Theatre History in Colchester County
by Brian Sears
I was with Hubtown Theatre Society almost from its start, and have been involved with the group (on and off) since then. In 1996 I decided to write a history of the group, mainly to preserve a record of activities. People sometimes express an interest in what plays we have done and so on. It seemed reasonable to publish the record on the Internet. My intent, with a few exceptions, was to prepare a record of facts and not anecdotes or opinions.
Besides my own recollections, and my wife Marlene’s, I have drawn on play programs (I have them all) and the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors and the General Membership. Almost all of these survive. It would be interesting to compile a list of all those who were ever involved with the group. Although this is possible, it would be a daunting task.
Each year since 1996, I have supplemented the history.
The history of the Colchester Players is as accurate as I could make it. The predecessor of Hubtown Theatre Society was in the memories of a few of those involved with the group. However, I did not have enough concrete information to prepare a proper record.
This changed when I came in contact with Holly Irving. Her parents, Patricia and Alden Irving, had been major movers within the group. Holly provided me with most of the resources I needed. I have drawn on the minutes of the group, from 1965 to 1974, their financial record (a surprisingly good source) and an array of newspaper clippings. I could also supplement these with my own recollections for a couple of their later endeavours, particularly the three-week summer school in 1972, given by Jack Medurst. Some time later, she provided me with additional resources that included many of the original programs. These gave me a great deal of additional information, which I used to create a “second edition”.
This history is probably more prone to error that that of Hubtown Theatre Society. Because of its greater distance in time, I have allowed myself to speculate sometimes. I have also taken a greater liberty in expressing opinions. In an attempt to make the history a bit more relevant, I have also occasionally made comparisons between the Colchester Players and Hubtown Theatre Society.
Sometime later I decided to add as much information as I could on theatre in the Truro area before 1960 (when the Colchester players was formed). At first I used some information I had and also scanned some old copies of The Daily News at the Colchester Library.
Eventually I got around to checking the Archives at the Colchester Museum. Here I found a hand typed document titled Drama in Truro in the Early 1900s, by Vera Parker Fairweather. It was written in 1963. This document provided my source material for the section on St John’s Dramatic Club and provided some of the information for the section called History Bits.