The English Theatre Company is a merry band of  actors, technical crew, stage hands, front-of-house and marketing helpers. Here are profiles of some of us:

Melodie Minty plays Mother Bayard in The Long Christmas dinner. My husband and I love cooking – often wining and dining with friends or our regular visitors. My time is spent gardening, writing short stories, singing in the community choir and I love wild swimming. Unfortunately, I missed out being in ETC’s last two productions, due to my love of travelling as last year I was exploring the Galapagos isles and this year I was on a Safari holiday for my 70th birthday.

Ian Warwick plays Roderick 1 in The Long Christmas Dinner I was a DJ for 25 years, with two years professionally in Scandinavia, where I met my wife in 1970. I have always been an avid American Soul Music collector. I worked for a Building Society for 25 years and while there I played and managed the firm’s football team in the local league for 12 years before retiring from playing at 42. I also ran for the Leamington Cycling and Athletic Club and ran in the first London Marathon in 1981 coming inside the first 3,000 of the 9,000 entrants in a time of 3hrs 15 mins.

Rebecca Shields plays Lucia 1 in The Long Christmas dinner Before my life in France, I was a bit monochrome, really. Out here, I feel free to be a gardener, a chef, a blogger, a cold water swimmer and now… an actor! I adore watching stars and reaching for them, as well.

Chris Sutton plays Cousin Brandon in The Long Christmas dinner Chris, presently the ETCs only Scotsman, has been a part-time resident of the Hautes Pyrenees for almost 20 years. After an early career in the nuclear power industry and then 25 years running his family caravan park in the West Highlands of Scotland he and his wife Danielle fully retired to France in 2019. He likes nothing better than to combine his three passions by hopping on his motorbike and riding to Scotland for a couple of weeks of sailing and hill walking. His recently found interest in the theatre has seen him appear in ETCs productions such as Ben’s War, Calendar Girls and Beyond Reasonable Doubt.

Bill Kimber plays Charles in The Long Christmas Dinner Music industry specialist for the last 60 years; performer, producer and publishing executive for record company. Worked with some of the world’s biggest songwriters and recording artists. Still passionate about music and can’t stop dabbling.

Maggie Crane plays Leonora in The Long Christmas Dinner My love affair with acting began at school; the tall one with the short hair at an all-girls school, I got the boys’ parts. Then later, I acted in various plays for the royal Naval Drama Festivals and also in a local town group. Fast forward to France; a member of two amdram groups in another region but, since 2016, it’s been third time lucky for me with the ETC – to quote from Tina, ‘simply the best.’

Jenny Wood plays Genevieve in The Long Christmas dinner I have been an active member of the ETC for over two years performing in the comedies. My hobbies are gardening and crochet. In the UK I have one son and one grandchild who I visit as often as possible. I am known locally as the ‘Giraffe Lady.’ This is because I have a large collection of giraffes, both inside and outside, including a 2.5 metre tall garden statue.

Joanne Wood plays Lucia 2 in The Long Christmas dinner I have been a member of the ETC for 2.5 years assisting both front of house and backstage. My hobbies are cooking and knitting/sewing. I particularly enjoy providing catering for small occasions. I have three rescue pets, one dog and two cats. In the UK I have three children and five grandchildren. I visit the UK regularly to perform my ‘Nanny duties.’

Jon Wainwright plays Sam in The Long Christmas dinner and Borden Eisler in Plaza Suite As well as making an exhibition of myself onstage with the ETC, I am a professional photographer, art teacher, and graphic designer.

Mark Jackson plays Roderick 2 in The Long Christmas dinner I’ve been living in France for over two years and, after 44 years of doing roofing in England, I never thought I could be a “thespian” so I joined the ETC one year ago and it’s been fun fun fun all the way and would advise anyone to join us with or without experience.

Susan Seth plays Cousin Ermengarde in The Long Christmas dinner Having travelled on six Continents and lived in four of them, I have been Gersoise for the past 18 years. Apart from the theatre I love travelling, meeting up with friends, wining, dining and cooking as well as exchanging silly messages with my daughters in Oxford and Geneva. I also help with village gardening, knit, sew and am now on my third mandate on the local conseil communal. I enjoy monthly meetings with friends, including some ETC members, reading Shakespeare plays. I play the piano often accompanied by my marmalade cat, Rossini.

Caroline Lenaghan plays a nursemaid in The Long Christmas dinner Caroline says that ‘having played the fool on many occasions in life I thought I’d have a go on stage and played the whacky make-up artist in Calendar Girls. What a joy it has been to be involved with such a great bunch of people.’

Prudence Stojadinovic plays a nursemaid in The Long Christmas dinner Busy taming my jungle, formally a garden, making fake babies for the theatre and weaving baskets to fend off the approaching winter.

Maurice Shorter plays Roy Hubley in Plaza Suite Once upon a time, in the UK, I was the Managing Director of a company manufacturing analytical instrumentation. I didn’t expect, on moving to France 20 years ago, to contract a serious, progressive infection of the Arts. The first symptoms appeared with a request from the ETC to help with the Tech desk, then the Set; the Sound and finally, ‘we need an actor so the Production can go ahead.’ There’s no treatment for this infection, but when your wife is on the committee, think of the Brownie Points!!

Nancy Shorter plays Norma Hubley in Plaza Suite I was a workaholic family law solicitor in the UK. Twenty years ago, I moved permanently to France and freedom. Time, at last, to enjoy lifelong interests and develop new ones. The ETC is one of those interests and has become a part of my life. Maybe presenting a case in Court and acting are not so very different!

Kim Hoover plays Mimsie Hubley in Plaza Suite After a forty five day hike in 2014 across the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, my partner Michael and I fell in love with France. So we spend two years housesitting in France – the Hautes Pyrenees, Bordeaux, Chamonix, Provence – and ultimately decided that, ‘Le bonheur est dans le Gers.’ I can be found communing with (or cursing) nature in my garden, playing violin in my string quartet, hiking in the Pyrenees, and generally trying to be smarter than my dog and cat.

Shelly Frape is the Director of Plaza suite Shelly has recently returned to the Hautes Pyrénées after spending several years living in Southern Spain. Whilst music may be her raison d’être, her other passions include horses, galgos (Spanish greyhounds), dance and, of course, the theatre. She loves living surrounded by nature in the countryside but is also delighted to be involved, once again, with the theatre.

Tim Caudery is the Director of The Long Christmas Dinner Tim Caudery had a career based in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and this took him to live and work in various parts of Europe. It was while resident in Nicosia, Cyprus that he first discovered the amateur theatre. A prolonged stay teaching at university in Aarhus, Denmark provided few opportunities for acting, though he did find he was in demand for English voiceovers of films and TV programmes. Now retired in the Gers, he is once again heavily involved with the stage.


Phil Faiers
From The Beggar’s Opera to The Browning Version for the BBC staff training college, Phil’s involvement in theatre has been diverse. With leading roles in Pardon Me Prime Minister, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Noises Off, Donkey’s Years, and many other classic comedies, he eventually turned to directing. Since helping to found the English Theatre Company he has had roles in Absurd Person Singular, A King’s Speech, The Dark Side of the Moore, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead  and The Vicar of Dibley. He directed Under Milk Wood, Comedy Theatre Lunches, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Calendar Girls. He is currently rehearsing in ‘Allo, ‘Allo. Phil is the English Theatre Company’s founding President.

Nick Ashman
What started as a schoolboy crush has become a life-long affair; trying to create the magic that is theatre.  Being asked by his headteacher to help with the set-up for a visiting company led to helping, while still at school, with the staging for the Romford Shakespeare Theatre and thence to working professionally at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch before moving into the West End and The Palladium amongst other iconic venues where he earned the nickname ‘Spider’ for his climbing abilities. Nick is a founder member of the English Theatre Company and has controlled all things technical for all of our productions as well as overseeing the acquisition of much of our technical equipment.​

Gary Irvine
Gary moved to France after 14 years living and working in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates where he was a member of The Abu Dhabi Dramatic Society. He played roles in ‘Allo, ‘Allo, Educating Rita and Breaking the Code. As well as being a stalwart of the English Theatre Company he is also a member of  The Secret Panto Society in Toulouse where he played the dame in Peter Pan and directed Pinocchio. For the English Theatre Company he played in Auditions, The Vicar of Dibley and Mad Moments. He also directed The Vicar of Dibley and is currently directing ‘Allo, ‘Allo.

Jane Irvine
Jane described her role in Auditions with the English Theatre Company as ”an experience,
which though admittedly a bit scary at first, has since challenged me way out of my comfort zone
and luckily has been tremendous fun!”. She went on to play Thisbe among other roles in Mad Moments, then worked with The Secret Panto Society in Toulouse in their 2022 production of Peter Pan and more recently in Pinocchio which was directed by her husband Gary. For the English Theatre Company she played the iconic role of Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibley and is currently rehearsing in ‘Allo, ‘Allo.

Melodie Minty
During her teaching career  Melodie worked mainly overseas  in The  British  Primary School in Abu Dhabi,
where she  was regularly involved in all aspects of  school plays and end of term concerts. Now enjoying her  retirement and living  in  France, she was delighted to join the English Theatre Company and the opportunity to get back on the stage herself. Auditions was her third production with the ETC, having appeared in Under Milk Wood and Ben’s War. Melodie played several roles in Mad Moments and was in Countdown and bravely played a major role in Calendar Girls.

​Jacqueline Rochelle-Cawte
Jacqueline is an Honours graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). She trained in classical ballet, was a member of the Royal Ballet and the International Ballet Company. She was a member of the International Dancing Masters Association (IDMA) and was a Gold Bar medallist at Tap Dancing. Her international television work includes political satires with David Frost and sketches with Marty Feldman as well as recordings with the BBC Light Orchestra. Her IMDB entry notes her involvement with Marty Feldman’s At Last the 1948 Show. For the English Theatre Company she appeared in Under Milk Wood and had a part especially written for her in Auditions. She starred in various roles in Mad Moments and A Christmas Carol and most recently as Mrs Cropley in The Vicar of Dibley.

Anne Dickens
​​As Sports and Social Secretary, in a workplace of about 500 staff, comprising some 40 different sport and leisure activity clubs, Anne discovered amateur dramatics with the ‘Deansbank Players’. Supporting the company through productions such as Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and Pinter’s The Birthday Party, she took on acting in Ayckbourn’s Table Manners and then in Priestley’s Dangerous Corner. Theatre is something she misses here in Gascony and is happy that the English Theatre Company has enabled her to add a little drama to her life. She has played several roles for the English Theatre Company, most recently in Calendar Girls.

Annie Dawes
After a long break from theatricalities, Annie rekindled her passion for drama by joining the English Theatre Company and, with a lifetime of acting, directing and theatrical admin behind her, is now wondering what took her so long. Her love of the theatre was inspired by her school drama teacher and led to her playing Titania at age 18, at the old Plymouth Barbican Theatre.
She has been a member of theatre groups from Norwich to Newcastle, Leeds and Leicester. In Athens she played her namesake “Annie” in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, in Hong Kong she was in Oh, What a Lovely War!, and during her 15 years in Geneva she embraced both high comedy and deep drama, from Lady Bracknell to evil panto queens. For the English Theatre Company she directed the Victorian melodrama ‘Raulos the Rotter’ in Mad Moments, arranged our outdoor play readings during 2020 and 2021, adapted and directed A Christmas Carol and played a leading role in Calendar Girls.

Perry Taylor
​Perry, well-known for his humorous drawings of life in south-west France,
joined the English Theatre Company to play the part of Jim Trott in The Vicar of Dibley
in which he very nearly stole the show . . .
no, no, no, no, no, no, no. . . yes!
Of course, being an artist, he was press-ganged into scenery painting and
notably created the Yorkshire Dales backdrop to the Calendar Girls set.
He is currently rehearsing in ‘Allo, ‘Allo.

Ruth Faiers
Ruth is our Box Office Manager.
For many years she was the Reservations Manager for VFB Holidays based in Cheltenham — the pioneers of gîte holidays in France. Her experiences managing a staff of 25 and handling thousands of holiday bookings each year made her the obvious choice for our Box Office Manager, although she has been heard to say “I thought I had retired from all this!”

Other members are Joanne Ammon, Yves Brassell, Paul Broach, Rose Broach, Nick Collinson, Sue Davis, Tony Hazell, Ellie Hurst, Sean Hurst, Mark Jackson, Bill Kimber, Caroline Lenaghan, Rosie McCall, Judy Notman, Marion Robinson, Rebecca Shields, Hicham Sqalli, Pru Stojadinovic, Debbie Valentine, Jon Wainwright,