In 1939 three sisters (Ruth, Hope and Sylvia Dodds) bought the vacant site at the top of Saltwell View and the house at number 3. They were successful in their aim to build a theatre as a permanent home for The Progressive Players – a group that had been established in 1920. Despite the outbreak of war in September 1939 the building of the theatre was started. It was delayed for a while when the site was requisitioned by the RAF but then progressed nicely.
At last in October 1943 the theatre was ready to open its doors for the first production by The Progressive Players in their new home. To the eyes of the public it was a complete theatre but behind the scenes there was still some finishing off to do. The first play, William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was a huge success and the players have gone from strength to strength ever since.
To celebrate the 80th birthday of the theatre there will be two exhibitions in number 4 Saltwell View (our coffee room). In January and February framed copies of some of the original plans and deeds will be on display. In September and October there will be a “timeline” of photographs showing the development of the theatre, inside and out, over the years.
Even if you do not usually have a cuppa when you come to see the plays why not pop down to number 4 to look at the exhibition during Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense by The Goodale Brothers (January 16 to 21) and Bothered and Bewildered by Gail Young (February 20 to 25).
We look forward to seeing you in 2023.