ABOUT DROYLSDEN LITTLE THEATRE
Little Theatre, BIG Ideas
In the summer of 2004 DLT had a complete overhaul of the auditorium. Followed by an upgrade of the bar in 2005 giving us the contemporary theatre we are proud of today.
The primary purpose of DLT is to perform plays! It’s what we do best, we even have awards to prove it! Everyone is important here from actors and set designers to backstage and front of house staff. We are a registered charity and so everything is done on a voluntary basis.
The History of Our Society
In 1929 a group of senior members of the choir of St. Cross Church, Clayton, discussed the formation of a Dramatic Society. They had already been members of a Minstrel troupe organised by a Mr. Johnson, the Headmaster of St.Cross School, which had disbanded and were looking for a replacement. The first difficulty was finding a Producer. One of the committee had a friend who was a member of Altrincham Garrick Theatre, and the result was that Mr Birch, the Treasurer at the Garrick, agreed to help and went on to became the permanent producer for many years.
The first play, ‘Uncle Ned’, was presented in 1931. Rehearsals were held in an upstairs room at the Church Inn on Clayton Lane, by courtesy of the landlady, Miss Alice Bromley.
In the mid 1930’s an alternative venue was found at a Congregational Church on Seymour Road. At this stage a number of Variety Shows had to be produced in order to fund the ‘straight’ plays. Then came the war: the society ran shows to entertain the forces, but naturally membership was depleted due to members being ‘called up’. After the war, the Society made a home at the Scouts’ Hall on Seymour Road, where tickets were 6d. (that’s 2 and 1/2 pence!). During our residence here, the stage sets were built at the Butterworths Factory on Pollard Street, as the Managing Director Mr. E. Stansfield, was also the Society’s President.
Subsequently, the Old Coffee House, over the Midland bank near Grey Mare Lane was rented. During our stay here plays ran for 2 weeks, and admission prices went up to 2/- (that’s 10p). A substantial amount of money was raised by voluntary subscription, to finance the building of a Green Room and toilets. The opening play was ‘Robert’s Wife’ , and during the play’s run 1,770 patrons saw the show. The demand for tickets exceeded supply for each of the six shows each year.
In 1960, Mr. Hampson, a local butcher, donated a silver cup to be awarded each year for outstanding service to the Society. Meanwhile, the Midland Bank gave the Society notice to quit the residency of the Old Coffee House. Shows continued at the Trinity Methodist Church Hall, at the corner of Craven Street and Manchester Road in Droylsden.
Eventually, a chance came to buy a disused Methodist Church near Medlock Street. The complex was purchased on mortgage, and is to this day Droylsden Little Theatre’s home. The main No.1 building was to become the Theatre, whilst a Studio Theatre was going to be established in building No.2: this never happened and 40 years later our Theatre is still in No.2!