Dobcross film specialist takes new role at local theatre for ‘April in Paris’

A TALENTED film director and producer from Dobcross has swapped his camera for the stage to help take a local play to the next level.

John Matthews has worked around the world filming for top TV channels and companies, but is now focusing closer to home with Saddleworth Players at The Millgate Arts Centre.

John Matthews (picture by Jonty Wilde)

He was invited to help with their latest production ‘April in Paris’ which runs from April 7-14 at the Delph theatre, after someone else pulled out due to illness.

John explained: “When I saw what play it was – a comedy about an ordinary couple winning a trip to Paris – I thought my skills would be of use.

“I was first involved in film working with Roger Corman in 1994 as an intern on a B movie called ‘Trained to Kill’.

“My background is factual film making and I’ve won a few awards and nominations for my verite work. Verite is a French style of documentary making where you try to capture the truth and atmosphere of what is going on.

“I’ve also had a lot of training in how to direct actors recently in preparation for a feature film. This was probably the most important thing I ever did regarding becoming a drama director. As soon as I was in the theatre, the relevance of all the learning came to the fore in an instant.”

‘April in Paris’ is John Godber’s brilliantly funny look at the English abroad is about the reawakening of a relationship and how people view the world outside their horizons.

Al and Bet lead a quiet, boring life in Yorkshire. After 20 years working for the same company, Al is made redundant and is unable to find another job.

Frustrated with life and worried about the future, their marriage has stagnated. Then Bet wins a romantic break competition in a magazine. The prize: a holiday for two in Paris.

Their first trip abroad, they struggle with French cuisine, the French language and muggers in the Metro!

John is co-directing the play with Verity Mann, who has numerous years’ experience in the theatre, while Liz Travis plays the role of Bet and Paul Dawson plays Al.

Saddleworth Players will perform ‘April in Paris’ at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from April 7 to 14. Tickets can be purchased online at, from the Millgate Arts Centre box office: 01457 874644 (Tuesdays 2pm – 5pm, Wednesday & Thursday 2pm – 7pm and Fridays & Saturdays 9:30am – 1pm), or from Delph Library, Millgate, Delph, Oldham OL3 5JG.


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