East - Committee
Tessa DaviesRegional Councillor
Tessa was, originally, a performer; spending 4 years working summer shows, pantomimes and variety shows as a young adult. Having decided that full time performing was not going to make a decent living, she gave it up and switched to amateur theatre as a hobby whilst she pursued a career in Sales and Customer Service.
For the past 40 plus years she has performed in many shows, taking lead roles and smaller character roles. She started directing in 1992 with She Loves Me and has been directing musical shows ever since.
She has directed many productions for various Amateur Companies across the South East. Her sole directing credits include Grease, The Wiz, The Likes Of Us, The Wizard of Oz, Lionel Bart’s Blitz! & Oliver! Anything Goes, Singin In The Rain and many more.
She is one third of the creative team behind The Players Theatre Company. The Players most recent productions, with which Tessa has been fully involved, are Oklahoma (Oct 2018) Priscilla Queen of the Desert (June 2018) Curtains (November 2017) Hans Christian Andersen (December 2016). Earlier Players productions include Copacabana, White Christmas, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Acorn Antiques and many more. The Players Theatre Company was set up in 1999 and Tessa has been part of the creative team from the start.
She runs 3 Stagecoach Performing Arts Schools, in Brentwood, Wickford and Leigh-on-Sea. The schools have an annual showcase which Tessa plans and directs. She is a licensed chaperone and has worked with the National Youth Music Theatre, the BBC and a number of TV production companies.
Tracy SortwellREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E01)
Tracy has a Degree in Performing Arts and enjoys and has taken part in many different theatre styles including Experimental Street Performance, Outdoor Shakespeare and Musical Theatre. In 2009 she joined Peterborough Operatic and Dramatic Society where she has held the posts of Secretary, Members Rep and Wardrobe Lead. In 2017 she decided to change direction and join the Backstage team where she has enjoyed the new challenge of being the the Deputy Stage Manager.
When not doing 'theatre stuff' Tracy enjoys playing and singing with Wansford Ukulele Folk; she is editor of a local monthly magazine and with her husband she loves watching classic Motorsport.
Richard FittREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E02)
Brought up in Bedford, where his father taught at Bedford School he had his first acting role in the school play playing the Devil in Marlowe's Doctor Faustaus in (he thinks?)1967, Richard was drawn back into Am Dram proper almost decade later, when he lived in New Ash Green in Kent and, after one too many beers one night was asked to play the baddy in a Panto, which had been written by a close friend. He was bitten and has been acting in and directing plays and musicals ever since, and after 28 years in Kent moved back to the Bedford / St Neots Area in 2002 and, apart from a brief sabbatical has been the Chairman of St Neots Players since 2006. He started covering the odd review here and there for Don McKay, when Don was the area 1 rep, until he was asked to cover district 2 because of the untimely death of the previous rep, Keith Pendle becoming the full time District 2 rep in 2015. And the rest as they say is yet to make history.
Nova HorleyREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E03)
I started dancing classes at 2½ in Hastings, winning a scholarship to the Arts Educational School in Tring when I was 10. When I was 12 I was part of the junior chorus in a production of “Dick Whittington” at the Watford Palace Theatre, where Jimmy Perry was writer/director, I then worked professionally as a singer and dancer doing mainly summer seasons and pantomimes – including Butlins hotels for 2 summers in the revue company and pantomime at the New Theatre, Oxford. Later I did semi-pro cabaret work, whilst working as a dispenser’s assistant in a chemist. I met my husband John in 1968 when we both appeared in a production of “The New Moon” for High Wycombe Operatic Society, and we married in 1970. I worked for the same sales promotion company for 32 years until my retirement in 2015. I became a NODA Rep in 2002, and also review amateur shows for the Luton News. I have two children (both are married) and two granddaughters I love performing in shows either as a principal or in the chorus, and have also choreographed numerous pantomimes, revues and musicals. My main interests outside the theatre are my husband, family, home and books. I love seeing and reviewing shows, and never get tired of going to the theatre – both amateur and professional.
Leslie JuddREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E04N)
My first performance was as a 6 year in an educational film where the director wanted twin boys, I then rested until Grammar School where I was active in several school productions of what would now be called classical theatre. For many years I sang in Church choirs and then in a few Church Pantomimes, eventually joining in the early 1990’s one Am-Dram group in Southend and subsequently 3 more, rehearsing up to four nights a week. It was here, where towards the end of the 90’s that I got involved in Wardrobe, making costumes and became the NODA Rep for the Southend Area. There were performances in numerous Plays, Musicals, Pantomimes and Old Time Musical Hall. Favourite roles include Laurence – Abbigail’s Party, Inspector Rough – Gaslight, Colonel Pickering – both Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, Arvide – Guys and Dolls, Eugene Fodor – Crazy for You, alongside numerous rolls where I was occasionally typecast as a Butler. Annie, Me and My Girl etc. More recently Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast and the Doctor in Goodnight Mr Tom
In 2006 I moved back to Kings Lynn continuing to perform in Southend until 2008, then joining two societies continuing to perform, most recently in 2019 as the King in Cinderella, Mr Brownlow in Oliver and Henri in South Pacific. I become the NODA Rep for the King’s Lynn area in January 2019.
I have over the years been a Trustee of a Community Theatre in Southend, in the Am-Dram world I have variously been a Business Manager, Treasurer, Secretary, Wardrobe Master, worked back-stage and Directed. I am currently Treasurer of King’s Lynn Players, help with a children’s drama group, make costumes, assist with wardrobe, do make-up having attended a Make-up course at NODA Summer School and am a Registered Chaperone. I continue to perform, work shifts allowing.
Julie PetrucciREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE / MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY (District E04S)
I have been involved in the amateur drama scene in this region since 1979 and have been on the committee of Cambridge's foremost production company Combined Actors of Cambridge since 1981 mainly as secretary and on their behalf edit Combinations, a small monthly amateur drama magazine. In this capacity I travel round local (and not so local) societies reviewing productions and therefore know and am known by a large number of amdram groups in and around the region. Not having the necessary skill to act, I direct and stage manage among a number of other things and together with my long-time Partner Chris have written about 15 pantomimes several of which have been published. I also organise the Sawston one-act drama festival in March each year.
In September 2012 I became a Regional Representative for NODA East. My District (4 South) covers societies in villages in, around and through Cambridge out to Suffolk taking in Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds also covering Hockwold, Weeting and Brandon. I am very proud to represent both NODA East and my 28 societies in District Four South.
Susan DupontREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E05)
Following a lack-lustre (tall and awkward) performance in back-row chorus in Bedfordshire, it was suggested ‘go backstage and try all disciplines to see where to fit in’, the best advice ever received: scenery, lighting, properties, some costume, the chance to work with other groups backstage, trips to Waterford. A move back to Norfolk with job as research scientist and looking for a group (temporarily in a make-up team) and found mid-sized company covering genres musical, play, pantomime. How fortunate that new director (professional theatre stage director and Anglia TV floor manager) was looking for an assistant to train as stage director (combo stage manager/ production secretary), what an opportunity. Also guesting with other Norfolk groups as needed backstage. Encouragement to attend NODA Operatic Summer School at Ripon with a chance to work with the 3 professional directors as Stage Manager Excerpts, a link with crew and classes for about ten years. As Regional Rep. District 5 (28 societies) cover a wide area mostly rural with centre at Norwich: ‘rooms’ or village halls through smaller theatres up to professional Theatre Royal; so many differing skills and disciplines, talents abounding in unlikely venues, and so many friends. With societies now frequently doing more than one production per year, continuing stage crew but timing means no longer stage management. Add 2 days a month as volunteer guide for Sainsbury Centre Arts at UEA. In 2014 received NODA President’s Cup as a Regional Rep, and 2016 saw NODA Gold (50 years) and the award Hon. NODA Member for 25 years as a Regional Rep.
Terry RymerREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E06)
Forty odd years have flown by...from Widow Twankey in 1977 for Lowestoft Players to President Roosevelt in 'Annie' last year. Too many roles to mention but favourite was as Captain Andy in 'Showboat' for HAODS (Henley Amateur Operatic Soc) for whom I was Chairman for ten years at the Kenton Theatre. Had been with Dockyard Review Players in Plymouth...have written directed and acted in many Pantos including Gorleston Pavilion Theatre. In the 1980s, as Sen Res Tutor at ' Marjon' College ran their new state of the art Theatre for students. Also Head of Student Advisory Services at Bucks Chilterns Universty for last ten working years. Now back in Lowestoft as Regional Rep and enjoying reviewing shows in the 'far East' Anglia Coastal and surrounding areas. Also Public Gov at James Paget Univ Hospital for last 8years. It's been quite a journey... Long may it continue! (but not too many lines please!!)
Decia RangerREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E07)
A life-long love of theatre eventually brought me to my local musical theatre company with the intention of just singing in the chorus. It wasn’t long before I was Membership Secretary and then Secretary. I have also been involved with publicity and marketing, programme and poster design, helping to run the box office, and was Production Secretary/Co-ordinator for several shows as well as being on stage.
I became an Assistant Rep in 2015 and took over from my predecessor as the Regional Rep at the beginning of 2016.
In a former life I was a Secretary for many years before taking time out to bring up my two children, one of whom now lives in Sydney. In more recent years I worked as a GP Receptionist. I am married to a very busy man and although his diary is always full to overflowing, he too is a theatre lover and enjoys accompanying me when I review shows.
My other hobby is gardening. I read all the books and then do it my way, which I find usually works!
Christine DavidsonREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E08)
Christine has been involved with NODA since starting Danbury Players over 20 years ago. She has performed on stage at many theatres including The Old Court, The Headgate and The Mercury. Christine has directed many NODA award winning productions and theatre is one of her great loves. She goes regularly to NODA Theatre Summer School and loved the new venue this year where she took the course Devising Drama with the fabulous tutor Sarah Osborne.
Vicki AveryREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E09)
I was born in Peterborough, just round the corner from the old NODA H.Q but we wont go into that!!!!
My mother had a hairdressing business and my father was a part time female impersonator doing the circuit at nights and working with my mother during the day. I suppose my love for the theatre was in-bread. My great Aunt Tassy was a music hall singer and dancer, my grandfather played the bones and was a song and dance man and my grandmother was a Bluebell Girl at the Windmill in London.
When I was 4 years old my parents decided to move to the beautiful Island of Jersey and it was there I lived until at 18 years of age I came to England to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The degree course I followed allowed me to teach as well as perform and I became a Licentiate and an Associate by the time I was 21. It was whilst studying in London I had my first professional contract playing Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. As well as the degree course I also won a music scholarship and was given singing lessons at the Guildhall at no extra cost.
However, during this time I also met and married my husband John. A professional life on stage for me was not going to suit us so I made the decision to teach Theatre Arts and continue my love for the stage and performance to the am-dram world.
This I have done for the past 41 years, juggling teaching, performing, directing and bringing up a family all at the same time. That’s called multi-tasking the things you love and making it work.
I have been fortunate, in that volunteering as a rep’ for NODA, I have been privileged to witness some outstanding good practice throughout my district and continue to learn more whenever I represent the association. Thank you.
Hazel HoleREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E11)
Catherine DixeyREGIONAL SECRETARY / REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E12)
Catherine has been involved with amateur theatre for more years than she cares to remember. She appeared in numerous pantos, musicals and plays, ( some of which were NODA award winners) with local Societies before hanging up her dancing shoes. She has also been involved with a variety of jobs on the production side of theatre, including directing Pantos.
She joined the NODA committee in 2007 as Membership Secretary and is currently Regional Secretary, as well as being Rep in E12.
She is married to Derek who was also a local amateur actor; has 2 grown up married children and 2 lovely grandchildren. When not busy with all her theatre work she loves walking and does wedding flowers for friends and family.
Robert BristowAssistant Regional Rep (District E01)
DeeDee DokeAWARDS SECRETARY / Assistant Regional Rep (District E04S)
Appointed Assistant Representative - East District 4S in 2016. I manage publicity/marketing for two very different musical theatre societies in Cambridge, and have the great honour of performing in both musicals and plays. The daughter of a theatre director, I'm a lifelong participant in and student of theatre, and have performed on stages in Germany, the US and Thailand -- as well as here. By day, I'm a content creative (editor/writer) and BSI [the British Standards Institute]'s Emerging Standards Maker 2016. Met husband Steve in a production of "The Crucible". He later ran a theatre my father had founded when I was a child.
Martyn RolfeAssistant Regional Rep (District E05)
Amanda GreenAssistant Regional Rep (District E07)
Katherine TokleyAssistant Regional Rep (District E08)
Angie FrostAssistant Regional Rep (District E09)
Richard LovelockAssistant Regional Rep (District E09)
Jess PetherAssistant Regional Rep (District E10)
Mary WilliamsonAssistant Regional Rep (District E11)
June ForwayWEBSITE EDITOR
June became the Webmaster many moons ago when she attended the AGM which was held in Ely and her husband decided to propose her as web master without her knowledge. The web was in its very early days at that time and has gone on to become bigger and better social media.
She has been involved in amateur theatre for many years in every aspect of several societies, committee, chairman, secretary, front of house, prompt, stage management and directing many shows of all varieties
She has a large family, several of whom are following her into a theatrical background. Her husband is also always there waiting in the background to be told what his next job will be. (Just like a faithful dog!!)
Zelda RolfeYOUTH ADVISER / Youth
Julia RymerMagazine Editor