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History

 

A History of the Lindley Players

 

Towards the end of 1945 thoughts were turning to renewing the various social activities of the pre-war days. The Vicar of Whitstable, Canon Hillyard, invited Ralph Lindley to form a drama group from within the congregation of All Saints Church. Early in 1946 such a group formed, together with a committee of Officers and members. The drama group, naturally called The Lindley Players, also performed an annual pageant at the Summer Fete held by All Saints Church. They were, after all, an integral part of the social activities of the Church. This, in addition to two productions each year, continued until Ralph Lindley retired and left Whitstable in 1955.

 

During the next 20 years the Players continued to thrive and expand their activities, putting on productions at various different venues. However, there was always an ambition for the Lindleys to have their own theatre and a building fund was created to save towards that dream. In 1978 the United Reformed Church in Whitstable High Street was put on the market and a small group of Lindleys realised the potential of the building to convert into a theatre.

 

By the end of 1980, enough money had been raised in order to start negotiations with the United Reform Church for the purchase of the building. Conversion work on the auditorium and balcony began in April 1981 and was completed a year later. Productions were to continue at St Mary's Hall in 1981 and 1982. The members working at weekends and one evening every week did the bulk of this conversion work. The work involved building a stage, removing the balcony from the side walls, installing a stepped auditorium floor, building a lighting control and sound control room in the balcony and additional seating. The lower floor was converted into a bar, club room and dressing rooms.

 

Since the opening production "Voyage Round My Father" in 1982, (with John Mortimer the playwright present), the Playhouse has been expanded, re-furbished and fitted out with the latest state of the art sound and lighting equipment. The hard work by volunteers over the years has resulted in The Playhouse Theatre being a performance venue suitable for a wide range of live entertainment. The Playhouse Theatre is home to owners and operators the Lindley Players, but it is also a high specification performance venue used by many external amateur groups and professional acts.

 

 

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