A Brief History of Saxlingham Players




Members of the Saxlingham Womens' Institute invited men to join them to perform pantomimes and one act plays in the Village Hall in Saxlingham Nethergate.



On October 6th 1951, members held a meeting at which it was proposed that ties with the WI be broken, and a new society, to be known as Saxlingham Drama Group, be formed. It was agreed that each member should pay a subscription of seven shillings and sixpence, and the following officers were then elected.

CHAIRMAN         Jack Alexander

SECRETARY        Audrey Fearnley

TREASURER        Gladys Read


In order to gain an experienced Director, the society joined the Norfolk Education Committee's Evening Institute Scheme. This provided twelve courses per term, for spring, summer, and autumn terms each year. The Education Committee paid for the hire of the Village Hall and appointed an instructor, provided that the class could maintain at least ten members throughout each term.



1951-53     William Hadleigh

1953-63     Ronald Doe

1963-64     Anne Lister

1964-65     Gillian Birt

1965-71     Michael Oldman



When Michael Oldman took over as Instructor in 1965, he advised the group to consolidate their position by adopting a constitution, headed by a President. It was also suggested that the title, "Drama Group" was a little dated and a new name be considered. These suggestions were debated by the Officers and Committee, and in 1966 the Society's name changed to "Saxlingham Players."

Oliver Cross, one of the founder members, was invited to become President under the new constitution. He, in turn, invited interested people to become Vice Presidents.

The donations the Vice Presidents gave provided a welcomed source of income to help cover the ever rising cost of Village Hall hire.

At the end of Spring term 1971, Mr Oldman left the position of Instructor. It was then decided to break away from the evening class system, and with the professional help of Mike Anderson, who had directed some plays, members felt ready to produce and direct.

Saxlingham Players had managed to survive, whilst many other local groups had been forced to close down.



The Players continue to grow in strength, now confining their productions to two each season. We have presented a wide range of plays over the years, and in 1991, amended the constitution to allow junior members of the age of fifteen and under to join. Since this time, we have put on pantomimes and other suitable plays, in order to accommodate our young members.

Saxlingham Players' social aspect also flourished with a May Ball, Annual Dinner and Summer Barbecue, hosted by Oliver and Susan Cross. Oliver served in this capacity for twenty five years, being replaced in 1990 by Michael Oldman.

After Michael Oldman took over as President, it was decided that the title "Vice President," should be changed to "Friends of Saxlingham Players."

Mike Oldman passed away suddenly in 2008.  He was a great inspiration to us all and is sadly missed. He is succeeded by Ron Jeffery who has been a member of The Players since 1981.

Our current Friends are responsible for giving us great moral support and their generous contributions underwrite our financial obligations.