Bexhill Amateur Theatrical Society celebrates dramatic anniversary

BATS 80th anniversary in Bexhill - photographs and biog of the group which has its new home in the Manor Barn
BATS 80th anniversary in Bexhill - photographs and biog of the group which has its new home in the Manor Barn
Share this article

BATS is 80 years old this year and reaching its milestone anniversary in style.

Chairman Mike Poole said: “In the last 80 years BATS has mounted over 300 full scale productions, many at the De La Warr Pavilion, visited schools and nursing homes, and produced ‘Lent’ plays which toured local churches.

“We have done pretty much every sort of play from Pinter to pantomime, from murder mysteries to Macbeth, and from Dante to Dad’s Army. For more than 40 years we’ve put on open-air Shakespeare in the Manor Gardens each summer, with a full technical rig for lighting and sound. Sometimes we bask in warm evenings, occasionally we run from the rain...

“Bexhill Amateur Theatrical Society started life in 1935. Its first Chairman was Major Ronald Cargill, father of the actor Patrick Cargill, who started his dramatic career with us.

“Our HQ since 1981 has been the Old Granary Barn in Broadoak Park. A derelict building which we renovated and now it provides rehearsal space, costume sand props storage and facilities to build scenery. Some renovations were cosmetic, and some more desperate – like a toilet and heating!

“We’ve always been more than just a drama group, and have social events, plus theatre visits, and we donate sums to charities every year. “We have two patrons - the Earl De La Warr and Dominic Dromgoole who was Artistic Director of the Globe and now directs and produces there.

“We now put on three shows a year, the Shakespeare, one at the DLWP and one smaller show in a church hall, recently using St John’s Centre – being renovated by Michael Ensor.

“We acknowledge our debt to past members, notably Alan Livermore who inspired and managed our move into the Barn, and the legendary Denis Brooke and Gordon Green.  But there were so many others. Here are pictures from some of our shows. If you see yourself or anyone you know in any of them we would love to hear from you!”