Our History

“This theatre isn’t big enough for both of us”, was no theatrical line; Hornby Drama Group meant it, for its theatre was so small there was no room for both the audience & the stage. At first they performed Gilbert & Sullivan. However, they produced H.M.S.Pinafore & built the bridge so far out there was hardly room for the audience. But that was nearly ninety years ago! The group was started with poetry and play readings over afternoon tea by a small group of ladies keen on the theatre and literature in general. Gradually it developed into plays being rehearsed held in members’ homes with performances taking place each year in Morecambe Drama Festival. During the Second World War all activities ceased. However, under the guidance of Bessie Lamb, its almost resident producer, the group, with only six weeks to prepare, really took off in 1958 with a production of “When We Are Married” by J.B. Priestly to commemorate the opening of the new village institute. Since then, the productions have covered a wide spectrum of dramatic works, but comedy has always played an important role in the selection of a play, the prime objective being that it must be a play most people can enjoy.

In 1959, flats were used for the first time. The group also instigated a non-competitive drama festival, taking place in May before an invited adjudicator. This presented an opportunity to produce a little more experimental “off the beaten track” drama. It started with thirteen entries, becoming extremely popular over the years and attracting drama groups from a wide spectrum of society, including Women’s Institutes, church groups & schools. Unfortunately, it came to an end in 2001, when the number of dramatic societies had declined so much that it was impossible to continue.

There have been only four presidents, the first being Sir Harold Parkinson K.B.E. J.P. from 1958 – 1974, Mrs Bessie Lamb, 1975 – 1977, Mrs Nellie Jepson, 1978 – 1983 and Mrs May Smith from 1984 to 2011.

Over the years the structure of the group has changed. At one time there were 15 committee members! Now there are five. The constitution also has had to be altered to comply with the new Health & Safety Regulations and the Child Protection Policy.

Apart from the annual drama festival, the production of one and sometimes two, three act plays a year other activities have included pantomimes, evenings of nostalgia and history, one act plays, play readings, entertainments in words and music, performances in other village halls and churches and entry in three act and one act drama festivals in Ingleton, Settle & Grange-over-Sands.

Since its inception over 55 three act plays, 52 one act plays and 20 presentations of different sorts have been produced, always with an emphasis on encouraging adults and young people to try their hand at live theatre, whether it be acting or helping backstage. We hope that the group will still be going strong in another ninety years.