Entering Arcadia: Licensing Manager Debbie Simmons on appearing in Stoppard


As a member of the licensing team here at Samuel French, it is my job to ensure that our customers have their licenses in place for their performances.

Last week however, it was my turn to tread the boards with Southside Players as I was lucky enough to be a part of the cast of a production of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard.

I knew that my amateur group intended Arcadia as its next production, and that we had permission from the principal agent to go ahead (something that had to be checked as we’re based in London, where special restrictions often apply). After reading the play I knew I had to audition for the part of Lady Croom and was lucky enough to get it! She has (in my opinion) some of the best lines in the play and I got the added benefit of getting to dress in Regency costume.

Debbie (far left) on stage in Arcadia

Debbie (far left) on stage in Arcadia

The play is set in both the Regency and modern era and is a fascinating mix of ideas. As we progressed through performance week, I was still discovering something new each and every time I saw it and I like to think I finally got to grips with the maths! It was a while since I last performed on stage and I found myself feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement before the performances, and much relief afterwards that I remembered all my lines. Saturday night was our last performance, followed immediately by the get-out and then an after show party (until 6am!), and a definite case of post-show blues, that I am slowly working my way out of.

Debbie meets Tom Stoppard

Debbie (far right) met Tom Stoppard on the set of Parade’s End

Tom Stoppard’s plays are amongst our most popular, and getting to perform in one I can see why. There is a sense of fun and wit to his writing as well as a characteristic intellectualism that makes them both fun to perform as well as to watch. Our performance run sold out and the feedback has been really positive, which was a great boost to our confidence. I realised afterwards how many new friends I had made during the experience and am looking forward to the three ‘reunion’ evenings out we have planned already.

To all the other societies who are performing shows at the moment, toi toi toi or break a leg! I hope you enjoy your run as much as I did.

Discover the full range of Tom Stoppard titles available to perform from Samuel French or read his latest play The Hard Problem, now playing at the National Theatre

Production photos by Kate Monro


One thought on “Entering Arcadia: Licensing Manager Debbie Simmons on appearing in Stoppard

  1. I am glad that you auditioned for the part of Lady Croom and you were lucky enough to get it! You put the life in the play and your dialogues were very strong. I believe that you gave life to the play.

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