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2024 NEWS

Latest news and updates

John 'Super Cooper' Byatt
1948-2024

We share the sad news that Saffron Players founding, life and committee member and local legend John Byatt has passed away. He is known by many for his Tommy Cooper inspired magic, dad jokes, infectious laugh and fundraising around town in his ‘Super Cooper’ t-shirt, fez and red cape.

 

JB (as he was affectionately known) dedicated much of his life to fundraising including: as a teenager running 56 miles from Saffron Walden to Clacton with a friend in a pram to raise funds for RNLI; producing the local Scouts‘ Gang Shows’ in the 1970’s to raise funds for restoring the Saffron Walden Scout & Guides’ headquarters; at age 50 cycling 250 miles across India to raise £3,000 for Mencap; at age 60 a 10-day Thailand Jungle Expedition to raise £5,000 for Addenbrookes’ Charitable Trust; a year later trekking through Cuba for East Anglia Children’s Hospice (EACH). During the Covid pandemic he continued to raise funds for The Maddi Foundation by setting and surpassing a birthday target of £200 through an online donation page and being out in town with his donation pot on the end of a littler picker, so he could collect monetary donations from a safe social distance, and for this he was Highly Commended in the Fundraising Category in the Uttlesford 2021 Making A Difference Awards.

 

As an integral member of Saffron Players he had vital roles as a cast member, sponsor, producer, director, committee and life member. John had many starring roles in our productions over the years. One most memorable role was when he appeared in a puff of smoke wearing a yellow plastic tracksuit with wrap-around tinted glasses and lots of fake gold jewellery as Ali G-Genie in our 2003 pantomime production Aladdin. He scared the children as the terrifying baddie King Rat in the 1998 and 2006 productions of Dick Whittington. In 2015 and 2016 JB co-directed Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. His last appearances as a cast member included Barry the Huntsman in Snow White and the Seven Minions (2018) and as a member of the chorus in Alice in Wonderland (2019) and Peter Pan (2020).

From 2017-2023 JB as Super Cooper was our audience warm-up act, getting everyone in the right mood with his magic tricks and pantomime shout-out practices! His famous tricks included the changing spots card, magic colour-changing handkerchiefs and the famous use of a fake severed hand, held up for every audience shout-out of ‘and!’.

 

There was so much more to JB than all of this, but he was and will always be a part of Saffron Players. We love you JB… Oh yes we do! You will be in our hearts and thoughts forever more.

Posted March 2024

2024 Red Riding Hood 2.jpg

NODA Show Report 2024 Released

Please visit:

https://www.noda.org.uk/show-reports/red-riding-hood-1705920462

to read the NODA Red Riding Hood show report.

Posted January 2024

January 2025 Pantomime Announced

An original pantomime written and directed by Jess Dickinson will be coming to the Saffron Walden Town Hall in January 2025.

Robin Hood.

Watch this space for further updates!

Posted January 2024

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