History

Founding

Grantham Dramatic Society was formed in June 1945 with the principal object of raising money for charity.


Empire Theatre

The first production was 'The Case of the Frightened Lady', and was put on in November 1945 at the Empire Theatre in George Street.

Another 12 productions were put on at the Empire Theatre until it closed at the end of 1951.


Church Halls

GDS put five plays on at St John's Parish Hall from 1952 to 1954, and another two plays were produced at the Methodist Church Hall in Chapel Street in 1954/5.


George Theatre

From December 1956 to November 1971, 39 plays were performed in the George Theatre behind the George Hotel before its make-over.

When the George Theatre closed, there were no other theatres in Grantham and GDS became homeless.


Nomads

With no theatre to perform in, GDS were forced to put on plays in school halls.

It was difficult to stage major productions in such circumstances and for a few years GDS survived by taking theatre out to people, that is, performing one act plays at local groups such as the Women's Institutes.


Winds of change

The first major production in the modern era was I'll Get My Man which was staged at St Hugh's School in October 1981.


Premises

A turning point was when the Society began to rent a couple of large rooms at The Stables in Bridge Street, which enabled the building and storing of sets, rehearsals and hosting of social events.

The social events were important as they brought in potential new members and raised money to keep the Society going.

These premises were known, appropriately enough, as The Green Room.


The Guildhall

Another significant event was the opening of the Guildhall Arts Centre, which enabled GDS to put on plays again in a proper theatre.


Old Malthouse

Moving into the 21st century, GDS now rent their own premises in the Old Malthouse on Springfield Road. With rehearsal space, store room, workshop and kitchen area, the Old Malthouse has provided a solid home for the Society for several years.

Unfortunately the rising cost of rent, council tax and utilities began to put a lot of pressure on the group's finances. With falling audience numbers at the Guildhall, the future wasn't looking too bright.


Moving with the times

2005 saw the start of a rejuvenation. Membership began to increase, with an influx of new members of all ages. The Society began to look at bigger, better productions, with larger casts. There was also a drive on marketing, as most people in Grantham weren't even aware the town had a theatre.

In Spring 2005, Holiday Snap! attracted an audience twice the size of that in 2004. A profit was made, which went some way to paying the rent on the rehearsal and storage space. Later in 2005, Bedroom Farce achieved the same increase, bringing the theatre to three-quarters capacity.


The TV trilogy

2006 and 2007 saw 'Allo 'Allo, Blackadder and Fawlty Towers sell out, bringing hundreds of new people into the theatre and raising the profile of the Guildhall in and around Grantham. Ticket prices rose from £5 in 2004 to £8 in 2007, and each show now made just enough money to cover the annual costs of rehearsals, storage and theatre hire.

By 2007, membership had doubled and the average age halved.


New media

In an era of on-demand video clips, television and virtual content, live performances by local people in local venues are more important than ever. GDS is currently the only local group with increasing audience numbers and takes pride in the diversity and commitment of the people watching its live shows and YouTube spoofs.


Previous performances:

1945 The Case of the Frightened Lady
1946 Nothing but the Truth
1946 When Knights were Bold
1947 Ten Little Niggers
1947 The Midshipmaid
1948 A Murder has been Arranged
1948 The Blue Goose
1949 The Bat
1949 Banana Ridge
1950 The Shop at Sly Corner
1950 See How They Run
1951 The Man from the Ministry
1951 Bonaventure
1952 Home at Seven
1952 Miranda
1953 Queen Elizabeth Slept Here
1953 The Hollow
1954 The White Sheep of the Family
1954 A Lady Mislaid
1955 Mate in Three
1956 On Monday Next
1957 Open Verdict
1958 Waters on the Moon
1958 Suspicion
1958 Beside the Seaside
1959 Fools Rush In
1959 Count Your Blessings
1959 Birthday Honours
1960 Seperate Tables
1960 The Rising Generation
1961 A Month of Sundays
1961 Someone Waiting
1962 The Brides of March
1962 Time to Kill
1962 Sit Down a Minute Adrian
1963 Dangerous Corner
1963 The More the Merrier
1963 Book of the Month
1964 They Came to a City
1964 Two Dozen Red Roses
1964 Odgson's Bill
1965 The House by the Lake
1965 A Lady Mislaid
1965 Missing Believed Married
1966 The Sound of Murder
1966 Four in Hand
1967 The Chalk Garden
1967 Bell, Book and Candle
1967 No Time for Fig Leaves
1968 The Lady's not for Burning
1968 The Happy Marriage
1969 Don't Utter a Note
1969 Sleeping Partnership
1970 Murder for the Asking
1970 Hayfever
1970 Trap for a Lonely Man
1971 Breath of Spring
1971 Norman
1971 Murder Mistaken
1972 Loot
1972 Arsenic and Old Lace
1973 Midsummer Mink
1974 The Wizard of Oz
1974 Murder in Company
1975 The Sleeping Beauty
1977 Crown Matrimonial
1981 I'll Get My Man
1982 Shut Your Eyes and Think of England
1983 End of the Honeymoon
1983 Careful Rapture
As Short as Any Dream
Little Secrets
1983 The Ghost Train
1984 Find the Lady
1984 The Bounder
Only When I Laugh
Duty Free
1985 Timothy Tappitt and His Magic Hammer
1985 The Wizard of Oz
1986 Move Over Mrs Markham
1987 Bedroom Farce
1988 Key For Two
1988 There Goes the Bride
1989 Not Now Darling
1989 Keeping Down with the Joneses
1990 Stand by Your Bedouin
1990 Stepping Out
1991 Mr Macaroni and the Exploding Pizza Pie
1991 Two and Two Makes Sex
1991 Local Affairs
1992 Wife Begins at 40
1992 Move Over Mrs Markham
1993 A Chorus of Dissapproval
1993 Run for Your Wife
1994 No Sex Please, We're British
1994 Out of Order
1995 Postman's Knock
1995 When Did you Last See Your Trousers?
1995 One for the Road
1996 Fur Coat and No Knickers
1996 Time to Kill
1997 Educating Rita
1997 Noises Off
1997 Time of my Life
1998 Straight and Narrow
1998 Shirley Valentine
A Night Out
1999 Cash on Delivery
1999 Stepping Out
2000 Lucky Sods
2000 The Opposite Sex
2001 Don't Dress for Dinner
2001 Nobody's Perfect
2002 Respecting Your Piers
2002 Round and Round the Garden
2003 Laying the Ghost
2003 Witham Luvvies
2003 Communicating Doors
2004 Comic Potential
2004 How's the World Treating You?
2005 Holiday Snap!
2005 Womberang
2005 Bedroom Farce
2006 'Allo 'Allo
2006 Dinnerladies
2006 Blackadder
2007 Fawlty Towers
2007 Don't Dress for Dinner
2008 Open Wide
2008 Nobody's Perfect
2009 Are You Being Served?
2009 Cash on Delivery
2010 Time to Kill
2010 Wanted - One Body!
2011 Hi-de-Hi
2011 Going Postal
2012 The 39 Steps
2012 Calendar Girls
2013 Boeing Boeing
2013 'Allo 'Allo
2014 The Pink Panther Strikes Again
2014 Blackadder Goes Forth
2015 Out of Order
2015 Fawlty Towers
2016 One Man, Two Guvnors
2016 The Old Dogg at the Mint
2016 The Vicar of Dibley
2017 Blithe Spirit

That's 148 productions!