Cambridge's leading amateur theatre production company

Established 1981

John Shippey

John made his BAWDS debut in TREASURE ISLAND (Job Anderson). He was also in BAWDS' award winning festival piece FALSTAFF'S FOLLY (pictured above as Master Ford) in 2012.

Following a period of 'resting' for about 15 years after the obligatory school plays, John had his first encounter with amateur dramatics in a Haddenham village pantomime in 1982.  More village outings followed back stage and performing in several more pantomimes and parts in MURDER IN THE RED BARN, BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE, as Captain Cat in UNDER MILK WOOD and as W. S. Gilbert in TARANTARA, TARANTARA.  

At this point he decided that he was getting a bit parochial and needed to get about a bit more so he took part in a number of Shakespeare at the George (Huntingdon) productions:  THE TEMPEST (Bosun), KING LEAR (Cornwall), ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (1st Lord Dumaine), THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Hortensio) and THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (Ford).  He also toured locally with Stagestruck (a company born out of the Shakespeare at the George production of The Taming of the Shrew) in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Don Pedro) and TWELFTH NIGHT (Orsino).  Sticking with Shakespeare he played Flute in the 2001 Cambridge Arts Theatre Summer production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and Abhorson in MEASURE FOR MEASURE for the same company in 2002.  And 2002 saw further departures:  he took part in plays that were neither performed in Haddenham nor written by Shakespeare, playing Lord Darlington in the Combined Actors of Cambridge production of LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN and Job Anderson in TREASURE ISLAND.

2003 saw John returning to Haddenham productions with an appearance as John the Baptist in the village's home grown NATIVITY PLAY.  In 2004 he played Antonio and an outlaw in the Arts Theatre Summer production of TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, and, for a bit of variety, followed that a week later with the role of Dionysus in in situ: theatre's improvised production of THE BACCHAE.  2005 saw him as Don John in Shakespeare at the George's production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and Marcus the Centurion in the Haddenham NATIVITY PLAY.  In 2006 he finally took the directing challenge seriously with a Haddenham grown piece, BITS OF THE BARD, combining Shakespeare's text with musical arrangements of his songs, and was delighted with how well it was received.  He followed this with the part of Simon in a Radio Cambridgeshire play, SEEKING REFUGE, and Sir Toby Belch in the Ely Amateur Dramatic Society's outdoor production of TWELFTH NIGHT. Back to The George as Oberon in the 2007 production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and in 2008 to direct THE WINTER'S TALE, which he found a challenging but fantastically rewarding experience. 

2009 saw another TWELFTH NIGHT (Orsino again), this time for in situ: in Cambridge and another NATIVITY (this time as Joseph).  In 2010 John really pushed the boat out and produced and directed A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM in his back garden in Haddenham.  This promenade production played for eight nights in August to a total audience of over 400, and raised more than £3,000 for local charities. John returned to The George in 2011 to direct MEASURE FOR MEASURE.  In 2012 it was a return to Haddenham for another back garden production:  this time ROMEO AND JULIET.  In 2013 he appeared in The George's production of MACBETH (Banquo / Caithness).  In 2014 he was again in Huntingdon again, this time as assistant director for Jaqui Spencer's production of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.

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