Banbury drama group plans festival for 75th anniversary

The cast and crew of The Cripple of Inishmaan from July this year. Photo: Jim Muller Photography
The cast and crew of The Cripple of Inishmaan from July this year. Photo: Jim Muller Photography

With thoughts firmly on Christmas, 2020 may seem a long way off but for one Banbury society plans for that year are already underway.

Banbury Cross Players will be looking to do something different when they celebrate their 75th anniversary in July 2020.

Rather than what it terms, the ‘ubiquitous dinner dance’, the society has decided to arrange a drama festival which it hopes will benefit and entertain the whole community.

In addition to the four plays a year the players also perform at a number of ‘one-act play’ festivals and have won many awards.

It was this involvement that gave them the idea to set up their own festival.

The festival will take the form of a week-long celebration.

Three plays will be presented each night by three different society/groups bringing a wide variety of talent to the town.

More than 50 drama societies have been contacted and an adjudicator has been selected and appointed. The festival will run from July 14 to 18, 2020, at The Mill.

One of the festival organisers, June Ronson, said: “This is an exciting venture for Banbury Cross Players and our town in general.

“It is important at this stage in our preparations to spread the word and to ensure we have as much support as possible from Banbury and the surrounding communities.

“If any group would like to hear more about Banbury Cross Players and/or our festival we would love to come and talk to you.”

The society was formed in 1945 by a group of drama enthusiasts who regularly met at Wincotts Café to read plays.

From this their first staged production of Hay Fever was shown in the Great Hall at Bloxham School.

During the intervening years plays have been presented at Church House, The College Theatre and outdoor productions at Wroxton College, Overthorpe and Frank Wise schools.

One of those founder members, Nevill Turner, 96, is still involved.

For more on the festival or to offer support, email