Pinner Players was founded in 1936, in the heyday of Amateur Dramatics in Britain and apart from four years during the war has continued uninterrupted to the present day. Its aim then, as now, was to perform plays of the highest quality for the local community. The company was originally called The Popular Players but soon changed its name to The Pinner Players Amateur Dramatic Society. In 1998 it changed its name again to Pinner Players Theatre Company.
Here are some Pinner Players programmes from 1936 to 2000.
The Popular Players began life in the old Vagabonds Hall, which used to be in Eastcote Road. It changed its name and its venue to the Greenwood Hall in Pinner and then St Anselm’s church hall in Hatch End before finally coming to rest in 1982 in Pinner Village Hall where we opened with ‘Ten Times Table’. The first season in 1936 included ‘The Second Visit’ and ‘Check to the King’ and we closed for the war years in 1940 with ‘Quiet Wedding’.
In 1944 we opened with ‘Charity Begins’ and have performed three plays every year since, in March, May and November. In recent years plays have ranged from drama to comedy, farce to musical, thriller to pastiche and have included authors from Shakespeare to Sondheim, Simon to Stoppard, Miller to O’Malley and Anouilh to Ayckbourn.
The choice of plays for each season is always given much thought. We try to strike a balance between popular comedies which always attract large audiences and dramas such as 'Death of a Salesman' and 'The Winslow Boy'. We marked the millennium by performing plays taken from the most significant plays of the last 100 years, as described by the National Theatre. We staged Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade in 2001. In 2009, we succeeded in staging Michael Frayn's brilliant comedy 'Noises Off', which was designed for a far bigger stage than ours. Recently we have performed "One Man Two Guvnors" and Jez Butterworth's "The Ferryman". Tickets for our productions are often sold out before the first performance.
Most of our actors give performances of West End quality every time and the continuing support of a loyal and growing audience proves that Pinner Players offers a quality product which is looked forward to and enjoyed by young and old alike.
We are proud of our local and theatrical connections; our first president was the late Hugh McDermott and in 1966, Bob Holness, then an up-and-coming young television personality, was asked to take over as president. He and his wife Mary were staunch supporters and fans ever since - even performing in a couple of the music halls. Bob sadly died in 2012 and Mary in 2020.
Like all drama groups in order to survive Pinner Players has to attract new, young blood, and once it gets new members it has to keep them. Back-stage workers are always much valued - all work and no applause! Young people have exams, university and new jobs to keep them busy; the demands of business can mean that established members struggle to fit in even one play per year.
Pinner Players has survived changes in culture, leisure activity and venue; it continues to attract members and audiences and despite television, cinema, the internet and the pace of modern life we continue to go from strength to strength. Each year, new members of all ages discover the ability within themselves to entertain an audience and the satisfaction of working together as a team - there really is nothing quite like the exhilaration of a cast party after a successful production!
If you've ever been tempted to take part in a play, come along to one of our auditions or rehearsals and see what you've been missing. It's never too late to start. Click here to join us.