As a teenager I joined an amateur dramatics group. It was a wonderful way to indulge my passion for theatre, meet people and boost my confidence.
Over the years I moved offstage and left the performance to those younger, prettier and more able. I worked backstage as prompt and props mistress, or front of house selling programmes, tickets and drinks.
I write plays and have been lucky enough to see my work published and performed throughout the world, but local drama still has the greatest pull on my heart. I frequently travel to nearby towns to see a show. Uckfield, Framfield, Rotherfield, I’ve enjoyed them all.
Which is why it saddens me so little drama is being performed in Crowborough.
Oh, there are drama groups. Crowborough Players has existed for as long as I’ve lived here, and Mark One Drama was formed in 2006. Both groups have entertained us in the past, though neither produced a pantomime last winter – disappointing for a town this size.
For those who enjoy Christian drama, there’s also Rainbow, based at All Saints Church, but they too have been quiet of late.
One reason for all this silence is a lack of members. People moved away or grew older and less able and no new members took their places, so numbers dwindled. Actors are precious, directors like gold dust.
But drama groups are wonderful builders of community. Drama is, after all, teamwork. Being involved with a production is exciting, rewarding and satisfying. Soon, there'll be a brand new performance hall in the town, and it would be a shame if there was no vibrant drama group ready and waiting to move into it.
So here’s a challenge. I have a pantomime script, available to Crowborough, free of charge. We have a tentative yes from a director. Now we need actors, dancers, musicians and back stage crew.
If you'd like to be part of this year's panto, drop me a line on email@example.com, or at my twitter account: @hilarymackelden
Together, we can build drama in Crowborough.