Welcome to the Phoenix Players
NODA award winning South London Amateur Dramatics Society
The Phoenix Players have been performing musical theatre in Dulwich/Norwood South London for over 30 years. We are a very friendly amdram society who welcome all new members of all ages/abilities regardless of experience.
We generally perform two shows a year; a mix of family shows, pantomimes and musicals. The age range of the group is from 18 to late 60's averaging at around late 20, early 30's. While we always put on high quality amdram shows we also firmly believe it is important to have lots of fun doing it!
Phoenix Players started in 1983 when it ‘rose from the ashes’ of another long-established group, St Thomas’ Light Operatic Society. At that time two theatre groups were being funded by the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) when the decision was made by ILEA that it could only continue to fund one group, so St. Thomas’ decided they would lose the funding and go independent rather than merge with another group: Phoenix Players were born!
So without funding, but with lots of enthusiasm, the first task was to find a Director, a Musical Director, a rehearsal venue… oh and a performance venue..! No problem! A group of willing volunteers emerged and slowly the pieces began to fall into place. The (now derelict) Tulse Hill school served as the first performance venue and when Phoenix took to the boards in early 1984 with their performance of ‘Mother Goose’, this pantomime marked a departure from the traditional fayre of Gilbert & Sullivan musicals the erstwhile group had performed and was to herald the shape of things to come.
Whilst forays were taken into the modern musical with shows such as ‘Carousel’ and ‘The Boyfriend’, in its formative years the company didn’t stray too far from familiar G&S ground with ‘HMS Pinafore’ and ‘Pirates of Penzance’ in 1985 and 1987 respectively .
In the early ’90s the group began actively cultivating its reputation for performing not just popular shows but also some lesser-known ones. Strange as it may sound now but back then shows such as ‘Chicago’ were rarely performed at amateur level but (and we’re not saying there’s a direct link here!) since Phoenix performed it in 1996 the show has gone on to a record-breaking West End run! Other shows like ‘Slice of Saturday Night’, ‘The Dracula Spectacula’, ‘Dames at Sea’ and ‘Viva Mexico!’ may not have gone on to quite such an illustrious future but Phoenix were not shy at being among the first to put them on and since then other amateur dramas groups have followed.
Through the years our performance home has changed a few times. Through the years the Tulse Hill School, St Oswald’s Church Hall in Norbury, Stanley Halls in South Norwood, Anerley Town Hall in Penge and the Edward Alleyn Theatre in Dulwich College among other have all played host to our shows.
The story of Phoenix Players would not be complete without the tale of ‘Beasts in the Wood’ at St Oswald’s in 1996. After the Friday night performance a tragedy occurred when an arsonist set fire to the church hall. Everything in the show was destroyed; lights, costumes, scenery and, sadly, many memories too. The show may have been cancelled but Phoenix were not, and so, quite literally, the Phoenix had to rise again from the ashes. After all, in a greater context, the show must go on!
Today we continue to carry on the proud legacy of Phoenix Players, albeit in a more modern way. The group have been on the Web since 1998, Facebook since 2006 and we have been selling tickets online since 2008. However, at our core we remain just a group of keen amateurs who love putting on shows. What we may lack in cash we make up for in enthusiasm. Not just friendships but marriages too have been made within our group and we hope this spirit will never be lost – the good times and fun are as much a part of the company as the shows we perform.
We hope we have many more encores left to perform.
We are always welcoming new members so, if you enjoy performing, or working behind the scenes or would simply like more information about the Phoenix Players, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in to one of our rehearsals every Monday between 7:30PM – 9:30PM at Emmanuel Church Hall, 96 Clive Road, London SE21 8BU.
As a voluntary group with no public funding we have to cover our costs. We don't charge a membership fee as such but there is a Show Fee for anyone in a production. The amount depends on the show and there is always concessionary rate for students, OAP's and those not working.