About Elmwood Players

See also link below:


60th Anniversary (PDF) 320k


Elmwood Players from Christchurch, New Zealand, is a community theatre group that was established in 1948. We stage at least four major productions a year, with a mixture of comedy and drama. Elmwood Players likes to encourage talented young local playwrights and regularly enters a home-grown one-act play in the New Zealand Theatre Federation Festival of Community Theatre.

The productions are staged in the Elmwood Theatre, a flexible performing space with semi-circular seating for around 145 people, but this is 'staged down' when a more intimate setting is required.

The beginnings:

In 1948 members of the Elmwood School Committee and the Parent Teachers Association (P.T.A.) began performing sketches and play readings in a room owned by the Knox Church that was also used by Elmwood School as a second Standard two classroom.

It was not a satisfactory venue; desks had to be numbered and returned in the correct order after using the room, science experiments. displays on the nature table, and children's art all had to be treated with care.

Alex Henderson, who was on the school committee, invited the Thespians to use his garage as a rehearsal space instead. Then a wall was knocked out and the laundry area was incorporated to give a larger area for the Elmwood Players, as they called themselves, to further expand. Finally another shed was built at the back for storage and audiences of up to Sixty packed the garage for performances; and packed they certainly were!

Play rehearsals gravitated to the house and some nights there would be two rehearsals in different rooms in the house as well as one in the garage.

Finally in 1956 things became so chaotic at the Hendersons' house that the players moved back into the hall in Fulton Avenue. The venue was no longer a classroom and, although used as a Sunday School, alterations were able to be made.

In 1964 the Elmwood Players bought the hall allowing further improvements to be made.

New beginnings:

After many successful years at Fulton Ave., Elmwood Players sold the property to join the Elmwood Normal School in building a new multi-use venue. The Elmwood Community Auditorium.

Elmwood Players continue to produce high quality theatre for Christchurch audiences. The 2005 production of The Dresser was selected by the Christchurch Star critic as Best Amateur Performance of the year and Brian Sullivan named Best non-professional actor for 2005.

As a non-profit incorporated society Elmwood Players is run by volunteers who love entertaining and being involved in a friendly environment. If you would like to become involved either actively or as a supporter please fill in the form at the Becoming a Member page.