This week’s #meetusmonday is our Chairman, Jen Edwards. Here she talks about growing up with HADS and the different ways members can get involved. Jen is playing Eliza Doolittle in next week’s production of Pygmalion.
How did you become involved with AmDram and why HADS?
My mum joined HADS in 1993 (and is still a member today) and I have fond memories as a child coming along to rehearsals to watch. Back in the day when we did musicals, I was in Oliver and did a few more plays including ‘Wyrd Sisters’ and a ‘50th Anniversary of WWII’ evening, until I hit my mid teens. After doing Performing Arts at uni, I then rejoined ten years ago when I was in my early twenties and have been involved ever since. Shropshire has a fantastic AmDram scene, but HADS is where my heart is and that’s mainly due to the lovely members who make being part of the group so much fun. There is no clique and there are no divas, everyone is very supportive of one another.
What’s your most favourite HADS play that you’ve been in?
The 39 Steps was just the best! I had an absolute ball being able to play three characters within one play! Working with Hugh, Russ and Rob was so great and we built up such a rapport on stage. Of course, it wasn’t just about us, there were many, many other members involved who all worked tirelessly, especially Edward who directed it. We were lucky to get to perform it, as not long after the auditions (which we call the reading), the license was withdrawn for amateur performance, which happens when a professional company want to tour, and we had to wait a year before we could stage it.
And Then There Were None (directed by Edward) also sticks in my mind as one of my favourites (I’m quite partial to a murder mystery, especially an Agatha Christie), and Noises Off which I directed in 2016.
Who is your favourite character that you’ve played at HADS?
I think Eliza Doolittle has to be one of my all time favourites, such an iconic character and so complex.
Playing Dorris Wallace in Silly Cow was also immensely good fun and I don’t think I’ve ever played a character who is so different from myself before!
I’ll always have a bit of a soft spot for Shelby in Steel Magnolias, especially as her character’s storyline revolves heavily around her becoming pregnant, and I found out I was pregnant with my daughter on the morning of our Friday performance, that evening’s performance was somewhat emotional (for me)!!
What non-acting activities do you like to become involved in with HADS?
Being Chairman keeps me on my toes! I feel very lucky to be able to do the role and our committee are very supportive people who want the best for the Society, and most of them I’ve known since I was a kid.
I’m also handling the publicity side of things at the moment which is great fun and makes use of my copywriting training.
And of course, when I’m not on stage I enjoy doing Front of House and getting to say hello to familiar faces who we’re so lucky to have supporting us, it’s all good fun. Except for doing the raffle tickets. I’m rubbish at doing the raffle tickets, it’s too much pressure!
There are loads of ways that members help out and get involved, it’s not just about being on stage.
If you could play any character from stage or tv/film who would it be?
Carol from The Walking Dead, except no one could do it as well as Melissa McBride
Abigail in The Crucible
Rita from Educating Rita by Willy Russell
Marlene in Top Girls by Caryl Churchill
Elvira in Blithe Spirit
Also, as I’m a bit of a history nut, I’d love the chance to play Anne Boleyn in one of the many, many plays in which she features.
(That’s quite a long list isn’t it!)