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GODS is Churchill College’s dramatic society. GODS oversees drama and comedy events throughout the year in college, as well as providing funding for productions for plays outside of college that involve Churchill students. If you’re wondering what GODS stands for, we don’t know; despite our best sleuthing, the answer is unknowable and will forever remain a mystery. We generally rehearse our productions and hold workshops in the Music Centre, and perform our shows in the Wolfson Hall, which can accommodate up to 300 people, and probably has the widest stage in Cambridge.
Apart from our shows, GODS hold regular meetings and social events, which are open to everyone, whether they’ve been involved with a play or not. There’s very little commitment required to be a member of GODS (the only thing that really grants you ‘membership’ is being on the mailing list or joining our Facebook group). GODS members are statistically the nicest people in any environment, and we’re always there if someone would like advice on how drama or comedy in Cambridge work. You can email us, approach those wearing our GODS hoodies in college, or come to one of our events; we hold informal pizza evenings and theatre trips as well as more formal meetings, which anyone can attend. If you’re interested in finding out more about GODS, join our Facebook group, or email one of our helpful committee members.
The highlight of the GODS calendar is Fresher’s Play, produced every Lent term by a cast and crew made up entirely of freshers. This production is a great chance for budding actors, directors and backstage crew to get a taste of amateur theatre in Cambridge, with the love and support of the older members of GODS showing them the ropes. Any fresher’s reading this that want to be partake in college drama in any capacity, both in front of and behind the curtain, should contact the GODS committee, who can tell them how to get involved. Last year’s Freshers Play was ‘Whodidit’, a farce by Neil Harrison, produced and directed by Ted Hill and Nathan Smith.
We aim to put on a production of some sort during May Week, to add to level of merriment around college, and to give us something to do. These productions are usually incredibly inclusive and collaborative, with vast numbers of people giving up various amounts of time and effort to produce a show in only a few days. These more than any other GODS show are open to anyone that wants to be involved with anything: if you want to act, we’ll write a character for you. If you want to write, we’ll get you to write that character for you. If you want to help backstage, chances are we’ve already begged you several times to do it. Last year’s May Week show was a devised version of Oliver Twist, featuring almost everyone in GODS in some capacity, which ended up being much funnier and disrespectful to the original work than we’d originally intended.
The Fresher’s Play always happens every year in Lent term, but we try to put on as many other productions as possible in our various spaces, which often vary in scale of production and level commitment required, throughout the year. Anyone who wants to direct a play in college at any time will receive the full backing of the GODS community, and they are encouraged to do so. Our most notable ‘other play’ was the recent production of The 39 Steps, produced and directed by Anne Barrowman and Dori Levy respectively, which got a 4* review from The Tab, and was a triumph for college drama by all accounts.
The JCR committee are constitutionally bound to appear in an annual pantomime at the end of Michaelmas Term, which often means GODS get heavily involved in the production of it. Current GODS members, Danny Wood in 2011, Neil Wilkins in 2012 and Ted Hill & Adam Rudrum in 2013, wrote the last three pantomimes. This year’s panto was directed by GODS members Laura Gilbert, Adam Rudrum and Ted Hill, the lighting and sounds were managed by GODS members Anne Barrowman and Katt Parkins, and GODS member Ben Ramsay staged managed the production, which mainly involved dealing with JCR members going AWOL. Anyone that would like to be involved in producing the panto should speak to anyone from GODS; or if you’d like to write the panto, contact the JCR’s Environment and Ethics officer.
GODS are known for their appreciation of comedy, and have for the last few years run the improvised comedy troupe Churchill Improv, who perform free shows in college and at May Balls. GODS also run what used to regular but are now occasional improv workshops, allowing new members the chance to try out improv. As enthusiasm for improv has begun to decrease, we have adapted and are moving into developing scripted comedy. The first Churchill Smoker, a stand-up comedy night in the bar took place in early 2014, and there are plans to do it again, and to start integrating sketch performances in the near future, allowing potential comedy writers and performers to showcase and develop their skills. Anyone that is even a little bit interested in being involved in a comedy event in the future, as a writer or performer of sketches or as a stand-up comedian, should email Ted Hill.
If you’re interested in getting involved with GODS please get in touch with the President, Sophie Jones