East Kilbride Rep was founded in 1954 by local resident, John McNicol. John was a keen theatre enthusiast, and by knocking on a few doors he talked some locals into forming an amateur dramatics club.
John was himself a keen performer and in 1955 he directed and appeared in the Rep’s very first production, Bachelors are Bold. The production helped to raise money for the emerging East Kilbride Thistle Football Club.
In the early days, the club would rehearse in the Village School and perform in East Kilbride Public Hall. Productions were also staged for a short time in Claremont High School.
By 1960, the Rep were desperately seeking premises of our own and we were lucky enough to source and purchase a disused wooden hut from the Linlithgow Pigeon Club for £60. Members worked hard to rebuild the hut on land behind East Kilbride Public Hall.
In 1966 we began our annual pantomime. The EK Rep panto, which is written and produced by the Rep and comprises a chorus of local children, now runs for two weeks and includes two Saturday matinees.
1978 saw a transformation of the old Public Hall. It was completely renovated and rebuilt to become a purpose built theatre with over 300 seats. EK Rep now had a brand new performance venue literally on our doorstep!
In 1985, the One Act Festival was born. The festival, now known as EK RepFest, attracts amateur dramatics clubs from all over Scotland, who come to perform one act plays and compete for trophies.
It was the end of an era for the Rep in 1996. The wooden hut, that had been in use for the last three decades was demolished to make way for new industrial units. But, to the delight of members, supporters and friends of the club, the Rep purchased and subsequently moved into one of the new units where we remain to this day. The new industrial unit is still affectionately known as “The Hut”!
Some key moments in the history of East Kilbride Rep
- 1954 (November) – Club founded by John McNicol.
- 1955 (March) – Our first production, Bachelors are Bold, produced by John McNicol was staged in the Murray School.
- 1956 (October) – Plans are announced in the East Kilbride News to do 5 plays this winter. Venue changed to the Public Hall.
- 1957 – At the AGM it was decided to run the season from October to May and the plan was to increase the number of productions to six. The cost of membership was 5/- for full membership and 2/6 for associate membership.
- 1958 – From Season 1958/59 the Rep would stage full seven full length plays and run for four nights. The Rep now had 150 members.
- 1958/59 – Alf Davidson, who later instigated the One Act Festival, joins the club.
- 1959 (January) – Rep “Hut” purchased from Linlithgow Pigeon Club for £60.
- 1959 – The Rep stages it’s 21st production, Reluctant Debutante. Patron membership cost 2/6 per annum with admission to each show at the reduced cost of 1/6 (normally 2/6) plus entry into a draw for a £1 Premium Bond.
- 1960 (Feb/March) – Rep “Hut” fully reconstructed behind East Kilbride Public Hall.
- 1960 – Public Hall installs curtains purchased from the old Imperial Cinema in Glasgow, and a new lighting system. The first annual Rep Ball is held.
- 1966 (January) – First Rep Pantomime, Dick Whittington, staged in the Murray Hall.
- 1968 – Johnnie Jouk The Gibbet performed as part of East Kilbride’s 21st birthday celebrations.
- 1968 (December) – Pantomime, Little Red Riding Hood, was performed in Halfmerke Primary School.
- 1969 – The first club newsletter appeared.
- 1970 – Former gas works premises rented for set building.
- 1970 (March) – First mention of Council plans to convert Public Hall into a theatre.
- 1974 – Club’s productions presented in Claremont High School while Public Hall conversion takes place.
- 1976 (June) – Three back-cloths purchased from Mutries theatrical suppliers of Edinburgh.
- 1977 (November) – The Rep performs a one act play to demonstrate the new stage facilities at the Village Theatre to the local Councillors.
- 1977 (December) – Very first public performance in the new Village Theatre is EK Rep’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty.
- 1978 (September) – Following a full season the Village Theatre is officially opened by well known Scottish actor of stage and screen Andrew Cruikshank, best known as Dr. Cameron of TV’s Dr. Finlay’s Casebook.
- 1982 (September) – The club presented The Long and The Short and The Tall. The cast included a young John Hannah and Taggart star James MacPherson prior to their studying at drama school.
- 1984 (May) – The One Act Festival is inaugurated under the guidance of Alf Davidson.
- 1995 (March) – The Rep’s “Hut” is demolished to make way for brand new premises.
- 1995 (May) – Foundations laid for the Rep’s brand new club building.
- 1996 (September) – Following completion of interior fittings, the club occupied their new premises for the first time. The new building is still affectionately known as “The Hut”.
- 1997 – The Rep give away hundreds of free season tickets to lucky readers of the East Kilbride News.
- 1997 (May) – A new One Act Festival trophy was presented by the club in memory of a long-standing member, Betty McAulay.
- 1998 (December) – The annual Rep pantomime is in danger of cancellation due to flooding of the understage are of the theatre. No performances were lost thanks to the Fire Brigade pumps!
- 2000 – EK Rep goes online, as the club’s website is launched.
- 2003 (September) – The Rep participates in the Village Theatre’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
- 2003 (December) – The deaths of the Rep’s founder, John McNicol and One Act Festival instigator, Alf Davidson are announced.
- 2004 (September) – East Kilbride Rep Theatre Club’s 50th anniversary season gets underway.
- 2004 (December) – The club presents it’s 40th pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.
- 2005 (May) – 21st anniversary of the One Act Festival.
- 2014 (May) – The One Act Festival is rebranded as EK RepFest.
- 2014 (September) – The club stages its 60th anniversary season.