Welcome to this comprehensive listing of every play presented by the Progressive Players Gateshead amateur drama company since its founding by Ruth Dodds in 1920. Please be aware that the listing contains many spoilers!
In the company’s early days it was common for plays to be performed at several venues. The most frequently used venue was Westfield Hall, a community hall in Alexandra Road, Gateshead. A significant number of plays were especially written by Progressive Players members themselves; Ruth Dodds’ The Pitman’s Pay is a prime example. Since October 1943 almost all our productions have been performed at the Little Theatre Gateshead.
One-act plays have formed part of the output of the Progressive Players, and these have been included in this list, as have the productions presented by the various youth groups formed within the company over the years. Not included, however, are excerpts or sketches from plays, nor are performances for members-only audiences.
The plays are listed by year, in order of presentation. Clicking on a play title will link to a page dedicated to that play, which includes a brief synopsis of the plot.
Each play is also categorised by type. The system used is necessarily simplistic. Inevitably there will be some differences of opinion about what “type” a play is; whilst many Dramas and Thrillers have humorous moments, they are not regarded as Comedies. By the same token many Comedies and Comedy-Thrillers have their serious, even tragic, aspects. The intention has therefore been to show the overall flavour of the play, rather than get bogged down into numerous “sub-types”. The five types used herein are Drama, Comedy, Thriller, Comedy-Thriller, and Pantomime.
Following this is a production history for the play, with dates of performances. Plays receiving their very first performance will be so indicated by a note. Precise dates of some performances, mainly during the society’s first two decades, are unknown. Some entries will also include a short italicised comment or note of interest, such as details of adaptations, festival participations, and so on.
Accompanying most entries are small images of the play programme (showing the cast and production team lists) and one or more production photos. Clicking on an image will bring up an enlarged version. Unfortunately there are no photos or programmes from the 1920s – with one notable exception! A number of plays performed in the company’s earliest years have since become rather obscure, so some information is still lacking. Research is ongoing, so watch this space!
Following the main listing are two A to Z indices, one for play titles and one for playwrights. You can also search the lists by using keywords.
We hope you enjoy browsing through this roundup of the legacy of the Progressive Players Gateshead.