Drama Society

The cast of “Night Was Our Friend” performed at the Harold Hall, Oulton, 7 December 1951. From left to right: Allan Jones (Martin), Elsie Mercer (Emily), Claude Fulton (Dr Granville), Joan Williams (Sally), Maurice Teet (John), Lilly Cauldwell (Kate).

What was described as the “first ever” dramatic society in Oulton and Woodlesford was founded at a meeting at the Oulton Institute, known as the Harold Hall, on Wednesday 7 June 1950. The Woodlesford postmaster, Claude Fulton, was elected chairman with Eva Williams as secretary and a Miss O. Whittaker as treasurer. Other founding members were Mesdames G.H. Mercer, Dunning, Ellis and Nicholson, along with Messrs Rayner and Nicholson, according to a report in the Wakefield Express.

Also at the meeting was a representative of the British Drama League, a national organisation formed in 1919 to improve theatrical education.

Later in 1950 the members of the Oulton-with-Woodlesford Dramatic Society made their stage debuts in three one act plays which were performed on Friday and Saturday nights, 17th and 18th November. The Wakefield Express reported a large audience was at the Harold Hall on the first night and it was filled to capacity on the second night. “Apart from ‘first night nerves’ the performances went satisfactorily and the audiences were quick to show their appreciation,” said the paper.

A year later the society took to the boards again in a three act play, “Night Was Our Friend”, a mystery thriller by Michael Pertwee, which they performed on consecutive Saturdays in December.

An organiser from the British Drama League was again on hand with his production expertise. The play is about a man who is lost in the Brazilian jungle for two years and presumed dead. When he is found and returns home he finds his wife has remarried. She does all she can to help him but unhinged by his ordeal he commits suicide arranging it to make it look as though his ex-wife has murdered him.

From the Wakefield Express, 15 December 1951.
Joan Williams, Claude Fulton, Elsie Mercer and Maurice Teet on stage at the Harold Hall.
Joan Williams, Elsie Mercer and Lilly Cauldwell.
Joan Williams as Sally Raynor with Allan Jones as Martin Raynor in “Night Was Our Friend,” 7 December 1951.