CODA table an amendment to Ayckbourn’s council satire

Selsdon-bound: the CODA cast for the Alan Ayckbourn play Ten Times Table (at least most of it): David Sanders, Susie Timms, Sarah H Gordon, Tom Skinner, Deborah Liu, Alfie Bird, Dominic O’Shea and Hollie Heavens

So you’ve just received your Council Tax bill and you want to get an idea of what all that money is paying for? You really want to know how local councils work..?

Then you’d best get along to Selsdon Hall next month when CODA, the Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association, will be staging a production Alan Ayckbourn’s hilarious satire on local politics, Ten Times Table.

It’s CODA’s first time back at the venue for 15 years.

The production is directed by Michael Hall, and stars David Sanders as Ray, Alfie Bird as Donald, Sarah H Gordon as Helen and Graham Callison as Eric.

“The script is bursting with wonderfully observed characters and situations,” Hall says.

“I am continually amazed at how accurately Ayckbourn has portrayed committee meetings – not that any of ours are quite as fraught as those in the play – and I am loving seeing the cast bring the performance to life.”

CODA strives to make theatre as accessible as possible in the borough, and one of its performances, on April 20, is “pay what you can”, where audience members can select their own ticket price from £2.50 upwards.

“However if attendees are able to pay slightly more than the standard price for a ticket, this would also be most welcome and help not only us to cover our costs, but also help other people access the joys of live theatre and this brilliant play,” says Hall.

Council sceptic: Sir Alan Ayckbourn

Ayckbourn, one of the country’s most-loved playwrights of recent times, wrote Ten Times Table after enduring the local council “process” in Scarborough, when he was seeking to relocate its theatre.

In his play, chairman Ray gathers an odd assembly of committee members to plan a pageant commemorating a long-lost piece of local history – the Massacre of the Pendon Twelve. But when a left-wing teacher and Ray’s right-wing wife clash, the discord splits the committee, until the day of the pageant approaches and history starts to repeat itself, with riotous results.

CODA was founded in 1943, and is Croydon’s leading community theatre company, performing both musicals and plays to a high standard. Ten Times Table comes after productions last year of The 39 Steps, Little Women and Steel Magnolias at the CryerArts Centre in Carshalton, and a hugely successful return to Wandle Park with a version of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice.

Prior to the pandemic, CODA performed highly acclaimed productions of Shakespeare in Wandle Park, musicals at the Stanley Halls in South Norwood and they even staged performances at the Fairfield Halls, such as Into The Woods, West Side Story and The Producers, and family favourites such as The Railway Children and The Wind In The Willows at the CryerArts.

Ten Times Table runs from Thursday April 20 to Sunday April 23 at Selsdon Hall, 132 Addington Road, South Croydon, with evening performances at 7.45pm from Thursday to Saturday, a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm and a final performance on Sunday at 4pm.

Tickets are £15 full price and £14 concessions, with the “pay what you can” performance on Thursday Apri 20, and can be booked online at or by email at

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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