Players’ marking Broadbent legacy after 40 years

LRP founder Roy Broadbent as Fagin
LRP founder Roy Broadbent as Fagin

NESTLING in the small village of Wickenby is a successful theatre that celebrates its 40th anniversary this month.

Chairman of the Lindsey Rural Players (LRP) looks back at how things developed.

The Broadbent Theatre is home to the Lindsey Rural Players, which originated with the Holton Players – a group founded in the Second World War years at Holton cum Beckering by a small community of conscientious objectors, whose tribunals required their war service was to work on the land.

They met in the evenings for music, singing 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, 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 the Players purchased the Methodist Chapel at Wickenby.

Building work started on January 5 1972 and Roy Broadbent, Jim’s Father, was the architect who supervised the builders’ work with members of the group, a good deal of it with resources provided by Roy Broadbent and Douglas Ballard, doing a large amount of the conversion work.

Roy Broadbent died on May 1 1972 and it was his wish the Chapel be known as the Country Theatre – to carry on the traditions started by Holton Players in the 50s – but in October 1972 it was agreed to name the chapel The Broadbent Theatre as a permanent mark of respect to Roy for his work over many years and to his family for their perpetual help to the Lindsey Rural Players.

And it is Roy’s son – actor Jim Broadbent – who will be hosting the official celebrations at the theatre next week – a very special evening of variety on May 10-12.

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