Our History

A Brief History

The Henfield Theatre Company came into being in 1999 with the merger of the Henfield Players and the Henfield Choral and Operatic Society.

The Henfield Players were founded in 1929 and produced two or three plays a year. In the early days the plays were presented at the Assembly Rooms when the whole complex was taken over for the week. The stage was enlarged and the set built, all the stage sets, tabs, lighting and sound and special seating being owned by the Players Three act plays were entered for the Sussex Drama Festival publicly adjudicated and they were of a very good standard, reaching the finals with performance at Glyndebourne on two occasions.

The Henfield Choral and Operatic Society had its origins as far back as 1886 as a purely Choral Society performing oratorio and similar works and entering the West Sussex Music Festival with some success during the earlier part of the 20th century before falling into abeyance during the 2nd World War. When it was reformed its image changed with the input of new members and it became The Henfield Choral & Operatic Society in 1961 presenting a fully staged performance of ‘Pirates of Penzance’ in the aforementioned,long-gone Assembly Rooms in the High Street.

In 1974 our splendid new Village Hall was opened - now The Henfield Hall - all the existing equipment was given to it and we were at last able to put on productions with a good sized stage and a much larger audience capacity. The two societies continued to put on their separate productions but getting together on occasions for joint productions of pantomimes and concerts.

The Henfield Theatre Company became a registered charity in 2004 and as such is dedicated to the production of plays, concerts, musicals, playreadings, workshops and associated activities for the enjoyment, education and entertainment of the members and of the public.

The Present

Henfield is a large village with an ever growing population. It has always had a very warm community spirit because up to the present it has grown fairly slowly. We get good support from our audiences. However financing has become increasingly difficult with talent, expertise and modern technology outstripping resources. Costumes, music and musicians, increasing royalty costs, lighting and sound, and rehearsal venues make up a large part of the costs. Jumble sales and other fund raising activities go some way towards the deficit suffered from putting on the ambitious productions which the village has come to expect as part of our output. We also seek, and are fortunate to find, sponsorship for our productions.

We have a membership of about 250 people and although HTC is an amateur company, the members strive to achieve the highest possible standards and we regularly win Awards for achievements in the theatre. We are affiliated to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, which is a charitable organisation that provides information and support to amateur theatre all over the country.

Not only do we have members who perform to a high standard but we are fortunate in having talented directors, musical directors, set designers, musicians, costume designers and seamstresses, lighting and sound experts together with a band of committed behind the scenes workers who build the sets, are responsible for the decor and props, take charge of front of house, publicity, arrange social activities and all the necessary jobs (including providing the refreshments!) which go towards making the company the lively and flourishing organisation that it is.

We are always happy to welcome new members - so if you have an ambition to tread the boards, or work in any way with us to create theatre for our community - get in touch - it's guaranteed to be enjoyable!