Kirkintilloch Players celebrate nine decades of acting up

The Yellow on the Broom
The Yellow on the Broom

A local theatre group is marking 90 years of treading the boards this year - despite research suggesting it may date back a further 15 years.

It has long been accepted that Kirkintilloch Players came in to being in 1923, when the company’s constuitution was drawn up.

However, documents unearthed recently show a group of the same name in existance from 1908 to 1911, though there is a gap from 1912-1922 - perhaps on account of the First World War.

Whatever the truth, 2013 has been chosen to mark the Players’ 90th birthday.

The first scheduled play was to have been ‘Our Boys’ but it was cancelled at the dress rehearsal because it was far from ready. ‘Mock Trial by Jury’ was then selected and staged on January 11, 1924.

A programme from 1933 shows that you could hire a cushion for two old pence and that the hall was “sprayed with Deodis antiseptic in the interest of public health”.

Activities were suspended during the Second World War, with the company’s premises being used as an ARP post.

In 1945 it was back to business with ‘The Nest Egg’ performed in Kirkintilloch Town Hall, Airdrie and Lennox Castle - to entertain the troops stationed there.

In more recent years the Players have taken ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ on tour to Berlin.

Despite a few crises the group are now settled in their own 60 seat Turret Theatre in Eastside.

Over the years the Kirkintilloch Players have had success in SCDA Festivals - reaching the Scottish Finals of both Adult and Youth sections on several occasions.

A spokesperson said: “Our proudest moment recently in the Youth section was winning the Scottish Finals in 2010 with ‘Tick Tock’.

“In 1997 we won the British Finals in Coleraine with ‘The Dancing Fusilier’, a new play written by one of our members.

Cast, crew and supporters numbered over 60 and we even taught the Irish a thing or two about partying!”

Their 90th anniversary production was ‘The Yellow on the Broom’ and an exhibition was held in the Auld Kirk Museum earlier this year.

The spokesperson said: “Our youngest members are aged ten and our oldest over eighty with every decade in between being represented.

“The members of Kirkintilloch Players believe that Amateur Drama is not really about winning cups it’s about working as a team, challenging yourselves, enjoying yourselves and entertaining others.

“We hope to do just that for many years to come.”