the Spring of 1953, "Spiggot" mentioned in the Norfolk
News (The forerunner of the Mercury) that the British Legion (Wymondham
Branch) was interested in forming a Dramatic Society, and invited
anyone interested to come along. Those who did were gathered in
by Mr G Robert Bagshaw, the local dentist, and eventually, after
many whist drives and jumble sales to raise funds, a viable Dramatic
Society - the Wymondham Players, emerged.
Some members had earlier belonged to the old Operatic Society,
which used to stage musicals and pantomimes in the old Town Hall
(which later became the Town Green Snooker Club), some had been
involved in school productions, and others were just willing to
"have a go".
The first play, "Young Wives Tale", was put on in the
old Vicarage Room, a corrugated building that preceded the Abbey
Hall, in Church Street. It was produced by Robert Bagshaw, who
also took part, along with Doris Attewell, Judith Semmence, Monica
Brett, Colin Riches, Raymond Caldwell, Cicely Riches and Denise
Muir. The hall and stage were quite small, and with only one small
Committee Room for changing, life behind the scenes was often
play was advertised from Monday 26th to Friday 30th October, 1953,
and tickets cost two shillings and sixpence (12.5p today). During
that week 1318 people saw the show - nearly a quarter of the entire
population of the urban district - oh for the days before television
!. "A good profit, about £30, was made for players'
funds, the show having cost £90" and the disappointment
of those unable to get a ticket meant that a further two performances
were given, on Thursday and Friday of the following week, this
time for the Abbey Church Organ Restoration Fund. The Players'
Chairman, Mr W A Ogden, handed over £30 to the Reverend
J G Tansley-Thomas.
Further requests poured in, and the play went "on tour",
to Spooner Row, on Friday 20th November, in aid of the Village
Hall Fund; to Hoveton on Wednesday 25th November, for their new
Village Hall Fund; to Wreningham on Friday 4th December, for the
Congregational Church, and to Winfarthing on Friday 11th December.
The cast loved "touring", as they were so warmly welcomed,
played to full and appreciative audiences, and were royally entertained
to a buffet supper afterwards - the set builders, however, found
it very tiring !