Penwortham Players History


There’s an old song that begins: “If they asked me I could write a book”. Well, I could. A book about the first sixty years of St Mary’s Dramatic society, now known as Penwortham Players, the memories, anecdotes, and the crises. What do we do when the leading actor falls ill six hours before curtain up? And what’s the next move when the play is rapidly approaching its denouement and the “vital letter which will explain everything” is lying on the props table backstage? Answers on a postcard please. It all began with a paragraph in the church magazine inviting “anyone interested in forming a church dramatic society” to attend a meeting in the Vicar’s room at St Mary’s Hall, Priory Lane. The response was immediate. There had been concerts at the hall before, but this new venture was going to be real thing we were told), three act plays with scenery, Lighting, sound Effects, the works. We put on an evening of one act plays (Toe in the water stuff) but better things beckoned, and we launched into our first three act play under the eagle eye of Bill Downer (Classics Master at Balshaw Grammar School). The cast? Pat Higgins, Peggy Parkinson, Muriel Brown, Cyril Birkett, Amy Downer, Renee Gardner, and the Vicar of Penwortham (Rev P.A. Schofield). There was a strong element of “lets go and see if the Vicar’s any good”. Well, he was. Very good indeed. “Blithe Spirit” played to a packed hall and a great time was had by all. It seems incredible that half a century has passed since then, and more than a hundred plays come and gone. St Mary’s A.D.S. became famous for its sets, we had a lighting console worth a small fortune, and scripts that used to cost three and sixpence now come in at almost ten pounds each. Once or twice the society has been on the edge of closure, but we have managed to keep going, thanks to our loyal Patrons and customers. And now in 2016, with the closure of St Mary's church hall, we embark on a new journey as Penwortham Players. We are delighted to announce that, we have found a new home at Penwortham Methodist Church Hall, Leyland Road, Penwortham, where we have been very warmly welcomed. We hope many of our Patrons, and supporters will join us there and we look forward to making many new friends in our new home. But we will not forget those who have gone before and so we raise our glasses to the society, and to absent friends, who left us such a legacy of fun and friendship. Please wish us well and cheers for the future.