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The Worsley Intimate Theatre Society, or WITS as it is more generally known, has its home in the unique surroundings of Worsley Courthouse. The Society's first production was Rookery Nook in December 1970 and since then it has performed three plays a year almost without interruption. Indeed this coming season will see the Society passing 120 productions in its 39th season.

The staging of the Society's plays is unusual, largely due to the peculiarities of playing in the Courthouse. It is a version of theatre in the round such as can be seen at many modem theatres, but with the audience on two opposite sides of the square acting area, the walls of the Courthouse forming the other two sides. Those who visit the Royal Exchange Theatre will appreciate the unique advantages and problems of this type of staging.

The Society has always tried to present a varied programme of popular plays, ranging from straight drama to mysteries and thrillers and, in the main more recently, comedy in all its many and varied forms. There are three productions a year, running four nights from Tuesday to Friday, in November, February and April.

The Society draws its audience, many of whom are subscribing members, from Worsley and surrounding areas. A small proportion of the members are also our organizing committee, our players and our backstage staff.


The Society has always attempted to give its members a good evening's entertainment and to this end has generally chosen quality popular plays for its productions.

The classic playwrights such as Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde, J B Priestley, Brinsley Sheridan, Terence Rattigan and Somerset Maugham have all been well represented in past productions together with the mysteries of Francis Durbridge and Agatha Christie.

Our many comedies have ranged from the costume drama of Restoration comedy to 20th century comedy of all shades, from Twenties sophistication to Whitehall farce, to the more modern styles of Neil Simon and Alan Ayckbourn.


Whilst the play you see demands considerable work by the cast, around 40 hours rehearsal plus the time to learn lines, there is a large amount of backstage effort required to mount a production in a temporary venue such as Worsley Courthouse. Indeed the Courthouse, being a listed building, presents its own particular problems. Nothing can be done that affects the fabric of the building, so sets must be freestanding and a certain amount of ingenuity is required to ensure that nothing falls over.

Work starts on Sunday morning with the delivery of set furniture, delivery and erection of seating and rigging of the lights. At the same time sound and any effects have to be rigged, together with the intercom to allow the cast to know what is happening on stage. Props and costumes must be checked, any onstage food and drink prepared and
the set dressed in the style of the period. When all this is complete, technical and pre dress rehearsals can be run. These enable actors to make the transition from a small rehearsal room to the unique and much larger staging of the Courthouse. On the technical side, music and sound effects have to be checked, sound levels set and the sound effects rehearsed with the action of the play.

At the end of the run, after the last show on Friday night the Courthouse must be cleared in readiness for other functions on Saturday. By midnight, cast and backstage helpers have combined together to return the Courthouse to its more normal state.