There’s an old song that begins: “If they asked me I could write a book”.
Well, I could. A book about the first sixty years of St Mary’s Dramatic society,
the memories, anecdotes, and the crises.
What do we do when the leading actor falls ill six hours before curtain up?
And what’s the next move when the play is rapidly approaching
its denouement and the “vital letter which will explain everything” is lying
on the props table backstage?
Answers on a postcard please.
It all began with a paragraph in the church magazine inviting “anyone
interested in forming a church dramatic society” to attend a meeting in the
Vicar’s room at St Mary’s Hall, Priory Lane. The response was immediate.
There had been concerts at the hall before, but this new venture was going to
be the real thing (we were told).
Three act plays with scenery, Lighting, sound Effects, the works.
We put on an evening of one act plays (Toe in the water stuff) but better things
beckoned, and we launched into our first three act play under the eagle eye of
Bill Downer Classics Master at Balshaw Grammar School).
The cast? Pat Higgins, Peggy Parkinson, Muriel Brown, Cyril Birkett, Amy Downer,
Renee Gardner and the Vicar of Penwortham (Rev P.A. Schofield).
There was a strong element of “lets go and see if the Vicar’s any good”.
Well, he was.Very good indeed. “Blithe Spirit” played to a packed hall and a
great time was had by all.
It seems incredible that sixty has passed since then, and more than a hundred
and thirty plays have come and gone.
St Mary’s A.D.S. is now famous for its sets, and scripts that used to cost three
and sixpence now come in at nine pounds each.
Once or twice the society has been on the edge of closure, but we have managed
to keep going, thanks to Patrons and loyal customers.
During 2015/2016, our Diamond anniversary season, we raise our glasses to the society,
and to absent friends, who left us such a legacy of fun and friendship.