History

The Shepperton Players are a long-standing amateur theatre group (originally founded as Shepperton Amateur Dramatic Society), who have been entertaining locals since their first performance in 1945 (“Love in a Mist” by K Horne) at the Shepperton Village Hall.

Shepperton Players, along with other local groups and in partnership with the local council, redeveloped a derelict factory into what is now the Riverside Arts Centre (RAC), an excellent all-round facility and venue for many arts groups in the area.

The development of the Arts Centre was an enormous undertaking, with voluntary labour largely providing the building, engineering, plumbing and decorating.

The RAC opened in 1983 with Shepperton Players’ first production there being “The Fire Raisers” by Max Frisch. Since that time, the RAC has been developed extensively, most notably with the addition of the former bank premises next door being converted into what is now “The Studio”, another wonderful and versatile space used by a multitude of arts groups.

For many years, we staged popular open-air Shakespeare (directed for 30 consecutive years by Mary Fitzhugh) and other outdoor performances. Sadly in recent years it has become impossible to continue with the open-air productions.

Every two years (since “Aladdin” in 1971) we put on a pantomime production. These are enormously fun, usually have a huge cast, and invariably involve everyone in the group in some capacity. Our most recent panto – “Sleeping Beauty” – was a big commercial success. We normally stage 4 productions each year, and we usually move straight from the performance of one to the rehearsals for the next (sometimes even overlapping) so there is always something going on.

In addition, the group frequently enters Elmbridge, Spelthorne and Sunbury & Shepperton drama festivals, mainly for fun but with notable successes in each the over the years. Since the creation of the Basil Miles award for the best arts event, Shepperton Players have won this coveted award twice, first for “Under Milk Wood” in 2004 and then for “A Christmas Carol” in 2008.

A full list of over 250 productions in our history would be too long to provide here, but we have books containing a full record of our productions, and there are photos of recent productions here.

We make a point of selecting a broad, varied and challenging range of plays to perform. As well as the usual amateur theatre fare, we take on Pinter and Ibsen, farce and greek tragedy, and pride ourselves on the quality of the finished product. Read some independent reviews of recent productions here.

Shepperton Players is a non-profit organisation. Ticket revenue is used to cover costs and any surplus will contribute to future productions, maintain the excellent facilities at the Riverside Arts Centre and be invested in new equipment. We do not charge for production programmes, but instead collect donations for Princess Alice Hospice.

We welcome new members and wherever possible try to encourage new joiners to get involved straight away. We also encourage members to try out new activities and to expand their skills on- and off-stage, with support for new directors and new writers, and training for technical skills in the gallery where appropriate. We meet every Monday and Thursday at Riverside Arts Centre, 59 Thames Street. If you would like to join, or are not sure but would like to come along and see, please visit our membership page.

We are very much a part of the local community and would like to thank the shops and businesses in Lower Sunbury for their ongoing support.

If you would like any further information, please contact us at info@sheppertonplayers.org.uk.

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