2019 marks a tremendous milestone for the Abingdon Drama Club (ADC), which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Founded all the way back in 1944, the club is an Abingdon institution well-loved by locals with a passion for amateur dramatics, whether that be soaking up the limelight onstage or enjoying the performance from the safety of the auditorium.
ADC has come a long way since the players performed their first public production, John Van Druten's London Wall, at the now-defunct Corn Exchange in September 1945. The club had the honour of inaugurating the Unicorn Theatre in 1953 and acquired a rehearsal space and set workshop on Marcham Road in 1960. Boasting a programme of three productions a year as well as a biennial pantomime, the Club also has a burgeoning Juniors section with weekly classes for all ages.
Next up for ADC, following on from a barnstorming production of 'Allo, 'Allo in June, is Sir Peter Shaffer's Amadeus. The play is a thrilling depiction of genius, corruption and envy as rival composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri struggle for supremacy in 18th century Vienna. Neelaksh Sadoo takes on the role of Salieri, embittered and consumed by jealousy for the brilliant newcomer to the court, played by Dave Casser. As ever, selecting from such a talented and tight-knit troupe was a difficult challenge for director Mike Ward.
Ward was inspired by last year's production of Amadeus at National Theatre, though taking the play from the Olivier to the Unicorn did require some lateral thinking when it came to staging. One headache for the director was the issue of how to bring to life the play's set-pieces and various opera productions with limited resources. Very much in keeping with ADC style, the team have opted for a bold combination of the novel and the traditional, using model theatres and webcams to film opera sequences that will be shown on screens behind the stage. Showing for four nights from Wednesday 25th September, Amadeus promises to be an intriguing new take on a modern classic, and the latest addition to ADC 's extensive and eclectic list of productions. You can buy tickets for the production via the ADC website, where you can also find out how to join, if you'd like to be part of their continuing illustrious history!