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History

Learn about our history and heritage.

 In 1948, three men – Tom Craston, Alan Mackill and Major Gray – had a dream to build a theatre in their local district. An Inaugural Meeting was called on 11th November 1948, where Tom Craston explained, to quote the minute:

    In view of the growth of Drama and the potential that a Company of Players be formed in the District, and that Giffnock should be chosen as the most central point. The final end in view is the erection of a building which would be a Community Centre with Theatre and Rooms

They started a dramatic club the following year, and in April 1949 constituted the Giffnock Theatre Players at an Extraordinary General Meeting. The vision was reported in the Evening Times, and boasted the “ultimate aim [of building] an adequate theatre providing a weekly or fortnightly reporty”. The first production was Grand National Night by Dorothy and Campbell Christie, directed by Alan Mackill.

Following a drive to attract members, auditions were held at the Wycherly Studio, to which fifteen ladies turned up – but sadly only one man! It was decided to include guest performers, and the Committee were successful in attracting along actors and actresses from a number of established societys such as the Pantheon Club – one of whom was Rikki Fulton. Rikki both acted and directed for the Players in our early years, before going on to pursue his professional career.

Since then, we have performed two and three act plays, first at Williamwood School, then Clarkston Halls, and finally the local authority’s beautiful theatre in Eastwood Park. In 2004, the Players de-camped to the Village Theatre in East Kilbride for three seasons, during which the Eastwood Park Theatre was extensively renovated. In 2007, we moved home to Eastwood to continue our full programme of events.

Premises for rehearsing and building sets proved difficult in the early years. The Players have occupied many varied buildings – from a disused golf clubhouse, to halls, to an old dilapidated house on Clarkston Road, to a guide hut where snow came in through the roof. Finally, we secured our very own premises off Fenwick Road in Giffnock (the former Bradford’s Bakery), with room for rehearsals, room for set building, rooms for housing wardrobe and props – even the luxury of a kitchen and a toilet!

Since 1949, the Players have been managed efficiently by directors and a management committee, who introduced a Patronage system – people who paid for all three plays at the start of the season and had pre-booked tickets sent to them at reduced prices. Our Patrons (or Season Ticket Holders) continue to be the backbone of our audiences. The support and financial commitment of club members, our Patrons, and various bodies enabled the purchase of the Bradford’s Bakery building in 1983.

Over the years, standards of productions have been consistently high, starting with three nights per week and gradually increasing to four or five nights plus a matinee. We have more recently ventured into Theatre In Education, hosting successful workshops for schools and colleges as part of our seasonal programme.

Whilst the dream of our very own repertory theatre has not been realised, a local theatre did materialise at Eastwood, but sadly our three original pioneers had passed away by this time.

The Players have gone from strength to strength over the years, presenting a varied programme each season. As we pass our 60th year, our thanks go as always to our members, our Patrons, and to our audiences for your continued support.

We hope you will join us at the Eastwood Park Theatre soon, as we work tirelessly to keep the tradition of local theatre alive.