FOR this week’s peek into the past we will be leaving schools behind and treading the boards instead.

We are focusing on the Bridport Pantomime Players' productions of Cinderella and Jack and The Beanstalk dating from 1990 and 1991.

The players celebrated their half-century last year and Amy Wheatley outlined its history.

She said: “At this time, Bernard Gale had started a dancing school and was staging children’s pantomimes in the Church House.

“This encouraged him to have ‘grown-ups’ in them as well, and so the Bridport Pantomime Players were established and the first two performed in the Church House in a sell-out.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Teresa Davis, now Grinter, but who is the princess? We think it dates from 1992

“The big decision then was whether or not to move to The Palace Cinema, whether the move was affordable or too much of a risk. After much discussion, numerous jumble sales, coffee mornings and general fundraising the big step was taken and in January, 1968 Red Riding Hood took to the stage at The Palace and pantomimes were there every year until 1999.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Cinderella 1990, Mo Kennedy and Teresa Davis

“But during that year The Palace unexpectedly closed its doors, but the Players were determined to carry on with the pantomime.

Bernard and the Players went ahead and for the next seven years the shows were staged on a much smaller stage at The Lyric and these too were very successful.

Sadly Bernard died and The Lyric had to be sold, but, much to everyone’s relief, Peter Hitchins purchased The Palace and so the pantomimes went back there in 2007 starting with Cinderella.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

A Night at the Music Hall at the Bernard Gale Studio in Barrack Street

“Throughout all the 50 years of pantomime so many folk have appeared on stage – from the tiny tots, children’s tap and ballet, to the Players themselves.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Anne Rees and John Morey as the baron and baroness in Cinderella in 1990

“There has also been an army of those who have worked backstage, scene-painting, props, lighting, sound, costumes, make-up, orchestra, front of house – the list is endless.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

“Thanks must be given to the good people of Bridport and the surrounding area who have supported the players from the beginning by coming to all the pantomimes and being such a good audience, and willingly given any assistance as and when it may have been asked for.”