Why Loughton has a lure for... treading the boards

PUBLISHED: 11:17 26 June 2013




For some, the idea of local amateur dramatics may still endure the entrapments of the socialite swirl enjoyed and endured by Margoe in the 1970s sit com, The Good Life. But in Loughton, appearing on the stage is not about how many lines you are given or who hosts the best after-show party. Here, amateur dramatics is all about community involvement and one group that demonstrates this as well as any other is Techni-Crew Theatre Company.

The non-profit theatre company was launched back in September 2006 and it is run by artistic director Stephen Pemble and production manger Cameron Murray who both manage the company’s pantomimes, fundraisers and events throughout the year.

Stephen, who comes from a background in theatre, created Techni-Crew when he finished education. He explains: ‘As we are a non-profit group, we rely heavily on the support of the community and local groups to help advertise and get the production as known as it can be to the local community.’

Over the past two years, Techni-Crew has been producing an annual summer pantomime in July with shows including successful productions of Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. This year’s production will be the ever-adored Arabian fairytale of Aladdin.

With the previous pantomimes being such a huge hit and having a run of four nights, this year Techni-Crew are pushing to have five back-to-back shows of Aladdin. And, to include the younger ones from the community, Techni-Crew also performs a show just for the pupils of Hereward Primary School.

The company works with the community to perform events in Loughton and gives anyone the opportunity to shine on the stage. The local community has given the company a brilliant response to all that Techni-Crew has been doing. ‘The local residents have had high praise for the performances and we have had two sell out shows so far,’ adds Stephen.

Techni-Crew has local auditions and has selected an amazing cast for the third year running that is teeming with raw Essex talent. The cast consists of 18 members, which include 12 adults aged 15 and upward, and six children, all who will add their own piece of magic into this summer pantomime.

This is the second summer pantomime that cast member Olivia Pooley will be performing in. Olivia explains: ‘I auditioned as the company sounded like a bit of fun, and they have fantastic directors each year. It is great being part of a team that ranges from the ages of five to 50 and its lovely to have such great feedback from the community for being part of the productions.

‘Techni-Crew makes such a difference to the local community because it produces shows that are affordable for an evening out with the entire family and their events bring entertainment and fun to the whole community.’

Techni-Crew also hosts a variety of fundraisers across the year, with their biggest event being a 1920s Chicago-themed night called, A Night at Fat Sam’s, which takes place in June. Other fundraisers include murder mystery evenings, which are exciting and enjoyable for all as well as being an inventive way to earn money for the group’s summer productions.

The company’s performances take place in Lopping Hall, which is in the heart of Loughton. The building has been home to hundreds of shows that have been held inside the Hall’s splendid setting and it is an experience in itself to witness a performance inside.

With the company captivating the community spirit of the town over the past few years, Techni-Crew looks set to have another sell-out or two for the run of Aladdin from July 18 to 21.

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