It all started back in 1991, when Ken & Viv Howard approached their friend Kay Smith to discuss the viability of setting up an amateur society at the new Village Hall in Colnbrook. They penned a parody of ‘Allo, Allo’, entitled ‘Yet Another French Connection’ which was performed a few months later. Little did they know back then the impact the group would have on the community over the next 20 years.
Over that period, CAST have gained an enviable reputation in the local area, regularly packing out the Village Hall with audiences that keep coming back for more, something that is sadly so rare in amateur theatre these days.
Not to be pigeon-holed, the group have tried their hand at a variety of genres, from musicals and revues, through to farce, comedy and pantomime.
In 1994, the Star Trek spoof ‘Dazzle’ gained the runners-up position in the Constance Powers trophy for ‘Group most worthy of encouragement’.
In the spring of 1994, the success of ‘A Class Act’ led to an invitation from the Mayor of Slough to perform at the MGM theatre (now )as part of the celebrations to welcome Colnbrook into Slough. The evening saw the group raise £1000 for the Mayor’s charities.
The summer of 1995, was celebrated by the announcement that the actress Hayley Mills had become CAST’s President.
By 1997 CAST’s shows were gaining industry acclaim, with ‘Slice of Saturday Night’ quoted by NODA (National Operatics and Dramatics Association) as “….one of the finest amateur productions of this type of show I have ever seen”. Additionally, the spring show ‘Bouncers & Shakers’ was nominated for the ‘Ron Kench shield for drama’.
In 1998, the May Day bank holiday became CAST’s proudest moment when they were invited to perform a solo spot at the Cancer Research Campaign’s 75th Birthday Gala at the Royal Albert Hall. The
group performed 3 showstopping numbers from recent shows .
To celebrate the year 2000, CAST organised the Colnbrook Millennium Fair with financial support from the Parish Council. Close to £2,000 was raised for charities in the village, the Borough of Slough and nationwide.
It is perhaps fitting that having served the community for 10 years, the group were in 2001 awarded the ‘Community Cup’ by Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council in recognition of the hard work put into their shows, the Millennium Fair and the Pantomime during the year 2000.
In 2004, the production of Stags and Hens was nominated for the XXX
In 2006, the Songbook Gala was a fitting tribute to founder Ken Howard, raising over £3,000 for Thames Hospicecare on the evening.
This was followed by the successful world premiere of CAST member Mike Starr's play 'Stranded'.
CAST have been providing the village and surrounding community with their annual Pantomime since December 2000, and have gone from strength to strength over the years, raising in the region of £5,000 for charity in the process.
The group’s social scene has continued to blossom over the years, with a varied calendar of events including Car Treasure Hunts, Game Show Nights, Quiz Night, themed Discos, and an annual Members Ball where members old and new can meet up and let their hair down.
Since it’s formation the group has worked tirelessly to provide entertainment to the local people both at the Village Hall and out and about at various hospitals and old people’s homes throughout the borough. It has gone from having no assets to having built up an enviable collection of props, scenery, costumes, lighting and sound equipment – the only problem today is finding somewhere to store it all!
So what of the future? Well, rest assured there will be a full programme of Panto, Plays and Musicals for your entertainment as CAST move further into their second decade under the guidance and leadership of a new generation of members.
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Our next production will be Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, watch this space for read-through and audition dates, to be announced soon. Rehearsals will begin Monday 11th September at 8.30pm.
Colnbrook Village Hall
Colnbrook SL3 0RF
Tel: 07711 109331 (Secretary)
The Academy @ CAST (youth group) Monday evening - 6.30 to 8.30pm
Adult Group - Monday evening 8.30 to 11pm and Thursday evenings - 8pm to 11pm at Colnbrook Village Hall