Fifty Years of History : 1948 - 1998
This page and the following pages give a brief account of the first 50 years of the Stevenage Lytton Players' history. The account first appeared in a glossy brochure published in 1998, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Stevenage Lytton Players.
The Stevenage Lytton Players' History was written by John Dunleavy, based on historical research done by Beccy Stow. Ray Gorbing provided some contributory 'inset' articles.
SLP History © John P Dunleavy 1998-2002
How It All Started (1942 – 1948)
In 1942 a concert party was formed to provide live entertainment for the war weary citizens of Stevenage and for Servicemen home on leave. There being no theatre in the town at that time, performances were staged at the town’s largest factory ‘The Educational Supply Association’ in Fairview Road. By 1946 the group became known as the ‘Stevenage Entertainment Society’, catering for drama, music and variety. At this time a club, which had originally been opened for displaced war workers, was converted into The Lytton Club, open to any citizen of Stevenage over the age of 18. The premises were located in an old wartime hutment in Pound Avenue and the club jointly presented plays, variety and pantomime with the Entertainment Society.
The two groups soon became closely integrated, with many members of The Lytton Club also being members of the Stevenage Entertainment Society. In May 1948, Officers of the two groups met and decided to call a meeting of all interested members of both groups, with a view to proposing a merger of the Entertainment Society and the Drama Group of The Lytton Club. The suggestion was a popular one, and so it came about that in June 1948, at a General Meeting of all interested parties, the drama and music section of The Lytton Club came into being. Mr. M.H. Tetley was the first president and Albert Perry the first Chairman. Bill Harding, Deneys Swayne and Morris Williams were also among the members of the original Committee.
Thus was formed the group that was eventually to be named ‘The Stevenage Lytton Players’.
Read more in the following pages.