In the Beginning...
By Jo Shipp (Founder Member)

From the very beginning we had a wonderfully friendly atmosphere in the Court Players, and through all the trials and tribulations of the birth of a drama group we managed to preserve this highly important factor.  I think, in fact, that apart from the very high standard the Court Players now present, their following is so because team-work and happy atmosphere has remained.

Our first production was three one-act plays, and by the time this production went on, we must have had about 40 people involved – not at all bad for a start.  This was very well received, and I remember the comment of the County drama Organiser at the Annual General Meeting that year: “Suddenly, over the horizon, in the very corner of the county, came a new rising star – The Court Players.”

The star went on rising to new heights and further popularity, with new faces, new ideas, new talents; ever daring, ever experimenting and, what’s more, ever succeeding.

It is with the greatest affection and pride that I proclaim to all that I was a founder-member of the Court Players.


Fifty Years later how grateful the present Court Players are to those enthusiastic founder members.  The friendly atmosphere still remains and all are welcome.

At the present time the group is made up of enthusiasts of mixed ages and mixed abilities, all with the common interest – drama.

Over the years the word “drama” has been used in its loosest sense.  They have presented pantomimes, thrillers, comedies, tragedies (some unintended!!) revues, musicals, medieval banquets, gipsy evenings, festival plays, even an open air pageant.

The writings of a wide cross-section of authors have been used – from as early as Chaucer and Shakespeare to modern day Ayckbourn and Stoppard.

Three original works by members have also been staged and it is hoped in the future to cater for as wide a taste as possible.

The players have won their fair share of awards – both group and individual – which is very encouraging, but it is not their main reason for presenting drama.

What is this “certain something” that drama has?  No-one can put a name to it but the Court Players have had it for fifty years now – may it continue for many years ahead.

Still going strong… 

While many small community clubs have fallen by the wayside award-winning am-dram group The Court Players has survived for 55 years - and keeps on growing.  The thriving group meets twice a week, stages at least three productions a year and regularly raises money for charity. 

The fact that the club is a family-orientated organisation is one of the secrets of its success - and this encourages younger members. 
Two of the original members - Brian Quinlan and Allan Clarke - are still with the players. Since its early days the group has grown. Most of the membership comes from Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Chipping Sodbury and Yate, but the group has had members from as far afield as Frenchay, Stoke Gifford and Thornbury. From time to time we run a youth group as well depending on whether we are going to do a youth production. 

In its 55-year history the group has staged everything from panto to drama and from farce to musicals. 
And its standards remain consistently high.  It was nominated for a Walter Hawkins Award for stage production for its most recent musical - Hello Dolly.  It is a previous winner of the award when it was given for technical achievement.   

A further feather in the group's cap is being invited as a regular host of the Avon One Act Play Festival, which takes place each Spring. 
The invitation to host is also a boon to the village of Rangeworthy .  There are two to three one-act plays on stage each night for a week.   

The club is a previous winner of the festival and its members have been nominated for and won best actor and best actress awards at the competition. 

The Court Players pantomimes are always eagerly awaited by players and audiences, young and old alike. 

Some of the group's thespians have performed in outdoor productions with the cream of Bristol groups.  As well as the talented actors we have particularly skilful stage designers.  The group has some wonderful costumes created by members as well as imaginative lighting and sound engineers. 

The Court Players are a happy group and have a fantastic social life with weekend outings, skittles nights and boat trips. 

Considering we are a group in the sticks we get really good audiences and we try to give the audiences real value for money. 
Of course all the group's success does not come without hard work.  As well as two meetings a week, members of the club's committee meet each month.