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We were recently contacted by Christopher Hemmens, from The Village Players, to let us know about playreadings. Christopher explained, "Playreadings are an excellent opportunity to get some informal experience on stage and I urge anyone who's ever wanted to do something like this to get involved. The cast is full for the upcoming event but new people are encouraged to contact The Village Players for future events."

Christopher was originally involved with The Village Players out of interest in performing. He claims that he didn't have the courage to put himself forward until 2009 but has never looked back as he has since been in 8 productions and directed 3 of them!

Clubnights are a great way to find out about the group as entrance is free and open to everybody. You can expect about 20 to 40 people (in addition to those on stage). Asked who is the typical participant, Christopher replied, "Anyone! We have actors and helpers of all ages and nationalities." Advantages include meeting people, especially English-speaking thespians. Those who do not fancy appearing on stage are welcome too. It's a great social atmosphere and there's plenty to do off stage: set design, costumes, make-up, etc. Self-confidence is boosted, such as speaking to a room full of people in a professinal context. Non-native English speakers are welcome to participate. In fact, in the last play there were several Swiss participants, plus some from Turkey, Slovakia, and Greece.

History of Village Players

The Village Players was founded on 11 November 1981 in La Conversion by a group of enthusiasts of English language theatre led by Zelda and John McKillop. The group’s first event was a theatre workshop held in December 1981 and the first “production” was a play reading of “Lovers” by Brian Friel in February 1982.

The society’s first full-length production was “The Matchmaker” by Thornton Wilder, staged in Lutry in May 1982. The society was formally established with a written Constitution in June 1982.

Since that start The Village Players have produced a wide range of shows in various theaters and halls in and around Lausanne and elsewhere in Europe.

Currently the VPs have staged 105 productions in front of paying audiences – including 17 Old Time Music Halls and 11 English-language theater festivals, not only in Switzerland but also in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. Since 1988 the troupe have widened their venues to include Bern, Morges, Lausanne, Vevey, Corseaux, Lonay, Pully, Geneva, Meyrin, and numerous other venues participating in festivals. Participation in these festivals has resulted in the awards being gained for Best Presentation, Original Script, and a Discretionary Award for an actress with a non-speaking role!

The Village Players have organized poetry, Karaoke, musical comedy, quizzes, evenings of nonsense, of erotica, of specific themes (e.g. Burns Night, St. George’s Day, etc.), as well as playreading and theater.

The VPs started producing shows at the CPO-Centre Paroissial d’Ouchy in May 1992 and since 2011 has almost exclusively used this venue for stage productions. Now called the CPO-Centre Pluriculturel et social d’Ouchy, it has been “home” for all The Village Players activities since September 2014.

Coming event

Join playwright Christopher Hemmens for two play readings.

His first play, In the Middle of Nowhere, premiered in Geneva and later went on to show at the 2015 FEATS festival. This quirky comedy follows a politically diverse family as they deal with an intruder called Fish who claims he'll die if he leaves the house. The reading will be directed by James Spencer and stars Kelly Gobrogge, Gwen Czajkowska, John McKillop, and Antoine Klotz.

Chekhov's Gun is a brand new work focusing on Gabrielle, who starts a new job at an accounting firm and is surprised to find a loaded pistol is kept in the office. Experience the twists and turns of this comic thriller as she desperately tries to get to the bottom of the gun's mysterious existence. The cast includes Margot Jaggy, Liz Watson, Paul Hauderoy, Dan Gardini, Clivia Stauffer, and Delphine Cohen.

The event is free (though attendees are encouraged to donate if they enjoy the evening) and there'll be an opportunity to talk with the author afterwards who will be busily taking down your opinions and suggestions in his customary sky-blue notebook while enjoying a well-earned pint.

Thursday, 24 January 2019
19h (doors open)
19h30 (show)
Centre Pluriculturel et Social d'Ouchy
Beau Rivage 2
Ouchy, Lausanne

The Village Players