Book will help Rackheath Players celebrate six decades of treading the boards

Rackheath Players reunite at The Oaklands Hotel to celebrate the 60th year of the group.PHOTO BY SIM

Rackheath Players reunite at The Oaklands Hotel to celebrate the 60th year of the group.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Sixty years of amateur dramatics have been remembered and celebrated by the Rackheath Players.

Rackheath Players reunite at The Oaklands Hotel to celebrate the 60th year of the group.PHOTO BY SIM

Rackheath Players reunite at The Oaklands Hotel to celebrate the 60th year of the group.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The group was formed in 1953 and held a special reunion event at the Oaklands Hotel, in Thorpe St Andrew, to celebrate its 60th anniversary on Sunday.

Rackheath Players productions throughout the years - Little Shop of Horrors in 2011.

Rackheath Players productions throughout the years - Little Shop of Horrors in 2011. - Credit: Submitted - April 2013

Rackheath Players is still going strong in the village, to the north of Norwich, and stages three productions a year; a pantomime in February involving local children and two further productions, usually in spring or early summer and another in the autumn.

Keith Skipper's (far right) time with the Rackheath Players. The Boeing Boeing cast, left to right:

Keith Skipper's (far right) time with the Rackheath Players. The Boeing Boeing cast, left to right: Colin Bevan (an EDP colleague of Keith's), Fay Stowers, Bunny Bell, Celia Canfor and Sue Gibson. - Credit: Submitted - April 2013

One of the organisers of the reunion, Laura Cook, said: 'It went really well, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we had ex-members come from as far as Hove [in East Sussex] and Colchester.

'We had some former members who are now in their 90s and about 60 people turned up, which was nice considering it was our 60th anniversary reunion.'


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The Players have staged productions on a regular basis ever since forming in 1953 and even managed to continue performing at alternative venues while their home, Rackheath Village Hall, was being rebuilt following a fire in the mid-1970s.

Local author, broadcaster and founder of Friends of Norfolk Dialect, Keith Skipper, is one of the Players' most famous former members and attended the reunion.

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Mr Skipper wrote about his fond memories of his time with the group in his book, Confessions of a Norfolk Newshound.

Mrs Cook continued: 'We had a buffet and welcome drinks and then speeches from our president, Fred Leek, and chairman, Eddie Allison.

'We had memorabilia, old photo albums, production posters up, newspaper cuttings and reviews and a book so that people could comment.

'We're going to make it all into a book. For old members who maybe couldn't come, they can order a book and it will have everything from our last 60 years in a scrapbook style, which will be available after our October show.'

Preparations are now under way for the next production, Such Things Happen, a comedy-mystery by Wilfred Massey, which was the group's debut performance in 1953.

The production is to be staged between Thursday, June 20 and Saturday, June 22, at Rackheath Village Hall, in Green Lane West, at 7.45pm across the three nights.

Mrs Cook added: 'The whole reunion went better than we could have hoped, everyone enjoyed it so much and said what a lovely time they had.The next production will be the first the Players ever did, in December 1953, Such Things Happen.

'It's a very old play, a drama with touches of comedy and murder-mystery that sees a group go on holiday to a cottage, where a lot of mysterious things happen.'

Tickets for Such Things Happen are £5, for more information go to www.rackheathplayers.co.uk Anyone interested in buying one of the memorabilia books can email Mrs Cook at rackheathplayers60th@hotmail.co.uk

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