Saxlingham Players are still treading the boards 65 years later

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and t

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

It may not be the most attractive of prospects on paper – traipsing out to a cold village hall on a dark night, when you could be tucked up at home.

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and t

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood. Tony Polack, John Rockliffe, Lucy Finnie and Rachel Girling act one of the scenes.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

But members of the Saxlingham Players have been doing just that for 65 years, putting on at least two performances every year.

And as they warm up their vocal cords and make sure costumes fit for this year's pantomime – Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood – some members reflected on why the group had managed to last while others have fallen by the wayside.

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and t

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.Tony Polock as the Sheriff of Nottingham.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Ron Jeffrey, chairman, said the group had been going since just after the Second World War.

'The WI wanted men to join their group,' he said. 'Then in 1951 they became Saxlingham Drama Group and continued to perform two productions a year in the village hall.'

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and t

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood. Cleo Simmons, Eleanor Kirkby and Edmund Watts.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher


You may also want to watch:


He said they put on a variety of performances, from Shakespeare to Ayckbourn, and in 1966 the group's name was changed to the Saxlingham Players, as it was thought the old name had become dated.

In 1991, children were also able to join.

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and t

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Most Read

'Now, the group has put on 135 productions. We have around 40 members, we are fortunately able to continue doing what we love.'

Mr Jeffrey said as well as dedicated members, the Players also had a committed audience, with one couple travelling from Bury St Edmunds to see every show.

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and t

Saxlingham Nethergate Players will be cleberating 65 years with the Christmas Panto Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.Dorrie Hartley ( Maid Marion) with Lucy Finnie (Robin Hood)PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Rachel Girling, 52, has been a member of the Players since she was a child.

'My father was in it,' she said. 'I joined when I was about 12.'

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingha

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingham Players - Credit: Saxlingham Players

On what had changed over the years she said: 'They've all got older for a start! It was a lot more serious, it's much more of a social, friendly family now.'

Mr Jeffrey said his children and grandchildren were in the Players, making it a real family affair.

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingha

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingham Players - Credit: Saxlingham Players

'People come because it's fun,' he said. 'You get the chance to be in front of an audience, it's always a friendly audience – they're there to enjoy themselves and we know lots of them.'

He added the Players were also open for new members, be it acting or behind the scenes.

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingha

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingham Players - Credit: Saxlingham Players

Tickets for the Players' Christmas pantomime are now on sale for £7 (£5 for children). Performances are at 7.30pm on December 1, 2 and 3, with a 2pm matinee on the Saturday. To buy, call 01508 499631.

If you are interested in joining, email chairperson@saxlinghamplayers.org.uk

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingha

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingham Players - Credit: Saxlingham Players

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingha

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingham Players - Credit: Saxlingham Players

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingha

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingham Players - Credit: Saxlingham Players

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingha

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingham Players - Credit: Saxlingham Players

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingha

Past productions from the Saxlingham Players, as members celebrate their 65th year. Photo: Saxlingham Players - Credit: Saxlingham Players

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus