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Colder Than Here brought the curtain down on the beginning of our new season with a truly emotional and thought-provoking piece of theatre. The audiences were left touched and very much in awe of the fantastic performances on display during the week. The play wasn't just notable for its performances show week; it marked the directorial debut of long standing member Andy Fraser, we welcomed Lauren Downes as a new member to TAODS and it was a special moment as mum and daughter duo Janet and Ellie Spooner took to the stage together. Ellie performing with us having come through the Hippodrome Youth Theatre and having just completed her first year at Bristol Old Vic. 

Thank you as always to all the tech teams that support the cast and production team and thank you to the audiences who continue to come and support TAODS. Enjoy some photos from the production and rehearsal period below.

Colder Than Here

By Laura Wade

We’re almost ready to get Colder Than Here. T.A.O.D.S. members have been working around the clock to get the set finished, sound and lights ready for the buttons to be pressed and the cast have been busy reading the paper, drinking tea and having picnics (photographic evidence). But really, Laura Wade’s dark comedy is looking great. We caught up with Andy Fraser, the director, to chat about this award-winning play.


What can you tell us about T.A.O.D.S. September production, Colder Than Here?

I can say it is a joyful and often funny play about a family coming to terms with death, though – no spoilers - no one actually dies in the play. It’s a play about the everyday little things that make up life around the bigger story. Like the boiler going on the blink and the cat going missing, stuff like that. 


How are rehearsals going for Colder Than Here?

The chemistry in rehearsals is very good, the cast bounce off one-another and crack me up laughing all the time. It’s a great cast. We have a double NODA winning mother and daughter team in Janet and Ellie, playing mother and daughter in the play. We’ve got the return of veteran performer Michael Gill and a highly experienced actor in Lauren making her Todmorden debut. They’re top quality and I’m really happy with the way they’ve embraced the feel of the play.


You’ve acted in many T.A.O.D.S. productions but never directed before. What made you choose Colder than Here as your directorial debut?

T.A.O.D.S lost two members this year to cancer. I’d wanted to direct this play for a long time, but their deaths made me think that this was a really important time to do so. Death is still such a taboo subject for all the wrong reasons and Laura Wade deals with it with sensitivity, warmth and humour. The characters are real people in a real situation. They are funny, they are sad, they love and they lose it. I just felt it was really fitting. I must just say that everyone connected to the Hippodrome Theatre has been really supportive. The set, lighting, sound, all the committees have been wonderful and I’d like to thank them for everything they’ve done to help me through my first time.


Why should I come to see Colder Than Here?

Because it is a beautifully written, wonderfully acted piece of theatre. Characters we can all identify with in a situation that many of us will, unfortunately face. It’s a play that is funny, hopeful, loving and will make you laugh and cry. It’s everything you want from a show at the Todmorden Hippodrome. 

Casting Announcement

Myra       Janet Spooner


Alec        Michael Gill


Harriet    Lauren Downes


Jenna       Ellie Spooner

Myra is dying.


Still, she’s not the type of woman to let that get in the way. The boiler needs fixing, the cat’s gone missing and she’s struggling to get to grips with PowerPoint. If only she had a family she could rely on; but husband Alec would rather bury his head in a newspaper and daughters Harriet and Jenna have their own problems to deal with.


So, as she researches her perfect funeral, Myra must also bring her family back together, make them talk to one another and face up to the future without her.


Laura Wade’s heart-breaking combination of rich, black comedy and pathos takes us on a journey through joy and sadness, vulnerability and support with surprising opportunities for laughter. A testament to family, relationships and finding light even in the darkest of places.

Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society are proud to present this beautiful, joyous and bitter-sweet drama by the acclaimed playwright Laura Wade. It is a dark comedy centred around love, death and family which tackles subjects that are often considered taboo in a warm and relatable manner.


We have a sterling cast involved and rehearsals are underway throughout the summer. We welcome back Janet Spooner as Myra. Janet has been involved in many of the Hippodrome’s recent plays including Death by Design, Around the World in 80 Days and Much Ado About Nothing (for which she won a NODA award). Janet will be joined by long time member of TAODS, Michael Gill as her husband Alec. Michael has appeared on stage (Memory of Water, Heatstroke) as well as a director (Day of Reckoning). Ellie Spooner, real-life daughter of Janet, will take on the role of Jenna the wayward daughter of the couple. Ellie has been in many memorable shows at the Hippodrome including Grimm Tales and The Wind in the Willows (which netted another NODA award for the talented Spooners). Daughter Harriet will be played by Lauren Downes. While Lauren is a new face at the Todmorden Hippodrome, she has played many roles in Rossendale including shows such as Sleeping Beauty and Camelot the Musical. We are very happy to welcome Lauren into both the Colder Than Here and the larger Tod Hip family.


Please note that this play contains smoking. 

Interview with the Director

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