The Malvern Theatre Players were formed in 1977 as a result of the amalgamation of two local theatrical societies and with the active encouragement of the Festival Theatre Management. Although closely allied to the Festival Theatre, the Players are a properly constituted, autonomous Society wholly dedicated by constitution to the promotion of the dramatic arts in the Malvern area.
Whilst the bulk of the Players productions take place in the Malvern Festival Theatre, the Company is based around three locations
The Theatre House workshop and offices (address below). On this site we have our main workshops for the construction of scenery and properties, storage for furniture and smaller items and the Company offices
The Coach House Theatre, which shares the building with our workshop and offices
The Wardrobe Department, in tSpring Lane South, Malvern. The bulk of our costumes are kept at this location, which is open weekly for public hire (Saturday mornings).
The Production year starts in September and ends in August, during which time we generally present two or three productions of five performances each, and a pantomime or Christmas show which runs for between two and three weeks and involves about eighteen performances. Most seasons have included a comedy or thriller, a more serious play, the pantomime and a project of a more experimental nature.
The Company makes all their own scenery, costumes and properties to the highest standards. In fact, the quality of making is good enough to attract orders from some professional companies for whom we have made sets, properties, and special effects. Members with skills in carpentry, textiles, plastics and electronics are particularly useful in this respect. Some Company members are professionally trained in design and we have access to professional musicians and a choreographer, all of whom give their services free in support of the ideal of maintaining a working theatre in Malvern.
The main source of company income is from the hiring of costumes, scenery and equipment and this enables us to maintain our independence. These funds are used to support activities not directly connected with our Theatre productions, such as visits of the Theatre du Nombre D'or, and our own tour of 'Androcles and the Lion' to France.
Some income is also used to purchase equipment for use in productions. Except for very special items, such as the flying equipment for use in 'Peter Pan', the policy is always to buy rather than hire, thus adding to our own hiring stock.
The Company logo was designed in 1934 by Paul Shelving (1888-1968) for the Malvern Festival Company and has been used continuously on posters, programmes and commemorative china etc until the mid-1970's. It was subsequently adopted by the Theatre Players and the Theatre Association and, recently it has been used as the Theatre Trust's letter head.
The design, known affectionately as the 'painted' or 'crinolined' lady, shows an actress in eighteenth century costume, carrying the masks of comedy and tragedy and accompanied by a page. The design is mounted on a base of arabesque patterning. The original painting is held in the Malvern Public Library.
Paul Shelving was the resident designer at Sir Barry Jackson's Birmingham Repertory Theatre and was responsible for the set and costume designs for all the Malvern Festival Productions from 1927 to 1939, including many plays by Bernard Shaw. He also designed for the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon and for many of the London theatres. In a long career, he designed, painted and costumed more than 300 major productions. The last production design by Paul Shelving to be seen in Malvern was 'Caesar and Cleopatra' which transferred from Paris in 1956 and subsequently played the Old Vic Theatre in London.
This image is the trade mark of Malvern Theatre Players.
Theatre House, Grange Rd, Malvern, WR14 3HA, England tel: 01684 569011
Web site design by Clive Pygott
© All images and text, copyright Malvern Theatre Players 2003