Aldermaston Players

Theatre and entertainment for Aldermaston

Aldermaston Players

In September 2011, the Aldermaston Players were officially constituted to provide theatrical entertainment in and around the village of Aldermaston. Based upon the same group of friends that began in 1996 with new local talent, this new troupe has widened it's horizons to perform in other local venues and in other formats. In particular, summer outdoor performances at The Barn, Frouds lane, Aldermaston.

The troupe maintains the ethos of providing high quality theatre and entertainment to further advance:

  • amateur theatre in the Aldermaston area
  • the members enjoyment and skills improvement
  • the company's ability to put on future productions 
  • sharing of the excess profits to local causes and charities.

In 2012, N.O.D.A. (London Region) awarded the company a trophy!. Presented by an old friend, Henry Hawes.

2017 Sep - A Fete Worse Than Death - a murder mystery comedy by Richard James
2017 Feb - Music Hall - a selectionof songs & sketches from the Edwardian & Victorian eras
2016 Feb - Travels with My Aunt adapted by Giles Havergal from Graham Greene's story
2015 Feb - The Shakespeare Revue - a revue of sketches and songs compiled by Christopher Luscombe & Malcolm McKee
2014 Jul  -
Treasure Island - a pantomime of the classic Robert Louis Stephenson novel adapted by Phil Willmott
2014 Feb
Music Hall - a select of songs & sketches from pre-1914 and the Great War
2013 Oct - Charity Begins by Sandi Toksvig & The Boundary by Tom Stoppard & Clive Exton
2013 May/Jun - Drama Festivals - Henley & Wallingford - Charity Begins by Sandi Toksvig
2013 Feb - Beyond A Joke - a modern british comedy by Derek Benfield
2012 Jul  - A Laughing Matter - a comedy by April De Angelis set in the time and style of the 18th century
2012 Feb - Oh, Coward! - musical comedy revue of Noel Coward's words & music devised by Roderick Cook
2011 Nov - Two One Act plays - Art by Yasmina Reza & Man's View by Derek Webb
2011 Feb - The Red Barn - a melodrama in 3 acts by Brian J Burton
2010 Feb - Dry Rot - a farce by John Chapman, the original Whitehall farce
2009 Feb - Personals - a musical revue about relationships - by a team of renowned writers & composers
2008 Feb - We'll Meet Again - a World War II concert party - songs & sketches
2007 Feb - Murdered to Death - a comedy by Peter Gordon
2006 Feb - Cole - a musical revue - words & music of Cole Porter, by Benny Green & Alan Strachan
2005 Feb - Old Time Music Hall - a traditional offering of songs & sketches
2004 Feb - Cut & Run - a comedy by Peter Horsler
2003 Feb - Memories Are Made of This - a journey through popular music - 1950's to 1990's
2002 Feb - Just the Ticket - a comedy by John Waterhouse
2000 Feb - Old Time Music Hall - a traditional offering of songs & sketches
1997 Feb - Valentine's Dinner - poetry & music from the shows with a theme of 'love'
1996 Feb - Old Time Music Hall - a traditional offering of songs & sketches

The Red BarnThe modern Aldermaston Players were born when In February 1996 a collection of villagers and their friends formed a troupe of players to put on an Old Time Music Hall, taking as it's inspiration the BBC's Good Old Days.

There has followed an annual February Dinner Theatre production of either a Music Hall, a play or a musical revues (details in table above). Making the evenings into an occasion is a meal provided by the Parish Hall Management Committee under the auspices of chef Jean Chapman. 

Over the years patrons have enjoyed excellent Dinner Theatre evenings of food and entertainment that resulted in nearly £29,000 being raised for the Parish Hall Funds. These have helped in the 2011-2013 refurbishment projects that have seen the replacement of the heating system and redecoration of  the main hall.


Three Shepherds from Aldermaston Nativity PlayThree Kings from Aldermastons York Nativity Play Under the wonderful direction of Pat Eastop this troupe has been performing every year since 1957. Sadly Pat past away in 2014, after directing annually for 57 years.  

Pat chose as her successor Chris Boott, of Aldermaston Players, to succeed her as director so that the play may continue for future generations.

The play is performed by a troupe of Aldermaston villagers supplemented by players from other local villages. It tells the story of the first Christmas, using an adapted version of the 14th century York Mystery Cycle  nativity text and is accompanied by an acapella choir singing 14th & 15th century music. The performances take place in the 12th century church of St Mary The Virgin, Aldermaston. 
 
There are several familiar faces from The Players that that take part in the play each year.
 
Articles from a great local theatre website (www.newburytheatre.co.uk) reviewing productions

See more pictures of this historic play on their website Aldermaston Nativity

In the ‘Memories’ book about Aldermaston there are stories and photographs of a previous ‘Aldermaston Players’ in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This troupe also  performed in the Parish Hall (see photo).
 
This group are believed to be responsible for building the apron stage and false proscenium that the current troupe took as inspiration. In the 1990s the apron stage was renovated by Chris Chapman who fabricating new supports from the one remaining one. This staging was replaced when the York Nativity Play purchased new staging, that now doubles for the apron stage at the Parish Hall. In 2010, a new 'front tab' - the main curtain - was purchased which fits the false proscenium down to the apron stage - replicating the format of the 1950/60's company.
 
In the Old Pharosian’s Association Newsletter of July 1995 there is an obituary for Major William Sangster Borthwick, GM, RE who lived in Baughurst near Aldermaston and was involved with the Aldermaston Players. This could have been either the Nativity Play or the Players.
 
Extract from Book of Memories
(click to enlarge) 
 

Recently discovered on e-bay are the two programmes shown here are from the 1950s. Some enquiries in the village unearthed the facts that A.E.I. (Associated Electrical Industries research laboratories), who took over Aldermaston Court (now Aldermaston Manor House) in the 1950s, had both a choir and a drama society.

Further research has unearthed a charming obituary of one of the founder members - Peter Holmes. Click here to read.

We're really interested to find out more about Aldermaston Court Dramatic Society ... please contact us at info@aldermastonplayers.co.uk