So we’ve got you interested in us have we? Well, interested enough to click on about us and try to learn a bit more. There are loads of things going on at Dewsbury Arts Group, and everyone involved works really hard to make it all happen. Click on the links below to learn more about our different activities:
1963 was Dewsbury’s Centenary Year, the year that marked the first 100 years of Dewsbury being a Borough. It was also a year for the Dewsbury Drama Festival – twelve one act plays being performed at St. Mark’s Church Hall, Dewsbury. One of the plays was “the Bear” performed by the newly-formed Dewsbury Arts Group. It would be marvellous if it were possible to record that this first ever production by the Group swept the boards at this Centenary Festival. It was not so; it was placed third. But its entry in the Bradford Festival the same year brought more success for “The Bear” was placed first by the adjudicator E. Martin Browne. The prize money that was gained by this win was used to extend the Group’s activities.
The first major event staged after “The Bear” was the Group’s First Annul Exhibition in the Exchange Hall of Dewsbury Town Hall in October 1963. Since its formation the Group has always maintained a commitment to both Theatre and the Visual Arts. The first full length
production by the Group was of Christopher Fry’s verse play “A Sleep of Prisoners” performed in Dewsbury Parish Church in November 1963. Subsequent full-length productions were performed at Earlsheaton Secondary School, and early presentations there included “Wuthering Heights” and “The Importance of being Earnest” as well as lesser-known pieces such as “Dark of the Moon” and “Inherit the Wind”. As enthusiasm, Membership aqnd Patronage grew so the Group was able to work to a regular Annual Programme of six major productions, and to embrace musicals, documentaries, and children’s theatre into its repertoire.
During the last forty nine years the group has presented some 250 productions, all of which are listed on the Past Productions page of the site. This list shows the range of plays and musicals undertaken and the adventurousness of the Group’s directors and performers.
Expansion of the Group’s activities since 1963 has led to the acquisition of its premises at Lower Peel Street and the development of a Studio Theatre there. This in turn has led to small professional companies presenting their work at the Studio under the Group’s auspices. It has also led to the extending of the Youth work done, voluntarily, within the Group and the establishing of a reputation for a sound Youth Theatre. Links have been built with the Lawrence Batley Theatre at Huddersfield, and with theatre companies in
our twin town in Germany – Kreis Unna.
Prior to 2010 most of the Group’s productions were performed at the Dewsbury Little Theatre (formerly the Dewsbury Arts Centre) but following an appeal by the Group’s President a major extension to the premises at Lower Peel Street was complete and inaugurated on 15th September 2010. The Group is now able to present all it’s productions “in house” and the new extention will enable the widening of the our endeavours. Besides ample space for rehearsals, exhibitions and meetings the premises now has a fully operational Sound Studio.
The Spring Exhibition and the Annual Summer Exhibition are the backbone of the Visual Arts opportunities within the Group, but these are complemented by regular Life Drawing sessions, Art discussion evenings, Film evenings and Demonstrations.
It is the energy and commitment of its Members and the enthusiastic support of its Patrons that has made Dewsbury Arts Group a vibrant, unique, welcoming organisation for the last forty nine years.
AND NEXT SEASON WILL BE OUR 50TH – SO WATCH THIS SPACE FOR DETAILS OF OUR CELEBRATORY EVENTS!