AYR FORT PLAYERS

Ayrshire's oldest established amateur dramatic group, since 1946

ABOUT US

The Ayr Fort Players started from humble beginnings in a school classroom at Ayr Academy in 1946 to becoming one of the longest established, much loved amateur dramatic groups in Ayrshire. The earliest productions were staged at Ayr Town Hall, a challenging venue in which to perform drama - limited lighting, bad acoustics, no proscenium, absolutely no changing facilities - but they persevered.   
Then came an absolute revelation for the local drama community – Ayr Burgh Council had been convinced to buy and convert the Robertson Memorial Church into a Civic Theatre. So, from 1951 through to the early 2000s, local drama groups and touring companies had a wonderful new home. The theatre was an ideal size for drama and is still fondly remembered by those who played there or attended performances. In 2009 South Ayrshire Council took the hasty decision to demolish the theatre with concerns that there was an asbestos problem – that was an incredibly sad day.   

The Ayr Fort Players then moved into the Gaiety theatre but, just as they were about to stage How the Other Half Loves, the council shut the theatre down. Luckily there was an opening at Belmont Academy a year later, again a challenging venue but, if nothing else, the group are always up for a challenge. 

Eventually, after the Gaiety Theatre was saved and taken over by Ayr Gaiety Partnership, the Ayr Fort Players had, once again, found a new and exciting home.     Over the years, the Ayr Fort Players, have provided entertainment with classic farces such as See How They Run, Move Over Mrs Markham; quality modern drama – 84 Charing Cross Road, Steel Magnolias; Scottish comedies – Toom Byres, Whisky Galore and stage adaptations of popular TV sitcoms such as Dad’s Army and Fawlty Towers. In fact the Ayr Fort Players were the first to perform the stage adaptation of Fawlty Towers and were also the first amateur group granted the rights to Tony Roper’s famous Scottish comedy The Steamie, which played to packed houses during the 1997 Ayr Festival. 

For Homecoming Scotland 2009, the production was Rikki Fulton’s uproarious A Wee Touch O’ Class. Since then, the productions have covered Alan Ayckbourn’s How the Other Half Loves, another successful production of The Steamie, The Vicar of Dibley, Noises Off, No Sex Please We’re British, The 39 Steps, Stepping Out (which was produced at the Town Hall while the Gaiety was going through a facelift), The Ladykillers, City Lights, Gaslight, Murder on the Nile, etc. The production, before the Covid 19 epidemic took hold, was Don’t Get Your Vicars in a Twist – the last production to take place at the Gaiety before it was forced to close its doors due to the pandemic. We came bouncing back in 2022 with The Happiest Days of Your Life . Then, later that year, we presented an evening of monologues (and one duologue) especially commissioned for the Ayr Fort Players, using local artists, writers and directors under the umbrella of Doormatters

In 2023 our spring production was Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders which was enthusiastically received.  Our Autumn production was Dead of Night a thriller, which fell on the same weekend as the International Air Show, so only had two performances. In a normal year, the Ayr Fort Players stage two productions, one in spring and one in autumn. Also, they are involved in Ayr’s many cultural events, touring and presenting one act plays.

If you are interested in an Ayr Fort Players production for your venue, please contact the President  

All profits from their productions are donated to Cancer Research and, as of 2022, in excess of £60,000 has been handed over to this much deserved charity.  
   
It seems nothing can stop the Ayr Fort Players and that is partly due to loyal audiences coming out for an evening's entertainment, knowing they can bring the whole family and have a great night at the theatre.

OUR NEXT PRODUCTION

AMATEUR RITES

Have you ever wondered what exactly goes in to making an amateur production for the stage? Does everyone get on? Is there a hierarchy? What about the leading lady that has been with the company for over 50 years but still insists on directing the shows and playing the young ingenue? Don’t confide in the leading actress – your secrets won’t remain secret for long. What to do when your husband is having an affair with the director? These are just a few of the day-to-day occurrences when amateurs get together. The Ayr Fort Players are proud to play host to the Pogchurch Village Amateur Dramatic Society for their production of Northanger Abbey. The Pogchurch Village Amateur Dramatic Society are well-known and their biography can be read here.

A comedy of modern manners - a Stepping Out for the 21st century


GAIETY THEATRE
Thu 25th to Sat 27th April 2024

 TICKETS NOW ON SALE

PAST PRODUCTIONS

Click on the arrow for details of shows. 
If show has a live link then clicking on it will lead you to any images we have in our archives. 

2019
2001
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
  • Feb - Happy Birthday - Marc Camoletti
  • May - Intent to Murder - Leslie Sands
  • Oct - Relatively Speaking - Alan Ayckbourn
1982
1981
  • Feb - Suddenly At Home - Francis Durrbridge
  • May - A Tomb With a View - Norman Robbins
  • Oct - The Heiress - Ruth & Augusta Goetz
1980
  • Feb - The Secretary Bird - William Douglas Home
  • May - Murder Mistaken - Janet Green
  • Oct - Pardon Me Prime Minister - Edward Taylor/John Graham
1979
1978
1977
  • Feb - Move Over Mrs Markham - Ray Cooney/John Chapman
  • May - The House on the Cliff - George Benson
  • Oct - Butterflies Are Free - Leonard Gershe
1976
  • Feb - Someone Waiting - Emlyn Williams 
  • May - Busybody - Jack Popplewell
  • Oct - The Inquiry - Charlotte Hastings
1975
1974
1973
1972
1971
1970
1969
1968
1967
  • Apr - Signpost to Murder - Monte Royal
  • May - The Honours of Drumlie - James Scotland
  • Oct - Book of the Month - Basil Thomas
  • Dec - Ghosts and Old Gold - Reid Kennedy
1966
  • Feb - Ladies in Retirement - Edward Percy/Reginald Denham
  • May - Wolf's Clothing - Kenneth Horne
  • Oct - All For Mary - Kay Bannermen and Harold Brooke
1965
  • May - Goodnight Mrs Puffin - Arthur Ludgrove
  • Oct - Bell, Book and Candle - Jon Van Druten
Sep 64 - Mar 65
  • Touring Shows:
  • From Five to Five Thirty - Philip Johnson
  • Gibbie Proposes - T M Watson
1964
  • Oct - Trial and Error - Kenneth Horne
1962
  • Oct - A Lady Mislaid - Kenneth Horne
1956
  • May - The Day's Mischief - Lesley Storm
  • Oct - Lace on her Petticoat - Aimee Stewart
1955
  • May - Harlequinade - Terrence Rattigan
  • Oct - The Willy-Nilly Leech
1954
  • Feb - Pink String & Sealing Wax - Roland Pertwee
  • Apr - He Sits by the Melting Pot - Kaj Munk
  • Nov - Grouse in June - N C Hunter
1953
  • Jan - Black Chiffon - Lesley Storm
  • Jan - The Man Who Came To Dinner - Hart & Kauffman
  • Apr - Blithe Spirit - Noel Coward
  • Oct - Corinth House - Pamela Hansford Johnson
  • Nov - Toom Byres - Robert McLellan
1952
  • Apr - Still Life - Noel Coward
  • Oct - The Browning Version - Terence Rattigan
1951
  • Feb - Dark Summer - Wynard Brown
  • Oct - The Paragon - Roland & Michael Pertwee
1950
  • Feb - He Walked in Her Sleep - Norman Cannon
  • Apr - School For Spinsters - Roland Pertwee
  • Oct - Too Young to Marry - Martin Flavin
1949
  • May - The Roundabout - J B Priestley
  • Oct - The Sacred Flame - Somerset Maugham
  • Nov - Sordid Story - J A S Coppard
1948
  • Jan - The Black Eye - James Bridie
  • Oct - The Housemaster - Ian Hay
1946
  • The Rose and Crown - J B Priestly
  • The Twelve Pound Lock - J M Barrie
  • Ophelia - T B Morris

VIDEOS OF PAST PRODUCTIONS

From Happiest Days of Your Life onward we have kept a video library of productions
Simply click on the production you would like to watch and it will take you to YouTube

NEWS

Auditions were held for the new production and a cast announced. However, we still need backstage bodies, so if you are interested then let us know.

Watch our website for further details or, if you would like to be added to our mailing list, please send us the following form:




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MEMORIES OF THOSE WHO HAVE TAKEN PART IN THE AYR FORT PLAYERS

We all have memories of being part of a club or society - good and bad.

We are asking members, past and present, to share those memories with us.

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JOIN US

Auditions for new productions are open to all who wish to attend. Aspiring actors aren’t the only section of the theatrical community that we welcome with open arms. It takes many people to stage our productions. So, if you think you wouldn’t be comfortable on stage, why not consider joining us in one of the many other departments such as Stage Management, Props, Wardrobe, Scenic Design and Construction? We expect all our members to be involved in all productions if possible – one production you may be playing the lead and the next you could be a vital part of the backstage crew.   
  
Normally we rehearse twice a week in the centre of Ayr.

Membership costs only £15 per year, or £5 if you are a full-time student. If you are over 16 and are interested in becoming a member then fill in our form and we will let you know when the next audition is being held or invite you along to our current rehearsals.  

You can also contact us via Facebook or Twitter.  

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Contact Us

For absolutely any questions you may have about the Ayr Fort Players then please use the form opposite and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you wish to join the company then please use the form above in the Join Us section of the website.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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FAQ

Questions we often get asked - and the answers

How old do I have to be to join?

Answer. 16 or over. We would only use U16s if there was specifically a part for them in the production. If you are under 16 and are interested in theatre then we would suggest a local youth theatre such as Gaiety Youth Theatre, Centrestage, PACE or FIB.

I don't want to act - can I still join and take part?

Answer. As much as they would lead us to believe, it isn't all about the actors! We need backstage staff. People to gather and deal with props. People to source and deal with costumes. Stage Management. Set Design and Construction. Every single person is a much-needed cog in the wheel

What would be my commitment if I join?

Answer. If you join and audition and are offered a role in a play then you have to commit to rehearsing 2 nights per week. If this is not possible then you must think very carefully about auditioning for a part. Not being able to commit to that rehearsal period is not fair on the other members of the company. Should more than 2 consecutive rehearsals be missed then the director has the authority to recast the role. If you do not have a role in the play then we would ask that you try to come along to as many of the rehearsals as you can and to volunteer for other positions such as props, costume, stage management, etc. 

What sort of productions do you usually stage?

Answer. We cover everything from high drama to farce. The only objective is to produce a play that we feel the public would like to come and see. It can be anything from Shakespeare to Ayckbourne to Tony Roper. That is what makes it such a diverse group in which to belong. 

What does it cost to join?

Answer. There is a £15 yearly membership fee. For full-time students that is reduced to £5 per year. 

I would love to join but don't think I'm good enough. What should I do?

Answer. You will never know until you try. Get in touch, come along to rehearsals, get to know everyone. We are a really friendly lot and will encourage you all the way.