Our History Nailsea Little Theatre


July 1963...

A warm sunny Sunday afternoon, the place – Westway, Nailsea, and two young men are talking over their garden walls and taking a rest from cutting the grass. Only a year before, they had moved to the village – one from London and the other from Newcastle. This conversation wasn’t much different from many the two had enjoyed over the past 12 months until one magic word was mentioned – THEATRE. This became common ground for both of them and a basis for much eager discussion in the months ahead.

The two – Bob Cooke and Graham Tyson – were soon discussing the possibility of starting a Theatre Club in Nailsea with the aim of presenting a season of 3 productions starting in October 1963. With their wives Sue and Joan, and a few neighbours and friends who were roped in to help, a meeting was held and so the Venturers Theatre Club was born.

The first production was SAILOR BEWARE – a comedy ideally suited to the group in many respects not the least being the cast which numbered 9 – just about the total membership at the time.

Following the opening production rehearsals began immediately on THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANT and before the 1st season ended with TWO DOZEN RED ROSES the membership was increased with the arrival of Keith & Ruth Pring and Wendy Newton.

The following years saw four changes of venue, starting at the Church House in Silver street, finally arriving at Scotch Horn Centre in 1982. In 1970 as the town began to grow we changed our name and dropped Venturers to bring NAILSEA into our title. Perhaps the single most important milestone in our history was the purchase in 1967 of the old Ebenezer Chapel in Union Street for use as a workshop for rehearsals and set building. Since then major reconstruction has taken place providing new facilities of wardrobe store, Green Room and rehearsal studio. In 1988 we extended at the rear of the building adding a scenery store.

In 1990 we produced our first play in our own premises, TABLE MANNERS, and followed that up with an evening of 3 plays in 1992.

More recently we have been able to get National Lottery money to extend our premises adding a new green room to the front, and a rehearsal room to the rear. In 1998, the Scotch Horn Centre was closed for 18 months to build around the outside. This had been our main home for many years, and we had to find a new venue.

We decided to make use of our own workshop with its new extension completed, and presented a revival of the Club’s first ever play SAILOR BEWARE to our associate membership as the last play of our 35th season. This was met by such enthusiasm by our members we decided to remain at our “Little Theatre” returning to the Scotch Horn for our Millennium pantomime in Jan 2000.

We continue to present plays at Nailsea Little Theatre to our Associates and the public. If you are interested, please contact us and see live theatre in intimate surroundings.