Some of you who read my blog regularly may or may not know that I transitioned into the cyber security industry as a career in 2009. Back then I was taking my first steps in a career that would ultimately see me being awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday honours list this year for services to cyber security and equality and diversity.
However, prior to transitioning into the cyber security industry, I spent many years working with Chris Tarrant of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire fame in the entertainment industry, and I was also the Festival Director and Founder of the Worcestershire Literary Festival. When the festival first ran back in 2011 it had over 100 events across the county of Worcestershire over 10 days, which was a huge achievement and no mean feat to run in terms of logistics, but I did it thanks to an amazing team of volunteers and helpers.
One person who supported my efforts massively with the festival was Stephen Wilson, who was the County Arts Officer at Worcestershire County Council. In recent years Stephen has branched out more into the arts and theatrical work, and it was with great excitement that I was able to pay that support forward a little when I booked along with my friend Sylvia to go and see his new play, “Diary of a Badminton Player.”
The play is funded by the Arts Council and is a one-person show written and performed by Stephen which is backed up with some brilliantly produced video montages that add to the story. The play follows the story of Colin Co(d)sgrove, a middle-aged supply teacher, badminton player and Worcester Munchies delivery driver. There are many laugh out loud moments throughout as Colin does his best to become a badminton coach and teacher, but who ultimately has to turn to supply teaching and being a Worcester Munchies delivery driver to make ends meet and tries to carry on with his badminton career despite succumbing to ailments that often affect us as we get older, such as a bad back or painful knee.
I loved the video montage* that the character of Colin Co(d)sgrove used to pitch to the local Chamber of Commerce when he had an idea to launch a badminton academy which was complete with cameo appearances from Stephen’s wife, children and dog. I was also picked along with my friend Sylvia by Stephen for the audience participation part of the play where Colin was teaching people how to play badminton. The use of double entendre’s such as, “it’s all in the wrist” and “what a large cock” when referring to the oversized shuttlecock prop that was used for this segment were brilliant and reminded me of the “Carry on” films from years gone by. In fact, the play reminded me a bit of a “Carry On” film and could have been called “Carry on Badminton Player”. The play ended with a laugh out loud rap segment with Colin Co(d)sgrove sporting (no pun intended) a sparkly jacket and shorts.
“Diary of a Badminton Player” is an absolute triumph, a feel-good play that is relatable and poignant as it is hilarious. It only ran for two nights in the Vesta Tilley Studio at The Swan Theatre in Worcester; I would love to see it again and hope that the Arts Council will consider further funding to bring it to bigger audiences and venues.
If you happened to see one of the two performances of “Diary of a Badminton Player” don’t forget to send your feedback to Colin Co(d)sgrove via email@example.com. And that really is a genuine email address.
* – video montage by Nicola Pregage of Tiger Features.