Sleaford Little Theatre
SLT was founded in 1950 by Mrs Evelyn Keilty who had come to Sleaford in 1945 with a wealth of 15 years dramatic experience to her credit. She canvassed vigorously in the town and was soon joined by like minded business people of the town including Mr Eric Money, who was later elected President and who was to have such an important effect on the Society.
In the pre war days, the Corn Exchange and Picturedrome were available for amateur productions but this ceased so that, during their very first production of "Blithe Spirit", the Society found itself with nowhere to perform. A successful application was made to the education authority by the assistant county architect for permission to use the main hall of the secondary modern school.
Thus, "Blithe Spirit" was ensured a venue and was performed with great success as recorded in the archives, thereby starting the great tradition of this well known and popular amateur dramatic society. In the early days, meetings were held in a room above a chemist's shop and the annual subscription for members was five shillings.
<>Mr Money's influence now began to take effect when he very generously provided rent free accommodation for rehearsal and scenery storage in the Old Drill Hall at No.11 Carre Street. A room for committee meetings and costume storage was, for a short time, kindly loaned by Mr Vic Bellenger of the Carre Arms Hotel.
Mr Money's presidency was followed by that of Mrs Grace Morriss who was at that time a town councillor and she was later succeeded by Mr John Waring.
During the summer of 1978, Mr Waring granted SLT an interest free loan, enabling them to purchase the freehold of the Drill Hall. At that time, the property was included on the list of listed buildings drawn up by the District Council for the Sleaford Conservation Area. It comprised not only the two storey former Drill Hall with carriageway and arches through the ground floor flanking Carre Street, but also a single storey extension running alongside a branch of the Slea Canal. Sadly, initial repair costs and adequate maintenance proved to be far too costly for the Society to meet and, when their request to demolish it was turned down, it was decided to sell the property and repay the loan. It was purchased by a local firm in 1983 which obviously had a "hot line" to the right people - for the property was immediately demolished.
Homeless, and with no suitable premises available in the town, SLT purchased the tiny, redundant Methodist Chapel in the village of Great Hale, some 5 miles away. The accommodation was small but lofty and gave ample space for rehearsals and scenery and costume storage. Battling manfully through bitter winter rehearsals with less than adequate heating, SLT knew at the back of its mind that it must somehow relocate back into Sleaford. Several properties were looked at but none were suitable until in 1993, the Old Playhouse in Westgate came on to the market at a price which was within the range of the Society's finances. And so, in 1994, marred by the theft of pieces of antique and period furniture from the Chapel, SLT made its memorable move back into the town which had seen its inception 47 years ago.