History: 5 - Recent Times

New Producers for the '90s

Sleeping BeautyThe 1990's saw the mantle of producership pass to Annette Dennis and Robert Painter. Both excelled at Pantomime (for example Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin or Babes in the Wood). Robert also put his expertise to producing plays - 'The Continental Quilt' and 'Pull the Other One' (we have no photos or information for these shows, why not send us some?)

The 1990's also marked a change of direction for HATS; it was the decade in which we successfully staged some of the great musicals. It is said that America's greatest contribution to civilization is the musical. But it was the truly British production of Oliver in 1993 which set down a marker of quality.


New Talent

It runs in the familyHATS has been fortunate that over the last 50 years. People have moved to the town and surrounding area to live and have been delighted to find the theatre as an outlet for their creative talent.

Just such a couple were Ken & Lynn Tyrrell. Lynn a talented actress of great experience has played major roles in recent times. Ken's is both a fine actor and a leading producer with great plays - 'There Goes the Bride', 'Don't Dress for Dinner', 'It Runs In The Family', 'Gingerbread Lady', 'Not Now Darling' showing Ken's style. Ken has a keen eye for detail and a superb feeling for comedy. We are delighted they moved to Black Torrington.

In October 1997 Christine Williams produced that great American musical, Annie. Superb songs and a wonderful story. It was the first production with HATS of Phil Hammans, who has gone on to give 10 wonderful years service to the society.

And of course, we were so pleased that Trevor House on many occasions travelled from Bude to enthrall us as a pantomime dame and to play Colonel Pickering in 'My Fair Lady'.



WhittingtonBetween 2000 and 2006 Mike Wonnacott joined Robert as joint producer of Dick Whittington and Mother Goose. However, Phil Barfett was a much braver fellow and did the job as sole producer of Robinson Crusoe, Arabian Knights and Red Riding Hood in which appeared the very energetic Granny - played by Lesley Wonnacott.


Theatre Refurbishment in 2004

Jim Clark, Clerk of WorksIn 2004 the theatre was closed. The foyer of the building had to be completely redesigned to incorporate facilities for those with disabilities and to provide a more welcoming entrance. Our Clerk of Works this time was Jim Clark who always had his finger on the pulse of things.

RenovationOnce again members of the Society and the people of the town were amazing - a regular army of people with diggers, dumpers, shovels, trowels and paint brushes! The ladies provided vital refreshments. There were also a team of community service people aiding the renovation of the theatre seats and some electrical professionals doing some rewiring.

A few that doubted the work could be completed in just five months, but the new look front, foyer and auditorium opened on time for Ken's play It Runs in the Family. (see BBC Spotlight video clip on HATS Renovation - our thanks to the BBC for allowing us to show this clip. Please note, if you use dial-up this will take 30mins to download).


...and yet more Pantos and wonderful Shows

One of the most poignant shows the society has every produced was in September 2005, it was HATS Pay Tribute our World War II celebration, where we learnt a great deal of the community spirit that existed during that period in Holsworthy and the surrounding area. A small town Holsworthy may be, but it has a very big heart.

In 2007 Mary Osborne and Annette Dennis worked together on Aladdin, followed by We Had a Dream - anecdotal, dramatic and musical memories of fifty years of H.A.T.S. and Holsworthy Theatre Club Shows. It was produced with an amazing amount of help from Des Shadrick and featured an wide array of members - from a couple that were around at the start through to the very youngest current members.


We Had a Dream

HATS Theatre Auditorium We now have a beautiful fully equipped theatre where we can paint our scenery in situ rather than flat on the floor, as we did in Kinver's store rooms. And Fred Stacey and his team have painted some stunning sets there over the years!

Once the home of our then wardrobe mistress - Megan White - often looked like a sweat shop, with newly sewed costumes hanging from picture rails and doors. Now, we have a Green-room with a bevy of ladies sewing into the night and extensive costume storage - firstly with Wendy Withall at the helm and now Mary Barfett.

No longer do we have stage lights made from 7lb jam tins and a thunder sheet for sound effects. Thanks to our electricians, Tony, Chas and Paul our sound and lighting equipment has impressed everyone that has hired the building.

Over the 50 years there are many more people that have worked tirelessly in the various departments of this theatre be it publicity, cleaning, electricians, scenery, stewards, producers, set builders, wardrobe and, indeed, providing refreshments during the run of our shows. For the show to succeed all these individuals must work together as a team.

Yes, 'We Had a Dream' and with everyone rowing the same boat and with the support of the people of Holsworthy and the surrounding area, we have proved you can make dreams come true! Our grateful thanks to you all.


Now browse through a full list of our productions, from 1926 to the current day.