How this Derbyshire drama group has been entertaining the area for 40 years

For more than four decades the amateur dramatics group in Hathersage have been entertaining the village.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 1:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2020, 1:13 pm
Sally Craike, Louise Whiteley, Gemma Rogers, Becky Winstanley and Angie Ward, left to right, in Curtain Up performed by Hathersage Players
Sally Craike, Louise Whiteley, Gemma Rogers, Becky Winstanley and Angie Ward, left to right, in Curtain Up performed by Hathersage Players

The group has celebrated its ruby anniversary but says it is still going stronger than ever.

Chairman Rob Hall, used to live in London but was invited to join by a friend from church after relocating and has never looked back.

He said: “I got totally sucked in and love everything about the group; the camaraderie, the banter, the way it brings people together it’s brilliant.”

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Hathersage Players production of Oliver! in 2016

Rob said village stalward Pam Booth worked hard to set the group up in May 1979.

He said: “Over the years we have presented more than 150 productions and pantomimes which equates to more than 500 performances.

“And when the pantos or the plays are on it really does bring the whole village together and that community spirit is amazing.

“Our production of Oliver had more than 100 people in it and our shows are always sell-outs so in a village of just over 2,000 I’d say there wouldn’t be many people who don’t come to see our shows which is great.”

Backstage during one of the Hathersge Players performances

The Hatherage Players are very inclusive and welcome performers aged 10 to 80 although Rob says he loses some of the younger generation to Hope College and it’s drama department when they leave school but people always come back.

“There’s a pull you just can’t escape,” said Rob.

Rob has also turned his hand to directing in recent years and led the outdoor production of Jayne Eyre and will be directing once again for this year’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“Over the years we have done so many wonderful productions and laughed a lot and worked hard together and I am so proud of everyone of the Players.”

Mrs.Terence (Eileen Worstenholme) and Dora (Emily Upton) take their employer Mrs.Bramson (Pam Booth) to task in the Hathersage Players adaptation of Emlyn Williams' play 'Night Must Fall'.

Michael Allen is one of the long standing members of the group and had a part in the first production Brush With A Body and despite not acting as much in recent years he returned to perform in the fortieth anniversary of the same play.

He said: "There are so many memories, I found a niche playing the baddie and it’s fine when you are playing a role like Captain Hook and the young children know you are going to get eaten by a crocodile but when I played Jack Frost the costume was quite scary and when I jumped out I made some of the little ones on the front row cry.

“I think the best production I was in was Dry Rot, it was a hoot to be part and we got the audience laughing within the first five minutes and we never lost them, it was a fantastic atmosphere.

“Over the years the plays have got better and the scenery has got lighter – it used to take four people to lift one panel now they are much more modern or sometimes the effects are done with a projector.”

Hathersage players presented The Government Inspector. Pictured left to right are: Val Robinson, Christine Marshall, Angie Plank and Peter Miles

Rob added: “Over the years we have done so many wonderful productions and laughed a lot and worked hard together and I am so proud of everyone of the Player

Brush with a Body (original 1979 Cast)
The players who took part ina special black tie dinner to mark the 40th anniversary
The Al fresco performance of Pride & Prejudice
Hathersage Players, the cast of Run For Your Wives, Jonathan Laider plays the bigamist with Emily Upton and Becky Winstanley as his wives in 2008
The Hathersage Players [roduction of Jayne Eyre