RODSEC is the successor to Rolleston's successful Millennium Committee. It is a coordinating body for village organisations and interested residents. Its aim is to provide periodic community events, to raise funds to enhance community amenities and assist in preservation of the village. The Chairman is John Phillips.
Using extracts from various reports in Rollestonian amongst other sources this section of the web site is intended to provide news of their activities.
RODSEC - Summer 2017 News
(Details extracted from article that first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of the Rollestonian)
Call Mr Robeson
A Life With Songs
Sunday 2nd April 2017 in 7:30pm in Rolleston Club
At his first shot, the celebrated performer Tayo Aluko narrowly missed the mark, parking his battered Fabia Estate outside the Spread Eagle. Every square inch of the wagon’s interior was packed with a jumble of theatrical props for “Call Mr Robeson. A Life with Songs”. Once parked outside Rolleston Club it took Tayo up to three hours to get every item in place. The separate arrivals of sound engineer and pianist hardly distracted Tayo from the ritual. Piece by piece, a plethora of Paul Robeson memorabilia, was placed precisely in its pre-determined location; flags, books, a giant record label, metal box-files, framed family photographs, film posters, sheets of music, bottle of tablets, passport and an old wooden chair. The act of putting each item in place seemed to prepare the actor for the role of Paul Robeson. Interesting to see this method of performance preparation.
As soon as Tayo Aluko, in the guise of Paul Robeson, appeared on stage we knew that we were in for a treat. He arrived carrying a chair on his back, in the manner of slaves carrying cotton bales. Aluko is a commanding figure and his stage presence is impressive.
In 90 highly charged minutes this gifted actor took us on a roller-coaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable and eventful life; it highlights how his pioneering and heroic (but largely forgotten) political activism led many to describe him as the forerunner of the civil rights movement. It featured much fiery oratory and some of his famous songs, including a dramatic rendition of Ol’ Man River.
Robeson’s father was born a slave, but escaped, then graduated through university to become a church Minister, while his mother came from a Quaker family who worked for the abolition of slavery. Like his parents, Paul was very able: star athlete (baseball and football), lawyer, highly successful singer (a bass legend), film star and linguist. It was, however, his endorsement of the Soviet Union that ultimately wrecked his career in the US. One particular speech made in Paris in 1949 was deemed unpatriotic, and thereby Robeson had to endure years of public abuse, passport loss and cancelled bookings before his health finally broke. He was hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956. Robeson had a troubled but long-standing marriage and a son, yet still found the time to engage in a long series of hotel-room trysts.
Towards the end we see an old and tired Robeson. The actor gradually made his movements slower and heavier. In three short strides we saw him age thirty weary years. He finished with a haunting rendition of ‘I’m Going Home’, then slowly picked up the chair and shuffled off stage. Aluko returned moments later to a richly deserved ovation for his poignant and powerful performance: masterly and so very moving.
Robeson’s songs (accompanied by an on-stage keyboard musician) were delivered beautifully, drawing us further into his story. Aluko has a wonderful baritone voice which is perfectly suited to this part. After a short interval we were treated to a most interesting Q & A session. Everyone stayed on for this spell-binding experience.
We are grateful to all who came and supported this sell-out RoDSEC event. Thanks to Team Starbuck for going out with yet another Full House to their credit: we shall miss you dearly. Thank you to the remarkable RoDSEC Committee for getting it all together. Thanks also to Rolleston Club Committee for providing such comfortable surroundings and all bar personnel for their friendly professionalism.
Long after the last raffle ticket had be drawn, all tables cleared away, and everyone back home, Tayo Aluko was still slowly returning each stage prop to its place in the sad Skoda. Home in Liverpool, at this late hour, seemed a long way off, giving Tayo plenty of time to reflect on another triumph in this show’s 10 year history.
Hopefully, more Live & Local to come next year.
Who Killed the Caretaker?
Sunday 5th February 2017 - 7:30pm
Scene of Crime – Rolleston Club
School for Scandal
It was strangely comforting to see so many sleuths uncoiling themselves, stirring from hibernation and sliding into the snake pit of another murder mystery. Thanks to the charmers of Phoenix Theatre Group for luring a host of hungry hunters to this delightfully tasty entertainment. They have developed an extraordinarily addictive performance style - a bizarre blend of Carry On, Coarse Acting and Crossroads. They have blended an amusing cocktail, giving an extra-special twist to the local amateur dramatics scene. May they continue to go from strength to Strangeways.
With this pun-filled script, written by the prolific Chris Martin, Phoenix Theatre Group have found the perfect vehicle for their talents. Jasper Rickets, a lazy, obnoxious and opinionated school caretaker collects enemies faster than discarded fag ends behind the bike shed at Blinkton-on-Sea Comprehensive School. When he is finally stubbed out, there is a long line of delightfully named suspects queuing outside the door to the dismal boiler room: Trunk Scaffold (dishonest Builder), Miss Clarissa Apprehension (autocratic Headteacher), Miss Shirley Knott (frustrated School Librarian), Mr William Knott (passionate Head of Drama), Miss Rosemary Garden (flamboyant Head of Art) and Bob (victimised Assistant Caretaker). My money was on the bizarrely dressed narrators, (Pete Williams and Val Keeling) who turned up as Laurel and Hardly, I think.
At the interval, platters, piled high with Beryl Toon’s wonderful buffet, were flown in to nourish the frenzied decision-makers, as teams fought against the clock, and each other, to get their answer sheets handed in on time. Congratulations to Peter Wildsmith and team of super sleuths for their winning solution (it was a close-run thing – they won by a short hand-cuff)) and Cherry and Arnold Burston for concocting a scenario even more bizarre than the actual script !
Thank you to Phoenix Theatre Group for brightening up a mid-winter night and all those who slipped out from hibernation to enjoy a superbly entertaining evening of live entertainment. Good to see two junior Sexton Blakes getting in on the act. Evening all!
We look forward to presenting Murder Mystery 5 in two years time.
RODSEC - Spring 2017 News
(Details extracted from article that first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of the Rollestonian)
RoDSEC - Carols Around the Christmas
Mulling it Over
Thankfully, you came again in force to sing Christmas carols under a duvet of
star-sprinkled clouds. Up to 400 people gathered in shadowy constellations on
the dark lawn in front of the almshouses. Soon this canvas was joyfully daubed
with an amazing abstract of energetic splashes as swarms of glow sticks snapped
into life and danced like demented fire-flies. These devilish creatures had been
distributed to the children by our remarkable master of ceremonies; Revd Ian
Whitehead was in mischievous, flashing-Christmas-pullover mode. Meanwhile, the
twisting fires of flaming torches were reflected on the smooth surface of the
sinuous stream as it flowed around them. Simply breath-taking was the line of
beautiful luminary paper lanterns and shining tin can lanterns standing on guard
along the low wall.
A magical setting for a special occasion.
More light was shed on the situation by our Guest of Honour, the Mayor of East Staffordshire, Cllr. Beryl Toon. Beryl graciously took hold of the plunger and at the end of the countdown, with one mighty stroke, magically ignited a brilliant evening. Coloured lights bloomed on the donated Nordman Christmas tree, and, like a piece of antique jewellery, a string of brand new lights adorned the front of the almshouses. Scores of bright LED flashlights were switched on and beamed down upon reassuring carol sheets.
With microphone in hand, and the public address equipment working very well, Ian shepherded an enthusiastic mixed-age community choir through a programme of fifteen glorious carols.
Bandmaster Peter Dukes had kindly brought a substantial ensemble of talented musicians. To be singing alongside such a band is a very special experience. Their appearance here - the impact of the celebrated uniforms, the display of shining musical instruments, with reflections playing across their bright surfaces - combine to make this an enchanting experience. More special still was the drawing together of local folk at night, in the open air, under tall trees, seeing light reflected onto faces and warm breath curling in the cooling air. After quaffing mulled wine and tasting a variety of delightful homemade biscuits and shortbreads, people were moved to make significant donations to the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal - £406.04 was raised in total. Thank you .
Bandmaster Peter Dukes writes:
“It was an excellent evening at the Christmas tree, we all enjoyed it and on behalf of Burton Salvation Army and myself I would like to thank you and your team for the magnificent amount you have raised for our local work.”
RoDSEC is planning to do it again on Friday 8th December 2017. We hope to see you there.
Thanks to all who played a part in RoDSEC’s second Christmas Tree Event: to the Committee and all those who have saved, made, baked, mulled, felled, engineered, illuminated, persuaded, played, brewed, stewarded and sung. Special thanks to Joy for her powerful support.
Forthcoming RoDSEC Events
• “Call Mr Robeson. A Life, with Songs” - Sunday 2nd April 2017, Club (see
• RoDSEC AGM – Wednesday 8th March at 7:30pm in OGS (see poster for details)
• An Evening of Magic - Saturday 14th October 2017, Rolleston Club
• Carols Around the Christmas Tree – Friday 8th December 2017
Burton and District Arts Council (BADAC) - a registered charity that supports the voluntary arts community in and around Burton.
Last updated: 2 June 2017