St John’s Players was founded in 1966 when the new Vicar, the Reverend Alec Smith, arrived from the Forest of Dean announcing that the Church of St John the Evangelist was to start a new Drama Group after a short course of instruction. A few Church members including Dorothea Jones and her son Martin decided to give it a go and the first production took place at the Harvest Supper in 1966, it was a one act play called "The Diamond Tooth." The group continued with several more one act plays followed by the first full length play "A Lady Mislaid" directed by Pam Stock in 1968 which ran for 2 nights.
The Players continued throughout the seventies with 2 full length productions a year and increased the performances to 3 nights. Our first drama award was in 1973 winning the Best Actor award for "Not Now Darling" in the County Council Full Length Play Festival.
By the 1980’s performances had increased to 4 nights, and October 1983 saw the last production at the old church hall in Parton Road of "Charley’s Aunt." Then in February 1984 the group moved into a newly built hall adjacent to the church with an aptly named play called "Moving."
The 21st Birthday in 1987 saw the Players win 3 Gloucester Drama Association awards for a "Pack of Lies" and in addition to the performance at St Johns Hall in April, it spent a week at the Kings theatre in Gloucester in December that same year. We also had best Actor in 1988 for "Ten Times Table." By the late 1980’s performances had increased to 5 nights and another stint at the Kings theatre with "A Voyage Around My Father."
In 1991 St John’s Players celebrated their Silver Jubilee, with "Happy As A Sandbag" and in 1992 were awarded South West Area Regional award for Excellence for the production of "Noises Off." The players subsequently moved on to doing three productions a year, interspersing the usual dramatic productions with One Act Plays, Old Time Music Halls, Anthologies, a Pantomime and even a bit of Shakespeare.
The Millennium saw a best Actress award for "Shadows" in the Gloucestershire Drama Association One Act Play Festival followed by a success in the Full Length Play Festival in 2003 gaining an award for best set design for "Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime."
2006 saw the players start their 40th Anniversary year with "Pygmalion" winning awards for Best Supporting Actor and runner up for Best Play. This anniversary year was celebrated with a special dinner and a wonderful reunion party for all members and former members and we were particularly pleased when former member Dame Rennie Fritchie DBE agreed to became our Patron. We are pleased to say that Pam Stock a founding member and director of the first full length play is still an active member.
We continued our success by winning the Gloucestershire Drama Association awards for Best Actress, Best Director & Best Play for "Stepping Out" in 2007.
We celebrated our 100th production in November 2008 with "An Ideal Husband" by Oscar Wilde.
The group continues to put on high quality productions to good audiences in Churchdown. In 2011 we won the GDA Best Supporting Actor award for "The Deep Blue Sea" and the NODA (S.W. region) Achievement Award for our 3 in 1 set for "Bedroom Farce." In 2012 we won the GTA Best Actor Award for "Crown Matrimonial," and in 2013 the GTA Best Actress Award and the Adjudicator's Award for the entire company for "A Piece of Cake."
We look forward to continuing into the future, as we celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2016 by putting on "The Solid Gold Cadillac" followed by "Ladies in Lavender."
We have decided to continue having our productions six months apart, namely May and November, as this has proved most satisfactory for all concerned. To fit in with other hall bookings, we put on our productions on in the second week of the month. Saturday matinee performances will only be arranged if the production is a pantomime or similar, when it would be better for the children.
Our annual Membership subscription is £20.00 p.a.
Associate and Student membership is £7.50 p.a.
(This includes indemnity insurance cover for rehearsals and performances.)
Scripts are supplied to cast members at £5.00 per copy as required.