Hutton Drama Club was conceived in the back room of the village shop during the summer of 1976, coinciding with the inauguration of the new village hall, where, from then until the current day, we have held our weekly Monday meetings. One of our founder members is still holding office and involved in productions.
Our first production was the popular "Barefoot in the Park" by Neil Simons - a witty American author. The New York accents then changed to Irish as we next posed as nuns in the thriller "A Letter from the General". After this we created a trap-door in the stage to house Willy the cobbler we went north for "Hobson's Choice". We even devised a real wet water rain storm for "Johnny Belinda". With our innovative stage crew we tackle any challenge with enthusiasm and success.
We began two shows a year, one comedy, the other a drama, and were delighted with the popularity and financial success, playing to three packed houses per show. we then introduced our children's shows around Christmas - donating a large part of the profits to children's charities. Sadly, with the changing culture, we now play to small audiences on a Friday and Saturday evening in the summer, and rely heavily on the profits from the ever-popular pantomimes, with four performances from Friday to Sunday afternoon, to fund our plays and general running costs.
We perform mainly comedies because they are more popular.
In our heyday, we also introduced our summer music hall supper evenings - again for charity. We sponsored St Loye's College in Exeter who provided occupational training for people with disabilities. We also took this show on-the-road to the college on several occasions, and once to Exmouth pavilion. On this occasions, ticket sales were low so one of our sponsors arrived with his flat-bed lorry, we loaded the piano and dancers on the back and they can-canned around the town. It was a sell out!
Being versatile, these shows have been on tour to raise funds for other causes; Banwell Village Hall, Bourneville Community Centre, Victoria Church Restoration Fund and Uphill Victory Hall, to name but a few. We were also the last people to perform in the Victorian Knightstone Theatre - one of Weston's heritage buildings on the harbour. We were planning to raise money to save the theatre, in particular to repair the stage, but sadly it collapsed on the dress rehearsal during the can-can and the cost of hiring and erecting staging devoured our proceeds.
The club currently produces two shows a year. The summer play, at the end of June - usually a comedy, where the audience bring their own drinks and snacks and enjoy them around candlelit tables while we entertain them.
At the end of January it's panto - just when you think the festive season is over, the panto is fun for audiences and cast members alike. Young to not so young members take to the stage for plenty of booing and cheering as well as a custard pie or two!