Ecclesall Theatre Company in Sheffield is celebrating its 75th birthday this year as a thriving dramatic society.
The company (formerly St Gabriel’s Dramatic Society) began at St Gabriel’s Church on Greystones Road in 1938.
Ma’s Bit o’ Brass was well received as our first play. Ladies in the audience were asked to “remove their hats”.
Unfortunately the Second World War prevented further productions in 1939 but from 1940-1945 performances continued and at the end of the war we presented A Quiet Weekend.
St Gabriel’s performed The Happiest Days of Your Life (a lot of people think they were!). Plays tumbled from a new, vigorous society. Increasingly people used drama as their recreation. Rebecca and similar classics followed.
St Gabriel’s moved to Ecclesall Parish Hall in 1961, where we have been ever since.
The first play was Romanoff and Juliet. All the classic plays were presented, culminating in Separate Tables in 1969, together with Inherit the Wind. The ‘70s gave us This Happy Breed and our first Billy Liar and plays about vicars which gave us such joy. When We are Married and Plaza Suite came in the 1980s. By the time the 90s were upon us we were getting awards for “wonderful sets” and what a fortunate society we have been in our backstage personnel. There was a change of name to Ecclesall Theatre Company (ETC) in 1995. Our first plays were The Baccarat Scandal and A Christmas Carol. At the Millennium there were celebrations and a Christmas production raising money in order to erect a storage building on the site, adjacent to the Parish Hall. The building went ahead in 2002.
Brassed Off was performed in 2005 with Oughtibridge Brass Band. And here we are in 2013 at the beginning of our 75th productions to celebrate this anniversary.
Three past productins have been chosen to celebrate this exciting birthday: The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, November 19 to 23, Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced (February 11-15) and Separate Tables by Terence Rattigan, April 29 to May 3.