St Stephen's Operatic & Dramatic Society started in the Forties. They performed in the old school which was in the church grounds. It didn't have a stage, so one had to be built before every performance and taken down at the end of the week - what a task!
In 1952 the new school was built on Woodgrove Road, complete with a wonderful new stage. This opened up the life of the Society and the first perfomance was a review called, "Opening Time". All the costumes were made by ladies of the church.
In 1953 we did our first play called, "Worm's Eye View", and we continued doing plays and reviews until 1956 when we did our first big show, "Oklahoma". This came about because the parish had to pay £18,000 towards the cost of the school. Our VIcar at the time, Revd Alan Francis Clark, decided to put on a big show as it would raise money towards this. He was very persuasive, as this was a very big venture.
"Oklahoma" was performed and was the start of many great shows: "South Pacific", "The Merry Widow", "Summer Song", "Rose Marie", "Carousel", and many more.
During this time we did a play and a show every year. We had an excellent team of actors and a wonderful backstage team. In fact actors, when not acting, worked for the Society - there was no great divide.
St Stephen's has always been a society of very talented people. As one group got older, another, younger group took over.
We are now St Stephen's Players and it is our aim to produce a pantomime each year. We need committed people to keep this Society going. It would be very sad if it couldn't continue to give wonderful entertainment to a lot of people. It is great fun and you are never bored. So come and join us!
Our thanks to Dorothy Spencer for this insight into St Stephen's Players, past and present.