Our first production was two one act plays at the Ryan Theatre in May 2008, 'Parentcraft' and 'Darlings, You Were Wonderful!'. It was a huge success, with one reviewer describing it as "superbly-acted and very funny", and "this was indeed a wonderful performance from these fine amateur thespians, particularly so as this was their debut performance as a group".
We followed with 'Stepping Out', a hilarious tap dancing comedy watched by over 700 people in December 2008 (reviewed as "a veritable tour de force").
In the summer of 2009 we performed two one act plays, 'The Reading Group' by Fay Weldon and 'Departure' by Stephen Smith
Our Christmas production of 2009 was 'A Credit Crunch Christmas Carol' - a family friendly comedic twist on the Dickens classic, written by one of our own! The Harrow Observer reviewed this as "technically and artistically excellent - What an achievement!"
We then went on to perform the uproarious 'Play On!' in June 2010, a scene-swapping farce which showcased our maturing talent. It was this year that we started to delve into panto too, performing 'Ali the Barber' at Christmas time.
Since then, panto has become a staple in the Hillplayers. We went on to perform 'Red Hot Cinders' and 'Al Laddin', a double bill of panto extravaganza in December 2011, and sold out performances of 'The Sleeping Beauty' by Norman Robbins in December 2012.
In the summer of 2012 we performed at Harrow Arts Centre for the first time with 'Office Suite', two witty comedies by Alan Bennett that were written to be performed together.
And our 2013 summer production, also held at Harrow Arts Centre, was the dark and dramatic Victorian ghost story adapted from the Henry James tale, 'The Turn of the Screw'.
Our 2013 Christmas production, 'The Wizard of Oz' by John Morley, went down with great success at the Ryan Theatre, with several sold-out shows, a vibrant cast and amazing costumes and scenery.
Then in December 2014, The Hillplayers' pantomime
version of 'Alice in Wonderland', was a triumph.
With plenty of new faces as well as our
experienced Players, our audiences laughed, booed
and shouted in traditional panto style!
The summer 2015 production saw a small
cast and crew of Hillplayers take to The Studio
stage at Harrow Arts Centre once again to perform the
tense, atmospheric Victorian thriller 'Gaslight' by
Patrick Hamilton - a play that resulted in two film
adaptations and was so successful that the term
'gaslighting' entered the English language.
For the 2015 December production, the
Hillplayers took on a new challenge in the form of
'Fantastic Mr. Fox', a family play based on the
beloved children's book by Roald Dahl. Performing
once more at the Ryan, audience members came away
digga-digga-digging with the Fox Family and wanted
to take pictures with the evil Boggis, Bunce and Bean.
The 2016 production was a Hillplayers first! They performed an adapted modern version of Shakespeare's famous comedy 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at a new theatre venue, Arc House, by Harrow-on-the-Hill station. It was the first time the group had put on an open-air performance and they did two shows in late September. It was a resounding success, with good weather and full audiences!
The Hillplayers returned to Arc House in July 2017 to perform another family-friendly version of a traditional Shakespearean tale with 'Richard the Third: Has Anyone Seen My Horse'.
In December 2017, the Hillplayers presented an original pantomime script of the classic tale 'Beauty and the Beast' at the Ryan Theatre. Penned by one of the group's talented playwrights, this topical and satirical panto alluded to post-Brexit Britain as well as including all the traditions of panto.
In the summer of 2018, the Hillplayers' production was Tom Stoppard’s brilliant murder mystery comedy 'The Real Inspector Hound' at the Harrow Arts Centre.
A satiric play-within-a-play, this parody focuses on two theatre critics, insecure Moon and womanizing Birdboot, as they review an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery. But just who is the Real Inspector Hound?
Our Christmas production in 2018, was 'Cinderella' at the Ryan Theatre. This is perhaps the most well-known panto of them all with a classic rags to riches story!
In Summer 2019, we produced a comic adaption of 'The Tragedy of Macbeth' at the Studio at the Harrow Arts Centre.
Filled with football puns and wacky-waving-inflatable ghosts, this production added another twist of Shakespeare's work to the Hillplayers' repertoire.
Our pantomime in 2019 was an adaption of the beloved story originally by J.M. Barrie, 'Peter Pan'.
An excellent, fun-filled, family panto. Peter Pan was yet another triumph from the Hillplayers showing that their production and comedy skills continue to grow from year to year.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2020 pantomime was a virtual show live-streamed on YouTube! This was a first for the Hillplayers, and we hope to continue expanding our artistic and technical capabilities for many shows to come!
The show sees 'Rapunzel!', a girl with magical hair, rescued by the noble knight from the entrapment of Madame Gothel, and reunited with her real mother Dame Maggie McOggie and her brother Jack.
You can still catch a recording of the live-stream on our YouTube page.
After a few pandemic years, The HillPlayers came back with a bang with their brilliant in-person performance for the 2021 pantomime of 'Snow White' at the Ryan Theatre.
The cast loved being back on stage after a long wait, and we are so grateful for the continued support of our audience during this time. Thank you!!
The HillPlayers returned in 2022 with another amazing panto - this time it was 'Aladdin'.
The love story between Aladdin and Jasmine was truly brought to life on stage, and there were plenty of laughs from the audience, including when Widow Twanky played her amazing guitar solo and Wishey Washee had some mishaps with the laundry detergent!
Even the evil Abanazar was a crowd favourite and we heard plenty of booing in true panto style.
We can't wait to put together another amazing panto for our audiences, who we hope to see in 2023!!!
Our most recent production in June 2023 was 'The Importance of Being Earnest' (A Trivial Comedy for Serious People) by Oscar Wilde.
First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personae to escape burdensome social obligations. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make 'The Importance of Being Earnest' Wilde's most enduringly popular play.
The Hillplayers staged this production at East Lane Theatre as a new venture. We would like to thank East Lane Theatre Club for their kind generosity, technical support and theatrical expertise.
Pictured: The Hill Players - Cast and Directors with Harrow and Brent's Mayors - at at Performance in June 2023.