Theatrical society launched in 1948 in peril after drop in numbers

Fordingbridge Players' 2012 production of Pack of Lies at Burgate Drama Studio

Fordingbridge Players' 2012 production of Pack of Lies at Burgate Drama Studio

First published in New Forest News by , Head of News

A GROUP of amateur thespians fear their two major productions a year could be reduced to one-man shows after more than 60 years following a drop in membership.

Fordingbridge Players started life as The Fordingbridge Dramatic Society, in or about 1948 before becoming the St Mary’s Players in the early 1970s and more recently the Victoria Players.

The society presented shows twice a year at the Burgate School drama studio, putting on a wide range of productions, until last year. But now they do not have enough people to stage two shows.

Membership has now dropped to 25, and many of those are not performers or can offer backstage help, making it difficult to cast many plays.

The society is hoping to attract new members, particularly younger people, to perform, and do the lighting and front of house roles so they can continue to entertain the town.

Anyone interested is being invited to an open day at the town hall on Saturday, June 14 to see what it’s all about.

Players secretary Nicki Salmond said: “You could say it's a last ditch attempt to save the players as we know it, as we simply can't continue in our current form with the numbers we have.

“It would be a great shame for the town to lose such a longstanding society, so we will do all we can.”

Chairman Andrew Ledger, who teaches drama to children in Cranborne, said: “I’ll keep it going even if it’s just me standing on a street corner reciting.

“The time has come for change, but we need to know who is out there and interested so we can gauge how we move on.”

The open day, from 10am until 5pm, will feature costumes for kids to try on, props including a car used in their last production, slideshows of previous productions and demos of lighting and front of house, plus some history of the society.

From 11am until midday children aged five to 16 are invited to a workshop, where they will devise a small show to perform later in the day.

For more information go to www.fordingbridgeplayers.org.uk.

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