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Ockley Dramatic Society - Yvonne Featherstone

Yvonne Featherstone

Yvonne avoided the stage for many years after refusing to play the part of Mary in the infant school nativity play as she was too shy. Early stage appearances involved singing, dancing or playing the recorder, but definitely no acting. At grammar school she appeared in the chorus in Papagena and in Ruddigore, but not much acting was involved then either. Someone at school tried to start a drama club, but the first, and only, workshop was Yvonne's idea of hell.

It was only when she moved to Ockley from the Manchester area in 1982 and was told by her next door neighbours that there was a dramatic society in the village that she decided to join. Her idea was that she would like to paint scenery and she felt that there would be someone to show her the ropes. However, she was asked to be in charge of props for the first few plays she was involved with, occasionally being asked to read in a part for members absent from rehearsals, but adamant that she did not want to act.

Her first appearances on stage were in "Allova-Dinn and his Wonderful Gamp" in 1984 as the empress Me-soh and three very different parts in a review. The latter was only undertaken as practise for giving an after-dinner speech at her firm's Christmas dinner. She then became involved in stage management and set painting, although by that time the previous set painter had disappeared off the scene, so it was a case of making it up as she went along. Yvonne has also designed programmes, posters and tickets for some plays.

Yvonne stage managed the society's entry into the 1988 Mole Valley Festival of Arts, which involved hiring scenery flats, helping to paint them in Ockley Village Hall, arranging transport to Dorking Halls and supervising the building of the set in a limited amount of time. As the set painters were usually women, one of whom had a bad back, total strangers were sometimes dragged out of the local pub to help in putting all the flats back on stage after a painting session. Never again!!!

There were a few stage appearances at this time, but nothing major until the Barnes Green Festival in 1997 when the society came second with "From Here to the Library" by Jimmie Chinn. Typecast as a spinster Lancastrian librarian, Yvonne considers her performance in this play to have been her best ever and unlikely to be surpassed. She also enjoyed playing the scruffy, alcoholic RI teacher in "After September", again by Jimmie Chinn.

Yvonne has played principal boy, the good fairy and one of the silly billy characters in pantomime, but prefers not having to sing solo after an embarrassing moment in Aladdin. Her part in Sancastles required slimming down, toning up and tanning in order to appear in a swimsuit, as well as a challenging accent.

After an absence of 10 years, following a year as chairman, Yvonne rejoined the Society to be a rat in Captain Hook's Revenge. She stage managed the 2015 pantomime but is hoping there's a part for her next year, as acting is easier!

Last updated 15th March 2015.

Productions participated in

From here to the Library May 1997 Beryl Tidy
Aladdin Jan 1998 Aladdin
After September Nov 1998 Miss Cross
Dick Whittington Dec 1999 Fairy Bow-Bells
In a Street
Anyone for Drama?
Nov 2000 Set design
Sand Castles Nov 2001 Pauline
Sleeping Beauty Feb 2003 Shout
Say it with Flowers
Much ado about Woman
Jul 2003 Mrs Jenkins
(see production)