Abingdon Drama Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary
In December 1944, during the Second World War, a group of Abingdon folk decided to start a new drama group and 75 years later, Abingdon Drama Club is going from strength to strength.
It is one of the oldest drama clubs in the country and since its inception has presented more than 300 productions from the first in 1945, London Wall by John Van Druten in the Corn Exchange in the Market Place to its upcoming production of Amadeus at the end of September.
The first club meetings took place at the Old Carpet Factory near Abingdon Bridge before moving to the Friends’ Meeting House on the Vineyard. The current club house in Marcham Road has been their home since 1960 and features rehearsal space, a green room, set workshop and costume and prop stores.
The venue is also home to the junior drama classes which have been teaching and guiding the next generation of young actors and putting on their own productions for more than 35 years.
Most of Abingdon Drama Club’s plays are performed at the Unicorn Theatre which was created in 1953. ADC was asked to stage the first play performed at the atmospheric and intimate theatre in the medieval Abbey buildings, choosing Henry Porter’s The Two Angry Women of Abingdon. Since then they have gone on to stage a variety of work from tragedy to farce, by well-known names and some home-grown talent.
Over the years, the club’s work has received many accolades including the Daily Mail in 1947 which wrote there are “…many amateur companies whose productions, within their necessary limitations, are quite brilliant. I will name the Abingdon Drama Club for a start”.
The 2013 production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus was deemed “absolutely outstanding” and cited as “probably the best performance of any play by an amateur group that we have ever seen”. It went on to say: “The quality of acting by all the cast was exceptional and certainly every bit as good as one would expect from a professional company.”
The plaudits continued with the most recent offering Allo Allo earlier this year, when it was praised for being well-staged and described as “tres bien!”
For many members though it’s about more than just drama – the club has a lively social scene with many activities planned outside the rehearsal room which has included quiz nights, Aunt Sally and the now legendary Annual Thames Walk!
They are always looking for new members to join them.