The Players were formed in 1980 when Stef Easton, a thespian from Taunton, along with a group of like-minded people got together with the aim of putting on a play at what was then The Plough Theatre in Torrington. Her husband, Tony, was persuaded to use his business connections to their benefit, including raising money, and thus The Players were born with Tony being the first Chairman.
The inaugural meeting was in the canteen of Dartington Crystal on Monday 10th March 1980. The first decision was: what play? It was agreed that a comedy would be best, but which one? Stef was despatched to the Devon County Performing Arts Library in Exeter to ferret one out. As she says, she could find nothing to catch her attention and was feeling despondent and was on her way out. “As I cast my eye along one particular line of meticulously arranged scripts, I noticed that one was falling out, so being a tidy soul, I made my way to the shelf to put it back in. However, I thought I would just glance at its title. It was a play called Mad About Men by Peter Blackmore and was all about a mermaid. I thumbed through it and found it amusing; the title was good; we could cast it, and above all in a small town at that time, it was family entertainment. In fact it was everything I had been looking for! My mission had been successful!”
And so The Players were born, thanks also to the help of a local charitable body, Torrington Cavaliers, who made and erected the scenery. The play was a success and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Plough Arts Centre became the home of the Players. (Like all arts centres it is always fighting for survival. The Players have provided money over the years for various fixtures and fittings and this has been a mutually beneficial relationship). But we are also committed to taking shows to the villages of North Devon and have done so successfully over the years.
The society contains a rich variety of members from raw novices, seasoned amateurs and occasional professionals. It also has a group of members who do not wish to tread the boards, but want to participate in the myriad tasks which are needed to keep an amateur dramatic group going.
We are members of NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) and have won several awards over the years including one for original writing. Members of The Players have written successful scripts for the society over the years which have subsequently been performed by other Amateur Dramatic groups.