The Old Stagers (OS) is an amateur theatre group, founded in 1842 by Hon. Frederick Ponsonby (later Earl of Bessborough) to perform during Kent's annual Canterbury Cricket Week.[1] Originally the Canterbury Old Stagers, it took its current name in 1851.[2] It claims to be the oldest surviving amateur dramatic company in the world, having staged its first shows in Canterbury in 1842.[3][4] It has continued to give annual performances every year since (with intermissions for the two World Wars).[4] It now stages its plays at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury.

The Old Stagers has close links to Kent County Cricket Club and the I Zingari nomadic amateur cricket club. Ponsonby was also a founder of I Zingari, and later became president of Surrey County Cricket Club. One of the earliest Old Stagers was the Kent and England cricketer Alfred Mynn who first appeared in 1847 and then regularly until his death in 1861.

Old Stagers Amateur Dramatic Society records, including programmes, newspaper reviews and photographs of productions from 1842-2003, are archived at Canterbury Cathedral Library as item U449. [5]


External links

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