How Easingwold Players Began

Barbara Topping

During our first year the late Mavis Jackson, knowing I had a history of amateur dramatics (she was a member of ENSA during the war) asked me if I would arrange some sketches as part of the Galtres Christmas concert. I replied that sketches didn't interest me but I wouldn't mind putting on a one act play.

I didn't know anybody. Mavis suggested that I put a notice in the Advertiser asking for interested people to come to a meeting at the Galtres. I did, and so many people turned up that I was able to form the Drama group that evening.

I chose the name, and formed a committee asking certain people if they would be members I wanted the group to be viable from the word go. At the first committee meeting I presented a constitution which was agreed and which I think is still in existence.
I decided to direct two one acts,
The Mother Figure, and Gosforths Fete from Ayckbourn 's Confusions. The late Major Roger Crees built the group a portable sectioned wooden stage. One Saturday he put trestle tables round the lounge on which was the making for one section. He gathered a lot of men who proceeded to build it (Ivan was one of them).

In those days the bar in the lounge was just a counter and hatch let into the wall so we had plenty of room to put the stage behind the partition where the folding doors are. The Galtres found some heavy velvet curtains we used which had been in the house itself .We put runners across the front of the archway. I borrowed some Essex blocks from the Junior School to raise the seating at the back of the Lounge.

Maggie Spink's father phoned me at the beginning to say that there had been a drama group in Easingwold before that had folded 8 years before and, as treasurer he had £25 in the kitty, and would we like it!! He became a member of the group.

I started Stage Whispers straight away, as I wanted to keep all the members in close contact. A member used to type the news on a skin, and the vicar attached to St.Johns used to lend me his Gestetner to roll them off. I gave these out at rehearsals and delivered the rest round  Easingwold on my bike.

 Rehearsals were in the Lounge or Kurts Bar. At this time we were a Galtres initiative, and I cannot remember exactly when they asked that we become independent. They said that they would always support us, which they did, not charging for rehearsal times or the Lounge during play weeks ....  continued