Bright future for Barony Theatre

Barony Theatre; Cast of the 39 Steps play which won the Full Length Play trophy.
Barony Theatre; Cast of the 39 Steps play which won the Full Length Play trophy.

In the 60th anniversary year of the Barony Theatre, it would be very easy to dwell on the past achievements of the company.

However, with plans for expansion, and shiny silverware in their hands, it is the future which is looking bright for the members of the talented group.

Preparations are well underway for the company’s forthcoming production, The Diary of Anne Frank, which is on at the Barony Theatre from Monday, May 5 to Saturday, May 10. This follows on from the company’s award winning production of the 39 Steps which was staged in November.

The production won the Full Length Play award, the Fraser Neal Trophy, from the Scottish Community Drama Association.

Chairwoman Wendy Turner, who also directed the production, said: “When we decided to do the play, I was nervous about it as it’s such an iconic play in the West End, and it is so cleverly staged that I thought we might have bitten off more than we could chew.

“But as it developed, we came up with sets on wheels, and had lots of sound and lighting effects which added to the atmosphere.

“The audience really loved it and we got great feedback, but it was great to get recognition from the Scottish Community Drama Association as well.

“We were absolutely delighted.”

At a time where amateur groups are struggling to fill theatres, Barony Players seem to be bucking the trend. Wendy believes that the Barony Theatre itself - which is 50 years old this year - has an important role to play in the group’s popularity.

She said: “Having our own ‘home’ is a great asset.

“It’s great having our own space - it involves a lot of work too with the upkeep.”

Wendy is also keen for members to tackle difficult pieces and to push themselves to see what they can achieve.

This has included joining forces with the Linlithgow Players to take part in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project, and putting on a production of Winters Tale.

The group has also managed to attract a younger audience as well as younger players in recent years.

Wendy added: “They’re the lifeblood of the group, and they’re going to be the ones to take us forward.

“Everyone is encouraged to take part and have ideas. If someone joins us as an actor then they are encouraged to learn about technical aspects as well.”

As well as pushing the group to achieve their potential, the theatre itself could soon undergo a make-over.

Plans are at a very early stage, but it is hoped the group will be able to extend the theatre in coming years and improve the storage facilities which they have for props.

Meanwhile it’s full steam ahead with rehearsals for the spring production.

Wendy added: “We have a ‘bucket list’ of plays which we would like to stage and this one has been on the list for a while.”

To obtain tickets for the latest production - The Diary of Anne Frank, priced £10 (£8 conc) call 01506 827011. Curtain up at 7.30 p.m. with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.