Knaphill and St Johns Operatic Group (KASJOG for short!) started life as an Adult Education evening class at The Winston Churchill School, St Johns, way back in 1968. Our first (and favourite) production was Gilbert & Sullivan’sTrial By Jury.
In 1994, after having separated from Adult Education, Kasjog became a registered charity which coincided with a decision to move to The Rhoda McGaw Theatre, a huge step-up in terms of the scope of technical and production opportunities. It was also decided that the repertoire would extend to include light opera and so a process of alternating Gilbert & Sullivan’s works with operas such as Die Fledermaus, Orpheus In The Underworld and The Merry Widow, our first production at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, began.
Kasjog’s mantra is to entertain in as professional a manner as possible, but to have fun at the same time. Each show brings its own possibilities and challenges and there is no shortage of anecdotes about missed entrances, forgotten lines, misplaced props, un-cooperative scenery and highjinks in the lighting box! However, the cast and crew are always ready to accept a challenge, the biggest of which has been our production of Carmen and for which we won a coveted NODA Award of Excellence. We recently tackled our first musical, Brigadoon, which required Scottish and American accents, a sword dance and 11 scene changes in two acts.
Kasjoggers come from all walks of life and cover a wide age range. We are like one big happy family, with all the differing personalities and characters you would expect, with the one thing in common: a love of singing (and dressing up in funny clothes, putting on make up and dancing about the place, not to mention going to the pub afterwards or sharing a joke, a cup of tea and a biscuit during a break in rehearsals!).
As if spending six months of the year – from September to March – isn’t enough, rehearsing and performing each production, we enjoy hiring ourselves out in between as a group for weddings, dinners and other celebrations. Our varied repertoire includes Gilbert and Sullivan, a Viennese evening, Victorian Music Hall, musical miscellany and the songs of George Gershwin and Cole Porter.
We occasionally have held one-day drama and singing workshops during the summer, which have proved very popular. There is a dual purpose to this: refreshing technique amongst existing members and encouraging new faces to have a taster of what life is like with Kasjog. There is also the opportunity of singing excerpts from the next show which helps to whet the appetite of prospective participants!
Kasjog rehearses at The Maybury Centre in Woking on Mondays and Thursdays at 8 pm. Membership is not confined to residents of Knaphill and St Johns: some of the cast come from as far afield as Leatherhead and Kingston. From April, on the first Monday of each month, members can be found at The Crown pub in Horsell, keeping their ‘spirits’ up until the next production begins rehearsal at the beginning of September! For further details visit http://www.kasjog.org.uk.
KASJOG is a member of:
- The Arts Council for Woking
- Woking Drama Association
- NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association)