Our History

In 1993 St Mary’s Church, Purley on Thames, was in need of some major repairs. Jean Chudleigh and Gerry Hiscock came up with the idea of putting on an Old Tyme Music Hall in the church hall to raise funds.  The show included many well known old music hall songs and involved much dressing up and laughter along the way.

It was intended to be a one-off production but it was enjoyed so much by the audience and cast it was decided to put on another in 1996. Thus, Purley Players was born.

St Mary’s Church had a ring of six bells which had not been safe to ring properly for over 40 years. As part of the upcoming millennium it was suggested that all the bells in the diocese should be rung to celebrate the event.  Another show was proposed to help raise money for the bells to be rehung to enable them to be rung again as part of the millennium celebrations. The show was given the name “The Bells of St Mary’s” and took place in March 1999.

In the year 2000 we put on a more ambitious production called “Memories Are Made Of This”, a review following the events of the 20th Century. This again proved to be a success and encouraged us to try different types of productions including a Pantomime and a Murder Mystery Evening with a meal.

Putting on larger shows was proving difficult on the small stage area available in the church.  It was decided that productions would move to The Barn which had become available for more village activities and where a much larger stage could be used. Eventually we bought our own stage and settled into a annual programme of a Pantomime, a Comedy/Farce and a Murder Mystery evening with a meal.