Easter Plays

In 1974 the Chapel was re-opened after renovations necessitated by dry and wet rot. The front of the Church was given a new pulpit, raised plinth and surrounding steps, which proved a useful setting for drama. It is no coincidence that in 1975  "Thirty Pieces of Silver" by Charles Stewart Black, was performed in the Church, using the steps at the front.

For most years since then, Chapel Players have presented an Easter Play during Holy Week, for a couple of nights. Sometimes the play has also been taken to other local Churches as well, such as to Stonebroom Methodist, Somercotes Hill Methodist, St Bartholomew's Church, Clay Cross and to Heanor Baptist.

In 1980 "Bitter Heart" by G R Myers was the first full length play performed by Tupton players on the new stage in the schoolroom. The new schoolroom with the facility of a stage had been opened in September 1968 by John Jackson.

 

 

The programme for our First Easter Play, "Thirty Pieces of Silver" by
Charles Stewart Black, 1975
Cast and crew of the First full length play to be performed on the stage
"Bitter Heart" by G R Myers,1980

 

(For more photos of our Easter Plays, please see the gallery in the section 'Easter Plays')

 

1980's and beyond

 In December 1980 the Three Act Play, "Painted Sparrows", by Guy Paxton & Edward Hoile was performed on the stage in the schoolroom at Old Tupton.

The title "Chapel Players" was first used for the Easter play "Counsel for the Defence" by Elizabeth Hale in 1986
.

1986 was also the year in which the regular yearly pattern of an Easter Play for two nights in Holy Week, followed by a three act play in the Autumn, began.

1993 saw the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Church, and in this year, three full length plays were performed, as well as a pageant. The pattern of two plays plus an Easter play, continues to this day.

In 1993 building improvements were made to the schoolroom, with new toilets, a larger kitchen, an extended stage and a small room adjacent to the stage was added.
"Clerical Errors" by Georgina Reid, Easter 1993, was the first play to be performed on the much larger stage.

 

 

"Painted Sparrows" by Guy Paxton and Edward Hoile, December 1980

 

 

 

 

 Alan's Legacy

From the early days of the 1950s until his death in 2010, Alan Harris guided the drama group and all the established Chapel Players members have a wealth of personal memories of Alan's enthusiasm, dedication and intuitive skills in "putting on a play"

The strong camaraderie and team spirit developed by Alan over the years together with warm continued support from our loyal audience and the backing of Old Tupton Methodist Church have helped Chapel Players to move forward in presenting plays and encouraging new, younger members to join us.

Many people have performed and assisted with Chapel Players over the years, and all of them have made a valued contribution. We are very fortunate that three of the original teenagers from the 1950s performances are still keen players today - Clem Sorrell, Colin Sorrell and Kath Sorrell.  Also Peter Ramshaw, (lighting and stage manager) has been with the group for many years.

After Alan's death in 2010 the group was able to continue because of the strong team spirit, led by John Harrop, taking us into a new era. There have been several 'firsts' over the last few years as the Players continue to innovate and develop.  Several new people have been encouraged to direct; we have performed our first Agatha Christie play, 'And Then There Were None';  our first Noel Coward, 'Blithe Spirit'; and our first trilogy of Three Act Plays in 2014, involving several new young cast members.

Chapel Players continue to produce two plays during the year, one in the Spring and another in late Autumn together with an Easter production. A comprehensive list may be found in the 'Past Productions' section of the website. More photographs from down the years can be seen in the 'Photo Gallery'.