NODA is the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, working to help and support amateur theatre companies since 1899.

Wick Theatre Company has been a member for a number of years and NODA Today ran this piece in November 2018.

“Back in 1948, stage struck members of a youth club in Southwick, West Sussex, persuaded their leader to invite two members from a local company to speak on the subject of drama. This generated such interest that a group was formed, soon to become the Young Wick Players. Ten years later, when the original members weren’t quite so youthful, the title was changed to Wick theatre Company.

Of the original speakers, one, Molly Penney, was to be Wick’s lady bountiful for many years. She became President, taught, encouraged and directed the young members, while her husband allowed the company to keep its scenery at his coal-merchants wharf in Shoreham Port.

One of the main founders, Betty Dawes, was President for a long period, and now, since her death in 2016, her husband, another founder member, has taken over the role.

Wick has had many seasons of award-winning drama, enjoying successes in various local competitions, both for one-act and full length plays. Each year, four plays providing a good mix from comedy and farce to more serious fare are now produced.

In 1951 a 200-year old Barn in Southwick was converted into a theatre, and became the Company’ permanent home. It has been much improved over the years, and after a substantial lottery grant in 1997, boasts a good-sized stage, some state of the art lighting and retractable raked seating.

Since its inception, Monday has been Wick night, and members keep in touch with coffee evenings and play readings.

To mark this anniversary, a very glamorous party was held at the Barn, with a sit-down meal and dancing.

A Heritage Exhibition

The main event of the Company’s 70th year was an exhibition, inspired by a large collection of archive material left by Betty, our late President. A team led by her daughter worked long and hard to bring it to fruition. Expensive equipment was needed to make this modern and informative, so a Heritage Lottery grant was applied for, winning an astonishing £8,800.

Each display was accompanied by short recordings of long-standing members reminiscing about their experiences, which brought these to life in a way that no printed word or picture could do. Televised interviews explained the various aspects of mounting a production from designing a set to providing the costumes.

The exhibition ran through July in Southwick’s 15th Century Manor Cottage, and will be recorded on a dedicated website.