performed at St. Andrews, Porthill - 1986 to 1991
Attached to the Wolstanton
Team Ministry the Porthill Players Amateur Society (The Porthill Players
for short) continued to produce musicals at St. Andrews under the
presidency of Eric Steels and production by Shirley Steels.
The move to
the Mitchel Memorial Theatre, Hanley - 1992 to 1995
President's Message from the programme for the 1992 production of South
"It is again my privilege and pleasure to
welcome you to our 1992 production of Rodgers and Hammersteins "South
After performing for some 70 years in
St.Andrew's Hall, Porthill, it has been a momentous decision to make the move to The Mitchell Memorial Theatre, but the
team remains the same, energetic and enthusiastic principles and a
cast led by our experienced producer Shirley Steels.
This does not mean
we are deserting St. Andrew's Hall for we shall from time to time give Variety
Shows there and we have a Road Show which visits hospitals and Old People's Centres to brighten the lives of those less fortunate than
Thank you for your continued support,
have an enjoyable evening and share with us the advantages of our new
We look forward to seeing you at our next production!!!"
South Pacific - 1992
at the Mitchell Memorial
the Mitchell Memorial
Theatre, Broad Street, Hanley
home from 1992 to 1995
Marti Webb was
at this time
South Pacific 1992, Guys
& Dolls 1993 (the then patron Marti Webb came to see the show and
came back stage to meet the cast!), Camelot 1994 and High Society 1995
were all performed at the Mitchell Memorial Theatre.
time the society continued to be attached to the Wolstanton Team
Ministry and were also affiliated to the Bradwell Community Education
Centre, holding rehearsals there.
Andrew Talbot took over
as director for High Society and continued directing for the society
Royal, Hanley -1996
The Porthill Players then started to burst the seams of
the Mitchell and moved on to the Theatre Royal for the 1996
production of Brigadoon.
The Theatre Royal,
Brigadoon - 1999
at the Theatre Royal
Theatre, Burslem -1997 & 1998
The Royal closed and left
the society without a venue,
so they moved to The Queens Theatre, Burslem and staged two productions
there, Hello Dolly 1997 and Oklahoma! 1998.
The Queen's Theatre,
Hello Dolly - 1997
Queen's Theatre, Burslem
Porthill Players continued to support Bradwell School and the
President's and Bradwell CP School Head Teacher's messages from from the
programme for the 1997 production of Hello Dolly reads...
"The finale of our last outstandingly successful show "Brigadoon" concluded with the words of the rousing chorus "what a day this has been"
- so I have no hesitation in saying "what a year this has been".
Andrew Talbot excelled himself producing and directing "Brigadoon" and is again producing and directing this show by Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman, but this time in yet another venue, the Queen's Theatre, Burslem.
In mid-June Shirley Steels produced our summer show "An evening with the Porthill Players" in co-operation with Bradwell County Primary School where the school children had the unique experience of performing alongside our experienced players.
I welcome you to this "milestone of musicals" -have a wonderful evening and I look forward to welcoming you to our 1998 production of "Oklahoma"."
Eric Price, President
"I am delighted to be able to offer a few remarks in this programme of the Porthill Players production of Hello Dolly'.
The Players are, of course, long established and have built up a much deserved reputation for high standard, quality productions. 1 am certain that 'Dolly' will only manage to enhance this reputation.
About 12 months ago Bradwell Primary School and The Porthill Players came to an agreement which saw the start of a strong bond or attachment between the two organisations. The Players are based at the school for all their rehearsals and activities and there is two way involvement in some of each others affairs, not least by the school's participation in the Players' Summer Show which was held at the school for the first time last year.
In the future we intend to develop this relationship to our mutual benefit. Various plans are in the pipeline' to do this.
Over the last few months I have had the privilege of eavesdropping on rehearsals for this show. (Sitting in my office opposite the main halll) My past experience and present knowledge enable me to say confidently that Bradwell Primary School and The Porthill Players share a common attribute - quality.
On behalf of the school, please accept the warmest of welcomes to this wonderful production. Have a very enjoyable evening."
Bob Bentley, Head Teacher Bradwell County Primary School
Oklahoma! - 1998
Queen's Theatre, Burslem
Hanley -1999 to 2000
The Theatre Royal was
refurbished by Mike Lloyd and opened as The Royal. The Porthill
Players moved back in 1999 to perform South Pacific.
South Pacific - 1999
The Royal, Hanley
An Evening with The
and Children of Hempstalls C.P. School
Continuing the tradition of working with schools, dance groups and other
organisations the Porthill Players Summer 1999 production was held at
Hempstalls County Primary School together with the children of the
Preview, Hanley -1999
The Regent Theatre in
Hanley was reopened on 22 September 1999 after being fully restored to its
previously elegant Art Deco style. Her Majesty the Queen officially
opened The Regent Theatre in October 1999.
The interior of the
refurbished Regent Theatre, Hanley
The new Regent Theatre
needed to carry out tests and checks with a full audience before the
opening with Sir Derek Jacobi on the 22nd September and The Porthill
Players were invited to perform a show, so on the 17th September 1999
"The Regent Preview with the Porthill Players" was the first
show to be held in the Regent.
The Regent Preview with the Porthill
Regent Theatre - 17 Sept 1999
Jonathan Fernyhough being presented to Her Majesty The Queen
at the official opening of the Regent on 28th October 1999
The close of
The Royal, Hanley - 2000
1999 was a busy and
sucessful year for the society. Performing to their best ever audiences
during 'South Pacific' at The Royal, continuing the Summer Concert with
Hempstalls C.P. School and performing the first ever concert at the
newly refurbished Regent.
The new millenium was
started off with a production of 'Camelot' in February 2000 with the
plan to perform 'A Gala 2000 Celebration' in June 2000 - both at The
Camelot - 2000
The Royal, Hanley
Camelot was a great
sucess, however the '2000 Gala Celebration' was not to be as The Royal
closed on the 31st May 2000, only 3 days before the show was due to
The management of the
Regent stepped in and a replacement show 'One Night Only' was
performed by The Porthill Players at the Regent.
Theatre, Hanley - 2001 to 2005
Following the closure of The Royal the
Porthill Players moved to the Regent for the next four years and
produced 'Singing In The Rain' 2001, 'My Fair Lady' 2002, '42ND Street' 2003,
'Hello Dolly' 2004 and 'Summer Holiday' 2005.
Oklahoma! in 2008 was
jointly directed by Caroline Keen and Jonathan Fernyhough. This was followed by Jonathan’s debut as sole director for Anything Goes
in 2009. Caroline Keen took her turn with Mack & Mabel in 2010.
- the death of Porthill's President Mrs. Shirley
Shirley Steels 1935 - 2008
Past President of The Porthill Players
Steels, an actress described as a "pioneer" of the amateur
dramatics scene, died on 12 September, 2008. Mrs Steels, who was
president of Porthill Players, died at the University Hospital of North
Staffordshire after battling against ill health.
73-year-old, who had been involved in theatre for more than 50 years,
will probably be best remembered as the woman who converted a group of
pantomime actors into one of the most successful amateur dramatic groups
in North Staffordshire.
Steels, who lived in Wolstanton, started acting at the age of 14 at
Newcastle’s former Municipal Hall.
She joined the Porthill
Players in the early 1970s and, according to chairman Jonathan
Fernyhough, took the group from strength to strength.
Steels at the helm, the players soon left their original home — St
Andrew’s Church Hall, Porthill — in favour of the Mitchell Memorial
Theatre to accommodate the expanding numbers who wanted to see their
efforts. The group has continued to grow and today they perform before
big audiences at The Regent theatre and the Victoria Hall."
Porthill Players have also performed a number of concerts at both The Rep and Victoria Hall. 2004 saw the society perform Musical Express – a
variety show with Music From the Movies the society have performed concerts every year at the Victoria Hall Hanley. This enables the society to still experience that ‘big stage’ feeling and perform to a 1000 strong audience for one night only. This concert was followed by Music From the Movies – The Sequel 2006, Good Old Days 2006, featuring The Bachelors.
Victoria Hall, Hanley where
The Porthill Players have performed a number of concerts