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David Pibworth | The Blog

Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

The Arches Theatre: Rehearsals Are In Full Swing!

Two fabulous productions are coming along nicely ...

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It's been an exciting few weeks with the casts of MKTOC and ETC Theatre Company holding rehearsals at the Arches Theatre ...

This is me rehearsing at The Arches Theatre to be Dreyfus in The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark

This is me rehearsing at The Arches Theatre to be Dreyfus in The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark

copyright: the arches theatre

I've been lucky enough to see both casts in action, as I have a part in both productions. I am playing Chief Inspector Dreyfus in The Pink Panther - A Shot in the Dark. I'm getting awfully good at his mad twitch! I'm also playing Christopher Sly, a drunken beggar, in The Taming of the Shrew. I often get cast as a drunk even though I haven't drunk alcohol for about 25 years. Mind you, I did a fair bit of rehearsal before that.

"Rehearsals for both have been going very well!"

John Drinkwater, director of The Pink Panther, has the cast meet twice a week at The Arches Theatre. Some of the cast have done a little theatre so far, and some are more experienced. Some are brand new to acting, having decided it's time to give something new a try, which is just brilliant. It's important to get them all together regularly to not only rehearse, but to also build a great cast spirit, give encouragement and to increase confidence for those starting out on the stage.

We meet at the venue to give everyone the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the space and to get used to projecting their voice so the audience can hear from all corners of the theatre. It also gives Clouseau and Cato the chance to practise their epic fight scenes! We're currently doing line and scene runs, and in the next week or so it will be the full run-through, technical and dress rehearsal. Then on the 15th - 17th August, it will be the real thing!

Clouseau and Ballon get tangled up during a billiard match

One part of rehearsals that I really enjoy is the speed line runs. This is where we only say our lines as quickly as possible with no acting, pauses, emotion. The speed doesn't stop until the end of each scene. It helps us all focus on our lines and our cues. Next time we do this, we'll get it on film and share it with you.

ETC Theatre Company is also made up of experienced actors who are very excited to be performing at The Arches Theatre from 22 - 24 August. It is a first for them, and we hope they decide to come back again next year!

Steve Brigden, the Director of The Taming of The Shrew, is an industry professional with many film and theatre credits to his name, including work for The Royal Shakespeare Company. Throughout rehearsals, he has been sharing his skills and acting expertise with the cast, who also boast a wealth of Shakespearean knowledge and experience between them.

Both casts are working very hard to bring their usual high standards of professional and entertaining productions. Whichever show you are booked to come to, you are in for a fantastic evening.

"Would you like to know more?"

If you'd like to find out more about The Arches Theatre then do give me a call on or visit our website to book tickets to any of the productions we're presenting this summer!

Until next time ...


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More about David Pibworth ...

David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.

David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.

He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.

He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.

This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing £10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.

David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.

He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!


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