To mark their first centenary of producing quality local theatre, the Huddersfield Thespians are proud to release the book that reveals the behind-the-scenes story of those hundred years.

‘Different Stages: Celebrating 100 Years of the Huddersfield Thespians, 1920-2020’ has been written by Huddersfield Local History Society’s Christine Verguson.

Christine said: “As a teenager my son had been a member, learning about stage management as well as having some walk-on parts.

“Later, my own academic research revealed the part the Thespians played in the early years of radio drama.

“Researching what can only be described as the society’s vast archive which is in the care of the West Yorkshire Archive Service, and through talking to society members past and present, I got to know something of the determination, comradeship and a love of all aspects of theatrical production which has meant that the Huddersfield Thespians are still here to bring good quality drama to the town.”

The book tells the story of the ‘earliest experimental amateur theatre group in Yorkshire’ from their humble beginnings in the manager’s office of Huddersfield’s Theatre Royal, way back in 1920.

Since their first official meeting – in Thomas Broadbent’s works canteen in June 1920 – the Thespians estimate they’ve produced over 600 shows, and have performed at least one play every year. They’ve performed in halls, theatres, parks and even on tour to New York.

‘Different Stages’ has a wealth of photographs alongside anecdotes from members past and present, which makes this a fascinating account of a century of amateur theatre, for members, non-members and anyone with an interest in Huddersfield and local history.

While ‘Different Stages’ was meant to be published in time for the centenary in 2020, logistical problems caused by the pandemic and the Thespians needing to move their headquarters have delayed things. So it really has been much-anticipated!

Copies will be available from the society at the launch event, or by getting in touch with The launch will be held at Longwood Mechanics Hall and includes a quiz and live entertainment, in an event that is open to all and coincides with the Thespians’ AGM. That’s on September 14 at 7pm, and is free but requires booking to help prepare catering – contact the society for more details.

Huddersfield Thespians’ 103rd season of quality local theatre kicks off on October 19th at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, with their production of ‘Brief Encounter’. This is Emma Rice’s adaptation of the 1945 film, with added songs by the original playwright Noël Coward. Tickets are on sale now.

Then in December, the Thespians will be performing Charles Dickens’s classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Longwood Mechanics Hall, in a brand-new first for the society. Tickets for that are also on sale now.

Thespians’ president Christine Smith said: “This book has really been a labour of love over the last few years, and it’s been a real pleasure to take the time going back through the old archive material and all those old memories.

“We’re delighted to now be able to share those with readers and to celebrate the story of our first hundred years, while we work on plays for the next hundred!”

Huddersfield Thespians were founded in 1920, and are one of the area’s leading amateur theatre companies. They have performed at least one play every year since 1920, including during the Second World War. Since 1994, these have been performed at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield town centre, and as of 2022 also at Longwood Mechanics Hall.

How you can go and see the Thespians

The Huddersfield Thespians’ 103rd season includes four plays:

Brief Encounter, Wednesday 19th to Saturday 22nd October 2022, Lawrence Batley Theatre. 7:15pm plus 2pm Saturday matinee.

A Christmas Carol, Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th December 2022, Longwood Mechanics Hall. 7:30pm plus 2:30pm Saturday matinee.

The Titfield Thunderbolt, Wednesday 15th to Saturday18th March 2023, Longwood Mechanics Hall. 7:30pm plus 2:30pm Saturday matinee.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Wednesday 10th to Saturday 13th May 2023, Lawrence Batley Theatre. 7:15pm plus 2pm Saturday matinee.

Tickets for Brief Encounter are available through the LBT website and Box Office, on 01484 430528 or Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen’s Square, Queen St, Huddersfield HD1 2SP.

Tickets for A Christmas Carol and The Titfield Thunderbolt are available on the door and through Ticketsource: Longwood Mechanics Hall, Longwood Gate, Huddersfield HD3 4UU.

More information about the society, and how to join, can be found on their website,, where you can also sign up to their email newsletter. They can be found on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).