Forest Theatre Company was formed in August 2001 by Suzanne Teed, Jacquie Speirs and Marian Mead with sponsorship from Teed Business Continuity. Their aim was to promote theatre and music in the heart of the Trossachs - now the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park - bringing together local talent from Gartmore, Aberfoyle, Kinlochard and Port of Menteith. The group built on the tradition of theatrical involvement in Gartmore where, for many years, the Gartmore Players had performed pantomimes that were largely written and produced by Jean Woodburn.
The first production in May 2002 was Annie and involved a cast of 42 adults and children - as well as a dog! Produced and directed by Suzanne Teed and Marian Mead, it was a resounding success and on that basis, the company grew from strength to strength. We are delighted to have Jacquie Speirs, Associate Principal Second Violin, RSNO, as our Musical Director.
Fiddler on the Roof, Songs from the Shows, Oliver! and The Sound of Music all followed to great acclaim and audiences grew larger and larger as the company became more widely known.
FTC were honoured when local composer Sally Beamish and local poet Donald Goodbrand Saunders announced that they wanted to write a musical for the company. The result was Shenachie - a wonderful love story set in the time of the Highland Clearances directed by Vicky Glasse-Davies. Shenachie went on to be entered into Cameron Mackintosh's competition The Highland Quest in July 2006 where it was selected to be one of the 5 finalists.
In March 2007, FTC moved in a slightly different direction by performing the musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors which had everyone laughing and rocking in the aisles. This production brought Stephen Langston of SL-Productions in to our fold and he offered his musical, Faeries, to us and directed the show in 2008. Faeries was performed by actors from Stow College (and our own Suzanne Teed as the Mother) at the Edinburgh Festival in August that year.
A huge fundraiser for the village hall brought 'The Committed' to the stage. The cast and crew brought together their musical talents to perform the songs from the film The Commitments. Additional musicians came in the form of several teachers from McLaren High School!
The King and I in 2009 was a colourful show when skilled villagers came up trumps with fabulous period costumes, headdresses, elaborate masks and props. Later that year, we branched out into the world of pantomime and Cinderella was performed by our under 16 members to high acclaim. A culmination of songs from hit musicals was turned into A Night at the Musicals in March 2010 and this proved the ideal stage for our teenage members to come to the fore and show their dancing, singing and acting talents off to an incredibly high standard.
To celebrate our 10th year we performed My Fair Lady in March 2011 and the shows keep getting better and better in terms of their staging, costumes...and performances! The Wizard of Oz in 2012 proved to be one of the most challenging technical productions to date. The Addams Family was performed in the hall from 26th-28th March 2015, Goodnight Mr Tom ran successfully for 3 great nights in February 2016 and last year we produced Peter Pan - A Musical Adventure by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles.
Our next production will be Oliver! by Lionel Bart and is to be performed in March 2018 - final dates tbc.
We are actively seeking volunteers to help backstage, front of stage and on stage! For further information on Forest Theatre Company, please contact Helen Webster, Chairperson on 01877 382810