Penrith Players – History
In 2022 the Players mark their centenary year with a return to a full year of post pandemic productions and a centenary dinner celebration. This is the perfect year to support local theatre by booking tickets to see a production or by becoming a volunteer yourself.
An open meeting was held on 22nd of November 1922 in St. Andrew’s Parish Rooms, at the instigation of Mr. Horace Page, who had previously played a prominent part with the Stockport Garrick Society. The outcome of this was the formation of THE PENRITH PLAYERS, with a founder membership of 53. By the end of the year this number had increased to 140.
A large room in White Hart Chambers was rented, for use for rehearsals, lectures and social events, and during the first season four one-act plays were presented privately for members, and a four-act comedy was presented publicly at the Alhambra, which was not yet a cinema
During the second season the rented room was adapted to suit the society’s needs – to contain a very small stage, dressing rooms and seating for 100. Plays were performed to members in these headquarters, but “public” performances continued to be held in the Alhambra.
By the end of the fourth season (1926), membership stood at 366, and the headquarters had by now become too small. A long lease was secured on Albion Hall, Castlegate, which had in its day been the printing works for two of the local newspapers. The society rechristened the building The Playhouse and began conversion to a small theatre, the main room becoming a stage and auditorium seating 150. The ladies’ dressing room and toilet, and a small canteen were on the first floor with the men’s dressing room, and storage rooms being housed in the attics.
In February 1998 the Players moved to their current home in Auction Mart Lane, when the old building was declared unsafe for performances. Since this time The Players have converted a former furniture saleroom to a comfortable and spacious Theatre, suited to a variety of uses.