Touring theatre company still 'keen as mustard' after 18 years of drama

The Mustard Theatre Company cast of One Man, Two Guvnors on stage

Mustard Theatre Company took on One Man Two Guvnors in July 2018, with Peter Long, Emily Winter, Josh Entwistle, Dawn Bridges, Peter Sowerbutts, Paul Goldsmith, Emily Ryan, Paul Baker, Rob Backhouse and Peter Barfield - Credit: awlpix_photography

A touring theatre company that has been going 18 years is still "keen as mustard" and has a slew of dates planned. 

Since 2004 a small group of performers at Mustard Theatre Company have tried to dispense with amateur acting group norms and give themselves a bit of a challenge. 

Rob Blackhouse, a founding member, said: "We're always looking for new venues and bigger audiences, but not always with mainstream shows. 

"We've been successful, won some awards and have been nominated again for Best Play During Lockdown with the Killing of Sister George. 

"In the past 10 years, we've tried to perform things that are slightly more challenging for us and the audience, interspersed with things that will bring people in.

Three of the cast members of The Girl on the Train from Mustard Theatre Company

Rehearsals are underway for the group's 29th production, The Girl on the Train, based on the bestselling book - Credit: Rob Backhouse

"We don't have a large membership but we have a hardcore of people that do things." 

For example, Steven Phipps is the director and also gets involved in casting, building sets, technical decisions and even driving the van to shows. 

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This hands-on attitude is one of the reasons the company has continued for 18 years.

Mustard's 29th show in that time will be a run of performances of The Girl on the Train, based on the best-selling Paula Hawkins book. 

Mr Blackhouse said: "It's relatively early for ticket sales but there's been quite a bit of interest. 

"We've partnered with Lighthouse Women's Aid. We try to find a charity with some kind of connection to the play we're putting on.

"We offered the chance and they jumped at it, so we'll have leaflets, bucket collections and hopefully a visit or two to the show from leaders at the charity.

"The drama addresses issues of domestic abuse, particularly emotional, so we thought we'd raise awareness, really, and it's an opportunity to be able to support and highlight that particular charity and the work that they do."

Rehearsals are underway for The Girl on the Train which will be touring Suffolk in May

Directed by Steven Phipps, the show will be at seven theatres in May 2022 - Credit: Rob Backhouse

The production is premiering at Beccles Public Hall on May 4 and then showing at six more theatres across the region, including Kesgrave Community Centre on May 7 and Seckford Theatre in Woodbridge on May 15. 

To book tickets, visit mustardtheatrecompany.org.uk/.