At the front of every programme there is always a short list of people who have been awarded life membership of the Hamburg Players in recognition of the work they have done for the group, and we feel it would be fitting to give here a few more details as to why these people were honoured by the company in this way.
Suneel M. Pathak (Honorary Life President)
joined the Hamburg Players in 1967, soon after moving to Hamburg, and started by helping out backstage, later moving on to working behind the bar and being in charge front of house. In 1975, he took on responsibility for Press & Publicity, and in 1976 he became a member of the Committee. From 1978, Sonny was Honorary Treasurer, and in 1994, he became Chairman of the Hamburg Players, which he remained until he stepped down in September 2005.
His first appearance on stage was in Catherine Howard in 1979. Other plays include A Murder is Announced, Pygmalion, Run for your Wife, Marvin's Room, Murder at the Vicarage, You Can't Take it with You, Keeping Down with the Joneses, Let's Pretend, Barefoot in the Park, No Sex Please - We're British, The Matchmaker, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (for which he was also Business Manager).
In 2000, he made his first move into directing when he co-directed Two and Two Make Sex with Clive Kewell. In 2001 he directed Dinner for One for Britfest, and for the Marschnerstraße stage this was followed by A Rise in the Market in 2002, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 2003.
One of his greatest feats so far has been bringing FEATS 2005 to Hamburg and making it such a success. His ability to activate people is unique, and the amount of work he does himself is tremendous. In honour of his enormous dedication to the club, he was made our Honorary Life President in October 2006.
from India, joined us at about the same time and remained an active Member until he returned to New Delhi in the mid-seventies. He was the sort of person who was willing to take on any task and worked tirelessly on our behalf. He directed a couple of our productions and played small roles in "On Monday Next" and "Arms and the Man", but was mostly involved in organisational activities, making himself a person sadly missed when he left.
arrived in Hamburg in 1969 fresh from experience she had gained in a first class amateur theatre group in Geneva. She quickly established herself as an outstanding actress and director and an invaluable member of our Group. Many of you will still remember her performances in "Busybody" and "Blithe Spirit"
to name but two. She served on our Committee for a number of years.
kept quietly in the background but served for a number of years as our Treasurer. He often worked backstage or front-of-house, and was largely responsible for the negotiations that led to the Hamburg Players being registered as an "Eingetragener Verein" at a point in our history when this was felt to be prudent. He returned to England in the late seventies and currently lives in North Wales.
a Founder Member, was our Secretary from 1966 until the late seventies, and also handled the arduous task of our original booking system, which had to be relinquished when our performances increased from four or five to ten or eleven. She has remaind active with the Group since resigning as Secretary, and in 1984 was made a Life Member in recognition of all the hard work she had put into the Company´s activities, particularly during the formative years.
joined shortly after arriving in Hamburg in 1974 and quickly established himself as a firm favourite, both as actor and director. He will long be remembered for a number of outstanding and diverse roles, and during the ten years he spent in Hamburg worked hard to improve and maintain our standard of production.
Just before he left at the end of 1984, audiences had the opportunity of seeing him in two widely contrasting roles in "Playbill", a challenge he carried off admirably.
Christine and her husband Bill joined us after seeing our production of "Blithe Spirit". They both quickly became valuable members of the Group - acting, working backstage or front of house.
Christine took on the job of Secretary and subsequently that of Chairman. She held the latter position until she and the rest of her family returned to live in the U.K. in 1990. She was at that time awarded Life Membership in recognition of the hard work she had put in on behalf of the Hamburg Players during the sixteen years that she and Bill were members.
Alexander joined the Group in the early 1990´s, and despite the fact that he was only here a comparatively short time, he appeared in two plays, directed one and also directed our 1992 FEATS Festival entry, "Elegy for a Lady". For this he designed and created a most ambitious set which was highly commended by the adjudicator.
He soon became a member of the Committee and was voted in as Chairman in 1992, a position he held until he left for Australia where he still lives.
Life Membership is normally reserved for people who have given a number of years´service to the Group - an exception was made in Alexander´s case due to the fact that he worked tirelessly for the Group and we were sorry to see him go.
Sue & Graham C. Williams
Sue Emerson (as she was until she married Graham in 1999) joined with Graham in the early 1990´s. Both quickly established themselves as devotees of the Hamburg Players and were in most productions during the time they lived in Hamburg.
Graham´s initial interest was in backstage work. He frequently took on the job of Stage Manager, set design and construction. He eventually appeared on stage and directed a couple of our shows. He was soon elected to the Committee, where he remained a member untill he left towards the end of 1999.
Sue proved to be an accomplished actress, also interested in backstage work. She, too, on occasions took the job of Stage Manager and both she and Graham were always at the theatre on set-building day whether or not they were directly involved in the current production.
We made them both Life Members when they returned to live in the U.K. in late 1999. It is a pity that we did not think up the idea of Life Membership in the very early years, but we are constantly grateful to the handful of enthusiasts who got the Hamburg players "on the road", and they can be sure their efforts are not forgotten.
What they did set our steps in the direction in which we find ourselves today and they can be happy in the knowledge that they did a good job.
joined the Hamburg Players in 1999, leaping right in boots and all by not only taking on the role of Gwendolen Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest, but also replacing Sue Emerson as committee minute taker and putting her hand up to help at British Day just a few days after joining. And so it continued over the next 14 years with her active involvement, especially on the committee, and her willingness to try her hand at everything from set building, backstage and front of house through acting in all kinds of roles to doing PR and putting together the programme – no job was too big or too small.
Some of her stage roles included Mrs Cratchit (among others!) in A Christmas Carol, the almost-cheated wife Clare in Two and Two Make Sex and a Cold Comforter in Archibald MacLeish's J.B. She also turned her hand many times to directing, working with HP stalwarts Peter Bigglestone and Sonny Pathak before teaming up with fellow Aussie Wiebke Störtenbecker to direct Noel Coward's Relative Values in 2005 and Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance in 2008.
Family commitments called her back to Australia, with her stepping down from the committee in 2014 to return permanently to her home country after 23 years of living and working in Germany. But Hamburg, and especially the Hamburg Players, will always rank high in her affection.