|Ponteland Repertory Society|
|President: Betty Nesbit|
|Chair: Richard Davies||Vice-Chair: Carole Davies|
|Secretary: Mala Janes||Treasurer: Janet Walton|
| Barbara Clayton, Gerald Clayton
Lesley Eltringham, Jason Long
| Mrs B Clayton, Mr G Clayton, Mrs J Clough
Mrs I Eggleston, Mr D Goodchild
Mrs M Goodchild Mrs A Havis, Mr J Havis
Mr K Hylton, Mr N King, Mrs B Nesbit
Mrs B Newton, Mrs E Prudhoe, Mrs D Warner.
In 1927 a small group of music lovers banded together and formed Ponteland Repertory Society. It is a great tribute to them that this group has continued to exist (apart from the six year interval during the Second World War) until the present time. However, even the war did not dull their desire to perform and a concert party was formed to provide entertainment for the troops: more than 100 concerts were given in camps and billets all over the North of England.
We have been honoured over the years in having, as our Presidents, many people who have been keen supporters of both the operatic and dramatic art and this year is no exception. We are pleased that Dorothy Warner, our longest serving member, is our President in this our 80th season.
We cannot mention all of the officials who have served the Society during the past 80 years: many are no longer with us, but we remember their efforts with gratitude.
It has always been the aim to provide drama which all the family could enjoy and many good plays have been presented and enjoyed.
On the musical side, Gilbert and Sullivan operettas were accepted, and expected productions, performed from the inception of the Society, but in 1967 the Society - very daringly - accepted the challenge of performing 'The Merry Widow'. This was quite a venture with the staging facilities at that time and, because of its success with both audiences and members, we have continued to produce musicals from both sides of the Atlantic and across the channel.
A more recent innovation was pantomime, which we began to stage in 1996, giving younger people a greater opportunity to take part in our productions.
From the first, all of the shows have been produced in the Memorial Hall. For many more years than we care to remember the stage had to be manhandled from the cellar and built upon trestles on the floor.
Dressing rooms were almost nonexistent and the gentleman’s chorus used a pantechnicon parked outside. This very often meant a frantic dash through the kitchen, out of the back door to the van - frequently in pouring rain (and occasionally snow!). There is no evidence of declining membership due to pneumonia! In 1969 the Memorial Hall completed its long awaited extensions and improvements and since then we have had a permanent stage and dressing rooms in the same building.
There have obviously been some changes in 80 years. For instance, carriages no longer call at the hall at 10.15 pm as was stated in the first programme when, incidentally, ticket prices were 2s/4d (including tax!). Members have come and gone, but one of the strengths of the Society has always been that whole families are able to be involved in our shows. The months of hard work, the friendships, the ups and downs, the audience response that spurs us to greater effort these can only be maintained by encouraging more younger members to participate more fully in all areas of production and administration, thereby ensuring a future for live theatre here in Ponteland.
Anne Havis is a life member of the society and was Chairperson during the 80th season.