It is with great sadness we report that one of our most loyal and long-standing members, Frederick Lawson, went missing on Wednesday 4th April 2018 and is presumed drowned. The Thames was swollen after heavy rainfall and he had gone to the bottom of his garden to check that his boat was secure. He hasn't been seen since.
Frederick and his wife, Beryl, have been involved in almost every production SHADDO has ever put on. Frederick not only performed on stage in a number of productions, but also directed the 2009 panto Jack and the Beanstalk. In more recent years he and Beryl regularly took responsibility for managing all aspects of Front of House. Frederick, with Beryl always at his side, was a loyal supporter all of SHADDO's activities, attending and hosting social events, participating on the SHADDO committee, staffing SHADDO stalls at various village events and helping with all stage, set and scenery construction. He was always full of encouragement and enthusiasm, with a ready smile and a story from his Amdram heydays in the North of England!
Long will Frederick be remembered, with great affection, by his fellow thespians. We send our heartfelt condolences to Beryl and her family.
One of our founding members, our first Life Member, Lizzie Thomas, sadly passed away on 17th April 2015. She collapsed during the penultimate performance of the play "Swan Song" by local playwright Norman Robbins.She had received this accolade from the local arts critic:
"... I decided the laurels of the evening must be handed to Liz Thomas, in a role which ensured she could rarely leave the stage. As the infuriating singer's friend and devoted fan, Marianne Grayson, she delivered a tour de force that deserved a standing ovation. Once again, a clear indication that in the right hands, community players can rise to astonishing heights."
Alison Stubbs, Mid Devon Gazette
She died doing something she loved. She will be very sadly missed by all her many friends in SHADDO and in Shiplake.
Thoughts on a Colleague and Friend
When Lizzie Thomas told me she was planning to move to the West Country I thought briefly about letting her tyres down. I wasn't quite sure how SHADDO, our marginally talented local drama group or indeed the village, would manage. How could we replace Lizzie? If anyone wants to know exactly what “rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in” means....then look no further than Liz Thomas. Although I knew Lizzie before we started working together in local drama fifteen or so years ago, it was really only through the hours spent together in rehearsals, post rehearsal pub, set build, endless committee meetings, corralling small children and the myriad of other things that come with the joy of AmDram, that I really got to know her well.
Lizzie came with some great life skills. One of them was being able to deal with those really, really eager parents. You know the type. They think their little Jacinta is the next Olivier and perhaps she shouldn't be just the third pixie on the right. What do you say to them and still manage to keep them on board? Well, Lizzie knew. She often directed our pantos, some of which seemed to have a cast slightly larger than Ben Hur, and she did it with a natural common sense and great efficiency. She was the 'go to' person for a bit of advice and a nudge in the right direction.
When Lizzie left us, I told the rest of the group, that in my humble opinion, we were losing our best actor. I, and many others, still believe that. She had great timing, was word perfect, she could do comedy and pathos, but most importantly she was great fun to be with. She had that quizzical eyebrow raising expression that could lift a small car.
Let’s not forget the rest of Team Thomas. Andrew was invaluable in set build, and Harriet a ferociously efficient stage manager, director and occasional actor. We missed them all when they left.
There’s a stage in Shiplake that’s a little gloomier now that Lizzie’s gone. Thank you Lizzie for your hard work, your commitment and, of course, the laughs.