Diamond Anniversary Variety Show
On March 29th 1959 the St Stephens Players made their company debut with a small variety show at St Stephen’s Hall. Unfortunately no event program seems to exist, nor memories as to what was staged, but it must have been a success for the company has gone on to produce many plays and pantomimes in the sixty years since!
Following several years of ‘potted pantos’, we staged our first full-length panto “Cinderella” in 1962, and have continued to produce one annually. Other offerings included plays of one and three acts, ranging from Agatha Christie to farce and dramas. Away from the stage, the company let down their hair with social evenings and summer outings. Every year in January it was - and still is - a beloved tradition for the Players to get together after panto season at “The Vicar’s Do”.
Over the years, the little wooden hall which originally housed the company fell into disrepair. During heavy rainstorms the leaky roof required buckets to be placed on stage during performances and even in the audience! In 2007 the hall was closed for renovation and, with great trepidation, the Players moved first to Ladies College for one panto, and then to the Princess Royal Centre for Performing Arts, where we remained for nine years. This was an expensive time for the company, with audiences and some of our members sadly leaving us, but in 2017 Clare Milner brokered a deal with the Trustees and we were at long last able to move back home to the hall.
That Christmas, we staged a short but well-received run of “Sleeping Beauty”. This helped the company get back on its feet and made way for a full and successful run of “Cinderella” in 2018, of which eight of the nine shows were sellout. Now, as the Players celebrate the past we look to the future! We’re always delighted to welcome new members of all ages and from every walk of life, regardless of level of experience - whether you want to be on-stage, front of house or part of the backstage crew, we welcome beginners and seasoned professionals alike.
The more the merrier!