History

As far as we know the society was originally founded in 1931 as ‘The Bradford Social Centre Operatic and Dramatic Society’. The first production was ‘Pearl, the Fisher Maiden’, which was staged in the Town Hall, which is now the Catholic Church.

Following the Second World War it became a section of the former Fitzmaurice Grammar School and was renamed ‘The Old Bradfordian’s Dramatic Society’ – a name that still sticks with some of Bradford’s older inhabitants! Performances were on a minute stage in the school gymnasium, 20ft x 12ft overall, which also had to support the footlights while leaving room for access behind the set. In the early 1950s the annual membership subscription was 5p and additional funds were normally raised by jumble sales and dances.

The limitations imposed by the facilities at the school forced a move to the Alexander Cinema (now St. Margaret’s Hall) in 1956, but eventually the exorbitant rent required by the local authority necessitated another move, this time to the comprehensive school that had replaced Fitzmaurice.

The Society’s name was changed to its present title in 1966. Throughout the 50s, 60s and 70’s it faced the usual difficulties encountered by most amateur dramatic societies, namely a lack of men and money!

Storage and set construction facilities always posed problems but the generosity of various members and friends helped to overcome them. A succession of various buildings lead to these facilities becoming known as ‘The Barn’ after the original space provided by a local farmer.

For many years the Winter production was a series of highly successful pantomimes and 1988 saw the first of the Society’s acclaimed outdoor productions, mainly of Shakespeare’s plays.

Although the possibility of owning its own premises was rigorously investigated it was clear that this was a financial impossibility and the lack of interest shown by the local councils in providing a theatre for Bradford means that this is still a dream!

Despite these problems the Society stages highly professional productions which frequently win awards and which have given it a well-merited local reputation for quality.