DRYBURN

THEATRICAL

WORKSHOP

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DRYBURN THEATRICAL WORKSHOP WAS FOUNDED IN 1978 BY EDITH CARVILL (THE THEN SUPPLIES MANAGER FOR DURHAM HOSPITALS), AND A SMALL BUT ENTHUSIASTIC GROUP OF STAFF BASED IN DRYBURN HOSPITAL

IN DURHAM CITY. THE PRODUCTIONS STARTED OFF AS SMALL SCALE REVUES AND PANTOMIMES, AND WERE REHEARSED AND PERFORMED IN THE HALL OF THE STAFF SOCIAL CLUB. THE HALL HAD A SMALL STAGE AND NO CHANGING ROOMS, SO THE GROUP MEMBERS MADE USE OF A BORROWED LOCAL SCOUT MARQUEE IN WHICH TO DRESS FOR THE PRODUCTIONS. ANY PROFIT MADE FROM THE PRODUCTIONS WAS GIVEN BACK TO THE HOSPITAL IN THE FORM OF DONATIONS OF EQUIPMENT TO WARDS.

AS MEMBERSHIP EXPANDED AND CHANGES WITHIN THE HOSPITAL TOOK PLACE, THE DECISION WAS MADE TO MOVE REHEARSALS TO A LOCAL COMMUNITY CENTRE, AND THE PRODUCTIONS TO PARK VIEW THEATRE IN CHESTER LE STREET, WHICH IS WHERE THE GROUP CONTINUES TO STAGE ITS PERFORMANCES TO THIS DAY. DRYBURN HOSPITAL WAS LATER DEMOLISHED AND REPLACED BY THE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL OF NORTH DURHAM, BUT THE GROUP MEMBERSHIP AGREED TO MAINTAIN ITS ROOTS AND KEEP THE ORIGINAL NAME AS A MARK OF RESPECT TO EDITH, ITS FOUNDER. ALTHOUGH NONE OF THE FOUNDER MEMBERS STILL PERFORM WITH THE GROUP TODAY, THERE ARE STILL MEMBERS WITH 30 YEARS SERVICE WHO REMEMBER THE “MARQUEE DAYS” AND THE HUMBLE BEGINNINGS OF A NOW THRIVING GROUP WHO PERFORM NOT ONLY PANTOMIMES, BUT ALSO FULL SCALE MUSICAL PRODUCTIONS.

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