About Our Society
Who are the Batley Thespians?
Our society was initially created in October 1913 in Shelton's; a small café on Commercial Street in Batley. We presented shows in order to raise important funds for Batley and District Hospital - and our charitable nature has continued since the societys conception.
It was decided in January 1914 that we would affiliate ourselves with the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) and decided on the name Batley Amateur Thespian Society. Now, in an age where words are continuously getting shorter, we are more fondly referred to as BATS!
BATS first took to the stage in 1914 during the outbreak of the First World War with a production of "Iolanthe"; a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera. Due to the war, however, the next show wasn't until 1920 when the society performed "Tom Jones"; another comic opera based on a Henry Fielding novel.
Since then BATS have continued to perform shows almost every year - shows such as "Showboat" (1949), "Oklahoma" (1958 & 1956), "Little Shop of Horrors" (2012), "Scrooge" (2016) and many different cabarets and revues along the way.
Since 2012 we have also been fortunate enough to have Frank Hammond as our producer and director and he makes sure that BATS always gives the best performances we can. His enthusiasm for both theatre and the society always shines through in all of our productions.
In 2014 BATS were welcomed into Mencap Hall in Batley with open arms and their members are always at Town Hall shows singing along. To say thank you to them we started doing small shows for Mencap at the Hall which often include classic sing-along numbers by ABBA and toe tapping country and western sections. In 2017 what started out as a show for Mencap - "Sing to the Swing" - was taken 'on the road' and there were 2 performances at Longcauseway Church in Dewsbury with the Musica Mirfield Swing Band where bucket collections managed to raise an astounding £400 for Mencap.
Coming up to show-time we rehearse up to 3 times a week which can sometimes be hardgoing, but with dedicated members who often feel like family we manage to get through it. Well that, and tea and biscuits!
The Society is looked after by a dedicated Committee headed by our President Margaret Sheard; and they ensure everything continues to run smoothly and we continue to be the success we have been for the past 100 plus years!