However, following a considerable amount of reorganisation and the founding of the Players’ Theatre Restoration Committee, Autumn 2003 saw a triumphant return to the London stage with a six-show mini season at The Venue theatre, just off Leicester Square. Chaired until his retirement by the late, incomparable Chairman Dominic Le Foe, the weekly performances provided the traditional mixture of wit, musical talent and showmanship that had delighted audiences for over 65 years.
After a long run at The Venue we briefly went to the Arts Theatre, when our old friend and supporter, Parry, hit hard times – eventually being forced to close. However, Martin Witts, who had taken us on at the Arts Theatre, has acquired, re-furbished and re-opened the Venue theatre, re-naming it the Leicester Square theatre. Since then we have been staging shows there, and have brought in that equally well-known Chairman (and Cricket fanatic) Johnny Dennis.
We have since taken shows to the Drill Hall in Chenies Street. This is an interesting theatre, having been in its time the headquarters of the Bloomsbury Rifles. Its appeal to us is that we don’t have to rush off (as was often the case at the Leicester Square theatre, where the auditorium is in constant use) and the bar stays open until late!
We have also put on two shows at the superb, but crumbling Wilton’s theatre, for two Livery Companies, and in April 2012, we mounted a show in the magnificent Stationers’ Hall for the Freemen’s Society of the Worshipful Company of Stationers.
A highly successful innovation was the celebration (a Players’ tradition) of Queen Victoria’s birthday in our own studio in Craven Street, an experiment that was repeated to celebrate Trafalgar Day in 2011.
In December 2011 we staged a show at Wilton’s to help raise funds and in January2012 visited Hoxton Hall, claimed to be the oldest purpose-built Music Hall