Hello. I’m Helen Hammond, and I am honoured and delighted to have been elected as the President of Edinburgh People’s Theatre for this membership year, 2016-2017.
I must admit to feeling very green having only joined the committee last year and having only rejoined the club 3 years ago, although my daughters Steph, Laura and I were active members in the 90’s. All three of us took part in many pantomimes and the girls were active members of the EPT Youth Group which was very active at that time and gave them a wonderful introduction to drama.
I took a break from drama when the girls were busy with exams and then university and when my job as a consultant paediatrician became impossible to combine with the time commitment required to be on stage. Prior to that I had always been involved in music and drama. My parents met through an amateur dramatic group during the war and throughout my childhood I was exposed to drama that they were involved in either on stage or directing. I really developed my own interest through university productions including infamous medical student pantomimes! I turned to musical theatre during my years in Dundee as a way of combining my interests in drama and singing into one commitment. Now I am fully retired (or almost!) I have time to return to drama and have been extremely fortunate to have been able to return to EPT where many of my old friends remain but where there are also many new faces and lots of energy and enthusiasm for the world of theatre.
It is impossible not to be impressed by EPT, by the amazing facilities available to us at the premises, by the wide ranging talents of the members from set building to costume and from acting to directing, and the vast range of productions that the group turns its hand to. Last year was a good example with EPT staging a wonderful pantomime (Cinderella), then very contrasting productions of Blackadder and Bothered and Bewildered, and finally a Scots comedy for the Fringe.
We all belong to EPT because we love the theatre and we want to have fun together creating wonderful performances. All our members however old or young, experienced or inexperienced have skills and dreams- on stage, behind the scenes, directing. Last year I was given the opportunity to be Assistant Director to Mike Brownsell on Bothered and Bewidered, helped with props on Blackadder, and was production manager for John Somerville for the Fringe play- all new roles for me. I greatly enjoyed it all and learnt a huge amount. I would thoroughly recommend having a go at some of the jobs you might consider out-with your comfort zone, you might surprise yourself!
It is our job as a club to help every member have the opportunity to realize their potential and their aspirations. To make that happen we need to function as one big team and I will certainly do my best to lead that team this year, with the support of the committee and the membership.
If you are looking for a drama club to join you should look no further. We are a really friendly, welcoming group of people and will help you to find your niche in our club. We encourage everyone to play a part in a production from set building, costumes, sourcing props to stage managing, sound and lighting. As a member of EPT we’d expect you to take your turn in front of house... we’d love to hear from you.
Edinburgh People’s Theatre has a rich history from its inception in 1943, and an excellent reputation in Edinburgh. We’re proud to be the longest performing theatre group at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (59th year), and this year (2016) sees our 65th consecutive pantomime (with the last 52 at the Church Hill Theatre), and there were others 'christmas shows' before these. We’re successful because of the members of EPT and their talent and commitment to the club. We’re a diverse bunch, we have young members and older members and lots of folk in-between, but we all work together to produce high quality theatre and we have a lot of fun doing it.
If you’re interested in joining EPT please get in touch with us (visit the Join Us section of the website). We have regular open nights where potential members can come and visit us. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know anything more about the club. EPT is lucky to have a loyal audience, with many regulars coming along to all our shows. If you don’t want to become a member, but do want to be kept updated about our future productions, you can become a patron by filling out a simple form (see the Patrons section of the website). Full contact details can be found in the Contact Us section. We’d love to hear from you!