Offbeat is run by Barbara Hockley and Jim Rolt, and they work locally with lots of lovely, talented and fun people in the lovely and eclectic town of Bromyard surrounded by wonderful Herefordshire countryside. With live music all over the town, a small theatre to play about in and lots of great views, this is the perfect place to feed a habit for all things theatrical, musical, strange and quirky. We have vast amounts of fun creating theatre and everything else that goes with the package.
Barbara has a background in theatre and teaching and loves to write plays – mainly, but not exclusively – for youth groups and schools. They’ve been performed as far away as the US as well as many performances closer to home. She appears sane until you read one of her plays and then it all slips away … Loves to design sets and costumes as well. Nothing mundane. Favourite word = quirky.
Jim has had a very varied past that includes a lot of travelling, clowning, playing of music and performing – all or some at the same time. Jim is the mastermind behind many of our amazing stage sets (see the pic of the giant peach he designed for ‘James & the Giant Peach’) and the famous Bugsy Malone ‘splurge guns’ – an artistic engineer …. I rest my case. Oh, and slightly leaning towards ‘daft as a brush’.
SOME OF OUR FRIENDS – in no particular order:
Rob Hockley is Barbara’s brother, at least, that’s what they’ve been led to believe. He writes completely off-the-wall and very funny plays for teenagers. Teenagers love them. In fact we all love them. Rob’s plays have been performed abroad and he has won an award so we refer to him as an ‘International Award Winning Playwight’. We don’t care because it’s true.
Our friend Hugh ‘Boz’ Farey is involved in just about all of our theatrical outings. Boz is an actor, singer, lighting designer, props creator and general good ‘un. We think he’s also a good example of the ‘English eccentric’ (whatever that means – ‘completely barking’ probably).
Emma Gibbons is an actor we’ve known ever since we first started doing theatre round here. We quickly realised her talents leant themselves to poster design and set design as well as singing and acting, so we exploited them as much as possible and continue to do so. I seem to remember some amazing 2D props for Perilous Tales as well…ummmmmm … quirky – definitely quirky.
Ness Thomas left the Youth Theatre in 2013 (last seen playing Granny Weatherwax) and fell straight into the cunning trap we set. Versatile and great fun, the best sort really. As did ..
Sam Collins. We have a lot of cunning traps. We hope it has something to do with the strange and quirky shows we love so much. Sam can sing. We like this. He can also act – which is useful in a theatre company.
Dom Edwards first worked with us on Beauty and the Beast as Freddie Beauty’s slightly camp cousin (you may not find this character in the original). We try very hard to stop him mincing now. I have seen him dance but singing is yet to be tested.
Greg Swinford is a musician, singer and composer. He’s currently collaborating with Barbara on the long-awaited bit of madess for 10 year olds ‘Spy School’ and they also have a version of Alice up their sleeves. They have big sleeves.
Mark Cox is an actor we love working with and usually do. It sometimes appears as though Boz and Mark are theatrically married as they frequently grace the stage together, but we know it’s not really true. Well, not completely anyway. Mark has lots of gears to use in rehearsals and sometimes gets to 11.
Josh Herriott is an actor who doesn’t sing at all (but we have seen him dance). He’s jolly handy with lights, sound and techie stuff as well – and he services splurge guns. Not many people can say that. Played the dreadlocked Beast in our version of Beauty and the Beast.
Sally Handley is a versatile SM that will read in / act in anyone who isn’t there. We love Sally. Sometimes she rehearses by herself (that would be a very bad day indeed). She loves our dog. Sally will be acting in The Ghost Hunters in the Autumn (2014). Good job we’ve got Jane..
Jane Merry is a whizz with organising the things that go on in the background. Techie stuff, props, buttons and cables – all that stuff (I can’t even write about it convincingly). New to Offbeat and definitely right up our street.
Alison Stobart is the costume department. Along with Barbara (who ‘sews’ with glue and safety pins) Alison creates the famous unique costumes that we love sooo much.
David Verrinder has been performing with us ever since he played a remarkable Earthworm in ‘James and the Giant Peach’ a few years ago. He doesn’t wear a dress on stage these days. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
The opportunities we have around us to be creative are seemingly never-ending – I believe if you look hard enough you’ll find the same opportunities where you are as well. Can’t see them? Create them. We both believe that artistic expression is a necessity of life! Create it! Offbeat Theatre is a meeting place for ideas and performance … we hope you find something that inspires – or just maybe interests you enough to look further and explore.