Community spirit gives theatre new life

When a theatre in a village bar re-opened after 50 years, Martin Smith, from Lauzun in the Lot-et-Garonne, jumped at the chance to help bring it back to life.

Mr Smith has already put on one production in the theatre, Black Comedy, by Peter Shaffer, and was amazed by the response to the production, with plenty of people keen to be involved and packed-out audiences.
“It has been a real community activity and a great success in the village,” he said.
“We now hope to do two plays a year, one in November and one in June.
“We are already starting on the next
one, which has been written by one of our members, Ann Mary Stanton, and is called One of these Days.”

It took a lot of work before first curtain up. Mr Smith had already done some theatre locally, but when he heard that the owner of the Café des Sports in Lauzun, Jean-Paul Barjou, had decided to renovate the old theatre attached to the bar, he thought it would be a good idea to start up his own theatre group and use the local facilities. It took two years to organise, group everyone together and finally start rehearsals. Four of the members had already been on the stage but the others were novices.

It was also the first play that Mr Smith had directed: “Everyone did their best, front and back of curtain and everyone got the theatre bug and really enjoyed it.”

Gill Nurse went to see the production and was impressed: “It was such a professional performance, it was a pleasure to see it. I had a good evening’s entertainment.”

As the play was in English, all the actors were Anglophones, but the group also has French members, one of whom has been involved with the costumes.

Mr Smith said that he has a project in mind for the future to include more local people: “I have an idea in the pipeline to do a play in both French and English to mix up the communities.
“I’ve got a few friends who are fluent
in both languages who will help out.
“It will probably take two to three years to do and we would have to get it licensed but it would be really good to do it.
“There is a great community spirit in Lauzun and we’re looking forward to working on the next production.”

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