4/2/22 Cecil Hepworth Playhouse Saved for the Community & MMT Performances
In December we were advised that Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) wanted to close the Cecil Hepworth Playhouse (CHP) and move all the current user groups to a new private theatre venue in Esher by the end of March 2023, so they could sell the CHP for development.
As a result of the campaigning and petitioning to save the Playhouse led by the Walton and Weybridge Amateur Operatic Society (WWAOS) the local community have shown tremendous support for the Cecil Hepworth Playhouse, so the Council have backed down and Ian Burrows, Head of Leisure and Cultural Services, says “Due to the strength of the feeling of the current users, It has been agreed that we will engage with the Playhouse Users committee and invite them to come forward with a community self management proposal, to take over the running of the facility much in the same way as for Vine Hall and Elmgrove recently.” Elmbridge Borough Council
The Playhouse has been home to many societies over the years but none longer than Walton and Weybridge Amateur Operatic Society (WWAOS) which was there right at the start of its theatre history with the first production in 1925, “The Mikado”, produced by Cecil Hepworth himself. Other regular users are Desborough Players, Ember Players, Elmbridge Youth Theatre and Molesey Musical Theatre. Plus various dance groups and private hirers throughout the year. MMT’s first production at the CHP was “Calamity Jane” in 2009.
Link to the :- History of the Hepworth, Nettlefold and Walton Studios
There is another Facebook Group to join :- Cecil Hepworth Playhouse
The Playhouse is a big part of film history, a local community venue, and the only Community Theatre now in the Borough. We are delighted that EBC will let a Community Group manage the Playhouse from now on.
In Memory of Steve Farr
We are very sad to announce that Steve Farr passed away on Saturday 16 October, after a very short illness with cancer of the oesophagus.
Steve had been our lighting designer and operator for many years, with illuminating and excellent results and a very keen eye on the budget we have for our little society. He was due to create the lighting for Sleeping Beauty. He was a lovely guy to work with, and will be sadly missed.
Sent from my Sinclair ZX Spectrum (adapted from Steve's sign-off)
In Memory of Nigel Cooper
We are very sad to announce the death on Saturday 2 October of Nigel Cooper, the beloved and devoted husband of our long-serving Secretary and Musical Director, Liz Cooper.
Nigel supported the Society for many years, volunteering to assist Front of House during shows, and putting up with singing rehearsals at his home when Liz invited the cast. In the local community he served as an Elmbridge Borough Councillor for many years, and as Mayor of Elmbridge 2008-2009.
Nigel will be greatly missed.
In Memory of Richard Lee
It is with great sadness that we must report the news that Richard Lee passed away on Monday June 7th. He had been battling with poor health over the past few months and was admitted to hospital the previous week.
Richard joined Molesey Operatic Society in the 1980’s and was a stalwart member for many years playing numerous lead parts. It was through MOPS that he met his wife Pam. Even though they had moved on to join Walton & Weybridge Operatic Society, they remained very loyal supporters of MOPS/MMT, and always attended our performances.
In recent years they both returned to join us for the occasional show, and were rehearsing with us last year for our 50th Anniversary Show, which sadly was cancelled due to the March 2020 COVID Lockdown.
Richard will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. Our deepest sympathy and condolences go to his wife and family at this sad time.
June 2021 – Vine Hall Saved
Molesey Musical Theatre learnt in November 2020 that Vine Hall, the Community Hall that has been used for 50 years by MMT for its rehearsals, and for much of that time as a Performance venue, was to be sold off by Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) for affordable housing. Vine Hall is currently the only Public Hall generally available for Community Groups to use in Molesey.
We are pleased to report that Vine Hall has now been saved by the Vine Hall Community Group we have talked about previously. Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) accepted their Business Plan for running the Hall with a Board of Trustees; there was no viable proposal presented by any other group.
The plan is to re-open Vine Hall at the beginning of September 2021 following refurbishment. If anyone can assist with any building maintenance then please do contact the VHCG using the email address below. People are still being asked to get in touch to hire Vine Hall to create income and cover the running costs. Contact the Vine Hall Community Group if anyone is interested in future bookings
Keep abreast of developments on the new Facebook Group :- Vine Hall Community Group
- Surrey County Council Members Community Allocation Funding
Molesey Musical Theatre are grateful to Mr Ernest Mallett, Surrey County Councillor for West Molesey, for getting funding to purchase a Projector. MMT will use this in their forthcoming Golden Anniversary entertainment to project a slide show of previous productions. In future it can be used in productions to project slide shows and provide backdrops which will save valuable time and resources for a local amateur group. Mr Mallett provided additional funding from his Charity fund allocation at the Mole Hall Community Trust to complete the required purchase.
Right:- Slide Show in development (with costumes)
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