her husband Malcolm started the Square Drama Circle in Dunstable.
“I’m now 64,” she says. “And I was 24 when it all began.” The couple are Square Methodist Church members and when they asked 40 years ago why there was no drama group at the church, they were told: “Because you haven’t started one.”
So they got together some like-minded enthusiasts and even now Margaret chuckles at the memory of their first show – The Patient in 4B – in the church hall.
“Just imagine it,” she smiles. “Tin can lighting, furniture from our living room and the actors doing everything from playing the parts to making the set and pulling the curtains.
“I was pregnant with my first child, my scrounged nurse’s uniform was too small and I had to wear an apron for the whole show.”
Their daughter Tammy obviously got a taste for the theatre from within the womb and has followed in her parents’ footsteps - now 39, she’s a loyal member of the group.
Bridget says: “We normally give three shows a year, ranging from murder mystery to comedies, pantomimes and revues, with the occasional musical.
“Most of our shows go well, although there is the occasional hitch – like when Malcolm fell off the stage during The Sound of Music.
“He was playing Uncle Max and during one scene he took one step too many and ended up in the string section of the orchestra pit. Luckily he was fine and climbed back on stage to finish the number while the audience applauded.
“But he narrowly missed a Stradivarius violin – the musician saw him coming and jumped out of the way.”
The couple, who live in Oakwood Avenue, met in a drama group and still live for the next production.
The Square Drama Circle has gone from strength to strength and has attracted several hundred members over the decades.
Bridget says: “Some start as children return as adults, others join us for a short while and then go on to new lives and then there are the diehards who have given long and faithful service.” She admits acting is her passion and her favourite part was Miss Marple in A Murder is Announced. “But I still paint scenery, help with publicity and prompt,” she says. “In our last production – See How They Run – I produced and co-directed.”
Bridget has one unfulfilled ambition: to be in just one professional show.
And she says with irrepressible optimism: “Who knows what the future may bring?”