In the gloomy and uncertain days of the Second World War a few friends got together with some local residents of Hutton to boost morale by forming a drama society – and The Hutton Players was born.
The play chosen for their first production in 1942 was Oscar Wilde’s classic The Importance of Being Earnest.
, and was performed at the Hutton Residential School., now known as Bishops Hill Education Centre. In 1967, to celebrate their Silver Jubilee, they returned with the same play. When it came round to their Golden Jubilee in 1992, a natural choice was the very same play. This time round it was a gala occasion.
Back in 1942 programmes cost 3d and admission was 2/6d. Today these prices are respectively 50p and £7.00.
Proceeds from those earlier years were given to charity. All the scenery was made by the members, and the creation of the various sets was admired and considered the best. Nowadays, through lack of members and indeed the time and cost involved, it is deemed necessary for only the minimum amount of scenery to be used.
In the 1950’s the membership grew to over 100, all of whom were active in one way or another both on and off stage. One disadvantage, with such numbers, was that some ladies had to wait nearly 2 years for a part. There were numerous social evenings organised and well attended. Sadly membership has dwindled to approximately 30 with only about 2 thirds of these taking part in productions.
Various difficulties have been overcome with regard to storage facilities and having to change venues for rehearsals and performances. Although performance were to return to Bishops Hill they were periodically given at Brentwood High School and at St Martin’s School. When the town of Brentwood gained its own theatre in 1993 Hutton Players were proud and privileged to accept the offer to stage the first amateur run there. The successful production of Charlie’s Aunt injected a fresh enthusiasm from greater audience numbers.
From their formation the Hutton Players have always been innovative in their choice of plays and have tackled all aspects of drama from Greek Tragedy through Restoration to modern farce and ensemble productions. European and American playwrights have been used as well as British. The only significant exception is Shakespeare. The extremely high standards have never faltered.
In recent years Hutton Players has staged 2 plays a year. The season starts in November followed by a production in March . In addition members sometimes stage productions under their own name or at the request of the theatre.
At the start of March 2017 we will be celebrating our 75th anniversary. To mark the occasion we will follow the Saturday 4th March performance with a free buffet for audience members.