Wesley Chapel Hall : Where we Rehearse
HOW TO FIND US
FROM THE M4:
Leave the motorway at junction 40 [sp PORT TALBOT].
If coming from the direction of Swansea, turn right at roundabout at end of slip road.
If coming from the direction of Cardiff, turn left at roundabout at end of slip road.
Follow the road around to the left.
At traffic lights (Abbey Road junction) turn left.
Carry straight on at the next set of traffic lights (Taibach Rugby Club on your left).
Take the 2nd turning left (into Incline Row) after those lights (motor cycle shop on your left; pub on your right).
Wesley Chapel Hall is on your right towards the top of the hill (entrance to the Hall is opposite the Eastern School).
FROM PORT TALBOT/MARGAM:
If coming from the direction of Port Talbot town centre, at Abbey Road traffic lights carry straight on and then follow the directions above; if coming from the direction of Margam, take the first right after the Somerset Arms pub and then proceed up the hill to Wesley’s Hall.
Everything has to start somewhere and with someone. We start the 60th anniversary of Port
Talbot Little Theatre because of the enthusiasm and talent of a man called Leo Lloyd. During
the 1930s he gathered together a group of people who had an interest in drama and theatre
and formed them into a highly successful acting group called 'The Thespians'. For many
years they entertained Port Talbot audiences with their productions, until the outbreak of
World War II forced them to disband.
In 1941, Leo, keen to keep amateur dramatics alive in the town formed another group, called
'The Port Talbot Drama Club'. Those first members included many well remembered names
like Charles B. Tapp, John Edward John, Bruce Mayne, Trevor Cross and many more. Based
in a classroom in the Eastern Schools, their first production was the costume drama, 'The
Barratts of Wimpole Street'. It told of the love story of Robert Browning and Elizabeth
Barratt and her tyrant of a father. Costume - Drama - Romance - it was a sell out! It was a huge success and marked the start of many, manv triumphant years in the competitive world of drama in South Wales.
At that time Drama was thriving - drama societies flourished in almost every town and
village. The wonderful workmen's halls built throughout the valleys played host to groups
from all over Wales and England too. Treorchy. Tonypandy, Maerdy - in every hall, one
magnificent week of dramatic productions from October to March. Standards were
extremely high and only the best were accepted and invited to compete. Over the years, three
companies emerged as being the 'best of the best”. Tredegar. Blackwood and Port Talbot. 'Berkley Square', 'Our Town' and 'The Vigil' were just three of the plays that scooped honours for Port Talbot during the 1940s and 50s.
In 1959 the Drama Club changed its name to Port Talbot Little Theatre
The 1960s brought great changes. Leo left the Drama Club to guide and lead the newly
formed Taibach Peoples’ Theatre. Charles Tapp and John John took on the role of Producers; the first of a long line who tried to carry on the
standards that had been set by Leo Lloyd. ‘The Same Sky' and 'Simon and Laura' were just two of the many highlights of those years. Home to the Little Theatre had always been a classroom, first in the Eastern School and later
in the Central School. Then in the late 1970s a real home! What excitement and delight when we moved into the Afan Arts Centre. A rehearsal room, a workshop theatre, a place to keep all our equipment, and a lounge where we could sit and talk. It was heaven!
Over all the years, we have played on many of the town's stages. The New Hall, Y.M.C.A., County School, Afan Lido - each had been a happy venue, all with their own memories. What a joy it was when in 1988 we were able to play on the stage of the beautiful Princess Royal Theatre. What luxury for us and for our audiences - a real night out at the theatre.
In 2003 following the closure of the Port Talbot Arts Centre building, the Little Theatre moved its base to the Theatre Workshop which is in the Arts Centre’s grounds. The Workshop was purpose built as a theatre workshop in the mid 1980s. It was run by the then Port Talbot Society of Arts, to which the Little Theatre was affiliated.
Spring 2010 saw the Society move to a new home at Wesley Chapel, Taibach, Port Talbot following the closure of the Theatre Workshop. Our new home once again provides us with much needed facilities that we lacked during our time based in the Workshop, such as improved storage facilities, a meeting room and a kitchen. Members can again meet without disturbing those rehearsing! For the first time in the Society’s history it is no longer based in local authority premises.
This history of the Little Theatre is largely reproduced from an article written by the late Ina D Jones as part of the Little Theatre’s 60th anniversary celebrations held in November 2001.
For General Enquiries Contact
21 Old Road
Tele 01639 760551
Or you can e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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