The Broadbent Theatre History
Lindsey Rural Players originated from the Holton Players, a group founded by a small community of conscientious objectors at Holton-cum-Beckering who were working on the land during the World War II years. It was a time when there was little or no electricity and few wirelesses (Radios.) For evening entertainment they met for musical evenings, singing, poetry and play reading; everyone was welcomed, whether they were from Holton or not, especially the local children.
After the war the Holton Players converted an abandoned nissen hut into a theatre (The Country Theatre) which, due to an electrical fault, sadly met a fiery end. The Players continued to meet in the magnificent drawing room of Holton Hall staging their productions in the bay window and making their entrances and exits through the sliding sashes!
In 1970 a Methodist Chapel at Wickenby was purchased by the Holton Players. The conversion work was done by members of the group, much of it with resources provided by Roy Broadbent (father of the Oscar winning actor, Jim Broadbent) and Douglas Ballard. Roy died shortly after the theatre was opened and it was thought a fitting tribute to name it ‘The Broadbent Theatre’ in his memory.
The theatre is licensed for an audience of 100 people and is the home of Lindsey Rural Players (LRP) who use the theatre for their own productions and manage its use for other organisations. The society relies totally on the support of its members and supporters for funding, receiving no grant aid from local or national government. The theatre’s activities and up-keep is done wholly on a voluntary basis.
LRP usually puts on five of their own shows and manages the staging of approximately six professional shows each year. The theatre is also available for hire to other groups and community organisations. It has been used by a local school for children with disabilities for their drama activities and is used as a polling station for the Elections.
L.R.P. is a member of NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) and The Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain, an organisation which supports the owners of independently controlled amateur theatres. Both hold regular training seminars and produce literature containing information on the Government Acts relevant to theatres and advice to theatres in order to help them run efficiently.