HORSELL Amateur Dramatic Society, which was formed in February 1922, has held a celebration dinner to mark its centenary.

About 30 people attended the HADS celebration at Chobham Golf Club, which featured a large display of photos, programmes and scripts from past productions.

The gathering was given an entertaining speech by John Tytherleigh, who joined HADS in 1967 and appeared in a production of The Sleeping Prince by Terence Rattigan.

John had the programme, which included the note: “The audience is kindly requested not to smoke during the action of the play.”

He recalled that all HADS plays were in the village hall and the toilet could not be flushed during performances, or it would be heard by the audience, and the cast walking up steps backstage had to miss a creaky step.

John said in one performance, an actor who forgot his line and asked for a prompt was told “top of page 26”.

The dinner was attended by several former members, including Marie Thurbon, 84, who joined in 1969 and recalled that The Crown, across the road from the village hall, was used for interval drinks.

Marie worked in telesales at the Woking Review when it was launched as a supplement to the News & Mail.

Carol Hanson, the chairman, said she joined HADS in 2001 after she was recently widowed.

“My daughter was very worried I would spend the rest of my life in Horsell and surrounding villages travelling around with a pram collecting stray dogs. I had seven dogs at the time

“She knew how fond I was of theatre and so suggested I join HADS,” Carol said.

 “It’s a decision I have never regretted. It has taken me through some very hard times. We have given audiences some really great performances.”

Carol paid tribute to the late Sybil Hudson and her husband Chris, whose help saved the group from closing during a difficult period.

Mention was also made of the huge contributions of other deceased HADS members, Brian Huntley, Richard Walton and Mike Naylor.

“All of them contributed to the success and spirit of HADS,” she said.

“We’ve had our ups and downs, but the ups have exceeded the downs. We’ve put on two plays a year in most years and won numerous awards at festivals.”

Carol said the group had kept going through the pandemic by holding play readings on Zoom and putting on productions via the internet.

“We are planning to continue Zoom play readings,” she said. “Theatre trends have changed and we have to accept those changes.

“It is the spirit of HADS that has kept us going and that spirit will keep us going for many years to come,” Carol added.

HADS member and professional singer Anna Loveday sang Summertime from Porgy and Bess, Wouldn't It Be Loverly?, from My Fair Lady and Climb Ev'ry Mountain from The Sound of Music.

The group’s next production will be Sandcastles on the Beach by John McColl for the Woking Drama Festival in October.

Colin Orbaum, the director, said: “This poignant play explores the emotions and the problems of family life, with sensitivity and humour.

“A long-married couple are awaiting a visit from their son and his wife. Both couples have important news. We follow the effect these announcements have on their relationships, as things come to a head with conflicting views.”

Auditions will be held on the evenings on 25 and 28 July. For a script, further details and an audition form – which needs to be returned before this Saturday, 16 July – email [email protected], or call Colin on 01483 829084 or email [email protected].