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Judy Semple, who specialised in Drama and English, founded Minster Playhouse in 1979. Judy was keen to start a drama group in the village and to find out what interest there might be she put notices in all the shops and was amazed by the response. In a very short time the first meeting was held and the first committee formed.
With some 20 new members and £60, which had been left over from the previous playhouse fifteen years earlier, a play was chosen, ‘Relatively Speaking’ by Alan Ayckbourne.
With a cast of four, Maggie Johnson, Steve Clement, Sally Southall and Brian Lambourne the first play was put on in the brand new village hall and was an overwhelming success despite having no lighting. The Play took over £400 and had the added bonus of attracting more members.
‘Minster Playhouse’ was now up and running and with the help of the Village Hall committee, who donated £1000 and the Margate Lottery donating a further £1000 the next production was chosen. ‘The Plotters at Cabbage Patch Corner’ a Pantomime by David Wood, was put on and was another overwhelming success.
Judy directed the first five productions including several ‘one act plays’ and then stood back to give others a chance to come in and direct. Two of the cast from that first play, Steve Clement and Maggie Johnson are still members today.
So here we are today, having gone from strength to strength. I am sure Judy never imagined that the Playhouse she started over 30 years ago would still be running and very successfully, let alone performing at the Theatre Royal on a regular basis, and filling the Village Hall .
Minster Playhouse rehearse in Minster Neighbourhood Centre in Monkton Road (above the library)
We usually rehearse on Monday and Thursday evenings. Visitors are always welcome to watch - just let us know you are coming by contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org to check a rehearsal is taking place the night you plan to visit