The story started in 1934 when The Nomads staged their first play, Journey’s End, in the Guildford Borough Hall. From then until 1957, performances were held in local halls and rehearsals took place in various different places – leading to the name Nomad Players.
In 1957, the society was given some land with a building on it which up till then had been used as a builder’s store and this was converted by the members into a small theatre. In 1980 a wooden hut was bought to house the bar, props store, paint store and wardrobe
By the time the group celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1994 it was running a weekly children’s drama workshop – the Nomes. While the Young Nomads had been active for 20 years. It was also becoming obvious that the old theatre would need replacing and plans were being drawn up, but financing such a project was always going to be a problem. Happily, the National Lottery had just appeared on the scene and Nomad Players Ltd were one of the early applicants. To manage the whole project two committees were formed, Nomad Players Ltd to run the appeal, own the building and land while the Nomads ran the theatre and put on shows.
The National Lottery gave us a unique opportunity to develop a theatre that provided all the facilities we need for our wide-ranging drama activities. From our preliminary application onwards the Arts Council of England encouraged us to build a really well-equipped, good quality theatre. The final award was for £1,346,000 of which The Nomad Players had to raise £338,000.
The result is a small theatre with a raked auditorium, fly tower, revolving stage and two trap doors.
In 2017 we re-built the Greenroom into a multi-use area, where we will be providing informal entertainments to encourage Nomad members to meet socially. The new building is an integral part of the main theatre. Double doors into the new multi-purpose room allow easier access for audiences, including wheelchair users which the annual production, Play In A Week will benefit from. Affiliate groups, Nomads productions and Nomes Youth Theatre will all have extra rehearsal space, and our ‘Prompt Corner’ group are looking forward to holding their monthly meetings and lunches in a more spacious venue.