Scene One: Humble beginnings
After the war, times were hard and the memories and effects of the conflict were still a very large part of everyone's existence. To combat the stresses of everyday life, a group of local thespians formed Holybourne Dramatic Club during January 1948, the same month and year as British Rail was formed.
During this time the Complins site had lain derelict and all the huts, except one, had been dismantled. As the site was developed, that one little hut, housing a theatre, remained untouched until Spring 1950, when the owner rented it, and some of the surrounding land, to the two year old Holybourne Dramatic Club.
The theatre had fallen into disrepair and the club worked hard to raise the necessary funds to start putting on performances.
Driven by the inspiration of Fred Elliott, an ex RAF school master who was teaching in Alton at the time, they worked hard and achieved their goal within six months.
The renovated theatre, which included carpets, curtains and 200 tip up seats, was ready just in time for the first night performance of J.B Priestly’s “Mystery at Greenfingers” on 25th November 1950.
At this time, televisions in the home were rare, and Holybourne Dramatic Club found their membership growing rapidly as local people looked for sources of entertainment.
During those early days, the productions ranged from classic comedies to dramas. Even Shakespeare was not beyond the reach of those early pioneers with an excerpt from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed at one of the Dramatic Club’s annual garden parties.