About Hyde Little Theatre
For many years Hyde Light Opera Company had a drama group performing plays and entering drama festivals. This drama group continued to attract growing interest and it was decided to form a new society to perform plays on a regular basis at the Festival Theatre in Hyde.
The new society was established in 1967 under the name of Hyde Little Theatre and performed its first production that year, this was the comedy ‘Billy Liar’ a popular and topical choice at the time. Throughout the 1970’s a steady growth in membership and support continued and the society became a familiar name in Greater Manchester amateur theatre.
By the end of the decade and into the 1980’s the need for a proper home became apparent, meetings and social events often taking place in ‘The Unity’ public house and rehearsals being held in unsuitable locations.
The quest for a regular home began and thoughts became focused on the derelict Miles Redfern social club at the top of Market Street in Hyde. Inspired by Chairman Keith Mowl it was decided to go ahead and make an offer for the premises. The necessary formalities were finalised and the property secured in 1985.
A stone building of substance would be an accurate description of this building today but seventeen years ago matters were very different. Subjected to years of neglect and vandalism the hard task of renovation seemed daunting to say the least but work commenced amid good spirits. Members toiled for long hours throughout the months ahead and all thoughts of leisure time were forgotten as the long haul continued. When a group of determind people set their minds on performing the impossible success is often the outcome and by the end of March 1986 this was achieved.
On Sunday, April 6th 1986, Hyde Little Theatre celebrated a memorable day when the building was officially opened and named Studio 9, after 19 years the society finally had a home!
Since that memorable day progress has continued and Studio 9 today is a fine headquarters that any group would be proud of. The society today is a successful organisation dedicated to bring the best in amateur theatre to the people of Hyde.
Over the years certain productions bring back fond memories and none more so than ‘ The Fifteen Streets’ by Catherine Cookson, the play was the 100th production performed by the society and appreciative audiences packed the theatre each evening. The play was performed in June 1994 and directed by Robert Atkins who has played for the society many times.
Hyde Little Theatre has been fortunate in having a hard core of loyal members both past and present and their efforts and dedication have been in invaluable.
Keith Mowl was chairman of HLT for eight years and was the main inspiration in the purchase of Studio 9. Keith was employed as an architect and his experience in this field helped in the transformation of a derelict building to a desirable headquarters for the society. A regular performer on stage and a dedicated chairman he was an inspiration to his fellow members.
His tragic death due to terminal illness stunned his fellow members, he is fondly remembered and sadly missed by all his fellow members.
Lucy Mellor was a founder member of Hyde Little Theatre and Hyde Light Opera Company. The owner of a millinery shop on Church Street, Lucy was a dedicated supporter of the local theatre raising much needed funds with coffee mornings and fashion shows. She worked for Watts Theatrical Costumes and her knowledge on the subject was legendary. Lucy and her husband Squire were regular visitors to the theatre and Lucy was never shy on passing opinions about performances! Although she died in 1987 her name is frequently mentioned in conversations which reflect Lucy’s popularity with all her knew her.
Today the society has four life members John Rothwell, Janice Haughton, Stan Knowles and Brian Ashley all awarded the honour for their services dating back to the formation of HLT.