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Dramatics society celebrates 40 years of performance

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 18:35 10 April 2018

The Old Buckenham Players put on a pantomime called Cinders in 1985 with a cast including Gail Haworth and Jeannette Cardy as leads and Margaret White as an ugly step-sister. Picture by JHS.

The Old Buckenham Players put on a pantomime called Cinders in 1985 with a cast including Gail Haworth and Jeannette Cardy as leads and Margaret White as an ugly step-sister. Picture by JHS.

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A Norfolk amateur dramatics society is celebrating 40 years of performance.

The Old Buckenham Players play in 2014 , My Boy Jack, marking the centenary of the start of World War One. In the trenches during the rehearsals, from left, Alan Frank as Guardsman Doyle; Tom Key as Lt Jack Kipling; and Paul Woodhouse as Guardsman Bowe. Picture: Denise Bradley The Old Buckenham Players play in 2014 , My Boy Jack, marking the centenary of the start of World War One. In the trenches during the rehearsals, from left, Alan Frank as Guardsman Doyle; Tom Key as Lt Jack Kipling; and Paul Woodhouse as Guardsman Bowe. Picture: Denise Bradley

A Norfolk amateur dramatics society is celebrating 40 years of performance.

Old Buckenham Players began in 1978 with eight people, and have created almost 100 different shows with a cast and crew of all ages.

Founder member Margaret White said: “At the time Old Buckenham was building a new village hall, and was looking for people to use it.

“About eight of us were in an Attleborough dramatics group, but when we were asked by the village hall committee if we’d like to set up our own group we took the opportunity.

The opening of Old Buckenham village hall on May 19, 1978. Picture by Paul Hewitt. The opening of Old Buckenham village hall on May 19, 1978. Picture by Paul Hewitt.

“The hall wasn’t the same size then. We now use the Memorial Hall as changing rooms but when we first moved we had to hire a container. It was freezing!”

If the hall committee wanted the building to be well used they certainly got their wish. The Players practice in the hall at least once a week, and audiences often fill it to capacity for their shows. Show profits help towards the maintenance and improvement of facilities at the village hall.

Mrs White said: “To get 100 people in an audience is quite good if you are running for three or four nights in a village hall.”

Four of the original eight are still with the Players, but Mrs White says they are now slowly allowing younger members to take the helm.

She said: “What is so great is that we have a big young membership, so we really hope that we will be leaving the group in a good financial position and with good foundations.

“I would so like to see Old Buckenham Players here in another 40 years, as it gives so much to so many people. It’s like an extended family.”

The Players have performed a variety of shows, from pantomimes to Alan Bennett, but their upcoming production of The Tempest is only their second Shakespeare performance.

Mrs White said: “It was about giving people more chances to get to grips with different types of acting. They are really enjoying it and I hope people will support it.

“Because we don’t have much space we have to be more inventive, and we will be using a lot of sound effects and lighting. We have built up a lot of expertise over the years.”

The Tempest will run from May 17 to 19 at 7.30pm. Tickets can be bought for £8 from Old Buckenham Stores and Nuts ‘n’ Bolts in Attleborough, or call 01953 851946.

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