Intent to Murder
By Leslie Sands
21st to 23rd November 1956
Donald K. Beaumont
Kenneth F. Coates
Assistant Stage Manager
Donald K. Beaumont
We warmly welcome you all to our second production of the season, and trust that you will enjoy the play this evening.
It is felt that our patrons might be interested to learn how the Society formed, and also why the name “Hospital Players” is used by a Society which has no connection with the Hospital. In the early years of the war a group of fire watchers at the hospital formed themselves into a dramatic society and during the war years gave performances at air stations and military camps in the district. Public performances were at that time given in the Cole Street Technical College and a Saturday Matinee was given in the Savoy Theatre.
Altogether 16 plays were rehearsed and produced from the Hospital and, up to the Regional Hospital Committee taking over the management, approximately one thousand pounds were contributed to Hospital funds, after which time the League of Friends benefitted from donations.
It was found in 1950 that it was no longer practicable to rehearse at the Hospital and alternative accommodation had to be found. It will be appreciated that as all profits had been given to Charity the Society had little or no capital at the time, but, with the aid of a bank overdraft, a large Nissen hut was purchased and erected on a piece of land in East Common Lane leased from the local Authority. This hut has been the headquarters of the Society ever since and it is there that plays are rehearsed, and the scenery stored and painted.
The overdraft has now been practically cleared and it may appear to have taken a long time, but it is not generally realised that the cost of putting on a play for three nights is approximately fifty pounds – this cost is made up of Royalties, hire of hall and chairs, printing and advertising, in additional to the many incidental expenses of each production. In fact from our last production, which was seen by over four hundred people, a profit of under five pounds was realised.
These notes give a brief history of the Society – moments of achievement and depression. Progress since 1950 has been slow and arduous but, as regular patrons will have observed, the momentum has increased during the last two years and the Society is now more firmly established as a local institution. Although we have a reasonably large membership we are always ready to welcome new members either as actors or as back stage workers. The latter, though they may not be seen, are just as essential to a good performance as the actors on the stage. We therefore appeal to any persons who are interested, and feel that they would like to join, to contact the Secretary or any member of the Society – we shall be more than pleased to welcome them.