Backstage with KATS

Join the Crew

KATS always welcome new crew. For backstage boffins there is set building every Wednesday evening, and a manic setup schedule for every show.

For those interested in lighting and sound there is often need for followspot and sound desk controllers.

If costumes are more your thing, then why not join our team of costume makers who work hard every show. Please Email us here if you would like any more details.

 Backstage with KATS
Fly floor view of Little Shop of Horrors

The answer is Gaffa. The question is irrelevant!!

Working backstage involves just as much hard work as being on stage. A large team come together every show to provide set design and construction; lighting, sound and effects; and the glittering assortment of costumes required for every show.

KATS are lucky to have several venues available, each offering different challenges.


  • Bucklebury Memorial Hall is great for smaller productions, and requires all set and equipment to be brought in.

  • Kennet School is a well equiped school hall, and KATS crew spend 2 days converting it into a theatre. Lighting, sound and set all have many options available, and we are proud of the professional level of technical production we can achieve.

  • New Greenham Arts is a 120-seat studio space, which includes all technical equipment. Although less challenging than larger venues, a lot can be achieved in this intimate venue.

  • Newbury Corn Exchange is a professional theatre, which KATS have been lucky enough to perform in on several occasions. This is where our larger productions are taken, and set is usually hired which keeps the stage crew busy. Full lighting and sound equipment is available, as the group take over the venue for the week. Staff are always available to assist with all technical aspects of the show, which we are very appreciative of!
  • Regular helpers include those shown below, with many more members who have done their bit over the years.
    A friendly society, cast and crew all chip in together.

John Hicks Chairman - KATS chairman, sound designer, keyboard player and director of four shows so far, John is certainly a versatile member of the group. As a sometime author and musician, would you believe he even has his own sound studio at home! '); return false">John Hicks
Aiming for a management style of genial uncle rather than panto villain, John has been Chairman for two years and is enjoying the challenge of moving the group forward and providing the members and public with quality shows to enjoy.
Dave Helyer Stage Manager - Dave is responsible for the running of each show, once the Director has handed over at the end of rehearsals. Heavily involved in planning each production to avoid impossible scene changes. Manages the heavy lifting work on stage and tries to keep everyone quiet in the wings. '); return false">Dave Helyer
Responsible for the running of each show, once the Director has handed over at the end of rehearsals. Heavily involved in planning each production to avoid impossible scene changes Dave always manages to store more set backstage than will physically fit whilst trying to keep everyone quiet in the wings.
Dave Marsh Assistant Stage Manager -

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Dave joined KATS in 1994 and after years of lurking in the darker corners of the stage as a techie he finally decided to tread the boards.
After co-producing Frankenstein the Panto he ventured onto the stage in The Slipper and the Rose, and featured more recently as The Voice in Little Shop of Horrors.'); return false">Dave Marsh
When not appearing on stage, Dave is usually found lurking in the wings, assisting Dave Helyer in his stage manager duties.
A long term hut man, Dave is well known for producing some great set and props from old cereal boxes, egg cartons and yoghurt pots!
Dave is also probably the only hut man not scared to pick up a needle and thread and help out making costumes.
Carl Dibble Lighting Director - Carl has been an active member of the backstage crew since 1994. He is group treasurer and also maintains this website. Tasked with designing the lighting and pyrotechnic effects for each production he waits for a fuse to blow during the show!
Carl also produced "Frankenstein the Panto", "Hercules the Panto!!" and "Trouble in Pantoland"'); return false">Carl Dibble
Designs the lighting and pyrotechnic effects for each show. Carl programmes the lighting moves into the control desk at Tech rehearsal and then waits for a fuse to blow during the show!
Karen Richardson Sound Technician - Karen thoroughly enjoys being a member of KATS! While she has appeared on stage once, for most performances shes usually found safely behind the sound desk. Karen has also been part of the backstage crew, helped out on front of house, and directed the 2010 pantomime, Cinderella2 - After the ball.'); return false">Karen Richardson
Karen has taken over the running of sound from the ever busy John Hicks, although is still assisted in the task by John.