Scunthorpe is a town with a strong tradition of amateur theatre, as evidenced by The Plowright Theatre, which we undoubtedly owe to the prompting of amateur players.
Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club, not the oldest group in town, was established in 1949, and has, over the years, produced over 200 shows, involving over 1,000 different enthusiasts who have contributed to productions over the years.It began because of a drama course, held in the town, and attended by a group of enthusiasts. They had sessions on voice production, movement, improvisation – following the same exercises as The Young Vic Theatre School – courtesy of Joan Plowright (president) who passed them on to her mother.
It was Margaret Plowright (a founder member) who directed the first production ‘Bright in the Waning Moon’.
In the early days, performances were in the Youth Centre on Doncaster Road, but in 1952 the group took the controversial step to move to Foxhills School.
Peggy Bowe, then a junior reporter in the local Star newspaper, remembers ‘Light of Heart’, the first production performed there. It was her first leading role. She was club secretary and, in addition to all the club and production business, she had to collect the booking plan and takings from the office each night to the school, help set out the chairs for the audience, put up the flats, set out props – whilst wearing a surgical boot because she was terrified she would not have time to get into costume!
Few people had cars in those days and she had to cycle two miles, with shopping bags dangling from the handlebars and a suitcase in one hand, whilst steering with the other.
By 1953, the club had established a reputation for ‘entertainment of a high standard’ (Star) and laid the cornerstone for a future of innovative development.