When a small group met in Elstead in September 1982, they could not have foreseen the drama they were unleashing on the village.  The Players of Elstead Theatrical Society (PETS) had arrived.

Anyone who has seen Elstead Village Hall will be aware that there is no stage – or anything else! – just two doors.  So the late Brian Wilkins designed a stage, with full proscenium arch, curtains, and lights.  Brian’s handiwork is still called on every time PETS puts on a production.  One of his sets (a garden and living room) won a NODA award in 2012 – see picture below.

Since 1982, PETS has put on 74 productions of every sort.  For the centenary of the Armistice in November 2018 PETS wanted to show how WW1 affected this small rural village.  Three group members researched and wrote “Lest We Forget – Elstead in World War I”, a moving multimedia production involving 32 performers and 27 backstage and front of house.  See a recording at www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrQmW7xYl_A.  It more than sold out and copies of the 27 page programme of cuttings, stories, documents and pictures, were warmly received by local schools and the Godalming Museum.

The most recent play this April was Double Deceit, a very successful production written by Peter Jewell, himself an Elstead resident and PETS member.  However, sadly it seems it may now be time for PETS to close.  The autumn play was cancelled for lack of active members.

However, this is not yet a eulogy. Before deciding to wind up and get rid of 4 decades of staging, props, costumes, lights and other theatrical paraphernalia, the Society wants to try to preserve drama in Elstead.

We would be pleased to hear from any who would like to become involved – not just actors, but every aspect of theatre. It would not take many extra people to resurrect the autumn production, a farce called Holiday Cottage, for next April.  If we cannot continue ourselves, we would wish to put our support and resources behind any other group which wished to perform in the village.

If you are interested or have ideas or questions, please get in touch – elstead.theatrical@gmail.com, phone 01252 702591 or the website is www.elsteadtheatrical.co.uk.

Jos Johnston