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Scene Two: Moving Up 1960-1975
On the 2nd June 1960, after a decade of rental, the land was donated to the trustees of Holybourne Dramatic Club. One of those trustees was Lady Charlotte Bonham-Carter the great aunt of actress Helena Bonham-Carter. However, the ageing Nissen hut was crumbling and beyond repair and a replacement building was desperately needed. So, on the 20th September 1961, at an extraordinary general meeting, the Club decided to raise funds for a brand new building.
After ten long years of fundraising, during which time the old Nissen hut was demolished making the Club homeless for a period, their efforts finally paid off and a prefabricated agricultural building costing £8,000, was constructed. The new theatre seated 144 people and housed a large stage, dressing room, kitchen and toilets. The members must have felt they were performing in paradise! On Thursday 6th May 1971, Sir Michael Redgrave opened the new theatre and the invited audience was entertained by “Cat on the Fiddle” by John Dole. The performance was followed by a buffet supper to celebrate another milestone in the history of the Club.
The new theatre also provided an opportunity to move the access road, originally via Complins, to the main London Road. This was financially supported by the residents of Complins who benefitted from the reduced traffic congestion!
During the 1960s the annual pantomime was established and has been running ever since. Children were always an integral part of the cast, which is not surprising as the theatre maintained strong links with local schools. The tradition continues to this day with over one thousand people coming to watch every year and many nights are sold out in advance. This is the only show where every night is unique! Our pantomimes are enjoyed by adults and children of all ages, combining visual and verbal humour with many unscripted deviations. If you haven't seen a Holybourne Theatre pantomime, why not come to the next?
Previous page: Scene One: Humble beginnings 1948-1959
Next page: Scene Three: Youth Theatre 1976-1999