History

The Story So Far 

SWATS started life as The South Woodham Players in the autumn of 1969. The first production was Friends & Neighbours by Austin
Steel and was performed in the South Woodham Ferrers Village Hall. Productions continued at the village hall at a rate of two a year until spring 1984, when the group relocated the then new William-de-Ferrers Centre. First production at the "Willie De" was Happiest Days Of Your Life by John Dighton and we continued at a rate
of two productions a year until 1991 when we started co-producing the local pantomime with the South Woodham Ferrers Community Association. In the autumn of 1993, due to the escalating costs of performing in South Woodham Ferrers, the group moved their productions to the Cramphorn Theatre in Chelmsford. The first production at the Cramphorn was Season's Greetings by Alan Ayckbourn, productions continued at the Cramphorn at a rate of two a year. In 1995 the Community Association dropped out of the pantomime. “The Players” went it alone for two years, but due to rising costs and falling audiences 1996 was going to be our last pantomime. However, the gauntlet was picked up by the newly formed South Woodham Ferrers Panto Group and Peter Pan, their first production, proved successful. June 1998 once again sees "The Players" at a decision point. The Cramphorn has seen a steady increase in
hire charges and a steady decrease in audiences (not just for us). The group also felt that they had lost their identity by not performing in their local community. Consequently, the group decided to return
to South Woodham Ferrers with the next production being at our original home the South Woodham Ferrers Village Hall in November 1998. With a successful production marking our return to South Woodham Ferrers the group is fired with enthusiasm. Ironically the Panto Group is being run by members of The Players anyway. Therefore at the AGM the majority of the group agreed with the representation from the Panto Group, that it made more sense to bring the pantomime back into the group. May 1999 and yet another milestone for the group, our first musical. Not your full blown Gilbert and Sullivan style show, more of a play with some song and dance numbers. Two years later, May 2001, and collaboration with a youth group sees the group put on Little Shop of Horrors, our first full blown musical.  A throwaway comment in April 2008 sees an idea develop to re-brand the group with a name that lent itself to a memorable acronym. An extraordinary general meeting in May saw the group vote to change the name to South Woodham Amateur Theatre Society or SWATS for short with the group being re-launched after the July production.

Past Productions

YearTitle Author
1969Friends & NeighboursAustin Steel
1970I'll Get My ManPhilip King
 Something To HideLeslie Sands
1971Key WitnessMichael Brett
 Flat SpinDerek Stanley Royle
1972Brush With A BodyMaurice McLoughlin
 A Letter From A GeneralMaurice McLoughlin
1973Wild Goose ChaseDerek Benfield
 The MilitantsNorman N Holland & Norman Norwood
1974Wanted One BodyRaymond Dyer
 The Right Honourable Gentleman M Bradley-Dyre 
1975 A Month Of Sundays Bob Larbey 
 Suddenly At Home Francis Durbridge 
1976 Doctor In The HouseRichard Gordon 
 How The Other Half Loves Alan Ayckbourn 
1977 Who Says Murder Philip King 
 Not Now Darling Ray Cooney 
1978 An Inspector Calls J. B. Priestley 
 No Time For Fig Leaves Duncan Greenwood 
1979 Murder Mistaken Janet Green 
 Habeas Corpus Alan Bennett 
1980 Living Together Alan Ayckbourn 
 I Am A Camera John Van Druten 
1981 Tell Tale Murder Philip Weathers 
 Curious Savage John Patrick 
1982 Pardon Me Prime Minister Edward Taylor 
 Blithe Spirit Noel Coward 
1983 Lord Arthur Savile's Crime Constance Cox 
 Ten Time Table Alan Ayckbourn 
1984 Happiest Days Of Your Life John Dighton 
 Laughter 'N' Tears  
1985 Tom Jones Joan MacAlpine, based on the novel by Henry Fielding 
 Billy Liar Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall 
1986 Outside Edge Richard Harris 
 More Laughter 'N' Tears  
1987 Hobson's Choice Harold Brighouse 
 Season's Greetings Alan Ayckbourn 
1988 The Ghost Train Arnold Ridley 
 Laughter 'N' Tears III  
1989 Noises Off Michael Frayn 
 Pack Of Lies Hugh Whitemore 
1990 Bedroom Farce Alan Ayckbourn 
 Keeping Down With The Joneses John Chapman and Jeremy Lloyd 
1991 Beyond Reasonable Doubt Geoffrey Archer 
 Key For Two John Chapman 
 Sleeping Beauty John Morley 
1992 A Small Family Business Alan Ayckbourn 
 Abigail's Party Mike Leigh 
 Rumpelstilzkin John Morley 
1993 Local Affairs Richard Harris 
 Season's Greetings Alan Ayckbourn 
 Tom The Piper's Son John Morley 
1994 84 Charing Cross Road Helene Hanff, adapted for the stage by James Roose-Evans 
 Blue Remembered Hills Dennis Potter 
 Jack And The Beanstalk Tony Mandara 
1995 Out Of Order Ray Cooney 
 Separate Tables Terence Rattigan 
 Mother Goose John Morley 
1996 Outside Edge Richard Harris 
 An Evening With Gary Lineker Arthur Smith and Chris England 
 Cinderella John Morley 
1997 Billy Liar Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall 
 Blithe Spirit Noel Coward 
1998 Sextet Michael Pertwee 
 South Hollywoodham Jim Bayliss and Gary Press 
 The Wizard Of Oz John Morley 
1999 The End Of The Pier Show Roger Parsley and Duncan Lane 
 Anybody For Murder Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner 
2000 Babes In Woodham Tony Mandara 
 They Came From Mars And Landed Outside The Farndale Avenue Church Hall In Time For The Townswomen's Guild's Coffee Morning David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr 
 Will You Still Love Me In The Morning? Brian Clemens and Dennis Spooner 
2001 Aladdin John Crocker 
 Little Shop Of Horrors Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman, Music by Alan Menken 
 Bold Girls Rona Monro 
2002 Snow White Norman Robbins 
 Out Of Order Ray Cooney 
 Shakers Re-Stirred John Godber and Jane Thornton 
2003 Dick Whittington Jim Sperinck 
 Educating Rita Willy Russell 
2004 Sleeping Beauty Norman Robbins 
 The Odd Couple (Female Version) Neil Simon 
 Fringe Benefits Peter Yeldham and Donald Churchill 
2005 Red Riding Hood Norman Robbins 
 Out Of Sight... Out Of Murder Fred Carmichael 
 'Allo 'Allo Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft 
2006 Little Miss Muffet Paul Reakes 
 Pack Of Lies Hugh Whitemore 
 Absurd Person Singular Alan Ayckbourn 
2007 Wizard Of Woodham Alistair Clinton, adapted by Debs Watson 
 Three Doors To Death (Murder At Harley Dee's) Keith Jackson, adapted by Jan Rook 
 Absent Friends Alan Ayckbourn 
2008 Trouble In Pantoland Sharon Hulm 
 Teechers John Godber 
 Murder At Oscar Knight's Dinner  
 Jack And The Beanstalk Limelight Scripts 
2009 House of Secrets Peter McKeley 
 Hi De Hi Jimmy Perry and David Croft 
 Babes In The Wood Limelight Scripts 
2010 Confusions Alan Ayckbourn 
 Free And Easy Bill Cronshaw 
 Murder At Meddleton Manor  
 Beauty And The Beast Limelight Scripts
2011Waiting for GordonDerek Webb
 Smalls TalkSue & Clive Reed
 Neville's IslandTim Firth
 King ArthurLimelight Scripts
 2012The Haunting of Hill HouseF Andrew Leslie
 Don't Forget Your Gas MaskTrevor Hughes
 Murder at Fleecem Village Psychic FayreJohn Henry
 Treasure IslandToby Bradford and Tina Webster
 2013Stage StruckJohn and Yvonne Eddlestone
 Murdered to DeathPeter Gordon
 AladdinBen Crocker

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