The Richings Players
The first production of Richings Players took place on Saturday March 27th 1926 in St. Martin's Hall, West Drayton and was billed as 'An Entertainment'. It comprised three one act plays: Shavings from Shakespeare, Nerves and The Playgoers. Also in the programme were choral items by The Richings Singers. Admission was two shillings and fourpence (12p) in reserved seats or half price unreserved. A notice seeking members for 5 shillings a year was circulated to all Richings Park.
In November that year came the play 'Tilly of Bloomsbury' by Ian Hay. The cast included Mr William S. Mead who would later direct 60 plays for the players until "Pygmalion" in 1958. By the late Twenties three shows a year were produced (a tradition we have largely maintained to this day) and our patron was H.R.H. Princess Victoria (of Kent) who attended our production of 'The Thirteenth Chair' in March 1928.
The 1930's saw a move to the Tower Arms (still patronised by us after many a tiring rehearsal) and famous plays presented include 'Hay Fever' and 'Night Must Fall'. In 1932 a production of "Arms and the Man" was held in the Plaza - a cinema on the site of Wellesley Court flats.
World War II rudely interrupted progress but we were back in business in the late forties producing 'The Corn is Green' and 'The Winslow Boy' among others.
The Fifties and Sixties provided a range of classic and modern plays and among the regular directors were David Hiscock and Robert Lawrence. 'The Rape of the Belt` in 1969 was notable as the debut of Margaret Wilkins, one of our esteemed Presidents after many productions as Director and Actress.
A highlight of the Seventies was our open air production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' to mark our 50th anniversary.
The 1980's opened significantly with the first production in the new Iver Village Hall, our present home. It was called 'Hardly Cricket' specially written for us by member Pat Slack. In 1986, our sixtieth year, the Iverieties (a concert group formed during the war under the auspices of "The Richings Park Townswomens Guild" by Phyllis Bool to raise money to support our troops abroad), amalgamated with The Richings Players and later that year we produced Annie. The rest of the decade saw us present more memorable musicals: Oh What a Lovely War, The Wizard of Oz and Bugsy Malone.
A look through the programmes for the Nineties will reveal names of actors and crew who are happily still with us. Perhaps some of you will remember 'On Golden Pond', 'The Boyfriend', 'Hobson's Choice' and 'The Odd Couple' among others.
The new millennium brought us an outdoor production of 'Lark Rise' to celebrate our 75th anniversary, the award winning 'Twelve Angry Men' and 'Godspell', the latter of which we took to the Edinburgh Festival.
Richings Players prides itself on serving local audiences with a range of theatrical productions including supper theatre and one act Festival entries; but perhaps our most popular are the January shows whether family musicals, traditional pantomimes or even original pantomimes written and directed by members.
Whilst it is rewarding to take a nostalgic look back at our past we are keen to look to the future. Why not come and join us?