The Inn Theatre Company - Who's Who

As with any theatrical organisation, there are huge numbers of people involved with getting the show on the road - and we're no different! Below are just a few of the hardy souls who comprise The Committee! Sounds ominous, but they're a pretty nice bunch, all in all; and it will give you an idea of the multiplicity of skills, some brought to the company, others learned through neccessity, that these people have. They're all working particularly hard around now (March - April ) as we put everything in place for this year's Dartmouth Shakespeare Week. Wish them luck; they might not need it but it's always good to have a back-up!

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This is Jane Windsor-Smith who had the idea of an open-air Shakesperean production and thus not only was she the founder of the company but also of Dartmouth Shakespeare Week. She would be the first to admit that she wasn't alone in the formation, but she is the only one of the original committee that is still completely involved in the running of the company.  She is, in fact, our new Artistic Director, having stepped up to the plate when our previous AD retired.

In the very early days, the original team had to do literally everything. Janie made costumes (it's thanks to her and many dedicated ladies that we have the wardrobe we have today), made sure the generator was up at the Castle so that we could see what was going on (it helped the audience too) and also got the programme together, hunted for props and appeared on stage.She has been involved in Theatre, in one way or another, for most of her life, also running a Theatre in Education company and appearing with The Dartmouth Players.

She won Best Actress at both the Teignmouth Drama Festival and the NDFA Regional Final in 2003, for her role in 'Early Blight', presented by The Dartmouth Players. 2003 was a busy year then. Janie played Maria in our first production, Twelfth Night, and the following year, in The Taming of the Shrew, role-shared the part of the Tailor. The Merchant of Venice (2005) saw her not only making many of the costumes for the production (those that we didn't hire from The Royal Shakespeare Company) but also appearing, often unannounced, in the courtroom scene towards the end of the play. In Romeo and Juliet, the following year, Janie gave an inspiring performance as Angelica (The Nurse), not the easiest role in Shakespeare.

In 2007 we all had an incredible experience putting on 'A Misummer Night's Dream' and Janie had another first: she played a man, Snug the Joiner (rooooaaar!), complete with beard and bad habits.
In 2008 she directed 'The Tempest' - another first for her - but obviously had a good time, because in 2010, she co-directed 'Macbeth'. She got back on stage in 'As You Like It', in 2011, playing the voluptuous, but slightly dim, love interest for Touchstone, the lovely Audrey. She directed The Taming of the Shrew in 2014 (another first: commedia d'ellarte production) and also directed an award winning production of 'Dominion' (for Theatre Hub), which took the People's Choice Award at the Swindon Fringe Festival in 2016. And she's directing 2017's tour of The Tempest.

She has recently formed a professional company (Theatre Hub) with her husband, Max Brandt, and together with The Inn, started touring productions 2014. Thus far they have taken A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night and, in 2017, The Tempest on the road.

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Meet Lynne Deller, who has had more jobs with The Inn Theatre Company than you can shake a cod-piece at! She stitches, she keeps notes, she smiles a lot, she direct's plays (Joining the Club, mentioned on a previous page), she's a movement coach, she's a stage manager, she smiles a lot, she's a set designer, she teaches drama at Torquay Grammar School for Girls, she keeps calm in a crisis (thankfully), she's recently become a computer whizz and she was the Assistant Director for 2008's 'The Tempest'. And directed the movement sections for the Nymph's and Dog's. Did we mention that she smiles a lot too?
There is a lady (or gentleman) like Lynne in every Company, and we thank our lucky stars for her being there when she's needed, and when she isn't. Oh Yes, she's also our Education Officer and does a huge amount of work with a local junior theatre group, based in Stoke Fleming.

This is Max Brandt. He would probably be the least reliable person to ask how to get involved with the Theatre. How did he find himself part of The Inn Theatre Comapny? The simple answer is: He met Janie (they were actually married in February 2008). So being in a company is better than speed dating.
Max came late to acting (some would disagree!) and pretty much his first role anywhere was Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Then came Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, followed, in 2007, by Starveling in A Midsummer Night's Dream. He has had roles in 'Revealing Briefs' as a dumb,
drum-playing Monkey and alongside Janie, in 'Orca'.
He took on one of his most challenging roles to date in 2008, playing Prospero in 'The Tempest'. 2009 and 'Much Ado About Nothing' was next, where he played Don Pedro, followed by Macduff in the 2010 production of 'Macbeth'; comedy in 2011 with Touchstone in 'As You Like It' and Sir Toby Belch in 2012's anniversary production of 'Twelfth Night'.

He directed King Lear in 2013 and has appeared as Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew ('14), Sir John Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windspr ('15), Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet ('16) and is directing the  Inn Theatre Company's fifteenth anniversary prodcution of Othello in 2017.

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He has also written three one-act plays which we produced under the collective title 'Threesome'. In March 2011, we also prduced his first full-length play. Entitled 'Dominion', it dealt with the extremely sensitive subject of a woman dying of cancer who decides to find her husband a new partner before she dies.

This play was subsequently produced by Theatre Hub and wond the People's Choice Award at the 2016 Swindon Fring Festival. He also writes thrillers ('Blind Cupid' - published by Magic Oxygen) and currently working on a stage play for the Mayflower400 celebrations, tentatively titled 'Constance'.

The young lady on the left of this picture, playing the devised role of Kate in King Lear, is Lucy Nichols and the one of the latest additions to the company committee. It's part of our self-imposed remit that we encourage and, we hope, nurture interest in theatre in all its forms. And it was to that end that we invited Lucy to join us on the committee, not only to help us out but to get the invaluable opinions of someone who is younger than the majority of the other committee members.

Her enthusiasm and energy know no bounds and she has taken on the task of researching and planning some peripheral events around Dartmouth for this year's Shakespeare Week

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Antonio the pirate.

The gesticulating gentleman, in the very fetching black leather, is the one and only Ernie Wingeatt, a recent inductee to the committee.

Ernie joined us in 2010 to play Ross in Macbeth then, because he had such a great time - he says - he came back in 2012 to play Antonio in Twelfth Night. So we nabbed him...sorry, we asked him politely if he would care to sit in and give us the benefit of his knowledge and wisdom. He kindly agreed and as a reward, he's was given the dubious honour of playing Gloucester in King Lear in 2013.

Ernie is an asset to any body trying to organise anything, whose boundless energy and positivity have given us al a huge boost.

Jill Brock has been involved with performance and design for many years and it seemed daft not to invite her to join the committee and make use of all her experience.

In the picture, she is playing Kate, from The Taming of the Shrew and she is also involved in the 2017 tour of The Tempest, playing Gonzala. She is delighted to be able to add the role of Gonzala to her repertoire but not so delighted to hear the character described in the play as “ancient”, but sees this as the inevitable and natural progression of her life-long involvement both in front of and behind the scenes on many and varied occasions over the years.

 Most recently she directed “The Merry Wives of Windsor” for The Inn Theatre Company. She designed the set and was assistant director for KATS award winning production of “Oliver!” in 2015 and will be designing for The Inn’s production of Othello at Dartmouth Castle this summer. Jill is also a member of The People’s Company at the Theatre Royal Plymouth where she enjoys the chance to learn and above all, simply to play.

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James Osben, some of you may recall, proposed to his fiance Rheanne on the last night of The Taming of the Shrew. We have very fond memories of that night...and of their wedding in 2016.

When he first moved to Devon, James was looking for a company to join, just to see if he enjoyed it and to try and meet a few new people. Look where that got him...on the committee!

James has been with us since 2013, when he played in King Lear and has gone on to play in all our producitons since and also played the male lead in 'Dominion' when it won the award at the Swindon Fringe Festival. 

He has been well and truly bitten by the theatrical bug and has since attended the Bath Theatre Royal School and has recently directed his first production: Ross Purdy's brlilliant play 'Me Time'.

Oh yes...he's al;so playing Iago in Othello and Caliban in 2017's tour of The Tempest. Not much to do in your spare time, really.

Benjy Hamilton studied Drama at Dartmouth Academy and joined The Inn as a walk-on in 2007's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and he hasn't stopped yet!

His crowning hour, thus far, was King Lear, when he channelled his 'nasty' to play Edmund. Although he can play lovely too: Demetrius, and Sylvius to name but two.

He is playing Michael Cassio in Othello (2017) and Sebastian in The Tempest, which starts touring in May 2017.

Benjy, bless him, has been there when needed and always, always helped out if he possibly could. and how do we say thank you to him? Yep. Put him on the committee! 

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CHARLES SUTHERLAND, whilst not exactly a sleeping partner, is the man who beavers away in the background, helping raise funds and, thanks to him solely, get us a Lottery Grant to buy some new sound equipment. Brillaint bloke.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Committee. And although they do a lot, if it wasn't for all the time and energy that everyone puts in, then there wouldn't  be a company. You can meet some of the others on the page entitled The Actors.

 Then there's our brilliant technical crew and the blokes with the hammers and drills and know-how who put up our sets each year.

And the wonderful group of people who every year, turn up and run the front-of-house operation. Absolute champions, all of 'em!!