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ISSUE 14 CONTENTS
To Be Or Not To Be
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Heptonstall Players perform The Merchant of Venice. Left to right, Fred Helliwell, Stanley Sutcliffe, H. Robertshaw, Beatrice Whiteley, Winne Whiteley and Clifford Sutcliffe. Front, Garnet Haigh as Shylock. Code no CT237KN
Keith Newbitt Recalls the Glory Days of The Heptonstall Players
In the early years of the last century the centre of nearly all the social activities and amusements centred on the churches and chapels.
Shortly after his arrival as Vicar in 1913, Percival Gough was to begin a remarkable experiment which fired the enthusiasm of the ordinary working people of Heptonstall, he decided to attempt a "flight into sordid drama" - the plays of Shakespeare.
The first attempt, the quarrel scene from Shakespeare sandwiched between Pierrot songs, was not a success: the audience had never heard of Shakespeare and was glad when it was all over.
The Heptonstall Players were invited to give a performance in Leeds where they received an enthusiastic reception from the large audience and critical acclaim in the press.
Following their success invitations poured in from all over Yorkshire and Halifax Trades Council arranged a performance in Victoria Hall. By this time - 1922 - the Rev Gough had left the village.
How long the Heptonstall Players carried on I don't know - perhaps readers will be able to supply further information.
Read the full story in Milltown Memories, issue 14. If this or other stories stirs a memory, we'd be happy to know - send us your memories and comments.