TWENTY-FIVE YEARS

The Inaugural meeting of the Club took place on 20th May 1952 when it was proposed and seconded that Headley needed a Theatre Club.  Founder members included Major Casey, Lt.Col Digby, Col. Chapman and Di & Bunny Rabbetts who steered us through the early years when finance and manpower were extremely limited.  The first play put on was another Coward master­piece, Blithe Spirit, it was produced by none other than Di Rabbetts.  Tickets for this could be purchased for the princely sum of one shilling.  The major event of those early years was undoubtedly the Coronation Pageant, the Club participated in this very actively and many new members were found as a result.

During the late fifties and early sixties it was strongly suggested that we should amalgamate with our neighbours, The Grayshott Stagers, who were and still are a large and thriving group – as you can see we never did join them!  In fact the Club went from strength to strength and became rather more adventurous, advertising its potential by becoming a travelling theatre, participating in many drama festivals all over the County.

The present Treasurer, Fred Parkinson, might find it interesting to learn that according to Minute 61, Dated Aug 14 1962 it was stated that; "in spite of repeated reminders it still appears that only 36 members out of 60 have paid their subscriptions this year" – it seems we were as hard up then as we are now.  Di produced Present Laughter in 1962, I hope tonight’s performance is as successful as it was then.  We did rather plunge the Club into realms of debt though, the audience were entertained with refreshments to the tune of £2.15.3½d no less – a formal complaint calling for more thrift in the future was received at an ensuing meeting of the committee, so please don't drink too much wine tonight.

In April, 1964, the Club put on a performance of Your Obedient Servant, by coincidence this was the same year that Harold Wilson was elected Prime Minister of Britain and Ian Smith Premier of Rhodesia – how wrong can we be?

By similar virtue the Autumn production of the same year was Venus Observed, this was performed just as U.S.A.'s Mariner II space craft passed within a few thousand miles of Venus.

During the latter half of the sixties we were a major participant in all of the events held in the Village.  In 1968 we were even asked to form a tug-o'-war team for the Horticultural Society Show as our usual hoop-la stall was not considered ambitious enough – well, you can't win them all!

The activities of the Club during the last few years promises to strengthen our role within Headley village life still further.  Interest has been aroused amongst many young people in the area who have teamed up harmoniously with the more senior members to provide a social and dramatic programme which will appeal to everyone in the community.  Not only has the Club put on memorable performances of such plays as Breath of Spring, The Fire Raisers, Angels in Love and more recently Move Over Mrs Markham, it has also managed to maintain the popularity of the traditional Headley pantomime, this year being no exception when five performances of Cinderella will take place in January.

There is only one person present this evening who is in the fortunate position of being able to witness, first hand, all the events of the Club's entire existence, that person is Di Rabbetts.  On behalf of all members of the Club and those people who are closely associated with it, I wish to thank her for all the knowledge and hard work she and Bunny afforded us during the years.  We all hope she will continue to play a large part in the activities of the Club in the future.