Introducing the crew
Since SADS formed in 2002, we have been very lucky to have had the involvement of a wealth of local talent which has consistently contributed to the very high standard of our sell-out productions. We have been presented with many awards from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) including best drama, best musical, best programme and best director.
Susan has worked as a professional actor all over the country: touring with The Dresser and Fiddler on the Roof, and in many repertory theatre productions including Kiss me Kate (Northampton), Once a Catholic and Local Affairs (Leicester Haymarket), Polly (Cambridge Theatre Company), The Boyfriend (Exeter Northcote), and Little Shop of Horrors (Newcastle Playhouse). Susan’s latest venture was as a ‘Grande Dame’ in the TWODS cast in their production of Hello Dolly in November 2018 at the Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells.
Her West End performances include Oliver! (Piccadilly Theatre), Canterbury Tales (The Shaftesbury), Huis Clos (Phoenix), Eastward Ho! (RSC at The Mermaid) Godspell (Haymarket), Daisy Pulls It Off (The Globe, Shaftesbury Avenue).
Susan’s many pantomime appearances include playing Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Brighton with Irene Handl and Christopher Biggins.
On television Susan played the leading role of Jane in “Salad Days” for Yorkshire Television, but is best known as Tracey in the long running BBC series “Hi-de-Hi”.
Her greatest reward now comes from encouraging local people to discover their latent talent as actors on the stage.
When Susan is not directing SADS she can be found in her garden, which she regularly opens in aid of St Michael’s Hospice and other local charities.
I first met Susan when our children were at Vinehall School in 1997. Susan was busy in the theatre being her normal self and holding court centre stage meanwhile I was put back stage and out of the picture (nothing changes).
In 2002 I answered the phone to Susan asking me to be Stage Manager for the first SADS production. Then in 2005, when Veryan moved out of the area, I was coerced into taking over her role as Producer. Trust me when I say I know how it feels to be the old trout at the end of the fishing line – I was reeled in and have never been let off the hook since!
27 productions later and we are still great friends although the years are beginning to take their toll. Glasses, spanx pants just being two accessories we have had to add to our wardrobe over the years.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with SADS and, on a serious note, over the 20 years I have met so many wonderful and interesting people who I can now count as friends. A huge thank you to you all.
Robin has over 40 years’ experience in directing musicals. He has MD’d numerous shows including Carousel, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, My Fair Lady and Hello Dolly both in his native Venezuela and in the UK. He has MD’d two musicals for SADS: Fiddler on the Roof, which received the NODA award for best musical in the South East region in 2015 and Oliver! in February 2018.
Robin went to Tonbridge School and then to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he studied classical guitar, double bass, voice and conducting. Graduating in 1974, he emigrated to Venezuela where he taught music both privately and in schools and was choirmaster at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. Robin taught English as a foreign language and later became Office Manager of a cinematographic laboratory in Caracas.
Returning to England in 1988, Robin spent the rest of his working career as a management trainer in the financial industry. Now retired, he devotes his time mainly to music. He plays double bass in the jazz group, Café society. He has also been deputy MD of Second Wind Band and The Bodiam Concert Band.
Robin fulfilled a life-long dream to become a pilot by acquiring his PPL in 1999 and has accumulated 235 hours’ flying. He is a member of the Skinners’ Company and holds the Freedom of the City of London. Robin is married to the writer Rebecca de Saintonge.
Katie’s love for dance began at the age of 8 at a local dance school and continued when she trained in Musical Theatre at the Corona Academy and The London Studio Centre. She found a niche modelling, acting and performing in commercials and music videos, but the lure of the sequin was strong, and she started to compete in ballroom and Latin.
She travelled the globe representing the UK in international competitions, performing in shows and teaching. Following an invitation to teach in America, she moved to LA and spent two years teaching and competing for the USA at international level.
On her return to the UK, she continued her teaching at Pineapple Dance Studios and London’s Dance Attic. She now lives in Stonegate with her husband and two young daughters.
This is Katie’s third foray into amateur dramatics, having choreographed Fiddler On The Roof in June 2015, Oliver! in February 2018 and HMS Pinafore in 2021.
Other essential people:
SADS very much relies on our wonderful team of volunteers without whom we couldn’t put on our productions:
Kate Williams – Musical Director
Neil Ellwood – Accompanist
Jane Spurr – Rehearsal and pit pianist
Jane Altenhoven – Bar co-ordinator
Rachel Walters – Chef
Elspeth Hill and Anne Greenaway – Food coordinators
Fiona Stapley – Stage manager
Annie Chown – Production Photographer
Paul Henry – Production Video Producer
Lesley Lightfoot – Costumes
Alli Williams – Make up and hair
John Bush and John Clark – Lighting
Garry Bodenham – Sound
Sarah Wates – Prompt