Tetbury had a flourishing Histrionic Society of which Dr T.Warburton Walker was for many years the moving spirit, followed by Mr A.H.Lewis. It put on performances in 1875 and 1876 at the White Hart Assembly Rooms. In 1875 the Grand Entertainment was for the benefit of Tetbury Horticultural Society.
Miss Eliza Rudd [from Theatre Royal Bristol]
Mr E.B. Gardiner
Mr A E Drinkwater [from the Bristol Elocution & Debating Society]
The following items were billed to be performed at 8.00
Hamlet [2 scenes Act 1 scenes 4 & 5 - the Ghost scene, and Act 4 scene 1 - the Gravediggers scene] and starred Mr A W Buckeridge, Mr E.B.Gardiner, Mr A Livermore, Mr H Brown and Mr A.E.Drinkwater
Recitation of the Charge of the Light Brigade by Mr Gardiner, a reading from Tennyson by Mr Drinkwater, and a song 'Thou art so near' performed by Mr Gardener
At 9.00 a fashionable Commedietta adapted from the French by Thomas Haynes Bailey 'The Spitalfields Weaver' starring Mr A Livermore, Mr E.B.Gardener, Miss Eliza Rudd, Mr A.W.Buckeridge and Mr H Brown. 'An efficient string band' had been engaged.
Seat prices ranged from 2s6d down to 6d. Carriages could be ordered for 10 and a plan of the room [for seating] could be seen at Hill's Library, where tickets could also be purchased.
On 18 April 1876 an Easter entertainment was performed starring
Madlle Marie Dos-Santos [from Theatre Royal Bath]
Mr E.B.Gardiner [president of Bristol Elocution & Debating Society]
Mr Albert Clarke
The following items were billed:
A song 'the White Squall' performed by Mr Albert Clarke, a recitation 'the Death of Marmion' by Mr Gardiner, and 'The May Queen by Madlle Dos-Santos
This was to be followed by a Dickens piece 'Breach of Promise Trial' starring Albert Clarke, Mr A. Livermore, Mr A.W.Buckeridge, Mr Lamb, Mr Clifton, Madlle Dos-Santos, Mr Gardiner, and Mr Withy.
Another song performed by Mr Clarke 'The Village Blacksmith', a recitation by Mr Gardiner ' The Field of Waterloo' and an oration 'An Ethiopian Lecture' [in full character] by Mr Livermore.
Another drama followed, 'Good for nothing' by Buckstone starring the same as above.
The programme was 'unusually full' so would start at 7.45 with doors opening at 7. Carriages could be ordered at 10.15. Price as the previous year but obtained from C.Slocombe bookseller & printer.
AMATEUR OPERATIC AND DRAMATIC SOCIETY
Originally formed as an Operatic Society in 1909 that focused on comic opera. Post 1st World War it produced farce and comedy plays.
It's list of perfomances include:
Merrie England; The Emerald Isle; The Lady of Ostend; The Young Person in Pink; Tilly of Bloomsbury; Mr Pim Passes By; Lord Richard in the Pantry; Brown Sugar; Mrs Gorringe’s Necklace; Eliza Comes to Stay and The Passing of the Third Floor Back;
1910 'The Pirates of Penzance'
1911 'Les Cloches de Corneville'
1912 'Ye Golden Dolphins' which was described as a tale of old Tetbury, a comic opera performed by both the Sunday School and the Operatic Society.
1927 'The Sport of Kings'
1931 'Tons of Money'
1932 'The Man who stayed at home'
1933 'Nothing but the truth'
1934 'Hawley's of the High Street'
1936 'Third time lucky'
1937 'Distinguished Gathering'
14/5/1910 Cheltenham Chronicle
"The financial result of the performances of "The Pirates of Penzance" which were recently given by the Tetbury Amateur Operatic Society has just been made known. After defraying the cost of new scenery, curtain etc the committee have been able to hand over £9 to the Tetbury Cottage Hospital and a similar sum to the Tetbury Church Institute. No one anticipated such a pleasing result and the committee and all concerned are to be congratulated on achieving so remarkable success."
The group still meets and celebrated 100 years in 2010. Information can be found here.
Gloucester Citizen ran an article in 1929, on the ancient custom in Tetbury, of wassaillers carrying a dummy head and horns of an animal round on a pole on Christmas Eve. Father Christmas would appear to distribute toys to the children in the streets and homes. Carols would be sung by the Salvation Army and a party representing all the churches sang carols at the Poor Law Institute, the Cottage Hospital and in the centre of town. In 1933 it referred to the custom as being lost in the mists of antiquity.
Tetbury Mummers gave their last perfomance in 1938. Information regarding the Tetbury Wassail can be found here.
Drama in Gloucestershire ( The Cotswold County ) some account of its development from the earliest times till to-day; Theodore Hannam-Clark; 1928