The history of The Lowestoft Players

Our comprehensive history takes a colourful look at some of our past productions and events of the society over the last fifty years. We have performed an array of magical pantomimes and some of the best loved and most popular shows ever written. 

1967-2020. A look at The Lowestoft Players through the decades...

1967 -1977

September 1967
Society Founded - Chairman Jack Overy who went on to hold the office for 10 years

March 1968
Ring Around The Moon - first ever production staged by the Players

January 1969
Cinderella - first pantomime ever staged by the Players and first production at the Sparrow’s Nest Theatre

May 1970
The Boyfriend - first full scale musical production

May 1973
Carousel - first musical production to have a professional Director and Choreographer (David Vickers and Richard Chandler)

Dec 1973
Robinson Crusoe – first major production that the Players built and painted their own scenery for

May 1975 
Show Boat – first of three musicals directed by David Turner (Long term Director of London’s long running production of The MouseTrap). This was also the first full scale musical that the Players Scenery Theatre Workshop built their own set. It included a magnificent two storey paddle steamer. Their store and workshop was based in the old School Rooms at the back of St.John’s Church (all now demolished)

May 1976
Bless the Bride – second musical directed by David Turner

April 1977
The Players first move into Headquarters in Stradbroke Road, Pakefield, with the kind and generous support of the late Albert Catchpole

May 1977 
Annie Get Your Gun – third and final musical to be directed by David Turner

1978 -1987

September 1978
Roy Randall - holds the office of Chairman for the next 3 years (1978 – 1981)

10th Anniversary year

My Fair Lady – during the run of this show one performance was halted by a power cut and severe flood warning

May 1980
Irene - EAST ANGLIAN PREMIERE

May 1981
Carousel - first revival of a musical production

September 1981
Val Byde - holds the office of Chairman for the next 2 years (1981 – 1983)

April 1983
The Players host the N.O.D.A. Eastern Area Conference

September 1983
Pam Hopper - holds the office of Chairman for the next year (1983 – 1984)

May 1984
Hello, Dolly! – final performance receives a standing ovation

September 1984 
Peter Wilson - holds the office of Chairman for the next 3 years (1983 – 1987)

May 1985
Hans Anderson - EAST ANGLIAN PREMIERE – featuring costumes from the original London  Palladium Tommy Steele production

August 1985
Summer Nights – the Players were invited to perform a 6 week summer season at the Sparrows Nest Theatre

August 1987 
Gaslight - Last play performed by the Players on an annual basis

September 1987
Deanne Dickson - holds the office of Chairman for the next 3 years (1987 – 1990)

1988 -1997

May 1988 
Oklahoma! - Final Production at the SPARROWS NEST THEATRE

October 1988
Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance -  Revue to Celebrate the opening of the newly refurbished MARINA THEATRE    

 

December 1988
Cinderella – First pantomime to be performed at the Marina Theatre

May 1989
Show Boat – First musical to be performed at the Marina Theatre

September 1990
Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street - EAST ANGLIAN PREMIERE

Stephen Wilson - holds the office of Chairman for the next 3 years (1990 – 1993)

April 1992 
The Players host the N.O.D.A. Eastern Area Conference

September 1992
25th Anniversary year

May 1993
The King and I – Winner of NODA Best Poster Design (National Final)

September 1993 
Nicholas Garrod - holds the office of Chairman for the next 3 years (1993 – 1996)

October 1994
Annie – featuring a young Hannah Spearitt in the title role

September 1996 
Andrew Liddon - holds the office of Chairman for the next 3 years (1996 – 1999)

1998 -2007

September 1999 
Nicholas Garrod - holds the office of Chairman for the next 3 years (1999 – 2002)

May 2000
Scrooge - EAST ANGLIAN PREMIERE

Winner of NODA Best Production Award (Region 6)

September 2002 
Copacabana - EAST ANGLIAN PREMIERE  

Winner of NODA Best Production Award (Region 6)

Maurice Garrod - holds the office of Chairman for the next 3 years (2002 – 2005)

May 2003
The Scarlet Pimpernel - EAST ANGLIAN PREMIERE 

Winner of NODA Best Production Award (Region 6)

September 2003
Jesus Christ Superstar

Winner of NODA Best Programme Design (Eastern Area)

September 2004 
West Side Story

Winner of NODA Best Production Award (Region 6)

May 2005
Titanic - EAST ANGLIAN PREMIERE

Winner of NODA Best Production Award (Region 6)

Winner of NODA Best Programme Design (Eastern Area)

September 2005
Deanne Dickson - holds the office of Chairman for the next year (2005 – 2006)

September 2006  
Malcolm Berridge – elected Chairman (2006 - )

May 2007
Fiddler on the Roof 
Winner of NODA Best Souvenir Programme Design (Eastern Area)

September 2007
Thoroughly Modern Millie - EAST ANGLIAN PREMIERE

40th Anniversary Celebrations

2008 -2017

May 2008
Carousel – third revival
Winner of NODA Best Programme Design (Eastern Area)
Winner of NODA Best Poster Design (Eastern Area)

January 2009
Beauty and the Beast – marked a significant change of date to the Players annual calendar and the first pantomime to be performed in late January. The revised performing slot due to Waveney District Councils introduction of a professional pantomime. 

The Bethel – The Players announce the successful purchase of the former Seaman’s Mission in Whapload Road as their new Headquarters and Rehearsal Rooms.

February 2009 
Work begins in earnest on converting The Bethel into the Players new home – a projected completion date for August 2009 is set.

September 2009

The Players say their final farewells to Stradbroke Road and move into their new home at The Bethel.

January 2010

Mrs Hilda Catchpole officially opens The Bethel as the new Headquarters for The Lowestoft Players.

April 2010

Beauty and the Beast - Best Pantomime Winner (Region 6)

Chess - Best Musical (Region 6), Best Production (Region 6), Best Programme Design (NODA Eastern Region)

September 2010

The Players open the doors to the public at their Grand Open Day At The Bethel.

                                                                                

April 2011

Aladdin - Best Pantomime Winner (Region 6)

South Pacific - Best Musical (Region 6), Best Production (Region 6), Best Programme Design (NODA Eastern Region), Best Poster

Design (NODA Eastern Region)

September 2012

Annie Get Your Gun - Winner of the National Poster Design (NODA)

                                                                               

April 2012

Robin Hood - Best Pantomime Winner (Region 6)

Annie Get Your Gun - Best Poster Design (Region 6), Runner Up Best Programme Design (Region 6) 

Our House - Winner Best Musical (Region 6), Winner Best Overall Production (Region 6)             

June 2012

Work gets underway on an ambitious project to convert The   

Bethel into a 200 seater performance venue, to open in time to premier the Players first 'in-house' production of 'A Christmas Spectacular 2012.'  

                                                                               

December 2012

The Players Theatre opens to the public, for the sellout production of 'A Christmas Spectacular 2012.'

                                                                                

April 2013

The Sound of Music - Winner Best Musical (Region 6)

Cinderella - Winner Best Pantomime and Overall Production (Region 6)

September 2013

Calendar Girls - The first play to be performed at 'The Players Theatre' a new era of productions at the players own theatre has begun.  

September 2014

Aspects of Love - Suffolk Premiere and first musical to be performed at 'The Players Theatre'. The Players are quickly learning about staging shows in their own theatre and reaping the benefits of being able to perform shows, not usually viable in The Marina Theatre.  

Mervyn Braddick takes the office of chair until 2015. 

May 2015

Large scale musical, Legally Blonde performed at The Marina Theatre, the East Anglian premiere. 

Nicholas Garrod once again takes the office of chair until 2016. 

May 2016

Sister Act - NODA Best Musical Award and NODA Best Production Award. Dick Whittington & The Pirate Adventure - Best Pantomime Award (Region 6).

Stephen Wilson & Deanne Dixon become co-chair for the next two years between them until 2019.

January 2017

Snow White - Best Pantomime Award (Region 6)

2017 - 2019

September 2017

Revue show 'The Sound of Musicals' celebrates 50 years of the society. The production, performed in 'The Players Theatre' features an LED wall as the backdrop, a new technical advancement. 

 

September 2018 

Major musical 'Made in Dagenham' performed at The Players Theatre using a combination of LED Wall and traditional stage scenery. The first amateur show known to have done this. 

 

2019 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang staged at the Marina Theatre after countless hours of work and extra structural enforcements to brace the stage for the weight of a real flying prop car. Chitty took to the stage each show, meters high above the stage to sell-out audiences.

Winner - Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Community Pride Award.

Jenny Wright takes the office of chair. 
 

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The Lowestoft Players LTD

The Players Theatre

Battery Green Road

Lowestoft, Suffolk

NR32 1DE

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