Based in the historic market town of Neston, the society was originally formed in 1952 by Ron Kidd, a minister of the Presbyterian church who originally gave his merry troupe the name 'Neston Presbyterian Players'. Ron was very much a fan of amateur dramatics, and though some of his congregation felt that it was not a fitting pastime for a minister, he was not deterred (for which generations of society members and audiences alike are very grateful!) A few things have changed over the years, though. In 1969, Ron directed a play called Come Laughing Home, in which our very own Irene Pugh (or Irene Rockett as she was then), made her acting debut. At this time in the history of the Players, each script was scanned and discussed in great detail to assess the suitability of the language and to remove blasphemous expletives, so this particular play, set in a northern council estate and with young Irene playing the part of ‘a fallen woman’, was bound to cause consternation. After the first night a member of the congregation was very upset at the use of the words ‘I’m PREGNANT’ in the script, thinking it most unseemly. Despite the disapproval of many in the congregation Ron decided that the suggested alternative ‘I’m with child’ reduced the effect of the powerful drama and so stuck to his guns. On the closing night he said to the audience that he wanted to put on a play with a moral. And so he did! In the 1970s, the word ‘Presbyterian’ was dropped from the Players’ name, but the society still remained a little coy about rude words. Even in 1988, with the production of Blithe Spirit, the name of the leading man was changed because Noel Coward’s choice of ‘Charles Condomine’ sounded too much like a prophylactic. Perhaps the name of the play should have been changed too, as it was more ‘blighted’ than ‘blithe’. During rehearsals, the leading lady, was told to ‘break a leg’ by her husband and did just that. The irony of the story was not lost on the local paper who gave it a full write up along with Rosemary in her plaster cast. There were more problems with the leading man, who struggled to learn his lines (how many times have we heard that?). But help was at hand in the form of a bright, young, newcomer who stepped in to take his place, and despite all that we’ve subjected him to in the intervening years, Gordon Wallis remains our longest standing male member. Alcohol has long been another contentious issue. While many actors like a little nerve-calming drink, it can have unfortunate consequences and is usually frowned-upon backstage. On one memorable occasion, however, a couple of the cast felt there was sufficient time in the interval to pop out to the pub at Raby, on a motorbike, for a little light refreshment. They would probably have got away with it had they not had an accident on the way back, leaving the unsuspecting audience wondering what had become of Act 2. Fortunately, nobody was injured in the accident itself, but the Stage Manager never fully recovered. Since starting up in 1952, Neston Players have staged over 130 full length plays, twenty-something one-act plays and even a few pantos back in the eighties. Many of the one-act plays were entered into festivals; four different festivals on over a dozen occasions, received nine nomination and won four best actor awards.
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At Neston Players, we welcome absolutely everyone, whether you have a hunger to act, try your hand in a backstage role or get involved in one of the many and various other activities. We have an abundance of opportunities and there's a space for you whatever your skills or experience.
Membership of Neston Players is a hugely rewarding and life-enriching experience. For more information on how to join us, simply
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