GADS aims to put on at least two productions a year, performing a mixture of the classics, much-loved popular plays and modern plays with casts of all shapes and sizes.
Being a member of GADS is an enormously social thing. We are always keen to encourage new members to join and to participate in whatever capacity they can - acting, directing, producing, stage management, props, set design and construction, lighting or sound.
If you are keen to be involved, we will be able to find something interesting for you to do. We also have a great social calendar with regular events throughout the year.
Contact us if you'd like to find out more!
A Short History of GADS
It all started with the Silver Jubilee. There was a grand pageant, and floats processed through Goudhurst with beautifully costumed people aboard. A group of enthusiasts had worked hard to put it all together. They were reluctant that all the fun and expertise should end there, so decided to start a drama club. One of the local farmers who had created a stage on the back of a haycart for them, toured it round the local pubs and clubs. GASP (Goudhurst Amateur Strolling Players) performed on it. One memorable performance Joe Meyer recalls, was at the back of a pub when their only audience was a small boy drinking a bottle of lemonade. However, the group soon moved on to better and greater things. Some of them had professional links to the theatre, writing, designing, acting and directing and a professional theatre designer, Carol Hudson, who also designs costumes, has built up a formidable collection for stage and opera which GADS is able to use.
The first productions in 1978 were plays by George Bernard Shaw and Terence Rattigan and since then GADS has produced over 100 plays in a variety of venues; The Parish Hall, St. Mary’s Church, The Star and Eagle and several outdoor productions of Shakespeare plays at Risebridge and one in a local garden. There have been pantomimes, Miracle and Mystery plays, comedies and farces, original work by members, and some more high -brow stuff Sartre, Chekov and T.S. Eliot to name but a few.
One that deserves a particular mention is ‘Gaudeamus’ a historical perspective of 1000 years of Goudhurst history which was part of the millennium celebrations. It was an ambitious project with over 200 people playing some part. A real community event directed by Mike Flood, it involved an elaborate computerised light and sound system masterminded by Malcolm Thomas, and a stage that extended to three sides of St. Mary’s Church. Starting with the Saxons it included the Black Death and the terrible Plague of 1658 ( Covid may have to be added to our village history now). Smugglers and the murderous Hawkhurst Gang were enacted and the effect of World Wars 1 & 11 on village life.
GADS over the last 40 odd years has had its peaks and troughs and we hope that this community production, which GADS is delighted to support, will breathe new life into the drama club and inspire another successful outdoor production next year. GADS was happy to offer free membership to all under 18s and hopes the new cast members will stay with us too. Who knows, we may get back to the heady days of 4 productions a year and a variety of social events.
Please look at our Facebook Page - we are very pleased to welcome new members