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FROM BETHEL ... TO THEATRE
The Lowestoft Players were first formed in 1967 on a tiny bank balance of seven shillings and sixpence (37.5p). Of course, that money was worth a little more back then! Their first musical was ‘The Boyfriend’ and their first pantomime, that all-time favourite ‘Cinderella’, presented at the old Sparrows Nest Theatre set in parkland at the top of the town.
Since then, in over 45 very successful years the Players have become a much larger company producing two full scale musicals and one pantomime per year. They have moved on from the old Sparrow’s Nest Theatre, since demolished, and now perform in the fine centrally located Marina Theatre in Lowestoft, restored from former Edwardian glory. The Players were proud to be part of the campaign for the local council to buy the Marina Theatre over 25 years ago, and following a lively opening revue in the autumn of 1988, they presented their first pantomime in the new venue, and it was, of course, ‘Cinderella’!
Following many years at their Pakefield HQ in Stradbroke Road, kindly loaned by benefactors Mr and Mrs Catchpole, they then purchased their own rehearsal studios at ‘The Bethel’ in central Lowestoft, and now look forward with keen anticipation to the next stage in their exciting development.
During 2012 The Players launched an extensive programme of fundraising with the intention of converting the large rehearsal hall into a performance space. Following months of hard work, a building programme that included new toilet facilities and a licenced bar, the ambitious project was realised.
In December 2012 the 200 seater Players Theatre opened to the general public with a 10 performance run of 'A Christmas Spectacular!'
The future will see The Players continue to perform their large scale pantomime and spring musical productions at the Marina Theatre and see The Players Theatre, at the Bethel, as an additional complimentary venue which will allow them to stage a number of exciting smaller productions that would not normally be viable to the town's larger 700 seater venue.