This production marks fifty years since our first appearances on the St Lawrence stage. We moved to Eastcote in November 1966 and, being new to the area, we were looking to meet people and make friends. We started worshipping at St Lawrence's and attended the January 1967 production of Post Horn Gallop. We were invited by Hylda Darby, the Chairman/Producer for many years, to the post-production meeting and that's where it all began.

Our first play was the May 1967 production of This Happy Breed by Noel Coward. This is about a family between the end of World War I and the outbreak of World War II. Malcolm played Sam Leadbetter who marries one of the daughters and Dorothy played the part of Edie, the maid. This was Malcolm's first ever part and, in true Players' tradition, he spent four weeks abroad in Bulgaria during rehearsals! He still quotes many lines (usually other people's) from this play such as "You're not a whole house, Ethel, you are just a little bugalow!"

Things have changed over the years. The Vicar used to have to be consulted over our choice of play, the set was built over a single Saturday and there were no Sunday rehearsals or set-building days. The stage curtains had been retrieved from the cinema in Eastcote and were quite exotic. The sound and lighting were controlled from the lighting platform above the stage.

Dorothy has played a wide variety of roles from an Irish nun to a purple elf, not forgetting a child shop window model. Her favourite part was Miriam in Outside Edge. The least favourite part was the aforesaid elf - dressed in a skimpy tunic and covered in purple greasepaint. "Never again", she said but still turned up for the next casting two weeks later.

Malcolm's most memorable part was his first lead as Richard Pengally in Haul for the Shore by jean McConnell in February 1969. Other favourites include the Old Man of the Sea in Sinbad the Sailor. Favourite musicals include Salad Days and Pickwick. His claim to fame is having payed both lead parts, in separate productions, of Lord Arthur Savile's Crime.

Yes, we have made friends and it's been a lot of fun!

Dorothy Bentote and Malcolm Bentote