Celebrations for Hastleons in their 90th year

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The Hastleons, Hastings and St Leonards’ premier amateur musical theatre group are celebrating a milestone in their existence this week.

They have been putting on shows now for 90 years.

This weekend sees ‘The Hastleons at 90’ a variety show celebrating the past 90 years, being staged at the Stables Theatre in Hastings.

Songs and routines from previous productions will be presented, using the original cast members from the when the shows were originally staged by the group. They will be aided and abetted by an ensemble chorus of current members.

The Hastleons will be delving back to shows they put on as far back as the 1970s, like ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘South Pacific’ plus more recent shows put in the last decade such as ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Bugsy Malone’.

Many old names will be returning to grace the stage, such as Steve Corke, now putting on shows at St Mary In the Castle with the Renaissance theatre company, and Lucy Andrews, who first played Belle from Beauty and the Beast with the Hastleons, and has just returned from a year in a theme park in Japan where her job was essentially to be Belle.

Devised by the Hastleon’s Chorus Mistress, Clare Adams and choreographed by Chloe Hurst, the show will be compared by veteran Hastleon, Michael Woodhams.

The Hastleons first show was the 1898 piece Veronique, staged at the Gaiety Theatre on May 10 1926. The Gaiety was the Hastleons’ home until 1932 when it was converted in to the cinema that is now known as the Odeon. Their production of The Desert Song was the last live show performed at the theatre.

The Hastleons then moved on to the Cinema DeLuxe (now DeLuxe Bingo) on the seafront until 1935. Since 1936, their home has been the White Rock Theatre, apart from a break between 1940 and 1946 when the war interrupted proceedings. Those Hastleons not on active duty abroad spent the war as a concert party entertaining the troops.

For a numbers of years the Hastleons have rehearsed at a number of venues such as the Adelphi and Castle Hotels before moving to Newgate Road in 1971 for nine years. They arrived at their current home, the Hastleon Hall in Bexhill Road, St Leonards, in 1980.

The Hastleons’ next show after this is planned to be Annie in October - details will be released shortly. The group is a registered charity and receives no funding. All costs are met from ticket sales and fundraisers, and occasional donations, with a portion of all funds raised given to local causes such as St Michael’s Hospice. Performances will be tonight (Friday May 27) and tomorrow at 7.30pm. Adult tickets will cost £13 with under-18s and groups priced at £10 and members £8 - tickets available at www.stablestheatre.co.uk.