Ladies & Gentlemen...The Collen Players!
I was please to read that the Church in Wales (on the 'Social Media Policy' on their website) affirm that, 'Humour is a great gift and an essential part of life..' and that it is '..an important part of any ongoing relationship or conversation.'
Humour and joy has certainly been a part of our churches ongoing relationship with the wider community here in Llangollen. As part of our outreach and ministry of fun through the visual and performing arts, our group of churches formed a new troupe in 2019 that performs regular Music Hall and Variety shows in our community hall. Every show has sold out and we have welcomed people from all over North Wales and across the border! It has been thrilling to see people enjoy community singing, laughter and a touch of nostalgia.
Llangollen is famous for hosting the international Eisteddfod every year. But not only does this small Welsh town draw in musicians and performers from all over the globe, it is also home to many local performing groups and societies: The Operatic Society, The Pantomime Group, The Forty One Club, The Fringe Festival, to name a few. And now, your own – your very own, The Collen Players!
I have always been interested in the songs of the British Music Hall. I am currently pursuing an informal study on the theology of humour and researching the life of Fr Stewart Headlam, a Victorian Anglo-Catholic priest who defended the Music Halls at a time when the clergy regarded this form of entertainment as vulgar and obscene.
For the shows, I take up the gavel as the Chairman and the performers are mostly from our group of four churches in the Llangollen area. Within this disparate group are professional actors, singers, performing arts students from the local High School and Wrexham Glyndŵr University.
Collen was a welsh saint who established a church in Llangollen in the sixth century. The Welsh word ‘llan’ translates as ‘Church Enclosure’ and the name Llangollen, the ‘Church of Collen’, derives from it.
This was my opening, as Chairman, for the very first show in October 2019:
"My Lord’s, Ladies & Gentlemen, GOOD EVENING!
Welcome to this Cavern of Conviviality, this Emporium of Entertainment, this Temple of Titivation, in which the management proudly presents at ENORMOUS EXPENSE….
A Superior and Sparkling Series of Salubrious Scenas and Scintillating Solos, Subtly Sequestered into a Superlative and Stylish Symposium…
My name is Lee Taylor and I’m your Chairman for the evening. That’s a kind of MC - Master of Cemeteries.
Here now, tickling the ivories with gay abandon and anything else within reach…MR OWEN ROBERTS! As always, he’ll be playing with feeling…feeling for the right notes.
I’d like to start by making a little appeal to you all….a little appeal Oh! She’s getting her purse out…No, not that kind of an appeal dear! This is an appeal to laugh as much as you can at the jokes….I get paid by the titter (tuppence a titter)…a little titter here….and a little titter there…all adds to the bigger titter.
So I want to see rows and rows of gleaming teeth….come on, show us your teeth, show you teeth… No, show’em, madam, don’t hand them around. Looks like a dentists nightmare!"
Here is a clip from our Christmas Show in 2019. We hope to be back on stage very soon! Follow us on Twitter: @CollenPlayers & Facebook: The Collen Players