Scunthorpe's Oldest Amateur Dramatics Group - Established 1943

202nd Production

A Kick in the Baubles

By Gordon Steel

Tuesday 22nd - Saturday 26th January 2013

It’s another peaceful Christmas in the Bailey household but chestnuts aren’t roasting on an open fire, and although a ‘Silent Night’ would be welcome, all is not calm and all is certainly not bright.


Frank does not wish it could be Christmas everyday – in fact, he’s dreading the arrival of his snobbish in-laws who only ever bring a single bottle of wine for festivities. Throw in a couple of larger-than-life neighbours, let drink flow merrily, and everything is set for a car-crash Christmas.











Andy Pontin

Ali Newell

Graham Wells

Jan Gregory

Stewart Robertson

Elizabeth Hempstock

Grace Barley

Sarah Stanley

Jake West

Production Team


Stage Manager

Assistant Stage Manager

Lighting Design

Lighting Operation

Sound Recording/Operation





Set Design and Construction

Poster Design

Programme Design


Publicity Team



Publicity Photographs


Front of House Manager

Mailing List

Nikki Pontin

Penny Robinson

Jake West

Andy Bulleyment

Ann Brown

Chris Johnson

Rachel Ireland

Charlotte Henderson

Nikki Pontin

The Cast

Les Tong

Nikki Pontin

Jake West

Elizabeth Hempstock

Elizabeth Hempstock

Rachel Ireland

Nikki Pontin

Graham Wells

Nikki Pontin

Caroline Norden

Margaret and Les Tong


'The Twelve Days of Christmas'

Programme Notes

70 Years of The Hospital Players – A History


Long ago during the Second World War fire watching was a system designed to keep watch for falling bombs during air raids and to extinguish them. Luckily Scunthorpe suffered little – endless days and nights with no action. This prompted the firewatchers, atop the local hospital (the highest spot in Scunthorpe), to look for a more fruitful way of passing the time – play reading began and quite quickly the watchers decided they would like to perform. Friends and associates travelled from surrounding villages by bicycle to join in. Rehearsal spaces were found in the hospital board room, then the hospital basement (followed in time by a Nissen Hut, the Old Library on High Street East, John Street, Balloons Galore’s garage and now the Grange Farm Hobbies Centre). They decided to perform at the local Savoy Theatre to raise money for the War Memorial Hospital which was dependent on voluntary subscription and donations (before the National Health Service).


One Saturday afternoon in 1943 a performance of ‘The Admirable Crichton’ took place, a most ambitious project at a time when the war made it almost impossible to find material for scenery and costumes. The group had to move into the theatre during the morning, perform, then move out that same evening. In 1979 (as The Hospital Players produced their 100th play) Fred Jeffery, a performer in this first play, recalled: “All in all it was a happy and, I recollect, a satisfactory performance, but little did I dream that this would prove to be the birth of a society that has gone from strength to strength over the years.”


Also in 1979 Yvonne Burgess, another performer in the first play, said: “The Hospital Players have progressed a long way since their beginning when enthusiasm and ingenuity were the most important characteristics of members whose primary objective was to raise money for the Hospital. The propped-up scenery proved hazardous for the players but hilarious for the audience. As well as raising money the players provided a welcome distraction and an opportunity to see a live play. During the war, performances were given at nearby Army Camps and Air Force Stations, where they were given warm and courteous receptions. Anyway, the company progressed slowly and with a certain amount of difficulty and expense to members.”


I joined The Hospital Players in 1978, as a guest to sing and dance in a panto, and with no ambitions to perform in a play! However, as many of us have found out we gradually get sucked onto the stage. We pride ourselves on the fact that most of us take part on stage when needed and/or take on backstage roles if not. Over the years we have managed to overcome the loss of rehearsal and workshop space, then – due to a fire – a lost workshop, scenery, props, furniture and costumes. We have adapted, rebuilt and kept going through the dedication and hard work of our members. We are a small group and work together to ensure we give successful performances to the highest standard we can achieve.


We also enjoy getting together for social events – be it a quick stop at the pub after rehearsal, celebrating a birthday or wedding with drinks and a meal or a planned event for Christmas or the end of a play or season. We like our nights out and are usually the last to leave events.


I am very proud to chair The Hospital Players as we perform our 202nd play in the midst of our 70th season. We carry on the original objective by donating to The Hospital League of Friends each year. As in 1943, we rely heavily on the enthusiasm and ingenuity of our members to ensure The Hospital Players grow. I thank all our members past and present, our associates and – above all – you, the audience who make it all worthwhile, as we celebrate our 70th birthday season.


Jan Gregory

Chairperson, The Hospital Players 2012-13