Photograph: The Players Theatre at The Bethel
Having watched our video you will have heard the words of our Voice of The Players Theatre in Lowestoft. The Theatre is home to the Lowestoft Players and a range of other groups. Like many theatres we are closed due to Covid. Unlike many others we may not be able to re-open as our 30 year old heating system has been condemned.
Photograph: Our condemned boiler
We need to replace it and have chosen an air source climate management system which will cost £35,000. It will enable us to keep our patrons and venue users comfortable all year round by warming them up in the winter and cooling them down in the summer. It will help reduce our running costs, our carbon footprint and contribute positively to the environment.
If we can get off to a good start we may qualify for funding from M&S Energy.
A failure to open will have a massive impact on the people in the Lowestoft area. We are at the centre of the Lowestoft community with a number of groups using our facility taking the opportunity to rehearse or perform on a stage in a theatre. The camaraderie that exists between performers as the adrenaline flows before and during a performance will disappear, friendships will fade away, careers in the performing arts will be lost and a valuable interest for people of all ages will disappear.
The creative expression that flows from theatre has a positive impact on mental health.
Our members, performers, patrons, hirers, and back stage volunteers speak highly of the part that The Players Theatre plays in their lives. Please see their testimonials below.
So Relight My Fire and our theatre for years to come!
Testimonial from Josh Lacey, former member of The Lowestoft Players, now a West End lead:
The Lowestoft Players are a leading and award winning Community musical theatre group.
Photograph: The Lowestoft Players performing Grease at the Players Theatre
Photograph: The Lowestoft Players performing Evita at The Players Theatre
Based in Lowestoft and operating for over 50 years, we perform three full scale productions per year at affordable prices. For the first 40 years we rehearsed in a prefabricated building generously provided by a supporter.
Photograph: The Lowestoft Players former Headquarters at Stradbroke Road
In 2008 we were able to purchase a Chapel (The Bethel) from the Fishermen’s Mission, allowing the latter to preserve the building for the community.
Photograph: The Bethel circa 1900 and the Poor People's Tea circa 1930
The Bethel is an iconic building located in the centre of Lowestoft. This fabulous, old, former Chapel has served the community since 1899, firstly as a Fishermen’s Mission, then, during WWII, as a Naval base.
After the war it reverted to its role as a Chapel until 2008, when it was purchased by The Lowestoft Players. There was a request by the then owners, to keep this building in use for the whole community, which The Players were happy to do.
The Lowestoft Players with our reserves and volunteer help, from our 150 strong membership, spent the first year refurbishing and converting The Bethel into a 200 seat theatre.
Photograph: Conversion of the Chapel to The Players Theatre
Later with grants from; WREN, The Arts Council and many others, we were able to build on and improve the conversion. Within 12 months of acquiring The Bethel, productions were being held there. Soon after, staging, lighting, blackout curtains and seating were in place enabling the first full production, on the new stage, to take place.
Photograph: The auditorium at The Players Theatre following conversion
Testimonial from Sally Jermyn, current member of the Lowestoft Players Front of House team:
The Theatre is managed and operated by volunteers who have a passion for musical theatre, supporting the local community and providing a major facility in the Lowestoft area. Volunteers come from all community backgrounds and all ages. We provide an opportunity for people to socialise who might otherwise be lonely. We provide a training and development opportunity for the community to learn all aspects of theatre, from planning through performing to backstage, with many of our friends going on to have careers in the industry. Other groups who hire our current facilities organise their own events including dance instruction, meetings and private parties.
Photograph: Made in Dagenham performed by The Lowestoft Players
Photograph: B and B Youth Theatre Group performing The Sound of Music
Photograph: Main auditorium prepared for a wedding reception
Photograph: The Lowestoft Players performing A Christmas Spectacular
We provide a valuable facility for people to pursue a worthwhile interest during their leisure time harnessing their energy into something creative.
Testimonial from Stephen Amer, current member of the Lowestoft Players and now a full time musician.
We have aspirations and plans to meet our own demands and the needs of the increasing community groups in the area by carrying out further improvements and enlargement of the Theatre in the coming years. None of this will be possible unless we can raise £35,000 to replace our heating system.
Photograph: The future look and vision for The Players Theatre