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Chairmans Introduction

Welcome to the Belvoir Players internet web site!

We are Irelands “most active” amateur drama company, and have been entertaining and working for the Northern Irish people for over 40 years. Our company is a registered charity and we have members from all walks of life, working together to entertain everyone we come across.

Belvoir Players Amateur Dramatic Society was formed in 1968 in answer to a perceived need for some cultural and artistic outlet in the new housing estate that had recently been built in Belvoir Park. The residents of this “new community” had arrived from various parts of Belfast and from other areas of the Province. A sense of identity was being created for people from diverse backgrounds and the performances of the Players provided a social as well as a cultural and entertainment focus. With several performances per year the reputation and the expertise of the group grew and developed. Soon the Belvoir Players were proving popular with audiences throughout the extensive drama festival circuit that was, and still is, a significant part of the amateur theatre life in Northern Ireland. Summer Theatre in Portrush and Enniskillen together with many performances undertaken in remote parts of the Province enhanced this reputation and acknowledged pursuit of excellence.

Membership of the group became much more widespread and the policy of encouraging association from people of all traditions, religions and cultures became the mainstay of group development. This diversity enriched the work and support for the voluntary efforts was suitably encouraged by successfully attracting audiences wherever we performed. Success in Drama Festivals spread our reputation beyond these shores. In 1983 we were invited to perform in the British All-Winners Finals in Newport, Gwent. In 1986 and again in 1994 we had the honour of representing Northern Ireland in the British One-Act Finals, on both occasions in Scotland, where again many friends were made. Current membership is drawn from all sections of the community and from all areas of counties Down and Antrim as well as from all parts of Belfast. Our production, in 1993/94, of Joseph Tomelty’s popular Radio Play “The McCooeys” attracted record breaking audiences at over 50 performances verifying our slogan as Ulster’s Most Active Amateur Theatre Group. In July 1998 we were invited to participate in the British All Winners Festival (One Act Section) in the Isle of Man. Once again many friends were made among the diverse representatives of amateur theatre from throughout the British Isles.

In 2000 0ur new Rehearsal Studio was completed and we were invited to FLORIDA to perform a hilarious Ulster Farce by Sam Cree “WIDOWS’ PARADISE” in the Lake Worth Theatre.

In 2006 our Full-length Festival production of “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me” won the Bangor Drama Festival then the Ulster Final and eventually claiming Audience, Back Stage and Winning play award in the British All-Winners Final in Woking, Surrey.

We now tour extensively throughout Northern Ireland’s plethora of newly built Theatres and Arts centres in Newcastle, Armagh, Enniskillen, Omagh, Londonderry, Strabane, Cookstown and Ballymena as well as providing exclusive theatre to the population residing in Castlereagh and the entire Greater Belfast area.

Our Junior Theatre Academy has a membership of over 150 youngsters from 5 years of age up to 16 at which age they graduate to senior group membership. Every year the Drama School and the Senior Group come together to present an annual pantomime in the purpose built studio theatre for 16 or more performances. In June the Drama Academy present their own show highlighting the work they have been involved in throughout the year.

Over the school summer break in July / August we run a special ‘Summer Scheme’ which welcomes newcomers as well as existing students to work throughout a two week period enhancing their skills and giving them the self confidence to work to a higher level.

The Belvoir Players Studio is a unique facility providing rehearsal space for a diverse selection of community organisations. These range from the Bobosh drama group for children with special needs, the Studio Symphony Orchestra, the University of the Third Age (U3A) Belfast Branch and the Belvoir Credit Union. Many professional theatre companies use the facility to rehearse their forthcoming productions and we play host to multiple touring companies’ performances throughout the year.

We hope you enjoy your visit to our web site and gain information about the full range of group activities. If you enjoy your visit tell your friends, if you don’t tell us.

Richard Mills MBE, Chairman and Artistic Director.