- 1973 - 2010 (Creation)
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The Ashcroft Theatre Club was founded in 1973 to stimulate interest in the theatre, especially the Ashcroft Theatre; and also to promote the history of the Ashcroft Theatre and of theatre in Croydon generally.
In support of the Ashcroft Theatre, the Ashcroft Theatre Club purchased the portrait of Peggy Ashcroft as Juliet in 1980, which had been painted by Elizabeth Montgomery. Dame Peggy unveiled the portrait at the theatre in the presence of the artist, General Manager Michael V Tearle, and Club Chairman Patricia Lawrence.
Notably, the Club was the major sponsor of the renowned and distinctive mural that covers the whole of the Ashcroft Theatres safety curtain that was painted by Northampton-born artist Henry Bird, some of the funds being raised through a lottery, which was drawn by French singer and actor Sacha Distel. The safety curtain, or painted separator as Henry preferred to call it, was completed in the autumn of 1982 to commemorate the Ashcrofts 20th Anniversary. He gave a presentation in Fairfields Arnhem gallery to mark the occasion.
Not only does the safety curtain pay homage to the 500 years of entertainment provided on the Fairfield site, it also celebrates: world theatre; the many theatres, companies, and artistes that have been associated with Croydon over the years; and Croydon itself. However, by 1997 the curtain was showing significant signs of wear, and that year the Club commissioned Lis Bird, fellow artist and Henry Birds daughter-in-law, to undertake its renovation and restoration.
The Clubs large and active membership continues to meet regularly with a variety of guest speakers, including Brian Murphy and his wife, actress and crime writer Linda Regan, David Hamilton, Ray Lonnen and author, director, and broadcaster Sheridan Morley who cut the Clubs Thirtieth Birthday cake.
Over the years the Club has visited other theatres, at times being entertained by members of the local theatre club, and on one occasion by Janet Suzman, the director of the play. We have also played host to other groups such as the Friends of the Royal Theatre, Northampton. The Ashcroft Theatre was also the location for the inaugural meeting of Audience for Regional Theatre hosted by the Theatre Club in 1994.
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1973 - 1980 (personal minute book compiled by Pat Lawrence: original book and subsequent volumes lost)
1998 - 2010 (entries closed for 30 years).
Scrapbooks (compiled by Sylvia Collins to 1988 and subsequently by Audrey Botting)
1979 - 1981
1982 - 1983
1983 - 1984
1985 - 1987
1987 - 1988
1990 - 1992
1993 - 1994
1995 - 1996
1997 - 1998
1999 - 2000
2001 - 2002
2003 - 2004
1990 - 1993
1993 - 1996
1996 - 2000
2000 - 2003 plus one album of actors publicity photos c.1982.
Incomplete run of newsletters with more to follow in electronic form: these will be added to Local Studies Library newsletter collection.
A collection of annual reports to follow (in electronic form)
A collection of loose programmes, autographed, belonging to Mr Norman Edwards and Mrs Hope Edwards, donated to Ashcroft Theatre Club.
Why Janet should read Shakespeare by Norman Hapgood 1929. Inscription shows it was presented to Peggy Ashcroft by the author in 1937. Later given to the Ashcroft Theatre Club.
In addition, a collection of duplicate Fairfield programmes was donated to LSLA to be added to Fairfield programmes collection.
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- Ashcroft Theatre Club (Creator)