Meet the Players: Marie Stanikowski

I had been involved with various theatre groups while I was at school and university in my home country of Germany, and had always loved the feeling of camaraderie within the team, the creativity and the thrill of being on stage.  However, when I started working after graduating, I gave my acting ambitions a bit of a rest – and soon realised I greatly missed it.

My partner and I moved from Berlin to London four years ago, and apart from wanting to get back on stage, I was very keen to get involved with my local community and connect with the people in my neighbourhood.  I did a Google-search for local am-dram groups, found the St George’s Players website and noticed they were based just around the corner from our flat – it simply couldn’t have been better.

What followed was a bit of a baptism of fire, albeit the most fun baptism of fire imaginable!  I contacted Nell Wood, another one of our group’s committee members and director of the production Camp Confidence, to see if I could get involved.  As the opening night was only a few weeks away and all of the parts had been cast already, Nell asked if I’d be interested to help out backstage, which I was more than happy to do.

A few days later one of the actors had to drop out of the production, and Nell offered the role to me:  A probation officer who stands on stage dressed in nothing but a bathing towel.  Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity! After all, when would I ever be able again to stand in a church only dressed in a towel without getting myself into some serious trouble?  And I haven’t looked back since.

One of the things I love most about the Players is there is no limit to the ways you can be involved.  I have acted (in Camp Confidence, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Stepping Out), directed (Arsenic and Old Lace), and written and performed short pieces.  The group is also always open to new suggestions:  when I came up with the idea of putting on ‘mini shows’ at a local pub between the big productions, I had all the support I could have wished for from the committee and the wider group.

The thing that strikes me about everything I do with the Players is how much I get back out of it.  Sure, you have to invest a decent amount of time when you’re involved with a production and we all lead busy lives.  But I always, without fail, leave rehearsals, group meetings – and performances of course – with a big smile on my face.

And the support and interest that we get from our local community is a wonderful thing to see.  Whether it’s raffle donations, shop window space to put up our promotional posters or providing a room for us to hold our regular play readings (a big shout out to the Honor Oak), we do appreciate it greatly.

What makes St George’s Players special is the mix of experienced ‘veterans’ who have been with the group for years (in some cases decades) and new joiners who may never have been involved with a theatre production before.  Everyone brings loads of enthusiasm, friendliness and ideas to the table, and I can only encourage anybody who is thinking about getting in touch not to hesitate.  Even if you don’t know yet what exactly it is you’d like to do – acting, directing, publicity, lighting, sound, costumes – we’re more than happy to help you find out!

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