Malvern Theatre Company was founded in 1957 as Malvern Theatre Group
On the 27th of September, 1957, The Malvern Arts Council decided to form a drama group and a meeting, advertised throughout the Arts Council membership and the local press, was called for in October. An inaugural meeting was held early that month where approximately twelve people attended. A Mr. Luke Oldham offered to produce the first production, and made a preliminary selection of suitable plays. The Mayoress, Mrs. Joan Morgan, was asked to be patron of the group and to take the chair at the next meeting which was held at the small Court Room in the Malvern Town Hall on the 29th of October and was attended by 40 people. The Malvern Drama Group was formed with an elected Interim Committee.
On the 3rd of December, with 25 people attending, the following office bearers were elected: President Mrs. Joan Morgan, Vice-Presidents Mr. & Mrs. Alec A. Rosenblum, Treasurer Miss K. Morant, Secretary Miss Joy Batty (who played Mrs. Small in the first production), Publicity Officer Mr. John B. Dunn, plus five Committee Members, Mrs. Deller, Miss Wendy Marshall (who stage managed the first show), Miss Roff, Miss Hitchcock and Mr. John Mackenzie.
Luke Oldham then commenced reading A Lady Mislaid by Kenneth Horne, which became our first production and took five and a half months to produce.
A constitution with minor adjustments to the original draft was adopted at a meeting held in the Mayoress’ Room on the 24th of February, 1958. A Lady Mislaid was finally staged at the Holy Advent Church of England Parish Hall, Armadale, on the 18th and 19th of April, 1958. The cast consisted of Joy Batty, Dorothy Heulin, Nanette Gerock, John Norman, John McKerchar, Ron Warfe and Pam Young. The Stage Manager was Wendy Marshall. Subscribers were asked to pay £1/1/0 plus 10/6d for each ensuing year. Our first telephone number for enquiries was UM3504 (the President’s home in Chadstone). The group’s second production, The River Line by Charles Morgan, was staged at St. Joseph’s Hall, Malvern, from the 27th to 29th August, 1958. Orchestral interludes were provided by members of the Malvern Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Milton Thrift and the programme listed the new patroness, Lady Tait. The show received the following press review: “The first Act … was shapeless … the production generally was uneasy and cramped … the cast was moderately effective”. For our third play, Random Harvest by James Hilton, 3rd to 5th December, 1958, the four-page programme was typeset and printed for the first time. Previously it was typed out on a typewriter and duplicated.
To read the full story, download our PDF on How it all Began