When the Wimborne Drama Club was formed in 1928 the provincial theatrical scene comprised plays that had attained popularity from professional presentations in London.
It can be imagined that the early days of the club bore the customary pattern of initial play readings to foster interesting drama among the membership, leading to modest ventures of one-act and three-act plays that did not require complicated sets. As experience developed and the players gained knowledge and confidence ambition directed their endeavours into wider fields of presentation.
During the span of history now reached, many titles written specifically for amateur staging have been included in the repertoire. Referring to the whole gambit of productions over a period of half a century would be too lengthy, but the range of achievements will have covered domestic plots, thrillers of tension and suspense, farce and comedy, and numerous titles that have challenged the club’s resources, entertained its followers and brought a measure of satisfaction.
With the advent of plays with an earthy tendency, the spread of kitchen-sink dialogue, and the corrosive factors of sex emphasis selection has often been narrowed. This especially applies to societies eager to provide wholesome entertainment to build up the goodwill of the public. However, judging by the sting of titles performed during it’s eventful history, the club has been able to maintain a high standard of choice and performance.
Venues have varied. Once the club was housed in a former garage that became the W. I. Hall. Then for a period, Church House welcomed the audiences until the extended facilities of the new Allendale Centre brought new opportunities of staging. Changes in personel have come and gone during the intervening years but long serving members among them Arthur Brooks of 17 years duration, have helped to sustain interest and allegiance.
For its jubilee celebration next week, the club has chosen The Amorous Prawn, the lively and sophisticated comedy by Anthony Kimmins. Directed by Thelma Dryden, who has been responsible for recent productions, the comedy is being played at the Allendale Centre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 13 to 15, each evening at 7:45 pm.
The club’s next production will be the Francis Durbridge thriller Murder with Love. It is a follow-up to their successful production of Durbridge’s The Gentle Hook last year.
To give players a wider scope the club will be providing actors to take part in documentaries and productions being planned by Minster Films. But the club needs more members both on and off stage in order to enter one-act plays at local drama festivals and extend the Victorian Evenings that have been held in the past with considerable success. Theatre trips, lectures and social events are also held throughout the year.
Anyone interested in joining the club either to act or work backstage should contact the chairman David Green of 2, Whitehouse Road, Wimborne, for full details.
Recently the club held their golden jubilee dinner dance. The event was held at Stanbridge House by permission of Major Walker and club president Sir Michael Hanham and Lady Hanham were the guests of honour, cutting the specially decorated anniversary cake.