Saltford Drama Club was formed in 1961 and was the inspiration of local resident, Gordon Reed. Gordon was to play a prominent part in the development of the Saltford Community Association and the picture that hangs at the back of the Hall is a tribute to his commitment and devotion to the fostering of a community spirit in the village.
The drama club was the foundation on which the present day community association was based.
In those early days the club enjoyed a thriving membership; it was at the very heart of village life. As a producer Gordon was a hard task master demanding the very best from his cast and backstage crew. As a result, Saltford Drama Club quickly earned a reputation throughout the area for the very high standard of its productions. A reputation that it still enjoys today!
No-one escaped Gordon’s masterful direction; everyone had their role to play. Publicity leaflets were distributed to every household in the village and tickets were sold from a caravan parked-up in front of the village shops. These were jobs clearly identified specifically for the ladies of the club, which included helping to paint the sets during the weeks prior to the play. It may all seem very non-pc nowadays but at that time it was very much accepted as the norm. It was a style of leadership that earned Gordon great respect and it is very much his legacy that we all benefit from and enjoy today.
Three productions a year were performed on a stage much smaller than the one we use today. To exit stage right and re-enter stage left actually meant leaving the building and running round the back of the stage! And, of course, this had to be done whatever the weather, hence the story of the actor who, faced with doing this in a snow storm, was seen by the audience to make his entrance with snow still on his shoulders!
The success of the drama club provided the inspiration for Gordon and other members of the community to provide an even better facility for local residents. Such was the enthusiasm for the project that it wasn’t long before more rooms were added, This development of the Hall meant that it could now play host to a wide range of activities and it quickly became one of the best community venues in the area. The size of the stage was also increased, bringing a welcome end to the necessity for actors to brave the elements all for the sake of their art!
The running of the Hall, as well as much of the maintenance and fund raising work, was undertaken by a small army of volunteers. This was no mean task and it was soon apparent that an umbrella organisation needed to be set up to oversee the management of the Hall.
So was formed the Saltford Community Association, which today is the vital part in the provision of a 1st Class Community facility used by all in Saltford and the surrounding district.
Over 125 productions have been put on since the first production of ‘Here We Come Gathering’ in 1961. Back in the 1960’s, the Club had no difficulty in filling the Hall for every performance. Tickets were sold from a caravan and locals eagerly queued to buy them as they went on sale. These days we manage to put on two productions a year and suffer the effects of the modern world in that Amateur Dramatics does not figure high in peoples lives. However, those who do participate and take part all feel the richer for having done so and always eagerly await the next production.
We must ensure that this wonderful organisation remains for many years to come ensuring that Am Dram remains such a rich part of our busy lives. So, we look forward to increased membership, to ensure that this legacy remains with our Community for all times.