With only a few days left until the opening night of the Lowestoft Players’ production of The Vicar of Dibley at Christmas, one of the society’s oldest members is making final preparations for her part on stage as Mrs Cropley.
Deanne Dickson first joined the Lowestoft Players 50 years ago having just moved back to Lowestoft with family, and wanting to make new friends after living away for 10 years. She has since played more parts than she probably cares to remember in over 100 shows including the lead in Hello Dolly twice, and the comical Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd. She has sung as a soloist in Christmas Spectaculars, directed numerous productions, written pantomime scripts and has served as Chair for no less than four terms of office and President once.
This will be Deanne’s first return to the stage since her very supportive husband Dr Robert Dickson CBE passed away in December 2019.
When most people at 80 years young are starting to take things easy we asked Deane what inspires her to keep going.
“Dame Judi Dench who will turn 87 this month and Dame Maggie Smith, who will also be 87 this month are a great inspiration to me” said Deanne.
“They both have an amazing ability to learn and perform major roles in theatre and film.”
Deanne explained that she learns her own lines by repeatedly reading the script, often aloud, until all her lines are all learned. For the role of Mrs Cropley Deanne has been watching on line previous television episodes of The Vicar of Dibley. This has helped her to develop Mrs Cropley’s accent.
Deanne was born in Happisburgh, Norfolk during the war. She moved with her parents to Lowestoft when she was two or three years old. Her career as an Orthoptist took her away from the Town to work at the Moorfield Eye Hospital in London. She also worked in the Channel Islands but has always regarded Lowestoft as her home, moving back when she was 28 years old.
What does the future hold for Deanne?
“There are limited roles to play for someone my age, but I am privileged that I can still play an active part in The Lowestoft Players” said Deanne.
“As well as playing Mrs Cropley I am also part of the production team as Performance Coach for The Lowestoft Players Pantomime, Beauty and the Beast. I did the same for Joseph. I’m really enjoying doing this and I’d very much like to be involved for as long as I can.”
Deanne has received two very special awards to reflect her commitment and success – the first Suffolk’s Inspiring Women in 2018 from Archant, and the other a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 from the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.
The Vicar of Dibley at Christmas will be performed at the Players Theatre, Battery Green Road, Lowestoft from 8 to 12 December 2021.
Just a few tickets remain available. To book please visit the Players Theatre website – www.playerstheatre/info or telephone the Players Theatre Box Office on 01502 770020.
Deanne Dickson - Emma Cullen Photography
The cast of Dibley with Deanne Dickson who will play Mrs Cropley on the far right - Stephen Wilson from the Lowestoft Players