The future of one of the oldest and most prestigious drama societies in Yorkshire may be in ‘serious doubt’ after directors behind Huddersfield Thespians called for an emergency meeting.

Falling audience numbers and a lack of backstage crew has led to growing fears over the amateur-dramatic group’s future, which has held a well-respected place in the town’s arts’ scene since it formed 94 years ago.

The worrying remarks were shared on the front cover of the Thespians’ latest newsletter, which said that an ‘extraordinary board meeting’ will take place on September 25 in the hope of preventing the curtain from falling on the club’s performances permanently.

It will take place ahead of its planned general AGM, at Oakes Mills West at 7.30pm.

Huddersfield Thespians President, Steve Marsden (centre) prepares to cut the cake to mark the 90th year of the drama group with members (left to right) Keith Royston, Alun Jones, Lawrence Barker, Christine Davies and Colin Wisely
Huddersfield Thespians President, Steve Marsden (centre) prepares to cut the cake to mark the 90th year of the drama group with members (left to right) Keith Royston, Alun Jones, Lawrence Barker, Christine Davies and Colin Wisely
 

On the document, a spokesperson said: “Despite excellent performances all round and a very good review in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner for the Evening of Pinter, audience numbers continue to be extremely low, resulting in financial losses.”

The society is entirely reliant on membership subscriptions and donations to put on its plays.

The statement, read: “It is also becoming more and more difficult to find the back-stage staff required to prepare and run each play.

“This has been a developing problem for a long time but became crucial in the last production.

“The future of the Huddersfield Thespians must now be in serious doubt.

“With this in mind the directors have called an extraordinary board meeting to discuss the society’s opinions.

“This will be followed by the annual general meeting and we strongly request all members and interested parties to attend.

“Our options will be discussed and a future course of action will be decided at the AGM.

“Please help us-we need your participation.”

Huddersfield Thespians committee members and stage staff pictured at the LBT, Huddersfield in 2011
Huddersfield Thespians committee members and stage staff pictured at the LBT, Huddersfield in 2011
 

The manager of Huddersfield’s Theatre Royal, James R Gregson, came up with the idea for the organisation in 1920 and its first production, an adaptation of Moliere’s The Mock Doctor, was staged in Greenhead Park as part of the carnival.

It is a sad turn of events for the Thespians, who are currently based at the Lawrence Batley Theatre and have entertained thousands of people over the years with 577 productions and thousands of performances.

Never to waive in the face of a challenge, they have put on impressive versions of plays that span all genres, from comedies , crime thrillers to period dramas and literary classics.

This includes Blithe Spirit, Hedda Gabler, Abigail’s Party and the first ever stage performance of Anthony Ireland’s Byron of Piccadilly in 1948.

Amongst its long list of illustrious alumni are the late talented opera singer and actor, Gwynneth Crosland, Enid Luty and director, Audrey Haigh.