Jokers Wild is Great Horwood’s amateur dramatics group. Formed in 1972, the group's first production consisted of sketches, dancing, and singing performed by all ages. The following year saw the comedy Goodnight Mrs Puffin performed. A committee was elected, a constitution drawn up and monthly meetings held in the Village Hall. Activities were organised, such as play readings, and visitors were invited to talk and give advice on productions. Numbers swelled to well over 30 to include scenery painters, stage crew, electricians and sound people.
The cast of the Jokers Wild production of ‘A Waltz To Die For’, 2007. Back row (l to r): Phil Kilkenny, Rod Moulding, Ian Lamberton. Front row (l to r): Chris Johnson, Caroline Hanham, Jane Moulding, Margaret Michalski.
A production starts when a play or panto is chosen, auditions take place, scripts purchased and the committee decides on ticket costs, front of house, sets, costumes, lighting, music and stage crew. Weeks are spent on preparing the sets, designing and sewing costumes whilst rehearsals are in full swing. Then the dress rehearsal when any final touches are made. Now the big day of production arrives and all the hard work was worth it – packed houses and everyone happy. Jokers Wild is a fun way to get to know people, give entertainment to the village and donate some of the profits to village charities and organisations, as well as to enjoy and get involved in a satisfying pastime.
Rehearsing for the Jokers Wild pantomime ‘Goldilocks’, 2003. Back row (l-r): Rees Nicholls, Ellen Frost-Gilbert, Joanne Hopkin. Middle row (l-r): Lauren Blundell, Adelaide Newton. Front row (l-r): Sara Wheeler, Keiran Tucker, Suzi Gardner.
During a little over 40 years, 30 pantomimes, plays, murder mystery evenings and variety shows have been produced and performed in the village giving much pleasure to the community.