"There is a belief that only those who want to act join us," said Ros Liddiard, who has been associated with the group the 1960s. "However, some of our busiest members would not dream of appearing on stage."
She explained that the recent superbly costumed commedia del arte style, The Venetian Twins, had a cast of 12, with a crew of 32 for 39 roles. They included a choreographer, fight and music directors and skilled make up artists.
In contrast Duet for One, which was presented in January, had just two actors in modern dress but the production still needed a crew of 27 covering 30 different tasks..
"Add in the five Front of House and Bar staff required for each performance and it can be seen that however many, or few, actors appear on stage all productions need a huge back up team."
Potential actors are invited to the play readings and open auditions publicised on the website chesiltheatre.org.uk and the local press. Frequently someone new is cast and happily they often go on to take on other responsibilities. The two Children's Youth Theatre groups bring in young people and their parents. The links with the University of Winchester are being developed with three students appearing in The Venetian Twins, three working backstage and others have been helping with the youth groups.
"The coffee mornings are a friendly informal way to meet members, explore our beautiful theatre and learn about the many different activities which take place behind the little red door," said Ros.
For more details contact Ros on firstname.lastname@example.org