Photo gallery: Rackheath Players appeal for former members to join 60th anniversary reunion

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

Sixty years of drama, laughs, tears and tantrums are set to be celebrated by one of our area's longest-running amateur dramatic groups.

Rackheath Players productions throughout the years - Play On in 1985.

Rackheath Players productions throughout the years - Play On in 1985. - Credit: Submitted - April 2013

Rackheath Players was formed in 1953 and is still going strong in the village, to the north of Norwich, in 2013.

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

The group still stage 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.

Now the Players are organising a reunion to celebrate its 60 years and is calling for former members to come and join them at the celebration.

The reunion will be held at the Oaklands Hotel in Thorpe St Andrew on Sunday, May 12.


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One of the organisers of the reunion, Laura Cook, said: 'As far as we are aware, Rackheath Players are the only amateur dramatic company in the area to reach this great 60-year milestone.

'As well as performing special shows this year, we are holding a celebration for all past and present members. We have managed to trace a lot of past members but are still having difficulty with some.

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'We are now appealing to these ex-members to contact us in order that we may invite them to our celebration.'

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 has fond memories of his time with them, writing about the group in his book, Confessions of a Norfolk Newshound.

Mr Skipper said he recalls 'wonderful times' with the group, particularly of some informal rehearsals in the local pubs.

'It was in the late 60s when I first moved to Norwich and I joined the sports desk (of the EDP) and the sports editor, Ted Bell, and his wife Bunny, were the leading lights of Rackheath Players,' Mr Skipper said.

'Now in those days I wasn't very good at getting up in the mornings, so I owed Ted one or two favours and he said how about coming out to Rackheath to help out the local drama group, because I had done a bit in Thetford.

'Thankfully a lot of them took it more seriously than me, the girls in particular were very good, and it was a good group.

'I'm looking forward to seeing some old faces and seeing if they can remember their lines now!'

- Any previous members can contact Ms Cook on 01603 486537 or rackheathplayers60th@hotmail.co.uk

- To see more photos of Rackheath Players' casts through the years, see the gallery at the top-right of this page.

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