AN AMATEUR theatre group is celebrating more than half a century of entertaining the public.
Buckley Theatre Group formed in 1957 and will be marking the milestone with a three-night run performing the comedy-thriller Murder Weekend at the town’s Hawkesbury Little Theatre.
Cast and crew are now busy rehearsing and preparing for the show which will be dedicated to the memory of three members who have died this year.
The club, first known as Bistre Drama Group, made its name performing religious and Christmas plays.
Buckley-born director Sue Morton, 44, who has been with the group since she was 10, juggles her role with a full-time job as a business analyst.
“We are just one extended very large family,” she said.
“We are extremely close, always helping and supporting each other.”
As the group grew and as the club continued to prosper it started performing plays and pantomimes in Hawkesbury Little Theatre.
She said: “In 1984 the owners of the theatre, the then Clwyd County Council, allowed the club sole use of the building for rehearsals and scenery storage and we started to use Elfed Theatre to stage our productions.
“In May 2001 the club managed to obtain a long term lease on the theatre and we became a registered charity.”
The club then held a fundraising drive and with help from grants, local firms and organisations undertook a wide range of improvements at the theatre including new toilets, a kitchen and central heating.
Sue took over the role of director in May last year from Donald Jones, the group’s founder, who died after a battle with cancer in January.
She said: “Donald was still an active member. He had agreed to be the group’s honorary president. We were so delighted.
“Sadly he became ill and passed away.”
Two other members of the group have also died since January.
“This has left the group very sad indeed,” said Sue.
“We are so devastated as since the beginning of the year we have lost three members of the club to cancer. They were all amazing, funny, loving and wonderful people and we are going to miss them very much.
“Rehearsals for the new play are going well and we are determined to carry on in their memory.”
In December the group enjoyed a two weeks sell out performance of pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.
There are now around 20 members of cast and crew in the group.
“We have members aged 17-70,” added Sue.
“But we need some new blood. We are always looking out for new members, helpers for acting, singing, dancing, lighting, sound, stage design, scenery, props, sewing and costumes or just people looking for a hobby to socialise with the group.”