Putney Theatre Company has two main strands of its history. The first is Group 64, and the second is the Putney Players. In 1999 the Putney Players, and the adult members of Group 64 combined to form Putney Theatre Company.
The Putney Players
In the years following the First World War, the Victorian and Edwardian tradition of amateur theatricals continued in various large private houses in Putney. A group of enthusiasts agreed to put these on a more organised footing, and in 1930 formed the Putney Amateur Dramatic Society.
In fact, our history can even be 'lightly' linked back to royalty, and played a part in a famous British film - The Kings Speech. Lionel Logue (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Logue) was the speech therapist who helped King George VI overcome his stammer. And in the film based on the true story we learn that Lionel was in fact a member of the Putney Players amateur dramatics group. However, whilst we'd love to be able to confirm this fact, we haven't been able to align this with our records. As far as we know Lionel lived in Sydenham, but nonetheless we'd love to have played a part in helping a fellow thespian to develop their skills!
The name of the group was changed to the Putney Players in 1960. For many years, productions took place at St Mary's Hall in Hotham Road (now Hotham Hall). In the late 1960s the Putney Players moved to Putney Arts Theatre, and then from 1973 until 1999 they were based at the Elliott School, Putney as well as other local spaces.
In 1959 Maurice Copus, a teacher at Southfields School, who recognised that a number of his enthusiastic pupils needed a local theatre group, founded an after-school theatre club. Early venues included Battersea Town Hall, now Battersea Arts Centre.
By 1964, the group had grown to encompass much of the Wandsworth community, and a change of premises was sought nearer to its growing membership. Five years after its conception the group, helped by the Mayor of Wandsworth, Alderman Maxwell Nelson-Barrett, moved to Wandsworth Town Hall and joined forces with another group, renaming itself Group 64.
In 1968 the group moved into a new home, the Old Union Church (now called Putney Arts Theatre).
In its new home, the group grew from strength to strength, developing its building and growing its membership. The mixture of adult and youth performers partaking in shows together continued throughout this time. You can find out more about our building's history here:
In 1999, the Putney Players merged with the senior members of Group 64 to form the Putney Theatre Company. Over the years since then we've had a number of different ways of running the company, but at its heart has been the amazing contribution of our members.
We are now a theatre company governed by a constitution, overseen by our building's trustees, run on a day to day basis by a committee of volunteers, and creatively led by our Artistic Directors.