The Griffin Players are one of the longest-surviving drama groups in the Luton and Dunstable area, and began life as part of the Concert Party and Dramatic Section of the Vauxhall Motors Recreation Club (VMRC). The club was founded in 1931 when a new 'state of the art' canteen (photo above) and leisure complex was built in Kimpton Road, Luton. The earliest known reference to a Concert Party and Dramatic Section is dated 1934. Little is known about what the group performed at the time but it is believed that concerts may have included sketches, one-act plays and "mock trials".
Since those humble beginnings, many changes have been made. The Griffins may have changed their name in the Seventies but it was in the Eighties that they positively re-invented themselves. The catalyst for this change was a decision by Vauxhall Motors to end the tradition of sending all of their employee's children to an annual Christmas Pantomime. To soften the blow the Recreation Club organised a free afternoon of entertainment for the children which culminated in a one-act play "Alice In A Winter Wonderland" presented by the Griffins.Despite its shortcomings it was successful enough to lead the way to the 1981 production of Griffin's first full scale pantomime Cinderella, directed by Frank and Eileen Jackson. The show was a huge critical and financial success and guaranteed that 'the golden egg' of pantomime was here to stay.
The spring production of 1982, Confusions, was also a major milestone for the Griffins. After years of performing plays in the cavernous canteen in Kimpton Road, it was decided to relocate our smaller productions to the more intimate environment of the Library Theatre, Luton. This move not only raised our profile on the local theatrical scene it also brought us a whole new audience and more importantly a wealth of new talent.
Our continued success with pantomime not only provided us with financial security but also proved that we could hold our own when it came to staging musical numbers. It was therefore somewhat inevitable that the group's long held ambition of staging a genuine musical would finally come to pass. And so it was that in 1983, Bryan Millin's hugely successful production of Grease became the Griffins first musical.Throughout the rest of the decade the Griffins consolidated their position as a versatile group that was equally at home performing pantomime, musicals, comedies or dramas. The Griffins had found their niche.
We now regularly perform a children's pantomime, and adults' pantomime, a play and a musical each year. Our rehearsals generally take place on Monday and Thursday evenings, plus some Sundays during the day.