The Wick Theatre Company, based at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, Sussex, England has been in existence since 1948, when a group of theatre-mad youngsters got together to start making their dreams come true.
Back in 1948, a group of stage-struck teenagers from the Unity Youth Club in Southwick, Sussex persuaded two members from the Southwick Players [an active amateur drama group in the town] to speak to them on the subject of drama. This generated such interest that a group called the Unity Players was formed. The name was soon changed to The Young Wick Players.
One of the speakers, Elizabeth Penney, (known as Molly) was to be Wick’s lady bountiful until her death in 1972. Rehearsals were held in her house, she taught, encouraged and directed the company and was its president for many years. Her husband George owned a coal-merchants yard on the banks of the river Adur and allowed the company to keep its scenery on his premises. When needed, this was loaded on a hand-cart and pushed to the theatre, some distance away.
In 1951, members, all under 21, performed Jane Steps Out in a barn that had been newly converted into a theatre in Southwick, near Brighton, and the historic Barn Theatre has been Wick’s home ever since. The stage was very small in those days, with little in the way of amenities. The theatre has been improved over the years, and in 1998 there was a major programme to refurbish and enlarge the building, with the help of many sponsors, including the National Lottery. It now has partial raked seating, a large stage and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems.
By 1962 founder members were of course 14 years older, so the title Young Wick was no longer suitable, and the name of Wick Theatre Company was adopted.
The company went from strength to strength, performing a great variety of plays, and a few musicals. Proving Wick is a close-knit company, it was able to repeat the production of Sailor Beware, first performed in 1959, for the 100th performance held 20 years later with largely the same cast. One past member, flew in from Saltzburg, where she then lived, for a month in order to rehearse her original part.
Membership started at around 20 in 1948, and now stands at over 100. Since the beginning, Monday night has been Wick night, with members meeting up for play-readings and various social events.
Wick has won many awards in festivals over the years. Each of these has been [or is being] recorded in the “And There Was More” pages.
Wick supports the annual Brighton and Hove Arts Council’s Full Length Drama Festival and our entry with The Cherry Orchard in 2014 was our 250th production.
Years have passed, members have come and gone, but high-quality performances have been consistent, and never more so than today. Wick is an award-winning company – winning awards at the Brighton and Hove Arts Council Drama Festival for full length productions. The Festival is held in the final quarter of each year and attracts entries from company’s across both West and East Sussex
There are four major productions a year, varying from Shakespearean drama to musicals – something to suit every taste. Membership permitting Wick will produce a smaller, more challenging studio production or a Young Wick production.
But it’s not only the major productions; down through the years there has been more!
Wick is always seeking new members, for both acting and back-stage work. But it’s not all staged drama there are play-readings, workshops and regular social events. We are a registered charity with all proceeds ploughed straight back into future productions.
Click here if you would like to join us or just to know more.