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(Above pictures : Left- The Co-operative's David Stanbury presents the company with an award from the community fund. Centre: the group at the time of their 50th anniversary. Right: The group receive the TRAC award for their 1989 production of 'Plaza Suite')

Western College Players were originally known as The Co-operative Players, having been formed in 1929 in answer to invitation from The Education Secretary in The Co-operative record. WCP were forced to cease all productions during the Blitz of World War 2. But were reformed under the leadership of Harry Roberts, the current Chairman's grandfather, in 1947. He was the regular director until 1962. In 1964 Bill Stone took the reins. It was during this period that our most famous ex-member Angela Rippon appeared in many productions. Bill was a regular director until 1990, when he directed the regional premiere of the classic back stage farce 'Noises off'. In 1987 ex-local television presenter, Jill Nicholas, became Chairman and held the position for 23 years- until Gareth took the helm in time for our 80th anniversary year. The company continued to be supported by the Co-operative society until they abolished their community fund in recent years- the company are currently no longer in receipt of any funding.

(Pictured below is Bernard Copping, the company's experienced producer guiding 'The Co-operative Players' in 1937.. he died in 1939 during rehearsals for a production of The Merchant of Venice - in which he was to play the role of Shylock)


'Sailor Beware' in 1959 featuring life members Winifred Hooper, Bill Stone, Dorothy Pailthorpe and Lorna Griggs

Life Members Lorna Griggs and Dorothy Pailthorpe

The company's 80th anniversary 

Above: Life Member Jill Nicholas in 'Cider with Rosie'

Left: Life members Lorna Griggs and Bill Stone in 'A Christmas Carol'

Harry Roberts

The above picture includes Life Members Bill Stone and Gerald Nicholas

Above: Life Members Cliff Appleby, Gerald Nicholas and Bob Perkins get to work!

Above: Life Member

Gerald Nicholas as Ebenezer Scrooge

Gerald Nicholas and Lorna Griggs


Gareth Roberts - Chairman

Claire Roberts - Treasurer

Life Members

Cliff Appleby

Marion Appleby

Bob Perkins

Carole Roberts

Gareth Roberts

Passed life Members

Lorna Griggs

Winifred Hooper

Angela Nicholas

Gerald Nicholas

Jill Nicholas

Dorothy Pailthorpe

Tim Rowley

Edna Shilson

Bill Stone

Olive Summers

Above: Carole Roberts and Marion Appleby received their Life and Honorary Membership awards from Chairman Gareth Roberts

Life Member Tim Rowley - with Rachel Driscoll in 'Heidi'


WCP Theatre Company are a non profit making organisation- but not a registered charity. Throughout our near ninety year history we have been grateful for the support of The Cooperative Society - but due to changes in their policy we now find ourselves on the lookout for new sponsorship.

If you're part of a company that would like to support local community based theatre on an annual or play by play basis - we'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page. Many Thanks.

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