Drama Productions

>>Skip to Gallery

In 2008 Bateman Marshall wrote: Before the Second World War Bentham had a dramatic society called ‘The Bentham Amateur Dramatic Society’. The principal producer was Wilcock Brian Whitaker. Unfortunately it folded during the war but around 1947 Mrs Francis from Austwick started a drama group to read plays. The drama group soon developed a wish to perform and like a phoenix rising from the ashes ‘The Bentham Phoenix Players’ came into being. The early plays were all of a classical nature, ‘Arms and the Man’, Shakespeare’s ‘King John’, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, to name a few. The group entered various drama festivals with considerable success, winning at that time the prestigious Skipton drama festival with ‘The Hasty Heart’. As the number of members grew (there were nearly 100 members) the need for someone in addition to Mrs Francis to produce became evident. Wilcock Whitaker was pressed back into service and produced several plays. An ex-actor working at George Angus he produced ‘Worms Eye View’, a wartime play and great fun. ‘Pygmalion’ was another play that stretched the cast. Tom Cardus, Wendy Dowbiggin and Doreen Park were amongst those who all produced plays when Mrs Francis retired. The players performed in several halls besides Bentham Town Hall visiting Settle, Skipton, Grassington and Tunstall. As television took a hold the number of members began to fall leading to the demise of the Society. The photographs show some of the productions together with portraits of the actors together with copies of the programmes for the ‘Importance of being Earnest’ and ‘The life and Death of King John’.